Nothing says freedom like small town fourth of July. The buntings, the parades, and of course, the fireworks. Summer doesn’t feel like it’s actually begun in the Pacific North West until after the fourth. For our family, the fourth holds an extra bonus. Our Stella girl was born on the fourth of July in Sao Paulo, demonstrating her American heart despite her Brazilian citizenship. I’ve written before about Stella’s role in our family-she’s our sweet dessert baby-but perhaps I haven’t always realized or told the whole truth to myself about who she is and what she is to our family.
I should add here that I feel like I should end every sentence in this post with a question mark. I think I know what I feel, it’s what I believe at this moment, but I’m not a theologian (hi, Dad!), and while I can write the words, it’s obviously much more difficult to live the life. So no need to call me out-I’m calling myself out.
Way back when I wanted a third baby. I wanted her (who I was convinced would be a him) when it made absolutely no sense to add one more little thing to our family. We had our healthy children, a boy and a girl, and large families (anything more than 2 is outside the norm) don’t typically take on the expat lifestyle, and of course, being pregnant, giving birth, and caring for a baby in Portuguese was certainly outside of my comfort zone.
But my heart. My heart said one more. My body said one more.
And she came. And after five years I am beginning to wonder if her purpose was not just to help me relax into motherhood, enjoy the chaos, and stop doing and just be.
Perhaps she is the greatest evidence I have of His will, not mine. His plan, not mine. It made no sense and yet made all the sense.
Perhaps freedom comes when we have nothing more to give. Nothing more of our own to say. Perhaps freedom comes when we realize we don’t make all the plans and we certainly can’t be trusted to carry them out in His ways. Perhaps our freedom comes when we can embrace the greatest commandment out there-love. And that’s it. Nothing more and nothing less.
There’s not enough trying, effort, lists, or intention that can replace embracing this freedom. From exhaling and saying out loud:
Your will, not mine.
Your words, not mine.
Your heart, not mine.
Your life, not mine.
Perhaps our greatest freedom comes in stepping aside and just attempting to keep our words and actions in line with our charge to live out love.
My girl has brought our home many things. The her humor, her heart and her sass are bigger than we could have ever ordered and imagined. But the freedom? That’s got to be the greatest gift she’s brought to our family.