St. Therese of Lisieux once said, “Only love can enlarge my heart”,
or was that the Grinch?
When I was pregnant with our second child, I wondered how I could love another child as much as our first born. I agonized over how my heart could ever have room to love as deeply as I loved the delightful little girl who made us first-time parents. I asked questions like, how could we give them both an equal part of ourselves? How will our family dynamics change when we add another person? Who will we be when we are no longer 3 and we become 4?
Maybe most parents ask themselves these questions with child number 2. But by the time I felt the first kick the questions were over. We were in love as soon as we met him. How could we have even wondered? The next three pregnancies it never even came to mind. We knew these children were a gift, would enlarge our hearts and would change us forever!
Some of those same questions ran through our minds as our children chose their mates. How will we love this new person? How will they change our family dynamic? How will this marriage affect our relationships? We fell in love with each of them during the dating and courtship time. They became family.
Four years ago, our daughter was in a fatal car accident and left behind her husband and two children. In an instant, they became a family of 3. I wondered how they would ever be whole again. I prayed daily that God would bring someone into their lives as a sign of God’s love.
After four years of prayers from people all over the globe and an incredibly discerning son-in-law, April came into their lives and ours. I didn’t ask if we would have enough room in our heart this time because I’ve seen what God can do. I did question if she could have enough love for us… the other family.
I watched her with my son-in-law and his children and saw her selfless love. I observed her passion for God and His people, especially the least of these. I saw her strength and casual comfort in her own skin. And yes, she never once looked at us as “the other family” or even “the other family once removed”!
She is not intimidated by the legacy of Bethany. She doesn’t see herself as second but as a beautiful continuation of God’s covenant of love. She is filled with grace and beauty that can only come from above. She is family. Next week they will walk down the aisle and become a family of four. She is God’s benediction!
30 years ago, I wondered if my heart could stretch large enough to include one more in our tiny family of three and love took that question away.
4 years ago I agonized about how God could bring healing to another tiny family of three and love became the answer.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.