Monday, December 19, 2011

Mary's Obedience

I have been thinking quite a bit about obedience lately, especially in regards to Mary. To think that such a young girl would be called to such a huge and overwhelming task is unfathomable to me. I love how God's ways are so often opposite to what our ways would be. To think that God would choose a girl - not a queen, nor a king, but a simple young girl from the long family line of a mere shepherd boy turned warrior king. Mary, descendant of David, was called to put all reason aside and just trust in sheer obedience.

Mary had a lot of reasons to disobey, and flat out refuse the call on her life. She had to endure the initial shock of the angel, then had to try to wrap her head around the mysterious and frightening idea that she would be with child which I am sure led to the panic of what others would say about her, her family, and her betrothed. I am sure she feared her for her life. How do you explain to the one you are giving your life to such inexplicable news? I can't even begin to imagine the look of pain and betrayal in the eyes of Joseph (who we know loved her enough to want to divorce her in quiet - before he knew the truth from the angel himself). Ugh - talk about a stressful situation! Yet here we see Mary in the middle of an inexplicable encounter choosing to obey. After asking the obvious question of "how can this be...since I am a virgin?" she receives yet another ambiguous piece to the mysterious puzzle. Even after this strangely wonderful, yet frightening encounter, she simply says "I am the Lord's servant...may your word be fulfilled." (Luke 1) WOW - talk about obedience.

I know if it were me, I would have had a million questions. My type A personality would have asked the angel to hold on for a moment while I grabbed for a pen and paper so I could jot down notes while he spoke. I know our own personal journey with Grace was full of the unknown. Trusting the Hand of an unseen God is not easy. Yet I knew His voice, for He had guided me all my life through ups and downs, highs and lows. He was my Shepherd, and although I did not know the path and although it often was a path I did not want to tread, I still trusted His rod and His staff. Obedience for me didn't always come easy - and perhaps it was a struggle for Mary too? There were times I fought, and fought hard against what I knew was His will for Grace. He, in His love for me, allowed me the fight - but, as Andrew told me - God is big enough to handle our anger, questions and disappointments.

So as you enter this Christmas season, I am mindful that there are some of you who are in the middle of an inexplicably painful place. Although it has been a few years without Grace, the painful reminders of life without her remain. There are some of you in this ardent place of grief this year. There are also some of you living in the unknown of whether this Christmas will be the last one with a loved one. While some are picking up the pieces of broken dreams and relationships. No matter where you are in the scheme of life this year- whether you are singing all the jolly Christmas songs with gusto because life is beautifully wonderful, or if you find yourself crying yourself to sleep longing to just feel at peace again, I encourage you to come to the rough wooden cradle of Jesus, just the same, and worship Him. For in Him true peace, joy and fulfillment can be found. In Him, the eternal hope of true healing and wholeness is available to all who call on His name. Will you like Mary, in the midst of chaos and unfathomable confusion, choose to obey even if it doesn't make sense? Will you accept the call on your life and trust that He can make beauty from ashes?

The past few weeks for me have been emotionally draining, and I found myself yet again at the foot of the old rugged wooden cross. Obedience is not always the natural choice. It is often uncomfortable and even painful. Obedience for me is constantly and willingly releasing the pain that I sometimes so desperately want to hold on to. It is trusting even when I don't have the blueprint of life ahead of me. This Christmas may my response be as Mary's, in obedience may my heart say "I am the Lord's servant."

Monday, December 12, 2011

And So We Light a Candle...

Dec. 11, 2011 @ 7pm - Yesterday was the Compassionate Friends World Wide Candle Lighting -lighting a candle for all the children who have died... that their light will always shine.

And so we light a candle reminding ourselves that your light still burns brightly. As we enter this Christmas season, our hearts though grieving, find comfort in the HOPE of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. It is this very HOPE that spurs us forward knowing that with each passing day we are one day closer to being reunited with our sweet pea, Gracie, for all eternity.

We also light a candle in remembrance of other sweet angels and their families who have walked the painful path. We thank those of you, our dear family & friends, who continue to support us with your love, uplift us with grace & understanding, and bless us with your kindness and gentle encouragement.

Sweet baby of mine - may you always remember that we will never forget, and never forget that we will always remember.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Babies Don't Keep...

In the next few weeks Canuck Place will put out the latest CP Newsletter - and we were selected as the feature family! Anyone who knows our story, knows the important role Canuck Place had in our journey of Grace. As I read through the article, my heart swelled with pride and pain all rolled into one. Knowing that my sweet baby will once again impact this world, and hopefully will spur the hearts of others to give to this incredible organization fills this Mama's heart with joy. On the flip side, sharing her story also pricks my grieving heart to its core, reminding me of how quickly time is passing and how much I long to have her back in my arms.

A few friends have just had babies, or are just about to give birth - it's a wonderful time of year to be pregnant or to have a tiny bundle to snuggle with! I often think of how Mary must have felt cradling our tiny Saviour in her arms that first night. As I reflect on how quickly time is passing, I want to share with you a special poem that a friend of mine shared with me awhile back - it's a beautiful reminder to savor the moments with your child. And that is what is on my heart today - reminding myself to enjoy the moments...for afterall, I have learned all too well to my sorrow - that babies don't keep.

Babies Don't Keep

Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton