Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fruitful

Everywhere I look, it seems, I see fruitfulness. All my friends and online acquaintances are near my age, most married now. It seems that shortly following the wedding, a baby comes, even among those who didn’t exactly plan to begin childbearing so soon. (This has happened so consistently among our circle of acquaintance that Elizabeth now believes that the wedding itself actually results in a baby.) And as nearly as I can tell, they are all happy. Babies are everywhere. This is a sweet time, the midst of my mothering years, with friends and family bringing forth children near in age to mine. Our gatherings and conversations revolve around pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, nurturing.

Yet I know that this is only a slice of my life as a whole. I was not a mother for many more years than I’ve been one, and one day (not too soon I hope) my days as a mother of babies will be at an end. Then, too, I hope my life will be as fruitful, but in a different way.

Right now nights run into days, hours and weeks during which I rock, nurse, soothe, wipe tears and noses, teach and train, hug and kiss, hold and snuggle, change diapers, calm fears, rub tender baby gums, dress, protect, manage, love. There’s no time for anything else. This fruitful time of raising little ones takes all my time, and it’s good. But “mother” is only part of who I am, and I don’t find my identity in bearing children. I find it in Jesus, who will one day have another kind of good work for me to do. Right now I don’t know what it is. Right now today’s assignments keep me close to home in mind and body. Yet, while I dread the eventual end of baby days, I believe that fruitfulness does not stop when procreation does.

I know this is true because I am first and foremost God’s child, one surrendered to Him, and I believe that His plan extends to all stages of life. I also know this is true because I see it true in the lives of others. And with that knowledge, I look forward to the future with hope, faithfully following my orders now, and waiting for orders that will come then. Those Christians who are (or have been) still faithful and fruitful in their later years inspire me that I, too, will bear fruit for Jesus when I’m their age. I’ll leave a legacy, not only of flesh and blood, but of Spirit, as I surrender to whatever God wants me to do in the future.

Fruitfulness. I see it now in physical birth. Later, I know that although childbearing won’t be as immediately central to our discussions, my friends and I will have conversations about this other kind of fruitfulness: whatever good work God has given us. It will be sweet. It will be rich. It will be abundant. He has good work for us to do, and the results will be, I trust, a plentiful harvest.

In light of that, here are a few older Christians who have inspired me that fruitfulness extends to all ages.

Corrie ten Boom
Brother Andrew
Denis and Margie Haack
Homer and Ruby Owen
Nancy Campbell
Elisabeth Elliot

2 comments:

My Boaz's Ruth said...

Could I get closer to you?

Charity Grace said...

:)