Monday, June 28, 2010

Painful Repetition

About two weeks ago my lovely middle daughter, Miriam, fell from a table and landed square on her chin. Yes, that landed us into a lovely room--without a view--in our local emergency room. But it did have a nice privacy curtain and antiseptic smell. The itinerary for such grand accomodations? Five stitches. Hardwood floors are extremely unforgiving, folks. What began as a football-shaped gash turned into what looked more like the laces on a football, rather than the ball itself. Which was a nice change in appearance.

The thing was, we had just been through this type of situation a little more than a month ago with our youngest daughter, Rebekah... A piggybank attacked her forehead and won. She received three stitches, just in her hairline. What I realized through all of this was that even though the head injury was a lot more gruesome--it looked like a bloodbath because of the nature of head injuries--I had a much harder time with the chin injury. Of course I knew why.
Our darling Miriam had a much more serious trauma when she was just 12 months old. Boiling Chicken Soup fell onto her face, neck, chest, and down her left arm, inflicting 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 8% of her body. We immediately flew into emergency mode, seated up the older and younger, and just about willed wings onto our car to get us to the ER. I’ve never seen my husband break more road laws.
This trauma lasted 4 days in the burn unit of Children’s Hospital, and another 14 months of treatments, doctor’s visits, and therapies. I personally had to administer her treatments of scrubbing burned tissue daily, fitting therapy suits onto her 23 hours a day, and driving into Detroit more times than I cared to for evaluations. Of course I had the help of my hubby and amazing friends... I couldn’t have done it without them. But I was the one who had the training to administer these tedious and painful treatments. And every day I got to work on my daughter, knowing that it was for her good, but also knowing that I was causing her physical pain. Hmmm...
So, back to the present event. I couldn’t even look at anything the doctors/assistants/nurses were doing to her for this chin split--which was actually on scar tissue from her aforementioned burn. I felt queasy. I felt woozy. I felt like blacking out at any moment. I realized that all these feelings and emotions were erupting out of a very quiet and hidden place in me. It hurt like nothing else to see my daughter injured again... in the same place. I didn’t like it. It hurt me.
Today as I sat pondering all this, I actually realized something. Through these events, I have learned a bit of what God goes through when we, as His kids, injure ourselves repeatedly. The fact that I had been down this road with her before really speaks volumes of repeat offenses. I couldn’t take it. It hurt me so much to know that she had re-injured her chin. That we were in need of medical treatment again. And that I would have to change the dressing daily until the stitches were to come out.
It pains our Father to administer the treatments that are for our own good. But He does it faithfully, because He knows if he doesn’t, even worse things will happen. Knobbly scar tissue, atrophied muscles, infection, death. These are the things He doesn’t want to see happen to His children. Don’t run away when He is administering your treatments. Just lean deeper into Him during those times. Let His love comfort you. Let it be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

beauty is in the eye...

There are these ornamental perennial grasses taking up residence in our front yard. They are really pretty. For about one week. Then they decide to go immediately to seed and become these fringy-weedy-looking things, and to me, not at all easy on the eyes. They actually make me think of abandoned houses, empty lots and blowing litter. The other problem with them is that each year, without permission from the homeowners, they decide to expand their living space. Each year the secretary spread grows more and more. 

This year I said to my beloved that I was ready to tear these grasses up. They were doing no good for the aesthetics of the front garden, and I wanted to put something more beautiful there. He was more than okay with this issue, so I set my mind to thinking and figuring just how and when such a task could be accomplished.

In what was literally a few days' time, we made a discovery. Nick and I were heading out for the evening when a rabbit jumped from out of one of these massive tufts of grass. What she left behind was amazing. Seven babies. She had made a perfect nest in this seeming atrocity! After capturing a few good shots with our camera of said babies, we sat in the car, en route to our destination. "Looks like we're not tearing those grasses out," was the only thing said for quite some time.

So here it comes. The point to my telling this story... God began speaking to me about what is lovely, what is truly lovely. He reminded me of how when I gave my life to Him, my life was actually HIS. It's not like I invited Jesus in to become my houseguest. He owns everything that I once considered mine. It's His choice if he wants to redecorate, and it's up to me whether I allow Him to help me see the beauty in His choices, or sit there and complain every step along the way. 

The unlovely. Those darned ornamental grasses. The people shunned by the rest of the world that Jesus gave the time of day to. These all have something in common: these are the places where LIFE can begin. If we uproot them from our lives and cast them aside, we will never be able to foster new life, as we are called to do. If we only ever surround ourselves by things labeled "beautiful" by the world's standards, we will never see the amazing transformation that can come through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. 

Mark 2:16-17 says, 
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus placed a seed in this once unlovely heart and when it grew, something lovely came from it. A soul reborn into eternity. How I long to see true beauty in all things. How I long to see through God's eyes and not my own anymore. "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it..." (Jesus in Luke 19:41).  Oh that we would all begin to see through His eyes...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, I woke up to a beautiful morning, full of anticipation, excitement and wonder. And also the most amazing gift a friend could give: a one hour massage before our wedding. My beloved’s massage followed, while others snuck us around, so we didn’t see each other before the big moment. It was fun to adhere to that tradition, because truly, I don’t believe in bad luck, but I did only want him to see me that day when I was at the height of my visual appeal: hair and makeup done, dress so beautifully encompassing me with it’s satiny material and silver thread, even a tiara in place to remind him of the princess of the King that he was marrying. It was a great morning.
Ten years ago today, I sat in a dressing room in a lovely church--the same church that my own parents stood in to give their own vows, now 36 years ago, pledging their love and devotion to one another. My sister was my matron of honor, and she helped me to place the garter that would somehow makes its way to Steve’s hand during the reception, and then onto Lynnette’s leg. Fun times. She kissed me--a sort of farewell kiss as her baby sister, and a welcome-to-the-world-of-marriage kiss all wrapped into one gesture. 
Ten years ago today, I paced at the back of the church, waiting for the music to start. “Canon in D” and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” were the selections our dear friend was to play at the piano. The numerous bridesmaids were to process down the cala-adorned aisle and up to the front of the sanctuary, which was filled not only with candles, flowers, and greenery of every sort, but also with our families, friends and loved ones--all of them sitting there that day to witness our union, our own vows and pledges, and our first kiss as man and wife.
Ten years ago today I watched as my bridesmaids, matron of honor and flower girl all took their first few steps down the long aisle, and as they passed, my heart began to flutter like the butterflies’ wings did as we released them into the open air later that afternoon. My breath was deep as the first of several tears began to sting my eyes. I took my daddy’s arm and he turned me to face that gorgeous aisle. It was gorgeous not because of the lovely calas expertly placed on either side, or the candles burning in their abras above the calas. It was gorgeous because it was the path to my love, My Sweet One. He was waiting there, at the end--or rather, the beginning--for me to join him there and for the rest of our lives.
Ten years ago today I walked down that oh, so very long aisle; with every step, telling myself to calm down, to breathe, to stop the tears that were involuntarily inviting themselves to this wedding, and most of all--not to trip. My dad grasped my arm tightly, as it was the last time he would have me solely as his daughter. Now I would belong to another. Another man, another family, and sometime in that near future, my own children. He was truly giving me away, yet we both knew he would always have a certain part of my heart as my daddy that no one else could find. It was hidden within his own heart.
Ten years ago today I looked upon the most handsome and loving man I could have set my eyes upon. My Nicolas Lee Lamoreaux. He stood there in his black tux with pewter-patterned vest and Doc Martin-style shoes that I pleaded for him to have, and as usual, he complied. Not because he is a push-over, but because he knew it would please me, his bride. He stood there nervously, ready to take my hand, but until that moment when the pastor said to do so, he was content to take me in as the picture of the emotional and beautiful bride that I was at that moment... still daddy’s girl, holding on tightly, until that moment when I would grasp his hand, never to let it go, and begin the most amazing adventure of a lifetime.
Ten years ago today I stood in front of our dear friend and reverend, C. Ray Roach, and having just kissed my daddy farewell, I joined My Sweet One to become one. We listened to my new Father-in-Law sing a song just for us, and wondered exactly how he made it through so wonderfully, as I know there was a lump in his throat for at least a part of the song. We exchanged vows--me through tears, and him through emotions that helped him to stumble over a certain word. It was okay. It was raw. It was emotional. Mostly, though, it was true and permanent. More music--from wonderful friends, and we were pronounced man and wife.
Ten years ago today I kissed my husband for the first time. Sure, I had kissed my boyfriend, and then my fiancé, but never had I kissed my husband. And somehow it was different than before. Somehow it meant more than any other kiss had ever meant. It felt better than any other kiss had ever felt. It was the kiss that was sealing this union, in front of all these witnesses. And it was breathtaking. So much so that we decided to do it again after we had walked back down the aisle as husband and wife. The look of surprise on our best man and matron of honor--your best friend, Kendon, and my sister, Tiffany, was priceless. And we have the picture to prove it.
Ten years ago today I knealt with my brand new husband and prayed our very first prayer together as one flesh. More music, of course, as we just can’t seem to get enough of good music, and it also gave us more time to gaze into each others’ eyes and notice a few things: we noticed how we both had eyes that were freshly bathed in tears, but were also full of anticipation of things to come. I noticed how much love and devotion were in the eyes of my beloved’s. I hoped he noticed the same in mine. I saw hopes and dreams, happiness and defeat, children, laughter, tears. All in a moment, knealing before our Lord, asking Him for His hand of guidance to be upon us forever.
Ten years ago today I danced with my husband. Micheal W. Smith’s “You Are the Love of My Life” was the song, and our wedding party joined us. The music was beautiful. You were very, very tall. Even with my heels. It was okay, though, because all that mattered was that we were now one. It doesn’t matter the differences that we have, or the great things we share in common. What does matter is that we are one, and therefore every similarity and difference has been joined into one beautiful new creation: us. I thank God for every moment since that enormous day ten years ago, and these were just a tiny sampling of what that day held for us. 
So many memories from just 24 hours. It makes me remember all over again, just how God’s hand was upon us, and has truly never left--even when we made wrong choices. He has kept us safe, He has kept us together. There is such a great purpose in our marriage, my love. And I am so grateful to you for giving me this amazing life. Our three princesses, a new home--be it far away from all we once knew, I still adore it because I am here with you--in America’s Dairyland, freedom in doing what we both know God has called us into, support for my meltdowns... For better or worse... In sickness and in health... Till death parts us... My love, My Sweet One, Mr. Comfortable, Nicolas Lee Lamoreaux, I am yours and yours alone. I am eternally grateful for every moment. I pray for each moment to come. And I can’t wait to grow old with you, to see our own children experience these things, to see our grandchildren, and whatever else God has in store for us. I love you. Happy Anniversary.