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Miriam and William

Miriam and William

This post was written last year by my dear friend Miriam after she watched our children while my husband and I were on vacation. She is a continuous blessing to my children and to me.

~     ~     ~

“I picked this for you, Miriam!” A little four-and-a-half year-old marches proudly into the house from his typically lengthy jaunt to the outhouse, holding out a fresh-plucked dandelion in his chubby hand. His sweet face is lit up by a huge and loving smile. My heart completely melts. “Thank you, William! That’s so sweet of you,” I exclaim as I accept the gift and add it to the steadily growing bouquet of flowers, smiling widely in return. Indeed, How can one help but smile when one is so blessed by the love of a child?

The baby giggles happily as I rock him to and fro and sing his favourite bedtime song, “Jesus loves me,” with a smile on my face. We are having so much fun together, that I start a new song right after, which includes the phrase, “God is always there watching you.” The baby catches the phrase, squealing in delight,” God watching me? God watching me!” I assure him that God does indeed love him and watch over him (and Mommy and Daddy and his brothers and sisters, too!) as I settle him into his crib, tucking the blankets around him and saying a little prayer. Precious moments, these!

“The soul is healed by being with children.” So Russian novelist Dostoevsky said; and certainly many times when I have felt ‘low’ – even for no particularly good reason – my spirits have risen just by having the chance to play with and read or listen to one (or more) of my friends’ little ones. There is nothing like caring for children to bring us out of and beyond ourselves – I find, anyway. I am so very grateful to those friends who have shared not only themselves, but also their precious ‘littles’ with me over the years.

Today more than ever marriages and families are in dire need of help and encouragement, as the attack against them (on both a physical and spiritual plane) grows steadily more prevalent and powerful. I have discovered that just because one happens to be unmarried, it doesn’t mean he or she has no role to play in the lives of the families whom God sees fit to place in his or her life.

Indeed, I believe single persons (as well as other married ones) may have a powerful role in supporting the parents’ training and work with their children, not only by being an example to them by how they live their lives, but also by teaching and affirming the parents’ instructions both in word and deed. For no family is an island to themselves; each requires the positive examples and strong support of other outside influences as they grow to maturity, be those influencing factors from individuals or from families, at home, at church, in schools and daycares, from various teachers, or from counsellors at a summer camp.

Does recognizing (and seeking, as able, to walk in) this role mean I no longer desire to one day have a home filled with a husband and children of my own? Certainly not! I do, indeed; but more than this longing, I desire to glorify my Lord with my life, whatever my marital and familial status might be; and I perceive that if I cannot learn to be joyful, content, and productive in serving the Lord during this season of my life (which in His Providence may last all my life), I shall not discover greater joy in any other. “The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today” (Elbert Hubbard), “for while we are executing any work, we are preparing and qualifying ourselves to undertake another” (William Hazlatt).

As happy as my visits with my friends and their children may be, oftentimes I still drive away with tears stinging my eyes; but they are tears of joy rather than of sorrow. My arms may be yet empty, but my heart is, oh, so full!

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