Brittle Whispers

Charles and I attended church this morning. We have found this church that is literally 5 minutes from our house, and it’s wonderful. We were worshipping and the worship crew was leading us in “One Thing Remains,” by Jesus Culture. The room was filled with voices singing out:

Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me

As my voice sang out blending in with the ones around me, something switched in my heart. It was as if my heartbeat pounded so hard that it awoke a revelation within; and I realized I wasn’t singing out of belief of who God is. I was singing out of a knowing of who God is. My words were no longer simple beliefs that I hoped He would prove true instead they were steadfast facts birthed out of experiences where He proved himself to be true.

My memory quickly took me back to the days when Katie Grace was born and my heart was reeling with the understanding of what life was going to be, and how painful it quite possibly was going to be. I remembered the word curse spoke over Charles and I. The one that said if we ever left this family we served, we would have children of unsound minds and unsound bodies. I remember how lost I felt. How hopeless it all seemed. How confused my heart was as to how we were in the place we were in. I also remember the decision we made to not be mad at God. Bill Johnson, our church’s pastor at the time,  would commonly say while teaching, God is in a good mood. Charles and I decided we were going to believe that. Despite our circumstance, God is a good mood, and those who are in a good mood, they don’t do mean things. Such a simple decision we made. My heart was not leaning on facts or a huge list of experiences. It was a decision I made with my mind, and I would whisper to my heart, “God is in a good mood”, “He doesn’t do mean things to his kids”. “I am not being punished”. “My daughter and whatever life she has is not a punishment”. That was all I had, those whispers. They were not your normal I don’t want anybody to hear because they seem ridiculous whispers. Instead they were those I don’t want anyone to hear because I can barely believe myself and this belief is so brittle that I have to guard it with my whispers. Everyday was a decision about what I would believe. What I didn’t know at that time was that God was taking me up on my belief. He was holding my whispers with all the tenderness that his love carries, and stepping into my belief. The stories of where He proved himself on my journey with Katie Grace are countless. I guess if you read through my blog, you will find the stories there. Stories about the moments when heaven touched earth through my daughter and life was better. Those moments came because I offered the Lord a brittle belief and He proved himself. Luke 17:6 says:

“He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

This is also true for the matters of our hearts. My frail and shatterable belief that God is in a good mood was my mustard seed. Through my quiet whispers and his tender hands, it was planted deep in my heart and as we journeyed together, He showed up. He showed up in her smile, in her laugh, in her pain, and in the opportunity to love her until death. I also showed up. I invited him into the pain, because believing He is good meant that I could trust him with the hurt. It was true, I could. He loved me, showed me where I had faulty beliefs, lead me to truth, and it matured me in him. My heart is a garden of words that I use to help shape life around me, and together he and I planted a fragile belief and together we grew a sustainable knowledge fertilized in the soil of experience where His goodness and his unfailing love proved true.

Today as I stood in that church joining with fellow believers, my words were changed. They were no long quiet brittle whispers, they were instead healthy shouts of praise, strong in their declaration, proven in experience and isn’t that point of this all. This journey with the Lord, to become more than when we started. That as we walk with him, and allow Him deeper and deeper into our hearts and life, that our beliefs about who he is change. That we open ourselves up so much, even with brittle mustard seed like belief, that He is allowed to prove himself. To give us experiences that flips that switch in our heart so our words were no longer beliefs we hope He would prove true but instead they are facts birthed out of experiences where He proved himself to be true.

This time last year

This time last year I was driving, you daughter, to my Aunt’s house, knowing it was possibly the last time your extended family was going to be able to see you.

It was hard trip.

You didn’t feel good.  You had acquired additional medicines and equipment. Packing was a full time job and more then a chore. Yet it was important.  It was meaningful to sit with our family and be grateful.

This year, Katie Grace, we are home.  Your Rebekah is cooking up a storm  in our kitchen, and we are filling our home full of friends.  There is so much to miss without you this year, yet as I sit here snug on the couch watching the fall colors blow in the wind, I am nothing but grateful.

I am grateful for every Thanksgiving I had with you.  That in this world I had the opportunity to know you.  That I have stories to tell of you, like that one time we went to Aunt Nancy’s and we forgot the pole to your stroller that held your kangaroo bag with your food.  So we had to create something on Aunt Nancy’s porch with a nail.  Or that time that you were just irritated with everything and nothing I did helped, so your dad took you and were as happy as could be.  For that alone, that I could watch you love him. Even in your brokenness….everyone knew he was your favorite. I am grateful to have a history to look back on, one where I can talk about your love for your family, your tenacity for your destiny and your laughter. Last night as we walked through Target, grabbing a few items for today, we passed the freezer section, and your dad couldn’t help but say Katie Grace loved this part of Target.  Just like that you were there with us.  Walking that aisle.  Helping us prepare for this day.

We are going to sit down today to eat, and although I will not see your physical body at the kids table. I will know you are with us.  I will see you here and I will remember our history.  I will be grateful that we have a history.  That I have stories to tell and memories to hold.

“How precious are my children who remember to thank Me at all times.  They can walk through the darkest of days with Joy in their hearts because they know that the Light of My Presence is still shining on them. Rejoice in this day that I have made, for I am your steadfast Companion.”- Sarah Young, Author of Jesus Calling. 

 

Man Child

Tomorrow, you will be 7, and you have experienced more in your brief 7 years then most.  Our life today isn’t what I thought it would be when you first came into this world.

When you were born, I was bound in chosen captivity. A captivity that made your life selected for you.  You were destined to be a farmer, to carry a last name that wasn’t yours(a name your dad and I carried also that wasn’t ours), and to walk a path without choice.  You could only be what your dad was, and do what the family was doing.  God was bigger though, and he broke us free. Your birth drove your dad  to no longer settle for complacency, and choosing captivity was more intimidating with you in the world.

The story is long, detailed and I hear often it needs to be in a book, yet at the end we left that family.  You, Me and your dad; three strangers practically; forging our way into a world we had hid from.  Yet we couldn’t stop, we couldn’t quit. We had you.  We needed to be okay. To keep moving, to keeping chasing the Lord wherever we felt led.

I am grateful because it led us to our community.  The one we have to this very day.  A community full of choices, broken people pursing health,  messes, and brave communication.

When your sister was born, it was that community that held us.  And it was you who pushed us to not stop.  To not quit.  But to be okay, to keep moving, to keep chasing the Lord wherever he led.  You needed us to be okay, to find the strength to do life with Katie Grace well.  You needed us to be the example of how to find God in the pain. To watch us learn how to lean into his chest and breathe in his peace as your heartbreaks.  You needed to see us trust him when it looked like we shouldn’t.  To chose forgiveness when we had every right to chose bitterness.  To chose grace when could have been angry and to chose to be powerful when we could have been a victim.

Not only did your presence push us but you met us there.  You embraced your sister in the fullness of who she was from the moment we brought her home.  You were insistent upon reading her books each night before bed.  You were careful and aware of how fragile she was.  As her care demanded more, and equipment began to fill our house, you carried an awareness of tubes and cords, diligently making sure not to pull or trip over anything.  That tenderness that wraps your heart and oozes out your pores, drew you to her.  Letting her nurses step in as your playmates but always pretending she was playing with you, sitting next to her as you worked on your leapster including her in your games and photos.

To be honest son, some days I get lost in all that you have had to negotiate in your life. Between your dad and I learning how to do marriage, our sweet Katie Grace, and our rocky beginning; I wonder how on earth you have turned out so well.  Earnest to makes those around you laugh, so free with your love and compliments, your tenderness.  And then I write this, and as I type I am overwhelmed with the bigger picture.  You see you are a catalyst son.  Your dad and I would not be where we are today without you.  We wouldn’t be who we are today without your sister, but surely we would not be where we are without you.  You have held us in account for how we do life.  Your presence has called us to chase after the deeper.  To be better and to keep moving.  You are one, Isaac Adam, who will call people to health.

Please forgive me for every moment, my heart mourned that you didn’t have a “normal” life.  That I thought my “mistakes” took away from you.  I see now…..I see how much I couldn’t have done what I did, if I didn’t have you. And how much that is apart of your destiny.  A part of the greatness that God has for you.

I am going to swap my mourning for dancing and my sorrow for joy.  I am going to dance on injustice and declare the goodness.  Thank you my boy, for being you. For running the race with your dad and I.  For saying yes to your sister. For being the watching eyes that called us to greater. For giving us your laughter, your love, and your tenderness.  You have changed my world in ways I am just beginning to understand.

I love you man child. Happy Birthday!

The Deliberate Crumble (9 month mark)

Tomorrow begins my deliberate crumble.  My healthy resolve to fall into pieces and I find myself fascinated at how God designed us as human beings to recover. Did you know that the body has 4 stages of healing when wounded?

  1. Red blood cells form a blood clot, which helps stop the bleeding and creates a temporary barrier.
  2. The inflammation phase where the body sends white blood cells to capture and fight off any rogue bacteria might have gotten through.
  3. Then the Fibroblast cells enter the wound, dropping off collagen, that forms connective skin tissue to replace what was lost.
  4. Then the dermis and epidermis connect and contract to close the wound.

Amazingly after this full process, the skin is likely to be much stronger than it was before the wound. 

My journey with Katie Grace is much like the four stages of healing.  I had already had a deep cut when we left Georgia, our whole family did, Katie Grace was like our inflammation phase, she was our white blood cells, and walking through life with her was collagen, it formed the connective skin tissues that replaced what we lost in Georgia.  Her death, was our final stage of healing with her, and it closed the wound in many ways.

I find myself missing not just Katie Grace but the healing presence she brought.

The house is filled with only the sound of worship.  My head leans back into the softness of the olive colored chair, finding it’s nook amongst the cushion.  With each breath out blows the holding on and with each inhale brings a stillness my heart fears.   Then I see it, the tight hold of my hand, and I know it has been my heart. Soft words are spoken.

“Will you let me peel back the layers covering you? Will you let me in so I can bring you out?”

And just like a healed wound is gentle unwrapped, I know God is calling me out to slowly and deliberately let him pull back the gauze I have used to hold me together.  He is asking me to trust that the wound is healed.  That it is better then ever before.  That I am better then ever before.

To be honest I thought it would be easier.  I fashioned myself to not be a victim of what life handed me and in all of that I find that it is a harsh reality to also not stay a victim after Katie Grace has passed.  My life the last 5 years has been my yes possibly meaning no, always having a backup plan, and to always not know what is going to happen and when. That style of living allots you a trump card, a way to not go somewhere if you don’t want to. To not have to really follow through and it’s valid when you are in the middle of it. It is valid to have that trump card.  But when you step out, when your life doesn’t need a trump card, you need to latch onto the new reality.   To realize that it is time to allow the layers be peeled back.  It is why the Lord’s sweet voice calls out.  It is a stage in the healing process.  This is where you find how much you have grown, how much you have changed, how much you have inside of you.

Unraveling the bandage for me looks like follow through, it looks like clear communication, it looks my yes meaning yes, and my no meaning no.  To do that though, to have follow through, I need to trust who I am.  I need to trust that as God unravels the bandage, as he peels back the layers of white, that what I find is not a skinny arm, cut open, unused for 5 years, but instead I will find a whole, strong arm, put back together better than when first formed, with a skin held tighter together then ever before.

God’s grace and presence never left me, never abandoned me.   To trust the process, to chose a deliberate crumble, is to walk out the belief of that truth.

Tomorrow begins my deliberate crumble.

Radio Silence

Whew!

It’s the best descriptive word I can use to describe what the last 3 months have been like.  My mom moved back down to Southern California, Charles and I sold our house, moved our stuff into storage and in with friends who become more like family then ever, and then moved again into the place we have now.

Just writing it out is exhausting.

We are here though.  We are slowly settling into our new home.  A home I believe God has given us for rest.  A place to heal, to recover, and to understand the past 5 years.

In 9 days, it will be 9 months since, we said our goodbye to KG.  This time last year, we knew death was upon us and we started to change our mindset.  We believed we had a year so we set out to make that time the best it could be.  What we didn’t know was that we only had 3 months.  We had Thanksgiving, Birthday Party, Christmas, and then Goodbye.  I am not sure what the next 3 months are going to hold.  I don’t know how hard the 9 month mark is going to hit my heart, or what 1 year will look like.

What I do know, is as life is slowing down and there are more days marked off the calendar then aren’t, my heart misses her more.  The tight grip I held onto to keep moving, is slowly loosening, and upon me will be a season of crumbling into this beautiful healthy mess of a soul.

And around me will be the most beautiful Father and the most gracious of community’s to lift me up and hold our family tight in this season.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑