If I were a hummingbird, would you still love me?
Twenty-four years ago, when Daniel was four years old and Christine and Jessica were six, I felt like I heard in my heart, “You’ll have another baby, and this baby will save your family.” I was a bit startled and even a little defensive. I thought we had a wonderful family and wasn’t sure what this meant. Just like Jesus’ mother, I “pondered these things in my heart,” and didn’t share it with anyone. Several months later we found out rather unexpectedly that I was expecting our fourth baby. In the fourth month of my pregnancy, I told Dave what I felt like the Lord had said to me several months before, and his response was similar to mine—There’s nothing wrong with our family! We led a very busy and fulfilling life in ministry. We loved each other very much. Our children were a delight to us. We had a nice house and two cars. What more could a family want or need?
Anna Joy was born May 22, 1988. Our very busy life took on a new focus—this precious baby. Christine, Jessica and Daniel would fuss about whose “turn” it was to hold her. They would run in the house after school yelling, “I get Anna! I get Anna!” The five older Grothes would sit for hours with our attention and our hearts focused on Anna Joy. One night as we were all on the floor playing with Anna, Dave looked at me and said, “Talk about saving our family!” God knew that we needed a little someone to jerk the slack out of us and bring us back to what was first priority—our family. Like a lot of people, we’ve never had a problem working diligently for the Lord, but we have had to remind ourselves that no one else can be Mom or Dad or Wife or Husband.
Now, back to Anna. Anna has always really loved her family. She tells us on a regular basis. She never wants to disappoint us. When she was a little toddler she would often say, “Mommy, are you glad to me?” She has always been a “snuggler,” and hugged and kissed her sissies and brother several times a day. Often, she will tear up and say, “I love my family so much.” We know God sent her to us as His “Ambassador Extraordinary” (Webster’s: An ambassador assigned to a specific mission) of love for our family.
When Anna was about 4 years old she asked me, “Mommy, if I were a hummingbird, would you still love me as much?” What a peculiar question for a little girl to ask. As I have thought about it, I think I understand what she was asking. In adult language we would probably ask, “Do you love me unconditionally?” “Will you always love me, no matter what?” It is so important that our family members know that the answer to those questions is yes—no matter what. I remember when Anna first heard the story about, “You’ll have another baby and this baby will save your family.” Her eyes filled with tears, and she gave me a big hug. She still loves to hear the story. She knows very specifically that God has had a purpose for her life even before she was born. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Do your children know you love them no matter what? Do they know God has had a plan for them even before they were formed in the womb? Let me encourage you to regularly tell your children how precious they are to you and to God. Remind them often (2 Peter 1:12, “I plan to keep on reminding you of these things–even though you already know them…”) of the plan of God for their life. Give your children a sense of purpose and destiny and they will press toward fulfilling their destiny.