He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord (Psalm 113:9 NIV)!

Dear Emory Wren,

Here we are, at the close of another year. How ever can it be? Your second Christmas already, preparing for another trip around the sun!

Your Papaw and I love you so much. What a surprise you were!

Lila was only several months when we learned of your coming, and right around your daddy’s birthday too. Such a celebration!


I’ll be honest. Our awareness of you came at a troubled time in our country–with much fighting and chaos.

Sometimes it made me wonder what kind of world we’d be able to offer you, and those are the sorts of thoughts that can keep one up at night. I try to turn my worry into prayers, and sometimes I succeed. Other times, however, I just fret–tossing and turning in the bed sheets until sleep finally comes, fitful though it often is.

And I can’t quite say things have gotten a whole lot better in our world either, though your presence here sure makes it more beautiful. There’s still fighting. There’s still chaos. And I don’t see an end to such any time soon, which is sad.

But, even so, I have hope, and you help me hold on, even though you don’t realize it, at least not yet.

Just your sweet smile sends worries running. And, well, your sass brings a sort of satisfaction, because it says, I’ll handle myself just fine, Mosie. 

And while I know it’ll take more than sheer determination, your spirit is strong, and your will is impressive. (Which makes me wonder, Does this come from your Daddy? Or maybe from his biological momma, your Marmee? Perhaps.)

One thing’s for certain. Of this I have no doubt. You have all you need, just as I do–just as all those who love you do–in our Savior, the One we sing about, you sort of humming along before you close your eyes and slip off to sleep.

Jesus loves me, this I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so.

(Anna Bartlett Warner, public domain)

It’s a simple song really, but those two truths–that Jesus loves you and that He’s strong–well… that kind of sums up the fact that one shouldn’t really worry. I mean, what more could we want?

  • To be loved by Him.
  • To know He’ll show Himself strong on our behalf.

Sometimes the uninhibited trust I see in your eyes, wee one, is all the lesson I need. Oh, to trust like you.

Like when I give you your bath. At first, you cry, your fear causing you to tremble. I hold you and speak gently to you, then I feel your little body relax to enjoy the water’s warmth.

And when it’s time for bed. Sometimes you fuss, so I sing to you. Jesus Loves Me, yes–but also Jesus Tender Shepherd, which Great Nana Mary sang to me when I was little.

And, like her, when the song’s through, I count to twenty, nice and slow. It’s your way of knowing you’ll soon be laid in your crib, place your head on your pillow, and snuggle in.

The way I feel your body relax as I hold you tight, all the fear and worry rushes right out of you with those words–

Jesus, tender Shepherd hear me,

Bless this Little Lamb tonight;

Through the darkness, be thou near her,

Keep her safe ’til morning light…

(Mary Duncan, public domain)

Well, that right there’s a lesson for Mosie–to trust my tender Shepherd too, just like you. Thank you for teaching me, even now, Wee One.

The other evening, Papaw and I had you and Lila Grace overnight. Being out of your normal routine, you did cry at bedtime, and it took a bit to get you to settle down. And then, hours later, I heard you again, crying from your crib upstairs.

So I went to you, lifted you up and held you close. We went to our bedroom–Papaw’s and mine–and I sat in the overstuffed chair that faces the fireplace. You did that little hiccup thing that happens when you’re trying to catch your breath, but your head rested upon my chest, and I felt your heartbeat slow.

In that moment, I wanted to snap a picture–capture the memory–but I couldn’t, so I promised to sear the image in my mind instead. It was so special, just us, snuggled in that chair.

Know why?

As I held you there, I remembered. Twenty-five years ago, almost to the day, I sat in a room made ready for a baby. A crib and dresser, as well as a blue recliner, were the pieces of furniture we’d placed within those four walls, with hope.

Honestly, it was much like an old movie called Field of Dreams. A famous line from it was like the prayer on my lips as I sat in the dark in that room…

If you build it, they will come.

Only, my petition was more a pleading question…

If we prepare it, will Baby come?

Oh, how I wanted it to be true. My heart ached with longing. And so I sat and prayed, looked out into the darkness, believing for a miracle.

And you know what? Only weeks later, I’m not kidding–we got a call. A baby boy was on his way! Know who that Baby was? Yep… your daddy!

It was our prayer answered, after many long years of waiting. Just as those words from the Psalms say–

He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

Oh, how I praised the Lord!

And I praised Him that night too–the night we snuggled in that chair. I thanked Him for how He brought your dad to us, and Uncle Jake and Aunt Allie too. For how He’s brought us your sister Lila and now you–each miracles for which we’ll never stop giving Him praise.

So good is our God!

So tender our Shepherd Jesus!

And He loves you–yes, He does! I’ll never stop reminding you, dear Emory Wren. It’s my earnest prayer, that you’ll always know the love of your heavenly Father and that, one day, you’ll invite Jesus to come live in your heart.

I’m here to help you, no matter what. And thank you for helping me too–for reminding me often of the love and provision and mercies and graces of our good God!

I pray the coming year is filled with blessings from above, and I look forward to many, many more moments where we can collect memories. I’ll store them up and treasure them in my heart, pull them out when I’m worried or afraid. They’ll be to me light in our dark and yet broken world, reminding me that God makes beautiful things.

You are one of those, precious one, and we love you so.

Dearest Tender Shepherd, thank you for the gift of Emory Wren, and thank you for her sister Lila Grace. Help me to live as they live–with wide-eyed wonder and joy, despite those things that threaten all around. Help me trust in You, that I might teach them, leading by example. Because the day will come when they, too, will need to be reminded. I want to be there to sing Your promises again. And I’ll always sing of Your goodness. Praise You, Lord Jesus!