You rode the rapids from the protection of my womb into the hands of a stranger. With that final push, our hello began but giving up started.

Because each day is an offering.

We separated through hard labor and intense minutes. You came with vengeance, red-faced and angry. You threw out your arms protesting the journey and the arrival. Fierce with love I ached for you to come.

My arms formed into an empty boat waiting for you to lay into its curves. A nurse nestled you there. You quieted.

“Hello, baby girl,” I whispered because holy moments need hushed privacy. We were on a mountaintop together. We sized each other up, two women bound for eternity, mother and daughter. We became two. You are. I am.

We brought you to the front of the church in a little white dress, and the preacher prayed. We gave you to Jesus, because He loaned you to us, our treasure. Sometimes we forgot for a moment, when the days flew, and the hours seemed easy. We thought you were ours. But in the tired, hectic, dark spaces of life, we remembered.

Because each day is an offering.

You wobbled from my hands and listed to the left until the weight of your padded bottom landed you down smack, and I felt the tug of your birth again.

“Hello, toddler,” I sighed while I watched the full force of meltdown at my feet.

Sometimes I had very little to give. I felt like the poor woman who gave all she had in the temple offering.

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box,and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins,” -Luke 21:1-2

Handfuls of coins tossed into the boxes, metal against metal. Surely her small change was barely heard.

“And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” -Luke 21:3-4

Sometimes I felt like that woman.

I hurt with you from your friend’s betrayal.

I prayed for fevers to break and worried by your bedside.

I ran next to your bike, until with new independence you rode farther than my arms reached.

You finished your assignment in time because I helped too much.

When I could barely keep my own eyes open, I tucked you in so that I could hear all your excuses for not falling asleep.

Because each day is an offering.

“Hello, teenager,” I rolled my eyes when you rolled yours.

The umbilical cord stretched like a rubber band. I felt it sever and attach again. I kissed your scrapes and listened to your tears. I cheered like a crazy woman at the sidelines and cried when your heart broke.

I lost my temper. I felt inadequate. I got tired and worn.

Because each day is an offering.

I stepped back and looked at the person you were becoming. “Hello young lady.”

I recognized a person who belonged to Jesus, carved and chiseled to reflect His image. He saw my few coins and Dear One, He made them gold.

God knows. He sees every impoverished woman’s offering.

I search past your eyes, where you stand on the arm of your Daddy and pull his eyes to mine. We hold our gaze and cherish this moment.

Transparent netting drapes your face and mutes a radiant smile. “Hello, Bride,” I whisper.

Because each day is an offering.

Sylvia Schroeder

Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 13, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.