"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What life (and love) look like for us right now

"Dawn, Calgary". Photo Credit, Clinton Werezak.

Last night, for at least the third night in a row, the baby woke up screaming and restless at about 12:30 am and refused to settle back into bed until about 3am.  Teething.  Ugh.  She would doze in our arms, but as soon as she hit the crib sheet, she protested her unfair abandonment.

She has recently discovered her lungs and makes each scream as ear-splitting, and attention-getting as possible.  I remember our firstborn doing this, but I also see how the stakes are higher for this sweet second-born.  My attention is just that much harder to compete for.  And a fierce competitor she is!

Exhausted and disoriented by sleep-loss, we were not amused.

Neither Clint, nor I are exceptionally good at being gentle and kind when our sleep is interrupted. We have our moments, but awoken at 3am, three nights in a row we are not our best selves.

As the baby screamed, we took turns last night.  Holding her, rocking her with the creak of the wooden chair, swaying on our feet, her small body curled like a comma in our arms, bending over her crib, cursing the soother that she throws out of the crib (usually not with actual bad words).  The other of us would lie down just feet from the crib still in our room, attempting to rest and pray, generally unable to sleep.

We are dreaming for our futures again.  Tickets in hand to head to Oklahoma March 9th, to spend some much needed time with my parents and siblings, to wrestle with God in more prayer and hold out hope for the future.

Do you know what an utter failure I feel like as a person in my thirties with two kids, living with our parents?  We're not saving up for a down payment.  We're not yet actively raising support for full-time Christian work.  We're just completely and totally burnt out.  Sensitive people worn down by physical pain and mental and spiritual battles in the past few years.  We'd forgotten how to imagine.  We'd forgotten how to dream for our futures.  We'd lost confidence in ourselves, and in our weakest moments, in each other.  There were no jobs in the places we thought they'd be.  We felt frozen in place.

But God has his vice-grip on us.

There is no better place to be, than held by God.

That doesn't make it any easier.

Mercy was new this morning.  Tylenol soothed the baby into a long(er) sleep.  A cheerful preschooler knocked quietly on the door, rubbing sleepies out of her eyes at 7:23am and found me back in the rocker nursing.  The baby turned her head toward the light of the door and smiled.  We went upstairs, quietly to leave Daddy breathing quietly in his much-needed sleep.  She wanted her toast, baby wanted her Cheerios.  After the incense of my cinnamon bread toasting rose up, I cut myself a big slice of Guinness Chocolate birthday cake and watched the sun rise out the kitchen window in grey and purple, blue and green, pink and orange.

Knowing that I am fragile, prone to failure, and in need of grace is the best kind of lesson.  Hard but good.  Because most of the really good things are veins of ore mined out of the hardness of life.  Precious because they were hard-won.  What I've learned, more than anything, is that I am not alone.  It's okay to need help.  It is good, even, to be weak, to give up self-sufficiency, independence, and pride and choose love.

Thirty-two is going to be a good year.  Because grip or no, I'm in God's hands.  Hands I know, love, and trust from years of hard-won experience.  I'd much rather be gripped tightly than left to slip away.

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