When Your Third Birthday Is Our First With You

When Your Third Birthday

It was your birthday this week, brother-mine. It was a blast. We went all out, with a cake shaped like a jet (which you loved, though you loved the cake-pan more, since you could play with that), wrapping-paper covered in vehicles, and more presents than you even wanted to open.

Now, you’re only three, so you didn’t quite understand everything, but you still grinned,  ate cake, and played with your toys. And you’re only three, so you didn’t quite understand the sadness connected with your birthday. Because this was your third birthday — yet only your first one with us. Because you’ve been on earth three years, but only six months with us. With your family.

So my heart aches for you. Continue reading

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What Christmas Was Meant to Do

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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

You can recognize all these. Perhaps you barely even had to read them, they’re so familiar. They make us grin, they call forth memories, and they evoke emotions. Your heart is instantly swept away into another land, full of adventure, danger, and wonder. But very little of that is because of them. Just those sentences themselves aren’t much. There’s no elegant structure here. There’s no eloquent prose. In fact, they all consist almost entirely of single-syllable words! They’re not stories, they’re not chapters, and they’re barely even full sentences. Taken simply as words by themselves, they have little power.

No, we love them because they are beginnings. We love them because they herald what is coming next.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)

And I think this is how we should love Christmas as well. Of course, most people do enjoy Christmas. Ask most people on the street, and — unless they are the living incarnation of Scrooge or the Grinch himself — they’ll smile and agree that it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year.

His soft little hands stretched open, reaching for the warmth of His mother. Red and wrinkled, His small body was wrapped snugly, safe from the bitter winter air. Continue reading

When Stories Collide

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As you may know, this month is Orphan November, a time set apart to consider and support the vulnerable and fatherless. While I myself haven’t been able to do much on my blog about it this month because, well, we were busy ensuring there was one less orphan  🙂 ; my dear friend Christ in Me has a whole section of her lovely blog dedicated to orphan care. She asked me if I could share a bit of our story to finish out Orphan November, and I thought I would share with you all as well.

Stories are strange things. Because it isn’t the big, important people who are usually the main characters; it’s not the sunny, lovely days that move the story along. It’s the little people who become the heroes. It’s the disasters that cause the quest.

I don’t really know the beginning of your story. But I think it must have started like many others. With a brave little mother, a brave little father, and a brave little baby. I like to think they loved you dearly, you adorable little ball of sass and sweetness. But then disaster hit. Your head started swelling.

I don’t know if they knew what was wrong. I don’t know if they had ever heard of hydrocephalus. I don’t know if they tried to get the doctor’s help. But I think they must have fought for you. You were their beloved one, their beautiful baby and now —

Four months. That’s all they had with you. They give up their child. But they gave you a chance. A chance at help, a chance at love, a chance at life. They couldn’t help you, but they knew who could. So one night, a brave little baby was left at the gate of the best orphanage in the province.

And so ended the first chapter of this story. But that wasn’t the only family fighting for hope.

Because another story was unfolding in another little family.

Read the rest over at So I Fix My Eyes

 

You can read my thoughts before we left for China here

Thanks Isn’t an Intransitive Verb

 

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It’s easy to give thanks at Thanksgiving.

We’re embraced by family, surrounded by comfort, and encircled by food. It’s a lazy day, sitting around watching Macy’s Parade, playing some games, and helping in the kitchen a little. Even while we eat we still go slowly, spreading all the wonderful goodness out as long as we can. We have plenty of time as we finish ‘filling up the corners’ to consider the blessing we have.

But then the long weekend ends, and it’s Monday again, and there is work and finals and shopping and applications and cleaning and studying and — And we forget. We let thankfulness fall by the wayside.  We get so caught up in life, that we forget that life is a gift. We become so entangled in caring for the stuff, that we forget that the stuff was given. And when we forget the blessings, we also forget the Blesser. And we cannot allow that. Continue reading

An Introduction

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Introductions are tricky things.

Here is a new person: wonderful, broken, and beautiful; here is a new relationship: laughter, frustration, and love; here is a new adventure: exhilarating, terrifying, and enchanting. All that potential, all that unknown, and all you have are words — four simple, small words — to unlock it.

Once upon a time.

“Hello, I am Isabelle.” Continue reading