Monday, June 10, 2013

on noticing grace

I look at him and think about how every day there are new freckles appearing. It's my daily hunting. I see my mother when he smiles. Sometimes my father, too. The Boy-Man's face is changing right before my eyes and I am so grateful to notice.

Life is slower these days, and yet it isn't. There is a lot happening in the periphery of my immediate view and I feel the strain when I try to see beyond my immediate sight. I am not meant to look beyond. My eyes are more comfortable to look straight ahead. The same goes with my heart. I was created to be in the now. The moment I start looking beyond, I miss out on the now. It seems cliche and a lot of people write about this, yet it's truth that I'm really beginning to know in a more fuller way than ever for myself.

I can't stop thinking about how captivated I am these days, by freckles. And I wonder, maybe it's the small that He wants me to notice. God always has been one to speak in metaphors.

Boy-Man's eyes are the kind of blue that make up my favorite sky kind of days when the sun and the blue is the only thing above me -- wide open and bright, and so blessed beautiful. I name the color French Blue and it reminds me of a dream I have to take him there someday -- to Paris. His eyes represent France to me and it's crazy.

I notice that Boy-Man's eyes widen as the Hibachi Chef lights the grill on fire. It's that moment that he will remember most, I am sure of it. There was another party next to us with rowdy folk having Saki bombs and all this eight-year-old can say is how "dangerous!" it is to drink as fast as you can like that. He is wise beyond his years, noticing danger before he ever officially gets taught. His heart is always concerned about others and I remember my mother's comment this winter: "someday he will save a life."

We watched my cousin graduate from college a few weekend's ago and I noticed out of the nearly 500 graduating seniors -- the one who was in dress blues. I learned that earlier that day he was commissioned as a Marine. And I cried, for the vision I have of my own son someday. The one that could be wrong, yet always brings me to my knees in surrender and how I am reminded that my son's life is not mine to keep; how, he is His.

I notice the furrow he gets in his brow when his joy is squelched. And I see how he forgives easily and quickly, though I also notice the sadness that washes over him and I wonder if it's because he's been disappointed. I pray God uses those moments for The Boy-Man to learn we aren't perfect and we will disappoint, and yet that He doesn't. I pray his trust grows for Him more than for us. And that's a hard prayer to allow my spirit to pray. I notice how easily some prayers come and how I don't even have to think -- true breath prayers.

I notice the way he sits closely to her. His friend who is a girl. He sits close to me just like that. It's the people who accept him as he is that makes him feel comfortable. I see how he loves her, yet it's pure and deep and rich and people would say eight-year-old's shouldn't feel that way. But I would argue that it's not the attraction type or dating type of love. It's the pure love of people and connection of hearts -- the love Christ showed.

Noticing is a gift. I want to know what's happening next in my life and I get all anxious at sensing something different is about to burst wide open in our lives -- like a wriggling little puppy just waiting to explode out of a box. I anticipate with a wanting to know His gifts because I know my Father gives with such purpose.

The bush in front of our house is burgundy. It flowers pink briefly each spring and stands proud with rich dark red the rest of the year. It's a color that warms my soul and I'm grateful for the feeling that color evokes in me. The same color wraps the Boy-Man up in warmth as he lies on the couch. I notice that television watching is boring to him -- he'd rather do something. Yet, his daddy sleeps and I read with sudden urges to write and I'm about to go out for a long run and he'll have to wait for the hub-bub of the day to begin. He's tired but sleep is boring and life is to be lived. I notice all of this and write down my gratefulness in blank pages sprawled open wide. My declaring is worship, I know it.

A few weeks ago my groom and I had an unexpected opportunity to be together. I had almost made myself coffee and decided not to, and then surprisingly my groom invited me to take a walk with him to get some. It was a found time of togetherness. I sat at the counter sipping latte and sighed as a van passed us by. He noticed my sigh and inquired about my thoughts. I considered what I could miss out on by avoiding his inquiry and the moment to connect. I breathed in the Spirit and asked for Him to guide our conversation. Public chats can be risky for us as emotions sometimes get fired up when we try to connect deeply, though I trusted that maybe being in public would ground us in a way -- keep us accountable and focused on respecting each other.

We chatted about adoption and whether to pursue it. We've taken steps recently to explore this as a real possibility -- a God-sized dream -- and whether it just might become our reality. The pursuing and considering together was huge; the actual taking of a step -- going beyond talking about it and wondering. Our very togetherness was the important part, I know it.

For years I would talk about adoption as if it was really going to happen. It was exclusively my vision. And so as we took a step -- together -- I pointedly asked God, Is this what you want for us? Just because my heart is passionate about it, is this how it looks for us? It is part of our story to adopt?

For six years I practically begged for another child of our own. Six years of tantrums when my groom said "not now" and his vagueries weren't enough for my impatient self. Finally, out of desperation and realization that I had no where to go if I wanted joy than to surrender and let it all go. So I did. Painfully. Excruciatingly. Begrudgingly.

A few days prior to our chat at the coffee shop, I had noticed thoughts swirl in my head about having another child of our own. It's like those thoughts were preparation. And then, right there in the coffee shop, he speaks of another option: of having another of our own. Of getting pregnant by fall. And there I sat with tears streaming down my face -- my head so mad and yet my heart laughing because God is just so comical sometimes. A 180-shift, yet only from my perspective.

Pride is something He draws me to notice -- to own and confess so He can break me free. I surrendered my plan for having another child and became pride-full in the process. A lookatmeish kind of accomplishment to be praised for. And now that this could be a very real possibility, I'm honestly not sure I want it. I'm struggling and wrestling. I realize how I sound like a stubborn eight-year-old who says "never mind, I don't want it anymore!" -- full of resentment from all the waiting.

I look over and notice Boy-Man's smile as he watches The Bill Cosby Show like I did when I was his age. I notice the peace I feel as I recognize and confess my pride and selfishness: I'm not sure I want to birth another child. I'm honestly not sure I want to go through the changes of my body again. It wasn't an issue back then but it's suddenly become one now, and it's gross to think about -- the pride. But birthing a baby is a miracle and a gift and maybe this is what God wants of me, to surrender control. He wants all of me: My heart. My pride. My fertility. My body. My honesty.

To follow Christ is to sacrifice -- an immense amount of surrender.

I want to follow Him and He knows what it takes. I am learning to receive His grace more and more -- to accept my messing up and mistake-making and imperfections and trying-too-hard and recklessness. It's this process of my learning to live in trust as I learn about His love and who I am to Him that matters most.

I notice how much my perspective has changed and how much more peace fills my heart is these days . . . how much I notice His truly amazing grace.

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  1. Oh Amy, This--this is what you've been slowly revealing to me...all the huge, big, crazy things that have been going on in your world. And then, the idea that you are taking the intentional step to stop.and.notice--well, that is a reflection of the deepest desire of your heart, friend. That life doesn't just "happen" to us. No, life is *given* to us. And all of it is a gift. And you are noticing it. Embracing. Accepting it.
    You are in my prayers, friend. The kind that don't even have words but are whispered in the deepest places. The ones that beg for peace that passes understanding. The ones that simply say, "Come, Holy Spirit. Come."
    Grace and peace on your head today and always.

    1. It blesses me greatly how He would lead your spirit to intercede on behalf of mine, dear Holly.

  2. i love the photos. they capture the moments of you soaking yourself in your life.

    and i know it can sound cliche and overused to talk about living in the present, but it is such a joy to read someone's words who is actually practicing it. your noticing causes me to still and look around and worship in the same way.

    oh, and your big possibilities ahead ... prayers and surrounding, friend. Holly said it right - they are prayers of fewer words, but deeper spirit.

    1. Thank you sounds so small to what my heart feels, sweet Kelli!

  3. I love this. Every aspect of this writing. I, too, have been noticing freckles - the kind that show up when you've been in the sun. You know, the kind that show up when you've been with the Son :) The freckles of 'yes, you are imperfect. but perfect all the same' the kind of freckles that speak volumes to the soul of surrender and just know that the best is yet to come. The growing is happening. the growing 'up' is happening. And it's all worship. I love you friend. praying for all of {this}

    1. You get me! ;-) and you bless me, greatly! I feel you cheering and celebrating and though there are miles between us, our hearts are so close. I love you.