Many have lived here before. I like that history. They called it House of Grace. I love that name. I am struggling today to find that grace ... that favor that we don't deserve, but we come to expect from the God who so graciously holds us in his hands. Yet it is there. Isn't it?
I have always known that life is cyclical. When I taught, I'd have a year filled with stellar students, great curriculum and good faculty relationships followed by year with more discipline and frustration than teaching. As a parent, I experience months of cooperation, working and developing consciences, and much cuddling followed by months of strict discipline, redirection, sleepless nights, and mom and children teary eyed. We experience joy and pain, solidarity and floundering, security and fear. And through it all, whether my mind believes it or not, my heart knows He is sovereign.
For me, this is a season of great loss. If it were one thing, I might not be searching for the grace quite so desperately, but it has come in one deafening wave. My closest friend moved away. I am so happy for her, but more than I thought, I find myself wishing we were closer.
Our house was broken into while on vacation and all my jewelry, great-aunts silver, our computer with all our kids' pictures, and a handful of other things are gone. I tell myself those are just things, but attached to things are great sentimental memories from parents, grandparents already gone, and so many gifts of love from my husband. And they are things, and our treasure is not in this world, but I have to constantly remind myself of where my heart must be. Though they are things, when I walk by where something used to be, I feel that loss of security. I feel fear. I must push it aside constantly so that my children never need know there was a reason to fear. I must create the safe place for them that I find when I run to my Father's arms.
With the loss of the computer goes several outlets I took for granted. Right or wrong, the internet has really become a place of socialization, especially for someone who has spent much of their life moving, friends scattered across states and countries. I can only write on my blog, should my husband bring home his computer to work. And it's hard, and it's been a very lonely three and a half weeks home.
And with the seasons come unexpected changes in income and re-budgeting to remain a stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles and expected changes in the kids' schedules as they return to school and I find myself with more time, but to do what?
Today I find myself holding my swelling belly and pondering, what next? What next must I lose, and if I lose it will I still be able to practice gratitude or will I find myself continually comparing my circumstances with others around me? It is easy to give thanks in the easy times and today, as I search for his grace, I give thanks in the midst of loss, because sometimes there is pain in praise, but it always magnifies the giver of all good things. As I magnify Him, the loss must needs become smaller. As I thank, I allow Him to take his rightful place, and all things that could become idols, become shadows in His light. So for a few things lost, I am thankful for the associated memories.
83. Two young twenty-somethings in New York on their honeymoon, searching for just the right symbol of their love, wandering through Tiffany's and finding a silver pendant that looked like two hearts melted together as one. I am thankful for over 11 years of love with that man that God answered my deepest prayers with.
84. A small silver and turquoise ring that a Dad bought his daughter when she was twelve on a road trip in the middle of 7th grade. The destination, another home, another church, another school. I am thankful for a father who always provided love, shelter, and security in the midst of great change.
85. A silver cross given to a bride as a way of welcoming her into their family, the day before she became a Price. I am grateful for the acceptance I've always felt from Matt's family.
86. An amber cross, amber butterfly and silver chain bought for a girl on her thirtieth birthday in Krakow, Poland. I am thankful for a husband that always finds a way to make what seems like a huge deal for me, a wonderful memory.
87. A silver chest of silverware given by a great-aunt from her hope chest, though she never married. I am grateful for my family and for the heritage of faith and
88. That I was given the gift of marriage.
89. A computer that was well used and filled with thousands of pictures, videos, budgets, etc. I am thankful for the memories those pictures represent and that I was given a mind that allows me to relive those moments whether I have pictures or not and
90. That no matter how flawless I think my budget is, that it is He who supplies all my needs.
91. A silver cross and necklace. I am thankful that my husband and I share the same faith and that so much of what he gives me reminds me of where my hope is.
92. A gold and pearl ring given from a grandmother to her granddaughter as she entered her teens. I am thankful not only for such a gift and for great grandparents, but also that my sister replaced one of the missing pearls on my first mother's day, a month after my grandmother went home.
93. A Nicholas charm and a spring flower charm. I am thankful for my relationship with my mother-in-law who has year after year added to a charm bracelet she started for me, and made me always feel more special than I can begin to express. I might as well, just say it ... she's the best mother-in-law ever.
94. For the wood flower necklace with a picture of a precious five year old, glitter pasted to the middle of it, brought to me while in labor with my second son. It reminded me through the whole grueling experience the amazing good that comes out of such pain and got me through. I am thankful for my sweet kiddos and that I was able to communicate to Lucas how much that gift meant to me by keeping it in my jewelry box.
95. For the beautiful jewelry box that was my gift from Matt this past Christmas. I am thankful for the vivid memory of watching the kids' faces as I opened it and hearing them exclaim that they picked it out and
96. For a husband who searches for things that are things I would never think to need or ask for, but are so special and
97. For the memories of Nicholas organizing my jewelry early in the mornings.
98. For a church staff that made sure the house was put together enough when we returned home that the kids have never known anything to be amiss
99. For the security measures taken by the same staff and my husband to ensure that we are safe.
100. For the time we enjoyed in Texas with family in spite of what happened at home.
101. For the memories yet to be made and pictures still to be taken.
102. For this life that grows within me and that in all things, God is good and in control.
103. For a husband who understands what I feel and speaks the languages or reason and love simultaneously.
104. For visits from family.
105. For double date nights with brother and sister-in-law and yummy food.
106. That my mom and dad are coming to visit
107. That when I was at my lowest in the realization of the loss, my Matt gave me an anniversary ring to begin our 10th year of marriage and took me away to a quiet cabin, in the woods in Texas and reminded me of so many of the reasons why I love him.
108. That I can hold to this promise ...
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)
109. That His grace is here, when my mind argues with what my heart knows.