ordinary life | bursting with new life
years ago when i was struggling the most with wanting to have a baby, God showed up in my life.
very clearly, in very ordinary ways.
i remember it exactly.
i was walking on oak street. right by our house. hand in hand with my husband. there was a slight breeze, our favorite. a wisp of breeze went through me like it did the leaves on the pretty trees above and i felt God move in me. like the sweetest whisper he told me not to miss this. not to miss this journey. this relationship. with Himself, with my husband. with those around us here and now.
during this same timeframe i was hit with a vision that if i did whatever it took to get what i wanted because i wanted it, i would be like sarah sending my husband to sleep with hagar. obviously things don't happen exactly like that anymore but the idea is the same. sarah didn't believe in that moment that what God said he would do he would actually ever do. she doubted and took things into her own hands. i've always been pushy and i've always been very loud about what i want and when i want it. and i typically get what i want no matter the cost. this might work for a time as a kid with seemingly little to no effect but as an adult it gets very dangerous, very quickly. and it harms everyone in its wake. it steals my focus.
God showed up in my little life and reminded me that he has had a plan long before i was even born. long before my parents could even want me, he planned for me. and if my God loves me THAT much, he must know the why's and the reasons that i'm currently wrestling with and struggling through. and because of that, i was able to relax. and relinquish control to the rightful hands.
because i paid attention in that moment, i had great years ahead. still waiting. still wanting a family. but fully present. i gained so much from those years. my marriage strengthened. wow, did it strengthen! some of my most fun years began after that intense moment. i learned to truly pay attention and heed wisdom.
several years later and i am living here, in my current life. which includes a son.
a beautiful miracle. a beloved and wanted creature. God's creation.
and now to last night. i'm reading "as kingfishers catch fire" by eugene peterson. so many words pop off the page. i try to read to sleep but i have to keep propping myself up to highlight and underline and say AMEN and feel the weight.
i'll share some favorites. last night was about birth. specifically the birth of issac, sarah and abraham's promised son. this sermon talks about birth of babies, of course, but also about just how much God is always at work in creating and birthing new life. and its mystery and miracle.
"the core message of the gospel is that God invades us with new life, but the setting for this is most often in the ordinariness or our lives"
"we are in training in order to enjoy and nurture and encourage and affirm every instance of life. we are determined never to be negligent of it and always aware of it. we want to avoid abusing it and instead practice celebrating it. God creates life among us. Christ's birth is the climaxing birth story that summarizes and emphasizes and continues in a sequence of miracle births"
"and there is this : the birth miracle sets before us a life that is always emphatically personal. the life of faith is a life in which we discover that persons are brought into being by God. every birth has to do with a person, a God person, not a thing. the miracle of birth is a miracle of personhood"
"the emphasis on the personal is highlighted in the instance of isaac, not because it is significant for anything he did, but just because of who he was: isaac, "laughter." from all we know about him, he was no hero, no leader. he simply was"
"he was a person, the fulfilled promise of God born. that seemingly bare minimum was more than enough, the miracle of life that links the faith of abraham with your life of faith"
"there is solidity and continuity built into the creation. we can learn to live without anxiety"
"it is promise and proof that we can live a different life than what is given to us biologically and environmentally and economically. there is something more basic than our genes and parents and country and salary and moods and IQ. is it possible to live forgiven and not carry greats loads of guilt, to participate in the salvation of the world? is it possible to love and grow into a relationship with another person in which we are enriched and enhanced and built up? is it possible to bless and be blessed? to give others the best that is in us and not the worst? the receive from others their best and not their worst? yes. it is. as everyday realities, these births are wonders, whether as a new baby in the world or a new creature in Christ. we are launched by acts of love and promise into ways of seeing and being. our first births thrusts us kicking and squalling into the light of day. our second birth places us laughing and worshipping in the light of God."
some of the best words i've ever read.
i am so lucky to have attended and photographed a wedding this summer. it was the most impactful wedding of our lives, even more so than our own! ha!
ethan and i were truly weepy behind our cameras. to the point where i could not speak because i was going to lose it. ethan tried to approach me and begin talking/sharing our favorite moments that just happened and i just kept trying to open my mouth for the words to come out and instead i had to turn away and get out of the public area to just freaking CRY IT OUT. the weight. the goodness. the absolute truth. i will never forget this day.
the groom's father spoke of the largeness of marriage. and the beauty of the marriage covenant. which spoke directly to what ethan and i have been living and building for a decade. but then he took it even further, to a deeper level that we can now appreciate because we have a son. this man of faith toasted the new bride and groom at the reception. ethan and i are suckers for story. so we were doomed with this one from the beginning. the father did not speak about what his son has done, where he went to school, what's he's doing for a living or anything of accomplishment. he said that his son just is GIFT. a promise fulfilled. that just because he exists, hope exists. that God is good and true and right. they waited and waited for this child. never knowing if they'd get him. but they did, and just because of his life, they have deeper faith in God.
i have had the most emotions after losing my parents. especially after losing mom two weeks after telling her we are pregnant with our long awaited child. and early pregnancy is terrifying. well, it's all terrifying, really. the days are never promised and life is so fragile. after losing dad i felt peace that my faith was real. it was confirmation that i really do believe what i say i believe. it's not easy to lose anyone you love but you do find out what you're made of when it happens. then we lost mom, too. and it just felt like too much. but the more i break, the more faith i feel. invisible faith. proven over and over again. made stronger through suffering.
i recently shared a bit of my waiting story with my childhood best friends who have thankfully and wonderfully come back into my life and proximity. the one friend was so touched and she said i need to share more, which was a welcome encouragement. my story helped her because she is still waiting on her husband. we have asked why. it remains mystery. all of it comes back to the human heart. and relationship with the one and only true King. the one we will meet face to face in the end. no matter how many good gifts or days of sorrow come our way in this life, that is the one thing we can count on. so that is the relationship we should devote the most of our precious time to.
i can look back and see what God has done and is doing in and through me. and i just cannot wait for more.
with the help of the people who went before me, paying attention to wisdom given me.
it's amazing to know that i share the same line of faith with our father abraham. how freaking cool is that!