Today’s topic is one that is close to my heart… Babies.
They are great! But HARD HARD work… A joy to conceive, an endurance to cook (in the metaphorical oven, of course), a pleasure, joy & trial to raise… We have 3 beautiful children, and haven’t been planning for any more.
Now, S. has yet to read or hear about this latest topic, so I can hear her quivering in her boots (or flip-flops) as she will eventually read this…
I’ll set minds at ease, all is not as it may seem from the title.
Before I begin, the backdrop is quite simple:
Another baby she does not wish for. Unequivocally.
I am personally less worried about the whole thing, but that’s beside the point for now. More importantly, something odd started in me a few months ago.
It started with a rough patch with the kids and especially my patience, which forced me to begin praying for more grace for myself and for grace to fill our home.
I started praying for abundant grace to be the testimony and story of our home life.
I started praying that as a couple we would show grace to one another and for that to overflow and pour out over our kids.
I started praying that through the grace we have for one another at home, they would start showing grace to other friends and living out grace in their daily lives, at school and beyond, to the point that one day they would eventually set up their own homes filled with grace, and live out callings in whatever sphere of life they are called to be, pouring out God’s grace to whoever they meet…
Sound exciting? I thought so…
But then one day the picture changed. I got a picture in my head. A baby daughter. And her name was Grace.
What do you do with that?
I’ve been brought up in the school of ‘never prophesy about births, deaths or marriages’ – and here I am feeling like I need to be praying for something that if I really loved my wife I wouldn’t ask for in 100 years!
I love kids, and if I am perfectly honest (and decided to completely ignore the practicalities of our current callings and ministries) would love to have more, but I am also fully aware of the limitations of our humanity, and that child-bearing is not really on the agenda at the moment.
I’m also not sure that S. would appreciate the ‘manipulation’ that would come with any prophetic statement that involves bear another child!
So what is this all about?
Every pause and lull I have had in the last week or two has left me praying for something that is physically and practically impossible at the moment, certainly not in our human thinking, and something that doesn’t seem a wise choice at this juncture at all.
So, I’ve been grappling silently with this all until today in prayer I had a mini-epiphany.
The truth is I am praying for a baby to be born, but it may never actually be born in the flesh. I believe that I have been asked to nurture and labour for a different kind of baby…
As far as I can tell, I have been asked to pray abundant grace into being in our home life. I need grace for S, I need to be speaking grace over her. I need grace for my kids and to be speaking grace in every conversation.
I desire to live in a home that is oozing with fresh and living grace everywhere you look or sit, everything you touch.
Grace needs to be flowing from my home and out into the streets; into the hearts of my kids and into the lives of their friends; into our places of work and beyond through our various ministries.
Simply put, God’s grace needs to invade and change our lives and the lives of those around us.
So it appears that for the first time in our marriage, it is my job to carry a baby, to nurture it, feed it day in and day out, consciously and subconsciously until it one day will be born and released into the world.
I read this today:
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Even in the wilderness, God’s grace flows freely -directly out of His love – and His love is incredible.
He loves us just as we are – with a covenantal, faithful, merciful love that endures forever, that is not phased by mistakes, that sees beyond actions and to the very core of our being. His love doesn’t change because we mess up, if anything it shows its strength in our weakness. His grace comes out of THIS love.
By this love the universe hangs together. Do I allow the father’s love to hold my universe together?
Could I learn to love others like that?
Perhaps, if I am going to see this kind of grace born into my home I should start by receiving His grace through this incomparable love for myself…