My photo
We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts from an Airplane

It is good to back far enough away from home that when I look at its framework, the crumbs under the kitchen cabinets, grading still to do, and projects lying unfinished aren't what I immediately see.  For a person who spends most of her time in the thick of cleaning, cooking, educating, encouraging, and playing (not always in that order) in a confined space, the lines made straight and smudges made smooth by distance are pleasing to this personality.  It is a gathering place for the people I love and it cradles us just right.  It is a place of peace, comfort, and blessing that meets so many functional, human needs.

It is good to miss my husband and children in a way that the very thought of the smell of their freshly, washed hair and adoring glances moves me to tears.  I miss the stream of never-ending conversation Micah and I share every day.  I miss the small ways the children develop before my eyes.  To feel their weight shift and strength grow when I pick them up or hold them tight.  The distance takes the drama out of the meltdowns and sweetens the embraces.

It is good for me to get away and see that I exist apart from bills, schedules, menus, and messes.  That while I have many titles, Daughter of The King is my first and is the most astounding.  To remember to marvel at the love I have been shown.  To continue to experience love going before me, holding me up, and following me around.

It is good to see the land change from time zone to city, ocean view to ascending~descending slope.  It deepens my understanding of the Creator and broadens my awareness of His self-revelation through the displays of artwork He displays across country.  His capacity to show who He is through the creation is extraordinary.

It is good to think of friends and family dispersed in areas below.  To remember when... and miss them.

It is good to be alone.  To quietly move and hear breath enter my lungs and feel my heart beat, steadily changing with the rhythm of activity.  To have a moment to remember the gift of living.  To meditate and reflect, repent and praise in the stillness of an out-of-the-ordinary day.  To have the space to struggle, mourn, and weep in the depths of a soul still learning.  To be surprised again by joy.

To spend time with a sister with whom I spent my most formative, unencumbered years and am still getting to know in adulthood.  To play and laugh as we used to, this time with developed ability and vehicular convenience all along the west coast.  To not have to give any background or details but simply move forward.

One of Many Sister-Selfies
It is good to converse with strangers and listen to their stories.  As our roads parallel for a few minutes, give thought to the matters close to them.  To hear with my own ears what is most dear to me spill out before them in vulnerability.  To know that Jesus, who is my hope, has the ability to save to the uttermost anyone who hears Him--- even through my stammering speech.

It is good to remember that I don't hold all things together in my presence or absence.  I find myself thanking God for the gift of being near to those I love dearly.  To have hands that serve them, however imperfectly.  To admit they are cared for and loved more than I am capable.  To be glad I can return home to be a part of that caring and loving today.

It is especially good to be reminded that while so much is good, it isn't the good I do or don't do, forget or remember that gives me life.  It is the Perfect Good of a Perfect Life always seeking and seeing the good ~ and in Him, I live, move, and have my being. And that is very good.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Andrew's 10th Birthday

January 12, 2004, I entered my OB office, waited for 30 minutes, was finally seen by my doc who sent me directly to labor and delivery where Andrew Micah Childs was born just two hours later.  This boy--- pre-teen!!!--- has been surprising me ever since. Every person in our home is blessed to share his company.

Last year, we celebrated with a birthday party, Check-E-Cheese style.  Just a few days later, the babies ended up in the hospital with RSV.  Knowing that there are so many illnesses going around and that a 10th birthday is a special kind of deal, we decided to celebrate with a steak dinner (at the request of the birthday boy) and then, atop the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO.

The drive west from Louisville was... well...  let's just say it encouraged the city girl in me.  St. Louis, at the other end of the stretch of interstate, was a fantastic city to visit.

With three toddling babies, we do less traveling than we used to.  But this trip was great and easier than expected (whew!).  There have been new challenges when booking a hotel due to the fact that we have to have room for three pack-and-plays and four bed-sleepers.  The hotel I found online was within walking distance of the Arch and had reasonably priced suites with plenty of room for everyone.  There was also a wonderful breakfast buffet that was included with the room price.  That combined with a 2:00 p.m. checkout time made this a place we would stay again.

The evening of our arrival, we went to dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse, Andrew's favorite place to eat.  We found one outside the city and arrived early.  There was a mishap in the wait time estimation and after waiting, waiting, and more waiting, Micah and I began making a plan B.  He very kindly communicated our intent to make an alternative dining plan with the hostess.  He is very sympathetic to those in the restaurant business and he is always kind and effectively diplomatic to staff with the children and me as his priority.  However, when the manager was alerted, he intervened and went above and beyond to make amends for their mistake.  I mean, way beyond.  What started out to be a challenge and disappointment became a blessing that neither Micah, me, or Andrew (for that matter) will soon forget.  God used these circumstances to bless us all and remind us that He is above all and seeks to provide for us in unexpected ways.

Andrew and Loads of Chocolate~  What a way to celebrate!

The next morning, on Andrew's actual birthday, we ascended the Arch.  Some of us conquered fears of enclosed spaces and others of heights, but the trip up the 630 ft. incline was worth it.

At the Top of the Arch
The Underground Museum

Micah and I are so thankful for Andrew and the ten years we have shared with him.  Andrew trusts  in Jesus and is beginning to live a life of repentance and belief, to our joy.  As I walk along side him, pointing him beyond me, beyond this life, to Love that never fails, these are words I want to ring in his ears:

So keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you'll find your way
Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on boy, whatever you do
To the hope that's taken hold of you
And you'll find your way
You'll find your way
If love is what you're looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you'll find your way
You'll find your way
Back home
Andrew Peterson, "You'll Find Your Way"

It is humbling when a child becomes a brother.  We pray for many more years with Andrew, as God weaves him into His story.