She’s Her Mama’s Baby

“She’s you,” he said.

The house was quiet and I was free to breathe and to let him hold the vulnerable version of me and the snowball of my questions that had accumulated between 7am and dark.

“It hasn’t been that long, has it?” His memory sharper than mine in this area.

I always knew I was his training grounds for her — but I just didn’t think God had used me to train me for her. Nate held me when I lashed out at him and wasn’t threatened by what felt like a deluge of emotions when our first year of marriage made it safe enough for me to cry. He locked the car doors when I wanted to run and said “I forgive you” with more than just his words, well beyond my quota. He showed me love, unrelenting, before I had a language for it.

Nate cupped my early to mid-twenties in his hands and found the tiny shoots in that dirt.

The same thing he’s doing with her.

The incarnate God is forever making Himself tangible for those of us mystified by this kind of love.

We once feared the havoc adoption might wreak in our home. And then we started to see that their physical fatherlessness is not all that different from our own spiritual independence. I can no longer fear what I see in them when I have hope for my own regeneration.

A morphed form of the orphan crisis is undercover here in our cushioned western world. It’s tucked, deep, disguised among believers and non-believers, alike. It fills church pews and coffee shops and Bible studies and social gatherings. It’s the ache that wants to cry “Abba, Father,” but doesn’t know the Father as Abba-Daddy


Baby

So as we celebrated her ninth birthday I looked into almond eyes, so different than mine, but saw my little girl who is just like her mama. Though we have legs that run hard, we’ve been out-run. Both of us. And I’m learning new layers of His creative love by the way she is responding to it.

Though I’m biased, I believe that the weak-ones over whom His pursuit is most-obviously needed tend to have the best life stories.

Friends, the transformation in this little girl from last year until this year (and from last week, until this week!) tells the story: we come alive under our Daddy’s love.

And as the Hagerty tradition goes, here is her birthday letter — one her eyes won’t see until she’s nearly out from under our fold.

Lily-pie,

Just when I think your life-portfolio for a nine year-old couldn’t get any bigger, you surprise me. Today — in one day — you went from tucking cash in an envelope for someone in need, to trying your culinary hand at the family’s favorite Saturday breakfast, to pinning up your doll’s hair until it cascaded all down in curls, to creating big-flowered headbands for a friend. And you ended it by filling our hushed home with your fingers brushing keys and your lips singing worship. Many things I’m not so sure I could do and most-all that you taught yourself. My nine year-old is quite the renaissance girl. 

But even underneath all those exterior demonstrations of beauty, lies a treasure-trove we’ve only just begun to open. We see the hunger in you that your mouth can’t yet voice. Child, you live determinedly. For Him.

Lily Joy Hagerty, you do the hard things. You say “yes” to Him when it hurts — in your, now, nine year-old sort of way. You get back up after a fall. You are training your heart to receive, when all of your life up until now may have given you reason not to. There are decades behind your eyes, yet you still curl up with your Addy and choose the safety of childhood.

You, me and a cup of tea, we make for great Saturday afternoon fun. And your Daddy and I finally have another with whom we can roll eyes and laugh at those things the flash-pot attention spans of littles don’t catch.

Your humor lights us up. And so do your giggles. Last week you wrote in your gratitude journal: “I am grateful that I do school at home. I am grateful that I have a Mommy and Daddy who are guffie.” Though the latter reveals holes in the former, I’ll take your appreciation for our “guffie”-fun over perfect-phonics any day. 

My Lily you are bright.

A bright light.

Little one, my little one, you are teaching me with your life about the strength of His love.

Happy Day of your birth it was for Him and for me.

I am crazy about you,

Mommy

DSC_3188

DSC_3145

 

First photo compliments of Mandie Joy.

View All Posts

Recent Blog Posts

The Illusion of Fame

My sister was on homecoming court two years in a row. For many, that means nothing, but when you grow up in middle America (where the best of life happens under the Friday night lights), homecoming court makes celebrities out of seventeen year-olds. I was in the seventh grade then. And I knew I wanted to follow her. This was…
Continue

Hidden {… but not unseen}

Sometimes you need to live a moment three, or four … or seven times, before you see that it’s purposed. We were 23 minutes late for the party that was only planned to last for two hours. I know, because I counted each minute that passed and had eyes only for the digital clock in my car at every single…
Continue

Why the Times You Feel Unseen by the World May be the Best Times of Your Life

“He said He loves me, Mommy,” my daughter Hope told me as I tucked her in, her words whispered with her hand to her mouth and cupped around my ear. Apparently, it was a secret. And I remembered her first dance recital, not long after we’d adopted her. She had practiced her routine in and out of class for a…
Continue

At 40, What I Would Say to My Twenty Year-Old Self

My diploma was still in an unopened manilla envelope on my apartment desk when I stood in front of a crowd of 300 sets of smiling eyes to tell them about what I’d committed to doing for the rest of my life. Though I didn’t say it in so many words, at twenty-two I knew I wanted to change the…
Continue

Jesus Calls You Beautiful

When I heard from Dee Brestin that she was writing a book about His love for us as demonstrated in the Song of Songs I thought: “I have to get my hands on this book.” And it did not disappoint. Several times as I read the pages of her book it was as if He was near enough for me to…
Continue