08 September 2014

04 September 2014

August for me

It was the month that it's been one year since that month. Last August we were up at Doernbecher's with our precious baby, a wracked and swollen little body. Last August we heard the doctor tell us that we had six to eighteen months more before she would be gone. Last August we stopped everything--breathing, working, laughing, sleeping. And we started loving and holding and praying and needing like we'd never done those things before. We cried and screamed and we needed God's words every minute. I remember reading the Bible for rescue every morning last summer, gulping it down, grabbing it and shoving it inside of me. Just to survive. I remember how we decided we wanted to be trained by the sorrow. I remember asking God to take her quickly; it was just too awful. I remember saying, "I will not grow a bitter root of unbelief. Pull out my unbelief. I chose to be soft. I chose love. I chose You." Last August I needed help.

In those days I whispered and grasped, I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. This is from Psalm 27.

And now we've gone through an autumn and a winter, a spring. We celebrated two years of Sophia's life on June 21st. We celebrated with forty-two people who brought breakfast to our small apartment. We made music and made Sophia smile. She skipped her nap and enjoyed it. We laughed and told her how much we love her. We thanked these lovers that carry and celebrate life with us. We dreamed of her future and ate cinnamon rolls and bacon.

Then the days were hot summer. Pages flipped, we got a passport for Sophia and took her to Canada. We started to tell our story and it got easier and realer and deeper and more normal every time. Then it was August and I lost my breath and caught it. This August I have had to purpose to remember the pain of that August. I've needed help. Sometimes we are laughing and enjoying and then it whacks me in the neck or it hits David in the chest and we cry and stop and hurt again. Sometimes together. But sometimes alone.

Yet those jack-in-the-box emotions are rare these days. The breeze blows and the mornings are crisp. Another autumn is coming and I count twelve months of life. Sophia Margaret is alive. She is more alive every day. The temperature is perfect. David is making new sounds on his instruments. I am working and stretching my heart in new directions. The little girl, entrusted to our care is in her stroller outside the open door, leaning forward and studying her beads and hands closely, tongue out, wind feathering her curls and catching the curtains. She's out there because she was throwing a fit and we needed breathing room. She was throwing a fit because she is growing a will, growing herself like any live kid would do. We are about to leap into new unknowns because the time is about right for that kind of thing.

And for all of these things I am absolutely thankful. Thankful to Emmanuel, which means God with us. The kind of thanks that makes me furrow my brow and snuffle and cough before I get up to make some dinner and put this kid to bed and hug David. We've voted and it's unanimous; we wouldn't trade our story.

Two days ago, I pushed Sophia through the hospital halls and out on a walk toward the white building past the roses. The walk we would take over and over during our restless days last August. The walk that passes the nursing school, David's new school. And two days ago, my soul reverberated with a new twist on the words I whispered last year, I do see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I have waited, I have taken heart, I do take heart, I do see.


06 August 2014

happy birthday

I am 35 today and I determine that I will live with my whole heart and all my guts. I will give myself fully to the work of the gospel, reconciling.

I will not live half-hearted or half-way. I will not keep quiet or keep peace when life and love are at stake.

I would rather laugh too loud, cry too hard, love too fully, stay up too late, believe too big than stop too soon, worry too wide, protect too much.

I want to wear bright colors, walk with people deep, give so generously, embrace so tight and with so much grace. I want to love truth and Jesus and salvation more than I love me, my way, and comfort. I want to cultivate and nurture and call out life.

I want to get things done, be an awesome follower and a humble, fearless leader, make things beautiful and see resurrection. Jesus is alive. He’s alive. 
On this I stake my life.

19 July 2014

super focused

21 June 2014

sweet girl

A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself.
(Grudem, Systematic Theology, 355)

Today this girl is two years old. We spent a day celebrating with a houseful of dear, dear friends and family who have pleaded and loved and rejoiced over this little life. Sophia is a blessing and her life is a miracle. We are in awe and wonder; we see you, God.

10 June 2014

"Do not be deceived:

God is not mocked,

for whatever one sows,

that will he also reap.

For the one who sows to his flesh will from the flesh reap corruption,
but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up."
New lettuce sprouts on the left, lettuce for harvesting on the right. These verses are good news for me and bad news for me. I've been mulling them over as I eat radishes and greens and raspberries, as I anticipate tomatoes and beans and cherries, as I watch new seedlings pop up, as I pull weeds, as I water, as I kick myself for not putting more seeds in earlier.

I've been pondering this reality as I remember neighbors that moved out or died and friends that moved on or times I moved on before really loving the way I needed to really love. I've sown too many seeds to the flesh, giving in to insecurity or selfishness or laziness or isolation or fear or unbelief or envy and unforgiveness--all of which are slavery.

I've also been thinking of it as I see ways that I have sown rightly, even small seeds quickly, which grow a good harvest. Some like those fat, red radishes, others slowly like the feathery dill even now just showing above ground. Loving or receiving or expressing or laboring or dancing or killing or restoring or serving: all of these can be called sowing to the Spirit, freedom.
We all want love. We all want joy/happiness. We all want peace and rest. We all need vision for a long haul, patience. We all desire and expect kindness. We all call out for goodness. We all long for understanding, gentleness. It makes sense to be angered by a lack of integrity and loyalty; we need faithfulness. We want to "marshal and direct our energies wisely." And when we don't have or get these good, right things, when the people around us are not these ways, we are all acutely aware that something is messed up, not right.

But, ironically, the only way toward these, is throwing the seed beyond ourselves… which feels entirely counter-intuitive. Sowing to the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control--these are not so much ways to act, as they are good gifts to receive. They are the fruit produced by the Spirit of Jesus, the One who is living and working and gardening steadily all around us all daily. Oh, may I increasingly choose to sow to him.

meditation on Paul's letter to the Galations