Watching my firstborn son and daughter-in-love undergo childbirth this week—a common yet profoundly miraculous event in our human experience—burst my heart wide open. Gazing at my first-born grandson stole any last reserves. I’m undone.
The sight of our two families, woven by marriage, crowded in the waiting room made me smile. We sat in a row with anticipation scrawled across our faces, each with our own memories, our own brand of overcoming, our own hopes and dreams all converging in this monumental moment amid a miracle about to transpire.
I’m about to become a first-time grandma. Even as I type this, I can hardly believe it. Since our son wed a year and four months ago, it feels as though time has unfolded like a map falling open all at once and I’m fumbling to neatly fold and navigate my sped-up life. One wedding, two published books, three grown kids relocated, one child attending ‘real’ school, and one grandchild, well… almost.
And now a grandma. Me? Already? Woah! Can we dial back this getting older thing a tad? I’m honestly thrilled at the prospect of having a grandchild, although I really do NOT appreciate the title (I am currently taking suggestions for other names). It’s just that some things happen sooner than you expect. I’m feeling vastly underprepared. I thought I’d be a stronger knitter by now and possibly NOT simultaneously have an eleven-year-old child still under our roof.
All joking aside, there’s profound beauty in the fact that Mariana, our daughter-in-love, is pregnant. Before I explain why, a small sidebar. Mariana is an absolute treasure. Oddly enough, it struck me she was possibly ‘the one’ for Kurtis even while he was dating someone else (I know that sounds weird, but it happened). On the day of this uncanny revelation, I quietly mentioned to God in my prayer journal that if she happened to be the one for Kurtis could He (God) just sort that out. Then I stayed out of it.
As it turned out, three and a half months later, without my uttering a word, Kurtis and Mariana began dating. Apparently, she too, even while he was dating someone else, thought that they were meant for each other. Around the same time I was scrawling in my prayer journal, Mariana was confidently relaying to her girlfriend that one day Kurtis was going to be her husband.
The beauty in this story is compounded by the fact that Mariana learned she had cancer at age fourteen and spent the next three years fighting for her life. That sort of near-death experience makes you approach life differently—you tend not to take it for granted.
With this bold approach to her second crack at life, and armed from the get-go with a peculiar assurance that Kurtis was going to be her husband, she didn’t hesitate to tell him she loved him on their first date. She maintains Kurtis is her best cancer perk because if she hadn’t gotten cancer, she would never have been homeschooled and would not have met him at the homeschool co-op they attended.
It is also profoundly beautiful that Mariana is pregnant because it’s only six years since her body suffered and survived the ravaging effects of cancer and chemo. Ironically, she had her last cancer check-up while already pregnant. To me—grandmother title denial aside—Montgomery (their soon to be born baby) is a miracle—a sacred life birthed out of a saved life.
And I can’t help but think this story is also our story.
Our lives were also snatched from death’s grip. We may not have had cancer, but our sin was eating us alive. We had no hope in hell that when we die, we would make it into heaven… but for Jesus. He knew we couldn’t manage to conquer death, so he gave his life in place of ours. He was the substitute and paid our sin-debt on the cross to secure life-eternal and more abundant life here and now.
So, I guess the question is, what are we doing with our second chance at life, and how are we making a difference to the sacred lives around us?
While you think about that, I’ll be over here writing (or knitting) from my rocking chair with spectacles perched on my nose!
I had an epiphany this morning. It went like this: what should I be saying yes to that I’m saying no to, and what should I be saying no to but have been saying yes to? I took a mental inventory. Upon entering the new year, or really any time, this sort of yes/no check-up is a worthwhile endeavor. After all, an unexamined life lacks direction and purpose.
Let me take a small detour. About two years ago, I exacted a thorough decluttering of my life. I called it ‘The Year of No’. Once everything was stripped away, delightful ease arrived in determining the things that should never have been there in the first place, as well as other things that were healthy to allow back in. The fruit of this effort was a calmness and rest I’d never before experienced, as well as time to release two books!Continue reading “Let Your Yes be Yes, and Your No Be No”
It’s not like you’ve imagined. Probably unlike anything you’ve been told, taught, or experienced. Being with Jesus isn’t a prescribed program or a series of have-to’s. It’s not a checklist of holy duties or a list of rules to follow. It’s not polishing yourself shiny or hoping you’ve been good enough.
It’s so easy that some find it hard.
Jesus extends his arms, pulls us in, and wraps us in HIS holiness, offering us forgiveness, rest, peace, joy, love—all the things we’ve been striving for but couldn’t manage on our own. His is a put-your-feet-up, cease-striving sort of love that beckons us to just BE. Be ourselves in his company. Be still. Be undone. Be made new. Continue reading “A Love Like No Other”