Emmanuel Moments

Christmas Eve. 

  
Reflections of light from gold trimmed decorations mirror moments of joy glimmering in my heart. 

Glass stars point towards heaven as the Angel shines down upon gifts wrapped in disposable paper. 

Eternal lessons wrapped up as examples of Love incarnate; tokens of affection to carry a memory home. 

Infant child resting in his ceramic crib as the candle burns low. 

Laughter and tears mingle as the Redeem worship. 

Oh Holy night. 

Advent Surrender

Surrender

 To give control or use of something to someone else (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

“…But you don’t know what he did to me…”

“…move again?”

“…my kids…”

To give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc… “He surrendered himself to a life of hardship. (dictionary.com)

“…actions speak louder than words…”

“…my boss…”

“…the weather…”

“…my church…”

Surrender

A very simple word with unimaginable implications.

I never understood just how big the word surrender really was until this morning. I was passing by my little table top nativity scene and pondered the little empty space among the sheep, waiting to be occupied by my little ceramic baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.

An infant. A tiny, helpless, vulnerable infant.

film_nativity_scene

It hit me like a spiritual truck.

Picture it – The creator of the entire universe, the God over all of eternity, the infinite, majestic Now who is beyond human comprehension or my fumbling words, humbles himself enough to become a helpless, vulnerable, dependent, drooling, crying infant.

Ultimate surrender

We see the scene everywhere this time of year as we sing songs about Emmanuel, God with us.

The Son of God, God incarnate – GOD – born to a human, among other humans.

 To give up control of something to someone else.

Jesus, giving up control to Mary, Joseph, teachers, neighbors… the Roman soldiers, Herod, Caiaphas…

God

From the moment it was ordained He would be born to die, He surrendered.

December is my sad month – it has been for many years. Yet, each year as I have sought God and embraced life with all of its ups and downs, joys and pains, and the ever flowing tide of change, the Advent season is becoming a time of peace.

Sadness and peace can and do co-exist.  

This December I was feeling sad, forsaken by a friend, taken for granted, missing my kids as I baked cookies alone, fretting over finances, grad school, our ministry losses, and dreading the thought of selling our home and the work involved in moving – yet again.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  Matt. 16:24-25

It always seemed like such a harsh passage and terrible burden; losing my life to save it, denying myself, taking up the cross of crucifixion. Really? What a harsh reality, this Christian life of disciples.

No, it’s not.

Our heavy burden was not only take from us, but he carries the burden and us. It’s not harsh, it’s not a burden. It’s actually quite simple.

Surrender

To agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting etc., because you know you will not succeed (Websters Collegiate Dictionary.)

Surrender

I understand the infant part – I know what it is to hold, nurture, care for, and protect my helpless babies. I know what it feels like to be willing to die if it means saving them. I have agonized when I can’t take their pain and carry it for them. I know what it is like to wrestle a toddler who doesn’t want his diaper changed, or to carry her screaming into the house and out of the storm, even though she wants to play.

Black and White baby Levi

I can surrender into safe arms like that. I can be God’s infant and stop fighting, resisting, or hiding because His arms are too big for me to fight against.

Surrender has nothing to do with our future actions, and everything to do with His past example.

When I am tempted to fret, I will gaze upon the manger and resist the temptation to hide from the One who loves me best.

Advent has taught me Surrender.

The Violent Love of Christmas

There are defining moments in our lives that determine which path we will take, which direction we will travel, and how long we will take to arrive at our destination. For many of us, those defining moments turn into defining days, weeks, years, or even decades. I have found the Advent season to be a defining period that reflects back upon my decades of defining moments.

nativity

I appreciate the people who extend sympathies about the loss of our son when I blog or post about it – twenty-five years later. Though it is true I often state that I will never get over my son’s death in response to the common misconception that any of us should ever “get over” the loss of a loved one, I wouldn’t trade any of my life’s experiences for the endurance, and empathy it  has produced.

My life, my world view, and theological values and beliefs have all been shaped by the loss of my son. I identify with the quote by C.S. Lewis,

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

I don’t know how to see life any other way than through the lens of faith and in the presence of Christ. Jesus is my oxygen and without Him I am left breathless.

The Christmas season is a such a wonderful time of reflection for me. Not just because it s a warm, fuzzy, happy time, but because the history of Christmas reflects the truth of real life – when we let it. 

Just as is happening today in Syria, the slaughtering of the innocent took place at the time and location of Jesus birth. Herod was murderer – so much so, that the writings of Josephus don’t even mention the biblical account of the slaughter of the male children under age two. In reality, there probably weren’t many males under age two, in the small town of Bethlehem at that time. Herod was known for the slaughter of multitudes so a few children would not have made history.

It was into that volatile climate that the Hope of the world was born. 

It is also important to note, that the reference to an “inn” is not what we would customarily think of today. There weren’t any Comfort Inns or Best Westerns at that time, and people generally stayed with extended family members, which was in the upper rooms of two story dwellings. “Stables” were a cordoned off sections at the back of the house or caves, on the first floor. Joseph and Mary had traveled about seventy miles to be present for the census. A long and arduous journey for a very pregnant woman. It is also quite possible that extended family didn’t make “room for them at the inn” because of the shameful circumstances surrounding her birth.

For me, there is great comfort in thinking of Jesus born into this persecuted family environment. That his mother Mary and father Joseph may have been mistreated by their own kin. It reveals the very true nature of mankind’s treatment towards those who should be the most loved and cared for. It shows the necessity to care for mothers, infants, widows, and those who family and society casts aside. It shows how we tend to hurt the ones we love the most. How we quickly make judgments based upon circumstances when we don’t know the truth.

As a carpenter, he was also born to the poorest of the poor, not to the highly esteemed. He wasn’t the one given the front row seats or who others sucked up to for influence. He would have been the one with the small struggling ministry, just trying to get by, but loving every minute of serving others. That is how I identify with him in his “Christian ministry.” It is what keeps me grounded. He lived a very real life – no prosperity gospel for Him.

The circumstances of His birth (and life) reveal the enormity of the message of love that God is trying to get across to us – a love that spans culture, status, economics, race, nationality, creed, gender – even family.

A sacrificial love – wrapped up in a parcel of what life looks like without any evidence of true agape love. Hidden, buried, waiting to be revealed through other sacrificial love givers – even in the darkest of times. 

The birth of Christ was wrought with sin, cruelty, selfishness, pride, and tradition.

It was also evidence of what a great difference in mankind a little bit of humility can make. A King of Kings not good enough to be given room in the suite because of personal prejudices and ignorance.

Yet he grew up to continue to live in humble love for us – even the shame and humility of the cross. 

Christmas is a time to reflect upon the pain of this world and the hope, love, joy, peace, and LIFE that overcomes that violence through brotherly love, and Christ-like humility.

Yes, I reflect upon the loss of my son a lot this time of year – the violence of it all – but mostly I reflect upon the birth of Christ, exemplified through His humanity, His poverty, His suffering, His humility – His great love. 

That is the real Christmas story.

Let’s make Jesus the reason for the season. 

Advent Hope, Ways to Honor Infant Death

I visited the cemetery yesterday.  I spent the two-hour drive, listening to the angelic voices of the Vienna Boys Choir singing  Ave Maria, and other Advent Hymns and picturing all the children who have left us too soon, circled around the feet of God, faces uplifted in glorious song.

Vienna Boys Choir Singing Ave Maria

I decided that today, I would throw it out there and honor Micaiah by doing two things. First, by asking the people who read and are blessed by this blog to make a donation in his name, to feed the malnourished children in the Philippines. These are the kids who have been served as a result of his death –the reason I became a trauma chaplain. So far, I have gotten less than $300 in donations – not enough to provide Advent Hope for a thousand plus kids. So please share this blog, and help me spread the word. Tax deductible donations can be made at:

Compassionate Reach (100% goes to the kids)

Holy 4

For some last-minute Christmas shopping without the lines, you can also purchase Yankee Candles. 40% of the price of the candle is donated back to us, and as you know, 100% of what we get goes directly to the kids. The candle funds will purchase chickens and garden seeds for sustainable food for families.  

You can order through December 13th for Christmas delivery and in time for Advent Feeding. 

Yankee Candle Fundraising Store

I said “two things” so here is how number TWO plays out:

There are few things I would like to tell you about moms who have lost infants. There is never a one size fits all in grief – ever – but these are few things common to many moms who have lost any baby preterm, at birth, or shortly thereafter.

As in all deaths, many of the same do’s and don’ts apply. I won’t list them here, they are written elsewhere and on my website.

  1. Our babies (usually) have a name.(Sometimes for cultural or personal reasons the baby isn’t named.) My son’s name is Micaiah. I love his name, and I never get to hear it in reference to him. Don’t be afraid to ask if our baby had a name and use it.  (NOTE: As in all grief, never say “at least.” I have had people say to me, “At least he wasn’t like four of something.” “At least he didn’t suffer.” I’m not sure he didn’t suffer in the moments leading up to his death, but even if he didn’t, that really isn’t of any comfort.) 
  2. About being “four”… Mothers of infants who have never had a chance to hold, or see our children living outside the womb don’t have many, if any, positive memories. I never saw my son open his eyes, or held him full of life in my arms. I never heard him cry. I never gave him a bath, or held him nursing at my breast.  I never saw a first smile, heard a laugh, or the myriad of other moments that we take for granted. I have nothing positive to remember him by. Our memories are formed as we move into the future without them. Our memories are the ceremonies of remembrance, hearing their names spoken, and by having others remember them. That gives us positive memories to take with us. 
  3. The day of birth is difficult for anyone to remember, but just like you may say to someone with a living child, “How old is your baby now?” you can also ask, “how old would your son be now?” If a Mom doesn’t want to talk about them, you will be able to tell, but most moms like to know our babies have been remembered. 
  4. If you don’t remember the exact day, but you do remember the month or time of the year, you can also say, “It must be difficult for you this time of year remembering your son.” Most of us are thrilled that anyone remembers that we are missing an extra place setting at our table.
  5. You can purchase a small token gift in honor of the child. Today, there are Christmas ornaments for the deceased (I just ordered three.) My daughter started me a collection of Willow Tree figurines that have been a blessings. I think of Micaiah every time I gaze upon the little crafted angels.
  6. You can make a donation to a favorite charity in their name, beyond the day of the funeral as an act of remembrance for a birthday, or Christmas, or just because.

Christmas is a wonderful time to remember a loved one who is missing from this life. Be all things to all people, and maybe you’ll win some.

May the promise and peace of the Christ child move you to love in ways beyond your wildest dreams. 

Jamie

 

Hosanna in the Highest, Advent Resurrection (Happy Birthday Mom)

Born on December 8, 1919, she would have been ninety-six years old today; my Irish, Catholic mother named Mary Josephine Meehan.

She died thirteen years ago, twenty-four years after living with, and beating breast cancer.  She died just three months after our youngest son Samuel, came home from Kazakhstan.

She was tough, and prided herself on it. She didn’t like “sissies,” and raised us to be tough. Life is hard and she wanted us to grow up to take care of ourselves. She grew up across the tracks from Frank Sinatra and told us he was a sissy – a mama’s boy who wouldn’t even hang off of the back of the trolly’s when he was roller skating. She never listed to him sing. “Turn that sissy off.”

She spent most of her childhood in a tenement flat at 311 Ninth St. in Jersey City, NJ. There were cockroaches inside and rats in the outhouse. She talked about stamping her feet to keep the rats away when she sat on the “John.” Born to poor Irish Catholic immigrants, the depression and poverty wasn’t kind to her.  Her name Mary means “bitter” and she told me to never name a child Mary; it’s a “bad-luck name.”

Mary J. Meehan age 8 (My mother)

Mary J. Meehan age 8 (My mother)

I was taught to never put my shoes on the table or I’d have bad luck… never raise my hand to strike my mother, or when I die my hand will stick up out of the grave… never bring a sparrow into the house...never walk backwards down a staircase or Satan will be waiting at the bottom… and never stick my tongue out a her or my tongue would fall off. I never, ever thought about striking my mother, I never stuck my tongue out at her – ever – even when she wasn’t looking.

It was vitally important stuff to know. Life or death. 

She spoke highly of her mother, my grandmother who worked  twelve hours a day, six days a week, at Dix’s Pencil Company, to support her family; she despised her father who spent his days drinking away the cash my grandmother earned. Her mother had married a widower with two children and together they had four more. My mother said her mother had gotten pregnant to “the bum,” trapped, and forced to wed. That piece of information about her mother, she spoke with disgust, “How could she have gotten pregnant by that bum.” My mother ran to meet my grandmother as a child, to be the first to get the warm rolls she would bring home for dinner, often not having enough to feed the whole family. Who ever met her first and helped her carry the bags, won. 

I have heard some others speak well of my grandfather, who died before I was born, but my mother went to her grave despising him – bitterly. (I think – of course – no one can know the intents of the heart in those last moments. ) She told me about her sister that he tried to throw out at window when she born; he wanted a son and despised “another split tail.” She spoke about his drunkenness, his filth, her endless cleaning of the apartment. She talked about coffee in her bottle because it was cheaper than milk in the 1920’s, and revealed that her father had dropped his used condoms into the toy box that was kept under her parents bed. (Her mother never set foot in the Catholic church again because of the guilt – birth control was sin.) Sex was disgusting she said, and she only “did it” for children. My heart breaks when I think of the reasons she had for so much brokenness towards any, and all aspects of relationships. 

Mary (Cox) Meehan

Mary (Cox) Meehan (my grandmother, age 4)

Her bitterness towards men carried over into her marriage and towards all men. The rejection my mother held ran deep and was evident in all her familial relationships, though two of my aunts were a regular part of our holiday gatherings. Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas dinners were a trip, like a Saturday night live skit in living color… 

SNL Thanksgiving Miracle    (Sums up what dinner would be today if any relatives were yet living.)

At the encouragement of the Parish priest my mother married right out of high school. She was a beautiful woman. Father Mac told her Joe Casey was a good man, and she needed to get out of her poverty ridden circumstances to have a better life. I imagine her care and concern for her mother may have kept her from finding her own way. She didn’t marry for love, and her Irish Catholic husband also drank. Joe was a good guy I was told, a “happy drunk,” well liked by everyone, and kind to all. Together they had one child, my sister. When he was drafted to fight during WWII, my mother divorced him which caused her excommunication from the church.  She died having never set foot in the Catholic church again, except for weddings or funerals. She was disgusted by the annulments that can be purchased today.  She never felt worthy of the church again, yet never stopped affirming to us, “I was born a Catholic, and I will die a Catholic.”  She liked the Mass better when it was said in Latin. 

She met my father at a picnic. He was handsome, well dressed, and hard-working. He was a “smooth talker” a salesman by trade, who would become very successful later in life. He was also divorced. I didn’t know anything about my mother’s or my father’s past marriage until I was in my twenties. Divorce was shameful and it was well hidden in my childhood. My sister grew up forced to pretend she my fathers biological child with all the implication that caused to a child.  I just believed she had a couple of extra names due to her Catholic communion and confirmation.

Together, my parents had three children, two boys and me. I am the youngest. I was my father’s pet. Their marriage was a mess – wrought with infidelity and trust issues caused by my father, constant yelling, complaint, and discontent from my mother – But this post is to honor her – not to speak about the pain of her life that carried over into how she raised us. She did the best she knew how with a terribly traumatic past, an unfaithful husband, and limited skills or resources. 

She worked hard her whole life to keep a clean house, immaculate clothing for all of us, and home-cooked meals. She wanted us to have everything – a life far removed from the oppressive poverty she had known.  When I was little she bought me clothes I despised, always wanting to have a china doll of apparent affluence to parade around, in hopes of filling the painful void in her soul. The expenditures caused many battles, even though my frugal father could afford it.  She didn’t know how to express love in any other way – neither by verbal communication or a show of affection. It was quite the opposite.

The day before she died I received the first verbal response to my declarations of love for her. Usually an “I love you,”  was met with “Yeah, yeah, yeah, actions speak louder than words. ” On the day before she died, the words I had always hoped to hear were  spoken weakly, but softly, kindly, from her death-bed, exposing a lifetime of love that was buried beneath pillars of pain,   “I love you Mom.” “I love you too.”  I ran from the room and wept like a baby. I can’t write it, without reliving the moment.

She went home to the Jesus she had met and hidden from, us only a few years before. She would never let me know that she embraced the same God I did – except to say, “Yeah, yeah, I believe all too.” I was raised that a son will take care of His mother so Mary can get anything she wants from Jesus.

She was never able to grasp that the man-God, Jesus, could love her, but I know she understood He was her Savior.  After she died I found a bible we had given to her – highlighted, worn, sinners prayers written in a shaky hand, copied down from Billy Graham, evidence of her softened heart. Though she repeatedly stated we were making a mistake in adopting a little boy (with much cruder language and notions – she said we should adopt a girl) her response to meeting him, just once before she died, “He’s cute, God bless him” left me shaking my head in awe.

Today on her birthday, I want to sit down with her and drink our Irish Breakfast tea together. I want to look her in the eyes and reflect God’s love from a place of total acceptance for who she is. When I tell her that I am getting my Masters of Divinity, I want to hear her say, “What the hell are you doing that for? Get a job that pays. Become a nurse. You need your head examined, you are going to die broke and I won’t be around to help you.” I would inwardly smile, knowing she is being “tough” and making me “tough,” but if anyone else dare say I was pursuing foolish ideas, she would quickly quiet them as well with a, “Shut the hell up. You should do so well raising eight hard-working kids and twelve grand-kids. None of them are in jail or on drugs. And she homeschools them all too!”

I want to hear her  challenge my theological views against what I used to hold to, “I thought women couldn’t be pastors?” “What the hell do you have a tattoo for?” “You change your ideas like you change your underwear.” “I believe in the old ways.”

I know at times she would exhaust me, and I long for one more time to be exhausted; now, as a mature, wise,  older woman, who would no longer hear her crass language or pain driven remarks. I see a broken woman who desperately wanted to know she was accepted, loved, and forgiven. 

I never wanted to be like her – anything like her – but that nature and nurture heritage followed me in so many ways. Part of it has made me who I am. I am a survivor. She made me that way. She taught me you never give up, and you never give in. You fight for what you want, what you earn, what you believe in, and what you deserve. She was a feminist before the time of feminism, and without understanding what that meant, even as she mocked Gloria Steinem she stood for what it meant. She sent money to the poor and needy and spoke with compassion about oppressed women and children.  The stranger and orphan loved her.  I would like to hear her tell me how foolish I am to go to Haiti, the Philippines, Nepal and other places, and that I should stay home where I belong, knowing that underneath it all she would be of the woman I have become. 

The defining difference between us as older women, is that I embrace how great God’s unconditional love for me is, how His grace and forgiveness is the sum total,  and I can live out my life free of bitterness, anger, or rejection. I can love myself and others as God does – the all-encompassing commandment of law and grace. I know the peace that she never gained in this world, but that she has embraced in eternity.    

I love you Mom. I know you are happy now and all of the things I wrote, I can picture you are probably rolling your eyes – but you roll them from a place of total love, acceptance, and tear-free abandonment.

I miss you Mom. You were one hell of a woman.  Save me a place in the Kingdom and fist bump Jesus for me My next tattoo will be in your honor. 

imagejpeg_0 (2)

 

(I apologize if anyone is offended by language, but that is exactly how my mother spoke, and I loved her for her she was at. If you are offended, I would challenge you to think about how much you can embrace others who speak far worse, do far worse, and needs so much more the grace and love of God reflected by us.)

Shalom.

 

Glory to God in the Highest; Advent Grief

I haven’t blogged in over a month.

For me to write openly now is to speak of the inconsequential or to reveal my scars… during a most vulnerable season.  I tend to carefully hide them knowing many well-meaning and loving people may accidentally rip them open with platitudes or Christian cliches. Self-care is my best training. I have learned to practice what I preach. 

So, I guard my heart, and in doing so, the healing is deeper, lasting, and I am more available to help others throughout the year. 

I can write trivia, or I can be real. I can write blessings, or I can speak truth. Social media has become so negative. It used to be a nice way to stay in touch, share views, see photos, have fun. Now, it has become a political platform and a place of personal catharsis. My desire to meet hurting people in the places of my wounds is risky at times,  but it is a gift. God moves in Truth. He heals in Truth. He abides in Truth.

There are people out there like me – people who have been deeply wounded by great losses and further traumatized at the hands of others in the name of Jesus. Lots of them. Many have not found their way back to the God who loves them. Some have never tasted His love. Some will hide behind their own Christian cliches and happy scriptures covering up the darkness in their hearts and the fear in their souls.

People who have had all of their plans for life thwarted, tossed aside, crumpled up, and turned inside out; blown away in a wispy cloud carrying all of their dreams. 

People who need to know that God truly loves them and it wasn’t He who spoke in cliches or trite comments, but it is He who weeps for them even when they don’t.

People who need to love the church again, if they ever did at all – with all her flaws, perfections, heartaches and joys. It isn’t Jesus speaking unkind words. It isn’t God unleashing negativity or all over their lives. 

Advent tears

Genuine compassion cries for the broken and bleeding.

She is beautiful this church of Christ. She is also flawed, arrogant, heartless, selfish, hurting, needy, broken, and desperately needing to learn to listen to the heartbeat of humanity.

Just like me.

I am a torn member of the body of Christ who sometimes behaves more like an infected appendix than a beating heart.

We are all walking stained glass windows revealing works of art replete with imperfections woven throughout. Flaws that Jesus fills with color making us beautiful reflections of the One who calls us loved – to those who are equally imperfect. Like stained glass we must get intimately close, even pressing our noses against the cold to see through the colored haze and into hearts…

Waiting to be forgiven.

Suffering turns into gold; pain grows into compassion. 

In a few days it will be a quarter century since my son died in a completely preventable, traumatic event.

I should be over it…Christians have hope… my loved one is in a better place… wah-wah, wah-wah… Like the murmur of the Peanuts gang, a nickels worth of faith from tear-less naysayers. 

I will never get over having been so brainwashed in a Christian cult that we gave up all sense of reason and lost a child. I will never get over that I was taught such a distorted view of God that how I lived or what I did mattered more than what He did and how He lived.  I will never get over how unkind people can be when they are convinced they have arrived at all “truth” instead of journeying towards it, in it,and through it.   

I don’t want to.

Healing is not “getting over” the things that formed you, it is embracing the broken, forgiving the offenders, and growing in grace. 

It is forgiving ourselves. 

That I have done. 

If not I would have neither the boldness or the humility to write about life in a cult. 

Please don’t talk to me about declaring the promises of God, or my need for deeper healing. Don’t tell me you will “pray” for me in that patronizing tone of voice that hides your own brokenness or need for “prayer” – as if there is something inherently wrong with lament, and absolutely nothing wrong with your life.

We were willing to die for what we believed. It’s easy to claim or declare when nothing is really at stake. It’s utter foolishness to think otherwise. Ask the Christians in Nigeria, Syria, Haiti, the Philippines, or the countless other countries that are unsafe, war-torn, unhealthy, hungry, and stricken. When you have money and medical, safety and surety it’s easy to believe…When an ambulance can be called and our laws mandate that no in need of urgent care can be left to die on a street.

 When a doctor is an option if you’re sick, a welfare system if you are broke, a soup kitchen if you are hungry.

Perhaps my heart for the poor and needy lies in having lived without any options of medical or financial help. Trust was our only option. As misguided as it was, I understand what it is to pray when prayer is all  you have.  So I grieve when American prosperity gospel lays claims to the sale of a house for more than it’s worth, or a greater blessing just because we think our “Father” has promised it to us. Dave didn’t get a higher paying job, we lost everything in our home, and we are in far worse shape than we have ever been with a bleak looking future. In this world.

We also have more peace in God than we have ever had.

More faith

More trust

More compassion

More empathy

A more abiding presence of God that doesn’t have to worked up, prayed up, or stored up. It isn’t lost, put aside for Sunday, speak in Christianize, or get discouraged when things don’t go our way. I like to think that we understand what I Cor. 13:5 means, Love doesn’t “seek its own way,” or “demand its own way” or “is not selfish” depending upon your personal favorite translation.

I have been broken into a million pieces and put back together by the hand of God. 

One jagged piece at a time.

I will always hear the words that caused the death of my son. They are embedded in my mind. A reminder of how a hardened heart will stifle the ability to hear that beautiful, still, small voice of God, and cause pain in others.

A reminder to listen, love, learn, and lament.

Pain is only one piece of the jagged puzzle.

I am living proof of the power of God to restore even the ugliest circumstances into something beautiful. Loss upon loss, all adding layers and depth to my life by the One who makes all things new.

I wait with expectant hope for some of the “new” things to happen- especially in relationships that have gotten lost in a sea of “what ifs” swallowed by waves of because. I long to see my husband carry his shoulders in the way he did before the burden of one wrong choice locked a yoke of grief about his neck. It’s coming. I see it through eyes of faith. 

I am more about what I can do for God than what He owes me. To be in His presence is enough. To own Him as my own is everything. The presence of God is my breath of life. I have nothing left in me. Nothing. He has increased. He breathes for me when I can’t. I exhale, He inhales.

The breath of Life

This time of the year is a reminder of so many losses. Unknown to most. Yet, this season is a season of expectant and glorious HOPE.

This time of year I reminded that my child died, but in his dying I learned to live in the One who lived to die for me. Mind boggling? Yes, to me too. But it is what I hang my ornament of Hope on during the season of promise.  And loss.

 I stand among those who passionately love God in spite of it all and daily live in the joy and peace of knowing the Savior in the deepest recesses of my heart.

I weep, rejoice, and weep again. And again.

Hosanna in the highest. 

It is how I put one foot in front of the other and have peace in doing it. It is how I serve others with compassion and professionalism.

Emmanuel, God with me.

Healing comes in the face of  child and the form of a bloody cross. 

A memory is are made in a pair of hand sewn mittens – never worn on lifeless hands, unable to scratch the tiny face…

Safely tucked away by the babes sister who knew someday they would heal a portion of her mothers heart. 

No, I don’t ever want to get over it. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:11-14