A Lake is not a Leak.

This is a little embarrassing.

While was chatting with the midwife at my appointment today, David brought up my “leak.”

“Lake.” she corrected.

Oh. Lake? To be fair, with her lovely French accent, it kind of sounds like the same word.

Now I understand why all my Google research was so very unsuccessful. A placental leak is not a thing. I’m not entirely stupid. I kind of wondered if I had misheard when Google kept asking me if I meant placental lake.

I David was able to ask some more questions and our Midwife was very helpful. From what I’ve read, placental lakes, while abnormal, aren’t actually connected with any pregnancy complications and it usually isn’t even mentioned unless there are several of them. Assuming I didn’t misunderstand everything, I only have one tiny one.  She went on to explain that an OB might not even send me for the second ultrasound, but that Midwives have to be a bit more careful. My upcoming ultrasound is just to rule out any other deviations from “normal” as a precaution. Basically, the impression that I now get is that its primary purpose is to cover my Midwives’ you-know-whats.

Oh. Ok.

Even though I feel a little silly for completely misunderstanding a word…and for telling people that I have something that doesn’t even exist, I also feel really grateful.

If I’m completely honest, I have spent a lot more time concerned this pregnancy than I did in my pregnancy with Eliana. I think it’s something about looking at my sweet baby and knowing that there’s another sweet baby growing inside of me. Somehow, it’s not as abstract as it was the first time. I so desperately want to meet her. I so desperately want to get to know her, to have her personality revealed to me day by day, to watch her play with her older sister.  These last few weeks have had me leaning so heavily on Jesus. Asking him to remind me that he is the one who loves and cares for my sweet children perfectly. He is the one to whom they belong. He is the one writing the story of their lives.

I am only their mother.

I love them. So intensely, so deeply, but they don’t really belong to me. They belong to Jesus. I mentioned in my first post about this that it seemed like a great opportunity for Jesus to tend the garden of peace in my heart, and my friends, he has been so faithful.  Each one of you who took a moment to pray, each of you who took an extra moment to let me know that you were praying, thank you for helping him.

I was hesitant to write the first post back in April because I thought maybe everything will be just fine and then this will just be silly. But remember how I talked about thinking and no more lies before? I don’t want to pretend that I don’t worry about things that are silly. Because I do. I don’t want to only write stories that are finished and have good endings and resolution. Because a lot of times, there’s at least one story in my life that doesn’t. But Jesus meets me there. He meets you there. In the worry or the anger or the suffering, in the unfinished stories and the ones that end sad. He stands there with us.  I don’t know what new information, if any, we’ll learn at our ultrasound in two weeks, but I am also not living in fear of it.  The Lord is still teaching me to trust, in his goodness, his wisdom, and his faithfulness. Not that things will always be good, but that He. will. always. be. good. 

I still treasure your prayers as the Lord teaches me to trust him with my life, my plans, and my family.

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On Moving, Part 2.

I unpacked that box of tea a few weeks ago.

I cried a little bit.

I remembered the girl who packed it up. I feel like I hardly know her anymore and I feel like I’m still just like her, all at the same time.

The girl who dreamed of feeling “settled” and thought that trusting would just be easier if things were consistent. The girl whose heart was so sure that if that box of tea expired in some forgotten corner of a storage facility, her hope would expire right along with it. The girl who chose to trust because God was gracious to give her the courage to trust.

I think about her a lot.

I think about her when I watch my baby girl growing up and my mind starts to race with all the ways I could mess up.

I think about her when I consider the complete lack of control I have over either of my children’s lives, born or unborn.

I think about her when bills stack up on the counter, when it gets late and I’m home alone, when I remember just how much it cost me to get a degree I don’t use.

But it’s different now. In my heart, there is a stillness and a quiet that the Lord started growing the day I packed that box of tea and breathed that prayer for the millionth time. Today, I believe. 

The way the Lord has tended the garden of my heart– there is no word for it but grace. The way he has grown up that seed of faith into peace through gentle, tender care and attention, not giving me everything that I want, but patiently giving me the things that he wants.  It is beautiful. And I am grateful.

And as I sit here and think about heading to the doctor’s office tomorrow to catch a glimpse of our second sweet baby, I remember these truths. And there are so many unknowns and there is so much that I can’t control.  And worry and fear want to rise in my heart, but they can’t. Not like how they used to.  The Lord has been gently, graciously tending a garden of peace where there used to be a brush pile of worry.

And I write all of this because I remember how that girl sat on the couch and cried because she just knew she wouldn’t be able to muster up the strength to hope and trust and believe for that long. And she never had to. Because the amazing, wonderful, beautiful thing about the Lord is that, while the one thing he asks us to do is to trust, He never ever asks us to do it alone. That tea expired, but my hope and my heart are thriving.

Friends, the Lord has been faithful, not only to provide us with jobs and a place to live, but to continue to grow the garden of peace in our hearts.  To call us into uncomfortable places and fortify our hearts with his faithfulness as he meets us in our need, not always (not even often) in the way that we prefer or imagine, but in a way that will make much of him. And the delight in that place? One of the best gifts I have ever received. There is no word for it but grace.

Letters to Ellie: SIX.

Dear Ellie Jo,

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This morning, before the sun came up, before my alarm clock went off, before I heard birds chirping, we woke up. I heard you in your room and I went to get you. I brought you back to my room and fed and snuggled you. I watched the clock change from 6:16 to 6:17, and just like that you turned six months old.

It didn’t really happen that quickly, of course. It happened slow. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, since the day you were born that time has been going away. I know where it went. But it’s gone just the same. It went to innumerable couch cuddles and late mornings in bed. It went to mini-road trips to visit your grandparents, to doctor’s appointments, to nap-filled days, to your first time at church, to long work days. It went to feedings and diapers and baths.  I look back on the last six months, Ellie, and my time it is full of you. It is full of learning and growing–not just for you but for me.  You are the baby who made me a momma, and we’ve spent the last six months figuring out what that means.

Six months ago, when we met you, I was struck by your beauty. I remember in those early days wanting to comment on something other than your looks, but I didn’t know you yet. What an incredible feeling it is–to love someone so much even though you know them so little.  Every day as you grow, I learn about you. One of my favorite things to do now is to compliment your other qualities.

Eliana Joanne, you are smart, perseverant, persistent, thoughtful, and joyful.  You love fiercely already.  You like to figure things out, you love to smile, and you are stubborn. How I pray the Lord gives us gentle hands to help shape that part of you without breaking it.

IMG_3854Sweet baby girl, I pray for you, that your tiny heart will know the love of the father real and strong and soon, that your heart will be tender towards that love and towards his people, and that the Lord might bless you with the gift of motherhood one day.  And if he does, sweet girl, prepare yourself. Because being a momma has already been the most spiritually formative thing I have ever experienced.  I didn’t know what it was to trust until the Lord began teaching me to trust him with you.  And I pray for us, Ellie, that trusting in Jesus will be the hallmark of our home. Because even after I spend 3 hours looking for a safe car seat for you, I remember that Jesus is the only one who can really guarantee your safety. And I remember that your safety might not look like I want it to. And I remember that being a clench-fisted momma won’t teach you to have faith. That white-knuckled fear doesn’t teach you how to trust.  And I sigh a little bit and I pray, Ellie Jo, while you’re there on the floor, trying to figure out how to crawl. That you will keep on growing and I will keep on trusting.

Love,

Momma

I Remember.

As we prepare to go somewhere new, looking for the Lord’s will and dreaming of what is to come, as the future looks uncertain and our way is unclear, I find fear in my heart. Fear of a place I know well, fear of a place I don’t miss. I have learned another way. I write this to help me remember.

I remember that place in the darkness, that home I built for myself. With tightly clenched fists and scattered heart-pieces strewn, I sat, frozen in silence.  My hungry heart held out had been bloodied, kicked, beaten one too many times. Not good enough. smart enough. experienced enough. enough. My heart is not enough.

They stood outside the perimeter looking in, nudging each other and whispering, “Is her heart is not strong enough? brave enough? trusting enough?” I drowned out the sound of their whispers with the sound of my own sorrow and built the walls of my home higher, higher, higher to block out their questioning eyes and bewildered faces. I built these walls to make us more comfortable. Because my fists and scattered heart-pieces are too messy for you, and because seeing you this way is too shameful for me.

I remember this place. Huddled against the cold walls I had built, I waited. waited. waited. waited. clenching and broken. alone in my pride-house. Terrified of expiring this way and longing for it. Wondering if the now very thin playing-running-light-filled-laughter in my memory ever existed at all or ever could exist again.  I remember the way my fists clenched harder and more of the memory slipped through the cracks and away like sand. I remember what it was like to watch hope slip, slip, slip away until there was darkness and only darkness. Till my feeble attempts to glimpse the future saw only dark sadness and no light-filled-laughter, bleak-clenching-getting-by and no grace-drenched-open-hearted-living. I remember.

I remember when the light came. Slowly, gently, but boldly. The sun made no apologies for its brightness, was not ashamed to disrupt the quiet, was not timid in its coming. First glimpses burned my eyes, made the raw edges of my scattered heart-pieces ache for wholeness, frightened me there in the darkness.

I remember it was slow. Every day growing by only a sliver, gently warming me and helping my fingers to uncurl. I remember the fear that it would go away. That I would awake to find the light had been put out, extinguished. That the walls had been built too thick and too high. I remember that every day the sliver grew bigger, every day, the heart-pieces came closer to healing, every day, my fists unclenched just a little bit more.

I remember the day the light drew me out of my pride-house. I remember open hands and a heart mended and glazed by the sheen of light and grace. I remember tearing the walls down and letting the light in. I remember begging for it. I remember staring at it. I remember when it became food, life, breath to me.

I remember that the light is still growing.

Every day its presence grows more apparent, the quiet pinks and purples slowly illuminated by a vibrant yellow-orange brilliance, leaving nothing in the dark. Daily, this light shines on everything generously and, so doing, makes it beautiful. The yellow-orange glow accompanied by faint traces of purple and pink glints off the edges of my life, illuminates a mended heart, invites all who see it to begin again. To live in a way which reflects that brilliance.

I remember the way of Grace.

Therefore I tell you…

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I used to think of this passage as nice words of comfort, as in, “Lindsey, you don’t have to worry…”  Lately, though, our pastor has been challenging us to read larger sections of biblical text and to look to the surrounding text for information.  As I read through this section of Matthew on a Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but notice what comes before it:

“…Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…”

“…If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light…”

“…You cannot serve God and money…”

Read in light of these statements, it seems impossible to view the “do not worry” passage as a nice encouragement intended to help us sleep well at night.  Instead, I think that Jesus is giving us a warning.  A warning that is related to what has been quoted above because he begins it by saying “Therefore.”  The reasons Jesus gives for not worrying (life is more than food, you can’t add hours to your life, God knows your need) relate back to what has been said in the section before this passage.

“Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?”  When we are anxious, our vision becomes small.  Jesus is reminding us that when we worry, we necessarily reduce meaningful things to their most insignificant elements and choose to fill our eyes with darkness rather than with light.  The preceding verses tell us that if our eyes are filled with darkness, our whole bodies will be also.  Anxiety so narrows our focus that we can’t see the good of God’s will, the light of his glory.

“Which of you by being anxious can add an hour to his span of life?”  Worrying doesn’t add to life in the Kingdom, it subtracts.  It doesn’t produce, it wastes.  In Luke, Jesus follows this question by  saying, “since you cannot do this little thing…”  With this gentle reminder that our worrying is ridiculous in light of God’s power, Jesus encourages us to spend our time and our energy on the Kingdom, not on ourselves.

“The Gentiles seek after these things, and your heavenly father knows you need them all.” Jesus tells us that seeking these things is for people who don’t know God.  Self-centered worry devours the lives of those who have no hope, but it should not be so with us.  Jesus invites us to find our treasure elsewhere because he knows that a heart set on self-preservation will never be satisfied.

At this point, the warning becomes evident: when we worry, Jesus is saying, we automatically set our thoughts, hearts, and energies on something that narrows our vision, subtracts from our lives, and divides our attentions.  We set our sights, our hopes, our thoughts on ourselves.  We set ourselves up as kings of little castles and we try to preserve them.  We choose to seek our own kingdom rather than seeking God’s kingdom.

Jesus invites us to a better way. “Seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  He invites us to find our treasure in the kingdom so that our hearts will be there, too. To fill our eyes with his goodness, set our hearts on his glory, and put our hands to his service even in the unknown, especially in the unknown, and find that the Lord is able to do so much more than we had ever hoped or imagined and that his glorious will goes so far beyond our plotting and planning.