I think it's a country song that's popularized the saying, "Life's not about the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away."
Sometimes those moments are kind of expected, like the first glimpse of a precious new life
My newest niece
She was worth driving in the snow for.
Often they come in the middle of the ordinary moments of life, like when stopping by to visit a friend who is under the weather.
Usually when I go visit Mandy I can expect that her son Sam is going to be thrilled to see me come in the door. If he's anywhere close by he'll come running with shouts of 'Cubbah Cubbah' (Brooke in Sam speak) and hold out his arms to be picked up so that he can give hugs and kisses.
Me 'helping' Sam rollerskate at a birthday party recently
It always brightens my day, as I'm sure it does for everyone else that he probably greets the exact same way, with the exception of the Cubbah part :)
But, tonight when I walked in the front door, I got a different greeting and it was a moment that took my breath away.
You see, about 2 years ago Mandy and Marty added Sam and Vaylo to their family. And, while Sam was this dynamic spitfire in an adorable little package that seemed to always be on the move, his brother's life had been a lot different. At 7 Vaylo didn't walk, didn't talk and he seemed pretty locked into his own little world.
For the past two years I've had the privilege of watching as this whole family has loved on Vaylo. I've watched him learn and grow and come out of his world and into ours more and more.
I remember how he didn't want to make eye contact, how the only way to really 'play' with him would be to let him lay his hand, palm side up in the palm of my hand and then clap his hand with my other one. I remember how if I tried to pick him up he would get upset and reach for the floor or try to throw himself backwards.
But his Mama and Daddy, his brothers and sisters they just loved on him just as he was. And, I started to notice that he would seek out interaction.
Vaylo pulling up on me one night when I watched the kids
Laughing at kisses from brother
Did I mention he makes some of the best faces?
With physical therapy and lots of support from a house full of brothers and sisters to play with he started taking steps.
Picture from when he first started walking with support a few months after coming home
Vaylo walking around unassisted this past Christmas
I had seen pictures like this one and a video of Vaylo walking by himself.
But, tonight when I walked in the door, Vaylo looked up from his toy on the floor and then not only did he stand up, by himself and walk to me, he held his arms up to me to be picked up...and he looked me in the eyes, engaged with me, babbled to me, pretty sure he said my name in there :)
And, from the outside looking in this moment must have seemed so ordinary. I played with him in the middle of chatting with my friend. Sam did eventually come in and give me hugs too. We talked about our upcoming trip to see our boy and another friend's adoption process. There were no bells and whistles going off, just ordinary life taking place.
After about half an hour I got in my car, ran some errands and headed home. But, I just kept smiling. I prayed with a heart overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. Gratitude for God's goodness and mercy in bringing this precious life into a loving family, gratitude to get to do life with the kind of people willing to say yes to the hard stuff.
I'm so thankful to get to witness the extraordinary, the moments that take my breath away and fill my heart with joy.
God doesn't promise us fairytales, He never promises that following Him will be easy.
But the harvest......