I showed up on at Church by myself, at my husband's urging. Honestly, I wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere alone and away from the craziness of our busy, booming house. But he rushed home so I could go. I felt obligated.
And there I sat. Sat attending a mass I know not much about, a mass honoring the life and dedication of the greatest mother who has lived, the mother of our Lord.
I fought chills the whole time I was there.
Chills because I felt like a "lost" mother sitting in a pew that night, desperate for some peace and encouragement and so looking for that knowing nod that only an older woman, one who has been there done that, can give. Longing for understanding.
This summer for me has been broad-casted with sadness in possibly accepting I will not carry another child. I've sat at my green, coastal desk many afternoons pouring my heart out to God asking that He heal or fulfill my desire to grow our blond brood.
I've considered the toll another pregnancy might take on my body and on my marriage. Adoption has been weighing on my mind and consuming my prayers.
A desire to open up our home to another life has been on my every waking thought.
God's temporary answer has come so much differently than I would have expected.
It's come in the faithful knock on our front door each afternoon during a time when I am in much need of reprieve from giving any more. Since early June, this 9 year old young girl, who lives down the street, has consistently wanted to be in and around our home. Typically, like yesterday, I would have just settled down with my journal and Bible in silence while the baby is napping and the girls are quarantined to their room for rest time - when I see her waltz up the driveway.
Truthfully, for weeks she was a bit of an unwelcome site.
But she keeps coming. Even after being turned away so many times.
Long, brown pony tail. Glasses. Friendly. Spunky. A little fifth grader who knocks persistently, who shows up at our brick door step just moments after we pull in the driveway because she's been watching out her window all morning for us to come home.
Her single Mom gone all day at work, too preoccupied to play when she arrives home. Her tired grandmother, hunched over and fighting disease pushes her out the door each day.
As the summer days have rolled by and we have gotten to know this child, her deep brown, puppy dog eyes have revealed the deep truth of her little soul.
She is no different than me.
Behind a confident smile and sunshine personality is a girl, on the fringe of becoming a teen, longing desperately to be seen. Longing for the look, hug, wink and warm instruction that only a woman can give.
A word only a mother can give.
In the beginning of June I dreaded her knock. Quite honestly, she was a disruption to my "precious" time with the Lord. But now mid-August, her request to come in and become an unplanned gift.
This lost child has become a glorious invitation. An answer to my burning question.
One Tuesday afternoon, when I was turning her away yet again, my Bible open on my desk and my journal filled with scribbling words asking the Lord for guidance, I could hear His whisper, "Jodi, you are telling me your heart's desire to mother more. She is your chance. Love her. Nurture her. Open up your home and your heart. Help mother this child."
She is here again today.
Right in our front lawn as I sneak away for a few minutes to share with you.
She has blossomed since we first met her. The tiniest way in which she has felt "seen" here has helped her open up.
Helping mother her has changed me too.
I now see her coming down our drive and instead of shirking behind our blinds I prepare my face for her presence.
When I see her coming, I see Christ coming.
When she knocks, I hear Him knocking.
And when she reaches out to me, I pull her close and catch her eye.
And tonight, when Lilli asked if Caitlin could stay for dinner, I didn't hush her with my usual NO! Instead, I sat an extra place and thanked God for the opportunity to feed a spiritually starving child.
So unknowingly needy for a mother's love, but even more hungry to know her Abba, her Heavenly Father and just how crazy He is about her.
"You want me here for dinner? Me?" she asks. "I've never been asked to dinner at anyone's house!"
"Yes we want YOU!" I tell her.
"You are special. Do you know that? Do you know why? Because you are the daughter of the King."
With no Father in sight, she lights up.
"I am?" she asks.
"Yes, my sweet child. You are."
"I am," she repeats. "I really am!"
We bow our heads before supper, prepare to open and read His precious WORD as we gather to eat.
A normal ritual, with a new face.
"Can you remind me Mrs. D?" she asks tonight. "Can you remind me how to say GRACE? I've only done it a few times before back when I was in kindergarten."
Lilli reaches out and shows her how to make the sign of the cross. She smiles and tries.
And GRACE feeds my heart and travels down into my soul.
Opportunities to mother. They are all around us. We might not be holding one to our very breast or growing a new life in our womb, but chances to mother are here, present. Little lives and big ones all around us who are needy for a woman's touch.
Desperate to be seen and desperate for the love of Christ.