Thursday, November 27, 2014

Set Aside

It's Thanksgiving!  I am a thankful person by nature, looking for reasons to be thankful, looking for the perspective that sheds some light from God's Bigger Picture on my situation and making it more grace-full.  

But here's the thing: I only open my eyes to the great variety of gifts in my life when I set aside the time to look for them.  I have to sanctify parts of my day for thanksgiving or else suffer grumpiness in the chaos of sharing my life with, you know, other people.  

So, whether you're by nature a thankful person or not, today, of all days, SET ASIDE SOME TIME.  Go away from the crowds for a little while, step away from your chaos, so that like Him, who "often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed", you may be refreshed in order to refresh others.  

Be reminded that His eyes are on the sparrows all around and in you.  He isn't always safe, but He is always good.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In This Together

November 11, 2014:

Yesterday, after three-plus weeks of growing my baby and nearly three weeks of my body's miscarry process, I spent the day at the hospital and had a D&C.  This brings the physical part of sharing my life with Libi to a close, but our hearts will always have this little baby.  


The main thing I want to do here is to say Thank You, to each of you.  Thank you for listening and for reading.  Thank you for hugging me, for praying with me and for me.  Thank you for sharing your stories and words of compassion and encouragement.  Thank you for crying with me, for checking in with me, for hoping with me.  Thank you to those of you who have helped in physical ways, taking care of my children while I go to appointments, providing supper, traveling to visit me, setting aside your day to give me as much time as needed.   

Thank you for being with me through the process.  

Because of Libi, I have been learning in a fresh way just how good it is to be part of the family of God--and more specifically, to be knit together with a particular church family.  It is a really Wonderful thing to walk through the valley knowing you're not alone.  Of course it's more enjoyable to walk through the good things together, but sharing the hard things of life is somehow...richer.  

Immanuel: God with us.  And we are His hands and feet, a gift He asks us to give to each other.  

YOU are my Month of Thanksgiving.  Thank you, my friends, my family, for being WITH me.  Thank you, my Jesus, for being WITH me.  And thank you, Jesus, for the gift that is Libi, who has helped me receive love in new ways.

Thank you, all, for being with me, and for me, and full of hope <3

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Riding the Swells

A long time ago, when I was maybe 8, we spent a family vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  One of my favorite memories of that trip was the time spent with my daddy "riding the swells": he in chest-deep water in the trough of a swell, holding me up and carrying me through the exhilarating up-and-down rocking of the rolling water that would be waves closer to shore.  

It occurs to me, just now, that my sweet memory makes a beautiful parallel with the emotions I've been experiencing through the past week, and today more fully than before.  I can't describe in a tidy paragraph "how I'm doing," because I don't really understand how I'm doing.  I'm rolling with it.  

Losing Libi is an unprecedented kind of grief in my life.  The closest I've related to this before is when my Opa died, and I didn't really grieve him for a year or more.  I finally realized that by choosing to not grieve, I built stronger and stronger walls around my heart, and they would keep me from feeling anything--the Bad or the Good!--to the depth God designed me to feel.  I decided I had rather be vulnerable than unbreakable, and made the choice to feel again.  So in this fresh round of grief, I'm ok with grieving, and the sadness surprises me when I'm not expecting it.

Much of the time this week, I've been pretty decent, with just the background sadness behind the laughter and busyness of life with the boys.  A few times, I cried in the sanctuary of the bathroom while the boys napped, but not for very long.  Talking on the phone with my family, or helping Lincoln understand what has happened--I cried in those times, too.  And then there have been times like yesterday morning, when I felt (for lack of a more gracious way of putting it) more or less over it, ready to move on.  Of course, I knew that wasn't true, that there will be hard days and sadness and at some point I may even be angry with God.  But yesterday morning I was fine.  

THIS morning, I left home early to spend the day at a women's conference called something like, "Lord, I Just Want Some Peace!"  I listened to NPR as I drove down; driving solo is my one opportunity to listen to any sort of international news and discussion.  And man, I was in tears over the professor captured by the Taliban who was able to spend several months of his captivity actually teaching a large group of local shepherd boys.  People just want the opportunity to live, the opportunity to thrive!  And then I cried about everything after that.

So I knew when I arrived at the conference that I was in a fragile emotional state.  

And it's been a full, long, tiring day of grieving in a more concentrated way than I've yet done.  It comes to the surface a lot faster when I'm surrounded by compassionate women of my church family who love me and know what happened this week than it does in the midst of taking care of my wild boys (not to mention going multiple times for blood work in a week...).  And yesterday--out of order, sorry--I got to spend a long time with one of my very best friends and another dear friend who came just to love on me.  It's been a good couple of days.  

But it also feels very good, now, to sit here in sweats and have a cat curled up on my lap.  It is sweet to hear my sons call to me from the other room and describe the whacks they're giving the bad guys in a game they're playing with daddy.  It is very nice to feel the warmth of a mug of tea in my hand and on my face.  

And I'm looking forward to an extra hour tonight to just be quiet.  Quiet quiet.  Riding the swells is good, but its own form of exhausting.