Pink and Purple Hearts

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If life is about compromise this year has been full of life. 

I’ve said before that birthday cakes might be my love language.  My baby girl turns four tomorrow.  My helpful,  sassy,  thoughtful baby girl. 

I don’t have time to bake her cupcakes this year.  I can’t stay up until 3 a.m. making fancy cookies for her school treats.

She stood right beside me while I pulled the store bought sugar cookies from the package and piped fake strawberry flavored frosting into little heart shapes. She counted down how many I had left.  She cheered for me when I got done.  And then her eyes sparkled and her mouth opened like a baby bird for some of the leftover frosting. 

The grace and acceptance that this girl gives never fails to amaze me –even when I’m not living up to my own standards, or especially when. 

She really doesn’t care that she won’t have fancy cupcakes.

I saw Jesus in my baby girl tonight.  She accepted those pink hearts not because they were perfect, or beautiful,  or gourmet flavored, but because I gave them to her.

Jesus accepts our hearts,  bruised and broken that they are.  He loves us because our brokenness is the best we have to offer. Then he takes it and gives us a way to love others.

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day: 1 in 4

psalm-100-5-squareI don’t talk about it much anymore. I didn’t even know there was a day for remembering pregnancy loss. It’s been a long time — twelve years, in fact. My days of remembering are usually December 26th and March 22nd.

Today, I saw a shared post that said that October 15th is Pregnancy & Loss Awareness day. But, I felt like today would be a good day to post since I haven’t in so long. I finally have a day off from school, though I probably should be doing homework.

Like I said, it’s been twelve years. I’m still a little sad after all this time. I think more than anything the time has allowed me to realize that the loss was more real when I was going through it. Sure, I felt it. I thought my heart had been ripped out. But it took years to see that there is hope even in the loss of a child. And even more years to finally understand that I lost more than a tiny life that I was carrying. Two lifetimes of daydreams and expectations disappeared instantly. That was when the grief came full circle.

The hope came, of course with our third pregnancy. Fear came too. But before that came a person who taught me what prayer was really supposed to be. With the simple gesture of giving me a slender pink book, she opened the door for me to tap into God’s grace, and freedom from fear. Just by reading over his promises and committing them to my heart.

The verses that I learned are still some of my favorites. Over time, speaking his truths changed my life… and healed my heart.

Psalm 137:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

If you are grieving a loss today, let me tell you, first, that you are not alone, and that you are not being silly or over-dramatic. Second, I want you to know that there is hope for healing even without all the answers. It’s OK to be angry and confused. There are people out there who understand. Find them.

I also want you to know that I’m praying for you today and that you are on my mind often. I understand your heartache — how your arms feel empty and how you wish you could look in your baby’s eyes. I want you to know that the love that you feel is genuine. Love is never wasted. No matter how small, love changes this world for the better.

I can’t make you any promises except one. God, Our Father, understands what it’s like to lose a child. He hears you when you call out. He is always listening. If you call to him, he will be there and with time, you will recover.

The Best Church

churchThe last 48 hours have been glorious.

This Sunday, we didn’t go to church. We got to be the church.

Friday, I got home in time to see my husband out the door and spent the rest of the day doing stuff. We will assume that it was important stuff because I did it. And mom’s don’t waste time on unimportant things, right? It probably had something to do with laundry. I do remember something about chips and guacamole for supper, and a glass of wine while we watched a movie for the 236th time. Yes, of course it was a Harry Potter movie!

Saturday I was on fire! I cleaned things. I cooked a big lunch. I started a demolition project in our laundry room, I unpacked two boxes, I outsmarted The Padawan to get him to jump on the trampoline (with the help of his competitiveness and The Owlet who thinks she’s the best — at everything). He was insisting that he was only tired while I knew he needed some input. I did the dishes and swept the floor and had time to knit a few rows on a scarf that I started back in 2013.

On. Fire.

After supper, The Padawan and I played video games. According to my fitness app, I burned 876 calories playing Just Dance 3 jumping around and waving my arms randomly to disco and 80s music.

Today, like most drill weekends, we ended up not going to church. Our schedule just isn’t going to be normal right now and I’m learning not to compare myself to people with 8 to 5 days and regular work weeks. I also had a dream conversation with The Hunter about staying home. Apparently, that never actually happened. I’m not the only one who does this, right?

We finally had to wake The Hunter up because he didn’t get home until the early morning hours.  It was the whole Family of Four piled in the bed. The Owlet was asking questions and it turned into a discussion of Heaven and Hell. She asked how people go to that real bad place. At first, we thought she meant jail. Then, we figured it out. :facepalm: She asked how you get to Heaven. So, we had Sunday School right there in our bedroom. We talked about loving Jesus and that Jesus is our friend. Then, she summed it all up in her wise little way by saying, “Jesus and Daddy take care of us.”

And, Yes! Yes, they do.

I ran to the store to get butter for our corn on the cob — came home with key lime pie ingredients. What!?

But that trip to the grocery store taught me some things other than that I can come up with the right ingredients for key lime pie on a whim.

The things I learned today:

1) If you skip church and go to the grocery store in a biker t-shirt and messy bun and head band, church ladies may give you that unsmiling head to toe look that isn’t because they are blinded by your brilliant white legs. I wear shorts in public about two times a year y’all — white as snow.

2) My family REALLY likes key lime pie!

3) There are days that spending the first few minutes of our limited family time together talking about Jesus is the best church we can ever be in.

I sincerely believe in the need for corporate worship and service. Most Sundays, our kids are in Sunday School and we are worshipping and listening to the sermon. However, our schedules are intense right now. We have very little time together as a family. It’s rare and special when we are all home and awake at the same time. So, today, in our great mission to be the church, we took time to nurture our children. We used an opportunity to build them up so that they will understand their true purpose in life is to follow Jesus and know that he will take care of us. It was amazing and spontaneous. And most importantly, it never would have happened if we had been doing the Sunday Morning Scuffle trying to get out the door.

Have you ever had to choose to spend time or serve together as a family instead of “going to church”? What did you do?

 

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