I finally watched the first episode of This is Us. At the moment, I can’t express how much related to it. This story line is only one of the dynamics of the show that felt familiar. I’m fairly certain the writers have been taking notes on my life.
I can’t let today pass without acknowledging it.
Twenty-nine years ago today, I became a mom.
I didn’t get to bring that baby home with me. That sweet baby girl who seemed perfect. Who was named for a song about hippies who wanted to change the world and for a Sanskrit word that means “a joy that changes and dances itself in many ways to enthrall your mind and keep your attention occupied and interested forever.”
A baby girl who didn’t live to see this world, but who still changed my life forever. In the busyness of life, I haven’t always acknowledged this day, but at any time, I could tell you how old my first daughter would’ve been if she had lived.
I’m also thankful for the first daughter I did get to bring home and the redemption she brought to this day. Not only did she fill the empty space in my arms, but a year ago today, she brought another daughter into my heart. Life isn’t always what we picture it would be. I didn’t picture that my daughter would be legally wed to a woman, but Becca and Brittney are facing life with strength and dignity. They bought a house. They’re paying off debt. They’re going to school to improve their education and career options.
And I’m thankful that I get to be mom to both of them as they journey through life.
October 10th will always be a loaded day for me. There’s no escaping it. God, however, with his exceptionally gifted ways, has turned the mourning into dancing and has put some joy back into a date that was difficult for many years.
There’s much about life I don’t understand and I’m OK with letting God take care of those things. I don’t know all the whys and wherefores and rights and wrongs, but I know that God wants me to love people, and that’s a test I can get a 10/10 on.
Recently, a friend referred me to this post by Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, and I have been pondering it since.
Along for the ride are words like this:
If the son has set you free, then you are free indeed.
Now the Lord is Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I could go on and on listing passages of scripture that discuss what some call a “divine heart transplant” that God tells us has been provided.
And yet I could also go on and on about teachings that try to come up with rules, lists, formulas, and things to do. Our role. Our responsibility. Our tasks and mission.
When I read the Gilbert article, I had a visceral reaction. I felt a lump in my throat and a big area of emotion just below my throat — close to my heart. I’m not much of a cryer, but my body wanted to cry at the thought of freedom — real freedom — and the lack of a societal need to be good.
Just . . . free.
Who would I be? What would I do? And why do I not trust myself to be and do those things when the creator of the universe has told me repeatedly that I have a new heart and new mind and that the desires of my heart were given to me by him (or her, but in truth something so much more than either).
What does freedom feel like? How does my body respond to the concept of freedom? For me, my face is uplifted, I stand strong, and my hands are lifted high. It’s the opposite of the shoulder-heavy tension that is all too often my experience.
So why don’t we live from freedom? What is it about human nature that leads us toward lists and rules and cans and cannots? It’s easy to say that we don’t trust ourselves, but isn’t the root of this a lack of trust in God? For now, when I feel that achy shoulder heaviness of burdens, I will choose to move my body into a posture of freedom. I will choose to trust my Creator and not my abilities.