Tuesday, September 3, 2013

this child in His hands

Less than a year ago I was crying out to the Lord asking Him to give us a Samuel that we could give back to Him.

A few months later I was crying in the bathroom, holding a positive pregnancy test.

Today, we are a month and half from our due date, and I'm still having a hard time grasping the fact that our daughter is moving around inside me and we will soon, Lord willing, be holding her in our arms.

I've learned so much about how God really is the One holding all things together over this past year, and how little I'm in control.

When we got pregnant, it was so easy to worry.  At the beginning you have little assurance that everything is going okay with your little lentil-sized baby.  You can't hear the heartbeat, you can't feel her kicking, and the doctor has very little to say to you other than "I hope your nausea and vomiting subsides soon."

There is so much fear that you will do something, eat something, or that something else you can't control will happen to you that will cause you to lose this baby you have waited for, this baby that you prayed for.

And I found myself right where I was in November, on my knees, asking God to do what I could not.  This time it was begging Him to sustain the life that He created inside me.

As I gave Him control over our baby's life, I realized that this wasn't something I was just going to do while I was pregnant, but something I'm going to need to do for the rest of our daughter's life, no matter how long or how short it is, for each day that God gives her. He must be the one sustaining her and giving her life.

There are so many things in this world that can cause her harm, and I won't have the power to protect her from them.  Even if I kept her cooped up in the apartment with me for the rest of my life like a Miss Haversham she could still get hurt, still get burned by a broken world.

And the more effort I expend trying to control her life, that will only give her reason to hate me and the unreasonable constraints I try to impose on her for her safety.

God does use parents as a means of provision and protection for the little ones of creation.  But He never intended that we try to become the gods of their lives by controlling them and protecting them from all harm.  We couldn't do it even if we tried.  We are helpless to give them all that they need, but God can and will be the everything for them that we could never be.

It's comforting to me to remember that the deep and overwhelming love I feel for this little one inside me is not even a fraction of the love that God has for her.  He loves her more than I ever can, and that is someone I can trust with taking care of her when I am powerless and weak.

"Now they were bringing even infants to Him that He might touch them.  And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them to Him, saying, 'Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'"  Luke 18:15-17

I pray that God would protect me from ever hindering His little one from coming to Him, and I hope that everyday will be a chance for me to bring our baby girl to Him that He might touch her and make her whole.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


my shoulders relax as the sun defrosts my body,
the stress, the cold that made me ache melts away.
my mood lifts as the temperature rises
and I feel that I'm alive again, I'm being renewed.

the sky is bluer, the air is warmer.
I can hear the birds once again, the breeze is fragrant.
the wind doesn't cut through to my bone, down to the marrow.
I welcome the rush round my face and through my hair.

the clouds are golden as the sun sets after dinner.
I don't mourn its departure, for I know tomorrow,
tomorrow it will rise before I do and wake me with its brightness,
and the day will be new, fresh, and light.

once again death is held at bay, the cold is banished.
for a time we will revel in the sun and heat
and remember that no cold will ever stay forever
and death will never win.

Monday, January 28, 2013

on passing, love, and regret.

Great Grandma Smit passed away a few months ago.

It was hard not to feel pangs of guilt, the aftermath after she took her last breath.  Grandma was always quiet.  She said very little and usually just sat watching you play and chatter away with your cousins.

As I heard the stories and the memories about Grandma, I felt not just, "I miss Grandma," but "I missed Grandma."  I missed her while she was here, I missed out on getting to know her.

Even though I didn't see Grandma that much growing up, over the course of my life there were many parties that I could have sat next to her, asked her about her childhood, what it was like having eight children, what she missed most about Grandpa, why she loved Jesus, and so on.

But I didn't.  I was young enough to care more about presents, care more about me.  And the older I got, I didn't always know where to start.  So being with Grandma meant giving her a hug and telling her it was good to see her, but that was all.

Despite the regret, there are memories.  Touches of Grandma that thread through my childhood and my sibling's childhood too.  The receiving blankets that she crocheted borders to, wrapped around all of my brothers and sisters as infants.  The washcloths she made that wiped off sticky hands and counter tops   The handmade caramels that were the most important part of the Smit Family Christmas to my brother Isaac and I.  We would stuff our dress clothes pockets with them and savor them for days.

And one day, when I was small, she knelt down on the floor with me and helped me make a puzzle that was too difficult for me to do on my own.  Grandma was a master when it came to puzzles.  I never would have finished that Little Mermaid puzzle without her help.

As I reflected over the passing of Grandma, I wondered if regret was unavoidable.  Whether we don't spend enough time with our loved ones, don't listen enough, don't say I love you enough, or the last thing we said isn't what we wanted it to be... our lives are tinged with regret.  We just aren't as perfect as we want to be, and that unavoidably affects our relationships, especially with those who are closest to us.

A fallen world means fallen relationships, and we feel the sting most bitterly at the passing of loved ones.  What hope is there, when hurt is unavoidable?

As we sat in Grandma's funeral service, I was struck with the depth of her spirit and her love as I heard stories from the pastor and family members.  When Grandma died she left a legacy of love for Jesus and her family, and that legacy lives on today.  I experience it in my family and my extended family... and it is getting passed onto to the next generation already, to our cousins' children and my brother's newborn son Ezra.

This legacy is bigger than the regret in my own heart.  Through the very act of fellowship with family, through loving them and being present with them, we pass on their legacy of love to the ones they loved so dearly.  And one day, we too shall pass away and be reunited with Christ, our loved ones, and there will be no more tears.  The regret is soothed by being with family and making right what was wrong in the past through neglect or selfishness.

Not all families though have a legacy of Christ, or some parts of your family may be more broken than others.  The amazing thing is that the love, the legacy can start with you.  Anyone of us can choose to be the ones to break cycles of dysfunction and familial pain and be that Grandma or Grandpa.... the one that generations from now your children's children will remember and say, we are where we are because Great Grandma loved Jesus.

Abraham was a man like that.  He responded to the call of God and left a history of paganism to become a spiritual father to thousands of generations who love God.

Let the love of Christ take root in your own heart and share it with those you love.  You can change your family's story by letting the legacy begin with you. 

I am learning through all of this, to work on being present with those I love.  To focus, cut down distractions and cherish the moments because young or old, none of us are guaranteed to live tomorrow, next week, or next year.  I want to share the love of Christ everyday through word and deed.

 I  am thankful for Grandma.  I will remember her love for Jesus and her family.  And I look forward to giving her a hug again one day in heaven.