gloriously tired

At 7 am and approaching the bottom of our stairwell, my eyes landed on something that makes my messy life even messier, a soppy hair ball the size of my index finger.  The wet gray mass looked like it had its own tail and for a second, I thought Mr. Kitty hacked something up he had caught in the yard…nope just a tangling of licked off hair and some stomach contents.

Its 1:00 p.m. and though the thing that looked like my male cat birthed a kitten out of his mouth has been flushed down the toilet for the last six hours, it’s stain remains.

I am butt-end of the bread tired.  At least that’s what I posted on my facebook status last night.  What I am really saying is that, I don’t think I would be any good for anything or anyone right about now.  The butts always get thrown out.  No one wants the butt.  No one wants mouthful after mouthful of dried out crust taste with their sandwich.

So I’m crusty…

and my house is messier than I would like,

and after I saw the hairball, I saw this;

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because my kid can’t seem to either throw out what he isn’t going to eat, or at least put it in one of the many plastic containers I spent precious minutes washing yesterday after cleaning out fuzzy leftovers from the fridge.  No, to him the fridge shelf will suffice as a plate in case someone else wants it…

really?

There is a kind of tired beyond all tired’s.  You know the one…the one that you can’t get three words of a sentence out without your voice sounding like its riding a roller coaster and your eyes are fighting that burn as the internal dam relentlessly swells right ready to bust its way out.

Or the tired that snaps at my husband right before worship because sin escapes from my heart and lets itself out the mouth so it can trample down the soul next to me

the one who’s always next to me.

The one who’s used to the bottom’s of these feet words. Yeah, he knows their stinky smell…

There is a tired that leaves this

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for tomorrow because today I was told to rest, by the one who let my words run mad all over him and still reached for my hand to lead me into worship.

But I don’t like resting in the mess.  It makes me unsettled.  It makes me a doer.  It makes me anxious.  It makes me long to have the perfect magazine home, as if once I get everything cleaned up and in order I can finally rest.

And Jesus reminds me, as long as you are on this earth, this fallen sin-stained earth, you will be in the middle of a mess, either my own, or someone else’s, and if I want to really live like Him, I’ll walk into the temporary physical mess, but my eyes won’t focus on what moth and rust destroy, no, my eyes will fetch themselves a soul gaze and catch a glimpse of glory and eternity.

So I’m tired because I have been preparing for our upcoming women’s retreat.  Tapping keys that make words that form sentences that indent paragraphs about the One who came to fix our mess.

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The One who took the whole world’s mess of sin and bore it heavy, flesh ripped open, oozing blood, running down splintered wood, beaten beyond recognition while His mama watched, and His friends hearts split in two from the silent weight of Holy wrapped in skin hanging off the edge of heaven, dangling above hell.  The spit of those who seethed with hatred, hung off his face, as they drank and laughed and mocked this humble King.  This One, He found Himself in a cosmic mess.

I can complain about my mess and that I’m too tired to clean it up or I can rest knowing that Jesus walked into the biggest mess of world history and washed it all red in blood and scrubbed it raw in mercy so we didn’t have to try and clean everything up on our own.  He did, and He does.

Sure, we still have to care for our families and care well for them.  But when we can’t see eternities trail through scattered laundry, junk mail, school papers, wrappers, dishes, empty toilet paper rolls, fuzzy leftovers, splattered mirrors, scummy showers and tubs, overflowing garbages and stained floors, we will just be a barely limp along tired. But when we trade in our just plain “tired” for “gloriously tired,” then we will know His power has gone out from us leading the way. And though the sidelines may stay cluttered, the path marked eternity remains clear and the closer we get the smaller those piles appear.

Please watch the above video and be refreshed when you are poured out and empty and poor!

Join the conversation and tell me about your messy tired!

held, consumed, crazy in love with Jesus,

trish

8 days til retreat and I’m a lil’ crusty

I’m feeling a little like burnt toast…

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i think my flavor may be a little charred

and my edges are starting to crumble off themselves.

But I am full like this

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Refreshed.

The gals and I have been preparing for nine months for this retreat.  Funny, that’s about as long as it takes for a new life to be tenderly formed, skillfully knit by the Master weaver.

this is our baby and we are all feeling the birthing pains…

and our prayer is that we birth forth much fruit out of our labor.

we are only instruments…clay pots

imageright chipped and cracked to our base, but formed and fired in Holy.

This band of women…we ache for you to know Jesus, so we have labored

long.

I’ve tapped out a rhythm of messages

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that invite you to this

imageIn order that you may know you are this

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And this

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And this

imageCome, Abide and make Him your Beloved!

does my child have aspergers?

We were cross-eyed, dumbstruck tired – craving an evening of sinking into our outdated furniture and staring at our oversized tube t.v. watching a VHS.  the goose worked full-time with a couple of add-on jobs and I took in littles for next to nothing to help families like us who couldn’t afford daycare.

Bellies were full on happy meals, the tub was draining a mocha-swirl of a day’s dirt mixed with soap, stories had been read to the Irish twins while big sister read about Easter Island, and it was time for mom and dad…just mom and dad.

There we were, all settled in for a still evening without a breath of wind or whining, when we were hit yet again with an F5 sensory storm spinning out of control from our two year-old. 

The repetitive screaming, turned into coughing…even gagging at times had become a part of our daily routine.  This child could take all of his two year-old half-pint lungs into a full-blown same sentence tornado, gain powerful momentum, and destroy morning routines and coveted still evenings. These meltdowns often dropped on us out of nowhere and could be heard for hours… some might say miles, until his vocal chords wore themselves out like a leftover breeze of a raging storm.

Nothing I did could calm our son in the middle of these “sensory storms.”   If something had invaded his spacial comfort, his routine, his ability to process through his overactive senses, we would be left in the messy trail of twisted information reeking havoc on his sweet tender soul, and the comfortable we craved.  

In infancy, we all noticed it…the way he stiffened up while being rocked or cradled, or when we tried to comfort him in what we thought may be his “fussy time” like most babies have at certain times of the day.  The way he startled so easily, and  how the restriction of a car seat made trips longer than 10 minutes unbearable.  He was my third child, and so I thought I had this mom thing down, but Carter came all wrapped up in something so wild with color and vastly different from my girls, that I didn’t know how blind I had been.  The vibrant threads woven into this one, would train my eye to see the glory of a Holy knitting, spinning, forming together a child stamped in an Image, and marked masterpiece.  He was unique, and his uniqueness made me different...cuz I needed to be different, so God gave me Carter.

As Carter grew, we as parents grew with him.  We grew in grace.  The grace to understand he couldn’t adapt to certain situations and that home was his sanctuary. So one of us would often stay put with Carter while the other attended another child’s event or other social activities we were involved with. When Carter was old enough to match words to feelings, we understood that too much stimulation caused migraines, throwing up,  and sleeping 12 hours long.

We came to understand that tags in shirts, tight sleeves or pants, tube socks, underwear and shoes all “felt funny” and so daily, I would assist in the changing of clothes, and trying different articles of clothing until we found the right one, sometimes over the course of two hours.  Often, out of anger and time limitations, I forced him to wear what I had chosen, not fully understanding the hours of torture he would have to endure.

For one whole year we gave up on underwear all together.

Carter not only had sensory issues, he also seemed to crave non-food items and I would often find bites and whole chunks eaten off  of my deodorant.  Toothpaste tubes would be found in his room, the minty paste sucked half-clean out.  I started checking my laundry detergent, because I had remembered reading about kids like these. Pica kids.

Though Carter was delayed in speech, he was advanced in motor skills.  He walked at nine months, learned to ride a bike before his older sister, and was ambidextrous in swinging bats and clubs, and all the while the question kept creeping in, “does my child have autism?”

I didn’t know anything about spectrum disorders.  I just knew my child was different. Friends and family suggested ADHD, medication, spankings, and letting him know who was in control over his behavior issues.  Some were convinced he was naughty and manipulative, strong-willed.  

I listened and spanked.  He was still in diapers and I was told to spank him with a spoon on his leg so his diaper didn’t cushion it, as punishment for not taking a nap. Carter didn’t sleep well, he wandered at night, and gave up afternoon naps far earlier than my other two children.  I was exhausted, and at my emotional end I spanked angry with that spoon…and then I cried. I cried hard.  I cried mad.  I cried shame…and the One who skillfully weaved my Carter together, in all of his melt-downs, in all of his behavioral issues, in all of his robbing my routine and comfort, said in a shiver-whisper, “no more.”

In an ocean of tears and shame I swooped up thisdrew_file1 006

and in between heave-sobs said, “mama will never hurt you again…I promise.”

Grace wasn’t something we were instinctive to.  No one is.  It often comes with an angry fistful of prayer, a fizzled out joy, a sudden realization that as convinced as we are that we have a measure of control over our kids, when chaos wildly spins through your home, we finally crash in the dizziness of it…sick, and then crawl to the cross.  We had to learn grace for Carter, we had to learn the cross.  We had to study Jesus and let Him fill us with grace to be safe parents for our Carter.  To reflect God’s image and rescue him when he needed rescuing, to protect him when he needed protecting, to hide him under our wing when he needed security and familiar, and so we became so we could watch ourboy-become.

When Carter went to kindergarten, his teacher wanted to get his hearing checked, she was convinced he couldn’t hear. She repeatedly would ask him to do things, or say his name, calling him to join the rest of the class, and get no response as he continued to play with the same familiar toy.

Since the time Carter could form three words together, he would get stuck on something.  When he was little and wanted his blankie, “he would repeat over and over until his voice frayed itself into a whisper, “I want my dee-tee! I want my dee-tee!”  The record kept skipping even after he had been given his blanket.

Does my child have autism?

Two- hour meltdowns were our normal.  These were out of control, kick the wall to the rhythm of his skipping record sentence, “I (kick), want, (kick), my (kick), dee-tee! (kick-kick). His older sister learned to fall asleep to them if they happened at night.

Bright lights caused migraines.  Loud noises, tantrums.  We forced him to stay at a firework display one night out of selfishness and a desire for our child to be like every other child.

Carter often went off alone to play and line things up like matchbox cars, plastic action figures, potatoes…

Does my child have autism…?

It was hard for him to look you in the eye.  He was painfully embarrassed over the simplest of things.

Learning to read was excruciating, trying to understand math was like awaiting death row.

He took everything literally and jokes often settled in think-clouds outlining a constant question mark above his head and left him wondering why everyone was laughing.

We took him to Nickelodeon Universe and had to ask the person controlling the ride we had unawaringly propped him on, to stop it. The terror in his eyes, from the sudden unexpected motion he was experiencing, frightened me.  He hated it.  We left early.

At ten years old we put a guitar in his hands and that very night he came down the stairs and effortlessly plucked out a song he had just listened to on the radio. Music became his safety, his past-time, his obsession.

Music was spun into him on that crazy spectrum!   Music made sense. He couldn’t read notes, even though he took lessons, but there was an instinctual rhythmic composition in his soul, writing itself out in song.

Much of the time we had fought against that heavenly composing that graced our major falls with Carter and strengthened our minor lifts.  Often we were too sharp, and stubbornly flat, unwilling to move with his rhythm, But God was writing our family song and the end result was sure to set us all free in a holy dance.

When Carter was 16 I finally took him to a specialist who diagnosed him with Severe Sensory Processing Disorder, though most people wouldn’t know it.  She said he was brilliant because he had learned to adapt to his uncomfortable environment.

in 2011-2013, I had went back to school and finished my Bachelor’s in Marriage and Family Psychology.  I learned about spectrum disorders.  I learned that for high-functioning kids, diagnoses aren’t all that important, but what’s important is that you don’t try and reshape what God was spinning into motion with all the wild colors in the spectrum. That you learn the repetitive steps of their dance. That you sacrifice your normal and enter into an unfamiliar world of routine, repetition, familiarity, and embrace the intense joy you get with a spectrum kid.

Spectrum kids force you to slow down and enter in.  Spectrum kids demand your attention.  Spectrum kids make you parent.

If you parent them well, by looking to Christ and His Father’s heart, surrendering your agenda to the one who writes our days, it will stop being a battle of the wills and you will both win this side of heaven.

What about you? Share your comments, your pervasive questions that keep haunting you.  Ask me more, because there is still so much to tell! Join the conversation!

I plan to add part 2 to this later in the week and share his food issues, touch issues, things I learned to do to maintain routine and peace.

Trish

Related resources:

http://www.parents.com/health/autism/symptoms/understanding-aspergers-syndrome/

http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Signs-Asperger-Syndrome-27332056

https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2013/06/21/pica-autism-connection-help-perspective-got-questions

community

Who am I?

If I were to tell you who I am, I would tell you that I am a broken lover of Jesus following hard after Him, and a writer who often writes as messy as my life.

I would tell you I have received the gift of a husband, who I refer to as “the goose” because geese mate for life and never leave the other until death separates. Even then, a goose instinctively mourns often nestling itself alongside its feathered mate for hours and days after death.  Sometimes it’s grief is expressed through wings as it flies circles around it’s still friend and life partner, until in a downward swoop of exhaustion it makes its bed of death next to the one it cannot bear to soar without. This sounds like a beautiful love story, but these two geese here in this life have stared head on and headstrong in the face of divorce, begging for it to lead us out, and then bowed broken to the One who promised to finish what He started in us. We have hated, we have hurled word swords, we have rejected, we have torn down, and we have drawn blood. We bear scars of wounded expectations to remind us Who our hope is in.  We have faced crisis and adversity that has left 85% of Christian couples alone and floundering, victims of divorce, after being blindsided with brain injury in our oldest child. We have navigated through a mess of twisted brains for the last 10 years and we stay, because God won’t let us leave.

I would tell you I have received the gift of being called “mama” in sweet tender relationship with my three babes, and how “mama” has morphed into an angry “mother!” more times than I would care to admit, when I’m not listening…distracted…consumed with self or the pull of the world. I would tell you I let my kids eat raw cookie dough, carbs, sugar, and did not make them memorize scripture, though I had right intentions for their physical and spiritual health.  I would tell you I have disrespected their dad and let this untameable tongue, when I’m blinded by my own mad heat, get wild all over him….

blaming.

breathing out a putrid scent of self-righteousness….

And then I would tell you I cried broken.

I would tell you most of my life has been performance driven…

and left me suffocated sideways asking my husband, “please tie-me-to-you….” as we slept at night, for fear of losing my mind.

I would tell you I cherished “doing” and how my works trumped possessing a deep affection for people…until I was awakened to a desire beyond performance when I felt the warm soft of a Holy kiss and I flushed down to my toes in wild passion for the One who leaves me tokens of love…waiting when morning is sent forth out of its hiding.

I would tell you I experienced a kind of intense raw-love I didn’t think existed before I met the God who takes away.

I would tell you I take the hard path now and so that means I will lovingly disagree with you. I will cherish you, I will pray through our conflict, but I will choose Christ’s way and prayerfully explain why I believe it to be His way.

I cry broken and bleed sticky.

I would love to open this blog to a community of sticky, messy people who cry broken with me. I will be asking people to guest post.  I would love to hear your marriage struggles, your parenting struggles, your personal struggles. We will talk about current issues as well.

We are all wild olives.  We have been grafted into a family.  Share with me the pain of the pruning…

We are tribal and dance dangerously on the edge through our individual lives, yet we ache for the circle of rhythm within this tribal community.

We are daughters of Eve, hiding and ashamed, seeking healing…desperate to return to unbroken fellowship and restored relationship with Christ…and it happens in community.

Would you consider being a part of this blog? Email me your story. Suggest a topic.  Please keep it to less than a 1000 words.  If you aren’t a writer but just enjoy reading, share your comments, let us know you!

I will also be working at bringing this blog more up to date, but I am so technologically illiterate that it may take a while.  Send me photos I can post that help tell your story.  I will work on this on my end too!

Always  remember to bring glory to Christ who upholds and sustains all things including how He has shaped you through every trial and hardship.

I can’t wait to hear from you! Please comment in the comment section, and if you have a story you would like to share, email me at pedersn@frontiernet.net

What does community mean to you? How has God used community to grow you? And, men, you can comment too!  We value your brotherhood.

held, consumed, intoxicated by His love,

trish

why’d you name me that anyway, mom?

Lately, I’ve been studying faces.  I asked God if He would help me love people better and I think this is part of His answer.  I see a face on a run, around the corner of an aisle, or through a passing window and my eyes open on them…those souls hiding behind skin with eyes…peeking.  Attached to every face is a name and I wonder…

It’s like the rare, the ancient, excotic and right chipped cracked to the base.  Is it lovely protected by a window, this art untouchable?  Is it worth a breath of beautiful without its description?  A pair of hands at the end of a soul story spinning, shaping, squashing, restarting the creation.  If we know where it came from, do we breathe out wonder? Do we see its worth?

I’ve heard it said of me, “you’re a bit of an old soul.”  In many ways this is true.  I’ve been sure I was born into the wrong era, possibly the wrong century until God carved Acts 17:26 on my heart and steadied my time-travel wanderings.  And if you look at the names of my children, this would be true, for Hannah goes back thousands of years, while Kylee and Carter hundreds.  The heritage runs richer than I ever cared to study when I slapped a tag on each of them.  I named them because I liked the sound of their names…and other old-soulish reasons.  Hannah was suddenly changed from the chosen “Ashley” one week before I, present in fullness of all of her bearing down and split, emptied out and gave her my grandmother’s name. I loved old. Her name gave her that in everything new.  Kylee I chose because I met a woman named Kylee and instantly knew that would be her name.  I had never heard anything so beautiful.  It was Irish, and it was a way of keeping at least a root of the haunting Gaelic in us.  Then there was Carter.  One full pregnant and old soul day, grandma said all southern strong, “I wish one of you girls would name your baby boy “Carter” after my daddy!”  When Grandma meant it, drips of southern ran down every word.  I needed no further convincing, cuz I love grandma, southern, and the name Carter.

Some people agonize over naming their flesh and cells and bones and strands of color split up in chromosomes.  Like my sister who couldn’t bear to give my niece a name until it was the perfect one.  For one week she was just “she,” nothing more, nothing less.  Grandma’s southern came wrapped in a stringed tornado at the end of a real telephone on a cord each day of that nameless week, “When are ya gonna name that baba?”  She finally decided to go all Swahili on us and chose Aziza.  We just call her Z. Pretty sure this root has to be grafted in.

And then when it gets right down to the deepest of it.  When you know there is more to it then hormone-wild emotion, or the standard or blessing of a name, you wonder if you named them because He chose through our freedom, our flaws, our crazy, our wishing…did He whisper a name and we knew it belonged to that one?  Cuz it wouldn’t be right on the other one.  It fits this one.  Like when 1500 pounds of metal wrapped itself around bark and the only thing that held in her sloshed brains was skull.  Chaplain calls and says, “come now, not much time.” Time grows and doctor says only one other has ever woke up from this.  Eyes open empty, they pass through you like a lost ghost, and doctor stomps out your raging hope fire and says, “this may be it.”  Then God pours out favor upon favor and everything lifeless in skin attached to tubes breathes and moves and talks and walks and writes four years of English in college.  And you say, this is her name, for Hannah means grace and favor of God. 

And after God dumps an ocean of favor out on one, Kylee retreats and grows small, for she is narrow, like a channel finding it’s way through fog thick and winding…..And I have to shrink to get inside of her again.  And I get small….navigating my way back to her and we flow together into the new spring reflecting glorious and its fresh here, but we had to take the narrow way.  The mystery of the Gaelic one…still makes me be less, her way is hard…for it requires I go to her bare, stripped….don’t pack too much…she just wants me.  And her narrowness points to Holy, for His way is narrow…and we sacrifice ourselves, because He did, to get there.

And then in between Asics bouncing on pavement running with Holy…I chuckle that Carter means “cart driver, cart-loader” and God says, He leads in worship and many are burdened….In His fingers fashioned for stringed instruments and His  chords of minor lifts, He loads up weights and troubles and drives them off in a song to the One who daily bears our burdens. 

And I think, You knew all that when I just liked the way they sounded…

running with Holy

I got to run this morning….fueled by 7.5 of sleep makes for quicker miles and clearer thoughts.  For me, running usually results in a blog, scribbled notes smeared with drips of sweat, the missing sentence, and prayer all tangled in with the mess of stringed words.  But running is always worship, even the words that may make for a good blog or article find themselves bowing to the One who intricately designed that which would birth forth anything at all worth a lick of reading. I can’t write unless I first see, or smell, or hear or touch something of this holy creation. Like when I ran down into the meadow and felt it’s hot breath of passing summer surround me and I thought it about time for the crickets to put away their bows and silence their chirps. Or how orange and black fuzz wraps itself up in a season and dusty wings fly a days worth of living.  If you can’t see God in this, what’s the point?

I prayed for those who have lost hard. Cuz loss runs wild over a soul….. uncatchable….until it hitches up against the blind and with one hard yank rips the scales off…and swollen red eyes see Holy. He floods in, in a collision of Grace and mad exhales and shows us the way to live both lonely and full, cuz He makes a home for the lonely (psalm 68).

I run past a young mama, with a fresh babe at her breast. I inhale the newness and young of it all. God makes babies. God gives tired mamas sweet, fresh skin to run tender fingers along as if discovering a soul treasure swaddled in skin…..and milky breath to breathe in as tears run past a smile wrapped around this life. This. Now. Life. Where God is. Everywhere.

I keep running and listen to ghosts of days breathe through trees, and the bow creaks in the sway. And this too, calls for my soul to stand to attention in worship,as the first leaves dance about in a swirl.

I pray and ask that my verses be addressed to and for the King. I want what’s glorious inside to find a trail out the tips of fingers and relish the run in phrases and descriptions that reflect our ever creating God. The run, the meadow, the prayer, the mama and babe, the ghosts…..I’ve caught them on a page and I will remember them.

when God said go to planned parenthood

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel that day, but He said go, so I like the others who had already been going and saving mamas and babies, set out to a hostile and foreign place. I had already been there, but a quarter of a century had passed since then, and the thought of returning had never entered my mind until He said “go. ” He’s like that you know? He makes us return to those ancient ruins in order to show us He is the Rebuilder and Redeemer and Restorer of all those years chewed up and devoured by the locusts. Still, this place, Lord?  This was a place I’d hoped no one would ever know I had once visited. This was a place buried under years of forgotten, shame-shackled, and pushed into corners covered by miles of self-preservation, and an unwillingness to share…as if it never happened…as if I never made the conscious choice.  There were parts I wanted left out of the story, but I kept forgetting I wasn’t the author of my story, God was, and what I wanted to stay hidden in the darkest corners of my past, He said, needed to come into the light, because He was at work then, and that even the darkness was not dark to Him and He had done a glorious and wondrous work there….in my blackest.  And so on that day, the day He said “go,” He grabbed my trembling hand and steadied the racing beats held in by ribs,  and together we walked into the Planned Parenthood adjacent parking lot.

As I began to ask the Lord what He wanted me to write about, he said there were places we would have to return, because He had always been there and we would face them together.  I asked Him that I might be a good steward of my words. To help people see Him in all the mess of life we create, each one of us in tangled stories of sin and forgiveness….grace interrupitng…in our turning and running.

And then I saw her.  She was just there front and center as if she had been there hours in advance to set up camp for the army who would come.  All nine or so decades of her, all in, on that day.  She was wrinkled with the passing of merciless age and creased with kindness.  The pressing, bumping, space invading crowds, the scorn of hostility from the PP, these weren’t enough to keep her at a distance.  No, on this day she would not be found safe at home surrounded by the friendly familiar.  There was no waiting to hear second-hand what her Lord told her to walk into that day all dressed up in battle attire.  So she went, all of her twisted joints, ache of gospel-worn feet with thousands of miles of compassion and obedience, and the slowness of decades behind a life.  This could be her last one, and so she wrapped fingers twisted with arthritis around that strong familiar Hand of her First Love and went.  There was a mass of beating red, strong that day, conceiving of prayer and birthed through faithful lips.  She was the one I would see when I returned to an abortion clinic.  When I saw her, her lips moved like Hannah’s, and our eyes never met, for hers were closed, hands folded in prayer, undisturbed to the thousands surrounding her.  Her prayers seemed to form invisible cradles for the ones without cribs on that day, and they rocked those being unraveled in the building next to us as they fell into hands of Holy. She didn’t just stand in the gap that day, she laid down a bridge of self over the gulf between life and death. When I saw this frail and mighty servant of Jesus, my eyes spilled in gratitude, overwhelmed with love, victory, sadness…in remembering.  .

How long, Lord? How long has she been praying?  I wondered.  Since Roe verses Wade?  Had she prayed for me when You roared in and rescued me and the life forming in my deep from inside the walls of an abortion clinic all those years ago? How many babies have been saved in accordance of your will that carried her prayer? Had she waged a mighty war on Roe verses Wade? Here stood a battered warrior of prayer, unafraid to stand in the center of a protest of over four thousand people.

And so we sang and we prayed and next to me was a woman holding her adult daughter, the one who had just one more chromosome, celebrating her life, because all lives matter and we all bear His image… and the first nucleus of a cell is reflected in all of us through Him.  They were here together because on the day of her birth God danced.  He danced when they said “she has Down Syndrome,” and she said, “she has my eyes.”  He leaped when they said, “special needs,” and she said “I need her to show me more of Jesus.”  He let out a shout when they said, “it will be hard,” and she said “the hard way through Christ softens me.”  I had kin here.  The next generation, young marrieds with toddlers and swelling tummy’s with babies still safe.  Blacks, Asians, Whites….a family of wild color reflecting an Image. We came to say lives matter.  We came to learn how to partner with the One who saves lives because His blood ran down wood sticky and warm and we tasted it and lived.

This wasn’t the time to wonder why Catholics believe what they do, or Baptists preach what they preach, or the Reformed try and reform them all, or Charismatics show us what they feel, this was a family standing on kingdom ground in unity….together. These were my kin, brothers and sisters I would one day stand next to again crushing the broken rubble of shattered denominations under our feet, when we really believe there is neither Jew nor Greek .

And so I went, because blood ran down a cross. Because the grave is empty.  Because Christ roared in and rescued me from abortion and made me remember… I made a choice, and though I needed to repent of making that choice, He delighted in granting me unimaginable kindness and mercy that day.  I went because its time for me to keep going and standing in that gulf bridging it with prayer like her.  And maybe real cradles will rock live children if I keep going.