Dear Son, Today You’re One…

Last night, I started to remember the hours that led up to your sudden entrance into this world.  I pulled up the note that I still have on my phone where I documented every hour that I was feeling what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Looking back, I should have realized I was in preterm labor.  But in the hazy fog of pain, my brain just couldn’t even fathom the idea that you would be born at 29 weeks.  So early…too soon.

Every time I drive past the hospital where you were born, I remember your dad speeding down the highway at 3:30am…and that’s when I realized you were coming.  November 20th would be your birthday.

I still remember the moment you were born and the nurses found your heartbeat.  You were alive.  All 2 lbs and 6 oz of you was alive and ready to fight for survival.

They asked us what your name would be.  Daddy and I looked at each other and we knew exactly who you were meant to be.  Josiah.  It was God’s promise to us – “Jehovah Has Healed.”

Those early weeks in the NICU were a blur.  Every day we stepped into your little hospital nursery we didn’t know if it would be a good day or a hard day.  We definitely had our fair share of both.

But eventually we fell into a rhythm in the NICU.  And your little corner of the hospital became mommy’s bittersweet sanctuary.  It was my season of sitting in the refiner’s fire.  It’s where I started to learn that sometimes we don’t know the answer to “why?”  But in that tension of what is and what truly is, that is often where we find the greatest treasure.

And then, after 9 weeks in the NICU, you finally came home!  And that’s when it really started. 🙂

Those newborn days of over-exhaustion and total inadequacy.  Of looking at myself in the mirror and realizing that motherhood simultaneously ruins you and rebirths you.

But also realizing that the whole “the days are long but the years are short” and “babies don’t keep” are all true.  One day, this would all be a thing of the past.  And it made me try harder to treasure each moment, to mentally capture exactly what I felt when you first laughed, to breathe in your scent after a nighttime bath.

We had our everyday days.  Days filled with playing outside and learning new things.  And we had our hard days.  Days in the hospital, surgery after surgery, realizing that this was also a part of our reality.

But looking at you now, all I see is a sweet, smiling miracle.

Son, your life is living proof that God is good.  Every breath you take and every ounce you gain is living proof that God loves to do the impossible.  Every moment you learn something new and every time you continue to defy the odds and medical expectations, you are living proof that God has the final word.

So, thank you son.  Thank you for coming into our lives and turning everything upside down.  Thank you for giving your daddy and me the greatest year of our lives yet.

And I pray for the day that you begin to realize all this for yourself.  That you ask us about the story of your birth and how you came to be.  That you start to understand that your name holds God’s promise for you.  That you can read this and know just how truly blessed you are and how much you have blessed so many just by being alive.

Above all else, on this first birthday, I want you to know that everything we have been through this last year we would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Every joy and every trial has been more than worth it to witness the living miracle that you are.

So happy birthday, my sweet, sweet son.  The best is yet to come.

Love,

Momma

P.S.  I’m still banking on you saying “mommy” first.

 

 

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Dear Little One…

You are 19 weeks old today!  I cannot believe it…we are almost halfway through this cohabitation thing we have going on here.  And in just a few days, we find out whether you’re a boy or a girl!  But before we find out, I wanted to write down a few thoughts I’ve had about you during the past few days.  As much as mommy and daddy are SUPER eager to find out, there’s something quietly sacred about you remaining something of a mystery to us…a little being that only God knows fully about. Read more…

Living According to the Implanted Word // The Book of James {Part Three}

There is something very powerful about the concept of being born-again.  Regenerated.  A new creation.  The old has gone, the new has come.

For a sinner like you and me, this is glorious news.  It’s hope at it’s finest.  It’s an invitation for redemption and relationship.

James 1:21 tells us that we must “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

The implanted word?

Just a few verses earlier, in verse 18, James reveals how God, “of His own will…brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.”

The implanted word is the word of truth…Scripture…the Living Word…Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3).  By Him and through the Word, God makes us new…brings us into the newness of life as one of His own children.

That very word is implanted within us, a seed of the spirit of God sown deep within us, growing and bursting forth into a new life. Read more…

Writing a Little Bit of Love Story Everyday

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It’s been a while.

It sounds like an excuse that we’ve all heard too many times, but yes, here I am saying it on behalf of our famiLee…it has been a really busy few months.

It was all to be expected.  We knew that when my husband moved into pursuing his M.Div. full-time and serving as a young adult pastor at a local church, things would change.  Routines would change, workloads would change, time spent together would change…

But sometimes you know something with your head, and you think you’re prepared for it with your heart…but you’re not.

Some time in March one of my dear college friends visited us here in Kansas City and gifted me this sweet devotional by Shauna Niequist.  A few days later, I opened up to March 29th, read the title at the top of the page – Love Story – and felt like Shauna was talking about me and my current state of heart…

Confession: when I’m stressed, the to-do list becomes king…but marriage isn’t about a well-executed to-do list…along the way, I’m learning that being connected in a deep way is so much more valuable than being well-organized, efficient, buttoned-up, and tidy.  I default to tidy when what my husband wants and needs more than anything is laughing, listening, and playing, being with instead of being efficient.  

Marriage isn’t a business, co-owned and managed.  It’s a love story.  The most important things we can give our marriage are time and romance, kissing and laughing.  Laundry can wait, but a love story needs to be written a little bit every day.

A love story needs to be written a little bit every day. Read more…

Count It All Joy // The Book of James {Part Two}

So, I’m going to be honest.

I really didn’t want to write this post.

You know when you read something in the Bible and it’s just too much to handle?  It’s just too much to face the reality that you don’t want to live by the truth of these words…that the Word of God really is a double-edge sword piercing through the joints and marrow and soul and heart of a person.  It’s irritating to know the truth and not live by it.

So you kind of just skim over those parts.  Push the dust-bunnies into the corners of the room (oh, you don’t do stuff like that??).  It’s like how I’ve always covered my eyes on any of the Jesus-being-crucified movie scenes from when I was a child (and yes, I still do it to this day).  I know it’s the truth, but it’s just too painful sometimes to come face to face with the gory, offensiveness of it all. Read more…

From Unbelieving Half-Brother to Bond-Servant // The Book of James {Part One}

I grew up in the church but didn’t really give my life to Jesus until the summer of 2007.  I was getting along just fine as a “Christian” – going to church, leading worship, and reading the Bible (anyone else do Awana?).  But I also got along just fine living the way I wanted.  As long as my “Christian world” didn’t intrude into my life and plans and what I thought was best, then all was well.

Until that fateful summer before my freshman year of college when the Lord in His great mercy revealed to me – Dear one…but you don’t really know me…

As I read Matthew 7:21-23, it was like I was reading the Word for the very first time…

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

I knew if I had died in that moment, I would have been one of those that would have said, “But God, did I not say I was a Christian?  Did I not lead worship at church?  Did I not…”  And yet the truth would have been revealed – but I did not know God…thus, I did not do His will in my life.

Everything changed after that day. Read more…

Birthday Questions

 

It was the spring of 2007, when I met her.  We were both high school seniors, eagerly anticipating the new season of life that would be college, adulthood, and freedom.  We were the only two declaring education as our major in our cohort of 40 students who had been invited to the university for a chance to interview for five full-tuition scholarships.  I didn’t land that scholarship.  But I gained something much more valuable.  We decided to be roommates after spending that week together, never realizing we would become lifelong friends.

This year will be nine years of celebrating birthdays together.  She created a tradition early on that would stick with us through all of our birthdays, whether we were physically together or not to celebrate them.  Each birthday, she would ask the first two questions to the birthday girl and the last question to our group of close friendsRead more…