I sit in the booth at our favorite Chinese restaurant as Don orders his meal, and I feel the little body in my womb squirm and stretch. His head nuzzles my hip; his feet try to find their way between my ribs, and I gently press my hand to my belly to calm his frenzied activity. When he is born in less than a month, I will swaddle him, I will wrap him tight, hold him close and sing to him. For now, though, I mother him as best I can through the barrier that both connects and separates us, my body.
Our waitress smiles at me and asks, "Do you have other children or is this your first?"
There is no pause when I answer, "No, we have a two-year-old son at home with his grandparents."
Don and I smile casually but I look at his eyes and know he is thinking of them both, our other two little ones. The ones who came between William and Joshua. The ones who came and left.
In the late evening, when William is asleep in his room and Don is finishing up work notes in his office, I go into Joshua's nursery and sink down into the glider. I put my hands on my belly and I look at his crib, his books, the piles of sweet newborn clothes waiting for him, and I am so overwhelmed with peace and thanks that I would probably fall to my knees if I weren't already sitting down. I still don't understand the details of His plan, how God decides who will stay and who will go and who will hurt and who will have a baby and who will not. I am grateful for this. I know in the deepest recesses of my heart that knowledge of His plans for my future would be far too great a weight for me to carry.
Here in our home, in this tiny room that has been painted for a baby, there is peace. There is love. There is belief in an author of life, an original creator who remains even to this very moment.
I rock in the glider and close my tired eyes because, as it most always is with a two-year-old in tow and the full weight of the third trimester in my womb, today has been a long day. I sing, like I always have.
Lord, prepare me
to be a sanctuary
pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
sanctuary for you.
Here in my heart, God has carved out a space that I never dreamt could exist. A sanctuary is being built. I think of all the joy, followed by sorrow, the tears that would not stop coming, the bitterness that was so tempting to plant but that I weeded out with His grace alone. I feel where the sorrow bloomed to hope and the fears gave way to surrendering, and now, here in my heart, there is a sanctuary. And there is room for each child He gave us, William, Violet, Jordan, and Joshua.
What can a heart hold? There is no limit. There is no limit at all.