Friday, February 15, 2008

Living Dangerously

What are the terms? Boundaries, balance, American Academy of Pediatrics reccommendations... So many choices how to guide my life decisions, and our decisions for babygirl.

Facing fear seems to be a topic God is working on with me recently.

My first big scary thing, putting babygirl to bed at night in her crib. Thats where the AAP comes in. She isn't six month yet, officially it is safer for her to sleep in our room. But, our room is small. She is too big for the basinet, and 2 out of the 3 of us sleep much better with her in her own room. The 1 out of 3 is me. All my life I've struggled with fear at night, when I wasn't in control. As a child at night I was afraid of fire, storms, robbers... now I get to add the fear of my child ceasing to breath, besides the danger of fire, storms, and burglers who might now decide to become kidknappers. It was so much easier to cacoon the three of us in our room. Where I could see her from my bed, could grab her in a second if necessary. When I wake up at 3am feeling the need to make sure she is OK, God has been teaching me to trust Him. His eyes see more clearly. His hands are faster and stronger than mine.

So He is setting me up for challenge number 2. There are people out there. People who need Him. People who I hear Him calling me to care for. There is a family who I already love but I'm not sure I can trust. These are real people, who really need God. But they could be dangerous. My mind works, It is not just me to consider. I have an innocent little one. What if because of them something would happen to baby girl? Shouldn't I protect her keep her safe. I ask these questions, but my heart calls out God's answer. He is able to protect her, keep her safe. But he desires to use us, including babygirl, to make others safe for eternity. God's call is to live sacrificially, to visit the prisoners, the sick, people who are dangerous.

As I ponder these things, yesterday God added another layer. I may be contemplating the danger of crib suffocation, or loving people with difficult histories. But I am sure very few Northern IL students were pondering the dangers of attending geology class, yet that was the most dangerous day in there life. It often takes tragedy to teach the true meaning of protection. It is not in the caccoon that we can try to build around ourselves and our children's lives, but in the safety of our souls held securely in God's hands. For neither death nor life... nor anything else in creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord! {Romans 8:38,39}

Monday, February 4, 2008

A heart that knows Him...

A song popped into my head today, one I hadn't heard in a long time. The amazing thing is that it is the same song that became a lifeline for me, 6 years ago today.

Six years ago today I was awakened by a phone call from my dad in NY to tell me my nephew had been born in Georgia. My dad could barely hold in his proud delight. I got all the vital statistics, expressed my delight, hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and tried to hold back a torrent of tears.

You see, it should have been me. I was supposed to have the first grandchild. My 4th anniversary was just a few weeks away. My brother and his wife had only just past the 15 month mark. While they were celebrating the arrival of a baby they had not planned and weren't particularly prepared for, I was grieving the failure of my last cycle of infertility treatments. I wanted to be happy with them. But it was so hard when their joy just seemed to highlight my pain.

Lying on my bed I silently cried to God for help. Immediately the song came to me. I hadn't heard it in years:

...And a heart that knows You
is a heart that can wait
Die to the dearest desire
...And a heart that knows You
Is a heart that can still celebrate
Following love through the fire

It is a Twila Paris song I used to listen to a lot in college. And that day the words seemed to be written just for me. I dug out the tape, and played it in my car on the way to work. There were more words that touched my heart and gave me hope. "... it may be for my sake just to help me grow, maybe for your kingdom Lord, I don't need to know."

That day was a turning point. Oh I still stuggled, almost constantly for months and off and on for years. But I remembered those words and somehow it brought me great hope, that "I didn't need to know."

This morning, I was awakened by babygirl's laughter and chattering. As baby girl and I cozied in for her breakfast that song came to me again. It was then that I realized the date, and that I was in the very same place, lying on my bed. Only this time my dearest desire was in my arms. I had waited. I had followed love through the fire, I had reached the blessing on the other side. I still can't say that I know just why God took me through this trial, but it doesn't seem to matter right now. Right now life is filled with easy joy. Celebration is spontaneous.

But I know that as long as I remain in this world, someday there will be another fire. Another time when I will be called to celebrate through my own tears. I pray that experiencing this blessing on the other side will help me to persevere with more strength than I had before. And I am so thankful for the song that reminds me I don't need to know why, I just need to know Him.

{"A Heart That Knows You" is from the album by the same title, by Twila Paris, 1992.}

{Another note: I found out later on that Twila Paris had also experienced years of involuntary childlessness. Although the song does not speak directly about infertility, it was such a "God thing" to realize that this song really may have been written just for someone like me.}

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Humble Man

I have been thinking about something all week and just needed to write it out.

Last Sunday we went to a visitation. A friend's husband died in an accident. It was sudden, unexpected, so sad. We arrived at the visitation about 5 minutes before it started. We waited in line two and a half hours before we got to talk to our friend. There were well over 1,000 people waiting to offer their condolences.

As we waited two women walked by talking. One was younger (late teens, 20's?) The other was an older women who worked at the church. I couldn't quite hear what the younger woman asked, but could see the amazement on her face. I clearly heard the older woman's response, "No, he was just a humble man who was loved by many." Those words sunk in, they have been rolling around my thoughts. What an aspiration, to be humble and loved.

I have imagined what the younger woman might have asked. Was he famous? Was he important? Certainly it must have been something like that. Maybe he was rich? powerful? To have touched so many lives, that he would be missed by thousands. But no, he dispatched school busses and raised pigs. He touched people in the everyday.

It is so easy to desire to become "known". We want to be remembered for our accomplishments, our abilities. It is so easy to forget that it is our humble everyday that touches people most. In our quest for a life of significance, it is easy to forget that it is things like kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, and faithfulness that leave a lasting legacy.

A famous movie star died at the same time. In twenty years I might vaguely recognize his name from some old movie. But in twenty years I am sure I will clearly remember the "humble man who was loved by many."

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." Galations 5:22-23a