Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Miracle Road

Each time we go visit Shep's parents about an hour north of us we near the end of our journey by traveling down a little road with the cutest name, "Miracle Drive."

I only noticed it in recent years but, being the girl that is believing God for a miracle, the road name kind of jumps out at me.

This week marked the 12th birthday for our Caroline.  The precious girl that we believe God has told us He intends to heal.

The night before her birthday I sat at this very computer and agonized over words to type.  I thought about the night before her birth 12 years ago and how naive I was about what was to come.

All babies bring change.

But our baby girl brought change in a whole new dimension.

I sat here and typed out a lot of words but I ended up deleting every single one of them.

Truth be told....I didn't need to be writing a blog.  I needed to be shedding some tears.

My mama used to tell me, "sweetie sometimes what you need is a good cry."

Tuesday night that was precisely what I needed.

I got up from this computer and pulled out the pictures that I rarely look at anymore.  Pictures of days in the NICU....those days were dark and uncertain....grace alone carried us.

I cried and cried.

I cried for what happened.
I cried for the many milestones missed.
Tears poured and I talked out loud because I have a 12 year old that I don't know all that well.

Now I know her smell.  Her laugh.  Her cry.  Her sense of humor.  Her tendencies.  Her Preferences.  Her loves.

But I don't know her....the inside stuff.  Her dreams.  Her fears.  Her questions.  Her wish lists.  Her silly ideas.

Twelve years of conversations have gone unspoken.  And I have missed them terribly.

It is ok to grieve what we didn't experience. 

The grief has to come out somehow.  I personally think that tears falling prove to be a better solution that explosive anger and tantrums (although I have been known.....)

Tonight I sit here a few days past her birthday.

The tears have dried up....for now.  (But I am a woman so they could start again before this post is over.) 
The grief gave way to birthday celebrations.

I have done my best  NOT to give in to the huge waves of doubt that roll in like the tide.

Quietness before God has been filled with groaning from my heart that He alone understands.

Cynicism teases me at every turn. But I blow out my breath and choose faith instead.

As we made our way home today from Shep's parents house God spoke encouragement over me as we drove along the road called, "Miracle Drive."

God has called each one of His kids to walk a "Miracle Road" of sorts.

Your road won't look like mine.

But each one of us should expect and hope for God to show up constantly along our road.

-A sunset we saw recently that turned the sky to a shade of orange I have never seen. A miracle.
-Watching a grieving friend stand up at his mother's funeral and speak with love and respect when he desperately wanted a different outcome. A miracle.
-Sitting with a woman who doesn't acknowledge God and watching the Holy Spirit work in her life as she reconsiders aborting the baby she is carrying.  A miracle.
-Watching people I love who are waiting on God to move in their situations and observing their complete trust in Him.  A miracle.
-Restoration.  A miracle.

-Walking in faith for the past 12 years.  Being carried and strengthened and sustained to bigger faith in our God who still does the impossible and not completely losing heart.  A miracle.

The miracle we are waiting for has happened yet.

But our hope remains miraculously intact.  This is astonishing for a girl who lets her feelings boss her around more than she should.

My miracle road is marked with all kinds of miracles. 

Just yesterday God answered my prayer about the weather and traffic.  Seriously. 

That is no less miraculous than a little girl getting up out of a wheelchair.  It is all small stuff to Him.

My job is to keep walking my miracle road.  Embrace the pain...hug it tight.  Trust the One who has paved my road and knows each bend and turn.  As I walk my road and you walk yours others will take notice. 

Anybody can walk a road with no obstacles.

Who is impressed with that?

This world needs to see believers walking the roads that look impossible to traverse. 

Roads that seem blocked.
Roads that are too steep and then then plunge to the depths.
Roads that are worn away by the elements and time.
Roads that seem to never end with sameness....

"And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, 
and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them, 
and sorrow and sighing will flee away." Isaiah 35:8-10


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Occasions to Cherish

Why in the world does the month of May sneak up on me?!?

I know it is coming every single year.  Right after April and before June yet I am caught by surprise time and time again.

The wrap up of the school year and extracurricular activities is about enough to leave a mom dazed and confused.

We wrapped up soccer. We wrapped up ballet.  We wrapped up Awana.  We wrapped up chorus.  We wrapped up Kindergarten, 3rd grade, and 5th grade. We celebrated graduations and birthdays and anniversaries.

I am still not sure how we managed to get through the month and stay normal.

From now on I am going to mark May on my calendar as the same level of crazy as Christmastime.  Because it really is.

Blogging took a back seat this month because life had to be lived...not just written.

In the midst of the craziness were two incredibly special occasions that I want to share. 

This little boy of ours turned 6 years old.  His birthday always falls right at the last day of school.

He is a delight to us in every way.

We knew nothing but girly stuff when he came along.  He has certainly changed all of that.  He is laid back and funny.  He loves to take risks and go fast and still snuggle with me and his daddy.  This was a big birthday for him.  He got a BB gun and his first real knife.

It has been pure joy for me to watch my little man and my big man whittle sticks and shoot squirrels together.
Zeke wants to be like his daddy in every way and nothing would please me more.

Happy birthday Ezekiel.  My heart just spills out when you look at me and I see your daddy in your little features.  More than anything...I want you to love Jesus.  I pray for you to be brave, strong, kind, self-controlled, compassionate, and honest.  You are the perfect ending to our little family.  

The second occasion I cherished this month included the other fella in my life.

Shep and I celebrated 16 years of marriage this May.

This seems completely unbelievable to me.

What is the saying?  "The days seem long but the years seem short."

Our days and struggles seem long but the years continue to fly by....

I am so strengthened by my husband. He lives his life in simple yet furiously strong faith.  It splashes over onto me all the time.  His optimism and perseverance are unlike anything I have ever witnessed in another person.  Other than the saving grace of Jesus....Shepard Helton is my greatest blessing.  I love being his wife.  I love being the mother of his children.  I love sharing space with him.  I love knowing his secrets.  I love how he cherishes me.

We had a chance to get away for one night and we seized it.  The night was full of serendipity.  Our favorite food, scenic walks, dancing and chance encounters made for the best night ever!  We ended the evening at midnight slowing dancing to "At Last".  It couldn't have been more appropriate.

I love being married to this man.  I still have the biggest crush on him!