Grace In The Middle

The feeding pump is humming, and I'm typing this as I hold my sleeping son and maneuver around his cords. We have spent most of our summer in and out of the hospital, and are currently home recovering from his surgery and hopefully our last hospital stay.

This book has tear stains throughout it's pages. If you look closely, you'll see where I accidently spilled watered-down hospital tea on the cover. It's been in suitcases, diaper bags, and on my kitchen counter for the last several weeks. Every spare second I had between raising a toddler and sick baby, you could find me gleaning encouragement throughout these pages.

I've known the author,

Wendy Duke

, for most of my life. She and her husband taught me in Sunday School during my college years. I watched this story unfold, at a distance, before it was ever written on paper. I remember praying boldly for Baby Savannah throughout middle school. I was honored to watch her be baptized, and was encouraged through her story that God would be faithful to me, too.

Grace In The Middle

, tells a beautiful, raw account of Wendy's journey from knowing about God to knowing the God-Man who has a face, and shares the deepest parts of His heart. After several miscarriages, Wendy finally gets pregnant with a sweet little girl. Only to find out, that her miracle baby would be born with only one leg, and later journey a grueling road, battling cancer.

Wendy shares the story of her courageous daughter, a community of grace that journeyed along side her, but mostly of an encounter with a very real God at the end of a hospital hallway. Throughout her story, Wendy finds her heart trusting God in the midst of the unthinkable.

Although my story is much different, in this season, I too, find myself sitting in different doctor's offices, praying for a healthy baby. And just as He wrote a beautiful story of grace and faithfulness in Wendy's family, He is doing the same in mine. I am finding grace in the middle. And, friend, you can too.

Go right now and get this book! And a box of tissues. I promise you won't be able to put it down!

To The Waiting Mother, on Mother's Day..

Although I am now a mother, and will celebrate my fourth Mother's Day, my heart still breaks on this day. My heart still grieves all the years of pain this day caused. It makes me want to come find you, Waiting Mother, wrap my arms around your neck, grab some Ben and Jerry's, and eat until we see the bottom of the container. If I could, I'd tell you it gets better.

God is so faithful and He answers prayers in the most beautiful ways. Ways we would never imagine, but always better than our greatest dreams. Although I know this to be true, on this day for you, it feels so far away. And every commercial, every present, every lunch, every barren second of this day, holds the reminder that you are not a mother...yet.

If I could, I would hug you, and remind you that "yet" is the word to breathe in, breathe out, and repeat today. I pray from the depths of my heart that these words meet you in your need, and more than anything, I pray that you will find Him here, right in the midst of your waiting.

To The Waiting Mother,

You, precious one, are not alone.

God sees your broken and weary heart. He is here, right now, holding all things together. Quiet your heart, just for a second. He is holding your very existence together, spinning your world, telling the sun when to set and fall, and holding each star in it's place. And in His grace, knows what you ate for breakfast, your favorite song, how you like your coffee, and the very depths of your aching heart.

Most people would tell you, Waiting Mother, to sleep. Because you will literally never sleep on your schedule again. Seriously. You will walk around like a zombie for the first two months (if you have a good baby). You'll wash your hair two or three times in the shower because your so tired you won't remember if you did it. And they say, "sleep when the baby sleeps." Yeah, right. Only if you don't want to get a shower that day. Eventually, sleeping in on Saturday, will mean your body (or a little squeal) waking you up at 6:30.

But you won't care. You'll run to that nursery. You've dreamed of this. What it would be like. How it will feel to be someone's mommy. You've imagined those tiny hands holding onto your finger as you softly sing Jesus' name. You'll eventually learn how to function on very little sleep and those baby love snuggles will be even better than caffeine.

Some people would tell you to go on dates with your husband. And I know you say, "That won't be us. We'll have a date night once a week." Well maybe so, if you get to stay at home during the day and you don't feel guilty leaving your baby with another baby sitter. Or if your willing to pay 10 dollars an hour, plus your actual date, every week.

But you won't care. It'll be hard. You will make it work. And when you do get those sacred moments where you just get to be a wife to your husband, you will cherish them more than ever before. And ultimately, he is your first ministry, so you will find a way to make him your priority. It might come with lots of trial and error. More losses than wins, but you'll make it work. After all, your marriage is the Gospel on display. Your little one, and the world for that matter, is watching.

Other people will tell you to get your nails done, shave your legs, do the laundry, organize, and clean. Really clean. Because you won't have time to even cut your nails, so you'll just bite them. Your legs won't see a razor until your husband starts to complain. The laundry....there just aren't words. It will NEVER, I mean NEVER be done. Just accept it. And your house won't ever be clean again. Really clean. You'll find puffs in your couch, paci's in random drawers, and green pea splatter on the walls.

But you won't care. You'll learn that all those things can wait. Your life, will indeed, go on even with a messy house. You will never have this day with your baby again. You won't want to miss one gummy smile, slobbery kiss, or squishy hug.

But you do care. You're not there...yet. Telling you to enjoy your sleep, go on dates, clean, and shave your legs is just ridiculous, and honestly insensitive. Your heart aches.

So while you wait...grow.

All those nights when you are crying out to the Father, begging Him to answer your prayer for a child, you are learning how to need Him. Because you will.

Lean into that.

Every time your friends tell you they are pregnant, deep in your heart you wonder why it can't be you. And you run to your Dad, to feel His big, safe arms wrap around you. This is how you will comfort.

When you feel like you are the only one in the whole world who isn't a mommy, you remember the story of a woman named Hannah and the big prayers she prayed for her Samuel.

And you'll pray those same prayers for your promised one.

It hurts.

It's so uncomfortable. The pain is just too much some days.

But don't fight it. Open up your hands and ask Papa to teach you how to wait. Ask Him to help you grow. Savor your desperation for Him. And then watch. Watch Him make your angry, winter heart a beautiful, spring meadow.

 And while your eyes are on Him, you won't even notice how He surprises you with your dream.

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.."

Hosea 2:14-15a

*Photo by the amazing

Rachel Ackerman Photography

*

Lost in the List

It's 3:15 and I'm exhausted, but I can't sleep.

Lately, I've found myself getting lost in my list. 

I am constantly keeping a list of things I need to do. People I need to email. Things I need to grab. Projects that have to be done. I make a sticky note every day of the most important things to do. And it seems every day the list never gets finished. 

It's exhausting

. And very frustrating. 

And the enemy knows this about me. I slowly start to believe the lies he whispers, "You're not good enough. Everyone else has it together. You're missing out on something better." 

As I was laying here, reminding myself of Who God is in this midst of the craziness and expectations that will start in two short hours, I realized that He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

He sees my pathetic efforts of looking to Him. And that is enough, it's all He wants from me.

Because lately I've found myself checking things off my list, instead of loving the faces in them.

It's easy to rush around to get things done, but forget why I'm doing it. 

This. All of this is for Him. And it doesn't matter how many things are finished if it isn't. 

Because He is before. He is before my list and all the things I have to do. He is before the precious family I love so much and serve. He is before the

birth mom

I treasure and son that I can't wait to meet. He is before all of the paperwork and hoops we have to jump through to bring him home. He is before the women I want so badly to love on and reach out to. He is before it all. And it's all for Him. 

And right now, at 3:30, as I am very exhausted and overwhelmed, He is holding all of my life together. Everything that I feel is out of control, He is perfectly sovereign over. 

And y'all, He sees me. Even in my complete failure in this whole list thing, He enjoys me. Delights in me, even. He thinks I'm great and He really likes me. The real overwhelming thing here, is His grace. 

So today, when I wake up in two short hours, I'm choosing to see faces on my list. I'm going to be more overwhelmed with His grace than the things I have to get done. And I'm going to rest knowing that He's holding it all together. 

I'm praying that for you today too, my sweet friend.