Monday, January 12, 2015

Having a baby without my momma

Pregnancy comes with a lot of emotions.

Wow.  Like a lot of emotions.

That pretty much sums up the last nine months of my life. 

I haven't been nearly as weepy as I thought I would be.  The first few months I felt like I was just staying alive-barely.  Thanks hyperemises Gravadarum, there are many ways in which I would like to have my life mirror Princess Katherine, this was NOT on the list.

After I started to feel better my emotions were certainly out in full force, but nothing prepared me for this past week.

At Christmas, my husband arrived in Michigan where we will be having our little one.  Thank Goodness, because these five weeks without him were L.O.N.G.  As we made our way through the holidays and all the family time the imminent arrival of our little one became very real.

We needed to find a temporary place to live, a car to use (car seats require a car after all) and a doctor to deliver this little one.

This past week all of those things started to come together.  We were given a car to use, a gorgeous home to stay in. We had an appointment with a doctor that took a lot of time with me, who answered our questions and made us feel great about our choice to deliver here. I felt a wave of relief rush over me.  A few hours later Nyasha and I headed back to the hospital for a tour of the labor and delivery wards.

As we turned into the parking lot the realization hit me that in 1979 my mother was pregnant with me and in July she turned into the parking lot in this exact same hospital and gave birth to me.  The hospital has changed enormously over those 36 years and is almost unrecongnizable to the one she delivered in, but I won't deny that I felt some sort of connection to that-- and it has brought up a ton of emotions! 

Thoughts about a birth plan, who will be where and doing what and all the questions I have about what is about to happen in my world invariably lead to the thought that I would like to be having some conversations with my mom.

I would think that by now I am used to missing out on these things.  She died when I was 19 and I hadn't lived with her since I was 8...I have graduated several times without her, moved across country a couple of times and then around the world.  I have gotten married and now have almost made it through a pregnancy.  But when I walked around that hospital and thought about the fact that although I currently live around the world, that I will deliver in the same hospital she did, I wanted my mom. 

I want her to tell me what she felt like in those weeks and months and days before she met me for the first time.  What it was like when she held me on July 16, 1979.  I want to know what she felt, what she thought and more than anything I want her to tell me what she thinks about this little one that is to come.

Having a baby without a mama is no small thing. 

I have been blessed to have so many strong women in my life: my grandma, my aunts, the women who mentor me around the world--they mother me in different ways every day.  I also have a gracious, loving and prayerful mother-in-law.  I love them. I rely on them.  However there is only one woman who knew what it felt like to give birth to me and she is gone.  I cannot ask her, she cannot tell stories about my first moments and she will not be there when I give birth.

That brings on some BIG emotions, friends. 

There have been many days in my life when I have wanted my mom... but none as much as these. 

I am grateful that I believe that God uses all things for good and that He really does redeem even the most broken of situations.  I can't help but think that the fact that I am giving birth in the same hospital that my mother did so many years ago, is not an accident, but a chance for healing and redemption.

We are getting close to the time to meet our little one. Please keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wonderful Love

I am often struck by the generosity of the people of the world.  

 I am not blind, I see the greed and corruption and I am aware of the damage that selfishness causes in our world.  However, when I open my eyes and my heart to see what else is going on, I see people—some with a little and some with a lot giving generously, sharing what they have with others.

I experienced this in my first years of life in Zimbabwe in a way that changed me forever.  In those first years, when I lived in the ghetto of a small tourist town in the kitchen of a family that had so little compared to the way I had grown up I experienced hospitality in a way I didn’t know existed before.  As I got to know my neighbors and had the opportunity and privilege to hear their stories I saw how they shared with one another.    In those days the Zim dollar, our currency was collapsing.  We experienced inflation rates that astounded economists around the world.   Shelves in the grocery stores were empty and people we knew were starving.  Food was scarce and yet people were sharing it.

Today, my husband and I are in Michigan where I grew up.  I have not lived in this area in more than 15 years.  Yet today we have been blessed by three families that do not know us, from three different church communities in different ways.  They are sharing their belongings with us.

This is the kind of love that Jesus taught.  This is the kind of love that the early church lived out.  This is what I think it means to be a Christian.

This is the kind of love that fills my heart with wonder. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015: A year filled with Wonder.

A New Year.
365 perfectly unblemished days to looks forward to with hope and anticipation.

For me and for my family, this year--2015 is already filled with some life changing days that are circled on the calendar.  Some of them we are able to talk about--like February 2, the day little baby Chari is due!

Other days we are still tucking away in our hearts awaiting the time to discuss them with you all... but we will ask you to pray for these days that will impact our family.

Some years I choose a word to focus on while I pray and meditate.  This word always seems to speak to me in the most special ways.  A few years ago it was beloved, another year it was lovingkindness.  This year I decided that I wanted a word.  I prayed and hoped that by the first I would hear a word that stood out to me for this year.... but nothing came.  I was disappointed but figured oh well, eventually something will pop up.  I mean we are at 36 weeks in this pregnancy and we still don't have even a short list of agreed upon baby names... so what did I expect!! It finally came--the word, not the name.


Hmmmm, I was intrigued by this word.  I often find myself wondering about things.  I am curious by nature and ask a lot of questions as I process through doubt and land in a place of belief.  But as I thought about this word: wonder, I realized that this wasn't really what was speaking to my heart.  It was more like: Wonder-- to have a feeling of awe, astonishment, surprise or admiration. 


I want to be filled with wonder in 2015.  I want to be in awe of the things taking place around me. I want to relish that feeling of astonishment when I see miracles take place and I want to be surprised by the amazing things that happen in the most ordinary moments of life that I often take for granted.  Most importantly I want to live this year in admiration of the One who loves me most and gives me this life that indeed is filled with things to be in wonder about. 

Today, January 5 I looked around at so much that fills me with wonder:

1. God has blessed me with a life that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.  For most of my life that wasn't true- I constantly wanted something else.
2.  This giant belly is a constant reminder of the way God redeems even the most broken parts of our lives.
3.  I love my husband with a love I didn't know I was capable of.  Our romance is a story filled with a wide range of emotions and stories-- some of which we have shared often and others that haven't been told outside of a very small circle of trusted confidants.  I am certain that I am grateful for all the moments... highs and lows and most especially for the place we are at right now.
4.  Our little girl, the one that captured my heart and knitted it to Zimbabwe is loved so deeply by so many.  So much so that I --with all my control freak tendencies- was confident enough to leave her with our family while I flew 10,000 miles away during the biggest transition our family has experienced to day.
5.  I have no idea how the physical needs of our family will be met this year and rather than give me anxiety it excites me. What the heck?!?!

So there it is, the beginning of my year of living in wonder of the life I have been given and the One who graciously has given it.

Here's to a year filled with wonder!