Love You Bigger Than Outer Space

(Okay, okay….so I know the picture of my children above is not necessarily related to the post, but I just had to include it!  It is one of my favorites…)

Since the time my son was old enough to carry on a conversation, he and I have engaged in an ongoing “debate” over which one of us loves each other more.  The conversation goes something like this:

Me:  “I love you so much.  Do you know how much mommy loves you?”

My son: “How much?”

Me:  “Bigger than our house.”

My son: “Well I love you bigger than our city”

Me:  “I love you bigger than all the oceans”

My son:  “I love you bigger than the whole Earth”

Me:  “I love you bigger than all the planets”

My son:  “I love you bigger than outer space”

He loves this game with me.  The smile on his face reflects the joy he gets when we are talking about how big our love is for each other.  Children just have such a way of truthfully speaking their hearts to us.  Good or bad – if it is on their minds, they will speak it.

My 3-year-old daughter whispers “You are beautiful” in my ear on a pretty regular basis.  I do not know where she got this from, but it so sweet and touching.  These three simple words from her instantly give me a sense of gravity.  It is not so much about whether she truly believes that I am beautiful.  It is more than that.  She seeks out opportunities to tell me her thoughts and to examine my reaction.  It also reminds me of the greater need to let her know just how unique and beautiful she is.

My parenting journey started around six years ago, and even still I am amazed how the Lord has worked everything out for my life.  Adoption has brought so much goodness and love.  Each day brings on new challenges and discoveries.  Every day I am reminded of my Lord’s provision in my life and His answering of my prayers.

The sweetest words I have ever heard are “I love you mommy”.  These words are engraved and resonate in my heart.  Each time I hear them is if it is the first time.  I despaired over these words for so long that I do not take them for granted now.  I never really thought I would ever hear a child say this to me.  I love hearing them profess their feelings towards me.  I don’t expect it, but it sure makes me feel good!

My children may say the words “love you bigger than outer space” or “you are beautiful”, but, the Lord too says these things to me.  In Him, I am beautiful, and so are my children.  It humbles and blesses me to know that God’s love for my His children is far greater and bigger than outer space.

My Children, My Teachers

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about” – Angela Schwindt

The quote above came across my vision today while reading an email from a professional contact. It caused me to stop a while and think about the meaning.  It is not that I have never recognized the life-lessons that parenting gives me. I suppose I have not stopped too often to truly think about the daily things my children do that I learn from.

Almost immediately upon becoming a parent, I was hit with the reality of the grand importance that children are to this world and how incredibly important it is to protect them, show them love, and nurture them along the way.  It is not just important; it is vital to our existence as human beings.  It pains me greatly to know that there are many children throughout the world who do not have anyone to teach them about life.  It is also tragic that some children do not have parents they can teach what life is about to.  Too many children do not have anyone significant in their lives that will listen to their stories, hang their art on the fridge, or encourage their imaginations.

My children show me on a daily basis what life is, or at least, should be about.  They are masters of forgiving and forgetting.  They say they are sorry when they do something wrong (intentional or not).  Even better, they accept apologies and move on as if they have not been wronged.  We adults struggle with this, although we know better.

They notice things like the color of the sky, the shape of clouds, and the little sounds that can be heard on any given day if stopped long enough to hear.  Sometimes I forget to pay attention to these things until I am gently reminded by them to look up, or listen to the birds chirping outside the window.  They ask questions about why things work they way they do.  They are eager to learn from the adults around them.  If they do not know what something is, they will try to investigate it as much as they can and as age appropriate.  Again, sometimes I find myself wanting to move through the day without anything “new” happening.

There is freshness and vibrancy to their thoughts and intentions.  They do not set limits on how things can be fixed or how people can be helped.  They absolutely believe that they can make things better and are creative in ways they can do this.  They believe that their sweet cards or pictures are the best gifts they can give.  My kids love telling their family how much they love them, and they end each day wanting “just one more hug and kiss”.  All of these things are really just a few examples of what my children show me, and what I continue to learn from.

My 3-year-old daughter recently told me that when she was a baby in Heaven, Jesus taught her all she needs to know about being here.  Her comment stopped me in my tracks.  It was one of those moments where I absolutely believed she knew and meant every word she was saying.  There was so much truth to what she said.  Christ has told us and continues to tell us how our lives should be led.

Like children, we should work on renewing ourselves each day.  We should forgive and forget.  We should approach those we have wronged with genuine sincerity in asking for forgiveness.  We should take time each day to take in the incredible creation that is around us all of the time.

We need to seek daily how we can impact those around us for the better.  Our words should be of love.  I hope that I never stop learning from my children and my Lord.  I may work hard at teaching them about life, but I know deep down that they will probably always be teaching me what life is really all about.

Give You the World

My children, if I could give you the world, I would. I would grab hold of the Earth, squeeze out the sourness, cruelty, hatred and pain, and then wrap it up in a tight bow and hand it to you. I would take an extra measure to carefully hand pick all the beauty and wonder that makes up the land we call home.

I would make sure the leaves of the trees are so fresh and green that you could smell them. The flowers would always be in bloom and the ocean would be filled with lavish fish that reflect the colors of the rainbows. The mountains would stand real high for you and the valleys would invite you to come explore them.

The sands of the desert would spell your names when you walk by. The tall grass of the plains would blow just enough in the wind to make you think they are whispering to you. The snowy and icy parts of this world would be comprised of the perfect snowman-making kind of snow. The jungles would be ripe with magnificent flowers made up of all your favorite colors. The animals would fill your eyes with splendor.

If I could go ahead of you each step of your lives to clear the path, I would. I would make it to where you never had to feel the sting of pain, the loss of love, and the agony of despair. Or if you did, it would only be the kind of pain that stretches and grows you into more whole beings. Your good dreams, the ones that leave you breathless with joy in the morning, would come to life and every spark of imagination would light a fire in you to create, live, and be anything you want to be.

You would find friendships in all places. Kindness would be the only word used to describe your interactions with others. Everyone would greet you with a smile and tell you how much you mean to this world.  Empathy would be common-place and you would always have a shoulder to cry on. You would never struggle with addictions or anything else that diminishes who you really are. Faith, hope, and love would wrap around your bodies, encompass your hearts, and defend your minds.

I suppose I’m just like most mothers. I want to believe that I will always be just one step ahead of you leading and loving you along the way. I hope that the fond smells of home and the love you feel will never be far from you. I pray that visions of you dancing, laughing, and playing will always reflect in my eyes.

My children, if I could give you the world, I would.