Friday, March 27, 2015


I stand here, shamed-faced at the foot of the cross. My hands are empty.  I hold them up and look at them, turning them over to see the short-cut nails, the rough skin, the creased palms...the hands of a working woman, of a dish-washing-dinner-cooking wife, of a baby-rocking-clothing-feeding-bathing mama...

But them most notable thing about them, at least to me, is that they are empty.

I stand here, at the foot of the cross, with empty hands.  Completely empty.  I do not stand here with my children, I do not stand here with my husband, I stand here alone, with empty hands.

Because that's all I have.  Nothing.  There is no offering that I can give that's not already His.

The most valuable thing I have to offer, these children that I have, they're not really mine.  Not really.  They are on loan to me, entrusted to my care, but on loan to me, and here to fulfill the plan that God has for their life.

And my anger, while perhaps understandable, is not justifiable, and not righteous.  My anger, this anger that I felt at what I saw to be an injustice, was, in fact, a display of my lack of trust in God's plan for my children.

And I am convicted.

I know I have been talking about Beth Moore a lot, but this last lesson on Daniel really struck a lot of chords with me.  In one of the sessions, Beth talked about how there are some lessons that we don't want to have to learn the hard way.  Some lessons we should really just learn from someone else so that we don't have to do the suffering.  And for me, this is one of those.

I need to commit to memory, and seal away in my heart, never to be forgotten, this truth:

My life, and the lives of my children, are in God's hands.  He is in control, and I need to trust that.


How can I doubt God's grace?  Has He not saved me from myself?  Did he not keep His hand on Jesse when he swallowed the battery, had a seizure and developed a heart murmur?  Did He not keep Gabriel from being more badly hurt when he fell and needed stitches?  When he got bit by the dog?  Has He not watched over Elizabeth as she grows into a responsible young lady of whom any mother would be proud?  Has He not given us Jo, who is fearfully yet wonderfully made?

Did He not perform miracle after miracle over our sweet baby Hazel Grace?

And yet, I have the nerve to shake my fists at God and ask Him why?!  Even after God proves to me again and again that He is in charge and that He is in control, I continue to fight and struggle and attempt to lay claim to that which I think is mine,

But in the end, I always end up here,

At the foot of the cross

With empty hands.

And I am ashamed.

But the glory of empty hands is that when you finally let go of that which you should never have been holding on to in the first place, you are ready to receive the abundant blessings that God has in store for you,

And the glory of standing alone at the foot of the cross, in repentance, is that there is no buffer between you and the grace of God.

And, oh!  How that grace does flow!

Today it flowed in the form of the cardiologist telling us that the irregular reading of the EKG was not supported by the echo that they performed on Jo.  Her heart is perfect, each chamber its correct size, rhythmically performing its designed function.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

So let me remember this.  Let this close-call scare sear its way into my heart so that I never have to hover over the edge of the fiery furnace again.  Let me have learned my lesson so that I don't have to go down this path again.

And let me wash myself in the waters of God's grace to get rid of any last smell of smoke that may be lingering.

And let me come up out of those waters not ashamed,

But with empty hands,

Lifted high.

Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers and support.  All is well with Jo and her heart.  There is no explanation for the irregular EKG reading, which was irregular once again today, but the echo showed a perfectly formed heart.  Hazel continues to get stronger every day.  She is home and back off the oxygen.  Her pneumonia is slowly clearing and her food tolerance is slowly coming back.  

God is good, all the time!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Smell of Smoke

The blood pounds in my ears.

My teeth are clenched.

I want to scream.

I want to throw something.

I want to break things just hear them shatter.

I want to pick a fight.  I want to make you mad at me so that I can isolate myself and nurse my pain.

I am tired and can't sleep.

I am angry, and have nowhere to direct my fury.

I drive too fast; I brake too hard.

My stomach churns and I want to vomit.

I haven't even gotten close to the fire, and I smell like smoke.

I bang the letters on the keyboard, forming words that will release me from this demon of fury, words that I know, in the end will wrap me back to where I belong, firm in my faith, pressing hard into His love and mercy.

But right now, I'm angry.

It was supposed to be routine.  It was supposed to be just a check to get a baseline before prescribing meds.  It was supposed to be an in-and-out, no big deal, five minute sort of thing.

But the little paper with the gash across the middle made a gash across my heart and made my world tilt at an crazy new angle.

The little lines on the paper were supposed to jog up and down in their jittery pattern uniformly across the page, but they don't.  There's one rogue line that slashes through the others and leaps out of the norm and almost off the top of the page itself.

The doctor shows me this paper and says off-handedly:

We got the results of the EKG back.  There's an irregularity.  You'll want to follow up with a cardiologist.  There's a thickening of the wall of the right side of her heart.  

I want to snatch the paper out of her hand, rip it up and throw it away.  What do you mean, lady!  There's nothing wrong with my child! You're WRONG!

I want to shout it at her, shake her, make her see it my way

But there's no point in shooting the messenger, so I calmly tuck the prescription for the follow-up exam in my handy dandy notebook, and force my feet to follow her footsteps out of her office and down the hall.  

What does this mean?

I don't know.

And part of me doesn't even want to know.  I want to keep my head in the sand and deny that this even exists.

But I can't.

As my youngest baby is upstairs coughing her way through her latest bought of pneumonia, this other child of mine, the curly haired girl who already struggles with a mood disregulation, is now stepping with me into the whole new world of cardiology.

And while her heart is the one that may be damaged,

my heart is the one that hurts.

I know from my latest Beth Moore study on the book of Daniel, that there are 3 ways to be delivered from this fire:

We can be delivered from the fire, i.e. we could find out it's nothing at all and the reading was wrong,

We can be delivered through the fire, i.e. we could find out it's something that we can manage and live with,


We can be delivered by the fire, which is a place a never want to think of going with my children.

I take a deep breath.  My heart rate slows, my blood pressure lowers, I stretch the cramps out of my fingers and I realize I've been biting my lip.

And as I stand here at the lip of the opening of the firey furnace, and I peer down into the flames, I hope and pray that we have the opportunity to just turn around and walk away from this.  I hope that the cardiologist will tell us it was all a mistake, that it all means nothing and that there are no worries.  But I know that if we are forced to make that leap into the opening of this scorching furnace, if we have to head down the path of diagnosis and treatment, we won't be the only ones walking through these flames.

I can't fight this, whatever this may be.  I can only turn the page on this new chapter in our lives, smooth the blank page,

and turn the pen over to God, and know that He will be beside us, all the way, whatever tomorrow may bring.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Monday!

Really, Hazel Grace? That innocent look on your face doesn't fool me!

But I must say that while of course I am glad the weather is nice enough to hang the diapers out, I am ECSTATIC that I now have 2 helpers to get it done!

And Hazel IS trying to help clean up...

Friday, March 6, 2015


Sweet baby,
Oh baby of mine
Of what do you dream
In your sleep so sublime?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Every Good and Perfect Gift

A friend of mine was telling a group of us about a friend of hers who was very blessed with material things.  She then went on to say that she was also blessed with two perfect and perfectly behaved children.

And this got me to stop and think:

If this woman is 'blessed' to have two 'perfect and perfectly behaved' children, then am I not blessed because my children are not all 'perfect' and 'perfectly behaved'?

Am I not blessed because I gave birth to two children with special needs?  Are we, then, as a family, not fortunate?  Not beloved?  Not chosen?

But James 1:17 states clearly:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father...who does not change like shifting shadows. (NIV)

Now, I am going to go out on a limb here and say, if every good and perfect gift comes from the Father, then I choose to believe that every gift from the Father is good and perfect.

We cannot dispute that fact that our children are gifts, and from where else do gifts such as these come except from the Father?

Which to me means, dear friends, that my children, with all of their struggles, are good and perfect, designed as they were intended to be designed, with life, beauty, and a purpose,

and so are yours.

This doesn't mean that every day will be a perfect day.

This doesn't mean that bad things won't happen.

This doesn't mean that they won't make bad decisions sometimes...a lot of times...seemingly always.

And it certainly doesn't mean that it will be easy.

But it does mean that we are blessed.

All of us, with our perfectly 'imperfect' children,

Are blessed,  most definitely