I never anticipated what a change would occur in my life when my first grandchild was born. Two months ago today, my mind and heart were opened in very unexpected and wonderful ways.
I was never one who felt I had to become a grandparent. I’ve always cheered on my children and encouraged them to pursue God’s best for them as individuals, whether that meant they would marry or stay single, live close or far away, get college degrees or become volunteers for a nonprofit or start their own company, and of course, having children themselves is their choice and I never felt a need to prod them to have babies. Regardless, when our daughter shared that she was pregnant in June of last year, we were happy for her because it’s what she and her husband desired and felt was right for them to do.
My excitement grew slowly, maybe even reservedly, as my daughter’s pregnancy progressed. Her health and wellness was utmost in my mind, along with supporting their little growing family however we could. Yet, as the day for little Wren’s birth approached, the anticipation multiplied for all our West family members.
Being asked to participate in the labor and delivery process was a precious honor for me. My mom was there for me when I delivered my firstborn, and it made such a difference to have her there. I was thrilled to be able to do this for my baby girl, as well.
Sweet baby Wren arrived after 13-15 hours of labor for my daughter. We were all so exhausted, but what joy flooded my soul in the moments following her birth. Everyday since then truly has been different.
I can’t actually explain the change, but I know it has happened. I grew up in new ways, and so did my baby girl and her husband, and I’ve watched my husband change too. How can such a small 7lb. 11oz creature make such a ginormous difference in all of our lives?!?!
I thank God for little Wren, for her health and all the ways she is growing and changing each day, and mostly, I’m so very grateful to be a part of her life and a witness to watching her parents become her mom and dad.
It’s been a difficult winter. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been due to the weather. There was sickness in early January, and mid-January brought my sister’s rapid decline and passing. It felt like a roller coaster that week because my daughter’s baby shower was only 3 days after my sister left this life. This then flowed into some frustrations with trying to plan a trip to Spain to see my son and daughter-in-law (my husband not getting his passport back so we could book flights) mixed with concerns for this same son and his wife as they faced challenges in Spain. Also, the package I mailed the first week of January, for my daughter-in-law’s birthday, had never made it to them. The retreat I was supposed to host the first of March had to be canceled due to the retreat center closure, and I’m still waiting on my refund. Then, my sister’s memorial service was mid-February and was the usual mixture of joy and sadness as we celebrated her life, visited with so many family, but said goodbye to her.
March came and our expectancy for our new, and first, grandchild was growing exponentially, then the rains came torrentially. March 3 our basement flooded because our sump pump failed. This felt very traumatic since we house so many of our 3 kids and the 2 spouses’ worldly possessions, and also because we had never experienced anything like this. All the carpet had to be torn out of the finished part, along with baseboards, and so many things had to be moved. Our daughter helped a bit but she was 37 weeks pregnant; our son-in-law was the MVP with all of the things flood recovery related. Taylor, our oldest came down from Columbus and helped tremendously, even having a church friend of his come down to help. Other friends of our kids came as well and we had calls of advice from family that had walked that road before us. There was so much to do, and we are still on that journey, having just painted and awaiting new flooring and baseboards in the next week. Even last night we had another scare when the newly installed sump pump sounded an alarm signaling it wasn’t working. Our amazing, and very tired , son-in-law came over at like 5am to help my husband tighten the pipe fittings that hadn’t been secured enough when they put it in yesterday.
The key to that last sentence can be found in the “very tired” comment about my son-in-law. Why you may ask? Well, my daughter, his wife, had their sweet baby 10 days ago. They are figuring it all out beautifully, as much as parents can in those first couple of weeks, hence, they are tired. Yet, they still came to help us yesterday, and of course, in the middle of the night!! My daughter had a bit of a nap while here so I had the chance to hold my precious granddaughter again. What a joy!
You see, I’m not one who ever thought she absolutely had to be a grandparent. I’ve told my kids that I support them no matter what, marriage or not, them having kids or not, it’s their lives and I only desire them to follow their purpose and calling. Yet, here she is, this incredible, beautiful, fresh new life, and I’m in love with her! God has blessed our family with this amazing creation, and I had no idea that this part of my identity needed to be awoken, but God knew. He also knew that she would help jump start my own meaning, purpose and calling, to keep me pushing forward with new purpose to finish writing my book, to make wise choices for my own self-care, to motivate me to remain present and available for others in my life, especially for those God has entrusted to me to love for all their lives.
So, it’s Spring now, and I’m watching all the green and the flowers awaken, and my heart has once again been stirred as well, and I’m so very thankful and filled with hope! “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. I myself will see Him with my own eyes – How my heart years within me!” (Job 19:25 and 27) “The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death – that is not the great thing – but that we are to be new here and now by the power of the resurrection…” (Brooks) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God…” (2Corinthians 5:17-18) “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs…For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:2 and 5)
I don’t want to leave out the person who has walked this journey of life with me the longest, through hills and valleys, in sicknesses and somewhat healthy times 😉, through thick and thin (literally…). I’m grateful for Tom for all these years we’ve done life together, feeling our way blindly in the dark at times and having a lot of laughs and fun along the way. 🧡
I am so thankful for my daughter-in-law and son-in-law. They have brought so much into our family, and I honestly feel humbled with the honor of being someone they can call family. The love of family carries with it a commitment and responsibility, and it blows me away that I’ve been given the chance to love these two, Legend and Michael.
I’m literally overwhelmed when I think of the blessings of friendships in my life. As I often quote fro my favorite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, “no man is a failure who has friends.” I am humbled and honored with my heart full from relationships in my life, and though I’ve never “struck it rich” by this world’s standards, I often feel like George Bailey at the end of that movie when George’s brother says he’s “the richest man in town.”
I have so many memories, from my earliest friends in kindergarten all the way through my current workplace friends. I’m grateful for each one. Some friends have been constant, deep, ride or die friends while others have impacted me for a season of life. You’re all treasures and have made my life so much more than I can even fully comprehend.
I’ve spent my entire life as a part of one church or another, to varying degrees. One fact has never changed no matter where I was. The family of God at its best can be relied upon when you’re in need.
This weekend I got to be a part of helping meet the needs of others through our church Thanksgiving food collection. Then, on the flip side, a fellow Christ-follower friend helped us with a leaky pipe and our stuck garage door.
I’m so thankful for the family of God all around this world, and I want to say, this isn’t an exclusive club. All are welcome in this family. It’s simply a matter of turning towards God and choosing to walk towards God everyday.
In my life, God has answered prayers many times. Sometimes the answer was no and sometimes the answer took quite a while to be complete, but nevertheless, I’m thankful for God’s answers.
A lot of prayers were expressed for my firstborn over the years, as most parents would say about each of their children. Yet, there was a time for a couple years that our prayers for Taylor were very concerned with difficulties he faced that the enemy intended to use to tear him down and keep him from fulfilling his calling to teach. BUT GOD…
I’m so thankful for God’s working it all out, though it took a circuitous route for him to become a teacher. Taylor is thriving and making an impact in kid’s lives everyday, and I’m so very proud of him and grateful for God’s grace, mercy, and answers to prayers…
I’ve literally forgotten to write for multiple days now. I was mad at myself when I realized this fact this morning. However, in the great scheme of life, there’s no reason to beat myself up over this.
There have been times in my life when I did wrong and feeling guilt and sorrow for it was appropriate. God, in God’s mercy, has loved me through those times and forgave me. Where would I be without God’s mercy?
I’m grateful for those who have served in our military on behalf of all the rest of us. This includes my Dad, brother-in-law, and nephew included in this great group of men and women, along with numerous friends in my life past and present. My heart is full when I think of all that each of you have given.