Monday, June 10, 2013

Joy In The Morning

Dearest Evie,

It's hard to believe, little brown-eyed girl of mine, that one year ago today you joined our family. I will never forget that day as long as I live!

As I was laboring away, my eyes darted back and forth from the big clock on the wall to my Bible spread across my lap. These words literally leapt off the page, and, Evie, I clung to them like I've never clung to anything before... comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

As my contractions intensified and I struggled to catch my breath before the next one came, I remember glancing at the clock and whispering those words. Over and over and over again!

My doctor hadn't been in to check me since he had broken my water a few hours earlier, and my nurse had popped her head in only a few times. But your Daddy was great company. He rubbed my back and then my feet, and we talked about what a crazy adventure our life together had become. Your Aunt Niney was working at the hospital that weekend, and she was so eager and excited to meet you. She made sure that I was well taken care of, and I am grateful she was there on that June morning. Later she told me, that at some point (it must have been close to 11 am), she stuck her head in the door and took one look at the expression on my face and knew she should call my nurse. Within a few minutes, my sweet nurse came in and wanted to check and see if I had made any progress. I had done this enough times to be almost certain that I had to be getting close, but I was afraid of getting my hopes up in case I still had more work to do. The pain was almost unbearable, and I didn't think I could handle it much more without an epidural. I remember her startled voice and her frantic call for help and someone telling my doctor (who was walking down the hall) that I was about to deliver and to hurry and that he needed to run and not walk. You were ready, sweet child, to make your grand appearance and I was ready and terrified and excited all at the same time and already so madly in love with you and I couldn't wait to finally meet you. I glanced at the clock one more time and remembered those words and I knew you would make it before the clock struck noon. As I pushed and struggled and thought I couldn't take it any longer, those words, those amazingly precious words, gave me the courage to push once more and there you were. Joy in the morning!

I looked at you. Your Daddy looked at you, and neither of us said a word. Your sweet cry was the only sound in the room. Normally, my doctor {who has delivered all 5 of our babies} says, "it's a boy" but this time he said nothing. And finally your Daddy said - I'll never forget - he said you were a girl. And I could not believe it!

You did come in the morning {just barely}, but just in time. I had been reminded all morning long that joy WOULD come in the morning and you did. And He is faithful, and you, my tiny bundle of joy, were resting in my arms when the clock struck noon. I smelled that tiny head of yours and knew without a doubt that He is always on time. Never before. Never behind. Always just right. You were perfect in every way and truly a perfect gift from our Father at just the perfect time.

Evie Sarris, the Lord brought us joy that morning! What an absolute joy and blessing you have been to our family. Your big brothers were so excited when we told them they had a baby sister. They ever so gently took turns holding you and couldn't keep their hands off that fuzzy little head of yours. It could, quite possibly, be one of my all-time favorite memories - all of you sitting in my lap on that hospital bed. I promise you were in that picture, hidden underneath the hands of your admiring brothers, and I want you to know that my heart and your Daddy's heart were full of such incredible joy!

The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:3

You are a gift from the Lord, a surprise blessing and a delight to your whole family. Today when I look into your big brown eyes and see that sparkle that melts my heart, I am ashamed to say that there were many times when you were growing inside of me that I questioned the One who was putting you together. I questioned His timing, and I couldn't imagine what it was going to look like having SIX children, 7 and under. I doubted Him sending you now, right in the middle of our journey to bring your big sister home. And it's not that I didn't want you. Oh, Evie, please don't ever believe that lie. I was tickled pink when I found out we were going to have you, but, you see, your Momma has always liked {or better said} needed to feel like she was in control. And the thought of what life would look like and how I would be able to handle you and your big sister and those four crazy brothers of yours made me feel that helpless, overwhelmed feeling that I have always hated. I didn't know if I could do it, and my fears and doubts made me question the timing of my pregnancy and S's adoption and it all just felt like too much. But, Evie, the Lord was so merciful in sending you just when He did. Not only have you brought such joy and laughter into our home, but your little life has brought me to my knees in humble desperation and dependence on the Giver of every good and perfect gift. What a blessing this has been. Decades of thinking I could do it on my own, driven and determined, striving after perfection, came to a screeching halt when mercifully He showed me that I couldn't do it. And that it was ok.

During this past year there have been many hard moments and many, many tears shed. Yours and mine both! The Lord allowed me to see how prideful and stubborn my heart was and what an idol I had made of my own self-sufficiency. He used your life and your brothers and sister and the chaos of this crazy year to show me that He is enough. He graciously allowed me to be in way over my head, so that I could know Him in a way that my pride and stubborness had blinded me to before. He's been right at my side in this deep water, helping me breathe and keeping me afloat when I thought I was drowning. He has been my Helper, and He has become my sufficiency, and {for the first time in my life} I've realized that it's ok if I can't do it on my own. I'm not supposed to. And what a mercy to be able to fall on my knees and open my hands and my heart to Him and tell Him I can't. And He doesn't tell me to buck up or to just try harder. Instead I hear Him ever so compassionately say, "Of course, you can't! That's why I put you in this exact situation. You can't, but I can, and I want you to learn to look to Me instead of to yourself. I am enough, and I am what you need."

And what a year it has been! Evie, you have been such a trooper. You were so brave when your Daddy and I left you in the care of your MiMi when you were only 7 weeks old to go get your sister in Bulgaria. (I want you to know that leaving you behind was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.)You were even braver when we all finally made it home, and your new big sister screamed so loud and took up so much of your Momma's attention. Oh, Evie, there were times too many to count that I wanted to run away and take you with me. It was hard for me those first few months of adjusting to our new life, and I'm sure it was hard for you. I so very vividly remember how every afternoon, right about dinnertime, you would lose it. And you would cry and cry and cry and cry some more and nobody could make you happy. Much of the time, your sister would be crying, and sometimes I wanted to join in. It was hard, but those days taught me many lessons. I learned that "hard can be good" and I want you to learn that too, now, when you are still so very young, before you grow up and have a brown-eyed little girl of your own. Hard is a blessing from Him. I want you to know this truth and not fear the challenges that come in this life. Don't run from them, Evie, or turn the other way. When He calls you to do something and it feels too hard, you must learn to see it as a blessing. A gift, just as you were, a precious and priceless gift that can draw you closer to Him. 

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord...
Psalm 127:3

And, Evie, we made it through that first hard year - you and me and your Daddy and your new sister and those 4 crazy, wild boys - and we've laughed a lot and cried a lot and learned a lot and didn't sleep a lot. And I want you to know that I've treasured those middle of the night feedings (that took so long for you to drop). You and me, we both grew stronger. You drained those bottles of milk dry and I drank His words of life and comfort and hope. And I learned that the only time a mother of little people has of "quiet time" is really in the dead of the night when everyone else is sound asleep. And I really, really learned to cherish this time and love on you, little one, and let Him love on me! 


Your Daddy says you look just like me, baby girl. And I have to admit, when I look at my own baby pictures, the similarities are striking. I still can't quite believe that I have a little girl, actually two, and soon to be three! And you two here with me now, you both have your Momma's brown eyes and I'm pretty sure you both have your Momma's stubborn and strong-willed spirit. And that's why I want you to learn now these lessons it's taken me 33 years to finally begin to understand. We're learning together, you and me and S and one day soon, Faith will learn right alongside with us, and I count it an unbelievable honor and privilege to be your Momma and the Momma to all of your sisters and brothers! I always knew that I wanted a big family, but, oh my goodness, I never dreamed it would be quite this big! How incredibly blessed I am!

And so, here we are today, Evie. Your first birthday! You are so very happy and healthy. You are spunky and sweet and your smile is contagious. You are learning to talk and learning to walk and learning your place in this crazy family. And something tells me, sweet daughter of mine, that it's only going to get crazier. I'm beginning to think that your second year of life is going to be just as exciting! So hold on tight. Or maybe not. This year had taught me better. He has taught me better. Not hold on tight, but, better said, open up wide. Open your hands and open your heart, Evie Sarris, to the One who holds on ever so tightly to your little hands and your beautiful heart. And happy, happy birthday, sweet girl. I cannot imagine our family without you! You truly are joy that came in the morning!


P.S. What a fun day we had yesterday celebrating your special day!!! Sorry I'm a day late! :)

1 comment:

  1. I remember the day Evie was born like it was yesterday and I cannot believe it has been a year! Yes, Evie, you have an Aunt Niney who loves you more than you know! I remember shouting for joy when I first laid eyes on you and your Momma told me you were a girl! Happy birthday precious one!