Monday, March 23, 2015

New Growth

I wait.

For winter to melt away into spring.

Hearts to heal.

Prayers to be answered.

For an invitation to a faraway place that holds more and more of my heart every day.

And for my hair to return to its former glory.

The last one, it seems silly, really. When I think about it within the frame of all of glory and the every day, amid all of the need and all of the hurt, amid all of the joy and all of the laughter, I think, "really?"

Really, am I really and honestly waiting for something so small and tiny and inconsequential as my hair to regrow and return to its shiny, healthy mess of locks?

Late last summer I noticed that my normally thick hair was thinning out quite a bit. My husband thought I was just more tuned into it, but really my hair was actually falling out more. Probably it was a perfect storm of stress mixed with some heartache and a flaring autoimmune issue that caused my tresses to wilt like leaves falling from autumn trees. By the time the trees were shedding their leaves, I honestly wondered if at some point I might just go completely bald. I sympathized with the trees that lost all their vibrant glory before the others.

By the time snow started dusting the ground, I was feeling like I'd recovered quite a bit from the heartache of our "failed" adoption and the implementation of breathing and moving and doing the two in conjunction while praying seemed to douse the fires of flares and stress enough to give not only my mind and heart but also my hair a break.

In this new year, we have known great joy, and that joy has been a salve over the scars of the past few years. And that joy has been founded now in the wait of bringing two girls home forever into our family.

I marvel that joy has been found in the hard, in the long wait of

winter and healing and prayers prayed passionately at all hours of day and night and invitations being carefully crafted and in my very own locks of hair.

In the wait there has been joy

and there has been new growth

in days lengthening, sun stretching longer across the hours and horizons.

There has been faith strengthened and elongated,

hearts mended stronger

soft whisper-prayers held, heard,

heart strings strengthened.

And because He knows every hair on my head and nothing is too small or meek to escape His tender care, too, in the wait there has been new growth in the form of tiny whisps of baby hairs stretching longer and longer and longer ...

Monday, March 2, 2015

When You Don't Feel Like Waiting Anymore

We are standing at the edge of where water meets a slice of sandy beach, watching shadows of the sun sink closer and closer to the tips of palm trees and the blues of ocean behind thick clouds.

While the sun lingers all day long in the sky, and most of the time I barely realize it's moving, I am keenly aware of it's movement when it steadily retreats into the horizon. And tonight I am asking God for something beautiful to spread out before us despite the heavy clouds hanging in the sky. I'm briefly tempted to abandon the beach and just head home because it's unlikely that we'll catch much of a sunset with all the clouds covering the sky and it's even more unlikely that we'll get a glimpse of the dolphins I've been hoping to see. I've loved dolphins since we first started visiting my grandparents in Southwest Florida, and God has spoken love to me through them. I promise our soon-to-be-adopted teen daughter, who shares my love for these animals, I will report any sightings.

I lean into John just before we are ready to resign from the beach, and instead I find myself breathing a timid prayer.

"God, something beautiful please."

The sun almost immediately slips out from behind the clouds and spreads into red, pink, orange with hints of purple.

Moved by the lovely in front of us and the graciousness of a God who answers prayers, I ask, "Oh, and dolphins, too, please!"

I can't stop the prayers from tumbling out of my lips as the sun descends and continues to set the sky bright acolor.

"Thank you for this beauty, God." I say, "Thank you for the lovely you paint across the sky. Lord, you make beautiful things. God, please, bring our girls home to us. Bring us word of movement, our referral. Please."

Where I end John begins and we are praying honest heart cries as the sunset blazes in beauty before us.

As we continue to pray, I see movement in water before us, and not one, not two, not three, but five fins take turns jutting out of the water. It looks like maybe it's feeding time and the dolphins have found a buffet just several yards away.

I breathe out gratitude and we watch them dance in the waters as the last of the sun disappears, leaving a glow in the twilight of sky and on the water.

I find myself thankful for the burst of patience and persistence gifted to us as we stood on the beach just moments before. And I am reminded of words I read earlier that day in two different places:
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18
When I wait you strengthen my heart. Psalm 27:14 
We have not been forgotten in our waiting. Our tears, our prayers, our pleas -- they have been heard.

Strength has been gifted in the wait. Blessing will grow in the wait. Beauty has come and will spread into more

like colors at sunset across the sky

like dolphins remembered in their need for a nightly feast

like prayers answered as two pilgrims in the journey stand at the edge of where water meets a slice of sandy beach, watching shadows of the sun emerge from behind thick clouds

and sink closer and closer to the tips of palm trees and the blues of ocean setting the whole beautiful thing on fire with color.