Friday, October 12, 2018


by Alanna

I lay in the dark on the kids' floor tonight. One sick toddler and two restless ones breathed in their beds nearby. Lullabies played on a borrowed CD. I remember one of these songs from when I was small. "Sleep sound in Jesus." So much nostalgia floods over me. Sharing a room for so many years with my sister, my best friend. Feeling safe and secure and loved. Falling asleep to that song in the dark. More memories tug at my heart. Singing songs in the darkness of South Africa. Singing with my "twin", singing with my cousin. Holding small dear hands until breathing became deep and peaceful. I prayed so much for those babies, cried so many tears with them and over them and across the ocean for them. I wanted so much for them. Families and homes. Jesus most of all. Most days I don't think about South Africa anymore.  But tonight I'm surprised at tears and this ache in my heart for them. I feel most strongly this absence where my first heart son took a piece of my heart and never returned it. I miss him tonight. I love him so much. I loved them all. I love these babies here too- these four under my roof, that God has given to me for this time. For only He knows how long. I cry tears for them too, because I want so much for them too. Wisdom, health, love, good friendships. Jesus most of all. Maybe I should spend more evenings laying on the floor in their room, just being near and hearing lullabies and remembering.  Remembering South Africa. Remembering my little one. Remembering how precious time is and how we have no guarantees. Remembering to love.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

grey days

by Alanna

Sometimes I try to deny that winter is coming. I still wear sandals every day, nevermind that it's in the 40s. I try to stick to a sweater and avoid the coat, still get outside every day despite the rain. I never ever check the weather forecast.

But now that we wake up to grey and eat dinner as it fades to black, I'm thankful I finally bought a sun lamp. I don't intend to give in to depression this winter, whatever that looks like.  Sometimes I feel like a caged animal, and I cry and shake my fists at the dumb clouds that won't part. But then I let my arms fall to my sides again because this is where God put me. And this is also where God put the clouds, and the cold, and the winter.

I'll probably never figure out if "seasonal depression" is a disease, or giving in to it a sin, or a little of both. I do know that there are days when my soul sings to Jesus but my mind is a haze and my heart dull. I fear sometimes. Fear the winter, fear dysfunctionality (which I can't even spell), fear not seeing the sun for perhaps weeks on end. But I know some things with confidence. That I will not give in to this darkness. That I will make my home a refuge of love and light. Play hymns and songs, bake good things, laugh and dance, invite people here. Whether or not my mind and heart will follow, my body and soul will sing to Jesus.

I also know that God uses broken people. Many lies whisper to me that this is not so. That my son is angry because I am not emotionally whole for him. That if I was not depressed my marriage problems would go away. That no one is blessed by me, that God cannot be glorified in me. But thankfully I know the truth to fight these lies. "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2nd Corinthians 4:7) God knows I am broken. He chose to make me His child anyhow.

I also know that God is all powerful, sovereign, enough. So every moment this winter, I will cling to Him. When I find myself weeping on the floor, when I can't think straight, when I have to apologize to my kids over and over again for my lack of patience, to my husband for my lack of a listening ear. When I miss the sun, when I miss the blue skies. I will come to Jesus. Every day, every moment.  I pray that in this fragile broken vessel of me, He will be glorified. That His great mercy would be all the more evident from the depths of my darkness. He is enough.