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.





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Letter to my daughter

Dear Amy,
My girl, my girl. My own baby girl.
Tomorrow at this time, you'll be checking into the hospital getting ready to do the hard work of bringing your own daughter into this world.
Wow.

I remember when you were born and, before they even handed you to me, I kept asking if they were sure you were a girl. I wanted you to be a girl so much. I would have asked your Dad, but he was passed out on the floor. I guess that hour or so of labor was a bit much for his sensitive constitution.

I remember how you slept through the night from the moment we brought you home and I used to tip-toe in to check on you and make sure you were breathing and alive. Scary!

I can  still hear your raspy, little girl voice yelling at your brother when he was teasing you unmercifully. He still does that, huh? But I adored your  husky, unique voice so much.

I'm laughing (and tearing up a bit) thinking of your four-year old, pink Osh-Kosh-wearing self weeping as though your heart was breaking when you figured out how long you had to wait before you could have your own baby. (You also did this when you found out how long it would be before you could drive a car, but that is a whole other story.)

That day has arrived. (Cue balloons and fireworks and marching band.)

You always wanted to have a baby and be a mommy. And, now, tomorrow, you'll finally get your wish and your dream. You are going to be such a great Mama. There is no doubt in my mind that God has created you specifically for this important job.

Amy, your life is about to change.

You'll begin to learn out how it feels to love with a mother's love.

 You'll find out how it feels to have your very heart forever go walking around outside your own body. It doesn't even make sense, but it is so accurate.

When your baby girl is happy,you'll be ecstatic.

When she giggles, you will laugh,too.

When she cries, your own eyes will fill with tears. When her heart is broken, you'll feel the sharpest pain in your own heart.

When someone hurts her feelings, your Mama-Bear will be born and come roaring out before you know what even happened. Truth.

When she accomplishes her goals and dreams, you will celebrate and feel as if yours have been achieved.

You will be filled up with pure JOY like you have never have before.

You will be through and through, bone tired like you have never been before.

You'll learn more about the unbelievable depth and the realness of God's love than ever before. You'll find comfort and joy in prayer like you never imagined.Your thankfulness to Him for this blessing will be endless and new every day.

You will put someone else's needs and wants before your own. Every.Single.Time. Without hesitation or question.

Never again will your heart beat only for yourself.

It's just not safe to love like that. Because, at times, it will  hurt.

But it will be worth it.
No question or hesitation.
 It is so worth it.
Love is always worth it.

 And tomorrow you will begin to see the truth of that.

 You are my heart walking around outside my body, and I love you Lumma Loo.
And tomorrow night, at the hospital, you'll finally get to meet your very own heart.
See you soon, best daughter.
Love, Mams
 
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