Friday, December 4, 2015

Carrying On

“Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me…
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
-Lyrics from the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness;
also see Lamentations 3:23 and Ephesians 1:18-20

So, sometimes our family is a spectacle.  Okay, quite often our family is a spectacle.  Whether it’s on the streets of New York, like this summer, at church, or during an attempt to all eat out as a family (and then we quickly remember this was NOT a good idea… and so we will stay home and order in until amnesia strikes again).  I actually quite like it and certainly adore our wild brood, but I digress.

Anyway, one such occurrence took place a few weeks ago at one of John’s doctor’s appointments.  In my pregnancy-nesting mode, I was packing in all of John’s new and routine doctor’s visits before the baby was to come.  And if you recall, baby Michael decided to come 4.5 weeks early, and, therefore, I was that crazy mom calling doctors’ offices prior to my somewhat emergency C-section to reschedule many of these appointments. 
     Me: “Umm, I’m in the hospital about to have our baby today, so I’m going to have to reschedule that appointment for John next week.” 
     Doctor’s secretary: “And why are you still on the phone with me?”

Fast-forward two months… John, Michael and I are in the waiting room of a new local neurologist’s office at one such rescheduled appointment. Still feeling it would be inappropriate (MEAN) to leave 3 children with a sitter, Michael accompanied John and me to this appointment.  Once called back, the walking spectaclecomprised of an almost 7 year old in an umbrella stroller being pushed by a Mommy wearing a nearly 2 month old strapped to her chest in a worn out Baby Bjornmade its way through the next door.

Then I see it.  The scale.  A scale for people who stand.  Not for my 35 pound, almost 7 year old who cannot sit independently.  I should have suspected it.  I should have weighed him beforehand, reported the number, and avoided this part of the appointment as I have done in the past.  Instead, I channeled my inner Wonder Woman (which all moms possess), attempted a confident smile, and told the nurse I would stand on the scale holding John (while still having the baby strapped to me) and then she could subtract my weight (plus the baby’s) to get John’s weight.  I’ve done this many times.  But this was the first time with another person strapped to me. I mustered all my strength (which isn’t much post-partum) and leaned over to pick John up out of his stroller, hoping it would work, hoping I wouldn’t hugely embarrass myself.  It did.  Super awkward, but we managed to get the weight and moved on to the next portion of the appointment.

But what made me stand still in my tracks was what the nurse said as the spectacle that was us, all 3 of us, stood on that scale. She remarked in her Jamaican accent, “I guess it’s true what they say: A mother can always carry her own.” 

This encouraged me tremendously.  This nurse was used by the Lord, and she probably didn’t even realize it.  Maybe I’ll get to thank her one day.  The Lord spoke through this woman to address an area I had been doubting, grieving in advance, even.  With my minimal post-partum might, I had not been feeling very “good” at lifting and transporting our sweet John.  While my mind quickly fled to the worst—that I soon wouldn’t be able to lift him at all, either because he is getting bigger or because I am getting weaker—my sweet (and much saner in that moment) husband reminded me that I have just had a baby, that I will regain my strength, and that I am capable of carrying my son.  A mother can always carry her own.

The greater lesson I am learning here is that the Lord will continue to provide— He will make a way, even if this looks differently as time passes or circumstances change.  Despite the unknowns of the future for John or for any of us, God promises to carry us… and that is how we are enabled to carry that which He has entrusted to us.   

We carry on as He carries us.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.”

-Isaiah 40:11

 Maddie and Poppy meet baby Michael for the first time in late September!  All the boys are thrilled!

Great-Granddaddy above and hand in hand below.  William Chester and Michael Chester.

We celebrated TEN years of marriage on October 22nd!  Baby got to accompany us on our date. :)


  1. Beautiful story! And I love all these pictures too -- what an incredible thing to have William Chester and Michael Chester together. Miss you and I promise I'll get over there soon!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Very encouraging.