My Mommy Anniversary

My precious boy turned ten years old today! It feels like yesterday that he came to us, and yet when I think back over all that we have gone through and how much we have grown it feels like forever. I often joke that I define our life together as "BN" and "AN" (Before Nathan and After Nathan); I have trouble even remembering events from before he came to us or what I was like then.

I have celebrated my amazing boy's accomplishments all day today, but I would like to take a moment and reflect on what these ten years have meant to a mother. In a sense this is not just Nathan's birthday, its the anniversary of when I became a mom!

I can't help but remember that day ten years ago when I was up and walking for the first time after the c-section. I walked with my Dad down to the NICU, and the nurse met us at the door of Nathan's cubicle with a knowing smile. When she asked, "How would you like to hold him today?", I was hit with a powerful surge of both longing and bald fear at the same time. I went in and sat down while she arranged all of the then-strange-but-now-second-nature tubes and wires. Then she put those seven pounds of little baby boy into my arms, the arms that had longed for a child through months of dashed hopes and desperate prayers, through a pregnancy frought with sickness when the only light of hope was the promise of full arms, through the last two days when we had been seperated by two different hospitals and the gulf of fear and uncertainty we had all been set adrift in. Despite the narcotics keeping him from having the seizures they said he would always have (and never has!) I watched him snuggle into those arms, my arms, and in that moment everything melted away. I knew in that moment that no matter what happened from that point on I would never be the same. It was at least half an hour before I realized that both Daddy and the nurse had slipped away to give us some privacy. In the background the radio they left playing in the unit all the time started playing Celine Dion's "The Way You Love Me." I still think of it as 'our' song and dissolve into tears whenever I hear it. I fantasize about what it would be like to dance with Nathan to it at his wedding, him tall and handsome in a tux and me a puddle at his side.

That is the most happy memory I have of Nathan coming into our lives. Most people say that the happiest day of their life is the day their children were born, but with Nathan we just couldn't say that. It was an earthquake day; a day full of shock and pain, fear and questions. But each day we-all three of us-just survived;that was a miracle in itself. And each day it got a little better until one day four months later we brought him home for the first time.

In the ten years since then there have been wonderful times and there have been dark ones. We've come about as close as you can to losing him about five times; but God, in His infinite grace, has let us keep him a little while longer each time. And wrapped around those brief and terrifying times have been sublime heaven. The way he smiles at me like no one else. The sound of his laughter when it's just the two of us talking and I make a dumb joke. The joy he shows at seeing any of his grandparents. His pride at riding the bus to kindergarten like a big boy(and how hard it was for me to let him do it!). Watching him give his heart to Jesus. The days run together and next thing I know he's ten years old. He's going into the fifth grade, and he gets mad when there's a snow day that cancels school because he loves it so much. He's the best big brother I have ever seen. He cries when his heart is moved during worship at church. He is truly my hero, the strongest and yet most gentle person I will ever know. Even though it is my highest privilege that I know him better than anyone else, I will never fully know what he has had to endure. I have only seen him angry a handful of times, and somehow he still keeps that loving and open spirit that could so easily be bitter and hopeless.

I have often questioned how God picked someone as frail and weak as myself to be Nathan's mom, but I thank Him continually that he did. In sharing the testimony of all that God has done for us in Nathan's life I often quote a scripture from the book of Job where Job says of God, "Before, my ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen you." I have known about God since I was three years old, but I can truely say that now I know Him. He has been there through these ten long years and I know He will continue to be there throughout whatever Nathan's future holds.

The Motherhood Of God!?!

Hi! It’s been a little bit since I've had anything to blog-"blogger's block" as I've heard others refer to it. (I'm mildly puzzled as to how someone who always has something to say could run out of things to write, but that's another subject...) I just don't know how I could get too busy to blog, what with a BUSY toddler, Nathan's medical and school needs to manage, a Women's Ministry to coordinate, a husband to take care of (okay-he's getting better and better at taking care of himself, I must give him credit!!), a house to keep clean enough for the health dept. to not shut down, and all that while balancing precariously up on this "Pastor's Wife Pedestal" from which I am supposed to give the appearance that everything's cool!

So, amazingly enough, I found time to read in Hosea today. (Dire prophetic warnings go great with musical accompaniment from Dora the Explorer, by the way. Kind of like a "We can do it!" soundtrack for those rebellious Hebrews to get it together!)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been reading the "Captivating" book. One of its central themes is that we, both women and men, are created in God's image, so our feminine traits embody aspects of God's character just like men do. This was brought to my attention in the passages from Hosea that I read this morning.

Having been a Daddy's girl I have always related to God as my "Abba, Father" or "Daddy, God", and I must admit that I have never really thought of God much as a 'Mother figure', but these beautiful passages shed a new light on God's abundant love for us in a poetic word picture of motherly love.

Chapter 11, verse 1 of Hosea states "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son." Verse 3 continues, "I taught Ephraim to walk, Taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them." (NKJV)

What a beautiful, moving picture of God tenderly caring for His people, like a gentle mother who carefully and gently teaches her little one to walk. She patiently holds their hand and safely watches over each tiny, precarious step. She selflessly and patiently bends low to give them nourishment and vigilantly tends their sicknesses until their healing is restored.

The pathos of a mother's heart is illustrated again in the yearning, almost broken voice of God in verse 8 and 9, "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred. I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim." (NKJV) Every mother who has ever had to discipline their precious child empathizes with the emotion contained in those verses! We know the dilemma of our heart, which demands that we enforce difficult consequences so that a lesson can be learned, even when we yearn to shield that child from every hurt, every difficulty.

Earlier in Chapter 6, verse 1 the prophet calls, "Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up." Upon first reading those words, one might wonder how God could inflict harm knowing that He will then turn and heal and comfort. But in light of the illustration of God's maternal-like love for us, this passage becomes a poignant promise that His anger is not without tenderness; His righteousness is tempered with undeserved mercy.

These passages call to mind Jesus' cry over the city of Jerusalem, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem...How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me." (Matt 23:37 NLT) As Jesus is the Man-God, the physical embodiment of the divine God, his heart continues to be poured out in that maternal, all-consuming love for his little ones.

What an awesome, astonishing look into the heart of our God! As I love and tend to my precious children in the next few days I will ask the Holy Spirit to remind me that God's love is poured out in my life in a similar, unreserved fashion. May we all take some time to bask in it!

Idol Desperation?

Am I the only one who thinks it hilariously ironic that the movie ABC has scheduled up against the American Idol finale tonight is entitled "Desperation"?

I suppose with all of the finale hoopla I should go on record with my pick. (That is what a blog is for, isn't it-to assume that the whole world is waiting with baited breath for reports on your every activity and opinion on all subjects?)

As a formerly trained singer I cannot help but admire the near-perfection of Katherine McPhee's voice. Her's is truely more aptly described as an instrument. When Kat's on her A-game, not taking it for granted, she is unstoppable. However, we all know that sucess in the music business has nothing whatsoever to do with superior vocal ability. (Otherwise we would never have been subjected to the vocal stylings of the lovely Simpson sisters, Jessica and Ashley! "Oh, dear Lord, if only...")

Now, Taylor Hicks, on the other hand has the perfect "music biz" package of talent and appeal. I myself always have a soft spot for underdogs and I have been charmed by Taylor since the beginning, even though I never thought he would make it to the final round. And to his credit he has shown more consistancy in his performance ability than any other contestant this season. So I am going down in posterity as posting Taylor as my pick for the next American Idol. (Insert trumpet fanfare here.)

Now I must point out that my pick and the fickle tastes of teenage American girls(which is usually the driving vote demographic for Idol, right?) do not always coincide. So I freely admit that I could be surprised. After all, Clay Aiken had that loveable, underdog air about him but he still ended up in the second position.

We can only wait and see....


Yesterday was a twirling day! Our weather here was absolutely gorgeous! I got to go to church and worship while sitting with my two miracles: a son that doctors said shouldn't still be here and a daughter that doctors said would probably never be here! How can you not lift up grateful praise in those circumstances?

Chris preached an amazing message on Pentecost and then we had a whopper of an altar service! I literally laid on the floor of Carissa's bedroom once we got home because I was so exhausted from praying for people and worshipping around the altar. It is comforting to me to see that, although the methods of ministering to people in the church setting have changed over the years since I was introduced to the pentecostal expression, the way in which the Holy Spirit moves is still just as powerful! I will be the first to tell you that although I grew up in the Assemblies Of God, I am a relatively reserved and watchful Pentecostal; many times I have said that if you see this girl dancing in church you better look up because the rapture is about to take place! But in our service yesterday we heard the sound "as of a Rushing Mighty Wind" (my capitals added!) and the spirit of Pentecost filled the place! You could not help but respond! I cannot wait until the day when we will be able to sing and praise God for eternity and never become physically tired! Ya'll are going to be standing around heaven after a few thousand years saying, "Is she ever gonna be quiet?!"

Maiden Voyage

Well, this is my maiden voyage into the world of blogging! My husband has had a blog on our church's website for the past year or so, and I must say that I envy his ability to spout off about anything and everything that suits his fancy. There is no telling what I'll write about, since my interests run the gamut from Christian fiction to jazz to current political topics.

I am reading the most amazing book called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery Of A Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldridge. In it the authors talk about how women were created as the pinnacle of God's amazing creation and how we were created to embody God's attributes of passion and beauty, but for too long we have squashed that "captivating" nature that He created within us. They liken what we should be to a little girl twirling in front of her Daddy, fully expecting to be captivating to him and to everyone else around her. As a perfectionist I spend too much time berating myself for everything I think I do wrong, but I want to start thinking of myself as God's treasured little girl and I'm gonna try to twirl for all I'm worth!

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