Everything We Do Matters

photo913It was one of those laundry-washing, Lysol-spraying kind of days recently as my daughter brought home a nasty little stomach bug from preschool.  She was up nearly all night with it.  Thankfully, the little critter (that’s my name for it), successfully purged itself out of my daughter as it was purging everything…and I mean everything… she had eaten.  (Sorry for the details, but I’m a mother, so nothing really grosses me out anymore.)

At one point during the morning, I took a break from my frantic, and probably futile, attempt at cleansing my home.  As soon as I sat down on the couch, my daughter came over to me, snuggled up (even though I would have preferred her to be in a bubble), hugged my leg (because I wouldn’t let her hug my face), and said, “Thank you for taking care of me, Mommy.”  

Shortly after her soft “thank you”, I loosened up my need to stay as far away from her flu-bug infested body that I could.  I cozied up to her, and said, “You are welcome, sweetie.  I’m your Mommy, and I’m supposed to take care of you.”  As the day progressed, she started feeling better, and I went about my day trying to answer work emails, and wash whatever I could get my hands on.  Her thankfulness resonated within my thoughts, though.

Lately, it seems my heart and head have been in somewhat of a whirlwind.  I get the required tasks of the day completed, and then I exhale.  This morning during church, as I was thinking about my children and what I needed to do for them, the Lord gently reassured this to me:

“You are also a child.  You are My Child.  Everything that you do matters.”

Sometimes, it seems easy to forget that we are children of the Lord.  We get caught up in our troubles, desires, mistakes, and ego-driven need to succeed.  We negate the trivial acts of the day, and focus on what we could do with our lives if we had more time, more money, and more power.  We fail to remember that the smallest of tasks, if done in love, are often some of the most significant tasks of the day.

On the flip side of this, the things we fail to do matter as well.  If we fail to be present with our children, loving to our spouses, unkind to our friendships, disloyal to our parents, and unfaithful to our Lord, the ramifications are great.  Ultimately, to ignore the calling on our lives to serve others through our presence, prayer, service, and sharing of testimonies, could potentially mean the difference between life and death; earthly life, and earthly death.  Eternal life, and eternal death.

Friends and fellow believers, please don’t doubt your significance to this world, the lives of your children, your spouse, and your Heavenly Father.  Please don’t forget that your presence and love even in the lives of strangers matter. Jesus didn’t find you insignificant when He chose the Cross.

Love Changes Lives (Happy Birthday, Son)

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.

The night you were born was beautiful.  Your birth mother wailed in agony of labor pains, while I laid in my bed wallowing in my own kind of labor pains.  There was beauty in both of these moments.  One was painted with strokes of joy, while the other, strokes of despair; and yet, both were beautiful.  I did not know that my tearful prayer that night collided with the birth of you.

Two days later, we were asked to take you in.  Two days later, I held you for the first time.  I cannot think of anything more amazing than that.photo (5)

Love knows no boundaries, no genetic markers, no birthing, and no blood lines.  Love takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Before there was you, it was just me and my infertility.  Before you, my heart was only half-developed. Before there was you, I only knew one layer of love.

Love grabbed a hold of me the first time I saw you…instantly.

In an instant, I was separated from infertility for the first time in more years than I can remember.  For the first time, I felt whole.  For the first time, I also felt complete fear.  I feared loving and losing you.

I wished I would have been there the day you were born.  I wished I could have heard your first cry, held you while you welcomed Earthly air into your lungs, and whispered loving words to both you and your birth mother.  I would have been there had I known your circumstances.  I would have stood by your birth mother as she was told she would leave the hospital without you.  I would have done this because I honor her, and I love you.

I prayed for you the entire time we were fostering you.  I petitioned the Lord on your behalf, and on your birth mother’s.  How could I love you, and not want your birth mother to experience the same kind of love?  How could I look at myself in the mirror everyday knowing that I had been gifted with you, and not for one moment, want the best for her?  How could I allow love to overfill my heart, and not have any leftover for her?

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  Love took a hold of me the moment I saw you.  

Love still takes hold of us.  It tempers us in our moments of frustration.  It claims us in our times of messes.  It wraps around us in our seasons of sadness.  Love holds us together in our moments of hardship, and it leaps with us in our times of joy.

picture 40Love seizes my heart time and again when thinking of you.  I happen to believe you are one of the most endearing, unique, and important little boys that has ever existed.  You are wonderfully ambitious, loving, spirited, and an incredible child of God.  Please don’t forget how beautiful, and deeply loved you are.

I don’t consider these past seven years to be lucky ones.  They are much more than that.  I consider them to be ones that have proven that nothing compares to the capacity that love has to intervene in our lives.

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  You’ve given us seven amazingly beautiful years.

Love knows no boundaries.  It does not comprehend genetic markers.  It has no birthing or blood lines necessary.

Love truly takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Love changes lives.

Thirty Years Ago

Labor Day Weekend (United States) is usually one that most look forward to. The last hurrah of summer includes an extra day off from work with family and friends. Labor Day weekend evokes another remembrance in my life though.  It is the first memory of waking up in the hospital following my hysterectomy in 1983.

I remember waking up with my dad’s hand near my arm.  I remember opening my eyes just long enough to see him staring at the television.  I remember watching him quietly watch the Jerry Lee Lewis Labor Day Telethon….and that was it.  I closed my eyes, and fell back asleep.  I don’t know if it was day or night.  I don’t know how long he had been sitting there, or how long I had been asleep.  I don’t recall if I said anything, or if he did.  All I remember is quietly watching him stare at the television.

Thirty years ago, I became a survivor.  A survivor of a deadly bacterium.  A survivor of something rarely, if ever, seen in 1983.  It is incredible how a microscopic bacteria could wreak havoc, nearly claim a life, and leave in its wake, a life forever changed.

Labor Day weekend marked the beginning of a different life story.  It was the beginning of a journey marred with confusion, loss, and silence.  My parents suffered great loss as they watched me fight to stay alive.  They knew that staying alive was only part of the struggle….the temporary part.  Infertility would stay.

Today, as I sat around our table with my parents, husband, and children eating lunch, I thought about this weekend and what it meant for my life.  As I sat with my daughter at the doctor today (she’s fine), I thought about my own parents sitting by my bedside with worry as their greatest companion.  As I watched my son playing in a creek at a local park, I thought about the first time I laid eyes on him, and exhaled.  As I put the little one to bed, I hugged on him a little longer than usual, and told I loved him a few extra times.

Thirty years ago, I was a young girl waking up to the image of my father by my hospital bed.  I fought a deadly illness, and won.  The battle was not over though.  In many ways, it had just begun.

Through the years I’ve learned that life is partly what is written or ordained to happen, and mostly what you make of it.  What I mean is that it is easy to “throw in the towel”, rely on your own crutch of victimization, wallow in self-pity, and lose faith.  It is far too easy to say, “Well, life is unfair.”

I do not believe that the Lord wants us to be victims.  He does not want us to stifle His light because of what we have been through.  Through the past thirty years, I’ve learned to trust, hope, and to dare to envision dreams coming true through His grace.  photo

Through him we have also obtained  access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the  glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that  suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character  produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been  poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to  us.
-Romans 5:2-5