Friday, February 27, 2015

The thirty mile stretch of road between my home and my family is magical. The highway hugs the coast, kissing the ocean as it winds along the shore. The waves break, filling the air with a salty mist. The sun extends its rays, sending gleams of light skipping across the gently rolling sea. The beauty is captivating. The expanse evokes a sense of freedom, my soul is loosed of restraint and burden. The grandeur never tires, again and again I wonder in awe.

I wonder at my insignificance and frailty next to such a display of untamable power. Why and how the God that created this looks upon me. Its easy to ask why me? when sorrow comes our way. But gazing out upon the endless horizon, I am left asking why me? to receive such provision and grace.

As I made the trek today, reminders of His goodness washed over me. Particularly, the fact that Moses was sitting in a carseat behind me clapping his hands and singing at the top of his lungs. I realize this might sound dramatic, but I assure you it is not. I don't have the words to capture what it means that this child is called a son and was granted permission to join our family nine months ago. Unless you've traveled to Kinshasa or been wrapped up in this horrific 18 month suspension of exit letters, it is nearly impossible to grasp the gravity of this reality. Hundreds of legally adopted children remain trapped in orphanages and foster homes. The government has told us they are working on a plan to allow children to go home, that has been their answer for 18 months now.

Today my soul is laid bare before my creator in wonder and awe. Forever grateful that my story is woven together with Moses Jephté. Undone by the freedom we've been granted to live together as a family. If you have been part of this journey at all, you bear witness to a miracle.

In the Old Testament, there is this story... The Israelites are being pursued by a powerful enemy, the Philistines. At the moment when it seems there is no hope, God sends loud thunder, throwing the enemy army into a panic. The Israelites defeat their enemy, under no illusion of their own power. Samuel places a stone in memorial, naming it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far, the Lord has helped us."

In my own life, I can point to specific events and experiences and claim, "Yes! The Lord has helped us." And because I know he has been faithful to help us so far, I trust that he will continue. To all my friends waiting in the uncertainty, know that you are not forgotten. For those of you who have been a part of our story and bear witness to the miracle of our son, would you join me in praying for those who wait? That one day very soon, we will stand with them wondering over God's help at their deliverance from what seems an impossible battle. That one day soon, my drives along the coast will be filled with praise not only for my little boy, but for all the children waiting to come home.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Last year I gave up bitterness and anger for Lent. Unconventional, I know. But they were the two things keeping me furthest from God. And they were rotting my soul. Steeping me in questions of doubt all the while keeping the goodness and grace of my God at a distance. The act of confessing the ugly truth and embracing a life free from their grip for 40 days changed me. The letting go brought life. 

This year I'm chosing to embrace grace. And not just grace in the English sense of the word we admit into our vocabulary on occasion. More specifically the kind of grace found in the prologue to the gospel of John. We are met with a beautifully poetic passage that reveals who Jesus really is. As it concludes, this verse captures me: 

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace 

I read a commentary on this passage recently and was struck by the authors words: 

Grace is not merely an attribute of God. It is known when someone enjoys his goodness. It is the recipient who knows grace, not the theologian who has studied it. Thus in 1:16 John emphasizes our experience and reception of this grace as its chief merit. 

This grace flows from the fullness of God. The fullness of God. From the only one who is wholly and purely good in every possible sense of the word. The one who isn't defined by goodness but whose very existence defines goodness. The one whose loving kindness never ends. Whose mercies are new every morning. The one who will set all things right and restore the whole of creation. 

This grace is extended, its only condition is reception. When we receive it, we experience the fullness of God's goodness. Charis is the greek word to capture this reality. 

It sounds easy. As I read back I almost feel silly for attaching this luxury to lent. The truth though, is that I find it much easier not to receive this grace. Its easier to cling to the heart ache and the pain. To mourn for what is lost. I wonder that the ugliest things can be the hardest for me to shove off. 

I don't want to just say that I know God is good. I want to live as someone who enjoys His goodness,  come what may. Someone who fully receives charis.   


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Today my baby is eight weeks old. The size of a kidney bean. A distinguishable head and body, little nubs starting to emerge for limbs. The tiny heart started beating at some point in the last few weeks, coursing life giving blood through the developing systems. How one argues that such a tiny form is not a person escapes me. Life is miraculous.

The problem is that I've been pregnant for nine weeks and a few days. The discrepancy in time means that our child is no longer with us. The tiny heart has run its course, sometime last week it just stopped. Which makes this the end. Another end. Another end that I can't quite reconcile into my framework of sense.

Three times now, I've done this. Stared at the screen. Willing the blip to appear, imagining the steady little flash of a beating heart into existence. But once again, it eludes me. And I'm left sitting alone in the silence. While I don't particularly enjoy being pregnant, there is no denying that it is an all encompassing experience. Even if you want to carry on with life as normal, the constant nausea or fatigue is bound to interrupt. Maybe thats what makes this so difficult- the sudden knowledge that what had been so very real and present is gone. It's gripping in the worst way possible.

So I turn to the one thing that is supposed to bring comfort. I sit with the psalmist wondering why? I tear through the 22nd psalm as my husband suggested. Several times, grasping for a commentary in disbelief that he might think i would find solace here. In my rush, i nearly missed what he saw. What he heard. What he knew. What he wanted me to find.

"My God, My God," the psalmist laments. He doesn't just say "God," he insert the possessive pronoun. My. Something does not become my own without intimacy. Without time together, experience, knowledge, trust. In the midst of tragedy, the psalmist knew who to direct his words to. He knew where to send his thoughts and his questions. As the days pass, perhaps I will continue to delve more into the rest of the psalm, but for now the first phrase is where I sit. "My God, my God."

I do not understand all that my God wills and allows. But I do know his faithfulness, in my heart, in my core, it is real. As I've done before, I will request again of my God, "Be not far from me." I will remember the miracle that Samuel's heart continued to beat past the 8th week. I will remember the miracle that Moses was delivered through the storm of impossible adoption bureaucracy.  Most of all, I will remember the miracle that God the Father gave up his son, willingly, for my redemption. He knows the pain of searing loss more than I, so I rest with Him. In the sadness, in the pain, his love is deep and vast. He is enough.
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