We've had a lot going on lately. I had my first birth photography experience this weekend and it was amazing. I am so, so thankful they let me be a part of such a beautiful experience.
It was also difficult in some respects. I had a front-row seat to the fact that part of this journey we're on is dying to old dreams and embracing new ones.
I always wanted all of our kids born in Montana. In fact, our boys were born in the exact same room at our hospital, 18 months apart. Baby Grace will welcome the world in Seattle.
I wanted to experience our Labor and Delivery's newly finished renovations, these beautiful birthing suites. I remember making the comment several times how excited I was that with our next child we'd be able to experience it. I'll birth in a hospital I've never stepped foot in.
My greatest joy with my babies is breastfeeding. Those first moments after birth, cuddling skin to skin, the first moment of connection, taking all the time I want to study their sweet faces and breathe in the smell of new life that never gets old. I'll be thankful to have even a few moments with Baby Grace after her birth before she's whisked to a hospital a mile and a half away for tests and prepping for open-heart surgery.
Honestly, there are days I hate our new normal. I struggle with jealousy and envy of others. I wonder why it's so easy for some families to have such healthy babies and kids. I envy that their child will not be defined by a major health obstacle the rest of their life.
We used to entertain the thought of a homebirth. I can't even imagine that now. Now, I just look forward to bringing her home at all.
Some days I struggle to accept it all and other days I have a deep peace and contentment.
I've made the comment to Matt several times that I miss the Cleaver life, the rainbows and the unicorns.
I've read more on suffering than I have before and I read now with new understanding and insight. The hard, brutal fact of the Christian life is that suffering is part of it, and through it we draw closer to Christ and his suffering. I'd need pages to list every verse that talks about this.
Suffering produces compassion. Empathy. A softened heart. Deeper grace. Humility.
If we let it.
Or it can produce bitterness, anger, envy, jealousy, a heart turned from the Lord.
At one point in Jesus' life many of the people following him turned away from him because of his difficult statements of truth and Jesus asks the disciples if they're going to leave him too and Peter says, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:66-68).
I feel that. Each of us turn to something when it's hard. I want to turn to Jesus. I don't want to miss one moment of becoming like him in this journey.
I want to choose joy and thankfulness. Even when it means choosing it over and over and over.