Well, for those of you wondering what we've up to the past week, I must say it's been rather eventful. Yesterday afternoon 16 year old Tiffany and her newborn daughter Ava came to live with us in this lovely little 3 bedroom bungalow. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday building furniture and moving bedrooms. Poor John and David have been relegated to the basement w/the rest of the boys and walked around like little lost puppies for awhile wondering what happened to their comfortable little world upstairs.
I was driving from one place to another today and meditating on what it has meant for our family to take in a young lady and her baby who had nowhere else to go. I was particularly musing on its effect on the children and thinking that our children truly know what it means to sacrifice for a greater good. I believe giving up some personal space or position in family - or whatever - will help them contemplate Christ's tremendous sacrifice for them as they get older.
The more I thought about this, I began to cry. The tears ran down my face and I was overwhelmed with my sense of unworthiness. How unworthy we are to receive the blessing of taking in these two little sparrows! How God must lavish His love upon us to allow us to play a part in His plan. I don't know why He chose us to bless. It seems there wasn't much more room in this inn and yet He placed this precious baby here. He blessed our humble stable with a mighty gift of Love.
How appropriate that this little one should be named after two such notables from the bible - Eve and St. Gabriel. Eve, mother of all and St. Gabriel the archangel who came to Mary to announce the coming of the Spirit to stir within Mary's womb. Mary, who was young , alone and brave enough to say yes to the life within her - just as little Ava Gabrielle's mother has done.
I am in awe of God's graces poured out upon us. I am in awe and I often think of those things in my life which shaped my character and allowed me as an adult to say a million yes's to things which seem absurd to the world. Eight children and still counting?! I say Yes, Lord! Burn the house and keep persevering? I say Yes Lord! Build the house even bigger to accommodate more of the Lord's orphans? I say Yes, Lord!! From what strength does this still small yes come? From the strength of Christ found in my own mother's million little yes's. I grew up in a home full of Mom's "3 Dollar Bills" - the folks who just didn't "fit". We were the overnight stay for the stray seminarian, our Christmas days always included the most recent widow, the friend whose family had suddenly become inaccessible, the one or two who had nowhere to go and on the way home we were sure to drop off something to the refugee family living down the street or the one-armed man who spent his days leaning against the parking meter and greeting the town. I have untold such memories of kindnesses done out of love for Christ and love for neighbor.
And now, today, I am humbled to realize that my own children are learning this lesson as well. God has seen fit in all of our unworthiness to pass on this rich spiritual heritage to another generation. As I look into it deeper, I pray that not a generation will pass without this caring for the lost, the forsaken, the forlorn, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the sick. Thanks, Mom. And, Mom, if you ever think we've gone in way over our heads this time...just remember that you did this to me!!