not-small graces

It’s 6:20 am, but I think I’ve been awake for hours. We four have managed to get a nasty little bug that now has us coughing in the wee hours. My eldest plodded into bed just after JD left this morning, sometime before 5. One or two or both of the girls usually end up in our bed before the sun. One on either side. Sometimes all three of us on the same pillow. It’s going to be awesome when I’m super huge.

This particular morning, with El coughing next to me, I was consumed by grace. She was coughing and then so was and I and all I could do was rack up the not-small graces I’ve been gifted. Gratitude, again. Even when my gag reflex won’t stand the common cold anymore (seriously? I can’t even cough without puking?). Gratitude.

For island friends only four hours away. Most of our community (and I do mean most) disbanded from the island within six months. There were earlier travelers who we still adore, but the bulk of us moved spring/summer 2011. In His great grace, God moved some of our island favorites to the Pacific Northwest with us. Jared and Mere moved to Seattle a month after we arrived in Oregon. Mere, being one of those made of the same mold as me, has been a friend with whom I’ve grieved, scorned the cold, rejoiced over our time in Hawaii, counted blessings in new places, devoured chili and rice, and when babies don’t occupy the uterus – enjoyed a nice cold hard cider.

Relationships kept. I’ve lost some. So I’m really thankful for the ones that keep.

Five pregnant buddies. Four of whom used to live on that super fertile island with us. Within those four – a first, a second, a third, a fourth. And here in this town of people I’m beginning to know, a new friend due just a week after me. Pregnancy can be lonely. It’s nice to have friends going through it with me, even if they’re spread all over America.

For answered prayers unexpectedly answered. I love my little brother (and his wife) something fierce. I miss him a great deal. I love being near new brothers, and watching the younger ones swim super fast in their high school swim meets the last few weeks was grace itself – because I loved watching Pat swim – but I still miss. A lot. I didn’t pray for anything specific, but Jesus heard. And because of connections my dad has in Portland (also grace), I get to see my brother and sis-in-law potentially as often as once a month. Included in this category is the fact that my dad occasionally travels this way for business, mama too. And my sister in law Monica (whom I adore), is nearby in Seattle, close enough to see her often.

For ministry and church. There are lots of parts to being a youth director/pastor that I miss. Most of the actual j-o-b stuff I miss. I do not miss the emotional stress and anxiety that can come with the role. Instead, I watch my husband and am immensely grateful that so far, we haven’t met any hostility. Wounds still fresh, however, and I find myself sometimes waiting for the shoe to drop. For someone to come tell JD that he isn’t fit for his job (how often did we hear that before?!). Jesus is healing this in me, bit by bit. Layers peel and wounds expose but Jesus is healing. I am grateful for time and space to heal.

There’s so much more. And it seems even silly to write it here, but in one of the more emotional seasons of our married life, the grace bits are all the more abundant. So abundant that I’m wakened by them swirling in my head, waiting to be spilled somewhere. I let a few of them drop here.

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