"For this child I prayed,
and the Lord has granted my petition to Him.
Therefore I have given him to the Lord;
as long as he lives he is given to the Lord."
1 Samuel 1:27-28 (AMP)
On the morning of Chelsea's return, I sat outside in the beautiful summer sunshine and spent time reading my Bible and journaling to the Lord.
Here is an excerpt from this day's entry (click on the image below if you are interested in trying to read my 'chicken-scratch'):
Yes, my heart was beyond full! (grin) I was overflowing with praise and thanksgiving to the One who had seen me through so many, many painful and difficult seasons. My sweet family had been through so much, especially the past three years.
With a new baby on his/her way, we all felt like we were f.i.n.a.l.l.y. leaving the cold and dreary winter months behind. Hope was on the horizon! Praise God!
On the next page, I wrote out the next verse of Psalm 37,
"Commit your way to the LORD,
trust in Him and He will act."
As I write this post, I am sitting in a gorgeous log cabin located just south of Seattle, overlooking the Eld Inlet. Geoff and I stayed here together a couple of years ago, thanks to Sara's awesome RAD Nanny.
This particular weekend, however, my husband is blessing me with a weekend alone(!) He knows his introverted wife needs to occasionally sneak away for some much needed quiet time and reflection with the Lord.
(Thanks, Babe! You are the BEST! You know I miss you!!!)
The above picture is my view from a cozy ottoman next to a wood stove.
What a healing gift it is to be able to go back and remember the events of the past nine months.
As I read in Dan Allender's workbook, To Be Told, this morning:
"Choosing to engage our stories honestly requires a great deal of courage...Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. One of the privileges of being human is that we have an enormous capacity to reflect and learn and change. When we settle for simply getting by, we mar the glory that was created in us and we thwart the potential for growth and maturity...The only reason worth reentering...pain is the hope that somehow it can be transformed, that through it we will learn to love better and will know more joy. We trudge through the valley of the shadow of death clinging to the hope of what lies on the other side. We could take the shortcut putting the past behind us and leaving it there. But instead we choose the difficult path back through stories because of our sacred hope that this path will lead to something beautiful and good: God has a history of redeeming. Perhaps He will redeem my stories as well." (p. 2)
It is with that hope and prayer that I continue my story...
The next day our family attended church with big smiles on our faces. The youth group was planning to share about their mission trip to Washington, and Chelsea was asked by our pastor to sing a solo.
I sat next to my friend, Jane. We had met a few years back when our daughters took dance class together. God had recently been revealing to both of us why He had connected our families together. We had more in common than we initially realized. I absolutely love it when He does that!
As soon as Chelsea started singing "Oh How He Loves Us" with her youth group joining her for the chorus, the tears started flowing. I was so very proud of my daughter...and perhaps just a 'wee-bit' hormonal to boot! (Grin)
We hadn't planned on sharing our news with anyone (well, except for my Chatties who know just about every detail of my life!), until after our first doctor appointment. The kids were so excited, though, they begged me to share our news with Jane and her family.
After the service Jane told me that she wasn't able to look at me during Chelsea's song because seeing the tears streaming down my face made her cry even harder!
You have to know that Jane has a gorgeous British /South African accent. Everything she says makes my heart happy. Not to mention, she has a very sweet, sweet spirit about her. Makes you want to meet her, doesn't it? (Smile)
I took that as an opportune moment to share our news. I leaned in close and quietly whispered, "Blame it on my pregnancy hormones!"
Her response was one I will never forget. And, again, was just what I needed in the moment. I am so blessed by the friends God has brought into my life.
Jane's eyes grew wide and she let out a squeal of delight. The next moment found me in a huge celebratory hug, followed by more happy tears.
God is so good!
"I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!"
Geoff was standing with us, smiling. Thankfully, by this point, he was starting to find his own center of gravity after his initial shock. Jane turned to him and congratulated him with an exuberant side-hug.
Ah, such sweet memories to hold onto.
"My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word."
Psalm 119:28 (NIV)
Before we knew it, our teenager daughters were quickly formulating plans on how best to tell their friends in the youth group. They were both so excited to welcome a new little one into our lives.
Ah, how sweet friendship is, both in times of blessing and times of trial. God always knows what we need and He provides at just the right time.
One of the interesting things about our family is that all of our birthdays fall within a two month period. I was excited about the baby's due date because it fit our family's pattern.
Admittedly, having a baby born any time of year would have been a blessing. However, I would have felt a bit sad to have all of us celebrating birthdays between April 21st and June 11, with the sixth birthday sometime in the Fall/Winter.
To me, it was just another sign that God knows my heart and cares about even the tiniest of details.
So, I'm really trying not to make these posts too long. I know your time is precious, my Friend. I am blessed that you are taking the time to read my words as I continue to process all that was, so that I may embrace all that God has yet to reveal to me.
Although this is not easy for me to share, I do hope and pray that at least one person will be touched by the incredible story God is weaving through my life.
It really is all about Him and His amazing and sacrificial love and grace for us, His beloved children.
He loves us. My Beautiful and Brave Friend, God loves YOU.
As Dan went on further to say, "So, as we journey through stories, we hope for a deeper taste of joy and a glimpse of redemption. We are detectives searching for the fingerprints of God in our lives. We look for traces of his authorship in the rubble of a fallen world." (p. 2-3)
I pray you are inspired to look back at the storms you have weathered...or are currently weathering...and seek the fingerprints of God. Even in the midst of heartache, they are there.
Especially in the midst of heartache.
He is there. I promise. Better yet, He promises!
"You will search for me.
And when you search for me with all your heart,
you will find Me!"
Jeremiah 29:13 (NCV)
What a blessing it is to travel this amazingly, crazy, and challenging journey together.
Keep seeking Christ, and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!
Prayers for peace and joy,