Friday, October 24, 2014

The Gospel is Greater

This is one of those "as I was thinking, I typed" kind of posts, which might make some sense, or it might not. I've written about a million of these, and usually keep them as drafts or delete them, but I wanted to post one, since I've gotten one or two comments on the topic recently.


I haven't shared about this specifically here, because I haven't really known how to do it, but since I've already begun, here we go. I lost a baby in June of 2012, which you probably recall. And if you read this blog but we haven't spoken about it in person, you've possibly wondered what's been happening in the last two years and four months in that regard. And the answer is... well, that wasn't my last loss. The most recent one is weighing heavy on my heart especially hard lately. He or she was to be due the 1st of November and a few of my friends are also due around this time, so I think the combination of it's been HOW long? and seeing their swollen bellies and thinking about what could have been is more real, because I have that physical reminder. Not that I'm upset by them, just reminded. If that makes sense.

Miscarriage is a strange, strange thing. I haven't been through enough in life to know what to compare it to, so I'm going to do my best. It's a loss, for sure. But not in the sense that you'd feel if your best friend died. Because honestly, you didn't know the little one. You never saw their face in real life, possibly never even heard their heartbeat. It doesn't really make sense that you would miss someone desperately without ever meeting them, but that's the paradox of miscarriage, in my experience. You aren't grieving what was, but what wasn't. And that's a strange thing because there's not a lot to compare it to to make it make sense in your head. It's difficult to talk to someone who's gone through that because you aren't sure how to approach it or if you should. And sometimes you just forget, because not having a tangible thing to talk to someone about or comfort them in is really, really difficult!

The things you miss the most are the things you can't actually miss:
You have no idea what they looked like, and you wish you knew.
You don't know if they were a girl or boy, although you may have felt one way or the other.
You don't know their real birthday, if you would have stuck with that original name choice once you saw them, how you would have reacted when they gasped their first breath of air.
You don't know who they might have become, or what they might have taught you.
You don't know first words, favorite colors, or if they would have loved books like you.

The whole thing is a mystery, and that's one thing that makes it so sad. There is nothing tangible but a pregnancy test I threw away long ago because that's gross. I long for tangible. I long to KNOW. Not only to know WHY, but to know who the child I've lost would be today. They would be nearly two years old at this point, which is crazy because my life is quite far removed from life would be as the mother of a one year old, and that makes me sad too.

A fear of mine in struggling with this is that I would lose my faith. That may sound strange, but I've heard of lots of people who have gone through something traumatizing (and we're talking serious stuff here) and then given up on God.

I see the reasoning. God is loving. God is good. God takes away (or doesn't prevent some outside source taking away) something good. ..God must not be good.

But actually that's not true. God doesn't arbitrarily hand out good things and bad things.

We live in a world that is broken. Death, disease, infertility, natural disasters, pain, hardship... these are all part of the collective human experience. Good has been broken by the bad. It's imperfect, this world. They aren't good.

But (I feel like this illustration has been done before), have you ever walked on a broken sidewalk before? The answer is likely yes. It's frustrating, because you have to look where you're going or risk breaking your leg, but sometimes there are little flowers growing out from the cracks. They don't fix the cracks. They can't make them go away, but it is such a neat contrast to me to see that little life springing up from the brokenness of the sidewalk.

This is when we bring Jesus into the picture, bet you saw it coming.

Jesus lived in this broken world. That's astonishing, if you sit down and ponder it. He's the Son of God and yet he entered earth the way we all do and lived almost like we all do. I say almost because he went through the same experience without sin. He was tempted, and didn't sin. And He died on a cross in His sinless state, giving the broken world hope. Why is this hope? Because a broken world can't be fixed with Elmer's Glue. All the green grass and flowers in the world can't cover up the fact that there are murderers and that there is pain and that things happen that shouldn't. They almost make it seem more hopeless, because they fail and show us what a dump we live in.

When Jesus died on the cross, He brought hope. The lives we were living before were hurtling toward a very bleak future. Brokenness that would end and become eternal brokenness with no chance of escape. Jesus' death doesn't offer to fix the broken sidewalk, per se, but a future hope of being able to live and breathe freely in a way we cannot understand. His death has given life to us, because although we only have a small glimpse of what lies ahead, we have something truly -- and in its fullest sense -- GOOD to look forward to - a world that is whole and perfect.

I cling to that hope because I feel that I have to. It's really all I have to go on in life, because without the hope that Jesus brought and that Jesus IS, I would be left in brokenness. I would be left not knowing, without the slightest hope that maybe one day all would be reconciled.

I hate brokenness. I hate that I experience pain, that I've lost a baby. I hate that you go through it too and that there are not only sad things, but terrible ones going on in this world. I despise what could happen in this world.

And yet I am not worried. I am not fearful for the future as a whole because I believe that Jesus is real. I believe that He is who He said He was and that He will bring reconciliation. There are temporary things we can hope in that bring comfort, but ultimately, I see putting my faith in Him alone as the safest thing I can hope to look forward to.

Whether I do have children of my own one day or not -- as much as I don't like to think about that -- God is good. I can't deny that. I would need to deny everything I've ever said about Him

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dear Graceanna

Dear Graceanna,
You're two years old today! On the day you were born, I was frantically checking my phone, since I knew that your mama was in the hospital waiting on you to make an entrance. I was traveling home from my cousin Morgan's wedding that day, and you were born between the Tampa airport and the Atlanta airport, for me. When I finally got that text, of your sweet little sleeping face in a green hat, I was so excited. I told the person sitting next to me on the plane to Cleveland all about you because I had to tell SOMEONE. . 

I didn't get to meet you until you were two months old. You were so serious, but loved when people talked to you (I found some videos if you want to see them, Jillian?). You were a real trooper with your crazy "aunts", Emily and myself, as we went on all kinds of adventures around DC. 

Graceanna, I'm so thankful that you were born. I've known your mama for ten years now, and I love seeing her as your mom. I've loved watching you grow, seeing pictures and videos of all your developments and milestones. You have been such a blessing to the people around you and so sweet and innocent in difficult times. I look forward to witnessing you grow up into a young woman and (a little more time-sensitive) am so excited to see you become a big sister! 

I love you so much, sweet girl.

"Aunt" Lindsay

Two months old 

10 months old

13 months old

Almost two years old!

Related: Thankful For...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Carson 101

Just because, here are some things you might not know about Carson. 

Carson loves cats, and believes they all love him. They don't seem to, but I think that's just how cats are.

He used to write me letters when we were dating. The letters have grown less frequent (and we aren't long-distance anymore) but every once in awhile he'll write a really sweet one.

Every meal he eats is the best meal ever, and is probably the best guest you could ever serve for that reason. He raves about it and it's really gratifying. Carson is always up for new meals and new restaurants.

Until he met me, Carson did not text and would start arguments with people about how terrible texting was. I brought him over to the dark side in 2009.

Once upon a time, Carson guided whitewater rafting trips. He used to whitewater kayak but sold his boats when we were engaged because he didn't feel that it was something that would be a part of his life anymore. I didn't help with that decision at all. Lately, he's been thinking about getting back into it again.

Carson is not a picky eater, but there are a few things he doesn't like: seafood (he likes fish), olives..and I can't think of anything else. I am super picky, so poor Carson has to practice patience all the time.

He talks in his sleep. I've written down some of the things he's said because they were real words, but at the same time complete gibberish.

Books are his thing. If you know him, you aren't shocked by this at all. If you know this about him, you'll be shocked to know that he's been weeding his collection down. It turns out that when you don't have a basement anymore, keeping lots of boxes of books isn't fun.

Carson loves his feet. He thinks he has the ideal-shaped feet and that they are designed like feet should have been. This isn't a joke.

He never needs to take notes, but somehow absorbs information like a sponge. I used to think he just wasn't paying attention, but when I discovered that he could completely recreate a thought he'd heard days before, I realized I was wrong.

Languages are his thing. Carson knows or is working on Classical Greek, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, German, French, Ethopic and Aramaic. He's always looking to know more and trying to convince me to learn one with him so we can speak it at home.

Thrift stores and garage sales are his thing. Garage sales in particular, for the bargaining and "diamond in the rough" possibilities. The weekend I met his family, we piled into a big van and went to garage sales. I'd never seen people so serious about those before.

Cold weather is Carson's favorite kind of weather. He doesn't like humidity (who can blame him) and pretty much melts when it's hot outside. Snow however? Loves it.

I'm not sure how many jobs he's worked, but I feel like it's got to be over 50. He's worked at so many different places, from Arby's to universities to snow shoveling. "I did that once" is something I often hear when he's talking to someone for the first time, and I learn another thing on what would be a very long resume.

He loves baked goods and sweet things more than anyone I've met.

Carson is incredibly dedicated to learning. He loves what he's doing, but he also treats it like it's his job (I mean, it actually kind of is, so that works) and not only heads to school for approximately 11 hours every day, but spends all but one day each week refining what he knows, reviewing the Hebrew and Greek that he learned years ago, grading student papers, and working on projects. I truly don't think I have 25% of the dedication he does (I am more of your average student). Oh, and he also networks in the academia world well, getting to know professors so he can have a better understanding of his field and connecting with people from other schools for a wider breadth of education. I so admire his work ethic and I COULD NOT do what he does.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Clemson/Florida State Game

When we made the decision to move to Florida, one thing we were excited about was football! John Carroll has a football team, but... we never went to a game and we never really heard about it. We meant to go to a game, but it never worked out and we didn't really care because we didn't know any of the other teams (plus you had to pay). 

Here, you can't walk out your front door without being bombarded by garnet and gold. Seminole football is a BIG thing in Tallahassee, and it doesn't hurt that Florida State won the National Championship game last year. It seems like every car has a bumper sticker or license plate cover and every other person is wearing FSU team apparel or colors. I'd even be willing to bet that there are an unusually large amount of garnet colored cars. It's big stuff here. 

Carson gets a free student ticket and can purchase a guest ticket for about $10 for most games. The Clemson/FSU game is an exception because it's such a popular game, so we planned to spend the game in a sports bar, watching. Then, a professor in Carson's department offered his season ticket, which we eagerly snagged the morning of the game. 

Carson attended the first home game two weeks prior to this one and it was easy for me to drop him off and pick him up, but since this is a big game, we weren't sure how parking was going to work. The game wasn't until 8, but somehow, Carson talked me into going to the school at FOUR to find a parking spot. I convinced him to at least TRY in the student parking lot that's near his department and what do you know? One spot left. Of course that lot was over a mile from the stadium, but a spot is a spot. 
We hung out in his office and around the religion department for a solid hour and a half before making our way to the Doak Campbell Stadium. Plenty of people watching to be seen. Tailgating, bands suiting up for the game... it was a very festive atmosphere.

We decided to go find seats at 6pm when the stadium opened, since student seating is first-come, first-serve. My ticket wasn't a student ticket, but I used it to go in, then sat with Carson. It began to drizzle as we were standing waiting to get in.

So, we made our way up (I need to run these steps sometime. Ouch.)

And here we are, directly in front of our seats, proving Carson's point that being early is better than being on time.

Lots of pre-game pictures, because there was a lot of time before the game. Carson took all of these. It was fun watching the recruits for next year walking around on the field with their families, seeing the players warm up, looking around at the people around us, wondering what it's like to be a freshman at a HUGE school like this (the year we got to Moody, the student enrollment was a whopping 200).

Taking a picture with these glittery guys is apparently one of the things you MUST do before graduating. Anyone else wondering if they have leftover glitter in their ears all semester?

Everyone does the "Tomahawk Chop" basically the entire game (and it's fun but gets old after awhile)


After the coin toss, "Chief Osceola" rides out and plants a flaming arrow in the middle of the field to signal the start of the game.

All the people on the field were fun to watch, and to wonder "why are THEY there? who ARE they?"

When FSU scores, Chief Osceola prances around in the end zone. He also hangs out just behind it on his horse the entire game.

Halftime - first Clemson's band played

Then FSU's band played.

Then more football.

It was a close game, and not a very pretty one. We weren't planning on staying for the whole thing, but when they were neck-in-neck, we had to. I don't think anyone left. The game went into overtime, and Florida State finally won with a touchdown.

We stopped by Carson's little office space (he shares an office with the other assistants here) to make sure he hadn't forgotten something.

And then we got home at two in the morning. It was exhausting but so fun. And we had headaches from all the screaming in our ears. Ow.
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