Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We are still in the "season of birthdays" in our family. Very soon my second daughter, Tara, will be turning 26 years old. Twenty-six years old. As I go back in my mind to the time in our lives when Tara joined our family of 3 it seems not so long ago. My husband was in his junior year of college and we were making plans to travel across the country to attend seminary. Our oldest daughter was only 6 months old when I very not-intentionally got pregnant again. We didn't have any money. My oldest daughter was not a very easy baby - she was quite fussy. We were resident directors in a college dorm and the students were my age - it was the class I would have graduated with if I had not quit school to get married and have babies. We didn't have any money. I was working part-time around my husband's school schedule so he could watch the baby we already had. And did I mention we didn't have any money? As ashamed as I am to say it now, I did not want this baby. It was not a good time, life was difficult, my 6 month old daughter was difficult to care for, and of course, we had no money. I spent the next few months feeling sorry for myself and I didn't enjoy my pregnancy at all. I was a brat. A real brat. In fact, when Tara was born and I held her I didn't feel the maternal love that I had felt for her older sister (who was now 15 months old)- I was still too preoccupied with thinking about me. I remember when that love came flooding over me though. Tara was 3 weeks old and suddenly I looked at her and I knew that God had a very special purpose for this child and that I would be very privileged to be her mother. I knew in that moment that I would die for her if I had to. I fell in love with my little girl. And what a wonderful little girl she was! If ever there was a model of a perfect baby - it was Tara. She just didn't cry. She played, and loved, and smiled, and grew. And oh how we loved her! She was such a good little girl. The only difficulty we had with her was her appetite - she was very picky!!! And even though she had a real independent, stubborn streak, she didn't display it very often. She had little wisps of blond hair and she was always very tiny. She loved her babies and "little things". She loved kitties. She loved roly-poly bugs. And I'm really sorry we never were able to get her that baby lamb she always wanted.
As she grew into a teen-ager she developed into the sweetest person. She developed a passion for the under privileged and felt a call upon her life to be a missionary. Everyone who knew her loved her. If ever there was a model for the perfect teen-ager - it was Tara. No tantrums, no fits, no bursts of emotion. She was always helpful and had an infectious giggle that we heard often. Most nights would find her in her room reading her Bible. She begged us to sponsor a needy child and eventually signed up to sponsor one herself. Faithfully, every month she would send in her money to feed the little girl she took care of through Compassion International. Many times she inspired and motivated me to become a better follower of Christ. It was uncommon, I think, to find such a young lady with such strong convictions.
The day came when Tara moved away from home and went to college. Our home was strangely quiet. Not because she had made a lot of noise, but because she had brought a lot of joy and the emptiness rang hollow in our hearts. We have never really gotten used to it. College brought us some challenging days. Deep questions of faith and belief made their way to the surface and we tread a lot of spiritual water. Sometimes I thought we were all going to drown. But through it all our love and admiration for this girl has never wavered. This girl has taught her mom and dad how to pray! After college graduation she took off to backpack through Europe for 2 weeks and didn't come home until 6 months later! Boy, has this girl taught us how to pray! For the last couple of years she has been working in a homeless women's shelter in a big city - we are still praying! She is soon to be moving to the other side of the country to a VERY big city to achieve one of her goals - a master's degree in social work. I think our prayer life will reach limits we never imagined!
As I shamefully remember the days when I thought I didn't want another baby so soon, I realize that God knew something I didn't know. He knew I needed you, Tara. You have done so much to make me a better person and a better Christian. You have caused me to ask myself very hard questions and dig very hard for the answers. I love you with a love that is so fierce it scares me sometimes.
And He knew that His world needs you. For you are feeding His lambs.
Some time ago, we met up for a weekend in Los Angeles and we shared a bed together in our hotel room. I woke up early that next morning and I saw you sleeping beside me. I laid my hands on you and I prayed over you for the longest time. I prayed for your future and your purpose in life. I prayed scripture over you and I had one of the most meaningful times with God that I ever have had. I thanked God over and over again for the gift of you. I thanked Him for letting me be your mama. I received a promise that morning from God about your life. I am looking forward with great anticipation to watching it come to pass. The assurance God gave me when you were three weeks old has been so very true- I AM privileged to be your mother. I love you Tara - you always have been and always will be my girl.