With Thankfulness: Full Hands
It’s no secret we have a large family. Through birth and adoption, God has blessed us rather abundantly. And, it’s no secret that with a large family comes noise and chaos and a lot of demands and a general overall crazyness, lots of laughter, supporters at every turn, a hug at every corner, and never having to go through any of it alone. I continually run into folks who say (sometimes flippantly), “You must have your hands full!” Maybe in the face of it all, they just don’t know what to say. And, it kinda bugged me.
But then, there was a day when literally my hands were full of babies. A moment when both babes needed my attention at the very same time. We were at the grocery store. Tess was on my right hip, protesting to get down. And, Jude was on the left, his head snuggled in the crook of my neck. Each of my arms, encircled their body, and my hands joined in the front to provide a little support for my back. A couple of my bigger kiddos were in charge of pushing the carriage or putting in the items I directed. Boo was tugging at my sleeve asking if we could get the sugar-coated-crap cereal. Patch was trying to “surf” the cart down the isle. I was trying, probably futilely, to impart a little bit of wisdom to my brood. How to read nutritional labels. Adding numbers. Estimating the cost. How to use an inside voice. My back hurt. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the whole list before needing to leave. I had snot all over my shirt and seeing as how I was just going to get a quick errand to the market run, I was wearing stained holey yoga pants with really bad hair. You know those days, right?
And a woman, all by herself, probably in her mid 60s and probably past the age of having to take little ones to the store anymore, passed by, taking us all in. The hollering, the chaos, the noise and all the people in one family. And maybe, she was one of those people who just felt compelled to say something. And then she said it, “My, you sure do have your hands full!” And, she passed us by. Was she smiling? I couldn’t tell.
I used to not know how to respond. I mean, did I really have to respond? It wasn’t a question.
And this next part I really can’t explain very well. But, in the middle of all the comotion, there was a sudden peace within me, a peace that I can only imagine God wanted me to hear right then and there in the middle of the grocery store, holey yoga pants and all. My children. Surrounding me. My arms so very full . . . literally. You know, after interacting with a orphan who has never known the love of a family first hand, one never looks at a family in quite the same way again. My family. Encompassing me. It was such a wonderful feeling that God entrusted me with so many of His children. There was a rush in my heart that I never wanted to forget this very moment. A feeling of gratitude and thankfulness. A feeling of privilege and honor. So, I put it in my soul to always remember that feeling of blessed fullness . . . full hands.
Now, when someone says, “You must have your hands full!” I instantly think of that feeling and smile. Yes I do, and it’s divine!
I’m noticing that as the babe’s get older, now almost 3 1/2, they get bigger and heavier. Patch is now wearing chocolate-scented deodorant and not wanting to hold my hand so much. Boo is out growing his pants at an alarming rate. Livy is dreaming of missions trips in far off places. And, Sunny is looking at colleges.
There will soon come a day when I won’t have my hands full anymore, literally or figuratively. Someday, the car ride to the store will be quiet, and I’ll pick the station I want to listen to. No one will be there to tug on my sleeve. I won’t buy sugar-coated-crap or animal cookies or juice boxes. Someday, my back won’t hurt, and I’ll be able to make that errand to the grocery store as quick as a bug. And, I’ll probably look really cute too. And, my hands will only push the carriage and carry my list.
My hands will be empty, someday soon.
And, I’ll cross those now empty hands and offer a prayer of thanksgiving, that He allowed me so many divine opportunities to impart my mama wisdom . . . if even just at the grocery store . . . in holey yoga pants.
And, I will pray that He watches over them for me now.
Tim and Nancy were high school sweethearts, now married for 19 years, and have been entrusted to raise 6 of the Lord’s children, ages 17-3. Their first 4 kiddos are homegrown, and the youngest 2 were born in their hearts, birthed half way across the world, then delivered by the Lord’s hand to their arms through special needs’ adoption. Their youngest 2 children, Tess and Jude, were born 28 days apart and were orphanage cribmates. They were adopted at the same time from SaiGon, VietNam in 2008. They wonder if the Lord has plans for another special need’s adoption in their future. You can read more about their family on their blog, Ordinary Miracles & The Crazy 8.