Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Year Gone By

2014 is quickly coming to a close. In just a few hours we say goodbye to another year. It's always a time of reflection and I would be remisce if I didn't stop and count the many blessings and lessons of the year that's coming to a close. But first some of 2014's highlights:

January brought a fourth member to the family. 

Remember that fury little fluff ball? All 7 deceiving pounds of him that melted our hearts. It was the first week of January and the beginning of the Polar Vortex and a harsh, snowy 3 months of winter (even for Virginia). Now this 65 lb Oompa Loompa is a permanent fixture in the Wright Home and we wouldn't have it any other way. 

February brought my 35th birthday, more snow and these infamous shots. 

Oh how I love these photos. Yes, it was freezing. Yes, I had on snow boots and leggings underneath my gown. Yes, it was worth it!

Fast forward to April and Mikey's birthday, then May and a dino-mite 6th birthday. We also took our first vacation of the year to Nags Head. 

June brough the official start of summer and a trip to DC. So many sights to see, so much history. 

July was our first trip to Williamsburg & Busch Gardens. We have determined we love amusement parks. So much so we would return again in September. 

August began Elijah's first grade year, which has proven to be a lot more challenging than Kindergarten but we couldn't have been blessed with a more loving and devoted teacher. So many of you have prayed for this little boy and knowing he is bathed in prayer is the biggest blessing of all. We still have challenges ahead so as we look toward 2015 it is a reminder of having to seek the Lord for guidance and knowing how to best parent and advocate for this little life we are entrusted with. I know you will agree - this is one of the biggest lessons we face as parents, having to surrender our children to the Lord ALL the days of their lives and seek to do what's best for them, even when it's difficult. 

The first of September we learned we were expecting. We couldn't contain our excitement! This was truly an answer to prayer and something we had been hoping and waiting for. We celebrated and embraced this little one. It caused me to look toward 2015 - specifically May - with a whole new perspective and plan. It wouldn't just be a new year, it would be a new baby, a new beginning, a new life, a growing family, a fulfilled longing and an answer to prayer.


In October we were forced to say goodbye. I cannot deny the months since have still brought grief. I've also had newfound friendships as I've connected with others who have walked this same journey. I can't yet fully understand God's plan in all of this.


We close this year out in Florida enjoying time with family and vacation. 
Magic. It never loses it's luster. I've determined that the Christmas holiday and Disney World allow me to appropriately act the age I feel. It's been a weird time for me, though, because we planned this trip with the knowledge that we'd be marking our "halfway" point of pregnancy. I admit that at times I still struggle with this and as I look forward to 2015 this is so much a part of what I must face. 

This year God has brought me deep, meaningful friendships that have come to be a lifelong answer to prayer. I've watched God supernaturally step into situations that were simply beyond my control. I've seen Him work things out according to His plan even when I simply could not see any resolution. This year I've seen my own faith rise on wings of eagles and soar to mountaintop heights. And yet I've also felt my hopes and dreams plummet to the valley of the shadow of death. 

Now I look toward next year with a completely different meaning and perspective. Yesterday I was reminded (by one of those kindred friends) that I cannot just pull together my own plan and ask God to bless it. (Ouch! That one hurts.) Rather, I must seek His plan and follow His will.

There are two words that have come to share deep meaning in my soul: hope and joy. 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

Hebrews 11:1


God is my strength, my shield from every danger.
I trust Him and He helps me.
Joy rises in my heart 
until I burst out in songs of praise to Him
Psalm 28:7

This is the reason I sing. This is the reason for faith. This is the reason to look forward to 2015 and a new year. The hope I have is faith in Who He is. The joy I cling to is what rises within me as I trust Him no matter what I face. Another year comes to a close and a new one offers hope and joy with full confidence in a Sovereign God who holds each and everyday. 

Happy New Year. Happiness is relative, right? Relative to the perspective we choose when we realize Almighty God holds not only each of our days but each of us in His Sovereign hands.

I pray you feel His presence in your life and I pray for His deepest blessings on your new year. May your faith increase. May your hope be ever present. May your joy be deep. May you burst forth in songs of praise to Him. May you rejoice and trust in a God who is good, even when you may not be certain of what tomorrow holds. 






Monday, December 22, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time

It's the most wonderful time of year. At least that's what the song says. 

I openly admitted my love for this season which allows my inner child to actually be appropriate in public. Yes, I said this while donning my "tacky" Christmas sweater, complete with garland, packages, ornaments and, of course, a working strand of lights. It goes without saying that I embrace the Elf-like philosophy of spreading cheer by singing loud for all to hear. 

All of this makes it hard to understand why this season has but 3 days until Christmas and I find myself wondering how it's "slipped away." We scaled back this year. After a budget overhaul and some different goals we determined not to let Christmas break us. The same must be true from an emotional standpoint and not just budgetary purposes. What I'm realizing is that just because we aren't shopping to our limits, we certainly have been stretching ourselves to extremes. 

Doesn't everyone? I keep hearing it from so many, "We're just so busy." "We've just got to make it through the holidays." "This time of year is so demanding." "The emotions during this season have been on heightened alert." Yes, all statements I've heard from different people who must be feeling a level of overwhelmed that I can relate to.

But if we stop the buying, stop the wrapping, stop the decorating, stop the baking, stop the parties, stop the demands, stop the overwhelming expectations for a moment, would we find what we're looking for? Strip away the tinsel and lights, scale back the mounds of packages and find the simplicity of the season we truly are meant to celebrate.

We enter the hustle and bustle and lose the peace and joy. We fill our season with overwhelming demands and miss the momentous meaning of Christ's birth. We consume the season in all its shiny packaging, we take in the the commercialism and overlook the miracle of God wrapped in flesh. 

I feel Christmas spirit. It's in my marrow. It helps that my personality lends itself to, well, like I said an inner child that embraces everything about the celebratory season. But I don't want to miss the miracle. I don't want to overlook the reason we gather, buy, wrap, gift, give, get, sing, decorate and every other offering this season is filled with. More importantly, I don't want to just "get through" the holidays. Believe me, I know the demands it brings. I also know right beside my abundance of Christmas spirit is a near melt down if I allow the to do lists to take over. 

The Christmas spirit that runs deep is the joy of our Savior and the gift He came to bring us. The peace that passes all understanding when we place our trust in a Sovereign God, who admid all confusion sent His Son to earth to fulfill a plan that only He could orchestrate. Tis the season. The most wonderful time of year when we honor this gift, when we celebrate life and new birth, when we give and receive the incomparable love meant for each of us. When I keep this in mind, I can truly say it is the most wonderful time of the year. It's the reason I sing. It's the reason I don tacky Christmas sweaters. It's the motivation behind my desire to spread cheer - ultimately to spread the joy of Jesus. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's Christmas

Thanksgiving has come and gone. December is upon us. The countdown to Christmas is here. I love this time of year. I cannot contain my joy. I admit, and most of you know, I am an extrovert by nature but there's something extra special about the spirit of Christmas that extends to holiday cheer.

I don't have anything profound to share today. In fact, just a few days ago someone asked me "Why haven't you blogged in awhile? Is everything okay?" Truthfully, yes. I realize I left you all hanging after my "I was mad" post. My deepest apologies. I'm happy to report I am not mad.

Today marks two months since we lost our little one. There's a special ornament on the tree. It's placed right beside a Christmas ball bearing the verse "For unto us a child is born..." It commemorates the Liberty Godparent Home in 2007. I hung it at the top of my tree that year as my prayer and faith in God to give me a baby. You know the story... The following year I would hang that ornament right beside the one that read "Baby's First Christmas." It brings tears to my eyes to recount His faithfulness. Bless You, Lord. I praise You for Your many blessings.

We did the unthinkable and put up the tree before Thanksgiving. Gasp. This month holds so much hustle and bustle, we decided as a family we wanted to be able to enjoy it as much as possible. It brings me so much joy to be able to place each ornament, recalling the memory attached to the ones that we've now had for three Christmases. Starting over can be difficult. It can also be healing. Once again I am reminded of His love and faithfulness, extended to even me.

What brings even more joy is watching the wonderment of the season through this little boy who continues to grasp more each year. He makes it even more fun. I admit I'm still having fun with our Elf who happily returned the day after Thanksgiving. I decided Jokey was never going to be the main emphasis for us. He's here to have fun and thankfully, by year 3, he's learned the house rules. Most of them, at least. He watches our creative thinker and promotes the active imagination of one curious little boy. It sure keeps this mama on her toes! But yet another reminder of how quickly things change, how fast the days go by, how many Christmases have come and gone since I was prayerfully asking God for this child.

I'm thankful to be in a place where I can say that I can give Him thanks in all things. It doesn't come without occasional tears or the sting of memories. It often comes through prayers and faith in what we still hope for and the assurance of what Christmas represents. Jesus. The One unto us who was born. The One unto us who was given. The One unto us whom we can place our trust in. The One unto us who causes us to believe in miracles. Not the Hallmark kind. The miracle of immaculate conception, a virgin birth, the fullness of God wrapped in the humanness of man. God's spoken word of redemption as a babe in swaddling clothes.

It's the reason to have joy. No matter what this year has brought. No matter what heartache you've endured or how many tears you've cried. It's the reason to sing. No matter how empty and hopeless you may have felt. It's the reason to celebrate. No matter what darkness you've journeyed through. It's Christmas. It's Jesus.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Was Mad

I could feel it welling up inside me. It was an emotional fit I wasn't prepared for. My chest was heaving. My heart was pounding. I couldn't think - all I wanted to do was throw something. Where was this anger coming from? I was MAD!

It had been building up all week. I'd become increasingly aware of the baby bumps around me. Everytime I saw someone - complete strangers even - I was somehow drawn to their growing bellies. I seemed to feel physical emptiness each time I saw someone else's belly and became aware of the absence in my own.

Pregnancy announcements continued to pop up on the news feed. Not just one - multiple. Some due in May. Some I can genuinely say I am happy about - friends who deserve to be happy with their glowing pregnancies. But all reminders of joy that I was feeling left out of.

It wasn't one thing. But there was definitely a trigger. A handmade gift, something of a memoriam, that I found destroyed. Somehow my 65 lb doodle had confused it for a chew toy. There was that gift - in pieces. It seemed as though I was looking at my shattered heart. I knelt to pick up the pieces and then came the tears. But this wasn't a moment of sorrow. Sadness was void in my heart. I was full of outright anger and I just wanted to scream. 

I wasn't mad at God. I knew better than that. But I certainly told Him outloud how I felt. I knew He already knew but it didn't stop me from asking Him all the questions that had been tucked away. I had a good cry. An even better honest talk with God. 

Before anyone feels the need to reach out to me and offer your sympathies, let me explain something. Please hear me. I'm not still mad. I'm writing this days later. The truth is the only reason I'm writing this is for someone who may need to read this and know it's okay to feel this way too. I'm sharing this for the sheer fact that I'm normal. Human, in fact. Emotional and sometimes overwhelmed. And yes, sometimes even mad. It's okay, really, for me and for you. The thing I also know is that along with all the pregnancies that are being congratulated, there are other hearts aching who never even got the chance to announce their good news before they were all too soon experiencing grief. 

"Be angry, yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:26-27

Anger is a normal part of the grief process. Necessary, if you will, to help reach acceptance. Taking the biblical guidance on how to handle anger, we cannot let it be a place we set up camp. We can't allow it to be a breeding ground for evil. It's a part of the process, not the ending place. 

So I admit. I was mad. I was mad. And I'm glad I was. I needed to let that out. I needed to feel it. I needed to go through it. I don't feel something everyday, not all the time. Sometimes I don't know when it will hit or what will be the trigger. But I do have my moments and I believe they are not only normal, they're allowed. All part of the healing process. 

(Now, please, pretty please, don't get all stressed out and worried. I'm not mad anymore!)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thankful for His Name

"Oh give thanks unto The Lord; call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people." Psalm 15:1

Today I give thanks for the name of The Lord. The name that will one day cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess. Today, this day, His name holds power. By His name we are saved. 

What does His name mean to you?

Jehovah Nissi - Banner
Jehovah Rophe - Healer
Jehovah Jirah - Provider
Yahweh - Lord
Jehovah Shalom - The God of peace
El Shaddai - God Almighty
Adonai - Master
Elohim - Strength
Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is there
El Elyon - Most High
El Roi - The God who sees
El Olam - Everlasting God
El Gibhor - Mighty God

At His name the demons tremble. At His name the angels rejoice. At His name mountains bow, seas are calmed. The power the name of The Lord holds is beyond what we can even comprehend. 

Today I am calling upon the name of my ever personal Father, The Lord my God and giving Him the glory He is due. There are so many more I could list, so many attributes He is, but for me today I give thanks for His name. The very name that I can utter and experience His presence. 

Thank You for Your Name, Lord!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy November

It was Halloween. I happened upon the candy aisle to purchase some goodies for work...When what to my wondering eyes would appear but the conflict of two holidays opposing forces on either side of the aisle, both fighting for their rightful place on the calendar. 


In case you can't see the full scope of the photo, Halloween's frightening fight on the left is taking on Christmas cheer on the right. I posted the photo only to have others remark about this not being the only store to do it. In fact, multiple stores were listed with the same celebratory conflict. Several other posts asked "Where is Thanksgiving?" Another even wondered, "What's a turkey gotta do to get some attention?"

Listen, I am one of the most festive people you will meet. I love to decorate and celebrate just about every holiday and Christmas is the epitome of pomp and circumstance in my world. But somewhere in this sea of commercialism is a lesson that I hope we all get.

It's not only November 1st, the start of a new month, it's also the month we kick-off the biggest holiday season of the year. Thanksgiving is no longer sacred given that Black Friday now begins on Thursday. I can't remember how many turkey dinners we had to post-pone until my dad's restaurant work shift was finished. I'm not going to turn this into an anthem to fight commercialism and stay home on Thanksgiving. However, I am hoping to share my declaration of "thanks" throughout this month as we anticipate the holiday that seems to be forgotten.

Let me explain something. My perspective has changed. Too many times I've experienced pain or loss or the disappointment of what I had hoped and planned. And too many times despite what has happened, I've witnessed an Almighty God work His Sovereign plan in my life. More than that, even when what I wanted wasn't what I got, I've seen God provide comfort, grace, peace, love and mercy for whatever I've faced. So I'm declaring the right to give thanks. I'm claiming a reason to celebrate. I'm giving God the glory - for everything - and making November a time to remember. At least for me. 

My hope is that this month I can give Him the praise and honor He is due but learn all over again how to give thanks in ALL things. Give thanks unto The Lord. Enter His courts with Thanksgiving. 

Today I give thanks for a new month, a new day. Happy November

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OK. Not Okay

#7 on the list I shared the other day...It's okay not to be okay. 

I guess I should heed my own advice. Understand something. If you know me at all you know that I don't go into anything half-heartedly. So going back to "normal" (whatever that is) would also be full throttle for me. Or so I had hoped. The thing is if I lead everyone to believe I'm okay then they will treat me that way. I didn't want everyone to be afraid of me. I didn't want to - once again - disappoint. 

But honestly - who am I trying not to disappoint anyway?! Because the only three people who matter right now are God, my husband and my son. Oh, and me. I'm just being honest - I had convinced myself everything was fine. And most days (moments?) it is. I am. But not every moment. Not every time. Not every day. 

I went back to work and did it with joy in my heart. I had spent some exceptional time in the Presence of The Lord, completely basking in His glory, relishing His Spirit and claiming the power He promises is mine. I felt it down to the marrow of my soul. I went through the day with that supernatural empowerment only to receive a phone call on my way home. It was the hospital calling to follow up after surgery and to also invite our family to a Walk to Remember where we can have Baby Wright's name called out and plant a tulip bulb in our baby's honor. Yep, you better believe I lost it. But it's okay that I did! In fact, it's healthy that I did. Whatever others may think or feel (or not feel) this is a death for us. There is grief and as I very well know, grief comes with stages. For a goal-oriented person like me, reaching the next "stage" in the grief process, doesn't mean I've earned my badge. It doesn't work that way. This is a process that rides much like a roller coaster. Just when you think you've reached a plateau, you find yourself climbing only to drop and twist and turn again. 

Yesterday a nurse and mother and someone who has experienced miscarriage shared her experience with me. She also shared the knowledge from her doctor to "treat this as if you've given birth - they tell you to take 6 weeks to allow your body to readjust. You may even experience postpartum depression." What?! I'm not depressed. Six weeks? Physically I feel okay after the surgery. At least I physically feel healed. And no, this isn't like having a baby at all because I am left with empty arms. But for real - six weeks?! Certainly I, Carrie, don't need that much time. You want to know what happens when you try to play God? Okay, what happens when I try to play God and take control of my circumstance? Inevitably He reminds me that He does not require or need my help and it is up to me to surrender fully to Him. Okay, God. Maybe I do need more time. Maybe I'm not healed. Maybe things are still out of whack. Maybe I am still experiencing unexplainable things - physically and emotionally - that I have to still work through. How many more times do I have to hear it to let it officially soak in - to give myself permission?

I'm relieving myself of the added pressure (put solely there by my own doing) and declaring that it's okay to not be okay. Thank you for the many who have understood this even when I stubbornly have not. Thank you for still checking on me. Thank you for giving me the freedom to not be "me" all the time. Thank you for not expecting anything more than a broken version of myself that is still in healing. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to not be okay. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pregnancy Loss Awareness


Two days after surgery I received a message. Someone else was going through the exact same thing. She was scheduled for a D&C the following day after just learning she had lost her little one. A few days later while my body is starting to "feel" healed someone shared her tears as she mourned with us. More than three decades later the memories and emotions came flooding back to remind her of her own loss. 

As I've walked this journey I've found a commonality with so many women, so many I never even knew about, and have realized the truth in the statistic that one in four pregnancies end in a loss or miscarriage. I've read forums, scoured websites, poured over the stories of other women who have experienced the same grief and loss. Some have struggled to feel the ability to grieve over their pregnancy. Others have hesitated to even refer to the life as a baby. I understand there are so many different emotions that came and for most they come in waves. 

Our journey began three weeks ago with what we were told was a threatened miscarriage. From the very beginning they told me I couldn't do anything differently and nothing was my fault. The only thing I can now say is that I've had those moments of "what if..." What could I have done? I've also had those moments where everything is fine...then something hits me and everything is not fine. 

I'm writing this post, and a few others to come, as October 15th approaches. This isn't just for me and Baby Wright. This is for every baby lost. For every dream that died. For every plan that never came to be. This is for all the women who have reached out to me because they have felt what I feel. The thing I've learned is that no matter how much time has passed, they can still feel it. While it may not be as current, it's a feeling they can instantly and always go back to. 

October 15th is pregnancy & infant loss awareness day. Even if you haven't experienced a loss, you're reading this and becoming aware of the feelings that come for those of us who have. I don't think that anyone has said or done anything to make me feel adversely but I also know that everyone deals with this differently. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for taking the time to honor our babies. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rain Boots

Several months ago Elijah was given a pair of rain boots. Rain boots come in all styles but these are fashoined just like a fireman's boots. It may be one of the best hand-me-down presents he's ever received. Truthfully, I was afraid the boots were too big and thought he might not wear them, save for a rainy day. I would be more than proven wrong.

These boots have done more walking, more splashing, more climbing, more digging, more kicking and more dirt collecting than any other pair of shoes he's ever owned. I may not be exaggerating if I go as far as saying these boots may have in fact collected more wear and tear than all the shoes he's owned in the past 6 years. But for real...

One of the best discoveries of my little boot-wearer is the purpose they were acctually made for: rain. More importantly to a boy, puddles. I won't blame Peppa Pig for the splashing in mud puddles episode that provided added inspiration. Certainly this boy didn't need any help with the idea. Rain + rain boots + an active boy = jumping in every single puddle produced by rain and any other moisture.

The last few days have provided ample rain and accompanying puddles. My little boy didn't mind the rain. Not one bit. He put the boots on and headed out to play. 

Fast forward to a break in the downpour and I saw him outside but the boots were sitting on the porch. Clearly not on his feet. What to my wondering eyes would appear but his fairly new Nike tennis shoes bought intentionally, and solely, for school and outings. NOT MUD PUDDLES. Make no mistake, he was in fact jumping in the puddles with his tennis shoes. The boots were made for puddles - the tennis shoes were not. 

I admit I had one of those freak out mom moments, "What on earth are you thinking?" I could tell by the completely shocked and confused look on his face that he wasn't - he wasn't thinking at all. We had gotten home and he hopped out of the car and went straight to playing, never paying attention to the shoes on his feet, never realizing that he wasn't prepared for the puddles. Not only were his shoes a muddy mess but the inevitable splash had transferred to his pants and somehow even managed to travel all the way up to his shirt.

"I'm sorry mom," he said, hanging his head, "I just wanted to splash in the puddles because they're so much fun!" 

Here's the point. Rain will come. Puddles will happen. You can't control the weather. Every so often you may even choose to make the most of the situation and splash around. But if you're not suited up for the rain and the puddles, you'll find yourself in an inevitable mess. The other point is this: even though you may save your good shoes for a not-so-rainy day, you may just find that the splashing and puddle-jumping makes for a really good way to make the most of what you can't control. You may in fact realize, just like my outdoor-loving boy, that the rainboots are your favorite even if it's not a rainy day. After all, they make quite a fashion statement, don't you think?! 

(This picture is a representation of his own style, complete with PJ top, magnetic darts on his lampshade hat and the infamous fireman boots.)



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Every Detail

The leaves are starting to change. The brilliance of the sun on a fall morning is blinding. I'm in my favorite chair. I've been here for three hours. Streams of sunlight are pouring through the window. I've had worship music playing for most of the time. I began with a heavy heart. The house was empty and quiet. I had a recurring moment of asking God why, why our baby. Then I found comfort in His word, peace in His presence, grace in His embrace. I've found so much encouragement in His written Word, so much peace in the words sung by artists pouring out their praises to a God who amazes me. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to sit still.

The beauty of this fall morning is surrounding me and I am overwhelmed by His goodness. I know I am not the only one processing grief, walking through tragedy, dealing with disappointment. So many are hurting. So many are searching for meaning. Too many are trying to make sense of things that just don't make sense. I can't imagine what you're going through. In my own grief I don't want to forget the needs around me. In fact it helps me remember that I am not alone - none of us are.

I need you to understand something. God holds every single circumstance we'll ever face. It doesn't necessarily remove the hurt and suffering but knowing that He is at work in all that comes our way allows everything, even the tragedy, to be filled with meaning. We may not gain a full understanding on earth but what we do gain is a clearer picture of Who He is and how He is at work in our lives.

Remember those turning leaves? Not a single one would change or fall if it were not orchestrated by the very Creator who spoke each one of them into existence. He gives life. He IS life! He knows the pain of death because He gave His very own Son over to death, the death I deserved. Yet He lives. Death was overcome and because of this we can look forward to spring. We can look forward to new life. We also look forward with hope and assurance to the eternity that is ours to claim when we accept His gift of salvation.

Here it is - the meaning of all of this. He gives us the ability to be SAVED from the pain, to be HEALED from disease, to be REDEEMED from this fallen world. The eternal promise of our salvation has been secured because of His death and life and while we may have to endure on earth, we have this hope to look forward to.

When I can't find understanding in my circumstance, I find meaning in His name that gives light to the darkness. When I can't seem to make sense of the uncertainty, I rest in His eternal promise.

The sun is still shining through the window. Outside it highlights the oranges and yellows that are now tinting the leaves. I find hope in the changing leaves because they serve as a reminder that He is watching over every detail of our lives.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hope is Not Lost

A week ago I wrote about hope. I didn't know what was happening or what was to come but with all of my heart I wanted to hold onto hope. From the depths of my soul I cried out to God to answer the way in which I hoped. He didn't. But I need you to understand that I haven't lost my hope. 

My hope is in The Lord. My expectation is from Him. My souls rests in Him. (Psalm 62:5)

Hope does not disappoint. In fact, it is the result of our trials producing perseverance and endurance. (Romans 5:3-5) God uses these times to show us Himself. It can be difficult to find Him when we feel He's not answering how we want. We can become angry or bitter when we don't get what we hope for. But when we allow supernatural faith to take over finite humanity, we find Him in all His sovereignty and we can find rest in His presence. This is where we find peace. This is where our faith is encouraged and our hope is renewed. 

Hope. "The desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment." Hope is the longing for something we expect to happen. Hope is deeply rooted in our trust of an Almighty Father knowing He has secured our eternity with Him. Hope is trusting, believing, depending, expecting and being strengthened by our desire for Him and all that He desires for us. Hope is recognizing His love never fails. Hope is knowing we live because He lives. Hope stays alive because He conquered death. And yes, even in death we can find hope. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Peace and Thanksgiving

Peace and thanksgiving. It seems a contradiction to think those two could walk hand-in-hand in the midst of sorrow and grief. You want me to be honest? You know I always am. I have had moments of anger, moments of flat out temper tantrums of wanting my way. MY WAY. God, this was NOT my way. This was NOT the desire of my heart. I waiver back and forth between accepting God's Sovereign plan and being so utterly broken that I cannot even fathom the good that could come out of this. Oh yes, I know. I KNOW ALL THESE THINGS IN MY HEAD. His promises are true. Though He causes grief, joy comes, eventually, in the morning. He comforts those who mourn. He is close to the brokenhearted. Yes, these things I know. I've recited them over and over in my grief. There are moments of solice when the words wash over me as a healing balm. There are also moments of such unbearable pain that it seems nothing could soothe.

Let My peace rule in your heart - and be thankful. I have called you to a life of peace and thankfulness. These two are closely related. The more grateful you are, the better able you are to receive My peace. Conversely, the more peaceful you are, the easier it is to be grateful. Your calmness helps you to think clearly and to recognize the many blessings I shower upon you.

Oh yes, Lord, I can see how these two work together but what I cannot see is how this grief will somehow work together for my good. Yes, I can stand back and see the abundance of blessings you pour into my life and I know I am not worthy of any of it. None of it have I earned and yet I would be willing to give it all back if You could take this cup from me, if You could have allowed this blessing to be mine. 

This calm thankfulness is independent of circumstances; it flows out of your confidence that I always do what is best - even when you cannot understand My ways. My peace can function as an umpire in your heart, settling the questions and doubts that rise up in your thoughts. 

I admit - this is the most difficult part. Do I trust You? Yes. Do I have faith in You? Of course. Do I trust You with even this? I must. It is all I can do. 

Whenever you start to feel anxioius, use those feelings as a reminder to communicate with Me. Talk with Me about whatever is disturbing you. Bring me all your requests with thanksgiving.

Father, You know what it is that troubles me. You know why my heart is broken. How can I be thankful for this? I am trying to move past the deep grief and look to You for all that is good, knowing full well that when You planned all the days for my life, you saw even this. It's so hard to say that I am thankful for this pain. What I know I can be thankful for is the life you gave us, even if just for a few short weeks. I am thankful for Your presence in the midst of pain. I am thankful for the many people who have gathered around us to comfort and encourage. There are things I can find to be thankful for but I admit it seems too much of a stretch to say I am grateful this has happened. 

You are Mine - intimately united with Me - I personally guard your heart and mind with My peace. Remember that this is supernatural peace, which surpasses all understanding.

It has to be, because my finite human mind can't comprehend. All I can do is hold onto You and in Your presence I find peace. For all that you've done for me, I will give thanks. For all I know You can do through even this, I will still choose to give thanks. You are good, even when the things we face are awful. You alone God. In You I find peace and can offer thanks.

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of The Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Carry His Praises

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

He chose me to carry you and I did. For almost 8 weeks I carried my baby. I heard your heart beat. I watched the flutter moving on the screen. So tiny, still forming, only budding in shape but never fully forming who you were meant to become. You never got to breathe life on earth but the love we grew for you was insurmountable in such a short amount of time. I know that God has a plan for you. Even now He is working out His plan for your little life. I can't fully understand His plan but I rest in knowing there is a greater story for you.

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness

But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says

I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

Lord, truly You have shown me that no one loves my baby like You. This life I never got to know, You've planned every single one of the brief days that would never come to be this side of heaven. Now You are holding our baby, with more love and more compassion than these arms could ever dream of holding. This life we had dreamed of has come to meet You before we will. I cannot even begin to fathom the life now being lived in eternity. There are no more teary eyes in heaven, but Lord, the tears still fall from my eyes here on earth. 

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen Me
To carry you

It is the namesake of this blog. It is my heart's cry. To carry praise and glory to Your name. Oh but Lord, I need You. Right now I need You to carry me through this. I know this is one of those times in life when I cannot rely on my own strength. There is simply no strength to claim other than what You give. So Father, I'm calling on You to carry me. You saw fit to let me carry this child and now I know You will carry me through the sorrow as we grieve this life lost. I pray that You will receive the glory. Let us carry praises to You as we find You close to our broken hearts. Let the prayers of so many being offered up on our behalf be lifted to You as a chorus of the adoration You deserve. Lord, we cannot know why but we do know You. Even through tears, we carry our praise to You. We rejoice in this suffering because we know it will bring endurance. May our character bring us hope and may Your love be poured into our hearts.

Carry us, Lord. We carry our praises to You.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

In the Arms of Jesus

Today we celebrate Baby Wright's home going to be with Jesus. We love this baby more than words can describe even though we won't meet this side of heaven. For the past five weeks we've known we have celebrated this life. Now we mourn the loss of our baby and the death of so many hopes and dreams we were embracing and preparing for. The arms holding me up are the same Sovereign arms now rocking my baby. There's comfort in that thought, despite the deep grief and pain. 

They repeatedly tell you not to think you did something wrong. I now understand this. It somehow feels like my fault but I did everything I could and I won't think for a second that I didn't pray enough or have strong enough faith. I trusted God for this baby. I trusted Him to take care of our baby. I know that He is, only now He is holding my baby for me until we meet in eternity. God didn't cause this to happen to us because of anything we did or didn't do. 

It's easy to ask why. Why God? Why did you choose to take our baby? Why did I get pregnant if the baby was just going to die? He knows I prayed for this child. Most assuredly. And I know He answered. For reasons I may never know in my time on earth He chose to take the same baby I prayed for and now He's holding our baby all while He's holding my broken heart. It's true God is close to the brokenhearted, otherwise I wouldn't be able to breathe.

You give and take away, blessed be Your name. I can't just proclaim His greatness when I am being blessed. Make no mistake this baby was so many answers to prayer. I have to know and still trust the God who works in ways I cannot understand. Even when it feels impossible. 

This has been one of the worst physical pains I've ever known. Emotionally it is catastrophic. I also understand this is just the beginning of a roller coaster of feelings and a process of grief before acceptance comes. It doesn't mean I'm angry at God but it does mean I am human and all these emotions are real. Please know we don't regret sharing our exciting news early. The world of social media has allowed so many to rejoice with us as we have celebrated our miracle. Now we share our news of grief and we know that many will share in our sorrow. We only ask what we've always asked - for all your thoughts to turn to prayers as we seek to continue to glorify our Sovereign Lord...in all things. 

My dear sweet husband has been by my side every step of the way, even in what was one of my lowest moments I can ever remember. There I sat writhing in pain and sobbing on the shower floor as he washed my hair. I can't understand his grief as a father, yet somehow he managed to hold me in the midst of my sobs and tell me how beautiful I am. He said I made all his dreams come true. The grief he feels for someone he never even met while he's comforting his broken wife is a strength that is helping see me through. It's a myriad of feelings but one thing is certain. These are the things that bring you closer together. I love him more now then I ever thought I could. 

You never wake up thinking somehow the date on the calendar will become etched in your mind. You don't go into everyday circumstances wondering if somehow this will be the thing that defines you. I can't tell you how I will feel at any given moment. I can't explain sudden outbursts of tears. I waiver between extreme feelings and moments of numbness. It's ok to feel this. It's ok to cry. It's ok to not understand, and I truly don't. What I do know is on October 2, 2014, heaven gained an angel, my angel. Our baby.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Oh how I love this verse. It has been a comfort to me in so many times of uncertainty. Through so many trials I have claimed His joy and peace, prayed for His power to overflow me, called upon supernatural power that I know is mine to claim. I cannot even begin to tell you how I'm calling upon the God of hope to fill me in this moment now. 

Can I share something incredible? He has. He does. Even while I'm waiting for answers. Even while I'm unsure of what tomorrow holds. Even when I can't fully understand His plan and I can only be certain of HIM. I can still claim the assurance of HOPE that He brings. Not just enough to get by... Hope that overflows! Hope in abundance. Hope to make it through today and tomorrow. Hope to get past the point of uncertainty and hope to trust in Sovereign God. 

If that's not enough hope for you, here's more reason to hope in The Lord, no matter what it is you're hoping for:

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

In you, Lord, my God, I put my trust... No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame... Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:1,3-5

My hope is in You ALL DAY LONG!

I have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about, nothing to be anxious about, nothing to be consumed with as long as I put my hope in The Lord. It may not take away the problem. It may not fix the issue. It may not heal the hurt. But I can find rest in God and keep my hope fixed on Him. All day long. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

His Perfect Way

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of The Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. 2 Samuel 22:31

There are moments when our faith is tested. These are the moments when we're standing face-to-face with choosing to surrender and trust God or running in fear and doubt. 

I'm standing there right now. I'm looking up toward the heavens and having moments of uncertainty, "Why God? I don't understand. What are You doing? Why do You want me to go through this?" I can't say I've gotten any answer.

If I truly believe that verse then I will find assurance in His perfect way. Even when it hurts. Even when it's hard. Even when I can't make sense of it. Even when I'm unsure of the way myself. 

My response must be to take refuge in Him, whatever the outcome. Should He choose to move miraculously then I must bow before Him in awe and reverance, knowing full well that ONLY HE could have done this. 

And even if He doesn't answer the way I'm asking I cannot step back and doubt Him. That only causes me to have to trust Him even more for a plan that I cannot see. It can be the most difficult test of faith.

I'm teetering in between that space of knowing God can do this and also trying to prepare myself for a possible different outcome. Where is my faith? Does this mean I doubt Him if I don't stand firmly on the answer I want? It's in these moments of uncertainty that I wonder how He must feel about me. Does He not give me the answer I seek because my faith is so weak? I don't think so. I just think He sees the perfect way that I cannot see. 

Remember just the other day I read of You being in my circumstances, redeeming even my suffering and helping bring meaning to the struggle. So I find myself wondering, "God, is this one of those times when You want to draw me close because of the pain I feel or is this the time when You show yourself mighty because of the miracle you can do?" I cannot know the answer yet. 

The waiting can be the hardest part. It's in these moments of waiting when I come to Him, over and over, with the same prayer, the desire of my heart, the answer I seek, the way I'm asking Him to move. I know full well I may have to be prepared for Him to answer another way but I cannot stop myself from seeking Him and begging Him to work the way I pray. 

We who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:18-19

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When Doubt Creeps In

I don't have to tell you my fears and insecurities to be vulnerable. Satan knows them and he absolutely works overtime to get to me. It's the moments that are supposed to be restful when sleep evades me because of worrisome thoughts. It's the moments when I'm weak, most likely from spreading myself too thin and not drawing on the strength of The Lord. Then I am bombarded by overwhelming fear. Panic-stricken thoughts paralyze me and leave me consumed. 

Where is my faith? Help my unbelief, Lord! I love You. I trust You. But why is this overtaking me?

If I think for one second that the devil hasn't latched on to a foothold in my mind then I have not acknowledged the true evil we wrestle against. 

When you are feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, take time to listen to Me.

Lord, I'm more than overwhelmed. I'm consumed. Afraid. Paralyzed and helpless. I know You're there and I know You haven't left me but I can't seem to overcome my present state that has me in the grip of my fears. My mind goes to every possible scenario and circumstance that only lead to more worry and doubt. 

Listening to Me when you're feeling stressed requires discipline and trust. Your racing thoughts make it hard to hear My gentle whisper. Ask the Holy Spirit to calm your mind so that you can hear My voice. Remember that I - the Prince of Peace - am with you at all times.

I know you haven't left me. I know I must overcome the racing thoughts that flood my mind. Help me quiet my mind so that I can hear You. Help me feel You near. 

I am not only with you; I am also in your circumstances. Moreover, I am in control of everything that happens to you. 

But Lord, sometimes I don't understand why You would allow these things to happen. Why is there suffering and struggle and pain? I have to use every ouce of mental strength to stop my mind from plunging into the abyss of what ifs...and sometimes I admit I'm too weak to prevent the onslaught of worrying about everything that might go wrong.

Although I am never the author of evil, I am fully able to use bad things for good. This does not remove your suffering, but it does redeem it - infusing it with meaning. 

I know You work all things according to Your plan and purpose. I give You my fears, my doubts, my worries, even my struggles and ask You to draw me unto Yourself. I am seeking Your presence and Your word tells me when I seek You with all my heart I will find You. My hope is in You, Lord. Calm my mind and take captive every thought that is not grounded in You. 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

We who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:18-19

*Excerpts from Jesus Today



Friday, September 19, 2014

One At A Time

There are tears of sorrow and tears of joy. Tears of frustration and tears of absolute deliverance. I think I've cried all of them just this week. I promise this isn't related to pregnancy hormones. (Okay, it may be due in part to the hormones...)

This morning I spent some quiet moments in the pitch black pouring my heart out to God. The week has been full of emotions, full of circumstances, full of challenges, full of victories. Make no mistake - they've been hard fought victories. Victories the enemy wanted to claim for himself. Victories that were won only with the strength and grace of God and a whole lot of prayer. Victories that seem so much sweeter because the journey to get there was so strenuous. 

What I've come to realize is that the idea of God not giving us more than we can handle is far from the truth. In fact, I'm certain that He does give us more than we can do on our own. I'm altogether so thankful this is how He works. 

I am so guilty of going along my own merry way and doing things myself. After all, I am a self-proclaimed control freak. I will figure out a way, solve the problem, overcome the challenge and deal with the adversity head-on. I'm not the one to back down. I'm also not the one to run. And yet over and over I realize that on my own, that is if it were up to me, I would just think it's in my own strength. It would be so easy for me to forget or overlook my need for God. It would also be way too much like me to take all the credit.

I can recall moments, usually circumstances, that encapsulate the utter dependency I have on the need for my Savior, the sheer helplessness I've felt on my own. In these moments I've turned to God. I've fully surrendered and put my whole trust and faith in Him because I had absolutely nothing else to turn to. 

With such a spotty memory, I bounce right back into the "smooth sailing" of life and before long I'm back to my old faulty way of thinking that somehow I am the cause for my present state of calm and peace. Somehow I seem to mistakenly believe I can claim the victory for myself. 

Oh me. When will I learn? 

Let me say something here. I don't think God intentionally causes problems for us just because He wants us to struggle. God wants to show Himself mighty. He wants to remind us of our need for Him. The trials we face give Him the opportunity to reign and work and reveal Himself to us. God also wants to grow our faith. Our own inability to meet our need causes us to rely on Him and develop our faith and dependency on Him. 

Even when things haven't gone well, even when I haven't been able to understand or fix everything, I've never lost sight of God at work. I don't need to explain all the different ways just this week He's reminded me of who He is and how He is at work. When I let Him work, that is. Tears of thankfulness. Tears of surrender. Tears of celebration, one victory at a time. Even if that victory is simply me understanding my need for Him. 

Today I'm also crying tears of joy for the simple things that sometimes take so much effort and cause so much difficulty. Tears of rejoicing for the small victories that serve as the reminders that God is always at work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We're Expecting



I've started the first line a half dozen times and can't seem to know where to begin. Michael and I are expecting a baby early May 2015. Yes, you can do the math and figure that I'm only a few weeks pregnant (does that make me any less pregnant?!) and yes, we chose to announce before the traditional first trimester. It doesn't really matter why but I can tell you that there is a life inside of me and that is something we want to celebrate! 

I can't come up with words to describe the goodness of God. The abundance of blessing bestowed on us is almost too much to handle at times. I know I don't deserve it. I have not earned it. But I will boast only in The Lord and His wonderous love and blessings. Even when I've been wandering, lost and faithless. Even when I've doubted and prayed what I thought were endless unheard prayers. My God was there, ever listening, ever waiting, ready with His perfect plan in His perfect timing. 

Those two little knit booties in the picture represent life. Those two shoes represent the feet being formed for the baby being fashioned inside me. Truthfully, I never knew if I would carry a baby. Frankly, I had buried that dream many years ago. I prayed to become a mother and that is what The Lord granted me. And yet He decided not to stop there. I am so mindful of the fact that both of my children have been brought by nothing less than the Sovereign and miraculous hand of God. ONLY GOD! 

Just as Elijah was being fashioned in my heart, just as God perfectly placed him in my arms as the answer to my prayer to become a mother, so He is now forming a baby, our baby to be part of our family. ONLY GOD!!

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

I could search the world over and never come up with enough ways to express what I owe Him. It's not because I prayed hard enough. It's not because my faith was strong enough. It's not because I was good enough. It's certainly not because I deserve it. It's only because, by, through and with God. ONLY GOD. 

Rejoice with us as we praise The Lord for this miracle!
Give thanks with us as we honor Him at work in our lives and for the life inside me.
Pray with us for our baby and our growing family. 

Only God!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome September

It happens. Every year. Without fail. It's 90 degrees with high humidity yet throughout the course of this day that feels like summer's last hoorah, I'm pining for all things fall. Welcome September. I'm so glad you're here. 

We've spent our Labor Day laboring - deep cleaning, that is. It feels like we're preparing for spring but instead we're fully embracing what's soon-to-be autumn. The windows have all been cleaned and the screens put on. My husband cannot know the full extend of the happiness he has brought me by doing this. There's a warm breeze (maybe more like hot?!) but I'm absolutely thrilled that the cooler temperatures coming will allow the windows to be opened and let the breezes blow through. The house is clean and it just feels "good." It feels like we're ready for the new season.

I guess I'm all-too-predictable since at least half a dozen people have let me know the Pumpkin Spice Oreo flavor that's out. Others have shared pumpkin spice recipes, PSL's on sale early and other "pumpkin-related" updates. I might need to change my profile to "Loves all things Pumpkin, Oreos, Coffee and Birthdays." Oh yes, September, I welcome you. I embrace you and all that's to come. 

It's already hit me. I had the desire to bake but I'm ashamed to admit I have no can of pumpkin on hand. I pulled out the dehydrator instead and prepared some apples, blueberries and bananas along with freshly pureed fruit roll ups. I started searching for stew and soup recipes. I was so tempted - THIS CLOSE - to making a pot of chili tonight. After all, it is September. Nevermind the temperature.

The truth is I love the start of a new month. I love flipping the calendar (yes, I still have a paper one on my desk) and seeing the very beginning. It's fresh and new. It's only a matter of time before it will be filled up with appointments, reminders and circled dates but for this day it's a clean slate. I love the change of seasons. Every season. I love welcoming with anticipation what I know Autumn brings, knowing full well that following behind it will be winter and holidays in full force. Oh yes, it's all coming. The new month, the onset of the season to come is unstoppable. 

Lest I get ahead of myself, don't worry, I'm not ready to turn the calendar into the new year. Not yet at least. (Although...then the 59 day countdown will begin for my birthday but that's another story!) No, today I'm just pausing to enjoy the new month and the ceremonial close of summer as fall begins to make its entrance. Welcome September. I really am glad you're here. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Looks A Lot Like Me

You might remember that we had a rough start to the week. No self-control, a lack of focus, the inability to complete a task, disrespect for those in authority, and the list goes on… 

We celebrated small successes yesterday. He had good behavior… He just didn't do his work. Baby steps towards progress. (Today was his "best day yet"! YAY!)

The only thing he wanted to do was play outside with his best friend. He lost that privilege after a day full of bad decisions on Monday so my plea to him before a new day began was that if he wanted his play time he had to stay on green. Green he got and to my word he was sure to hold me. Never mind the fact that I had inadvertently left the completion of work off the checklist of specifics. (Didn't know I had to be so specific! This kid is good at navigating/manipulating the details. Remind me to check all the fine print!)

He woke up bright and early today and asked to ride his scooter outside. Burn off some energy before school for 30 minutes? It was a splendid idea. He obediently came inside to eat a healthy breakfast and get dressed. I turned my head for a second to deal with a precocious doodle who'd left a trail of paper shredded all over the floor when I realized a certain little boy had escaped outside. I had been specific this time. "Take your vitamins. Brush your teeth. Do not go back outside." Denied. All three instructions ignored. 

One thing led to another and a series of somewhat catastrophic events resulted in a domino effect of ill-will and frustrations. No self-control, a lack of focus, the inability to complete a task, disrespect... And I'm not talking about the kid. I'm talking about me. 

How could this child whom I love and adore, the one whom I prayed and longed for, been able to bring out a side of me I never knew existed?! There are moments when we look at our children and wonder if they're little aliens trying to adjust to our spinning world. Then there are moments where we look at ourselves and wonder if these little immigrants have the ability to truly make us lose all sense of maturity. The ability to maintain sanity suddenly becomes an absurdity. Yes, this is where I found myself. 

I was ashamed of myself for my knee-jerk reaction. Even worse I couldn't recognize the monster I had just demonstrated. How could I teach this little man to grow in stature and wisdom and grace when I was presenting him with quite the opposite? If I was frustrated with him and his lack of maturity and poor decision making then I had to be willing to point the finger back to myself. I'd just given him the best (worst) example of how to act, react and live. Shame on me. 

I wiped both our tears and hugged him and apologized. I was sorry for hurting his feelings and he said he was sorry for not obeying. 

So it goes... God continues to teach and grow me. He's not done with me yet (thank goodness, because otherwise I know so many would be disappointed with the outcome). He's promised to complete the work He began. I have to remember the same is true of my little man. I also have to remember that he bears a strong resemblance to me. The life I live out in front of him is part of how he will learn. I've got to take my cues from my Heavenly Father because there's a little life taking cues from me. I can only hope He would say I resemble Him because what I'm watching before me looks a lot like me. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Never Give Up

Any carpool mom knows this is the place where your patience is tested and tested over again. This is where you play the game of toss up. Do you show up early and wait for what may be a near eternity knowing you've earned your kid a place at the front of the line to leave? Or do you wait out the line and show up "late" (just as school lets out) and wait at the very back of the line? I've tried them both. Either way you wait.

The car rider line is where you sit, breathe, catch up on an iBook, read the emails that have piled up from the day, or see what the newsfeed has to share. Oh look, more carpool moms waiting in endless car rider lines wasting their lives away JUST LIKE ME!

You learn to love fall and spring more than you ever knew you could. Otherwise you sit and BAKE in the beating down sun in summer, waiting out the rising heat until you feel the sweat dripping down your back and then decide it's time to turn on the car and get some A/C. Winter is where you wait out the chill until your fingers are too numb to text so you determine to turn on the car and run the heat...for just a few minutes at least. You don't want to waste too much gas afterall. 

There I sat in the never-ending car rider line. I arrived in the "in between" zone - not too eager to be in the front of the pack but certainly not pulling up the end of the line. It was a beautiful cool breeze and plenty nice for open windows without over-heating. Thank You, Lord! It was time for me to just breathe and relax today. I'd been busy and on the run all day. 

My phone started to buzz. 

"I need help!" the text read.

I wasn't sure what was going on at first but after a series of rampant messages I was quickly feeling the pain of the mom at the other end. 

Her child got in trouble at school. Again. She'd been notified by the school. Again. 

"It's only the second week of school!" I could hear the desperation in her written word.

I could sense her fear, anxiety, frustration, oh yes, I knew it all. Even the embarrassment that follows knowing your kid wasn't the one who everyone would say was "such a joy in class.' Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. I may be well on my way to earning the trophy.

I shared in her pain, did my best to offer some advice, then put away my phone as it was now my anticipated turn to reach the front of the line.

"How was your day?" I exclaimed.

"Um...mom...I'm sorry but I didn't have a good day," he replied. 

Don't lose your cool, don't lose your cool...I was trying to remember the cool breezes that had just been peacefully  blowing through the windows. Reality check. This is real life. 

Now I was that mom I had just been messaging. What on earth happened? Why couldn't he just be the kid who was "such a joy in class"??? Why was he, my child, the one who gets the note home from the teacher? 

If I've learned anything in that car rider line it's been a little dose of patience. You have to wait your turn. Everyday I play a guessing game, wondering what time to show up and what place I'll get in line. It's the same guessing game as I wait to see what kind of day he had. The time I spend catching up on work or reading for my own personal enjoyment is not time wasted even though I feel like I'm at a standstill. It's a lot like how I feel right now about this impasse we're in. Somehow I'm waiting for time to pass and years to turn into maturity. Someday I will look back and WISH - just wish - for the opportunity to pick him up from school. Despite my desire now to "fix" whatever it is that is preventing him, my boy, from being the "good boy," I know one day I'll miss our rides home when I can try to teach him a lesson from the problem of the day. One day I won't be there to pick him up. One day he may drive himself off to college (heaven help us, it's going to be a very looooooong road to get him to college!). 

As soon as I see my boy running toward the car, I'm not even mindful of the wait I just endured. The time passed is no longer a concern and who cares about my place in line. One day he'll be grown and the notes home will no longer be a concern. Right now in our world this is a big deal. One day there will be things that will be a much bigger deal. 

The song comes to mind...

Your love never fails
It never gives up
It never runs out on me

Just as the love God has for us can never run out or give up, no matter how difficult we may make it, He still loves us. I know that love. As a parent, we learn to give that kind of love, even when we're disappointed, frustrated, embarrassed. You learn to love the small things more than you ever thought you could. Nothing is wasted. Every moment counts. 

Any parent knows this is the place your patience is tested and tested over again. This is the place you breathe and pray. I don't have all the answers. But I'm not giving up.