A Letter to My 4-Year-Old Twins (GIVEAWAY Closed)

by Shelby Vafinis


Dear Wonderful, Energetic, Delightful, Dramatic, Exhausting 4-Year-Old Twins,

Life with you is… a whirlwind. You are so active that you hardly ever slow down for a nap anymore, even on days when every fiber of my being is crying out for one. You need me constantly, and yet you long to be so independent — often at the most inconvenient times imaginable, of course. You say so many funny things, and I know I should record them somewhere, but there’s no way I could ever keep track of them all. You try to read nearly every sign at the grocery store, and you succeed so often that it scares me a little. And when you spot “ICE,” you’re not above bursting out into a rousing rendition of “Ice Ice Baby…” which sure brings me some interesting looks!

Every day I tell you how glad I am that you’re mine. How I wouldn’t trade you two for anything in this whole world. That you are gifts to me from the hand of a good, good Father. And at night, when I sneak up to your room to check on you, I gently push your hair back from your faces and kiss your soft plump cheeks. I see your chests rising and falling, and I am just so incredibly thankful.

It’s not hard for my mind to drift back to a day not all that long ago when I sat in a waiting room, praying that we would see a heartbeat from both of you at my appointment, week after week. And then rejoicing like a crazy person every time we did.

My pregnancy with you was a wild experience. I went from wondering if I was losing a baby, being nearly convinced I had in fact lost one, and praying feverishly for God to spare the life of the baby who might still be alive in my womb. Then, finding out that there were actually two of you in there! I watched your blurry images on the screen through tears of joy, delighted to see that both of you were alive and well.

My joyful tears were suddenly replaced with desperate cries for God to save your lives, as we learned you were a particularly risky type of twins to be carrying.

Through it all, your Dad and I came face to face with the reality of God’s sovereignty in a very real way. It was nothing like we had ever before encountered. We were completely out of control of everything, just like we actually always have been, but this time the feeling of helplessness was palpable.

And then you came — suddenly, violently, frighteningly — you came, in the middle of the darkest night, at 29 weeks and 4 days. I will never forget shaking uncontrollably, praying for God to spare your lives. I was so afraid I would lose you. I would not let myself Google anything about prematurity or Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, the reason you had to come so soon. And I sure couldn’t research anything about low birth weight, because one of you weighed 1 lb 15 oz, and the other was 2 lb 14 oz. I don’t even know how long you measured — the scene was so chaotic that I never knew for sure.

(Later on I found out my mom was going through something similar with me at the time, but God graciously kept me blissfully unaware until later. The more cognizant I became, the more I found myself praying that God would spare my life and restore my health so that I would get to enjoy the great privilege of raising you two! Praise God, He did!)

Then came the eight weeks of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit life. Day in and day out NICU life.

Walking in to discover one of you was in the middle of a blood transfusion, hearing your desperate cries, and feeling totally helpless to do anything to ease your pain.

Scrubbing my hands until they were rough and ragged to avoid accidentally infecting you with something that could turn out to be serious.

Sanitizing my hands after touching one of you before I could handle the other.

Praying that today would be a good day to hold you, and your frail little bodies would be up for it this time.

Feeling confident and happy after a relatively uneventful visit, but later having the wind knocked out of me by a careless remark from a well-meaning friend about someone she knew who went through something similar, but with a devastating outcome.

Answering everyone’s questions about what had gone wrong.

Wishing so much that someone would say “congratulations” and seem a little happy, because I had just delivered two precious little ones into this world, after all, and they deserved to be celebrated. But knowing a cheery “congratulations” would ring a little hollow in light of the circumstances, and everyone in my life knew it too.

Girls, there were days when I was scared to talk to God and tell him how I really felt. You wound up having the very same condition I had prayed so hard against, and it just didn’t make sense. Sometimes all I could utter was, “Lord, just carry me through this. Get us through this.” And He was faithful through it all.

He was incredibly gracious and gentle, and I saw He truly does have the “little bitty babies in His hands.”

Little by little, you grew healthily, just as all of us were praying you would.

So once again, tonight I pause and thank God for you, with all of my heart. He has already delivered you from so much, and I know that His plans for you are bigger than I can ever imagine — and I’m your mama, so that’s truly saying something!

Those days (like today) when you wore me out and challenged me at every turn? When I rocked old sweats and a particularly questionable messy bun around the house and our lives looked far from Instagram-worthy? When I told you for the tenth time to go back to your rooms for quiet time so I could hold onto a shred of my sanity in the afternoon?

These, girls, are the most precious and most delightful days. These are the days I begged God to allow me to spend with you. These are the blessed days I pleaded with Him to enjoy, and I will savor them in all their messy, #momlifeunfiltered, far-from-perfect glory.

Now I commit to you that I will plead with Him every day to give me the wisdom and grace to raise you up to send you out.

And I will never, ever forget how blessed I am. You are my dreams come true and the most amazing tangible reminders of Ephesians 3:20.

Girls, follow hard after this God who loves you, gave Himself for you, and spared your lives here on Earth. Love Him and cling to Him, for He has taken exquisite care of you. And I’m so glad you’re mine.



Shelby Vafinis


 Giveaway Closed!!

Congratulations to Tiffany Honeycutt, our GIVEAWAY WINNER!! Please email us at missionalmotherhood@gmail.com to receive your print!




  1. Allison says:

    Such a sweet letter and testimony of how GREAT our God is. I had a similar experience with my twins that were born almost 8yrs ago now. God was with us that day in 2008 and He is still with us today and everyday! Praise the Lord!

  2. Anna Katherine Grisham says:

    This verse is the one the Lord continues to put before my family as we have just moved to the fourth new city, hopefully to stay. We have 3 healthy children but have had much heartache over the past year and a half with 3 miscarriages. This verse continues to remind me that the Lord is with me/us always even in the darkest of days. Thank you for sharing your encouraging story!

  3. Stephanie Redmond says:

    God is faithful! The Lord uses every circumstance He brings into our life for His glory! My encouragement to is to continue to pray fervently. Lord, I need you…every hour I need you!

    • Shelby says:

      Thank you!! Just today at nap time, Tamsie was having a ferocious tantrum. I thought of our conversation yesterday and Chris and I just got together and prayed, then we prayed separately with her, and God was so faithful to calm that overtired girl down and help her to sleep! 🙂 He is so good to remind me of how much we need Him every little step of the way!

  4. Jenn Anderson says:

    Really pretty illustration of this scripture verse! Would be wonderful for my son’s bedroom. Thank you for the giveaway! We are really all in God’s faithful hands.

  5. Julia says:

    Thank you for your testimony! I was just talking last night with some women in my Bible study about keeping a journal for our kids to tell them about what God has done in our lives…and then I read your post this morning…and it’s exactly what I was considering doing. Thank you!!

  6. Joy Benefield says:

    Loved your post, Shelby! We all need reminders of those days when we cried out to be mamas, so we can truly appreciate every single day we get to spend with our little ones. Life is a precious gift from God. Thank you for blessing so many.

  7. Heather Baugh says:

    Thank you sweet friend for the reminder that even on the hardest of days, these little children are a GIFT from a good, good Father!

  8. Megan K says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart! All mommas need to be reminded of how great these days are… Because sometimes we just need a nap and some quiet time! ?

  9. Tiffany Honeycutt says:

    Love this post! As a twin mom myself of 3 year old twin boys, I am in tears reading this. I relate so much to your story and the ups and downs but absolute per joy that these little ones give my life. To totally see God at work in such a marvelous way. It has been the adventure of my life as well. Thank you for sharing your heart and story with us about your girls. Twins share a bond like nothing I have ever seen before especially identical twins. I loved hearing your story! Thank you!

    • Shelby says:

      I never knew much about twins before T and E, but it has been thrilling to witness their love for each other and the bond they share! They teach me so much about God and His creativity and love! ❤️

  10. Lynn Collett says:

    Your story richly blessed my heart, as my own emotional story mirrors the same longing, pleading, fear, desperate love, trust, and praise. My husband and I were told we would never have children. For 25 years I grieved the lost dream of loving a child and passing on my “life lessons from God”. As I sat at my computer each day, I would find myself drifting in to thoughts of coos and giggles, changing messy diapers and cleaning spills, with a heart full of desperate yearning to experience all the simplest things I so often heard other moms complain about. After 25 years of waiting and striving to trust in God’s sovereignty over this loss, the Lord lead me and my husband to Bethany Christian Services where we waited almost another two years for the hope of being chosen by a birthmother to parent the child she felt she couldn’t. It was then, in the waiting, that our mixture of joy and grief truly began. In 2013 my husband and I were chosen by a precious and beautiful birth mom who I will call “Grace”. She was carrying twins, a boy and a girl, two precious lives she felt God had planned just for us! We experienced six weeks in the NICU and all that entailed, several court appearances regarding issues with the birth father, many fund raisers, and LOTS of prayer. Our reward: to experience the very breath of life with these two precious babies. To wake to hugs and giggles, to anxiously waiting to hear the word “mama” each morning, to have the days “sporting the sweats and messy buns”, incessant lessons on not shouting as my voice reaches new decibels, to yearn for just five minutes of alone time, and, as you worded it so well, to be so thankful to experience every single moment. I would not trade this “insanity” for anything. God is so good.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. May your story continue to bless and challenge women.

  11. Faith says:

    I’m blubbering all over my phone after reading this ?. Thank you for sharing Shelby! Sets my perspective straight. And of course I’d love to win some of your amazing artwork!

  12. Roberta says:

    Such a beautiful letter!! God is so very good! My husband and I were blessed with a sweet baby by adoption in our late 40’s. Only through God’s hand in our lives do we have the ENERGY to keep up with a now 4 year old at 52! Never a nap, constant questions and constant JOY! He most definitely equips those He calls in a beautiful way. I tell our precious boy every single day how happy and grateful we are God placed him in our arms. Who needs an empty nest anyway?! ?❤️

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