Monday, 22 January 2018

breath

My eyes open and I worry that I'm already behind.  She screamed so long and hard it feels like I just fell asleep.  The glowing numbers of the clock come into focus and I breathe out a thank you God that I'm a morning person.  I uncurl, stretch, and make my way to the bathroom.  As I get dressed I'm reciting the things that need to happen before 8:35.  I got this.  Probably. 

Too early, One comes up for a cuddle, anxious as always on a Monday morning.  With an eye out the window for the neighbour kids who need us for five more mornings, I fill cereal bowls and smile as I remember our family win of a skating outing yesterday.  These months have been hard.  Hella hard at times.  Inviting little ones and their accompanying brokenness into our home, into our family, into our hearts.  It is heavy.  It pervades and permeates and doesn't ask permission to hang its darkness over our days.  But, is it just me, or is He deepening my perception of His beauty in this mess?  I smile at the kooky picture of the seven of us, Five's helmet-ed head peaking out from behind me, as we skate on the river. 

My smile falls as I hear the tell-tale sound of One bouncing a ball against the wall in his room.  Sure enough, he woke Two.  I stop him before they all wake like dominos.  Neighbours arrive and the morning is off and I wonder what I will behold today. 

In pockets of peace I remember to breathe.  This Almighty-breath gives life, slows the fickle worried heart so it can truly see.  This circus that makes me crazy?  I love it.  I love them.  I struggle with how much more He might ask of me.  Inside my family or outside.  It's scary to dwell on and I wonder why.  Many days I feel I have nothing selfish left in me, but oh Lord I am so wrong.  I have given, twice.  Poured out in big-enough ways, I tell myself.  Months and months in I am finally seeing how He is working, weaving, winning at the important things in me, in my littles, in those who find themselves inside our spheres.  Dare I say, He is glorying in letting me behold glimpses of the fullness of His radiance.  Where I swear it wasn't before.  Where I wouldn't have thought it could ever be.  Beholding His beauty, pressing on to acknowledge His Emmanuel presence - not only inspite of the painful brokenness, but also right smack dab in those tear-stained, unlikely-to-be-glorious, caught-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place, down-on-my-knees-wondering-where-this-is-going messes.   He is not afraid of messy and His breath gives me life.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Other Shoe

For months I've wondered and prayed, wishing everyday for the fog of uncertainty to be lifted away.  This would be so much more manageable, I think, if only I was more knowledgeable about the longterm.  If the plan were tangible, my emotions would surely be balanceable.  But who am I kidding.  Now that they've said the words out loud - just the possibility that she will be leaving - and the futility of trying to keep a steady heartbeat is laughable.  In all probability, this move is her best imaginable, and so I can hold no hostility, besides there won't be capacity when the she moves out and the grieving moves in.  Just as my heart keeps tripping over itself, my stomach is flipping over itself.  I will spend these unremitting days chipping away absentheartedly at the daily, knowing the other shoe is about to fall squarely on the most vulnerable part of my soul.  Because there is no loophole to this loving business.  When she goes, her being gone is only the tip of the iceberg.  There will be the weight of the grief strapped to my chest where I carried her, the dimness of the room that isn't being lit by her smile, the doorway glaringly empty with no one to bounce the Jolly Jumper.  And instead of it feeling emptier, my home and my heart will feel heavy with her tangible absence.  Now I wonder at my ability to give up comfortable.  How many times is the unimaginable loving and losing a child navigable?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Adoption

My caseworker sits down beside me on the couch and I never know where in the world the meeting is going to go.  Today's agenda is Pip and longterm plans - but I never know this until she pulls her haphazard binder from her overstuffed bag.

It seems that everyone who matters is fairly certain that Pip will not be going back to her parents.  And given the last year, that seems reasonable to assume.  Reasonable, at least, to a reasonable outsider.  Slightly less reasonable to me who has seen who wonky and illogical and mysterious and messed-up the system is.  But in any case, that is what we are supposed to be planning and preparing for.

So she hands me a phone number and says I am supposed to call the adoption intake worker.  I will have to ask for adoption paperwork which we need to fill out as soon as possible.  Then we will be put on a list to attend adoption classes and eventually have our home study completed.  Ya know, again.  Because that makes a lot of sense.

But the thing is, my caseworker can't answer the important questions.  What if the case doesn't go the way everyone thinks it will?  What if Pip goes back to mom and dad?  What if she goes to another family?  How do I fill out stacks of paperwork, attend training, prepare for her to be mine forever and still protect my heart in case it all takes a different direction?  How do I trust in the face of so much uncertainty?  How do I love and not lose my mind?

Sunday, 9 July 2017


She screams and thrashes in her sleep at the obnoxious time of just-as-I’m-slipping-blissfully-out-of-consciousness-myself.  Eyes closed, she kicks the side of the crib, tormented.  My words do nothing to soothe her, my gentle touch just makes her writhe that much more.  So I pull her out of bed, change the scenery, distract her with a cup of milk.  She studies my face while seems to wonder what we are doing awake in the dark of night - as do I.  Minutes later her head burrows into my chest and her weight sinks into me with trust and sleepiness.  I would breathe in the smell of her, if her frizzy curls weren’t already tickling my nose.  And I am honoured to be the one holding her in as many of these moments as she needs.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Two Daughters

The cry that gets me up of the couch turns out to just be a whimper in her sleep.  I've gotten off the couch an hour into the coveted quiet of evening and tiptoed into the girls' room for nothing.  But it must be one of the very best nothings I have ever been privileged to take in.  One sleeps on her back, arms above her head and lips still parted from where the soother was released in slumber.  I smile at her peaceful perfection in the center of the white crib before turning around.  My gaze searches for the other, pushed up into the corner of her matching crib, bum in the air, blankets gathered and clutched beneath her, curls splayed in the halo of sleep.  I have two daughters.  The words still seems surreal.  I have been entrusted with these two precious, beautiful, valuable, delightful, inherently lovable souls.  May His grace fill me with wisdom and patience and strength.  May His grace overflow to them, for I know I will not ever be enough.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Papa, your grace changes diapers and paces with discontent babies.  It comforts a whimpering toddler and patiently remains present to a tantruming one.  It does laundry incessantly and prepares food ongoingly.  It makes bottles and restocks diaper bags.  It hugs and kisses.  It reads and explores and crafts.  It answers questions and finds missing shoes.  It makes soccer snack and refills water bottles.  It tucks in and tucks in again.  It isn't flowery or obscure or lofty.  It is alive and active, living and loving and mighty.  It is present and it is enough.  Enough for me, and enough for these five littles.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Heart Transplant

Every moment of anguish vacuums the joy out of the corners of my heart. Tears come or worse, they don't.  Pain gets deeper, breaths get shallower and I wish I had the words.  Any words, dammit.  

It feels empty.  But it isn't, is it?  My grief is not the absence of joy, it is the overwhelming loss of it.  The greater the joy was at the one end of the spectrum, the more encompassing the sorrow is at this end.  I want to wish away the pain, but I fear it would take with it the memories.  Maybe I can't live without either.  Because what-was was wonderful and what-is has to be.  

Truth be told, this isn't the first time I have wondered at His goodness.  Not the first time I have doubted His ways.  I didn't like it last time either or the time before, but oh my soul, did it tangle me up in my Father's love.  

Driven to my knees, sure that this time it was too much.  This time I might not see His glory again, His grace again.  How I long to be proven wrong by His faithfulness, because this time the only thing worse than being wrong is being right.  

It is hard.  Too hard, in fact.  But it is not over.  I refuse to believe this is the one situation He cannot redeem, that this is the one where He washes His hands of me and says 'you're on your own.'  

Most days I beg Him to take this burden from me.  To give me His yoke that is easy and His burden that is light.  Yet I know, in my heart of hearts, that He lets nothing go to waste in the shaping and perfecting of my faith.  I know because of the whispers.  Somedays I barely catch them as they float by on the rhythms of Your glory.  Somedays they arrest me in Your presence and I am known.  

The whispers find the cracks.  Lord, they pour and trickle and puddle in all the right corners of my heart.  And I know that this sorrow today, this is yet another fissure into which You spill Your whispers.  I know it even as I see that my words have morphed into whispers back to You.  

I don't want a heart transplant, I want to see what You do with this one You're cupping in Your hands.