First off, I realize that it has been a very long time since I've blogged. The only excuse I have is that I have been very busy...between work, a new baby, and some worship leading gigs time is a commodity that I don't have any more. If you saw my desk in my office at home, you would easily come to the conclusion that I am busy (or lazy...a messy desk always points to either busy-ness or laziness...I'll let you decide).
At any rate, here it is at 5:19am, and I am up getting ready to head to Evergreen Ministries in Hudsonville to lead worship for the second week in a row. However, I don't really need to leave my house until 6:45. The reason I am up, however, weighs about 8 lbs. and is 7 weeks old today and goes by the name of Ella. See, Heidi and I have this arrangement where she gets up during the week to feed Ella in the middle of the night since I have to work all week. Then, on the weekends I give Heidi a break from getting up by taking over on Friday and Saturday nights. For the first several weeks, this was all fine and dandy...I would get up, feed Ella, burp her, kiss her, and she would fall right back asleep. The last couple of weeks however, she has decided to stay up for roughly two hours. During said two hours, I try everything to get her to fall back to sleep...I rock her, I hold her in 83 different positions, I put her in her car seat and rock that, I walk around the house with her in my arms, and I pray. In fact, I pray a lot...not just that by some miracle she might shut her eyes and sleep until noon, but I pray FOR her. I think I have spent more time praying over that little girl than I have anyone else during my entire life. And then, what's amazing is that my prayers change into sweet times with God...where he and I are talking with each other. It's almost as if he wants me up during these early hours so makes it impossible for me to go back to sleep by way of a cute little 7 week old.
So, I hope that my wife got some good rest tonight because it is now 5:30am, and I'm going to have just enough time to hop in the shower and get ready to go lead worship. I have been up since 3:15am, and a nap will not come until 1:00pm at the earliest. I'm not complaining, though. We've spent the last three plus years asking God for a child, and every minute that I am awake with her in the wee hours of the night, I drink it in. Every time I hear her cry, I drink it in. Every time I feed her, I drink it in. And, when she looks at me and smiles a big smile, I definitely drink it in. And when she's in my arms and her eyes roll back in her head and she starts to sleep, I drink it in and realize that way too soon 8 lbs of baby become 18 lbs...28 lbs...108 lbs. 7 weeks become 7 years and 17 years and 27 years. And, though she may still welcome my arms around her...and though she may still snuggle up with me down the road when she's grown, I will never have this night again. Drink it in, Jake, drink it in.
And now, I've gone and made myself cry. Thank you Lord for meeting with me and Ella this morning. May my arms never take the place of yours for little Ella. May she find you in me always, and may she always look to you as her God, as her Savior, as her Lord, and as her friend.