Living Well

I pet the dog this morning and let him lick my chin. I did this as I sat on the deck, drinking coffee, listening to quiet strains of music, and contemplating the glory of God revealed in a cardinal. It is Monday.

My facade is falling. The masks are fading. I am learning to live from the core of who I am and have longed to be since I was a little girl.

I remember when Joe and Sam were born. Four and a half years apart. Both preemies. The weeks and months surrounding their births were full of crises on a level I'd never experienced and had fearfully prayed I never would. There were hospitalizations, neonatal intensive care units, needles, lines, words I'd never heard before . . and a peace and intimacy that took me totally by surprise. During that time I walked nearer to God, or He walked nearer to me, than I ever thought was possible. The Holy Spirit spoke to me continuously, through every means, assuring me of His love, presence, and care.

It was not a "Pollyana-ish", manufactured, everything will be alright, fake faith. But a solid rock surety of God's sovereignty no matter what the outcome. Even death. Easy to say, I know. But that's what we were facing. Both of the boys were born with e. coli in their blood. Everyday I woke to the real and present possibility of death or resulting blindness, mental retardation, or other disabling condition. And everyday I would lay my little "Isaacs" on the altar and trust my Father's will even as I begged for their healing and lives.

There were tears, fears, and doubts. But when my memory takes me back to those times, the emotions that pervade, like the scents of a beloved holiday, are peace and intimacy and love.

The boys both recovered completely. At twelve and seven, they are a testimony to God's power and grace. In the days and months following their recoveries, I would often remember the way God walked so close and long for that closeness again. Just without the crises. I lived those days in utter dependence on Him, seeking Him before all else and in constant awareness of His strength and my need. I have often prayed asking Him to show me the way to that place again.

And He has answered. The years between have had their trials. None so acute, but some more prolonged and trying. Through the steep mountains, when I felt so weary I could hardly take another step; the thick forests, where I was sure I was lost beyond finding; and the storms I just knew would be the end of me, I have sought Him. And He has always met me. Although, many times I swore I journeyed alone. Why else would I find myself in such dire places? Looking back I see that was part of His design. The desperation revealed by the trials has taught me a lesson only time could make sure and certain.

I am utterly dependent on Him. In the ICU and in my kitchen. When I'm holding a 3 1/2 pound infant, feeding him mother's milk through a tube in his nose and when I'm crying on the floor over a rebellious teen and his flawed beyond belief mother. Whether I face circumstances beyond my control or the sour fruit of my own sin. My need is as incomprehensible as His strength is great.

This is true. This is gospel. This is good.

This is the place I've longed for. This is where I find Him in all the peace, love, closeness, intimacy my heart hungers for. This is where I hear Him shout in the beauty of a cardinal's color, the sound of a child's voice, the taste of my cooling coffee . . everywhere!

This is where I live.

And this is where I give thanks . .

76. prayer answered
77. peace in chaos
78. sweet daughter who made dinner
79. love that covers
80. breezes, bench, a lake, and my beau
81. cardinals and coffee
82. fresh paint!
83. great conversation w/Josh on the way back to school
84. meeting new roommates
85. beach and good friends
86. dinner and good friends