Last night, at just under 3 weeks old, our daughter had her onstage debut at our church women’s Christmas event. Here’s what I told her (and a room packed full of women of all ages)…
Naomi, do you see all those people out there? Ok, I realize you can’t actually see that far yet, but they’re there – I promise. And they’re looking at you, so I want you to really work that angelic newborn infant thing because Mommy’s still feeling a bit, well let’s call it fluffy, and I need you to distract them.
The truth is, baby girl, I have been waiting on you and anticipating your arrival for a long time now. Three years ago I wrote you a letter in my journal. It begins, “Dear Baby Girl, I have no idea when or how God will bring you into our family, but there is something deep within me that leads me to believe that at some point you will become a part of us.” I prayed for you often over those three years. And here you are in my arms – a prayer answered, a deep longing fulfilled. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect answer from our gracious God.
But the truth is your Mommy wasn’t always patient and during that time. I was often restless and anxious, impatient for your arrival – especially during those last weeks before your birth and even the final hours before you were born. There was grunting and groaning and pain in the process, but in the end there was you and you were worth every second, minute, hour and even year of waiting.
We named you Naomi Rae, it means “pleasant grace” and you are truly a reminder of the pleasant grace of our God – the king who reigns in heaven and who is making us part of his forever family. We’re waiting for that forever, that fulfillment of our longing to be part of something more. It’s not that we deserve it. We’re impatient, grunting and groaning in the waiting. That’s right, even you, Naomi, I asked you to look angelic, but the truth is you are human just like me and you have done some pretty decent wailing in your short life span.
But just like God answered my prayer for you to join our family He has promised that there is something better ahead – that we can join His family – that the time of waiting for something more will end.
It reminds me of a passage from the Bible in Romans 8. I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in The Message:
“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”
In an even deeper way than I believe that waiting for you – growing, expanding, birth pangs and all – was worth it, I believe that waiting for God to fulfill his greater promise for the world will be worth it. I pray that as you grow up you too will develop a faith in God, experience His pleasant grace in your life, and become joyful in your expectancy.