Thursday, March 21, 2013

That reckless ocean

Today marks a week until we find out if Faith will be our daughter.  I would be lying if I said that I am feeling calm.  As we ate dinner together tonight, I said to the Husband, "I just wish I knew what I was preparing for - a daughter or disappointment!"

I can't go more than a minute without thinking about Faith.  I try to imagine her in our house.  I try to imagine her in our lives. But the second I picture her crawling across my living room, the thought crawls across my consciousness: She might never be in this house.  She might never be ours.  

I wish I could put into words the strangeness of this season of waiting and wondering.

I feel like I have been having the same conversation with the Lord for three straight months:

Me: Shepherd, I'm scared.  You know me, I don't operate well in the unknown.  You made me a cautious planner.  This is hard for me.
The Lord: I know, Little Lamb, I know.  In your weakness I am strong.  Trust me.  I will increase your faith.  I will be enough for you.

I know that.  I know it deep in the core of my soul.  If I didn't know it, then there's no way we'd be where we are today at this strange fork in the road.  Only an act of God would cause such recklessness in a life such as mine.

I know that He will be enough and that he will meet my needs.  But the truth is, I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that March 28th will slip away and we will have an empty room with an empty crib and we will feel struck down in discouragement.  I'm afraid I won't have the faith to begin again if Faith is not to be our daughter.

At the same time, I'm afraid that all will go as we hope and that I will be holding my new daughter and thinking, "I don't know what I'm doing!"  I'm afraid that Lila will have a hard time and that Faith will be traumatized by so many changes for such a little babe.

I find myself in a panic that, after three months of waiting, we aren't ready!  We haven't prepared enough!  And I work myself into a frenzy trying to figure out what I need to add to my to-do list in the next seven days.  But how can we prepare when we don't know what March 28th will bring?

I am afraid because I do not know what to expect.  I am afraid because everything everything is out of my control.  And if you know me even a little bit, you know I like control.

Last weekend, I was given the gift of attending a women's retreat in Minnesota.  I felt a little distracted all weekend, unable to focus.  On the last day, as we were all reflecting on what we wanted to take away with us from the weekend, I bowed my head and prayed - begging God to speak to me and help me to see or hear what He most wanted me to know.

As I prayed, an image came to my mind.  I saw myself walking cautiously along a shore line of the ocean.  The water was lapping up against my feet, but when the tide rose more than a few inches I would veer closer in to shore.  At one point as I walked, I glanced warily out toward the vastness of the ocean and when I did I heard a voice echo over the deep: Come.

Fun fact about me: I'm terrified of the ocean.  I try to pretend to be all fascinated and awed by it, because that's how you're supposed to feel about the ocean, but really I am just scared of it.  I like to watch it from a safe distance.  I'm cool with walking along the shore and letting it lap my feet, but if a rogue wave creeps any farther up my leg than mid-calf a sense of panic rises unbidden in my throat.  The vastness of it, the power and relentless motion of the waves - it's too big for me, too uncontrollable. 

When I shared the image of me walking along the shore and the invitation I felt the Lord was extending to me to come out into the ocean, a friend told me I should look up the song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United.  I love Hillsong United, so I downloaded the entire album and I've been listening to it on repeat.  The words are perfect for where I am trying to keep my heart in these last seven days of my old life (because let's be honest, my life will not be the same either way once we have seen what March 28th has for us).

Have a listen - it's quite long, but it's hauntingly beautiful and worth the time:

The words to the song reminded of another disciple being beckoned out onto the waves.  The Lord comes to the disciples across the sea as their small boat is struggling with a raging storm, and in their fear, their already dire situation is compounded by the fact that there seems to be a ghost approaching them, walking on the water.   Jesus senses their fear and says, "Don't be afraid.  It's me."  And Peter, ever the reckless adventurer says, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you  - walking on the water."

And Jesus says Come and Peter does, but after only a few steps all he can see is the wild waters and he begins to sink.
Immediately, Jesus reaches out and grabs him. "You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?"

"You have so little faith" seems like a rebuke, but I don't imagine the tone of Jesus' voice communicated disappointment, but rather sympathy.  Which is why I love the way the Message translates it: "Faint-heart, what got into you?"  Faint-heart - as though it's a term of endearment.  The Good Shepherd knows intimately the hearts of his sheep.  He understands our fears and small-mindedness and he sympathizes with our lack of perspective.

"You have so little faith."  There's that word again.  The name of our hoped-for daughter.  Oh! I am so faint of heart sometimes!  I teeter on the shore, the saltwater licking my toes.  I want to run the other way, away from that reckless ocean, back to the safety of the shore.  But I hear his voice.  I know that he is saying to me, "Come.  Let go of the shore.  Join me on the waters.  See that I am trustworthy.  Even in your little faith I will be there to catch you when you begin to sink."  My whole being trembles in fear, but I can't resist the voice of my Shepherd.  I hear his voice and I can't help but follow.  And even though my boldness lasts only a few steps before my fears threaten to swallow me, the Lord has always been quick to take hold of me and remind me that he is trustworthy.

Today marks one week until we will know whether Faith will be our daughter.  And today, March 21st, also happens to be World Down's Syndrome Day - chosen in celebration of the third copy of 21st chromosome that gives someone Down's syndrome.  So will you take this opportunity to celebrate the beautiful creations around the world who - like you and I - are perfectly and wonderfully made?  No defect in design - just beautiful, intentional, perfect creations.

And will you pray:
- for our own little hoped-for daughter and her sweet little extra chromosome?
- that her birth parents are feeling the comfort of our Good Shepherd and clarity about what is best for their daughter?
- that Faith is feeling safe and secure and that her best future is being laid out for her?
- for us as we live these last few days (eeeeeeekkk!) of our countdown to the unknown?

Here is what I am praying for myself - the words from that beautiful song:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

T-minus 7 days and counting...

1 comment:

Katy said...

Praying for you Kelsey!