Man, that Jesus…

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Jesus…He was…different. I mean, obviously, He healed people all the time and rose from the dead. But I’m talking more about how He treated people; how He responded…He kept doing things different. Different then the religious leaders were used to. Different than the disciples would expect. We can read story after story about what someone did, and how Jesus spoke into the situation, always different than the people around him expected him to respond.

In trying to trick him, the religious leaders went out and found a woman who was having affair- like, apparently they caught them in the act and threw her in front of Jesus. “The law says to stone her,” they said. “What do you say?” That poor woman. Can you imagine how she was feeling in that very moment? Here’s Jesus’ response: “Alright…if you have never sinned, you can be the first one to throw a stone at her…” One by one people left. The Bible says that “they slipped away”. He was right and it stopped being about the law…it was about how SHE was not any different than THEM… Jesus had compassion but she was the only one left to receive it. After they all slipped away, this woman, who only moments before must have been convinced she was going to be murdered, heard Jesus say to her “I don’t condemn you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)

When Jesus and his friends went to Martha’s house for dinner, Martha was doing all the cooking while her sister Mary was sitting with Jesus in the other room. Martha got so mad about it that she approached Jesus and said “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” For sure she thought Jesus would say- Yes, Martha. Good point. Mary, go help your sister… How embarrassing for Martha to get (gently) reprimanded instead. “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-42 )

In her book a Year of Biblical Womanhood, Rachel Held Evans discusses the interaction Jesus had with a man who had leprosy and with a woman who had suffered for years from a chronic uterine hemorrhage, both of whom Jesus healed with a touch. Evan’s states that “there was a message behind these healings, and it sounded throughout all of Galilee, Judea, and the known parts of the world: When God became human, when he wrapped himself in our blood and skin and bones, his first order of business was to touch the ones that we would not touch, to fellowship in our sufferings, and to declare once and for all that purity is found not in the body, but in the heart.” Mark 1:41 and Mark 5:26

This woman, with the hemorrhage…some versions of the Bible title her story as “The Woman with the Issue of Blood”. What a horrid title…but what a horrid story. At that time, when a woman had her period, she was dubbed ‘unclean’ and had to separate herself from her family. This woman had to do it for twelve years…no integration with friends or family, no community…she went to doctor after doctor, spent all that she had. She was hopeless…When she heard of Jesus she thought “if only I can touch his cloak I will be healed.”(Matthew 9:21) Jesus was her only hope. So one day she pushed through the crowd and touched just the edge of his robe. And. She. Was. Healed. She knew it. So did Jesus. He stopped what he was doing and asked who touched him. Busted. The Bible says that the woman trembled with fear. Ya, I would have too. I mean He just healed her when no one else could. That’s some kind of power! But she came forward, fell at his feet and told him the truth. His response, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Shocking. But so very Jesus. (Mark 5:25-34)

And when my own heart was bleeding out, not even a year ago, the only place left to go was to Jesus. To fall at His feet. Hopeless. Spent. At the end of me. The response He spoke to my heart? “Daughter, I love you. I am sorry you hurt. I see you. I am here.” Time and time again I fall at his feet and He speaks this to my heart.

The woman caught in adultery, Martha, the man with leprosy, the woman with the issue of blood, Anna Light…every situation different and just tremendously messy… and every time Jesus responds with kindness, compassion, healing. He has seen it all, you guys. It is self centered to think that our problems are too big for Him. It is when we go to Him, even fall at His feet, that we find Him. You don’t have to be neat and tidy. It doesn’t have to make sense to those around you. Just go. Broken to be mended. You will find fellowship in your sufferings. Just as I have.

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In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month saying, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” (October15th.com)

I have never intended this blog to be solely for those who have experienced infertility and/or pregnancy loss.  But today, I speak to you who know what it is to lose a child before you even saw their face.  I know you are out there.  Statistics indicate that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.

There are many things I would hope to become an expert at…miscarriages are NOT on the list.  But unfortunately, I have had more pregnancies end in miscarriage than end with the delivery of a healthy, full term baby.  Sometimes in this life we know things we hate knowing.  Allow me to speak from my experience in this area:  Please-take a moment sometime this month and remember; remember your child.  If you have not done so already, do something to commemorate your child’s life.  Shortly after our third miscarriage we purchased a Christmas ornament…it has three sparkly stars.   As I take it out of the box, carefully unwrap it from it’s tissue paper, and hang it on the tree, I remember…  These babies are a part of us…a part of our Christmases for now until the end of our days.

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What we’re doing this year, the Caroline Project, blogging; this is THE Most. Vulnerable. I. Have. Ever. Been.  (And I have a love/hate relationship with it).  At times this is our coping mechanism.  At times a distraction from reality.  At times an action step we can take because we have no idea what to do next.

But it is beyond a coping mechanism, beyond a distraction.  This is our unborn children’s legacy.  They didn’t even make it out of the womb, and yet they are leaving a mark on the world, and their mark on our family.  We are letting them.

Something tells me that this is Holy ground…perhaps the most holy place my feet have ever been.

Many of you have shared your stories with me…a treasure that I value so very much.  You may choose to share your story, or choose to keep your story in your secret place of remembering, either way, remember them this month.

Here is a link to a great interview with Sherokee Ilse, the author of Empty Arms: Coping After Miscarriage, Stillborn, and Infant Death and the President of  Wintergreen Press and Babies Remembered.  It’s worth your time, even if you have never experienced loss in this way.

Eye Doctors and Duck Billed Platypuses.

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I have never claimed to be “a blogger”. Sure, I have a blog. But does that make me “a blogger”? Maybe. Maybe what makes you a blogger is that you start thinking in blog entries. If that’s the case, then I guess that’s what I am. About fifteen times a day, I have a series of thoughts that fit together like the words on this page. Never before have I THOUGHT in WRITING. Okay, there was that time, right after I got a Facebook account, that I kept thinking in status updates, but that was different. There are two problems though. The first being that I cannot seem to find the time to get the words down on paper (i.e. the computer). Two, sometimes the thoughts leave my brain as quickly as they came into my brain. In these times, I sit down at the computer and attempt to revisit the brilliant words from the day before and…alas…brilliancy gone. Sad.

This week I’ve thought in writing about so many things. The time Jonah came into our bed in the middle of the night and proceeded to snore and poke me with his elbows the entire time. It was glorious. No, for real. The joy of having him nearby made me weep with gratitude (I get a little delusional at 3am…). I was going to share the story that I saw on the Today Show about a homeless man who returned a backpack with $40,000 in it. Someone in a different state heard about it and decided that the man needed more than a plack for his good deed. This man started an online campaign that raised more than $148,000 for the homeless man; thereby changing the trajectory of his life. Total inspiration. I wanted to share the list I’m working on. It’s a list of what I really want my life to be all about. (I definitely am going to work on the list and post in the future). These are just a few of the wanderings of my mind.

This is the nugget chosen to fill this space today:

To the lovely woman at the eye doctor this morning; I say thank you. I appreciate you. I have needed to get to the eye doctor for the past three months. Appointments have been made, cancelled, and made again. The appointment that stuck happened to be this morning, a day when Jonah didn’t have school. I had no choice but to take him with. Never has the waiting room in the doctor’s office seemed so small…all the chairs squished up next to each other in their little nook. As we sat right next to you, waiting for my eyes to dilate, I know Jonah was talking incessantly about nothing at all. I saw you secretly watching him and smiling while he and I played tic tac toe. The point at which you realized he was a talker, you kindly stopped making eye contact with him (wise choice). When his words per minute passed the 10,000 mark, instead of rolling your eyes, you just shut them, and went to your happy place (I kind of wish I could have come with you!). When he was pretending to be a duck billed platypus…all around the 5 foot square waiting area…ya, he does that. I don’t blame you for practically jumping out of your seat when the Office Manager came and got you…I did the same thing when it was my turn.