"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward."
- Psalm 127:3
I was familiar with this verse before I had Lela and I knew it was true just from observing my family and others. I could only imagine what a privilege and honor it must be to watch a child grow and teach him or her the ways of the world. I have found it a delight to watch others' children grow and see them learn new things and the ultimate joy is to see them come to Christ and reach their full potential as a child of God. As an outsider I have experienced this joy and felt I had a good idea of the reward that was soon to come in my own life. Little did I know, this gift has many other layers that are not immediately visible.
As a mother of an infant, I have a new understanding of our total dependence on God. Lela obviously needs me when she's hungry, wet and sick, but beyond that, my mere presence prevents numerous disasters that would be inevitable without my supervision. Anyone would think it insane and even cruel to leave Lela alone for any amount of time because she doesn't have the ability to take care of herself because she lacks the knowledge and skill to control or even understand the world around her. Even within a few minutes, her life could be endangered and any number of things could happen that would cause her harm that would have been easily avoided if I had been present. Just like an infant, we need God in every moment, whether it is an obviously "spiritual" moment or not. Without God's infinite wisdom, we can easily find ourselves caught up in making logical decisions instead of biblical ones and justifying our sins instead of confessing them. From there, disaster is just around the corner, all of which could have been avoided with God's mere presence.
I also have a new picture of unconditional love that I'm sure will only bring exponentially more lessons as Lela grows. No matter how much she cries or demands my attention or how frustrating or difficult my job as a mother may get, I will always love Lela. When she gets older I'm sure she will disappoint me and even hurt me but there is nothing so terrible that she could do that would cause me to withdraw my love from her. I know I can frustrate the Lord and do things to disappoint Him and even grieve Him, but I have confidence in the fact that He will always love me.
Lela means night or darkness and Ann means grace. Together they mean grace in the night. In many ways Lela has been instrumental in bringing me out of the darkness and back into the grace of God. What a beautiful gift.