Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How blessed am I?

A conversation between Sabrina and I the other day:

"Sabrina, do you miss Nicholas and Olivia?"


"Really? Why not?"

"Because they're always in my heart."

"So if I give you a hug, and Nicholas and Olivia are in your heart, I'm giving them a hug too?"


Sunday, December 21, 2008


"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"
Luke 1:42 (NKJV)

I've been thinking a lot about Mary. The Bible can be sometimes maddeningly mysterious, leaving out the details that I as a mother would really like to know. Did she have a midwife, or did she give birth for the first time, as a teenager, completely by herself? Where did the swaddling clothes come from? Did she have to clean herself up or did Joseph enlist the help of the village women to attend to her needs?

As I contemplated what it would have been like for her to be the mother of the Messiah, it struck me that she probably didn't know he was going to die. She knew he was the Son of God, the Saviour, and even though his life was threatened on many occasions, she carried the knowledge of his divinity in her heart. I imagine she was as shocked as any when he was actually executed and passed away. I can relate to her.

She was selected as worthy of the honor of raising the Son of God, a child destined to die an untimely, terrible death. As someone who has been given children whose lives were not lived as long as I expected, Mary brings me a new perspective. I have not been robbed. I have been chosen.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Today, I gave myself permission to retreat. I've actually been in retreat for a couple of weeks, but it's taken this long to release my guilt over it. There's something in me that I feel needs protecting, from busyness and overindulgence, from insensitivity, from people who mean well. I get overwhelmed easily, and have decided to give myself permission for that too. After all, if I could control it, I would. This year, I seem to need to be taken care of instead of being the one who does the caretaking. I believe that being in this place of need is right where God wants me to be.

I love Christmas. That hasn't changed. I don't even know if my approach to it has changed. I love to give gifts, and eat, and gather with family and friends. I think that what has changed this year is that I'm quietly waiting for the Saviour.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Get Me off My Mind

God can teach us things about ourselves in any life situations that we are willing to see Him. Tonight, I was wrapping presents for family and Sabrina saw some of them before they were wrapped. Her first reaction was to start crying and ask why she wasn't getting anything.

I had to remind her that Christmas was coming and that she would be the recipient of many presents from a number of people, but she would have to wait. She was then skeptical that she would get what she wanted and promptly sat down to write out a list of exactly the things she was expecting to get. I was disappointed that she didn't trust us enough to give her the things her six-year-old heart desires. And in that moment I was pondering these things, the revelation hit me. That is what I look like to God sometimes.

I've been looking around at what everyone else is getting and my first reaction is to cry out to God and ask why can't I have it too? Do I even trust Him at all that He knows the desires of my heart and that my own Christmas is coming at just the right time, even though I can't see it yet? Or am I so focused on me that unless I get exactly what I think I want, that I can never be truly happy?

Now if Sabrina had continued to persist with her selfish attitude, I would be less and less inclined to give her what she wanted and more and more likely to put her in situations where she would be giving instead of receiving until her self-centredness had disappeared in the joy of blessing others. Since she's six, that would be a hard lesson for her right now. But I'm thirty-three and old enough to know better.

I've got to get me off my mind. Christmas is coming and my Father has it all taken care of!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Of course I know what the antidote is. I just get tired of applying it sometimes.

Do you understand? It's not just losing someone you love that's the hardest part. It's how it continues to redefine you and remind you that you are somebody different now. Someone who has been shattered and put back together again. Strong, but not by your own strength. Something new, unfamiliar.

And every time I take the pieces of me and try to pull them back together on my own strength I fail. I rail against God for breaking me. And then when that subsides, I let Him pull my pieces back together for me again.

Grief Boils

I think God had the grace to give me a cold so I would be forced to take some time at home today. Busyness is grieving's worst enemy, as it leads to a phenomenon I've decided to call "grief boils". The stuff that you need your alone time to let out builds and builds until something (usually completely unrelated) sets it off and it all drains at once. Like a boil that has been lanced.

I realized about halfway through the morning that I had been so crazy over the last couple of days because somewhere around today (I am NOT going to add another anniversary to my already too-long list of dates, so I choose not to remember the exact date) we found out that Olivia was going to die too.

I think that may have been the bitterest day of all. How can you shatter something that is already broken? I stood on my back step on a cold December day, about a week after my son died, Olivia's car seat in hand, and forced myself to say, "Your will be done, Lord. I don't have the strength for this" as I prepared myself for the diagnosis from the doctor that this mother's heart already knew.

Sometimes I get so annoyed that this is still a part of my life. What is the antidote to grief boils?