|Such as first glimpses of Baby...|
|…and fresh spring babies in the sunshine.|
|Such as a returned dossier from Addis Ababa...|
|…and painful consequences|
We're (still) in a season of change and unrest, and have been for quite some time now. Our family is not the same as we were two years ago. There's a new heartbeat among us. Boys are taller and have made even bigger leaps in their heart-growth. Along with those victories, they also face new challenges. We parents have changed too, both outwardly and inwardly. The pressures of moving and job change and unsettledness have produced both good fruit, and also caused the ugly to rise to the top.
Sometimes recently I've remarked, "I think I like the girl from a few years back better. I'm not the same person now that I was then. In fact, I'm not sure I can remember her." And so gently, like the murmurings of this Western wind through quaking Aspen leaves, I have heard Him whisper, "You're not the same. How can I make you more like Me if you stay the same?" A glimpse of hope has filled my heart, and yet still this hurt. This fatigue. This wanting of the hard to be over.
It's been a particularly difficult week. I don't share this to be negative, but to be real. Maybe you relate?
Morning sickness, nasty colds, bee stings, a boy nearly slicing off the tip of his thumb, wisdom teeth removal…these sort of things have filled our days recently. All the while, there is regular life and work and lessons and housekeeping for our family of eight, the all-consuming rhythm-keeping of days. Then there are the deeper, pressing matters, such as finding that permanent landing place. Where is the time or energy for that sort of thing?
One particular day found us scraping grotesque remains off the garage floor, over and over again, as baby birds plunged to their deaths to the concrete. We had heard them the previous two weeks or so, faint little cheep-a-cheeping at first. Their little cries gradually became louder and we smiled each time we stepped into the garage and heard the evidence of their growth. What a sad end to the mama's laboring of caring for those little birds. Over the course of two days, the cheeping lessened and lessened some more until all we heard was one. It, too, fell as we watched, only this one landed on the workbench.
The boy-version-of-animal-lover-me, ran to scoop up the fragile little frame before it toppled from workbench to concrete.
"I'll name him Bright Hope," he said. All day he played the role of papa to that little bird. Tenderly he fed him bits of suet and provided a soft place to rest.
The bird still died later that day, but it has a name and a place marked by an upright stone adorned with transplanted Forget-Me-Nots and scattered rose petals.
I feel sort of like I'm falling lately. "Slipping", I call it. And so in some sad, strange way I took it personal as I watched, one-by-one, those little birds fall. Thankfully though, I have more in common with the last little one, which instead of meeting concrete, met a buffered landing place and warm hands to nurture it along. It had a name. It was known. And loved. And I am, too. You are too, by the way.
I'm loved even when my ugly rises to the top with all this pressure. I'm known by name, a name written on His hand. So when He speaks to me, "Forward", I'll keep trudging forward. Because I believe through all this hard stuff something beautiful is being woven together.