Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Broken

There are precious moments when my sweet seven year old comes up to me and hugs me and looks up at me with his deep brown eyes and says, "I love you mama." He then, already grasping around my belly, spoke directly to his sister and shared the same sentiment, "I love you, Violet." Those are the moments I cherish, the moments I cling to. The moments that make parenting worthwhile and remind us that what we're doing is rewarding. That was this morning.

It's not a secret, and this is certainly not a complaint, but Eli can be a challenging child. By far not the most challenging, and I count my many blessings knowing I was hand selected to be his mom.

This evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal where this usually hyperactive child of mine demonstrated just how obedient and well mannered he could be. It was a scene to make any mother proud and no doubt I must have been beaming at the sight of my angelic son. We decided to stop in a gift shop that was just down from the restaurant and I gave my well behaved son $2 to spend. He immediately found a basket full of trinkets, $1.99, and now he had to decide. My son is a hoarder, a collector of all things junk so this was like finding a treasure chest at the end of a rainbow where he could pick a pet made from seashells. 
This is the turtle he chose. Only this one was broken. He had only 3 shell legs instead of 4 and the glue was exposed on top where it used to be connected to a now missing hat. I pulled several other complete turtle shell pets out of the basket trying to convince him another one was what we needed. He was determined. Strong willed, yes, but with deep conviction he would not be convinced.

"No, mom, I promised this guy I would take him home."

"But son, he's broken," I reasoned.

"But I can't leave him behind. This is the one I want."

The clerk realized the obvious predicament and even opened a new box to reveal more shiny, unbroken, in-tact turtle shell pets. My son was not going to be convinced. We were now experiencing a full blown meltdown with me arguing and him crying in the floor. (Thank goodness we're on vacation and no one knows us here.) 

We walked out of the store, he with the broken turtle and me with a broken spirit. I was exasperated at his determination and confused in this moment of parenting about whether I should have stuck to my guns and remained firm to get MY way or let him keep his broken and incomplete pet. The clerk realized my predicament and had pity, handing one of the new and complete shell pets to my mom. I showed it to Eli and explained the man wanted him to have a complete one. His answer to me was simple but profound. 

"He's cute too...but not as cute as the one I picked." 

I asked him later why he wanted that turtle so much and he explained, "Because mama, I chose him and I promised him I would pick him. He was the only one without a hat and no other kid would have gotten him that way." My son doesn't usually fit into the "mold" and rarely is he the model kid while dining out but how could I deny that after both experiences this evening what makes me the proudest is knowing how he sees the world. 

In his mind that broken little turtle shell pet was beautiful. And even as I type I cannot contain the tears at how this simple yet challenging moment has so challenged me. Catching a glimpse of beauty through his eyes and realizing that Father God must look upon our brokenness and see the same. 

Here they are. Both turtle pets, one broken and one complete. I'm kind of fond of the 3-legged guy myself! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Claim Your Prize

I heard an interesting story in the news today. Today is the day. It's the final deadline for one person to come forward. New York authorities are looking for the person who purchased a lottery ticket that happens to be a winner. The prize? A mere $7 million. For almost a year this ticket holder has gone completly unaware of his or her winnings. And now the day has come when, if he or she doesn't step forward, there won't be any prize to claim. The ticket will be null and void. 

Something that seems worthless, a little piece of paper, holds value beyond what most of us will ever have to claim. What now holds such high value is still worthless considering it may go completely unnoticed and without ever being cashed in. Who knows where this ticket holder is, let alone the actual winning ticket. Without it being turned in, without this person coming forward, the prize will go unclaimed. The winnings will be worthless. The opportunity may truly never come again. 

And yet, you know it, there's a lesson here. An incomparable prize that is ours to claim, and yet we so often let it go unnoticed and untouched. We ignore it, seemingly unaware, and often we completely miss the opportunity. 

The thing about our own "prize" to claim is we don't know when the deadline will be... For the average person, we don't know our final day on earth. We cannot usually predict our death or know the final hour, but we can make each hour and day count by claiming this gift NOW.

The gift of course is eternal salvation, the opportunity to know Christ as our Savior, to be able to claim Him as Lord and to be redeemed as His child. Please understand - this prize is everyone's to claim. You don't have to have a winning lottery ticket - the price was paid with Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The gift of eternal life is free for you and for me, it simply must be accepted. It's not enough to claim you know Him. You must accept Him, His redemption of your sin, and exchange your own worthless dirty rags for His righteousness and eternal security. 

The price to you is free. The prize to you is eternal. Eternal life. Not here on earth, but eternity in heaven with Him. The deadline may not be today - but why wait? Why risk the chance of your gift going unclaimed, unused, your life unredeemed? Today is the day to claim Him as your Lord and Savior, to redeem the gift of eternal life that has been gifted to you, and to allow Him to redeem your life. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Violet Hope


We knew what her name would be even before we truly knew of her. Somehow it just clicked. Blame it on my undying love of purple and the anthem to royalty this princess should be...but Michael was emphatically in love with it just as much as I was and so we had decided: if we have a girl, her name will be Violet.

This wasn't a situation where we would have to wait and see her for the first time. We just KNEW. This was also one of the reasons I was certain I was carrying a boy. We had so wholeheartedly agreed on a girl's name but couldn't be so certain with a boy's name. I felt for this reason it just seemed too perfect...it just fit together so nicely and seemed, quite frankly, too good to be true.

From the time I learned of our first pregnancy in the fall, the Lord kept impressing upon me the word "Hope." It has such deep biblical meaning and it resonated with me throughout our loss. Everywhere I turned, He would encourage me with scriptures filled with messages of hope. I had the word inscribed on a piece of rice (yes, you read this correctly) and placed inside a purple keychain that has hung from my rearview mirror since October. It became more than just hope deferred or something to hope for, rather it became my anthem.

"And now, O Lord, what do I hope for? My hope is in You!" 
Psalm 39:7

"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him."
Psalm 62:5

I could go on and on, but this journey has become about about finding rest, security and comfort in God alone. It's taken me down the familiar path of whether or not I would trust Him. Whether or not I would wait on Him and how my heart would respond in the process. Would I worry, fear, become anxious, ungrateful or desperate, or would I seek Him, rest, rejoice and praise? I cannot say I've always responded appropriately, but I can say that God has always graciously waited for my heart to turn to Him.

So it simply could not be perfect, but it is simply God's glorious plan. His desire to delight in His wayward children and to abundantly bless. His mercy and goodness to pour out hope and life while answering prayers. His glory being revealed to us in human form. 

And so she shall be called Violet Hope Wright. We've felt her move and kick and we've seen glimpses of her on ultra sound. For now, I continue to be but a vessel where He can move and work and masterfully create our darling daughter. Even before we get to hold you, Violet, we're falling in love with you more each day. 

Today we share her name with you so that you may also join with us in praying for her by name.