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I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The last three Christmas holidays have been very difficult for our family. It seems weird to sit on the other end of heartbreak and yet it is still so near and the scars that have not healed nor will they ever heal while we are on this earth.

We lost our first child at 14 weeks in 2009 right before the holiday season. We struggled and fought and cried the next two Christmases over more loss and more expectations. Last year I may have been bat shit crazy (hmmmm I wonder if bat shit is one word?). As I sit on the other end of pain I still long for something more…not another child (although honestly I want all the babies in this world)…but a different life where there is no pain…there is no loss, yet I know sitting in that loss is the closest I will come to the one who brings that healing. Does that make any sense? Does that bittersweet reality ring true with anyone else? While I dread the pain and the heartache I know that is where I find my Love and my Hope. I know Jesus is in the pain. I always know that is where I can find Him.

I know Jesus carried my faith and my life and my hope during some very dark days and while I don’t long for that pain I long for Jesus. I long for that quiet voice to remind me “Do no fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mind. For I am the Lord your God. I am the Holy One of Isreal. Your Savior.” Because our redemption is what I try to celebrate because that redemption is there through miscarriage, loss and beating your hands against the floor pain.

I don’t have wise words. I sat through some pain but know if you are broken and don’t want to celebrate – I get that. I think I stopped going to church because I would literally leave weeping almost every week…I get that. Get some freaking eggnog and rum and watch Clark Griswold. I have been there. I have put up a Christmas tree unwillingly with less stockings on the mantel than I was hoping. I have felt like Micah as he screamed these words to convince himself :

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the Lord’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame…” Micah 7: 8-10

Hopefully I haven’t been too depressing but I just know that this world is not the only thing to hope for. This season is not about this weird happy snow filled days and presents and happy families and whatever else our stupid world is teaching us…it is about the God who came to redeem us. We were meant to live for so much more…is it cheesy that I just quoted Switchfoot? Dang it.

I love Sandra McCracken. I feel like her songs spoke to my broken heart. So here’s a song I listened to on repeat and still do:

Sweet Sorrow – Below is from her website as she describes this song

The themes in this lyric are pulled directly from a study of the book of Judges. Reading about the plight of the Israelites, I see myself more clearly. They served God happily for a while, then forgot him, then fell into the hands of their captors, then asked God to rescue them, and then the cycle starts all over again. Serve. Forget. Repent. Grace. Serve. Forget. Repent. Grace. I continue to learn that the Bible is not a series of stories about heroes like David and Abraham, and Moses who we aspire to be like. It is a meta-narrative of failing, imperfect men and women in a broken family together, pointing to one hero, Jesus Christ. -http://www.newoldhymns.com/in-feast-or-fallow/sweet-sorrow/

1. Oh sweet sorrow, on the heels of my reckless soul

Oh sweet sorrow,

Flooding all around me now, red sea rising to my shoulders

Where we walked across dry land—so long ago.

2. Oh sweet mercy, your love letter it bleeds my pride.

Oh sweet mercy,

Now I’ve sold all you gave, other lovers could not save me

But you are kind and strong and will not leave me to die.

3. Oh sweet redemption

Smell the burning incense fire

Oh sweet redemption

Least of these, a chosen few, raise the mighty from the fool

Your ways are not like mine—they are much higher.

__________________

If you are struggling this year here are some blogs that remind me that other people have been there too. I don’t claim to understand grief but I have been there a little and will fight with you. There are still things I just don’t quite understand that I am reminded of during the holiday season.

 

I am reading a few things these days that range from infant block books to real books. I seem to go through seasons of reading and also seasons of just not wanting  to look at a book. I remember this time last year I was reading a lot of historical/regional fiction that was very sad like Sarah’s Key, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Kind of felt like jumping off a building after reading all those back to back. I think every night for weeks I would fall asleep weeping. Seriously, I wanted to move to Afghanistan and fight for women’s rights after the last two books.

I now seem to be in a non-fiction/Christian book phase. I think I am ready for something lighter. Harry Potter may be next. Any suggestions? I have tried the first Harry Potter and it wasn’t my cup-o-tea but maybe I need to power through it.

ANYWAY, here are a few books I have been reading in the measly spare minutes I have before I go to sleep.

Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God – Noel Piper

I have enjoyed this book because Noel doesn’t write about these fabulous women who everyone knows about who have done these super famous things (I am not sure if that is a real sentence). While they are fabulous women they are quietly fabulous. They do things the hard way and continue to be faithful. They are women who have changed cultures one difficult relationship at a time. And isn’t Noel a wonderful name. I want a baby girl on Christmas and to name her Noel. Please.

Prodigal God – Timothy Keller

I felt like a dirt bag after reading this book. Just kidding…kind of. Maybe anything Christian makes me feel like crapola because I am a big ol’ crap bag in general. Keller walks through the Biblical story of Prodigal Son and the elder brother. He discusses many things that were happening during that time in history and why Jesus uses the words and metaphors he uses. It was also a pretty short book…bonus for my old woman brain and my ten minutes of reading time in the evening.

A Mother for Choco – Keiko Kasza

Sigh. I love this book. E and I read this every night. I like reading E a story instead of just random images on a page…I get bored with random images with a label below it. I must be entertained too. Also, while I am all about reading an adoption book to my kid sometimes they are a little heavy – this isn’t necessarily an adoption book just adoption friendly. I love that it reinforces that not everyone looks like their parents. Although a few nights ago we went to dinner with friends and someone came up to us and told us that E looks just like his daddy. That always makes me laugh a little. And seriously what is it with random old ladies wanting to touch babies at restaurants. Step off bia – you gots germy hands.

Snuggle Puppy – Sandra Boyton

This is super cheesy but so cute. Sandra Boyton may be on crack because her books are so random but this is a cute one. It is a little song. I can picture as E gets older he sings with me.

My Many Colored Days – Dr. Seuss

This one is sort of emo but also rhymes so we all win. I am all about a Dr. Seuss book.

Those are just a few of the books I am reading. Take it or leave it.