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Wilder Life: April 2016

04/05/2016 08:00AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

Empty Hands

By Amanda Jean Harris

I feel kind of defeated. I’m not sure when it started really but I know the defining moment of it. It was when I was vomited on. Or should I say at? Defeat juice is what they should call it. The term “throw up” works when it’s a child because they actually kind of throw it at you. 

I know you’re probably grossed out right about now. Which means you’re not a mom. I remember a dear friend with teenage daughters telling me that being a mom is that bizarre instinct to CATCH the vomit. Just like that. Put your hands out and catch it without even thinking. Tonight, I kept saying “just keep throwing up in this direction” (otherwise it was the rug and let’s get real my pants were already a casualty and they’re easier to wash than the rug).

So, why am I being all gross and pitiful? Because I think maybe you need to know you’re not alone. 

Somewhere there is a mom with a sick child. Much sicker than mine. Much more serious than mine. I never mean to make light of it.

Tonight even this little bout of walking pneumonia doesn’t feel light to me. And in the contrast of pretty much all other things it’s a tiny little blip of nothing. My mind knows this. But, I’m weary. 

Last week a dear friend was at home nursing a sick baby and I know she was struggling. There’s something kind of confining about being home with a sick child. There is a blanket of concern that descends and spidy senses go on alert looking for any and all evidence of a change in condition. Turn the monitor on high, high volume. Nothing is getting past the momma of a sick child.

So my friend with the sick little one, I encouraged her. I told her something I read once that never left me — something to do with how God speaks so clearly to people from sick beds and in hospitals and isolation and times when you just can’t do whatever it is you think you should be doing.

This business of taking care of babies — healthy and sick — is good work. It’s hard work and it’s pure. And it is the thing that we should be doing. It’s the thing. It is the thing. Even when it’s just holding them in a rocking chair or snuggled on a couch. It can feel like shouldn’t we be doing something else? Like organizing or working or something? Something productive! Wake up. We are doing the thing. We are helping to grow humans. We’re worried about building careers and paying off debts. We’re worried about promotions and growing 401Ks. We are growing humans. What greater work is there?

When I was pregnant and starving (I mean good grief could I be more hungry?) and bone weary at the end of the day I would say “I mean. I’m growing a human here. From like a few cells into like 7 pounds of human!” (Wilder was, of course nearly 9 pounds, God love me.)

So, why are we giving ourselves any less credit right now? At 20 pounds. At 30 pounds. And 40 pounds. At 48 pounds, which is right where I am right now. I’m growing a creature, who doesn’t know how to do anything but eat and sleep and look ridiculously cute, into a preschooler who can do all the things. And then an elementary schooler. Then a middle schooler. And then high schooler. 60 pounds. 80 pounds. 100 pounds.

We are growing little people into big people with the things they need to flourish. The food for the body. The love for the heart. The encouragement for the soul. The guidance for the mind. All the things that take them from barely walking toward us to confidently striding away from us. We provide them all. 

In this house … God provides them all. He puts them right in my hands. Each of the tools. And when He doesn’t? It’s because it wasn’t what I needed. Because it wasn’t what Wilder needed. 

Sometimes, I know without a doubt, my boy just needs a pair of willing empty hands. Growing humans from willing empty hands is something only God does. And so, if you’re feeling defeated know you’re doing God’s work. And the best news of all … He grows His children in His mighty, perfect hands. And we never outgrow Him.

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