When the automatic hospital doors slid open and I walked inside it was as if I'd walked into another world. No news from the outside world seemed to penetrate the hospital walls. The summer-like record breaking temperatures outdoors didn't matter. Every role I'm labeled by except for "Mama" and "Nana" fell away. I knew two things. My daughter had preclampsia. My grandson was going to be born over five weeks early.
It was two weeks ago tomorrow that I walked through the doors of that hospital. I watched as my daughter labored for twenty four hours, then frustratingly ended up having to have a caesarean. I saw my tiny but perfect grandson fresh from the safety of his mama's womb. I saw my son-in-law rejoice in the birth of his son and grieve the death of his father all in the same week. I saw my daughter accept the fact that her husband had to fly across the country and bury his father, while she stayed behind with her son. I saw my two oldest grandkids grieve the death of their papa, while trying to adjust to having a new baby brother and having their mama in the hospital and their daddy far away Finally, I drove my daughter and her new son home from the hospital and saw them and my son-in-law and their two oldest children all together again in their own home.
Through all of these highs and lows, these blessings and difficulties, an army of people were praying. Some of them are knit together with us by blood, some of them close friends and church family, some of them we've never laid eyes on face to face, known only to us through social media.
Love and encouragement poured in through texts and Facebook messages and blog comments and phone calls and cards sent the old-fashioned way. Church family filled my daughter's freezer with meals and men from the church mowed their grass and weeded their flowerbeds. A friend cleaned their house and caught up on their laundry and organized things that were left undone when my daughter gave birth with an unfinished list of "things to do before the baby is born".
This is what encouragement looks like. It's prayer support and encouraging notes and rolling up your sleeves to do someone else's laundry while, at home, your own laundry basket is full to overflowing. It's cooking an extra lasagna for someone else's freezer and offering to pick their kids up from school or take them to baseball practice. It's rejoicing with those who are rejoicing and mourning with those who mourn and choosing to focus on someone else and what they're going through instead of on yourself. It's not always convenient and it's not always acknowledged, but it is always life giving. God created us to be a channel of His love and if there's no practical way that we're doing that then we're just a stagnant pond instead of a river of living water.
Our family has been the recipients of an abundance of encouragement these past two weeks. We are all so very grateful. At the same time, I'm keenly aware that to whom much is given, much is required. I want to be aware and alert and willing to do the same for someone else.
Also joining THOUGHT PROVOKING THURSDAYS
at 3-D Lessons for Life
And happily linking with Lisha Epperson "Give Me Grace"