The all too brief stillness has given way to restlessness. I immediately knew it felt different from the intensity of the past few months, a different kind of urgency, but I didn't understand why right away. I couldn't explain it.
Reaching out to a few close friends, I began to recognize the familiar in the unfamiliar... this restlessness, this new sensation, was one I had felt before, long ago.
It was the urge to do something, to mark the time in significant ways, the urge to move forward in preparation.
An urge that animals and humans have by instinct to prepare a home for the upcoming arrival of their newborn(s).
It left me dumbfounded.
The only experience I had as a mother was in preparing for newborns, babies, and for the most part, I had the advantage of knowing when the time would come, what I would need, and how to prepare.
How do you prepare for a child who won't be needing a crib or a car seat, a child whose size and age you won't know until the day comes, a child whose homecoming is so... nebulous?
When I was pregnant with Jillian, I began to put together the nursery with an urgency in mid-July. She wasn't due until late October... but my spirit knew, my heart knew.
Jillian was born five weeks earlier than her anticipated due date.
Nesting is a preparation for what's to come. I think of a nest, and I think of home, comfort, protection, nurturing, love.
Nesting also brings to mind sparrows and God's promise that we are more valuable to Him than these, and yet His eyes are on the sparrow at all times, and when sparrows made nests in the temple, they weren't turned away. God welcomed them into His presence. So how much more than this must God welcome us into His presence?
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God. (Psalm 84:3)
What was significant about sparrows building nests in the temple? The sparrows were only doing what they did by nature; preparing a nest, laying eggs, taking care of the eggs, raising her babies, singing in worship... but all of this was done in the presence of God. Near the altar of the Lord Almighty.
Just as we long to welcome this child into our presence and into our family, God longs to draw us into His presence and His family. He too is nesting. He wants us Home, and as such, He is always preparing our hearts for our homecoming and preparing a place for us in His Heavenly Home.
What a beautiful picture of God the Father, restlessly nesting to bring His adopted children home.
While our hearts are being prepared, both for our homecoming and for our child's homecoming, I find comfort in trusting my God-given instincts. Nesting comes near the impending arrival, at a time when the long wait bears fruit.
She'll be home soon.
Soon, the days that seemed like thousands will turn into a thousand that seems like one.
We are choosing to wait until she's home to completely makeover the room that she and Jillian will share. This will give her ownership and help her feel included, and it will be a bonding experience all around. We're choosing to wait until she's home to purchase clothes, we don't know yet what she'll need or what she'd prefer, and the fun of shopping together will be yet another positive experience.
There is little else to do.
We certainly won't be needing these for a five year old...
There is something she'll need, though, something so important that it is the very first thing I chose to purchase for her. This one-size-fits-all treasure will help us in this journey, bring comfort through the transition, and it will do what the sparrows of the temple did... it will prepare a nest close to His altar, close to His presence, preparing our hearts for our ultimate Homecoming.
Just like her big sister's.
As several close friends suggested, I'll also begin to write letters to her regularly until we welcome her home, a way to journal my heart as the day approaches. Someday, I will give those to her to let her know how much we longed for her and loved her, long before she came home to us.
In similar ways, God provided letters to us in His gift of the Bible, showing us that He longed for us and loved us, long before we come Home to Him.