Tag Archives: stone of remembrance

One Year

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – 4:00AM

“Dad, Chasey is crying in his bed and he won’t stop moving.”

With these words of a frightened child a year ago came the unheard sound of life forever changed.  A season of watchful anxiety with no answers silently became a parent’s worst nightmare as we were thrown into a path on which there is no escape, no turning back, and no foreseeable end in sight.

The path is dim and lined with shadows: of lost dreams and old lives, of malignancy and pain, of a terminal condition always a breath away.  And yet, God’s grace and goodness to us is woven into this tapestry of pain in ten thousand reasons for our heart to find.

Truly, there is no better sum for the year than this…

“I stand upon the mount of God with sunlight in my soul; I hear the storms and vales beneath, I hear the thunders role. But I am calm with Thee, my God, beneath these glorious skies; and to the height on which I stand, no storms, no clouds can rise. O, this is life! O this is joy, my God to find Thee so: Thy face to see, Thy voice to hear, and all Thy love to know.” Horatious Bonar

Thank you for walking this first year with us, moment by moment.

[As many of you know, Chase’s favorite song is Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons.”  I hope this very slight picture of the year blesses you as it does us.  Trace the faithfulness and joy with us… God is good.

March 5th, pt. II

Missed “March 5th, pt I”?  Read it here.

Something that is only too apparent to those who know me is that I’d FAR prefer a root canal to public speaking.  I don’t know why … my husband is the exact opposite … but public speaking petrifies me.

This was my biggest obstacle: speaking as Daryle had asked me to speak had to be done, but I really, really wasn’t looking forward to getting up and speaking in front of the whole church.  The date was set for Sunday, March 5, 2006 (trust me, this date IS significant … but also for a future blog), so I had a week or so to prepare my thoughts and come to term with my nerves.

The morning of Sunday the 5th, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace.  I was not alone in any possible way.  The entire elder board as well as my parents stood behind me as I spoke briefly.  Daryle had prefaced what I said with some thoughts on church support, encouragement, and most importantly accountability (this is a word that you, if you’re around me for any length of time, will hear me use a LOT).  After I spoke, they gathered around me and prayed for me, my precious daughter, and our church.

These few sentences seem to be way too short a description of that incredible morning.  It was a momentous day but, in truth, I remember very little of it.  It passed in a blur.  I recall impressions, like hearing my own voice, the heat of the lights on the stage, appreciating our college pastor’s hand on my arm while praying as I started to feel faint, the almost deathly quiet in the room, the absence of fear, feeling no condemnation.

God’s lavish grace and faithfulness through my church family was incredible.  Again, I was overwhelmed.  They gave me a baby shower … so many people and so many gifts … as I looked around my living room late that night (after the shower) and saw what I would learn in future was most of my baby’s first year of life completely provided for, all I could think of was Isaiah’s response to the Lord’s presence in Isaiah 6: he realized his own sinful heart in the presence of God’s holiness.  Yes, baby gifts are hardly holy, but God’s provision for the sake of His glory is.  I was humbled in such a beautiful way.

Why discuss in such detail the role my church played in these months?  My hope then – and now, even as I write this – is that my talking about what happened in my life and seeking accountability will encourage others to do the same and/or reach out to those around them in need.  We do need each other, and as my wise father often says, “Churches should be hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints.” 

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (James 5:16-17—The Message).

I spoke publicly.  The issue was an issue no longer.  It was now a picture of God’s faithfulness.

The baby could be anticipated with joy.

March 5th, pt I

Far from being settled, I felt like the last weeks of my pregnancy seemed even more in a state of upheaval than the fall.

February had passed in a blur of family events and the settling of my grandma’s estate. There were now only a few weeks until the baby was to be born and I was still receiving phone calls and e-mails and having conversations in which it was becoming increasingly obvious that there were very few people around me who were at peace with unwed pregnancy in general and my unwed pregnancy in particular. Occasionally, speculation would reach me: “Where is she at spiritually? Does she understand what all this is about? Does she know how hard her life will be?” It was almost as if people needed a place to categorize me (repentant sinner, rebellious sinner, fallen, etc.) in order know how to process my life and know how to deal with me.

This was disconcerting at best.

Not just for me, but this especially plagued me for my unborn daughter. How would they treat her? When she was two and going through the “terrible twos,” would they say, “Oh, that’s so normal, every child goes through that”? Or would they say, “Oh, look at that child acting out! It’s clear she has a non-traditional family atmosphere and has no father-figure.” Would she always carry the weight of my bad decisions? This horrified me!

Yes, a little dramatic, I know, but I really thought about these things!

This was still being viewed a problem. My child was an ISSUE.

I believe that one of the most amazing aspects of pregnancy is the mother’s joy in the feeling of life. Sooner or later, no matter how difficult the stress surrounding a pregnancy, all women (or something like 99.875% of women) begin to enjoy and anticipate their child. However, any impending joy in the amazing feeling of life and my imminent motherhood was interpreted as some kind of disconnectedness from the seriousness of my situation and prospects. How long before it was appropriate for me to feel joy over my baby? Was it not possible to fully realize the gravity of my situation, the grace covering my sin, and still, STILL to feel joy at God’s gift of a child in the midst of it?

I remember one conversation with my mom in particular where I just sobbed to her, “When will my baby get to be a baby and not an issue? Will I ever be able to feel joy at her life?!”

How much time I wasted in worrying …

At the end of February, I met with Daryle (my senior pastor – I think I’ve mentioned him before) again. We talked through several things, and at the end of our time, he spoke of what he felt was the need for the church to hear my heart. He knew where I was, and my close friends knew where I was, but he and many with him felt like the church as a whole would greatly benefit from hearing where God had brought me.

This was not to be a public confession; it was about sharing the faithfulness of God in MY life and also beautiful moment of awareness for those around to support me in prayers and encouragement as I looked forward to raising this child. He said that from that point on (marking the time that I would be sharing), I would be able to look back and point to that day as a day of remembrance – I would look back and see the goodness of the Lord and could direct others to do the same. It would cease to be an issue, and start to be a baby over whom we could all feel great joy!

I remember that my mom and I looked at each other in speechless awe. We hadn’t told Daryle about our conversations.

Looking back, I’m still amazed at how God had all of us arriving at the same place from so many different directions.

Another Stone, Another Memory

“…When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them …” Joshua 4:6 

Never tell God what you are and are not willing to do.

In the Christmas season of 2008, I told God that I (in no uncertain terms) would be happy to birth the baby boy I carried ANY day except for Sunday, December 7th. My husband had a rather large Christmas concert scheduled for that day and was taking a rather large portion in it (conducting, soloing, etc, etc) … ie: the kind of thing at which he might be missed if he happened to be at the hospital instead.

December 7, 2008
12:07 AM: I looked at the glowing digits on my clock beside the bed. Really? Only midnight? Sighing, I decided that now was as good as any time to get up for one of what would undoubtedly be a hundred or so runs to the bathroom this night.  As I stood up, I felt the now familiar tightening. Labor?! Are you kidding me, God? We talked about this!  Maybe it’s false labor, early labor … something other than having-my-baby-today labor!

3:00 PM: Apparently this labor wasn’t false. However, it was slow, and knowing that there was much to do for the concert that night, I dressed in my holiday finest, and went to the church.

Sometime after 8:00 PM: Okay, now labor wasn’t quite so slow. The sounds of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” wafted faintly into the library from the sanctuary – the final piece to this concert … It was done and it had been good. Thank you, God.

8:45 PM: Begging my husband to both drive faster and NOT hit every bump in the road.  

9:00 PM: The charge nurse’s face in my vision: “Honey, if I sit you up to give you the epidural, the baby’s going to come out! You can do it! Just don’t push yet! The doctor is on his way.”

9:24 PM: A son is born. He is beautiful.   

Dear Son, This is just one of many crazy and beautiful stories of God’s love for us/you that we will rehearse with you as you age. 
Happy Second Birthday!  Love, Mom