Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beauty for Ashes

There's not a lot of time to write these days. The laundry is piling up and the kitchen sink is full. The Samster has turned out to be a serious extrovert (courtesy of his daddy) and so there is a non-stop talking preschooler at my heels almost every minute of the day. There's always something else to do, somewhere else to be, another bill to pay, another phone call to be made, another chore to accomplish. Life is just busy and there's little time for quiet or reflection or thinking about anything beyond this single, current moment. And so, I don't write. I don't reflect. I don't sit down and consider much these days. Mostly I just do, and do, and do and then I go to sleep when it gets dark.

But, today I'm letting the laundry that needs to be done sit where it is as well as the toys on the floor and the dishes in the sink. I'm foregoing the nap that this eight and half month pregnant body is demanding and sitting down for a few minutes to set some things down.

I shared with a new friend this morning how I did not expect to be having a baby this year. Or really any year, for that matter, after the miscarriages we had over the last two years. Every now and then I realize that I'm taking for granted the fact that someone's tiny foot is poking into my ribcage. It's easy to forget where you've been when you're so caught up in the very present, very consuming now. I've been doing that lately. In the midst of all the stuff that comes with being pregnant (i.e. heartburn, morning sickness, ridiculous tiredness, loss of normal brain function, etc.), it's easy to forget the miracle that's been happening.

A few weeks ago we sang a song at church that I (obviously) can't remember the name of, but I keep thinking about one of the phrases that referenced Isaiah 61:3 where God gives his people a "crown of beauty for ashes." Basically every Sunday these days I get all teary during worship and end up mostly mouthing the words for fear that I'll croak out a sob. When we sang the song about God giving beauty in place of ashes, I felt the reality of that truth in my own life sink in and, of course, got all weepy.

There's still part of me that hasn't completely let go of the fear that those miscarriages left me with and I realize sometimes that I don't fully believe that God is really going to let us have this baby. I find myself looking at Sam and feeling so amazed that he is so perfect (Lest you protest, I'm not discounting the sin nature thing here). It's almost like I'm surprised that God allowed us something so good. I don't know why I can't just believe that God loves giving us good things and allowing us to experience joy.

But, five weeks from delivering this feisty baby girl who's already got Sam beat in the energetic unborn baby contest, I'm choosing to believe Isaiah 61:3, even though I don't always feel like I believe it. God does give beauty for ashes. He does bring joy in the morning. He does replace our fear with hope.

I'm typing this even as baby girl is pushing hard enough for me to see some part of her outlined against my midsection. When I think about the emptiness that was there last summer and the summer before, I'm a little overwhelmed with the beauty that this rather dis-proportioned figure is harboring. I'm so thankful to be trading in the ashes from the past two summers. I hope I can fully embrace what that means so that I can be sure not to take any second of this for granted.

T-36 days and counting.


  1. You are so's surprising how quickly we forget to see the Lord's blessings in our lives, even when we've spent years begging Him to send them to us. I do the exact same thing. Thank you for the reminder!!

  2. I love this. So beautiful and so true. That passage of scripture is one of my favorites. Love you and can't wait to meet Mae!

  3. What a beautiful reminder to cherish every little moment of pregnancy. Not always easy with a foot in your ribs, but true all the same.



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