Sunday, April 24, 2011

Safe in His Nail Scarred Hands.

Easter for me took on a whole new meaning after Gracie died. Before Gracie, I was thankful for the cross, thankful for His sacrifice and the forgiving of my sins for sure. Yet, there was a disconnect. After experiencing death right before me, and burying a child, Easter would never be the same. I could not stop weeping that first Easter with such deep gratitude that my baby although no longer with me, was NOT in the grave. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness in the knowledge that my sweet pea was not lost, or gone. No, she was safe in the nail-scarred hands of the One who that took on the sin of the world. My sweet lovely girl was still as lovely and sweet as the day she was born. Gracie never had to experience true death. She was never apart from God. Jesus experienced this true death...separation from the Father. I can't even begin to imagine the extent of this sacrifice. That the One who spoke this world into motion willingly gave up His power to enter this broken world only to be broken and spilled out. He experienced this true separation from God, so that my baby would live, so that I would live, and that you would live too. Words could never describe the thankfulness of this mama's heart in knowing that because of His great love, that Gracie is healed and safe holding His nail scarred hands, and dancing at his pierced feet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Today I will walk into our neighborhood school, with my sweet little boy in hand and attend 'Ready, Set, Learn.' This program is geared for 4 year olds who will be entering Kindergarten in the Fall. It gives the children (and parents) a look at the school, introduce them to teachers and staff, as well as enjoy fun little engaging activities. I can't believe my boy will be going to Kindergarten in just a few short months. I have been trying all day to suppress the well of emotion that is brewing within. There is something difficult in allowing your children to grow up. I know it sounds ridiculous, it sounded ridiculous as I typed it, but that is how I am feeling. Time seems to be my enemy. Days fly by at a super warp speed, leaving me dazed at times to truly see how quickly my children are in fact growing. They are growing not only in physicality, but emotionally, socially, mentally, and spiritually. I get so wrapped up in the calendar that I lose sight of these precious moments of growth. I am so busy folding laundry and wiping down counters that I am guilty of missing opportunities to just get down on the floor and play Polly Pockets or Toy Story. One day I will be folding laundry and wishing I had the choice of a clean house or a tiny hand to hold. So why, even when I have already learned this lesson, do I find myself back here? Why is this balance of keeping a clean house (cause let's face it I do not want to end up on TLC's Hoarders) and also making time with my kids a priority so difficult? As these life markers appear - first day of K, riding a bike with no training wheels, play dates without me, etc. I need to see them as a positive tool, a way to re-focus on what is truly important.

I think for me, these milestone's remind me that although it is a first for Isaiah it is also a last for me as a mother. It pricks my heart to the core as it reminds me that I will never walk into an elementary school holding Gracie's hand. It is again, bittersweet. So sweet because I am excited for Isaiah and all the new things he will learn and experience, yet also bitter as I am reminded of how short life experiences were for my sweet pea.

So here I am, feeling much the same as my son I am sure; nervous, excited, sad, and happy all rolled into one. I know our heavenly Father is cheering us on. He is saying ready, set... LET GO! It is not easy letting go of what you know as familiar and comfortable. Standing on the edge of the unknown is the apex of such anxiety. Those few short moments before you let go and free-fall into His plan and care is when the enemy takes his greatest jabs. So as I stand on the edge of this last stage of preschool years, I take a deep breath, say a prayer and cheer on my son (and myself) to get ready, get set...and let go!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Intentional GRACE.

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

- Elizabeth Stone

I love this quote, it rings so true in my own heart. We have our first child and we realize fully how we will never be the same. We look into the eyes of this precious, little one and realize that she is no longer safely nested within us, but has been introduced to this cold, and sometimes scary world. God instills in us, as mothers, this mama bear protection switch. This switch is usually on stand-by until the moment we realize that we are responsible for our baby. The moment we hear that newborn cry - the switch is set and locked to 'ON.' That is why we wake from a deep sleep just moments before we hear the baby's cry for milk. Our bodies were created to protect and care for our children. So what happens when we can't be there to protect? As our children grow and go to school, or to a sports class, or Sunday School what then? We lose a sense of control.

Yet, I am beginning to see that control is not the same as protection. I am learning that hovering over each step my child makes, lining pillows on the sidewalk as she learns to roller-blade may not actually help, but in fact may even hinder. We always want our kids to succeed, be number one and always feel happy. I think a healthier stand point is striving for safety, boundaries, love and security - these are at least attainable. This yearning for safety for our children is so deep wired, which is so good, but we must be careful to allow some freedom and room to fail. Our small group is reviewing a DVD series and in it was this concept of failing. Our kids need to be allowed the grace to fail and learn the tools of restoration. We are ALL in desperate need of such grace. So, when our child falls from the playground structure even after we told him that the monkey bars were too high, what do we do with the guilt? I know for me, guilt is always right under the surface of almost all I do. I can't protect my kids all the time, nor could I stop the process of what happening to sweet Gracie. We are commissioned to set boundaries for our children, set the stage of God's love and provide security, but really the scope of control ends there. I had such little control when it came to Gracie, which was devastating to my type-A, controlling personality. Learning to trust an unseen God in the face of my deepest fear was the hardest lesson I have ever had to learn. My journey of Grace taught me more than ever before how children are but on loan to us for a very little time. What we do with that time is precious. We must be intentional in all that we do, even intentional in allowing our children to fall. Now don't get me wrong, I am not speaking about neglect. Neglect is different. Neglect is willful and selfish. Rather, I am speaking of intentional grace.

Allowing our children room to fail is intentional grace. When we see our child fall off his bike and skin his knee and help him back up again, we are teaching him about hardships and the perseverance needed. This will give him tools down the road when he wants to quit the sports team cause practices are too demanding. When we allow our child to work out her friendship fights, we are giving them the tools to working with difficult personality types. Taking a failure and turning into a lesson of grace and restoration is our Father's heart. Life can be so overwhelming. And if you, like me, feel the lack of control bogging you down, I encourage you today, rid yourself of guilt...and replace it with intentional grace. This life can get you down, but He is there offering you reprieve. After-all, you are HIS child too and He is calling you to learn the unforced rhythms of intentional GRACE.

The Message - Matt. 11:28-29b

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace..."