Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bound by Grace

I was on bed rest with our first child.  Bright red blood landed me in my parent’s guest bedroom.

Kevin and I were concerned...was there even a heartbeat?…was life growing or had I miscarried?

I felt like I was suffocating, as worry and sorrow crept into each nook and cranny of my being.

We just discovered I was pregnant and then got a call from my parents telling us of my baby brother’s devastating car accident.

At sixteen-years-old, he lay in a bed in the Intensive Care Unit.  Wires and tubes, eyes swollen shut by bruises.  A serious head injury.  A coma.

Kevin and I drove over two hours north back to my doctor for an ultrasound.

Our life was crammed with waiting.

Waiting hour by hour to get updated reports on my brother's condition— if he would emerge from the coma.

Waiting for an OB appointment.  Waiting while on bed rest.  Waiting during the car ride to my doctor.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

A fuzzy screen meant little to us.  But, when we noticed the pulsing light on the monitor and an outline of a baby, our hearts were filled with intense joy.

The most abnormal emotions to combine together-- swelling joy in the midst of a heart that also felt like cracked open shells scattered by the waves, scorched by the hot sun.

I still had to time lulled away in the guest bedroom back at my parent’s home.

Each morning I awoke to stabbing mental pain, a gushing memory of the accident.  A sickness in my belly, part morning sickness and part emotional grief of the loss of who my brother used to be.

Food arrives at the doorstep during a tragedy.  Cakes and casseroles and laughter came and went day after day.

Laughter wafted from the kitchen along with delicious smells, as visitors and family came and went.  The laughter came like fog through the halls and echoed into my brother's empty bedroom.

I was certain I would somehow lose the baby due to grief.  But, over the months, my brother had a temporary recovery.

And that baby in my womb sprouted big and round, feet pressing hard against my rib cage.  Black-haired and pink-faced he came out squalling loud.

Now he’s eleven-years old and I think about the grace that he’s here with us.  Those feet still press hard against this mama's heart, my chest cavity raw from the challenges of a pre-teen.

He carries part of my brother’s name…Jon, meaning Jehovah has been gracious, has shown favor.

The strange mixture of joy and sorrow enters this space of mama-hood.  Joy shaken up with the pain of sin.  Redemption and tears coating the surface of our days.

My freckle-faced second-born asked me last week, What would you think if Jesus came back right now? Like.this.very.second.

Without hesitation, I said, I would love it!

Don’t get me wrong, I envision singing Rock a Bye Baby to chubby dark-haired grand babies, but I also welcome His return right.this.second.

His grace infuses each day- enough to carry me through.

But, joy mixed with sorrow is hard and I long for the day when this all passes away and we sit at the feet of Jesus for eternity.

More waiting as I wait for whichever comes first-- His return or heaven.

May we inhale deeply the hope, joy, and grace that binds us to our precious Savior this Advent season-- in the midst of our groaning and waiting (Romans 7:6, 8:18-25).


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