Red Cardigan has a thoughtful post on the practice of offering up sacrifices for each other. Very timely for Lent, of course. Her metaphor really touched my mother’s heart. I’m still working on understanding what it means to offer up a sacrifice for someone else. Recently I’ve found myself thinking on the topic quite often.

God doesn’t need us to offer things up for each other. He can do everything, without our help. In many ways, our clumsy, well-meaning actions are like those of the child who accidentally empties a dishwasher full of dirty dishes—we leave Him with more work to do, when all is said and done. But I think, loving Father that He is, that He delights in our efforts to grasp the corner of our neighbors’ crosses, not because our help is efficacious on its own, but because He sees that we are trying, however clumsily or weakly or misguidedly, to be like Him.

And because we are pleasing Him, we somehow find that our own crosses have gotten a little lighter; that as we reach out to help those around us, to shoulder some of their burdens and pray for some of their trials and listen to some of their fears and calm some of their worries and wipe away some of their tears, He is pouring out His grace upon the neighbor we our helping and on us, in a measure out of all proportion to our efforts.

As I watch Bella learning to practice small acts of charity toward her baby sister, I begin to understand more and more.

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  • Congratulations!! Charlotte is right, better be quick at changing diapers – the first night we were home from the hospital with our baby boy, Daddy got “rained out”, and he was on the opposite side of the room!
    I think it’s natural to be a bit nervous, Melanie – at least, I was too. When I got pregnant the first time, I said I hoped it would be a girl because I felt I knew what to do with a girl, having been one… But we had a boy first, and I must say that I quickly forgot my fears, if anything because at the beginning baby boys and baby girls do and need exactly the same things. And as my husband used to say to reassure me about educating boys: that’s why we have daddys!
    The one thing I’m hating right now is potty training our boy… but then again, I think I hate potty training period.
    If Benedict Joseph knew he’s already so much talked about all over the internet! lol

  • You’ll be fine! We too had a boy first. But as GB said, in the beginning most of what you have to do for them is the same! (Yes, keep an extra cloth or something handy during diaper changes.)
    The astounding thing is how hard-wired we are in some ways. Just as Bella was “Mama” to her babies young, Benedict may very well lean toward trucks. Even while we just had “generic” baby/toddler toys, ds leaned toward trucks and (about the same age) later dd leaned toward stuffed animals and dolls. Even when you don’t start with the “stereotype,” there is something gender in us from very young.
    Congratulations Melanie (and Dom)!

  • Oh yeah! You can totally see those hard wired gender differences once you have one of each. It really is fun to watch. My oldest daughter babbled like crazy like she was already a teenager talking on the phone to all of her little friends and my oldest son knew how to make sound effects for every toy that he had; cars, trucks, helicopters, lasers. He didn’t learn it, he just knew it!

  • Long-time reader coming out of lurkdom to say congrats on your baby boy!  Not sure how I found your blog but I enjoy reading it – we also have two girls and now a baby boy.  Its amazing how much my girls love to “mother” (and sometimes smother!) our baby Will, I’m sure your girls will also have a lot of fun with baby Benedict. Oh and he’s 6.5 mos old and I haven’t been rained on yet!  But after having girls, I was a little nervous and always take the precaution of strategically placing a washcloth or a “pee-pee teepee” that someone made for us (flannel cone).

  • Congrats! Great name! We’d have gone that way if there weren’t a “Ben” among the cousins. So, Micah is Micah Benedict Joseph. My husband has been calling him BJ, which is cute.

  • Oh boy. Oh BOY! The biggest thing you will have to get use to is when changing his diaper, (as my husband says) make sure you cover home plate or you might get rained out! Congratulations! I love sonograms!!!

  • Hurray!  I have to tell you, I love having a boy after the girls.  He’s the sweetest little guy and so good-natured.  I hope your fellow is the same.

    Also, I only remember him spraying once or twice. Maybe we learned quickly, or maybe we were fortified with the memories of the daughter who could blast poop up to six feet. 

    I love having a boy!

  • Congratulations! I LOVE the name you chose (my baby boy is William Joseph, and Benedict is one of my favorite names!).

  • I haven’t commented before, but have been reading for a long time.  Congratulation on your new son!  May the rest of your pregnancy be healthy and happy.  A coincidence ~ my eldest son is named Benedict Joseph (he is 16 years old).  And the baby I am about to have any old time will be named Melanie. 

    Again, blessings to you and your family!