Welcome, Noah!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
My entry today is about a different kind of construction. Yesterday morning, our son JJ and his beautiful and strong wife Kate welcomed their first born child, Noah Roger, into the world. Whenever a child is born, there are so many thoughts and emotions, but the contrast of this happy occasion with the recent flood  gives me much to ponder.
  • A year ago at this time, plans were being made for a beautiful candlelight ceremony in the Reformed Church in Middleburgh. Kate is from a large extended family whose farm and loving ways are very well know in our area. The reception would be in the church hall, and her mother, sisters, cousins, and aunts decorated it so beautifully we all thought we were in a very stylish banquet hall. On August 28, Irene brought rushing muddy water into that stately old building and scattered the pews like so many toothpicks before leaving mud everywhere. Here is a photo of JJ and Kate exchanging vows at the altar, and then the same spot on August 29th.
  • Both JJ and Kate’s childhood homes were invaded by floodwaters, and are now being repaired and rebuilt by God’s grace and lots of people He has sent to help. In the months nearing the birth, the joy of the anticipated birth was overshadowed by concerns for their parents’ homes and welfare. Kate and helpers cleaned and saved countless precious photographs and other keepsakes, and JJ helped demolish the walls of his own home and donned mask and other apparel for fighting mold in the basement.
  • They have known for a long time that Kate was carrying a boy, and they had decided on the name Noah. They know that their son will be raised in a generation that scoffs at God, and so wanted to give him a namesake who followed God despite what those around him thought or said. They did not share the name with anyone. Then came the flood. Kate wondered if it would seem like a sick joke to name him Noah now, after the flood, but JJ was more convinced than ever that it was appropriate. On Labor Day weekend, some of the many volunteers who traveled to come to our aid were Abe and three of his children. One was named Noah, and he was such a delightful person it just confirmed for them that this was the right name for their son. None of us knew before yesterday he would be named Noah, and JJ pointed me to this verse:Genesis 5:29:  He named him Noah and said “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.”This little boy is another way that God is restoring our community. Homes and businesses are being rebuilt, and this child will learn to love this valley as his parents and many relatives do.
  • Noah was born at the hospital where Christopher and JJ were born, and those events are so vivid in my memory that I can’t believe my babies are now daddies. How can it be that I am a grandmother? The changes were gradual, day by day, but looking back it seems to have happened so quickly. Yet, one of the many lessons I have learned from the flood is that life can be forever altered in a moment. I need to be walking close to God so He can guide me through those changes.
  • As I write this, our first born grandchild, Robert Joseph Meredith, is celebrating his third birthday. He needed heart surgery when he was born, and again this past January. Every day we thank God for His perfect timing and provision for giving the right doctors, hospitals, and resources so that today he is truly having a happy birthday.
  • First and foremost in my mind as we rebuild and remodel our home is to provide a place that is grandchild-friendly. I am envisioning spaces for play and storage of playthings as well as lots of room for family gatherings and sleepovers.  And we will tell our grandchildren of the many wonderful times their daddies had in this house, and have many more wonderful times in the new-and -improved house.

Jeremiah 29:11–For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.