Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Grace and gratitude

I am either getting sentimental about marking Robbie's first year, or my pregnancy hormones are getting the best of me... but yesterday I found myself crying during an episode of "A Baby Story".  

You know the part - when the sweaty exhausted mom is rewarded for the past 9 months of carrying a small person in her belly and for the X amount of hours she has spent laboring and pushing by having a gooey baby placed on her chest, one that mind you looks like a blue scrunchy alien, but is still somehow the most beautiful sight to her?  

If you are a mom already, you know that it doesn't matter who this woman is or what that baby looks like.  You know the feeling - the earth is standing still at that moment for them and that life will never be the same.  And a part of you sincerely rejoices with these strangers on TV and prays for their health and for God's blessing.  For me, I am always transported back to the day Robbie was born.  Each time it happens, his birth might as well have been yesterday - I remember every moment!  I hope I always do.

Then, there was Saturday night when Rob and I snuck away for a date night since my mom offered to watch Robbie.  We went to CPK for dinner and talked about Robbie's birthday, and I wanted to know what Rob thought about the gift we might give to Robbie.  If you know us well, you know that Rob and I have very different love languages and approach the concept of gift giving in particular differently.  These conversations are usually a bit bumpy as we both try to find the middle ground that encompasses each of our desires in a way that is balanced, and this one was no exception.  We headed across the street to the movie theater to see "Slumdog Millionaire" without feeling like we had come to a point of solid agreement.  

I came out of the theater feeling very different about our previous conversation... and about our life in general.  I am so grateful.  And very thankful that God chose to use that movie to soften my heart and open my eyes.  He is so gentle with us, isn't He?  We have a very full life, and want for nothing (spiritually or physically).  Even when things are hard.  The discussion about Robbie's first birthday gift was a non-issue in my heart after that.  Instead, even more importantly, I hope that Rob and I can figure out how to take these things we learned that evening and turn them into a way of living that touches Robbie in the future.  What a great gift that would be for our son.  We have a concrete idea of what we will do, and in the years to come, if it's in Robbie's heart to participate also, then the opportunity will be right there waiting for him.  You can bet that I'm praying towards that end, too!  (Sorry, but the details are just for our little family.)

So as we get ready to mark Robbie's first birthday this Sunday, I am learning to walk with a posture of humility and thankfulness before God.  As I type, Robbie is sitting in his pack and play trying to pull both of his socks off at the same time, by the toes.  He is healthy, growing, thriving, full of life and joy - and he is here with us.  He looks a bit like Rob and a bit like me.  He is a miracle that we don't deserve.  

There are lots of things that happen to us that we are so undeserving of - that is the mark of God's grace in our lives and on our family.  Take, for instance, the fact that 4 years ago Rob asked me to marry him.  Totally God's grace in my life!!  Seriously, I think my parents tried to talk him out of it when he asked them for permission to propose, even though they had prayed that Rob would be 'the one' even while we were not dating.  I think they were starting to feel guilty about what their prayers would subject this poor guy to... their crazy daughter.  :)

By God's grace, I have a husband who loves me and does things like this all the time...

Builds a play yard for his son and then plays with him in it, even though he is exhausted from the work week...  this of course is the 'after' picture!  Completely worn out.  He made me promise not to put this one on the blog (sorry honey), but I can't find another image that quite captures how hard working and selfless he is towards Robbie and I.  Plus this one is just so sweet and it brings tears to my eyes.  What girl doesn't hope for a husband who will one day get down on the floor and play with her babies?  Ladies, this is what you are looking for, if you haven't found him yet.

Looking very old to me!...

And at the same time, looking very small...

I couldn't love these 2 more.

Also, please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers... they are dealing with injury, illness, stillbirth and death, but their stories are inspiring.  (I don't know any of them personally.)


Abby said...

A beautiful post, Ashley! And Rob is just as blessed to have married YOU as you are to have married him!

Abby said...

BTW, happy birthday (on Sunday), Robbie!

Jennifer said...

I second Abby's comments. You are BOTH blessed to have each other and Robbie is blessed to have you as his parents! I'm right there with you -- God is so good and ALWAYS provides just what we need (spiritually and physically). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences on the subject!