Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Prego and the Pitbull

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1Samuel 16:7

There is supposed to be an order with labor and delivery, that goes as follows:  mom begins contracting, contractions increase in length and intensity while decreasing in spacing, water breaks, mom dilates, mom pushes, baby is born.  This would always be the order and rhythm of birth, if not for one little hiccup:  babies can't read.  

One lovely spring evening, I was visiting a client whose little one decided to jumble up the "order" a bit, making mom uncomfortable and certain that birth was near, but hinting that perhaps it wasn't quite "go time" yet.  In the interest of having her husband rested for the "main event," mom-to-be decided this was a good time for a walk, just the two of us.  As we headed toward the sidewalk, a third party approached our mama-doula-duo ... 

With ears perked upright, she walked slowly toward me.  Though smaller than typical, her facial features, brindle coloring and muscular physique were unmistakable.  Whether young, or mixed with a smaller breed, I was not certain, but I was completely confident that a pit bull was headed my way.  She did not charge, nor did she make a sound, but it was clear that she was not the least bit afraid of me.  Unsure of what would happen next, I simply stood there, allowing her to come closer.  Circling slowly, she sniffed me cautiously, then ran toward my client.

There was no time to be afraid for her.  In an instant, this curious canine was right next to a very expectant mother, of whom I felt very responsible.  Fortunately, there was no cause for concern, as the dog happily wagged her tail approvingly-- first at my client, then at me.  In that moment, I remembered the tendency of "bully breeds" to be protective-- even nurturing toward expectant mothers and small children.  She had no intention of attacking us, she was simply protecting a fellow female and her offspring, and wanted to make sure MY intentions were good.  

While I enjoyed our moment of estrogen solidarity, I had certainly expected it to end when we walked past our canine compadre's abode.  Surprisingly, she joined ranks and walked right next to my client, creating a physical barrier between the mother-to-be and the road.  When we walked, she walked.  When a contraction came, she stopped as I applied counter-pressure to my client's back.  When a car drove by, she would circle us protectively.  She never barked at the oncoming vehicles, but her eyes were ever-watchful.  

Though we urged our faithful walking buddy to go home, she was unrelenting of her "post," until a familiar car drove up with her owner inside.  As he apologized profusely for her "bothering us," we explained that we simply did not want her to get lost, or for her human to think she'd gone missing.  Waving to our furry friend and her "person," we continued our walk.  

In between contractions, we discussed how sweet and loyal the dog had been, and what a shame it was that the breed once called "Nanny Dogs," due to their former positions to look after young children, had, In recent history, been inbred, tortured and trained to fight to the death.  Clearly, this dog had not been raised in such a fashion, yet, due to her DNA, she would most likely be labeled throughout her life as a "dangerous dog."  We knew differently, however-- we knew this noble beast would someday be a part of a special little girl's birth story.  

That night, as I drove home for a few hours asleep before "rip roaring labor" began, I thought more about labels.  As humans, it is in our nature to judge one another by past experience, preconceived ideas, cultural bias, economic status ... The list goes on.  We have to work exceedingly hard to look past what we think we know about others, and try as we may, we all fail more often than not.  Our human hearts, eyes and minds are truly limited.  

God, however, is limitless in His ability to see each and every person for who they really, truly are.  He is not fooled, nor is He surprised by last names, bank account balances or even the history of our countless failures.  While He does not high-five us for losing it with the kids or speeding in a school zone, He is able to see the the beautiful traits we all possess-- inside and out, amidst our brokenness.  If we are willing to simply ask, He is more than willing to forgive our mistakes, heal our hurts and encourage us to use the gifts He has given us.  

And perhaps, one of the greatest gifts Christ has given His church is a blessing we choose not to utilize.  We have the power of The Holy spirit living inside of us, yet we choose to simply rely on our human eyes to see those around us.  What would happen to our families, our communities, even our world at large if we looked at one another as Jesus does?  May this be our prayer:  that we might change our outlook, which, in turn, will change our thoughts, our actions and our effectiveness as we strive to become the Hands and Feet of Christ. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Warrior and the Rainbow: a true account of bravery, love and beauty after the storm

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5b

Once upon a time, there was a brave, caring and beautiful warrior.  She had endured many storms in her life, but she had weathered them with grace and dignity.  She was ready for a moment in the sun.  Though life at home had had more cloudy days than clear, she was thrilled to know that a little life was growing inside of her.  "This," she thought, "will change my life."

              And it did, but not in ways she expected. 

            Clouds rolled in, cramping and pain thundered through her, and as the tell-tale signs of a miscarriage were coldly confirmed in the emergency room, down came the rain.  

            Though little Zachary could never be replaced in her heart, a beautiful blessing in the form of another little life was on the horizon.  Though scars from that storm had not yet healed, she welcomed the little ray of sunshine growing healthy and strong inside of her.  This time, she could wear maternity clothes, have baby showers, and prepare a room.  She bathed in the sunlight of fresh starts, new beginnings and hope.  Suddenly, it began to hail.

            As the precious baby prepared to meet her mother, another loved one was slipping away, years before her time.  Wrought with grief and exhaustion, the signal of labor was bittersweet.  Her journey to her mother’s arms, likewise, was unpredictable, difficult and covered with many dark, cloudy moments.  But when that little sunny-side up face came into view, the skyline changed dramatically.

            With the birth of Allison Charlotte, loved ones who had been sobbing and shaking their fists in the air to question God dried their eyes and, for the first time in days, felt inexpressible joy.  She came when she knew she was needed most, this little rainbow baby.

            More storms would come before her first birthday, causing the brave warrior to fight for the safety and well-being of her child.  My, how it rained.  And yet, with one look into her daughter’s face, she knew this storm served a purpose and would not last forever.

            As time marched on, her mother noticed the brilliance and turbulent storms constantly waging within her daughter.  Autism might be the technical name for it, but I see it as one more reason that my goddaughter, Allison, is truly a rainbow baby.  She is smart as a whip, fiercely loving and full of sunshine and enthusiasm, yet the need for rigidity, crippling anxiety, social uncertainties and sensory struggles can bring heavy black clouds into the simplest of tasks.  But her mother helps, supports, guides, soothes, and, perhaps most of all—she waits.  She knows that without the storming amidst her brilliance, there would be no rainbow. 

Happy 6th Birthday, Allison Charlotte!
Happy 6th Rainbow Birth Anniversary, Jillian!
All My Love,

“Auntie Mamy”  


About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)