Monday, April 26, 2010

Orange Hair, God, and Clorox

I used to be really good at rolling with the punches... not much of a planner by nature... definitely not one of those people who needed her whole life to be organized or color coded.

I was not a list maker, multi-tasker, or house cleaner.

Then I had six little kids running around all day... and if I did not perpetually follow them cleaning up... life wouldn't work. If I didn't plan and bring diapers and sippy cups and fishy crackers along at all times... I would most certainly live to regret it. If I didn't organize I would loose another pair of someone's socks or forget a feeding time. So, I learned... slowly... by the skin of my teeth (as it usually is when the Lord is trying to teach me a new skill) I learned.

Then I got pregnant, and some switch in my brain went into overdrive and I became a freakshow.

A clorox wipe obsessing, color coding, list making, organization loving, house cleaning, dinner making, planning way in advance, need to know the details... freakshow.

Maybe it was all the unexpected things in this pregnancy. Maybe it's just the momma coming out in me. Maybe I was this way all along and just fought it because I thought it would be more fun to roll with it and not have a plan.

Maybe it's simply that with each stage of life we change... We become more of who we truly are.... Maybe, at heart... I did always love clorox wipes and color coded closets and I'm just now realizing it :)

Or maybe, when life throws us a lot of the unexpected... we try to control the things we can.

So when the hairstylist turns our hair orange... we loose it.
Or when the house is trashed because of an insane schedule... we feel all out of wack.
So when the stack of unanswered mail piles up, the kids are screaming, and there is gum stuck to the floor of the van.... we can't handle it.

Because none of it was part of the plan. We wanted normal hair, a clean house, paid bills, kids who are well behaved, and a van that didn't smell like dirty diapers and have gum stuck to the carpet. By "we" here I really mean me.

See... there has been enough of the unexpected... so it's the little things... the small every day things that I just want predictable.

And all the time... I hear Him whisper... "just let it go...."

A year ago I thrived on the chaos and unpredictability of our lives... the messiness of Grace Refuge and what I did there... the kids and the fullness of our existence. I thrived on watching God show his face in unexpected ways each and every day.

And then both our jobs were gone, I was on bed rest, and we had no idea where we'd live... and I began to cling to what was predictable... safe... the little that did feel secure and normal. And although we now both have jobs again, we officially own our house and will not have to be worrying about where we'll live, and Jayda is doing fabulous and growing right on track... I find that I'm still clinging to all the little stuff.

Like the fact that the paint color in her room has to be perfect.
Or the fact that my hair has to be exactly how I want it... which, for the record... is not orange.
Or the fact that I like my van clean... even though that's simply impossible when five little people currently occupy the back seats.
Like the fact that I am starting to get really overwhelmed with being pregnant and am longing for my familiar body and familiar clothes and familiar emotions.

I knew something was slightly wrong with me when they told me Jayda was sideways (she is now breech) and said a C-section was a high possibility and I was actually relieved because I could plan for it...

I was relieved that I may have to have major surgery instead of have her naturally and I was relieved because I could "plan" for it.... for the birth... the pain... the afterward... I would know when it was going to happen... and that felt safe for me.

I mean... seriously... have I gone mad?

I'll probably bring my chlorox wipes and ask them if I can get my hands on the recovery room beforehand. You know... color code things a little bit.

And the voice repeats...

"Let it go..."

"So what if you have orange hair and the van is trashed and the kids are screaming at each other? So what if the dog made the floor a muddy mess and your insurance accidentally dropped your coverage and you now have tons of bills headed your way to made heads or tails of? Is it really worth loosing your joy? Your heart? Your cool? I healed your baby... gave you a home... and provided for you when you had no idea if you were going to make it and you're worried about your color coded closet and your orange hair? Don't you think I've got this... all of this... too?"

And then I breathe... I put the clorox wipes away... and I realize...

He knows how Jayda is going to come into this world.
He knows that there is gum stuck to the floor of the van.
He knows I hate my orange hair.
He knows I'm about to fall apart because of muddy paw prints, extra work hours, and the large portion of my closet that is currently laying on our bedroom floor.

He knows that even though my baby is okay... I still worry when she doesn't move for a few hours... I still hold my breath a little before every appointment... He knows that every day... there is still that little part of my heart that can't help but wonder if something might go wrong.

But more than knowing... He cares.... about orange hair and clorox wipes and my mini van. He cares and he sees and even when the stupidest things overwhelm my silly shaky heart... He still speaks.

Maybe the point in all of this was to draw us out of a place of safety and into a place of reliance on the fact that He is good... even when we don't understand... even when we're afraid... even when things don't really go the way we wanted.

That He is a God of the daily messes... the things that aren't life altering but happen to be wrecking our morning... He is still Lord even we our attitude needs a serious adjustment and our tone could be far sweeter. He still speaks when we are stubborn and having a meltdown over gum.

And the sweetest thing about Him... He doesn't ask me to give up the clorox habit or leave my hair orange. Only that I remember what is big in this life... and what isn't.

Only that I hand over the big and the small, and trust that he knows how to handle it when I feel like I can't.

Maybe after this pregnancy is over I'll go back to being happy to roll with the punches... maybe the clorox and color coding are here to stay.

Either way, sometimes all we really need is to know He loves us either way.

Now... I'm off to schedule a hair appointment and resume my cleaning ;)

Much Love,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pregnancy, House, and other things Update

I had my 31 week appointment yesterday. Jayda is measuring in at 32 weeks and looking great! She is lying sideways which we knew could happen because of the septum in my uterus (it kind of restricts her room). So, if she doesn't turn herself by 37 weeks they are going to try and turn her, which could be more difficult because of her already restricted room. If she hasn't turned by 37 weeks and they can't turn her then we will schedule a C-section. We'll also have another ultrasound in a couple of weeks just to make sure she is still growing properly as the combination of having the blood clot for so many weeks + the fact that I have a septum could make it a little more difficult in these last weeks for her to get the nutrition she needs. All in all Dr. Goerish does not seem worried as right now she is growing just fine! I'm not really worried at all, just so happy to be this far.

As far as for how I'm feeling... I feel great! I have tons of energy... enough that I'm back to work part-time with the kids at Grace Refuge! Enough that I'm going on hour long walks several times a week. So, I'm hoping this keeps up as I kind of feel like I'm making up for all that lost time I spent on the couch in my second trimester :)

Oh and the house...? Everything went through and we signed on April 14th the day before our taxes were due (we needed the paperwork for the 1st time Homebuyers Credit). So we're all settled in and still finishing up some projects in the basement and the outside of the house but nothing that has to be done anytime in the near future. Jayda's room is coming along... but I don't want to post pictures until it's done :)

Our life is beginning to be very full again. I'm back with kids and chaos and after I have Jayda I plan on splitting my time between Grace Refuge and a friend of mine who needs some help with her new Daycare. Micaiah was just offered a full time position with benefits at Home Depot (he has only been there about two months!) so we are seriously praying about that. We're taking classes at the hospital each week, wrapping up with our small group, and getting ready for the many showers, graduations, etc happening in the next couple of months.

From the outside our life probably looks normal and boring. Right now... we're incredibly thankful for that :) Because even in the midst of fairly normal days... and now what is a fairly normal pregnancy... we are still watching Him move on our behalf in ways that take our breath away.

He has been so faithful.

Much Love, Much Life, Much Grace,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'll tell Her.

I wasn't going to go last night...

I was running late... my hair was a mess... and I was putting on make-up and drinking a Dr. Pepper in between stop lights. My van was still full of the laundry I'd spent the day doing (we don't have a washer right now) piled high in baskets. The service started at 7pm. and I hadn't gotten home until 6:50. I fed the dog, took her out, put on a clean shirt that I realized didn't fit.... thought about just staying home... put on a different shirt with some sandals and ran out the door. Something told me I needed to go.

When I entered the sanctuary the service had already started. It was dark... lit only by candlelight.

It was beautiful... the entire service... breathtaking really. The words spoken... words about redemption... words about love that reached out and bridged the biggest gap we've ever known... words about radical living and the foolishness of the cross. The songs that were sung... songs of how our ashes have been turned into beauty... songs about the road of death He walked so we'd never have to... songs about the price He paid because of love...

At the altar lay wine and bread... and I watched in silent awe as slowly people began to get up... walk to the alter... and fall to their knees.... and remember. A body broken... blood shed... a veil torn... so that we in our sin and our shame and our failure might see a glimpse of His face... might know His heart for His people.

I could barely breathe as I watched a young father walk to the altar with his son. They knelt together before their God... the father with his arm around his son. And suddenly tears spilled down my face....

How did it feel to give your son for us that would reject you... us that would fail and run and compromise? Did your heart break as his blood spilled and the mockers taunted? Did images of his life run through your mind? Did you weep at His suffering?

I sat in that sanctuary... watching that father... feeling my own child kick and move within me...

Lord how did she feel when she watched the nails pierce His hands? Did her heart break as she saw the child she'd carried... the child she'd raised... the child she'd loved... give His life for those who didn't understand? Did all of the moments she'd pondered in her heart come flooding back into tears of grief as she watched the life of her son slip away?

I thought of the last few months and how much we love our daughter... a sweet baby girl who we haven't even brought into this world yet. I thought of how hard we've fought... how hard we've prayed... how we've cried... how we've hoped... how we've dreamed for her life. How, even now, I couldn't even imagine loosing her.

I was one of the last to make my way to the altar. And as I knelt before Him the moments that I have pondered in my heart... the ones that have made up my life with Him... the ones that have made my life. They all came back.

The night I lay on a cold basement floor and told Him I loved Him... the night I told Him I didn't know much about the bible and there was much of life I didn't understand. I knew only that this life was hard and that there was a huge hole in my heart.

The moment I felt that hole in my heart heal. I remember weeping because I'd never felt so alive.

The old gravel road I walked those days after I first gave my heart to Him and all the things we talked about... all the dreams I laid before Him.

The first time I knelt before an altar... much like the one before me at that moment... and fully realized what He gave.

The moment I held a starving baby and realized how deeply He loves and how desperately He aches for His own.

All of my broken promises... every time I ran... every time I made Him smaller than He was...
All of the moments I've beheld him... known Him... felt Him... the moments I have stood on Holy Ground. The moments I've known the sacred amidst the common and the holy amidst the profane.

Every middle of the night conversation... the moment I was able to stand at my brother's grave and not be angry anymore... walking down the aisle to marry Micaiah... sitting underneath a blanket of African stars wondering what was to come... Margy and I praying the first day I came to work at Grace Refuge... the ways those kids have brought me to my knees... The moment I stood in one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all the world and realized He did not dwell there. The people I've met whose hearts have given me glances into where He truly lives.

The tears continued to fall as I took the bread and the cup.

Again she moved within me.

And I lost all words. There are none. None that would be enough to thank Him... to describe Him... to describe this love that has ebbed it's way into my life. There are no words for what He has been nor what He has done. I am a woman of many flaws and many failures. I love imperfectly and I live imperfectly... and my faith, at times, feels so much smaller than a mustard seed. I've never made a mountain move. I've never walked on water. I'm the one who would have doubted and asked to see the marks in His hands... I'm the one that would have denied Him three times... I'm that disciple. I'm that woman... the one who deserves the stones to be thrown. The one who has no business washing the feet of her Jesus. I'm the one who has a hard time forgiving once let alone 77 times 7. I'm the one who has yelled "Why?" I've denied Him, walked away from Him, been unfaithful to Him.

I got a letter from a friend I haven't talked to for a long time. She told me she'd been reading this blog and that it seems "your faith has really gotten you through all of this".

I'm a ye of little faith. If this whole thing were up to me I wouldn't be sitting here... writing this. I'm here because He reached when I ran... He kept knocking when I refused to answer.... He continued to speak even when I'd stopped listening. He continued to pursue even when I pushed Him away. He forgave long before I could forgive myself. He was the one whose love broke this cold cold heart. He was the one who gave songs in the night. He was the one I felt beside me through every step of this broken road. When the lights went out... He's the one who held my hand and walked me through it. If it had been up to theology I wouldn't be here. If it had been about following rules and reading enough devotions I wouldn't be here. If there was a prayer quota or a good works assessment I wouldn't be here. If it was up to showing up on Sunday and serving on church committees I wouldn't be here. I'm here because one night... on a basement floor... he filled the hole in my heart... and at that moment there was really no way I could deny He was real. The night love flooded my life and I came alive... that's how I'm still here. Because He's held me in this place since the very first day I decided I didn't want to do life on my own.

He's the one whose gotten me through all of this. This life, my sin, my shame, the unknown places, the secret spaces, the hard edges of my heart.

Finally after drinking the cup... the words came as I placed my hand over my sweet baby girl...

"I will not forget what you did. I will not forget this love. Jesus I'll tell her of this love......"

"He died that we might have life... and have it to the full."-John 10:10

I'll tell her of the Jesus who gave her mommy a new heart and a beautiful love.

Much Love and a very Happy Easter to you all,