Monday, July 14, 2014

Five Candles

Gathered around a long rectangular table we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and celebrated another year.  I held my breath as she blew out all five candles on top of the cake with bright blue frosting her Momma had made. In that blink of a moment, I stole a glance around the table at long ago acquaintances that are now my people.  God picked this family to place me in twelve years ago and with a thankful heart, I exhaled.

God used my precious niece to convince me back in 2009 that everything would be ok, that I would be ok. After the second loss that ripped my heart out, I wondered how on earth I would be able to hold it together less than two weeks later when I met this tiny baby and held her in my arms that were aching.

I’m pretty sure I felt the air being sucked in around me as my sister-in-law and mother-in-law watched and waited. When you watch someone's heart break, a tiny piece of yours breaks right along together.  That’s how family is- blood or not. 

As I held Kiley Jean in my arms that day on the back porch, slowly rocking back and forth in the wooden rocking chair, I felt God whisper to my soul, “It’s going to be ok … and so are you.”

Peace flooded my heart then just as it did today when I remembered all the ways God has shown His faithfulness right here around the table in the past five years. I am reminded of how He’s walked with us through the joy of new life, the sting of death, the adventures of starting something new, and memories we will forever cherish.  And that’s only a handful of years! Though every person could share their own long list, I will share mine because that’s really all I have to give.

In five years, Jesus has mended a heart I thought was beyond repair.
He has set me free from chains I was completely unaware were wrapped around me.
He has given me a passion to share His Word with other hurting hearts.
He has revived this gift of communicating love through words.
He has given me a son… and a daughter… at the same time.

And He has done the impossible with this baby on the way and shattered the doubt that’s been inside me for way too long.

He has given me eyes to see me… the way He sees me.
He has written a beautiful segment of my story… the one He continues to write daily.
He has captured my heart- my whole heart- and turned my life upside down in such a refreshing way.

Sweet Kiley has no idea that every year we celebrate her life, I secretly remember how God brought me from that dark season of pain and loss to one of light and joy.  One day I’ll tell her that God chose her to speak hope and love into such a broken spirit… that He used a tiny baby with strawberry blond hair and the most precious fingers and toes.

Really, this shouldn’t surprise me because isn’t that what God used all those years ago? Didn’t He choose a tiny baby to enter the darkest night and bring peace and hope for each and every one of us?

This baby was God’s perfect plan for rescuing us from ourselves. Not a mighty king, not a strong giant, not a noble or well-known authority… just a baby.  Tiny, frail, and weak.  He used this baby- Jesus- to change my life.  

It’s why we celebrate His birth at Christmas, His ultimate sacrifice of death and God’s perfect redemption plan through His resurrection at Easter.  But there are countless other occasions to celebrate the work God has done in our lives.  There are dates that are personal to me and dates that are personal to you. 

There are dates known only by Jesus.

There are numbers on the calendar that creep up on me. Hard days.  Every one of us has them. But for every painful memory in my life, I can see God’s hand of restoration weaving all of it together with grace and love and healing and this is what I want to remember.  I want to celebrate this so I don’t ever forget what He’s done and what He is doing today. Lately, I’ve seen it pop up over and over again in scripture. 

Do not forget.   
Do not be silent.

Celebrate what God has done in your life today.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Do it now.  Be loud and joyful and tell somebody or tell it right here.  Don’t keep it a secret.  Share what God has done in your life, what He’s doing today. 

I’m convinced that God is repetitive about this because He knows something we don’t. He knows that when we look for His hand of mercy and see how it hovers with care over our lives, we are instantly reminded that He is good whether life is good or not.

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Psalm 96:1-3

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why I'm Never Getting Over This

I was watching Jake kick the soccer ball with his daddy when she brought it to me.
  A tiny orange flower.

For reasons I could not explain that day, it captured my undivided attention as I took in the beauty of something so small created with such care and love. Three days later the unexpected, jaw-dropping, heart-pounding, long awaited news of something so tiny and precious created by the One who gives good gifts instantly captured my heart.

The awe of this precious miracle has sat quietly for weeks now.

When the news had time to sink in just a bit more, we told the kids.  Lilly exclaimed one word that made us both chuckle out loud.  I told them, “There’s a baby in Mommy’s tummy,” and Lilly blurted out, “Already?!”

Oh child, if you only knew! If you only knew the journey we’ve been on the last eight years.  If you only knew how you living and breathing serves as my daily reminder of God’s faithfulness. If you only knew that those trees you and your brother play underneath are memorials that were planted while your Mommy’s heart was splitting in two.  If you only knew how terrified we were when God said He was going to grow our family. If you only knew what a roller coaster the last year has been when Mommy and Daddy took a step of faith and trusted God with our deepest fears. If you only knew that not that long ago it felt like God had shut the door forever and every night Mommy asked Jesus to give her acceptance and closure and make the emptiness go away. If you only knew that this wasn’t supposed to happen, that after eight long years we doubted it was even possible without doctors and medications and monitoring.  If you only knew how God has blown us all away with this miracle.


Yes, already.  I am already in love with this tiny life that’s not much bigger than that flower she placed in my hands that day. And every now and then when I’m all by myself, I let my mind rehearse all this and I let the tears just come pouring out of me.

I may be in love with this precious child growing inside of me, but I have never been so in love with the One who led me here. I will never get over this Love, this gift of Jesus knowing every crevice of my heart, this peace that is mine when He holds my hand and leads me through the scary parts of the journey.

 I will never get over this Love.

Lilly stretched her arms out real wide and asked, “Mommy, will your tummy get this big?” I showed her the book I made when she and Jake were squished in there together.  The next day when she blabbed, “There’s a baby in Mommy’s tummy,” I realized this news can no longer be a secret.

And it makes me smile big knowing it’s a story we've been given to share.

So, yes.  It’s true.  We are having a baby. This Christmas will be our last one as a family of four. God has done the impossible. He has reached into every doubt residing in my heart and overshadowed each one with His crazy beautiful love.

If you know our story, if you’ve prayed along the way, God has woven you into this masterpiece and made you a part of it. If you don’t know us or our story, I invite you to celebrate this miracle with us.  God wants us all to be reminded that He is able.

Now to him who is able 
to do immeasurably more 
than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power 
that is at work within us,   
to him be glory 
in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, 
forever and ever! 
Ephesians 3:20-21

Believe Him for the impossible in your life. He is able.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our Family Is Growing...

Our family is growing... by two feet!

We are so overwhelmed by this precious miracle that has been handed to us.