Monday, June 19, 2006

A maze of grace

Yesterday was the 14th birthday of my second-born—my intense, sensitive, funny, wildly dramatic, musical son Ian.

In celebration of the day, I finally wrote his birth story, and updated the links on my birth page accordingly. Poor kid—I’m not sure why, but I’d never taken the time to write his out! It was my first induced labor, a transfer of care, from home birth to hospital, a month away from my due date, because of gestational diabetes.

I think I was inspired in part by the events of Friday morning. After my declaration of Thursday evening (or rather the wee hours of Friday morning), my phone rang just before 6 AM—my midwife friend, asking me if I wanted to attend a birth with her. Still groggy from only 3 hours of sleep, I said no, thinking that I needed to be at Bible study at 10 (my turn to bring snacks) and of all the canning that awaited me (47 more quarts of green beans over the last day or two). But after I hung up, I lay there wide awake, realizing how flimsy those reasons were. In a few minutes, I called her back and told her I’d changed my mind.

She told me ahead of time that the couple is Byzantine Catholic, expecting their 8th baby. (Elliot, if you’re reading, I laughed at your comment about Feminary because, hey, at one time that would have been quite the stretch for this Baptist-raised girl—but as I told my mom recently, if she’d wanted me to stay fundamentalist, she should have never let me read C.S. Lewis in high school.) They’re very neat people, and despite the denominational differences, I felt an immediate connection. In fact, the dad kept talking theology and church history with me instead of paying attention to his wife during contractions. I swear I did as little encouraging or responding as possible, but it’s probably no wonder her labor stalled out and by 10 she was sending us home. (As I asked someone later, do I just exude this aura that says, “deep thinker, engage me in discussion”??? Sheesh! I was just there as a midwife’s assistant.)

Though disappointed that there wouldn’t be a birth, I saw that I had time to make Bible study after all … and Beth Moore was in usual fine form, this time on the section dealing with Joseph being raised to the position of second in command in Egypt. Among other things, I received reassurance that IF the Lord sends me into the ABA side with my writing, I need not fear either my own inadequacy or the reception of my work—and that this time of waiting, again, is also preparation for what He has for me. In fact, I’d been doing so much thinking about how the Church gets inbred, especially when it comes to the arts, that I wonder whether this wasn’t my confirmation that I’m supposed to turn my energies that direction. After all, Beth said, “God is too wise to place His brightest lights only where light is already shining.”

I’m excited now to see what the Lord is going to do next. (And maybe I’ll even ditch attending the ACFW conference in September, and go to Dragon*Con instead.)

Tomorrow—more sweet pickle relish to put up, and the third big wave of green beans. My consolation is another nugget from Friday’s session with Beth Moore: “If we are not presently accomplishing more than we humanly can, we are not walking in the Spirit.” I know that doesn’t seem to jive well with the “non-performance” stuff I’ve been reading recently, but I understand her point—and I have to say, despite the exhaustion, I can feel the Spirit sustaining me these last weeks, helping me either to finish what’s on the day’s plate, or showing me what I can shovel off on the next day (or into oblivion). It’s a good way to live. I couldn’t imagine facing the stress of these days without it.

3 comments:

  1. I am indeed reading, and I'm glad I made you laugh!

    It's great how C.S. Lewis pulls people in from different ends of the spectrum. I was certainly hooked by him, from my own JW background. I came across a news item today about Frances Collins, the geneticist, who said C.S. Lewis played a role in his conversion from atheism. And I'm reminded of the last chapter of Alan Jacob's The Narnian, when he discusses Lewis' lifelong influence on Kenneth Tynan, one of the last people you'd expect to be a Lewis fan.

    Happy birthday to your son, and good luck with your publishing ordeal! I'm eager to see how it turns out. It would be awesome if you did get noticed by an ABA publisher... but I don't want to second-guess God. :-)

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  2. I think there is a very beautiful difference between being performance oriented--working hard and trying to earn love and acceptance . . . being a people pleaser, etc. and learning to rest in God, His finished work and follow the Spirit. It's not that following Jesus isn't productive. It should be a supernaturally product life. It's just that our effort flow from His power and don't have roots in our own need to perform to get approval, self-esteem, love, etc. There's a soul rest even as the body is busy.

    Did I just make any sense?

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  3. Thanks, Elliot! And I'd forgotten about posting after midnight ... the 17th was his birthday ... and yes, God has used Lewis and his writings mightily, to borrow some old-fashioned terminology. :-)

    And Paula, you made PERFECT sense! That's exactly what I was thinking--only you said it better!

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