Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Grace on a Thursday: in Laura's words
She has beautiful freckles and an equally beautiful little blog called Splendor. (She also has a lovely shop containing handmade jewelry, some of which I one day intend to own.) Her writing is thoughtful and wise, and I'm really blessed by her words this week. Some of my guest bloggers share short and sweet messages on what grace means to them, and I love those (since I have a lot of words, it's kind of a relief on top of the page!). But Laura's post today is a BIG post on grace. I say BIG because we all have those parts of our stories that are so big they permanently change everything. Laura is so generous to share such a story with us. Enjoy. And you may want to grab a tissue, because I wish I had.
Laura. Thank you so much.
May 21st, 2007
Asher was about a year and a half. I was 20 weeks pregnant with our new baby. It was our 20 week ultrasound appointment to find out if we were having a boy or girl. Brandon, my mom and two sisters were there. We were so excited.
As the lights went dim and the ultrasound screen lit up the room, I felt it. I didn't know what it was, but I felt something. I saw it on everyone's faces as I looked around the room. Saw it on the Dr's face. Felt it in the silence.
Finally the words came...things don't look right. The baby isn't alive.
Words. Those words. Heart wrenching words. I didn't know how to handle them. I didn't know how to accept them. A hand reached out to take mine, to help me sit up. But I didn't want to. Sitting up meant it was real. Sitting up meant it was true. My baby was not alive.
My first question was not, "Why?"...but "How?"...
How am I going to get through this.
How am I going to face the world.
How am I going to go home and wait 2 days before I could be admitted to the hospital.
How was I going to walk around knowing I'm carrying a baby that was not alive. How did I not know?
How did this happen?
How was I going to deliver my baby.
How was I going to react when I saw her or him.
That prayer was one that has changed my life. Changed me.
In my moment of weakness. In my moment of desperate need. God met me.
I knew that I could get up and face the day with my head help up. That I could do this. And that I had a choice to make. Face this day with God's strength and grace. Or crumble right there to the ground and never get back up.
I got up.
I delivered a baby girl. We held her and said goodbye to her. I was on so much pain medicine that the details are a little blurry, but there are a few details that I remember clearly.
I remember right before I was going to push, a wave of peace came over me. Words came out of my mouth that were not my own " I can do this."
I remember our parents standing around the bed, holding her. I remember what it looked like. But it didn't feel real. I just wanted to lay back down and pretend it wasn't happening. I'm thankful for that memory though. As we prayed over her little life. As we kissed her goodbye.
And we named her. Grace Ann. It was the only name for her. It was HER.
That was 4 years ago this past May and I'm still learning grace. I still think about those moments. I still think about her.
I think about that day in May often. Not because of the pain and loss and hurt, but because of the real revelation of Grace that I found in those moments. The day I held my baby girl and named her Grace Ann. I took her up in my arms and held her. I called her mine.
I called Grace mine.
Do we remember to do that each day? Do I remember to do that each day? The answer is no.
Grace is for everyone and something we are granted every day. It's what makes us who we are. Makes us better people. Washes over our flaws and sins and bridges the gap between our shortcomings. It's what brings beauty out of ashes and hope from loss. It's a gift we are given new each day. It meets us at our weakness. It makes us - sinners - beautiful before His sight.
I fall, I make mistakes. I speak before thinking, react before processing, judge before knowing, want without needing, forget to thank, forget to wait, forget to ask, forget that grace is freely given for me through that.
But God reminds me. Grace is mine. A gift to take new each day.
I went to bed last night thinking about something that happened with Bella earlier in the day. She did something she wasn't supposed to. I reacted. I got angry. I lost my temper.
I kept replaying the pictures in my head. The things I said. The way I reacted. And I beat myself up over it. I cried to God. Forgive me God.
I fell asleep praying. God help me to be patient, to be quick to teach and to listen. Slow to anger. God help me to be the parent she needs. God forgive me. Help me to show her grace and love and to show her how to handle situations in a calm way. Give me new opportunities to show her how. Not just talk about it, but to show her.
This morning I woke up thinking about my baby girl Grace. God was reminding me. My Grace is yours to take today. Take it.
A new day. New chances to take his Grace. To let it meet me right where I am. All of my imperfections and shortcomings. He's there to help me through them. I just have to take it. Scoop it up in my arms and call it mine.
It is only 9 am and already, Bella has spilled her yogurt and splattered it all over the kitchen floor and then spilled her chocolate milk all over the rug.
I took her in my arms and I held her. I told her it was ok. It was an accident. Then I took a deep breath as she watched me bend down to clean it. And there on my knees, God whispered....take it. Take my Grace. Call it yours.
My sweet Bella girl's middle name is Grace.
She was the baby girl that God blessed us with after we lost her sister. Such a sweet daily reminder to take up God's grace every single day and to call it mine.
"If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking"
Call grace yours.