Wednesday, March 21, 2007
March is always a month of great contrasts. There's the old saying that it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but here in the Pacific Northwest it seems the lion and lamb fight it out almost daily. We've had clear sunny skies and warm breezes followed by ominous clouds, pelting rain, and hail. We've awoken to frost on the ground, and other days we've opened our windows to let the fresh sweet air fill our winter weary home. It seems the weather is most fickle at this time of year, but we know Spring will win; she always does.
I feel not a little like the weather. I am taking great joy in my sweet family. Peregrine seems to have turned a corner and is obeying more cheerfully, and both Erik and I are finding him to be much more happy and pleasant. We're looking forward to Alethea's second birthday in a few weeks. She is blossoming before our eyes and is full of energy and sweetness and a bit of mischief. Together my little ones keep my days filled with laughter, work, surprises and challenges. We're happy to get outside more and have been working in the yard, cleaning out the flower beds, preparing garden plots, and planting seeds. There has been a trip to the coast, walks by the river, and visits to local parks. My family and the activities that surround them are my sunshine.
But there are storms too. This is the month, and we are approaching the day, that our baby Esther Bihana Hope would have been due. I dreamed a few weeks ago that I was pregnant and the time to deliver my baby was very soon. I realized, with a devastating shock, that my belly hadn't grown, that something had gone wrong and I was only then noticing it. In real life I seem to be surrounded with friends who have just given birth, are about to, or who have just learned they're expecting. And while I rejoice with them, I feel keenly the loss of our own babes. It seems to well up within me and spill out often these days. I feel the sadness of what might have been; my arms ache to hold my unknown-to-me little ones in my arms, not just in my heart. I was reminded of the words that follow the George MacDonald quote I have in the header. "There are winds that blow up huge storms inside the hearts of men and women, and blow till the great clouds full of tears rain down from the eyes." These storms seem to be battling with my sunshine these days, and I know that it's the nature of things, and that in grieving our losses we receive healing too. In this life there will always be sorrows mingled with the joys. I look forward to the day when God will wipe away every tear from my eyes, and when the Lord Jesus Himself will be my Light. But sometimes that feels a long way off.
I appreciate your prayers for me during these days when I seem to be all sunshine one moment and stormy the next. I recently finished reading a book I've heard Elisabeth Elliot mention on occasion, Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss. (You can read it online here.) Written in the 1800s, it begins as the journal of a young woman who is impetuous and ruled by her temper, but longing for transformation. Reading through her journal of many years we watch as she grows up, marries, has children, and bears many trials. Through it all, and with much struggle, she is slowly changed to become more like Christ. She comes to value her sufferings as precious, since through them she has been drawn closer to her Saviour. This book spoke much to me, and encouraged me to press on, to not just endure my trials, but to seek the good that God has promised to bring through them. I will close with words I wrote some time ago: "The disciples marveled that "even the winds obeyed" Jesus. This, to me, is an assurance that when the gentle breezes turn to howling storms, our Master is still in command. We have no control over the winds that blow, but if we know the One who controls them, then we can rest knowing that He carries us still."