Category: All things Gospel


Oh, what a year this has been. What a terrible, joyous, difficult year this has been.

Lately, babies and their mothers are everywhere. That is what it is. The hard part is the ones that are rubbed in our faces. Women cannot help being pregnant, but they can have some sensitivity. Some imagination. How could someone with child, or already a parent, NOT understand the possible pain associated with spouting it off, to me?

We sent out birth announcements with our Christmas cards. Days later, DAYS, a friend, eager to share, made the first thing I was exposed to in the early morning, the news of her brand new pregnancy. Is there no understanding, no empathy. You have just received a fresh reminder of the son that I buried five months ago, and your first thought it not, “Maybe I can wait on this?”

Since the friend missed the obvious painful error in her actions, I squeezed out a ‘congratulations’ and cautioned myself to have little to do with her, at least for a while. If she was unable to see this, why should I expect her to tread any lighter in the future? If I involve myself too much, this will be a long, painful pregnancy, and it’s not even mine. Therefore, I will be careful.

I don’t yet understand how careless people can be sometimes. My baby is dead and you expect, what, happy tears for your brand new one? Please. Leave the nonsense outside.

Advertisements

Whew, this month has been seriously busy. Full time work, school three nights a week, 80 hours of clinical time on an ambulance, my missing son. I haven’t been to church on a Sunday all month. Legitimately, every weekend was consumed with 12 hour shifts and counting down the minutes until I got to see my husband again. Oh yeah, being a wife and trying (not super successfully) to keep our home warm and peaceful and…tidy.

This month, I had my first opportunity to see an attempted resuscitation in progress. I was recruited to complete compressions on this young kid. Technically, he was an adult, but far too young to be gone. I experienced the sight, smells and process that goes into a ‘Code.’ By the time one of the doctor’s called ‘Time of Death’, I was invested. I realized, as I removed my gloves, as the minister called for a moment of silence, some mother and father, surely anxious in the waiting room, would be painfully brought into my reality. Their son’s heart was still, despite truly heroic, extensive measures. The death of a child is a terrible, terrible thing. No matter when it occurs.

Tomorrow, I get to rejoin the church going world. I get to temporarily remove myself from the field of physical life and death, into the realm of spiritual life and death. I am striving to understand the difference, the gravity of it all. That kid didn’t make it. My son and him are in the same realm, physically speaking. A body without its soul.

As my son’s due date has come and gone, and Charlie himself has come, and gone, I am grateful for various things. I was able to hold and kiss him. Able to be present during his every moment. I am certain he knew neither hunger nor pain. For a husband who loves me deeper than I can comprehend. For a family that tries to understand. For the prayers of those that love me.

**Super side note: Anything bearing resemblance to “There is a reason, We will understand later, God has a plan,”  or other useless words that attempt to mitigate our grief experience is unwelcome and will likely result in some distance. Seriously, it does not help and I am sorry for the times those words have come out of my mouth. Honestly, I think even if I heard the ‘reason’, I wouldn’t be convinced it was worth my son’s life.

His lead

This is my husband
reading
Scripture.
This is my husband
leading.
Sometime he reads
while I do other things.
But this is my husband
reading
Scripture.
My heart longs
to follow
this man.
Do I always read when
he does?
No, not often.
But I want to.
And the more I see him
reading
Scripture
the more I want to follow
suit.
This is my husband
reading
Scripture.
This is my husband
leading
well.

I gave birth today. Not 21 hours ago, I had a little one in my womb. Not 30 hours ago, I felt him moving around.
But, I gave birth today. At least 4 months, too soon. There would have been a small chance if only he had less than 2 more weeks inside of me.
So, I gave birth today. It had been a very scary 36 or so hours. Oh, I can’t tell you how I miss him. I gave birth today. To a little boy with his daddy’s face. To a little boy with the tiniest, softest fingernails your ever did see. To a little boy already loved, already a character, already named.

I never thought I would give birth today. It had been a picture perfect pregnancy. I had very few symptoms, and really enjoyed feeling his movements. I had recently taken to calling the baby “Thumper” because he would bump around so quick and strong that it felt like an adult thumping me.

I gave birth to a piece of my heart today. And it didn’t beat. And it didn’t respond to my kisses or my touch.
I gave birth to a part of me I didn’t know I could care for so much. Goodness, what a feeling. To see one of your greatest loves, and know that he was beyond your reach. It seems like such a simple thing to ask his heart to beat. If only it would beat.

So, I gave birth, this day, to my firstborn, precious son. And he is loved. And he is missed. And he is with Our Father in heaven. But what I wouldn’t give, this moment, to have seen his chest rise, just once. To know he knew my voice outside of the womb. To look at my husband and say, “That is so your nose.” with nothing but delight in my voice.

I gave birth today. It was not on my terms, my timeline or my birth plan, but I did it. What in the world is nearly as precious as a child living, growing, rolling inside of you? What joy has been ours, that he kicked Daddy’s hands and snuggled in Mommy’s pelvis. That he bounced around when hungry so much had became known by it.

I gave birth to such JOY. In the pushing, in the struggle, in that position, our family gave birth to so much more. We gave birth to hope, to faith, to trust. I have never felt stronger in my marriage. I have never been more secure in the love I have for my husband. I have never been more sure of God’s plan to make us one flesh.

In the wee hours of the morning, with my closest friend beside me, I birthed a marvelous creation. A son any father would be proud to have. A firstborn among his siblings. A first in this household. He will always be the one who taught us how to better pray for our family. He will always be the one who first captured my heart in those little (and big) thumps. He will always be our little man. Our Vroom, Vroom. Our CAR. Our Charlie.

It seems such a selfish thing, to want more than a heart has room for, to bring home the life that has been birthed through you. That life has always been on loan to you. Our children are never fully ours. They belong to God, just like us. And today, that wisdom was etched in our hearts,  my husband and I. We know, with a deep sorrow, what it means to hold with open hands. What it means to trust Him fully. What it means to balk, to weep, to moan, to grieve, when those open hands come back empty.

How strange to return home from delivery with an empty womb, empty arms and full heart. This little boy has stretched my understanding of love beyond what seems reasonable. His father has shown me how a faithful man conducts himself, when his wife is birthing a child with no heartbeat. He is gracious and he is loving and he is kind and he is patient. And I walked deeper in love with him after each deep breath he breathed with me, each moment the words, “I am so proud of you. You are doing such a good job. I love you so much. You are brave and strong. Thank you for being mine.” left his lips, every time something scary or messy or potentially embarrassing happened and he held me, and never turned away. This man leaves no room for fear. This man leaves no room for doubt.

I gave birth today. And though our home does not hold the sound of a tiny crying baby. Though our minds are weighted with understanding the next steps. Though our time with our son was shorter than we ever wanted. We are parents. We bore and bear the mark of loving someone so  small, society doesn’t deem them as important as larger humans. We know better. We agreed before, but we know now. Our little guy made us parents. Our fighting man brought us into a category of life unfathomable.

We gave birth today. We gave birth to the assurance that our home will always be one where we welcome children. Where we celebrate their every moment. Where we deposit and sprout and shout JOY and LOVE. There will be the joy of their life with us, the love of a Father who knows no limits when it comes to the good of His children, the love of family and the peace that surpasses all understanding.

May you know Him, as He desires to be known.

Lord, I don’t like this part of being human. Can you please take it away?
“Is it not enough to know, my child, that Jesus felt the same?
“No, I just can’t take it. I’m tearing them apart.
“Who?” Anyone who has a claim on this fallen, broken heart.
I have so many recent problems, so many grumblings in my soul
“Coming through the fire, love, is a way to make you whole.”
It sure doesn’t feel like fire. Just emotions and pure doubt.
It only seems to hurt him more when I let the feelings out.
I am so sick of crying, I have wet my bed with tears.
How is it that he must not stray, for dozens of coming years?
Why stay when the words from the mouth of his sweet, young bride
Make dangerous the path to share. Why anything but hide?
What benefit is it to him, to be assaulted by my words?
When from his lips he fast declares the thoughts themselves absurd?
How graceless I have been, oh Lord. How uncaring, unkind.
Why, it may be safe to say I am losing my mind.
The salt and water, sorrow comes, it seems most every night.
I clutch my pillow in despair, bemoan the loss of light.
How can I subject those I love to such terrible fate?
How can I, should I, must avoid instilling in him, hate?

You’re changing me. Just today? I noticed that not only am I getting a little accustomed to spicy food, I actually like some of it. Stressing the *some* part, here. And, when I am becoming so focused on things of little significance, your relaxed attitude helps me to put those small things into perspective, even if the initial blush scratches me. How about, when we are running around, and you suggest a pause for a quiet lunch? Because you packed a picnic? And we visit our park? You told me before that you ‘unlocked the bowler’ in me. But, love, I think you have unlocked a great deal more.

You are teaching me to really laugh at myself. To understand and trust the motivation of others, even if their temporary actions might suggest different. To love God more. To really, truly, love God more. And not be ashamed about it. You are changing even the way I view couples. The way I see you in our relationship. The way we handle any situation, and how you encourage me to rely on you. You are changing my mind about how to truly be dependable, and how that doesn’t just mean on time.

Thank you, lover. Thank you for being and doing and saying and living beside me. I am absolutely thrilled to become, and remain, your wife.

I love you,

Truly yours

Hear the Truth

It helps to hear the truth.

People who think otherwise are crazy. Scripture says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” and that “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

How many times have each of us said to another, “Tell me to stop”?

Set scene: Grandma and I are sitting on the couch, just relaxing and watching TV. I have in my grasp a newly opened, huge, (like 3 lb) bag of animal crackers. I have not had animal crackers in years, literally.

Grandma: Mm. These are so good.
Me: Right? They have a nice crunch to them.
*attention returns to the program* *six or seven minutes pass*
Me: I can’t stop eating them. They are SO good.
*another minute or so*
Me: Tell me to stop eating.
Grandma: Put them DOWN, Lexi!
*throws last cracker in mouth* *folds bag closed*
Me: Whew. Thank you!

I knew I should have stopped. I knew that I was more focused on the awesome way those tasty morsels crunches against my teeth than whether I actually needed the energy or snack. But I just kept going. My stomach was full and I just kept eating. If we (or maybe it’s just me, I don’t know) reach out to hear the truth for instances so small as overeating (the occasional kind, here, the disorder is a bigger deal), WHY do we think we can do this whole ‘Christian walk’ thing alone? ‘Me and Jesus are all I need’ sounds so great, but even Jesus didn’t roll alone. Are you more secure in your ability to connect to the Father outside of community than Jesus was? Is there a model for faith that pleases God to exist in a vacuum? Or, could it be, that Jesus, being fully man and fully God, modeled not only for our benefit, but for his own? The human created by the Lord is not meant for solitude. God himself exists in a perfect triune community. He knows this model is best. So, why not follow it?

I am speaking to myself. I have had a really tough time sticking to attending church on Sundays. Partly, my current family situation often makes it very difficult, if not altogether impossible. But, really? EVERY Sunday? Could I not arrange things to cover that 2 hour gap once a week? Not only can I, I *need* to.

I was almost thinking that this ‘short’ 6 month period is just a blip, and if I’m not really under church covering for now, it will be fine. No, not really. There is protection, encouragement and sharpening that happens when I am placed under corporate spiritual leadership. There is, truly, strength in numbers. God does not give unnecessary guidelines. Each serves a practical and eternal purpose.

So, get it together, and get into community and get into a church building. I likely won’t have time to join a local body, since I will be moving very soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t commune with one while I am here. Because, though my individual, daily walk with Jesus is good, I NEED to hear the Truth.

He loves me with the Truth. Through my foolishness. Even when I think he thinks, “Lord, why is she doing this?”

He loves me with the Truth. Though my tears may hurry down. He lets the salt soak through his sleeve and wraps his arms around.

He loves me with the Truth. And kindly tries to guide. He leads the way in discipline and holds me to his side.

He loves me with the Truth. And wishes for my peace. He lets the light into my mind when fears refuse to cease.

He loves me with the Truth. Teaches that God is best. He grips my hand, kisses my cheek, I press into his chest.

He loves me with the Truth. His praise makes me look away. He says, “Sweetheart, it‘s you”, this woman he portrays.

He loves me with the Truth. Though in God we abide. He wills to push me deeper, even more as his bride.

He loves me with the Truth. My cheeks always in bloom. I pray to love this great man well, my betrothed who’ll be my groom.

He loves me with the Truth. In time, we’ll learn more still. And drawing from the endless Well, we each shall drink our fill.

He loves me with the Truth. I love him back the same. I strive to hear in both their voice, contentment in my name.

He loves me with the Truth. The Truth that never shakes. It’s steady when we both are not. The Truth for both our sakes.

He loves me with the Truth. More Truth I want to see. I want the Truth to live in him. The Truth to live in me.

He loves me with the Truth. The best way to adore. And when we love with the Truth’s force, the world will see what for.

I have lots of feels
And these feels, let me tell you, these feels are for real(s)
They make me feel crazy, these fields full of feels
And they pull and they sway me, even bringing forth meals
And the feels are so ornery,
They struggle to win, til the feels spread their power they fester deep in
The feels give me sickness, and desire to sin
But I can’t let the feels feel the quiver within
Sometimes feels are easy
They pass like a breeze, or just a tickle from a phantom sneeze
And sometimes they strike me and throw me from trees
Their ears are sealed shut, ignoring my pleas
Damn the feels!
Damn them all! I’ve no cause to fall
Because the feels are so big and my heart is so small
And the world won’t stop spinning, won’t stop sending them here
Yet my eyes still stay open and me ears stretch to hear
All the words and emotions and meanings running wild
And soon I am cowered in a corner, a child
These feels make me pull back
Make me leave a cold space
Make me want to start over
Make me try to erase
But they’ve nowhere to go, they are trapped in my mind
And I can’t help but see them, they’re so apt to find
You know, at times, the feels stay away
I can go blissful hours, all passion at bay
And the over-stimulated, heart strings heave a sigh
And remember times past when the eyes could just lie
And the hands be held still
And the mouth in a line
And the mind ignores signs
While the pulse beats a drill
And the peace that comes ready when chaos is the norm
And each feel is shut, behind the door in its dorm
But along comes a ‘something’, and it yanks that alarm
And though there’s no fire, the panic’s the charm
There’s screaming and fighting and gnashing of teeth
There’s feels on the ceilings and feels underneath
And feels run the town, they’ve no fear of the law
The law preaches patience, the feels hold a saw
They wear on the RA, the poor tired soul
They war against order, cause tears in the whole
And I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS!
NO, NOT ANYMORE.
These feels break my re-solve
Make breathing a chore
They bow to no master, they honor no king
They walk about proudly, my heart in their cling
I have lots of feels, not many police
Only when they’re ready, is my mind released.
The feels wear me empty, they burden my spirit
Lo! If you’ve love, then don’t let me near it.

Are you running from me again?
I shut my eyes and wait
Why, dear, are you running?
Push my palms against the gate.
Were you thinking something terrible?
That forever was ever near.
And what’s so wrong with happiness?
That is shows it’s face to fear?
But why do you feel the need to run?
To shield myself from the possible.
The possible good or possible bad?
The possible that seems improbable.
And what does that mean?
That I have to guard against what’s coming.
What do you think that is?
Being bound by what his heart’s drumming.
Dear one, why is it you run from me?
Because it already seems settled!
What’s that?
That my heart is happily nestled.
This is a bad thing?
It’s terrible.
Terrible?
Terrible that it seems inevitable.
Inevitable that this is the way it goes.
Decided that there’s no second act to this show.
Terrible that I seem to know my path.
But that can’t really be the future.
Surely that’s not the way these lives stack, and,
What about…earthquakes, hurricanes,
Tornadoes? These things happen.
I still don’t see the need to run.
Because, because, what if that’s not what I want?
What if I choose incorrectly?
You know how ‘What ifs’ can haunt.
But why are you running from ME?!
You set it all in motion.
You kicked this thing off.
I’m just a drop in your ocean.
It’s from, of, for, due to: You.
And what am I to do if this is it?
No more speculation, hesitation
Plunge full ahead toward a possible cliff?
I’m running from You, because,
Running from him seems absurd
And I think he’d notice first
And I don’t want to hear his hurt.
See! This is why I gotta run
I have to separate myself
Have to not be so affected
Have to reach back to that shelf.
I didn’t know what solace,
What solace I would release
Didn’t read the fine print
Before I signed the lease
And the details terrify me
How can I know my lot?
Could it be, my destiny,
Is baking, bleach and snot?
NO! NO! No. no.
What liberties to be retrieved
When I remove this stupid organ
From this useless sleeve?
How can it be worth it?
How can people count the cost
Of loving one, forsaking all
What liberties are lost!?
So, that is why I’m running
I’m running from the chance
That my whole life be lost within
Another’s gentle glance.
I run because it’s easier
To steer just my own ship
And let the hand drift away
The hand upon my hip.
Because if I run from YOU
Then he will follow suit
And finally, eventually,
It’ll verify my truth.