Thursday, September 18, 2014

Expecting

In case you didn't see the fireworks, standing ovations, marching bands or the military jet celebratory flyovers, my daughter Amy, had her baby last week. It was a joyous, emotionally charged,laughing-mixed-with-crying kind of week.

Amy and Jason went to the hospital Tuesday evening and breath-taking contractions had started every minute by 7:30 AM. By 3:00 PM they broke her water and shortly after began Pitocin. By 5, they administered the spinal epidural.

At 5:30, after an exam, we were told she would have to have a c-section immediately.

Not what she was expecting.

Not what we were expecting.

But, it all worked out and now we have the most gorgeous dumple in the known world.


She has a voracious appetite and a temper that shows itself when she is bathed or her diaper is changed.( Gracelynn, not Amy.)
We love her to the moon and back. (Both of them)

When she was 4 years old When she was close to her due date, Amy began planning her baby's hospital-leaving outfit. She brought three or more choices with her. With matching headbands and booties.
Can you say Fashionista?

I was there at the hospital when the new, sweet little family was packing up to leave, and there was Baby Gracelynn in her hospital issued onesie and wrapped in a faded hospital receiving blanket.

All her sparkly, carefully chosen, obsessed over outfits were packed in the car already and Amy was not feeling terrific yet after her surgery.
"She looks like an orphan-ghetto baby." Amy lamented. But, as exhausted as she was, there was nothing we could do.
(Apologies to any actual orphan-ghetto babies.)

Not what she was expecting that day.

Amy has been absolutely exploding with joy since Gracelynn arrived. She was so made for motherhood.

She said the other day to me that she has never been so happy. In fact, she is so happy it scares her. She almost feels like she is waiting for, or expecting, something bad to happen and the joy to be snatched away from her.

Oh, Amy.
 I so understand that feeling.
If we are honest, we all do.
I have felt like that.

Feeling like I am so happy, but knowing that I don't deserve this happiness. I haven't done anything good enough to earn this happiness.
That something bad must be right around the corner.

 Almost  as if I have stolen joy,like a cookie from the cookie jar, and any minute now, when God starts paying closer attention, He'll  surely realize that I am happier than I should be, than I deserve to be, and He'll make the necessary adjustments.

 I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Who hasn't felt like that, at some time or another?

But here is the thing.

We are God's children.

 Amy, you are beginning to know what it is to have and love your own child. How you would never do anything to hurt her and only want to help her. (sometimes in a frantic, mothery kind of  way)

You are a child of God. (John 1:12)


Does this mean nothing bad will ever happen to you?
Of course not.
But it means you will have your Father, a parent,  with you through it. Carrying you through it. Never leaving you alone for an instant. Watching you, hearing you, loving you, obsessing over you. (Sound familiar?)

A Parent that you can trust with your life because He has your best in mind.
Always.
And He doesn't give us what we "deserve." He gives us what is best for us. It won't always look like what we think it should
That's for sure.
But He loves us and we can trust Him.
Believe it.

So let me just end with this.
(And, yes. I know you already know all this stuff. But we have to remind ourselves of it all the time. Daily.Hourly, if possible. Because we are only human beings and we all forget to live like we know it; like we believe it.)

Believing in Jesus is the only religion where you aren't accepted because of how good a life you lived, or how many rules you follow, or how much money you give,how often you attend church, or how many orphans you feed. You are not accepted because of how good you are.

You are loved simply because you believe in Jesus Christ.

Nothing. Else. Counts.

You are His and He is yours. Forever.

All other religions say that God saves the worthy. If you want God's blessing and God's salvation, you must be worthy of it and live a particular kind of life. So, in other words, what saves you is how well you perform and conform to a life of self-denial, love, selflessness, forgiveness, etc.

But.

Jesus says he came NOT to save those who think they are worthy or righteous, but those who know they are sinners.
Paul says in Romans 4 that God saves and justifies the ungodly apart from anything they do.

So, Christianity says that we are saved NOT by our lives and how we lived them, but by HIS.

The crushing burden of having to be worthy, good enough,and trying harder is lifted.

All of our expectations of what we deserve or don't deserve explode in this vision of amazing, crazy, scandalous GRACE. Grace means undeserved favor.

It just makes no sense and doesn't seem fair.

(There are loads of people, sometimes Christian people, who don't like to believe in grace because it isn't fair and doesn't make sense. Grace-haters)

But it is true.

So breathe a sigh of relief and quit waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You didn't get to have Gracie because you did something good and deserve her,and she won't be taken away because you did something wrong at some point.

Gracelynn is simply a gift from God because He loves you.

If you forget this sometimes and find yourself working frantically to be worthy of this gift, just look at your baby and think about her name.
Grace Blaesing.





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