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A few years ago, my husband, John, wrote a little book
called The Miracle in a Daddy's Hug. The title, he
explained, has a twofold meaning.
First, a child being held in a daddy's arms is a unique and
wonderful miracle of God's creation,” he wrote, “and not just
a miracle, but a miracle full of miracles still to be realized. So
much life, so much potential is still ahead! Second, a daddy's
embrace has miracle-working power. When a father wraps his
arms, his words, his love, and his faith around his son or
daughter, he opens the way for a miracle in both their lives.”1
How true! I have seen the miracles with my own eyes - the
God-given miracles that are our three beautiful daughters,
Angela, Danica, and Ashley, now fully grown with families of
their own; and the specific-instance miracles that have taken
place in each of their lives because their daddy consistently
showered them with affection, admiration, and love.
I'm so thankful for the miracle in a daddy's hug. As a
mother, however, I think it's important to point out that dads
don't have a monopoly on miracles. There's a miracle in a
mother's hug too!
After twenty-nine years of motherhood, I know. I've
seen miracleafter miracle take place as my mother's
heart has reached out to embrace my daughters in happy times
and sad times, easy times and difficult times.
How well I remember the day John and I left Vancouver
Grace Hospital in our dilapidated old Austin Mini, carrying
home our first newborn, Angela Sunshine. As I held Angela in
my arms, I felt absolutely overwhelmed. This child was entirely
dependent upon me. I was responsible for feeding, clothing,
and caring for her. I was responsible for her very life! And in
that moment, I gave my heart away forever. There was no
going back. I held little Angela, then Danica, then Ashley, in
my close embrace, and the transfer was made. And it was made
over and over again throughout their lives, whenever I held
them and hugged them and told them I loved them.
Now I have reached the most gratifying stage of my life. I
call it my “reward stage.” Proverbs 31:31 NKJV says, “Give her
of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the
gates.” Now I fully understand the why behind the what of
everything we do as mothers. The future is literally in our
hands. Everything that leaves our lives enters our futures. With
the wisdom of hindsight, I now know that every bedtime story
I read, every prayer I prayed, every tear I kissed away, every
encouraging word I spoke, every promise I kept, every memory
I made mattered. Every act of love, however insignificant it
seemed at the time, left an indelible imprint upon my children's
impressionable hearts. I now see the effect of all those hugs
given over all those years. I watch in wonder as my daughters
now do for their children some of the very same things I did for
them when they were young.
It is the most amazing thing to watch those whom you have
mothered become mothers and carry forth a legacy you helped
create! That wonderful fruit is our reward. But it comes later in
life. When we're young mothers, we can't see it; we wonder if
there will ever be a return on our unconditional investment in
our children's lives. I know I often worried about whether I was
doing a good job as a mom. Am I doing the right thing? I would
ask myself. Am I getting it right more often than I am messing up?
Am I making a difference at all? Does anyone appreciate or even
notice that I have changed ten diapers today and done four loads
of laundry and made three edible meals and managed to hold it
all together until bedtime? I had this gnawing fear that if my
kids messed up, it would be because of me. Every mother, I
think, has this fear to some degree.
Thankfully, on the journey of motherhood, I did at least
one thing right: I hugged my girls. I showed them lots of
affection. I loved them, encouraged them, mentored them,
befriended them. And in the process, I discovered the mercy
and grace of God. I was not a perfect mother - not even close.
None of us is. But God was faithful in every situation, even
when I failed. He assured me that as I invested everything I
had of my own natural ability, he would add his “super” to my
“natural.” And the results have been just that: supernatural!
Yes, I went through trying times with my children. Sometimes
I thought I wouldn't make it - or that they wouldn't. But
because quitting was not a viable option, I kept on venturing
ahead with a heart full of hope and faith. I kept on loving. I
kept on hugging. And to my amazement, God did miracles.
Like a daddy's hug, a mother's hug is made up of
several components. The first is the child or, as
John says, “that miracle full of miracles in seed form.”2 The
second is the mother, who has the God-given responsibility
and privilege to nurture and care for her miracle seed. Then
there are the nutrients within her “soil” that are necessary for
the seed's healthy growth: her touch, her presence, her encouragement,
her influence, her commitment, her example, her
faith, and her friendship.
As we take a closer look at each of these nutrients in the chapters
that follow, my prayer is that this book will produce miracles.
May each of us discover in a fresh way the paramount significance
of a mother's role in the lives of her children. And may we be
encouraged and inspired to be better mothers in the process!
Excerpted from The Miracle in a Mother's Hug by Helen Burns Copyright © 2004 by Helen Burns. Excerpted by permission.
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