Sometimes thoughts blossom in my head and I feel the need to write them down. This one developed one night as I put Mary Hannah to bed.
I held Mary Hannah tonight as I rocked her to sleep. She was gently sucking down her bottle and staring intently at the ceiling fan. As she drifted off, I rocked her, I talked to her and I sang to her. Whispering, careful not to wake her, I told her about her name.
She is named "Mary" because of a family tradition from Amelia's side. She is named "Hannah" after a biblical figure. In the Bible, Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel. In her old age, she was barren and she prayed every day that God would give her a child. She promised to dedicate her child to the Lord, and God blessed her with Samuel. Mary Hannah was the answer to our prayers.
We also liked the name "Mary Hannah" because of a corny joke. At the beginning of the pregnancy, we pored over huge lists of baby names. When we came across "Hannah", we put it with "Mary" and somehow found ourselves singing the little nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with the words, "Mary Hannah, Little Lamb". Corny? Yes, but we liked it just the same.
So, I sat there, rocking my little lamb. Softly, I whispered, "I love you." Softly, I whispered, "Jesus loves you, too." I began to explain that Jesus loved her so much that He died on the cross for her.... her what? Her sins? She is sinless. Literally, as well as figuratively, she is a sinless little lamb. My baby has yet to willfully disobey her Father in Heaven. But my heart broke when I realized that as she grew, she would fall into the pattern of this world and sin. No matter how much I love her and teach her and try to shield her, she will have to struggle with temptation and sin as she grows older.
I held her closer.
For days now, we have been encouraging her to stand and walk... to grow... we have enjoyed watching her stand, then step once... twice... and then collapse amid giggles and smiles. With every step, she is growing up. But where will these steps lead her?
"Oh, God," I prayed, "Help us to teach
her about your love. Help her steps to always lead toward you."
I looked down and realized that I had been granted a glimpse into God's heart. What I saw lying in my arms was a perfect, sinless little lamb. I imagined what tremendous love God must have for each of His children as He looks on them. It is the love of a father for his baby, but magnified to cosmic proportions. I imagined how His heart swelled as He looked down on His perfect, sinless little lamb as Jesus lay in a manger. I imagined how His heart broke as He looked down on His perfect, sinless little lamb as Jesus walked up a hill with a cross on his back. On that day, God wept for His perfect, sinless little lamb. My love for my daughter is only a drop in the ocean of love that God has for all His little lambs, all His lost sheep.
As I lay Mary Hannah in her bed, I sang
one last song:
Day by Day
You reveal your love to me
Cradled in your arms I am
A precious lamb
A diamond in your eyes
As I kissed her smooth baby cheek, I whispered, "Good night, sweet baby. Your daddy loves you. Go to sleep and I'll be right back to get you in the morning."