Thursday, June 14, 2018

Moments of Grace: In the Fullness of TIme

I remember when we lost our second baby, Tristan, to miscarriage. It was hard to understand or accept why God would allow such a thing to happen. Yet, when Tristan's due date came and I was already pregnant with Judah, it made sense to me. Holding sweet Judah in my arms as a tiny one and whispering his name to him which means, "to praise",  I knew that in the fullness of time God had allowed such a suffering as a pregnancy loss for such a glory as Judah's beautiful life.

The moment of Judah's accident last week keeps me awake at night. The juxtaposition of the happy and delightful moments before is hard for my soul to digest. It had been an intense week, and I'd been caught up in the to-dos before we departed for Texas. On that day, with the sun shining and my children laughing and playing so delightedly, I made a conscious decision to just BE and PLAY for as long as we could.

I sat there gazing at our darlings playing and in a moment everything changed, as his little leg was broken in front of my eyes, and my whole being unable to stop it from happening. Delighted laughs to pain in an instant.

I have had to work to make peace with the fact that God allowed it to happen. Such a suffering, body and soul, for our son....and then I realized something beautiful!

Our Ezekiel is big...huge as a matter of fact. He is 100th percentile for height, 96th for weight, and wearing clothing that Judah was wearing last summer. It has been comical trying to understand 2 brothers built so differently, or even comprehend why I was given this particular challenge of an absolutely enormous baby to tote around in a season of life where the demands on me were already intense enough. My arms, legs, and back are strong by necessity because of going through the daily rigours of motherhood with a ginormous hunk of love on my hips. 

And then, a few days ago, as I was carrying Judah from one place to another and he felt like an absolute feather, I realized that in the fullness of time this beautiful grace was allowed....that I would have the strength and stamina to tend to a child who was rendered immobile by an accident. While it is a slight inconvenience to carry him everywhere, it is not in any way too difficult for me physically. This gives sweet Judah a sense of being safe, secure, held, supported, and in no way a burden for us in his brokenness.

Outside of time, and in His eternal perspective, God the Father saw fit to give me this consolation....knowing the sadness of a child with a broken limb, and knowing that it would take extra strength to help him navigate this challenge without discouraging him, I was blessed with a super huge chunky baby to build my muscles up.

Truly it may seem far fetched, but I know for a fact, with deep Faith, that this gift has been given us. I revel in this small inkling of the workings of God's grace in the midst of our human freedom,  and I say, "thank you."

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."                
Isaiah 40: 28-31

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Grade 1 for Our Little Lamb

I always hope this year has a special place in the recesses of my heart, the first year that I had the privilege and the challenge of educating our daughter at home.

When she was just tiny, I always called Liliana my little lamb...tender, intuitive, slightly clumsy, daring, introverted....happy to be held close by mama always. 

My little Liliana Lamb 
Kindergarten at our nearby school was not a bad experience, but our Liliana suffered from the anxiety of an education system very much oriented to the outgoing and the extroverted. Lots of group work and a structure that is necessarily conducive to the good of the majority meant that she was very much lost in the crowd. She started biting her nails and struggled to fall asleep at night. Her sense of wonder and delight seemed to fade. She had lovely friends and an amazing teacher, but she was not thriving and our hearts were troubled!

Over the summer we saw our girl emerge again in confidence, playfulness, and peace. The thought of sending her to school for 8 hour days, when Judah would miss her terribly AS WOULD I, gently guided my heart towards another possibility. I felt so sad that the only time we would have with her would be a few precious hours at night....  I started reading, and researching, and considering the possibility of teaching her at home - which, by the way, is something I never would have imagined in my most WILD dreams! So of course we also prayed hard for wisdom and discernment. 
Ann Voskamp

Of course, this year was not without its challenges, and I had a few moments of feeling woeful for the reality of being surrounded by small children all.the.time. I had a few pity parties for "all the things I could get done" if I was not teaching Liliana. 

That being said I did have moments of respite, because she spent 2 days per week learning at a little cottage school, so beautifully devoted to instilling in children a sense of wonder and delight....and, get this, her age group was called "The Little Lambs!"

And, when I really took it to prayer, is there anything more important, more pressing, or more eternally relevant than forming our sweet one - intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually - in the heart of our home?

No, because it was obvious to me as her mama that this unique little soul needed to be learning close to home, at least for now, and so that is what we did. 

A few lessons for me from the year...

 - we are our children's advocates, voices, ambassadors - we do not have to be swayed by convention or "the way it is always done." We can decide with boldness and confidence the best for them, without apologizing or justifying - for me, as a pleaser, this was a very important lessons. One I always knew but got to live this year

- Never say never! Gosh am I learning this humbling lesson over and over again in motherhood

- the delight of seeing the world of reading books unfold before a child is really a privilege to witness, and what an honour for me, as her mama, to be primarily instrumental in facilitating this!

- the flexibility of learning at home is unmatched! We only ever spent 3 hours maximum at school, and even then took some days or even weeks off because we were getting too far ahead!

- friendship between siblings is a precious, beautiful thing to witness. This seems so random for this blog, but my goodness am I happy that the friendship between Liliana and Judah only grew deeper this year!

I could go on and on about the gifts and challenges of this year! I am grateful to be wrapping it up, I am grateful for the break, I am grateful for a little girl who is thriving and blossoming. She is joyfilled, bouncy, messy, determined, delightful, innocent, and loves her family, Jesus, and her neighbour with sweet devotion. What a year it has been for our Little Lamb!

My sweet Liliana, I loved teaching you this year. Thank you, my darling, for the most heart-stretching time learning together on this new journey!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

To the Neighbour With the Dilapidated House

There is a certain route we always take on foot, because it leads us to several important places.....the swimming pool, the library, the mall, the grocery store, and Nanny's house for Sunday dinner. For years there has been a house we walk by, and it is utterly dilapidated. The paint has peeled off, the shutters are falling off, the fence has boards missing, and through the windows you can see shabby curtains hanging by a thread. To make it worse, there are 2 cars in the back driveway, without licence plates, and sitting on flat tires. 

I never felt disgusted or appalled by the people that owned that home, but I did wonder what was wrong that so much was going wrong, and it was more out of a sick curiosity than a sense of sympathy...certainly not empathy.

We have come through a hard winter. Our children have been sick lots, we are piecing together income, and things (actual physical things) in our life sort of seem to be falling apart! The faux leather chairs are peeling, there is a dent in the side of our van from someones runaway Costco cart, that silly patch of lawn that keeps dying no matter how much we love it is even more dead, the paint is peeling on the outside of our home, tea towels are stained and shabby looking. I truly could go on, it has felt like a perfect storm, and the reality is that we don't have the resources now to replace or fix things! We are not hard off by any stretch, but the extra that it takes to replace and repair isn't there for now. And nothing is necessarily wrong with us that things are going slightly sideways, it is just how it is for now, despite our efforts for otherwise and because of certain things we've prioritized.

And as my sweet skipping son and I were strolling past the dilapidated house a few days ago I felt such love for those people and their story. They have a story...a sacred story, maybe a tragic story, possibly a story with many triumphs also. Perhaps they are trying hard, perhaps they have given up and sit drinking their morning coffee looking out the shabby blinds and not even noticing them anymore. Then I think of us....I cringe over our peeling chairs if we have invited someone over, but during our family dinners when our little loves are sitting on them, we notice our little loves and not the silly peeling chairs. And we delight in them, and we smile. 

And so I know that everything happens for a reason and truly to every thing there is a season. Maybe some have seasons of suffering or hardship that last many years, our season has been short so far, but I see the Divine Refiner working His fire on my soul, softening it, reshaping it, even allowing it to be tired and weary. Because out of that tired and weary comes a heart more able to see others and their story, truly see with the eyes of the soul and a tender glance. 

Maybe we will have a chance to run in to these people on one our walks, and maybe we can offer them a friendly and even empathetic greeting of hello and how are you. May it be so!