Snapshots of their lives fill the blue and white page. Snippets of friends, new and old, near and far, and the emotional stimulation is too much.
I see a husband returning from war and my heart soars. He arrives home to his beautiful wife, swollen with their creation of love, and he is home to celebrate holidays and in time to welcome his daughter into this world. Thank you, Jesus.
I see sisters who spent the last nine months anticipating their little ones’ arrivals. Due at the same time, they celebrate and plan and share pictures of their ever-increasing bellies. One sister delivers her beautiful boy and we celebrate his safe and joyous arrival! Then three days later, the other sister delivers her firstborn, but the beautiful baby girl slipped away to Jesus. Two cousins born within days . . . one to its earthly family and one to its heavenly one and the Glory Baby’s parents come home with empty arms to a full nursery.
And I was busy all weekend, cooking food and cleaning house, and celebrating our first year with our own daughter. My little Love-Dove with her brave heart of grace. All went beautifully, and she loved the cake, and loved the gifts, and loved my attempt to create a snowland for her who arrived with snow. I was afraid it looked tacky, but she graced me with excitement over my meager, indoor-winter attempts. In baby exuberance, she pointed her small index finger toward all the dangling snowflakes and tulle, saying, “Mama. Mama.” My heart tightens. She knew I did it for her? How could I ask for a better, yet unnecessary, thanks?
Then today, I speak with a friend and she talks of Haiti and voodoo and babies left in trash heaps, and her heart aches as she wrestles in the night, asking Jesus to help.
And our hearts soar and plummet and soar and plummet depending on the hour or the news and how do we handle the emotional turbulence of virtual proximity and the everyday timeline of plain, old life?
Life is . . . and it is full of joy and pain and we try to sift through it or we try to bury it, but either way, it’s too much. Why, Jesus, why? The blessings and cursings make no sense to me. And I toss and turn in the night because my heart is full of life on this earth and His ways are higher than mine, but I don’t understand them. And I think of Jesus and how his soul ached for Mary, Martha and Lazarus and death itself. He knew. He knew like no other the power of death and the power of life and it made Him, He who is all power . . . it made him weep.
And what can we do but take it all? Take it all to Jesus?
So, I come.
#27 a fleeting glimpse of a baby face I thought long-gone
#28 laying it all out on the table
#29 a newborn baby boy
#30 a broken mother, having the faith and bravery to say her baby girl is dancing at the feet of Jesus
#31 giving us hearts that hurt for others
#32 His not allowing us to be content with babies living in dog-kennel-like orphanages
#33 a husband’s help cleaning the bathrooms
#34 a beautiful first year!
#35 a newly introduced teddy bear being smothered in birthday girl kisses
#36 a houseful of family
#37 snow flurries
#38 hot showers
#39 a second birthday party . . . to-go!
#40 husbands safe, home from war
#41 death, for it has no sting
#42 For life-giving words like this:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:3-5
#43 family lingering
#44 long hugs
#45 for One that is making all things new
#46 that He knows
#47 That he’s come . . . and he is coming. Our Emmanuel.