Five Minute Friday : Truth (for my 7 year old)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetSon,

Seven years ago today I heard your first cries and held you in my arms for the first time and stepped into this new adventure of motherhood. Today, you are big and strong and learning and growing so much. More than anything, I want you to know the truth about yourself, about my love for you, about the fact that you were created by a God who knew you and loved you before I even knew you existed.

My constant prayer for you, my strong seven year old, is that you will live by these truths, that you will speak love and truth to those around you, that your laughter and joy in life will keep pouring over into everyone you meet. Be a truth-seeker and a truth-speaker, son. Be brave and courageous, knowing that God is with you. And that I will always love you.

Love,

Momma

(linking up with here with Lisa Jo)

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Five Minute Friday: Grace

Five Minute Friday

The silence has been deafening here, no? It has to me. So as a way to break the silence I am joining up here with five minutes on my lunch break. Five minutes on Grace.

GO:Grace.

A definition: “disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency”

I need so much of this beautiful stuff, the stuff that enables me to keep breathing when it feels like the weight of life and responsibilities are pushing in.

Grace.

For myself, most especially, I find. When others are running late or don’t quite delivery, it feels easier to give grace there. But when I fail, when I let myself or others down? Well, lately I’ve been bringing out the whip and flinging it over my shoulders, over and over again.

It has to stop. I don’t think I’m the only one either. All us mommas, us women, why do we beat ourselves up and refuse to love ourselves just. as. we. are?

I have a little faded piece of a sticky note on my bulletin board at work with this:

“Grace must find an expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.” – Karl Barth

Today, I will give grace to myself even as I seek to extend it to those around me.

STOP

13 months on

How many times in the past months have I started a blog post only to delete it? Too many. Not necessarily writer’s block as I’ve been filling my paper and pen journal plenty. But somehow in the days between Naomi’s first birthday and this day, marking her 13th month in Heaven, I lost my voice here. My days have been filled with the ordinary beautiful of boys and summer and work and pressing on while looking up.

Lately grief has been sneaking up on me and surprising me when I’m not expecting it. Because this past month, having made it one year…was like a big sigh of relief. I still miss Naomi, more than ever it seems sometimes. But I’m learning how to keep living even with the pain of missing. Some days that goes better than others.

Last week I went into the break room at work and someone had left one of those lists of a hundred random facts…like approximately one-sixth of your life is spent on Wednesday…or an iguana can stay under water for 28 minutes. And then there was this one…

When you are dying your sight is the first sense to go and your hearing is the last sense.

And right then I was back in those moments, just be for 10:12 am on June 22, 2012. I know the last words Naomi heard, they are etched forever in my heart. A prayer by our pastor and then these words.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:1, 2, 5-11 ESV)

And since that day she entered the fullness of joy I have desperately sought the path of life, the path back to joy. God has preserved me as I have taken refuge in Him. He has not abandoned me. Not for one moment. And in this day I am so grateful for the joy that has returned to my heart in some measure.

Last month we got to see Naomi’s marker, freshly installed, when we visited the site where we planted her earthly shell. It is beautiful. My heart swelled both with pride and grief as her eldest big brother read the whole inscription to our family and our parents who came to spend the day with us.

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Thirteen months into this journey of being a mother missing a child and I can say that we have been incredibly blessed in this journey…with family and friends who’ve loved us, with two other healthy children, with jobs and a home, but most importantly with a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father whose grace continues to sustain us every day.

I pray that today, you, dear reader, would know His love and grace, wherever you are in your life’s journey.

Peace,
Lacy

on a day i’m needing some courage

DSC05420_2There are some parts of my life right now that I am actually getting excited about again, where I see amazing things happening and I am getting to be part of how God is working in a larger way. Some of those things have come as a direct result of Naomi and the path I’ve gone down since she went to Heaven. I don’t for a minute believe that she had to die for these things to happen. I don’t think God works that way. But I do see that there is good coming out of something that was and will always be bad – because death was never in the plan originally. It wasn’t what we were meant for. We were made to live, to live abundantly. It really does amaze me when I can sit back and see these places where I see life coming out of the death of someone I love so very much and out of my deep grief. I am thankful for that.

But then there are these other parts of my life that feel so incredibly hard and insurmountable. These are things that were there before we knew Naomi was sick. For a large part of this past year I just ignored them because I couldn’t handle anything else and really I found I didn’t care so much about those things because I was hurting so badly. But recently I’ve been starting to face them, to wake up, so to speak, once again to these realities. Today, it all seemed so big that I just wanted to give up (and just maybe the screaming and fighting and needs of two little boys on top of these things was just pushing me a bit over the edge?)

One of the things that I have found in myself over this past year is, I guess, courage. Perhaps I could call it candor? I struggle incredibly with self-doubt and with wanting to please others. However, this past year I think that I have come to a place of seeing how futile the self-doubt truly is. I’ve begun to learn to trust more of how I hear the Lord speaking to me and who he has made me to be. And because I have faced what I never thought I could face, I’ve learned a courage that is not built on my own strength, but on a deep knowledge of my weakness and God’s all sufficient strength. So these things in life that feel really hard? I know I need courage to face them, but courage and patience, candor and wisdom to do it in God’s strength and as he leads.

This afternoon with these thoughts in my head (and after escaping to the park with those two energetic boys) I opened up my copy of Jesus Today by Sarah Young, asking God to speak some words of strength to my flailing heart. This book of devotionals are written as if Jesus is speaking directly to the reader. Sitting on a bench in the shade while sand flew through the air and a hole to China was being dug, this is what I read:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for I will be with you wherever you go. You can choose to be strong and courageous even when you are feeling very weak. However, the weaker you feel, the more effort it takes to choose to be strong. It all depends on where you look. If you gaze at yourself and your problems, your courage will melt away. The choice to be bold rests on your confidence that I am with you and for you…When everything seems to be going wrong, refuse to get discouraged. Remember that I am a God of surprises: I am not limited by the way things are or by the paltry possibilities you can see. I am infinitely creative and powerful…I am good to those who wait for Me.

One of the verses that went along with this entry was Lamentations 3:25-26, one of my favorite passages of Scripture this past year:

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

I so needed to hear these words of truth today. Sometimes it is hard for me to hope for good things in the future, because often I have a very specific idea of what that looks like and yet I know that what I think would be good for me and my family may not actually be what is best. It is hard to hope and dream after one has had their dreams shattered because you wonder if those dreams were right and if they were then why didn’t God bring them to fruition? I don’t understand God’s ways. But I am seeking to trust him and follow him because even though I don’t understand him, I know, deep in my soul, that he is good, that he loves me and that somehow he will bring redemption and restoration to all that is lost.