Monday, May 20, 2013

miracle years

by Alanna

Dear little one,
today is your birthday.
this year my hopes for you were more than wishes
because i am certain that you are being loved
and that your birthday was celebrated
and that you were tucked in to sleep by loving hands.
on your half of the world, by now you will be sleeping.
on my half of the world, it's raining cold
and my heart hurts 
because it still longs to be with you
i dumped coins into a machine at the bank
took notes on teaching techniques as i prepare to move far away from here
and all the while i wondered 
what am i doing so far away from you?
i wanted to be with you today, like every day before
but most of all i want you to know that
you are treasured and dearly loved.
this day marks the miracle of 4 years of your life. 
God has done good things in all of them.
today my heart aches for you, but I am thankful
for the precious gift you are
happy birthday little one
i love you with all my heart

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Gift of Singleness"

By Mary

I don't know why exactly it's been in my mind so much, this phrase so popular in Christianized circles, "the gift of singleness".

I think it came from 1st Corinthians 7, when Paul talks about marriage and staying single and says "I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another."

What's funny to me when I hear people talk about it is that they usually view it as a state of mind. Like if you're perfectly content without any romantic attachments, no plans or intense desires to get married, or if your life goals and ambitions might make getting hitched particularly difficult, than you my friend have the gift of singleness.

I guess I just see singleness as a state of being. Either you're single or you're not. And the thing is, if you are, it's a gift. You have the gift of singleness. Even if you don't always and even if you'd kind of like a different gift now, thank you.

I think I got on this train of thought because I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. It's easy for me sometimes to forget the loneliness of my heart before I had my man...easy to think how simple it was to mostly just have myself to consult in decision making and preferences of lifestyle and a million other random things. It's especially easy in the moments when my heart feels so lonely sitting right next to the person I married. It takes a little reminding that my marriage just as it is--crazy and faulty and beautiful and growing--is a gift. It's what I have from God right at this moment, to be appreciated, enjoyed, and to make the most of it.

I hope that's what we all try to do with our gifts--whatever they are and for however long we get to have them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

new and beautiful things

by Alanna

  It's the eve of Mother's Day, 
and I'm rejoicing tonight 
because God is doing beautiful things. 

My first nephew was born last Friday night, 
a living, breathing little person, 
with brand new soft skin and eyes wide open. 
It's my sister-in-law's first Mother's Day as a mom.
They've been given such a precious gift
and watching them love him is incredible. 

My cousins have also been given a gift- 
a little girl growing inside, due to arrive this summer. 
They were separated from their first children. 
This Mother's Day, there will be not only hurt but also a reason to rejoice. 

My dear friend lost her first son in Africa. 
He is now in the arms of His Father, 
but every Mother's Day 
has been a reminder of her loss. 
This year, her and her husband began the adoption process for another child. 
And just this past week, they accepted the referral for a little boy in Africa! 
Tonight, my friend is not only a mother bereaved, 
but a mother expectant
with hope and anticipation for the day they get to bring home their son. 

Then there's all these stories of former orphans, 
being tucked in tonight by their moms.
 Those little ones, so long prayed over, never forgotten by their Father. 
I have a list of 70 kids that I've known and loved and prayed for, 
those who are now in families of their own.

God is doing new and beautiful things.
Children can't be replaced, loss is real, 
and grief is not ended by new joy.
Time spent as an orphan can never be undone.
But God gives new gifts, always.
His plans for us are beyond our imagination.
Tonight I am thankful.
I'm thankful that God is creating new life, 
that He is putting together families.

This mother's day,
I don't need to prove to anyone that I am a mom.
He is here in my heart, and tonight
I'm praising God that He gave me such a gift.
I'm praising Him that my little one has a family.

And most of all tonight, I want one thing.
I want for Him to receive the glory,
Because He does new things.