Forgive the drama…We’re really excited over here!

“Well, it looks like I’m gonna have to let you go.”

Usually the beginnings of bad news.

“Stephen, you just graduated today.”

Excuse me. What?

Y’all…after 11 years…Stephen was released as a patient from the Pediatric Neurosurgery Department of Baptist Hospital!!

We didn’t see this coming. Thought we’d be doing x-rays for years. Figured this final door of our story would keep swinging open.

But not today!

I hugged Dr. Couture. Had to. Couldn’t help it.

We met in 2007 when he dropped the world’s biggest bombshell on my lap. All while I lay fighting for my own life in the ICU. He handed me procedure names and unanswered questions. And phrases ending with “we won’t know for sure till it’s all done.”

I processed and cried and waited for days. In a world without a husband. In a world that may end without a son.

But for grace…

You know what Dr. Couture told us yesterday?
-They only do this surgery in infants every other year (because they don’t normally make it through the trauma that caused the injury).
-There are only 10 metal plates like Stephen has in the whole world. 10!!! And our boy is wearing number 9 or 10.
-He would never forget Stephen.

And we’ll never forget him. A doctor fresh out of medical school. Who took on a nearly impossible case. Who can’t look at our son without saying, “Amazing.”

But mostly we’ll never forget how faithful God was. In who He sent our way. In how they got there. And in what He used them to do.

We’re over the moon over here. All tears. And shock. And yes…it’s been 11 years but by God’s grace, it’s done.

I know God loves us. Really. I do. I’ve based my whole life on that one big fact. But today…it feels all new and real again.

We serve a God who just keeps loving us. And just keeps being faithful. And just keeps amazing me through His beautiful (but not always easy) plans.

Wow…

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“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)

 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

 

 

 

 

 

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What we just learned about marriage…

Here’s a little marriage secret we’ve recently come across…

Marriage is easier when you like the one you love.

I committed my life to Jeremy on that hot day in July 2002. I committed to love him forever and ever til death do us part. And I do that. Stay in relationship with him. Through the good and bad. Hard and easy.

But it’s not easy. We’re not fools. We know the value of marriage counseling. We know the tears. We know the silent treatment.

Our walk in the park the last 16 years has been more like a climb.

But we’re at our best when the love is closely tied with the like. When we’re laughing.  When we’re doing something fun. When we’re acting like 18 year old “children” again.

When…tell me please… is there possibly time for “us” with kids and work and life???

It’s been tricky. We’ve had to prioritize date nights. We’ve had to budget for them.

We’ve had to value the “like” as much as the “love” to actually carve out time for us.

And it’s made things so, so much better.

Friends, marriage is tough. Let’s not be fooled. Only by God’s grace can we make it another day. Only by God’s grace can we expect one sinner to love another sinner year upon year.

But along the way. As His perfect love fuels ours. Let’s have a little fun together. Let’s remember what brought us together in the first place.

And let’s like each other while we love each other as we climb these mountains together.

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Psalm 118:23-“This is the Lord‘s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

II Corinthians 5:14-“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace for the Impossible

He’s searching for her keys. We all are. In the middle of a house that is packed and unpacked depending on the day. Depending on what her 85 year old mind tells her. Some days she’s home. Other days she’s not.

He’s only 8. And so distracted. I can’t blame him. It’s a lot to take in.

I tell him to focus. Knowing he can’t. Knowing there are too many treasures to look at. Brush the dust off. Slip into his pocket.

The wind recently blew the roof off the barn. I can see it from her kitchen window. Then uprooted the tree by the pond.

Seems like everything in my original safe place is collapsing. Aging. Getting distracted. Forgetting original purpose and intention.

I’m like that too. Not much different than an 8 year old in a old house.  Looking this way and that. Forgetting the mission. Collapsing like a barn roof.

Today will feel like an unending search for house keys if I miss the purpose. Misplace the mission.

It’s because of Him. Every breath I take. Every beat of my heart. Every stroke of my hand on her sweet cheeks. Or hand on his uncertain shoulder.

The treasures I choose to slip into my pocket are grace. They too are part of the mission. Pieces of life that remind me the journey is worth it. The laughs. The meals. The memories.

Today…here in our house of fresh minds and young thoughts…I choose to hold on to grace like it’s a wind away from disappearing. To open my hands and heart big and full and let grace wash over all of us.

To believe that God is only good and I am only loved. And the Gospel really is good news. In wandering minds. In questions unanswered.

“In him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a)

God is enough. He loves you deep and wide. Distracted and focused. At home or work. With questions or answers.

We move forward because He moved toward us. And we rest in the grace of His mission when ours seems impossible.

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(Oh outside…and mountain tube slides…you are grace to me!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “why” behind Hope in the Middle

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That’s me and Esther the night she was born. What smiles!

But it wasn’t like that on the journey.  It wasn’t like that as we waited for nearly two years. It wasn’t like that as we wondered if “M” would change her mind. It wasn’t like that as I swam from hope to hopelessness day after day after day.

No. It was hard. Waiting is hard. Uncertainty can choke. And when we’re doing something we feel like God has called us to, the lack of answers can paralyze.

That’s where I was when most of Hope in the Middle was written. Not smiling holding our sweet baby girl. But fighting in the trenches. Asking myself if God was worthy of my trust.

And I fought and fought hopelessness. And He kept loving me and loving me and loving me.

Because the cross promises we’re never alone. It promises we are always loved. And it reminds us that hope is only found in Him…no matter what uncertainty we find ourselves in the middle of.

“Maybe hope is more than something we do. Maybe it’s primarily about a gift–a promise. Hope is the guarantee I cling to when I lack the faith to act or even believe. It’s a good gift from a good God.”

(PS-I’ve ordered about 15 extra books. If you still want to pre-order, let me know. 8 days till release day!!)

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” (Psalm 62:5-7)

 

 

3 Years Ago Today…

These are the words from my journal 3 years ago today…

In the waiting room. A hospital we’ve never been before. Me not in pain. Not pushing through contractions.

But facing fear that’s fighting faith. And battling something like labor but different enough to deserve another name.

Thankful. Excited. Humbled. The right word won’t come to mind.

Like the ignorant way I feel when thinking about Christ’s love. There will never be words.

Never.

This is all unexplainable. All grace. He is so faithful.

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“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4b-6)

And now…on her 3rd birthday…it all still seems like grace.

Thanks M…You are still the bravest person I know. We love you!

Happy birthday Esther Grace!

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 “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)