Original Publish date July 30, 2008
I was prepared for a lot of things as a mother:
I knew how to change diapers and warm bottles.
I knew how to dry tears and kiss boo-boos.
I knew I’d have my share of endless days and sleepless nights.
I knew I was putting my agenda on hold indefinitely until my little people would become big people and function independent of me.
But I absolutely was not prepared for how clearly and profoundly God would use my children to speak truth into my life.
It started before they could even talk, actually. The first time I saw my first born son, Noah, lying in a tiny incubator, premature and unable to live without the help of many, many machines, a fierce love gripped my heart. A love that quite literally took my breath away. At that moment, and the millions of moments just like it since that time, God spoke to my heart:
I love you even more than that…
Nine months later, when that same precious child struggled once again for life in a hospital bed, I begged God to take me instead. I would have given my very life in in that moment to save my dying child. I wanted God to substitute my life for Noah’s. And God spoke to my heart:
I loved you so much that I became your substitute…
When I buried my one and only son, I considered how there was no greater sacrifice for a parent than to give up her child.
There are many people I would give my own life for, but I would never, ever sacrifice the life of my child to save anyone. God spoke to my heart:
I loved the world so much, that I gave My one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him would not perish, but have eternal life…
Later, as I held my infant daughter, Rebekah, I would sing to her as I rocked her gently to sleep. And God spoke to my heart:
Did you know that I sing over you, too?
And when we adopted my second son, Elijah, I considered how God grafted this child into our family, our home and our hearts. He was ours through and through. A perfect fit. And God spoke to my heart:
I, too, have grafted you into My family. You are My child, and nothing can ever separate you from My love. You are a perfect fit…
As Rebekah and Elijah grew from babies to toddlers to preschoolers, I stood in amazement at the depth of their spiritual understanding. God continued to use them to remind me of His love or to reveal my pride or selfishness. But He also used to them to assist in altering the course of a child’s life. A child that would later become their baby sister.
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.'”
When God first spoke to me about adopting another baby, I asked for A LOT of confirmation. God’s first mouthpiece was my then 4-year-old son, Elijah. He climbed up on my lap one morning and announced, “You have a baby in your belly.”
Huh? No I don’t!
Yes you do.
No, I don’t. (Yikes!! Do I?)
(I didn’t. There was a baby coming. But not from my belly.)
Then God put sweet 7-year-old Rebekah to work. Suddenly and completely without my prompting, she started asking if we could adopt a baby. Every singe day. She was relentless.
One day, she asked again, for the 89th time, “Mommy, can we please adopt a baby?”
I bent over and looked into her little face and I answered, “Rebekah, let’s pray and ask God if it is His will for our family to adopt a baby.” Even as I spoke those words to her, I felt a prick in my heart that it was, in fact, God’s will. I felt like God was telling me a baby needs a home, and we should offer ours.”
At the exact moment I was thinking those thoughts, little Rebekah looked straight at me, her eyes welling up with tears, and spoke the exact words God was whispering to my heart:
“But Mommy, those babies need a home…”
Guess what? We adopted another baby.
My amazing Elijah (now almost 7-years-old) is developing a wonderful gift of encouragement. He always seems to know when someone needs a verbal pick-me-up, and is quick to chime in with a “you can do it!” or “you’re doing great!” (or in my case, “you have a baby in your belly“).
This past St. Patrick’s Day, his kindergarten class decorated the hallways with beautiful artwork and green signs that read, “I’m lucky because…” Do you know what my little man wrote in his crooked handwriting?
“I’m lucky because I have a bes Mom” (I have the best Mom).
I didn’t feel like “a bes Mom” until God spoke to my heart:
The influence you are having on your children is positive and God-honoring, even when you don’t feel like you’re doing a good job. Your children arise and call you blessed. Well done, Sandy…
Of course not everything Elijah says is “God’s voice.” Like the other day when I had a roast cooking in the Crock Pot and he marched into the kitchen and exclaimed,
“Whatever you are cooking smells like garbage!!!”
That was not God.
This is why we pray for discernment.
My favorite story of God using Elijah to speak to me happened just this past May. Elijah didn’t know it, but I was struggling with a bout of major depression. I was able to pull it together enough to take care of my children, but other than that, I was in a deep, dark pit and was scared I wouldn’t come out. I was more frightened than I had ever been in my entire life.
Just before Mother’s Day, his kindergarten class prepared an entire program for the moms. It was priceless. At one point, the teacher shared how they had previously read a humorous book about how moms can’t do certain things. So each child had to stand up in front of all the moms and finish the sentence, “My mom can’t…”
Children held up little hand-made signs that read things like, “My mom can’t throw a baseball” or “My mom can’t do a back handspring” or “My mom can’t keep the kitchen clean.”
But when it was Elijah’s turn, do you know what he said???
“My Mom can’t be afraid.”
The whole classroom full of Mommies crammed into tiny chairs fell silent. Then, in unison, turned to look back at me and said, “aaaawwwwwwwwwww.” I choked back the tears and mouthed the words, “Thank you” to my little godly mouthpiece. He gave me wink and a thumbs up.
I have since framed that work of art. It sits right above my computer. I look at it every day. I’m looking at it now.
Every time I read it, God reminds me…
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. I am not the author of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is not My will for you to live in fear or depression, because My Spirit dwells within you.
Updated and reprinted from the archives
Original run date, July 30, 2008