Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dichotomy of Sons

I snuggle down a bit deeper into the old rocker and breathe deeply. I smell the freshly washed tight curls that cover his head. Strawberry and coconut. Mmmmm. What a blessing this moment is.

Five years.

I hear the words echo in my head as I rock this snuggled in, jammied one who clings to me with his warm, dark fingers.

It's been five years.

I am aware on so many levels the way time passes and yet does not impact the deeper pockets of pain that I carry. I am indented with the wounds that death has inflicted, yet I daily live full of love.


I rock this child and hold him tighter, if it's even possible. He says nothing, just cuddles his face into my neck. We love one another. We are together.

It is December 29th. A night of deepest searing pain for me 5 years ago. A day when the sun went black. A third pregnancy ending in horror. And this time, we'd made it to 39 weeks.

But now...we've rolled ahead five years. Now I sit holding a child from Africa in my lap. Freshly bathed and read to, he clings to me as if he knows I need it.

"Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart." Luke 2:19

One son is gone from me, another is snuggled in.

One is from my own body, the other from someone else's...whom I will never know.

One son lives with Jesus, another is here waiting to learn about Him from me.

One son taught me so much by his leaving, another here has taught me much by his arrival.

Believe it or not, I am comforted by the fact that I do not understand the ways of God. Scripture says His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts, higher than our thoughts. I take comfort in this. I do not want to know why.

I simultaneously ache from the pain in my heart from Oskar who left me too quickly and delight in the armful of love I have on my lap who looks at me with deep dark eyes and stutters out, "M-m-m-mommy, I l-l-l-l-ove you."

Thank you, Lord. For all of it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Move over agenda, I'm making room for Jesus

I have resorted to blogging stuff I get forwarded on email.


But seriously, when something touches you, it matters not where it comes from. Maybe this devotional by Micca Campbell will inspire you too.

Joe and Jesus have their eyes wide open, but I'm praying to be more contemplative like this 1" high Mary.

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7 (NASB)

One of the first words that comes to mind when most think about the holiday season is "busy." 

Sad, but true.

I know it's true in my life. I can get so busy decorating the house, baking goodies, shopping for presents, going to parties and sending Christmas cards. Then, just when I think I've got a handle on it, I receive an unexpected card in the mail or a plate of cookies from a neighbor. 

What do I do?

I find time to return the gesture.

It's usually a challenge, but somehow we find time and make room to do all sorts of things during the holidays.

We make room for company to come. We make room for a Christmas tree in front of the picture window. We make room in our crowded schedule for activities we don't have time for.

Let's take time to consider: Have I made room for Jesus in my busy life this month?

In the familiar story of Christ's birth, I've always been bothered that there was no room in the inn for Jesus. I can't help but think didn't they know who He was? What could have been so important that they couldn't stop to make room for Jesus? My best guess is they were thinking only about themselves and their own busy agenda.

Likewise, we can become so busy with our Christmas plans that we run out of room for Jesus, too.

One of my mother's Christmas traditions is to withhold baby Jesus from her nativity set until Christmas morning. One year, when her first grandson was three years old, he asked, "Grandmamma, where is baby Jesus?"
"He's not been born yet," she explained to Patrick. "Jesus comes on Christmas Day. Then, you'll find Him right here," she added while pointing to the manger.
Like years past, Mom and Dad's house was full of excitement as family members arrived with arms full of presents. We expected to exchange gifts and enjoy a time for food, fun and celebration. But Patrick expected something different. He ran into the house shouting, "Is He here, yet? Is He here? Has Jesus come?"
Mom took Patrick over to the nativity and there, cradled in the manger, was baby Jesus. He had come just like He'd promised.

Over 2,000 years ago, God promised us a Savior. In a little town called Bethlehem, God kept His promise and Christ our Lord was born. While most missed what was happening that holy night, Christ's birth didn't escape the attention of heaven, a few shepherds, three wise men and some cattle. They pushed aside their duties and agendas to make room for Jesus. In fact, like Patrick, some of them anticipated His arrival. In doing so, their lives were forever changed.
Every year Jesus still searches for hearts to fill. But He can only fill space where we have left room for Him.

Christ's presence may go unnoticed by the world, but you and I, along with others who have made room in their hearts, can experience all the glorious wonder He brings. Let's cast aside the busyness of our lives this month to make room for Christ as we anticipate His arrival!

Dear Lord, the best I know how, I lay down my busy agenda to make room for You. Jesus, I don't want to miss a thing. Give me fresh eyes to see You this holiday season. I want to experience Your birth like never before so that I never close You out again. Welcome home, Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


What does making room for Jesus during the busy month of December look like for you?

Busy...but taking time to be still.

There is chatter and laughter and little feet pitter pattering. There is also yelling, "Mom! She's being mean to me," and water overflowing in the bathroom sink.


It's busy, it's full
                           ...and this is my season.

It is my treasure.

I've not blogged much, but I am still indeed living life and treasuring moments. I am grateful for each one, even the ones that challenge me...I am emptied out and in need of filling. And I know WHO fills me up.

And I run to Him.

I just read a blog post and was deeply moved.

This is not the season of my life (at least today) for me to write much, but let me at least point you toward something that will take your breath away. It did mine.

Go here and be amazed.

You'll be glad you did and will be all the more excited to celebrate the birth of our precious Savior.

Merry Christmas. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas cards...simplified.


It's what I keep on thinking. We simply must cut back. Do you feel this crazy sauce feeling too? Christmas has gotten crazy. Life is abundantly full.

Almost over full.

Brian and I have had more than one conversation about how to simplify. How to focus on simply giving the needed attention to the Littles and just STOP doing extra stuff. This year in particular is critical in helping Zeb adjust to our family.

There is no maybe, this year I absolutely cannot be running crazy.

So instead of the hours upon hours preparing and sending our typical Christmas card, we offer you this:

We truly wish you a wonderful Christmas, celebrating Jesus. 

That your New Year would truly be filled with the joy of a fresh slate and that you would delight in goal setting and the glory of fulfilling them.

Please understand that no one is receiving a printed card this year (sorry grandmas!) We love you all and hope to return to "normal" next year!


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