Thursday, December 30, 2010

4 years

Four years ago, at this very moment, I was downstairs in our church basement, getting dressed, checking makeup, and getting pictures taken. I wasn't nervous or jittery. I was strangely calm, which I took as a good sign. A few minutes before two, Libby, our friend and wedding director, came downstairs and said we were going to have to wait for a few minutes because there were so many people there, the ushers were having to put out more chairs. That made me nervous--the thought of all those people!

The moment dad and I reached the top of the stairs, and I saw all the people we loved the most and my wonderful husband-to-be waiting for me at the front, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe the moment I had waited so long for was finally here. The ceremony seemed like a dream, and when it was all over, we walked down the aisle as husband and wife, and into our new life--which isn't, as you know, quite as perfect as the wedding itself, but beautiful nonethless.

Last night, I asked Michael what had been his favorite moment in the last four years. He thought for a minute, and then he said, "Kade". I started to get offended, and then I realized that that was my favorite moment, too. Not because I haven't loved every second I've spent with Michael, but because when we had Kade, there was finally this perfect, tangible expression of our love. Proof, you might say. Now, I realize that just because two people have a child, it doesn't necessarily mean that there was love involved. In our case, there was. And is.

God has blessed us so richly with each other, with our son, and with all of the other things and people in our lives. We have walked through fire. We have laughed till we cried. We have cried. We have had prayers answered. We have had dreams come true. Most importantly, we have had each other.

I love you, Michael. Always and forever.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Count your blessings instead.....

I grew up with one grandfather, because my other grandfather passed away before I was born. Grandad, however, more than made up for two grandfathers. I don't even know where to start.

I grew up hearing stories of our dad's idyllic childhood, traipsing around in the woods, riding camper tops down the river, sleigh riding off cliffs, and climbing trees, all under grandad's supervision--or should I say with grandad egging on and participating in the activities. By the time my sister and I came along, grandad acted shocked if we suggested any of the activities dad had told us about. He always said they were too dangerous. We gave him a hard time for forbidding us to do any of the "fun" things we had heard about.

We had our own adventures, though. We built dams and hunted for crawdads in the river. We went swimming at the local swimming pool, where grandad urged us to do flips off the side. We searched the woods for the elusive Little Pete. We climbed trees. We "worked out" in the basement. Between my grandparents, grandad was the early riser and we would always wake up in the morning to find him in the living room, reading his Bible.

I can't think of hardly an event in my life grandad ever missed--birthdays, graduations, Christmas plays, chorus concerts, proms, anniversaries. Nothing was too insignificant. He was always so proud of his children and grandchildren and loved all of us. He let you know it, too. I can't count the number of times in one visit or conversation he would say, "I love you, Leah. I love you so much."

When is the last time you ever saw an 80 year-old deadlift? Or jump off the diving board of a pool? There is no way I can fully describe to you how special grandad was and how blessed we have been to have him. Our family has been blessed beyond measure--to be so close and to have such wonderful parents and grandparents. They were both the perfect model of God's unconditional love. It didn't matter what any of us did--they loved us the same. I could never, ever ask for a better grandfather. If I had a choice, I would have never let him go. Ever. My heart breaks and rejoices at the same time, as I know he's meeting Jesus and being reunited with my granny. We will miss him forever, but I have one more reason to hold on to that hope I have.

Grandad, I love you. I love you so much.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When you just don't understand....

Sorry I've been on a bit of a hiatus. First it was Thanksgiving, and then all the rush of getting ready for Christmas (even though it's only December 8), but I'm ready to settle down a little.

This post may seem sort of vague for some of you, but bear with me. It's cathartic for me, and maybe you'll find a nugget of truth somewhere in here for you.

Have you ever been in one of those spots where people say to you: "Just trust in God's timing" or "God has a plan for this"? Have you ever thought to yourself, when someone has said those things to you--"Frankly, I can't think of a plan that could ever explain this or make this situation make sense!"

I'm in that spot right now. I would I could tell you that I've been all pious and holy and saying, "That's ok, God. I know You have a better plan for me life", but I haven't. I'll be nakedly honest with you. The first day of this situation, I sat, pretty sullenly, through an awesome service at church. I wasn't angry with God, but I just felt kind of blank. I didn't try to connect with Him at all. It's hard to offer up your heart to someone when you feel like they've betrayed your trust. I trusted God for something and things didn't turn out my way. My way. 'Cause my way's the best, dontcha know.

Slowly, I'm coming to a place where I can at least say, "Ok, God. You must have something different planned, and I can't wait to see it", because as terrible as it is to feel like God has betrayed you, it's an even worse feeling to go through something awful without Him. Even if you have all of your earthly family and friends rallying around you, it's lonely without your Father. What I mean by that is not that He isn't there, but that I ignore Him because I feel betrayed. What a relief to turn around and run into His arms, weeping as your heart breaks, but resting in the peace that only He can give.

Ultimately, He says that His thoughts are not ours and His ways are not ours--they are better and higher (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even if I don't understand that, I cling to it--white knuckled and breathless, I cling to it.

God, I don't understand Your ways, but I will give You my soul, give You all of my praise.