Thursday, November 30, 2017

The More Perfect Truth

Last Christmas Hansie wasn’t here.


There was just . . . ceaseless analyzing of symptoms, speculation over the how and when of his impending arrival, kicking and nudging from inside me, trouble breathing, lots of backaches, a hospital packing list, a constant grasping for some concrete idea of who this boy would be, and a belly that made unbearable the usually thoughtless task of picking small items up from the floor.

Photo Nov 07, 3 31 52 PMPhoto Nov 07, 3 32 36 PMPhoto Nov 07, 3 32 38 PM

There wasn’t even a single bit of anyone crawling madly to unplug the vacuum every time we used it; or of anyone sticking an index finger in the corner of their mouth and smiling shyly each time they were spoken to; or even of anyone bursting to wake, flipping over in their crib and desperately trying to pull themselves to a standing position every time their mom tried to sneak in to wake their brothers for school.


Although, there was a one-year-old and a two-year-old, so maybe there was a bit of that type of thing going on. But, there is nothing like an annual holiday or tradition to make me hyper-aware of all the change a year has brought.

Photo Nov 22, 3 53 54 AMPhoto Nov 22, 3 53 57 AM

It was at Christmas time four years ago (2013) that I’d just discovered we were expecting Summer. At the time I was fairly confident she would be our last child. But there hasn’t been a Christmas since that I haven’t been either expecting a baby, holding a baby . . . or both.

Photo Nov 22, 3 52 27 AM

So at this time of year, all filled with sentiment and reminiscing as it naturally is anyway, I am extra contemplative about what has opened up to me and the major shifts in my existence that have occurred in this never-to-be-forgotten span of years. I have this quiet and shifting little visual of my spiritual self during this time. Sometimes she is reaching up and pleading for the burdens and blessings of these years. Other times they are being offered and she is choosing them. And occasionally they are being asked of her . . . and she is humbly and fearfully submitting – a meager attempt to mirror one of the most amazing women to exist on this earth: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”


I don’t know that life has ever been more overwhelming or more of a challenge than it has been for me these past years. I rely constantly on the words of a hymn that The Spirit whispered directly to my heart – personally; God reassuring me – during a major moment of fear on the night after I found I was expecting Hans.

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
’Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell --
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tale --
All is well! All is well!

I’ve acknowledged often, particularly when sharing cheery and bright pictures, that those pictures aren’t the whole truth. That they are only frozen moments of beauty amidst exhaustion and worries and messes and stress.

Photo Nov 22, 3 52 07 AMPhoto Nov 22, 3 52 09 AMPhoto Nov 22, 3 52 15 AMIMG_0245IMG_0267IMG_0504IMG_0505

But I’m not sure I really believe that. It’s an apology of course – a recognition that I haven’t shared all of the difficult and imperfect. There are no dirty dishes or projects hanging over us. There are no tantrums, no tears, no failures, losses of temper, or fears over the physical, spiritual and mental well-being of our children. And yet, . . . looking at those pictures I often sense the most distilled and complete truth of this entire business. The dross and insignificant, and the parts that don’t really matter all sifted out. Only the stripped down, beautiful, and most whole eternal truths left: the hope that through all of the unknowns and fears and impossible hards my Savior has already paved a way and that all any of this truly is . . . is unbelievable, gracious mercy; and kindness; and eventually-perfected love and joy.

Photo Nov 22, 3 51 21 AMIMG_0362IMG_0374IMG_0384IMG_0426-2IMG_0518IMG_0465IMG_0436-2IMG_0445-2IMG_0479IMG_0488IMG_0494Photo Nov 11, 3 45 57 PMIMG_0503Photo Nov 08, 6 51 35 AMPhoto Nov 28, 11 01 43 AM


Kara said...


Marilyn said...

Your table looks so looooong with all those people at it! And that little Summer girl is getting so BIG!

But most of all, I liked this:
"she is humbly and fearfully submitting – a meager attempt to mirror one of the most amazing women to exist on this earth: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

I think about that all the time. I can't WAIT to know more about know HER, at all. She must be/have been so, so amazing. And yet, she was just a woman like us! Trying her best.

Also, you must be wrong about Hansie. Surely he has been here longer than that??!?

jess and seth said...

Wow, this couldn't have been said any more beautifully!

Nancy said...

It’s funny choosing things like . . . tables before knowing just what you’ll need. This one we bought when we had five — and it’s still fitting us. Lucky guess though because the stocking hangers that Mike and I bought when we were first married? There’s only six! We judged completely wrong there! :)

And yes. It is crazy crazy when ever you can say “a year ago” and realize someone wasn’t even in the picture! Though not as crazy as those first three months with a baby when you can say “a year ago” and you didn’t even know that person was coming at all!

Nancy said...

Thank you Jessica!!

Gayle Harris said...

As always, beautiful pictures and beautiful, powerful words! We love you all.

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