"Tell us again!" they say.
"Tell us about when we were born," my twins plead. Tell us the story of this brother and that brother. With a giggle she says it sweetly and I always love to hear it,
"Tell us about when Micah was born. I love the part where you say let's go to the store."
She's right. When we got to town, I didn't want to arrive at the hospital too early and have to spend a lot of time there waiting. Why not Walmart? I paced the aisles and occasionally leaned on a rack to get through the pressing down of life coming. I laugh thinking of the ridiculousness of it all and how close we cut it!
The girls beg for the stories of the beginning of their lives and those of their brothers. They all love to hear of those joy filled, albeit goofy days. Who doesn't want to hear the stories of blessing? I retell the stories often. They hang on every word, ask the same questions every time, and we all laugh at the same parts each time.
We tell another story in our home too.
A story that you may not think sounds as sweet. A story of heartbreak and learning to surrender all to God and trust Him. This story and the stories of the arrivals of each of our children have something in common. They both describe God's blessing.
Sometimes they say it, but without the giggles and the big smiles. They say it with the same pleading. "Tell us again." How did he die? What happened? Why did you and Dad do this or that? Why didn't you do this or that?
The answers do not always flow from the tongue as easily as telling the silly details of the arrival of babies.
This story is not as simple to tell. It is important to tell though. They must always hear over and over that, "both good and adversity come from the hand of the Most High." (Lamentations 3:38) It needs to echo through our home that the poor in spirit are blessed (Matt 5:3). What brings you to a place of brokenness and recognizing your total dependence on God is a blessing. There is no better place to find yourself and I want my kids to know this lesson well.
So I tell the story over and again.
I want them to know God's faithfulness is great and His mercies are new every morning even in the midst of the deepest valleys (Lamentations 3:22). I want them to know that God promises to be with them in deep waters and raging fires (Isaiah 43:2). He is near the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) needs to be written on their hearts. They will know God in a way they never have before when they come broken before Him, needing Him like we really do every day but do not always recognize. There is no other blessing that compares.
So I tell them of our loss.
Of their loss, because it is their story too.
In telling them, I am teaching them that God's blessings do not always look the way we would expect them to but they all have something in common. They are all for the glory of God, and they are all working for the good of making us more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
They will say it this weekend in one way or another, "Tell us again."
Birthdays bring questions like that when the birthday boy is not there to hug and play with. Ten years has gone by and they will ask the questions of what, and why, and what is to come.
We will do what we always do, we will tell them again and we will pray that it will be more than a story but it will be part of their story. We will pray that as God writes the story of each of their lives He will imprint their hearts with the lessons of His faithfulness, and goodness, and what blessings look like.
Our children need to hear the fun and silly stories. They also need to hear the stories that are hard to tell but illustrate the richness of deep relationship with God no matter the pain.
Tell them again.