The Nanny of Meadville

In a literal sense, I have never given birth. I cannot identify with the excruciating pains that I have watched laboring women push through – desperate determination etched on their clenched faces. When I “visit the midwife” I have always been at the other end of the bed, coaching.IMG_7300

It is partaking in glory to watch a new life slide into the world, to lift a naked baby into the trembling arms of the powerful woman who just gave birth to a destiny. My lips have quivered many times with joy, watching that mother glow like an angel, the father proudly doting.
And after all that tearing pain and the gruesome process of giving birth, my heart has always jealously longed to be on the other side of the delivery. I want to do that – all that bloody, wrenching mess – because I’ve seen the wonder of the gift. And when woman give birth, they are born all over themselves. I want to experience the mother’s rebirth.

IMG_7301 IMG_7302IMG_7249IMG_7247IMG_7246IMG_7273IMG_7267 IMG_7268But God has shut my womb and He has said no.

So I go shopping and buy adorable dresses and sun hats and bloomers for my friends’ little girls. I scout for digger books and dump trucks at yard sales and thrift stores. I help plan baby showers, I rejoice in their news, and I baby sit as though I really was the “nanny of Meadville” as Rachel says.

IMG_7243IMG_7312My heart has labored long for your children. I have prayed for them and my soul has wrestled with God over their lives. When I change their diapers and I coo at Jazzy-girl, tickle Gia, or talk to your toddler sons about trucks and diggers, my heart breathes heavily for them, laboring. Longing that they will grow up to know, to love, and to worship God.

When I hold or cuddle your child, I endeavor to love him as though he was my own. I pray that the short spans of time they toddle and run through my house, or snuggle sleepily on my couch, I pray that the life I pour out would be blessing poured into them.

I wrestle with my humanity, sometimes too quick to snap and too slow to bless, too selfish to listen, too busy to stop, and I ask Him earnestly to live in me and through my messiness.

I am not sure I always do the best job with your littles, but if you have welcomed me to be part of your mothering in a small way as a babysitter, you have opened a world to me that I might otherwise never experience. You have allowed me to feel, though in part, the joys of giving birth to mother love.

Thank-you Joe & Leah, Phil & Laura, Roman & Carrie, Jim & Lisa, and Les & Andrea.


8 thoughts on “The Nanny of Meadville

  1. This is beautiful Renee (as I shed tears), Never give up hope, you are too wonderful of a person not to receive the gift you long for.

  2. Every town needs a nanny like you! I think my name should be added to the parent’s list, not because I or my kids are so important, but because you’ve babysat them numerous times for me………and when you babysit my tribe you’re not just saying ‘yes’ to one little cherub, but an entire angel choir. 🙂
    Your post is full of beauty and agony….all smeared together.
    And I’m loving your photography!!!!

  3. Renee~ I always enjoy your posts, but this might be my favorite ever. As a lover of children, daycare/preschool teacher and “surrogate aunt,” my heart resonates deeply with your words of longing. Praise Jesus Who fills us in our emptiness. It is such a gift to cuddle, kiss, help to teach, clean up after, and labor over other people’s children. I love, love, love your photos and your words.

  4. I love you dear daughter and I pray often for you and Ryan to be the parents you long to be. I love how you pour love into those you care for. Jesus is glorified. What a difference you are making in the lives of others. What a pile of tears I shed once again asking God to open your womb. Until then, keep serving.

  5. This is a beautiful post! Are you currently watching children? Do you have any openings? If you are and you do, I’d be very interested in talking with you! My email is

  6. I live in Meadville. I was with some mom friends this weekend and while talking about childcare options in the area, your name came up. I found your blog online.

    Sent from my iPhone

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