Thursday, July 21, 2016

Reality: Nine Quiet Years, My Love

It is 8:15 pm on July 21, 2016.  Nine years ago on this day I married the man I can now say I barely knew then.  Standing up at the altar is a much bigger deal than you think it is when you are there.  Years later you look back and think about how you knew so very little about...well, about everything.  The oath I took with my husband means more today than it ever did nine years ago.  Words become action throughout the years when you actually experience the richer and poorer and the sickness and health.

I don't expect my husband to be home for a few hours, as Thursdays are his very long days.  In fact, I haven't seen him much at all today.  This day went on like most others do, serving each other through work at home and away, and serving our neighbors through the daily work we have been given.  I can't speak for him, but my day was full of the regular frustrations and sins - on my part and on the part of our children - and the regular joys and humor - mostly on the part of our silly children.

There was nothing too fantastic about my day.
It was a quiet day as a wife and mother.

In a world that devalues marriage to such a high degree and in such a loud voice, I find our quiet regular day of marriage on our anniversary quite bold.  There is nothing flashy about our life.  We live, we work, we love our neighbors, and we sin against each other.  Man and wife together raising children in a home that is full of laughter (probably not enough of that), yelling (definitely way too much of that), and forgiveness (always overflowing with that).

Sometimes I think I should be doing more to speak out in this world about marriage and family.
Then I remember my boldly quiet life.

Don't for one second ever be ashamed of your quiet, virtually unknown existence.  You are noticed by the ones God has given you in your life, because Christ makes His Light radiate from your very bones. Quiet lives shine boldly in the darkness of the loud world.

The hard work of changing a culture is done one home at a time.
It isn't a work that will garner you awards or praise, and that is quite good, because it isn't a work you do anyway.

When He stood with man and woman at the altar, He knew exactly what He was getting Himself into.  He knew He would watch husband and wife hurt each other, refuse to serve one another, and defy each other's wishes.  He knew He would allow some of the worst tragedies ever imagined to send shock waves through the marriage.  He also knew He would work on hearts through this union.  He would bring husband and wife to repentance toward Him, toward each other, and toward every person touched by this union. He would roll up His sleeves and do the dirty work of changing the culture of sin in that home.

He does it everyday in our home.  Whenever I get a little too proud and think to myself, "Wow, that culture out there is awful," I am gently reminded that He is still working on the culture in my own heart, as well.

And so, our quiet life marches boldly onward.
Happy Anniversary, My Love.
May God bless us with many more quiet years.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reality: Our Son, Made in the Image of God

Today is six years since the day you were due to be born, our son.  Six years ago God had almost completed the process of growing you in your birthmother's belly and in our hearts.  Two days later, it came time for you to grow in our arms and in her heart.

I love you so deeply that at times it feels as though my heart could burst.  I know the same is true of her love for you.  Whereas our sacrifices in loving you will be vastly different - her in choosing parents for you to run to with open arms and leaps of joy with shouts of "mama and daddy" while she watches from afar, and me in the daily chaos and pains of raising a child with the knowledge that as much as I will be an excellent mother to you, I will fail you more often.  The sacrifices are not the same, but they are sacrifices nonetheless.  Sacrifices mothers make for their children.

In a culture that says life before birth is not worthy of protecting, I relive memories of receiving your ultrasound pictures from the hand of the mother who grew you - the woman who chose life for you.  I trembled as I flipped through them everyday for months, sometimes every hour, as we waited for you.  We would nervously call to check on you, never wanting to intrude on her yet basking in every new feeling and heartbeat check.  We are so thankful for you and for the mother who bore you and for the parents who raised her.

You, our son, have been loved for your whole existence.
A precious gift from God.
In a situation the world would call less than ideal, He made you.

This isn't to say you are some picture perfect poster child for choosing life.  Well, no, actually you are.  You just aren't the only one.  Every single life is that poster child.  What you have already contributed to the world in your short six years is magnificent, not because you are better than any other person, but because you were made uniquely in the image of God, our son. That is why life matters.  Because when God creates, it matters.  

When I look at you, I see a life that matters as a six-year-old boy.  I see a life that mattered as a six-week-old embryo.  I see a life that will matter as a sixty-year-old man, God willing.  You were no accident.  It is in this knowledge that we will raise you to be bold in your confession of life and Who gives it.  No matter how many sacrifices your birthmother or we make for you, it falls flat in comparison to the sacrifice your Jesus made for you.  In His image you were made, and in Him you were redeemed.

As you grow, your physical features will continue to make you look different than we do.  The world may see what it wants and judge how it sees fit.  But you, son, will know that your image is not the one they put on you, but the one Christ put on you in Baptism.  In that way, your image matches perfectly to ours - the One in which we were all made and then redeemed.

We are so thankful God made you, and humbled He chose us to care for you.  May God grant us the patience, gentleness, and steadfastness to see this work through to the Resurrection, when everyone will see the amazing Image in which each life, yours included, was made.