I woke up this morning filled with a peaceful expectancy.
An e-mail from a friend of the heart filled me with peace and joy. What she had to say was just perfect.
Now I feel a further sense of freedom and comfort. If you are still reading my blog, I'm going to guess that it's because I talk about Jesus.
So talk about Him I will.
On Christmas day, I learned that my sister in law is pregnant with her third child.
When I heard this, I felt numb. I felt a false and empty smile linger on my face. I moved around the room mechanically, not really seeing anything in front of me.
Keith and I were very quiet as we drove back to his father's house, for Christmas festivities there.
I dreaded it. Between the two families, with my infant nephew, two little nieces and now the new baby on the way, there would naturally be a great deal of baby talk. There would be talk of labor and which car seats are best and feeding schedules.
That is all a foreign language to me. I have nothing whatsoever to add to such conversations.
Since it was no secret that this third pregnancy wasn't planned, and as we are talking about the Indiana boys here, there would be countless jokes about the inefficiency -or completely lack of- birth control.
This is, of course, worse than ironic for Keith and I. We would end up standing on the outskirts of the laughing group, holding our drinks, with the looks on our faces something between bewilderment and pain.
"Wouldn't it be great if they had a little boy this time?" I asked Keith, my voice small and hopeful.
"That would be," he said, heartily- I heard the effort behind it.
When we pulled up in the driveway, I went straight upstairs, grateful that we had a guestroom. I had put off wrapping the presents until the very last minute, so I busied myself with that task in the quiet room.
I felt my peace returning to me as I tucked and taped and tagged. When I was done, I stood with an armful of gifts and made my way out to the landing.
Happy voices drifted up from downstairs. The front door and windows were swagged with greenery; it was looped all down the stair rail, entwined with white lights.
I paused there for a moment. As I had for the entire visit, I felt the close and loving presence of Jesus. For the first time since hearing the announcement, I felt up to talking with Him about it.
"Why?" I asked Jesus quietly. "Why are You making me a barren woman?"
"You have Me in abundance; all through your heart and in your life," Jesus replied.
At His words, joy flared up in my spirit; joy leaped up like a flame. I knew His words to be so true and I remembered how deeply I cherished His presence. My joy at remembering this consumed all my sorrow and regret.
"You, You, You!" I cried with joyful abandon. "I choose You, every time, over every thing. Let my life be what it must and let me have You. So be it."
I went down the stairs with a light heart and put the packages down. Then I took my little nephew and cuddled him in my arms. He had that little baby smell- warm and clean and fuzzy headed.
He's an adorable little boy, but he was suffering from a raspy cough. He curled up on my chest and tried to sleep, but his cough kept troubling him.
It hurt to watch- so young and helpless and innocent, and already caught up in the suffering of life. I reached out to Jesus and I felt His presence surround me. I felt Him put His arms around the little boy and I. We were rocked in the arms of Jesus, filled with peace and love like a sweet, heavy balm.
And I knew then that the little boy was not suffering alone; Jesus was in it with Him, suffering right alongside of him. No matter what happened in his life, Jesus would be with him, just as He is with all of us.
It dawned on me, in a new way, that Jesus Himself had been born human- had allowed Himself to be as helpless and humble as the infant in my arms. It was so huge and so astonishing that I could scarcely wrap my mind around it.
I think there can be no greater love or courage or humility than His. No wonder His Father loves and delights in Him so.
It turned out to be the best Christmas Keith and I have had with his family. There was so much laughter and peace and just this feeling of warm ease.
Now I have to wrap this up so I can switch to working on Torii. I'm determined this year to have it complete and polished, even if I have no idea how or when it will ever be published.
That story holds my heart and soul, I tell you what.