Recently we had the absolute privilege of dedicating our 3 month old daughter, Everly Rose, to our amazing God! We welcomed Everly into this world on Saturday 19th July, and the past few months have been an intimate time for our family as we get to watch her little personality blossom, see the gorgeous dynamics between her and big brother Hugo, and as we expand and re-shape as a family of four.
We are absolutely filled with the deepest gratitude to be blessed with another happy healthy child, and big brother Hugo is so proud, protective and passionately in love with his little sister. I cannot believe she has been with us for so long now, but what I really find myself doing double takes over is the fact that I am a mother of two children, TWO!
There have been a number of specific moments when I have been completely overwhelmed by thankfulness, and quite honestly, disbelief that I am finally holding the fulfilment of God’s promises to us. I cannot tell you the amount of conversations Gavin and I had during the years we were trying to fall pregnant – conversations dreaming of our future children; conversations of who they would be, what they would look like, what it would feel like to be the parent of a son or the parent of a daughter. We would dream about it and talk about it for hours on end, the conversations were both cathartic for our broken hearts and inspiring for our hopeful spirits.
The conversations were both cathartic for our broken hearts and inspiring for our hopeful spirits
Five days after Everly was born we were driving across the city. Both children were beautifully and peacefully asleep in the back seat. As we travelled along I remember turning to Gavin with the most ridiculous grin on my face…“We dreamt about this very moment! Remember the exact conversations we had about one day having two children in the backseat?” In fact, as silly as this is, we even used to pretend we had a car full of family – we would chat to the kids as we drove along – telling them about where we were going and what we were doing, just talking to them in general as though they actually existed, long before they ever did. And here we were, living that dream and deep desire!
There have been many more moments where I’ve had to pinch myself at the goodness of God and his blessing in our life. Often it’s the simple daily moments where I’m feeding Everly at the breast, with Hugo snuggled under my other arm as I read him a story. I look down at my two children, both in my tender embrace, both being comforted by the security of their mother, and I really really do have to pinch myself. “Are they REALLY both mine?! Are they for ME?! Do I really get to keep them forever?!” It honestly seems too good to be true! When am I going to wake from this blissful dream?
It’s easy to be grateful and thankful in these beautiful moments, but anyone who has kids knows all too well, it’s not always easy and peaceful! But even in the midst of the chaos and emotions, I still find myself feeling this deep gratitude for what God has blessed me with. It was just three weeks before Gavin had to travel away for work. It was only one night, but it just happened to be one of those nights for me. I kid you not, the very second he walked out the front door to jump in the taxi to go to the airport, the dramas began. Hugo was tucked up in bed, almost asleep, when Everly suddenly went into projectile vomit mode. This caused Hugo to stir from his restful state and having been woken so abruptly he started crying and and calling out for daddy. So here I am absolutely covered in vomit (seriously, how can a baby so tiny even have that much milk in her?!?!?!), poor Everly drenched in it – all through her eyes, nose, ears and quadruple chin, vomit all over the brand new carpet, a now screaming toddler and my husband on his way to fly off while here I am dealing with this all alone. The clean-up-wash-down-calm-down-comfort-resettle-refeed took a few hours! It was now late at night and I was emptied of energy so did what my minimally remaining capacity could do…went to bed, and took them both with me ;) Everly sleeps in the Moses basket next to my side of the bed, and I put Hugo in bed next to me and put on a DVD to occupy him while I dealt with the baby (yes, you read right – at 8pm on a Sunday night!).
Eventually the chaos subsided and both children were now asleep. I slipped out of bed, turned Disney’s Cars off and jumped in the shower and shed a little tear. It was my first moment as a mother of two where I was overcome by the weight of responsibility and doing it alone. Sometimes a good cry is all we need! As difficult as this moment was, despite the vomit, despite the continuous crying, despite, the desperation (hello, a movie after bedtime!), despite the breaking of all my ‘rules’ and routine, despite my tears, I slipped back into bed and suddenly had that feeling again – I have two children! TWO happy, healthy, beautiful children! My heart again was filled with gratitude that I can’t explain the depths of. I’ll forever remember that moment as I lay in bed between my two darlings – listening to the little pants of a precious newborn asleep in the basket on one side of me, and hearing the deep, long breaths of a worn out toddler on the other side. It was beautiful music to my my ears – joy to my soul and spirit!
These moments and experiences often make me think of Proverbs 13:12 –“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, BUT A DREAM FULFILLED IS A TREE OF LIFE”
While I completely feel like we are now living in the abundance of our ‘dream fulfilled,’ it wasn’t always the case. For so long we were stuck in the hope deferred that truly made our hearts sick – grief stricken in fact, or as the Message puts it ‘unrelenting disappointment.’ I was completely reminded of this when Everly was only a few days old and we were in the city and decided to pop in to Gavin’s office to say a quick hello and give away free newborn snuggles. This same company happened to be the last job that I worked at as project manager before we had Hugo. As Gavin took the two kids through to see his work colleagues, I quickly ducked into the restroom first. Of all the places to receive a revelation of God’s faithfulness, goodness and abundant love, it was right there that I was overcome with memories and emotions! This was the very cubical I used to sit in and pray for strength to get through the difficult time of trying to conceive. This was the cubical I would be brought to tears in as I’d realised I’d got my period and I wasn’t pregnant, yet again. This was the very cubical I used to sit in and cry my heart out when we had experienced miscarriages. This was the cubicle I used to sit in wondering how long am I going to be working here, biding time before I have the ultimate job I have always longed for – becoming a mother. That moment in the restroom was so powerful for me. Here I was, more than two years later, this side of the promises fulfilled, and not only was I blessed with a baby, but here I was visiting with TWO children!
Oh how this moment felt like a tree of life! A life giving, overflowing, nourishing, fruitful, abundant tree of life! In that specific place I felt the painful memories and emotions of what used to be my reality as we tried for so long to fall pregnant, yet simultaneously I felt the deep deep joy and gratitude that overflowed from my thankful heart that God had not just blessed us with a baby, but had now gone on and superseded even our greatest desire!
I felt the painful memories and emotions of what used to be my reality, yet simultaneously I felt the deep deep joy and gratitude that God had not just blessed us, but had now gone on and superseded even our greatest desire
The amazing thing about our journey with Jesus is that our hope is real and it is grounded in substance. It is not just wishful thinking as the rest of the world may see it – is is the foundation of faith, which is confident assurance and expectation (Heb 11:1)! Although we cannot be certain of what difficulties life throws at us, we can be confident in the goodness of God to get us through those times, experiences and situations. And we can be confident in his Word, knowing that the the words that are released from his lips will not return void (Is 55:11), but we can expectantly stand on his promises.
Hold on to hope. There is hope in God and in his Word. There is hope in his love and goodness and faithfulness. Right now the things you hope for may seem so far away and may be causing your heart to feel sick…but know that when that moment of his provision and overwhelming goodness floods into your circumstances, it will be as refreshing, as strong, as secure, as fulfilling as a tree of life! And the Tree of Life will overflow in fruitfulness and abundance – not just to all areas of your life, but to all around you!