Then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in the baby carriage. :o)
If only it were that easy. The pictures make it seem so. Engagement photos of two lovebirds gazing into each other’s eyes — the only time when they’re allowed to be the snuggliest and gooiest with the least amount of eye-rolls. Then, the wedding — all kinds of dressed-up hope and promise for a glorious future of togetherness. Later, ultrasound photos reveal the result of new life, created from all of the aforementioned moments brought into fruition.
But nothing was this easy in 2020.
This is our second miraculous grandchild born in this most-challenging year of years (click here for more on the first), and both birth stories had to include things that we had just never even imagined would be included. Scary diagnoses. Daddies not allowed at appointments or ultrasounds. Mommas concerned about giving birth all alone due to restrictions. Masks during labor. And no family waiting nearby to hear the exciting bits and rest assured that Momma is okay. Each of those circumstances creates tears and fears and stress. And we were denied moments that we can never get back.
And it would be very easy to let my brain tip into a full-on-slide down the hill of frustrated feelings and forget to come up for air.
Or I make the conscious decision to FEAST ON GRACE (Hebrews 13:8).
That is where I live. I can focus on what was wrong, or I can absolutely decide to focus on and cherish the little face that I had only imagined as some precious, future-possibility. I can see that the little fingers that grab for mine were born despite and in the midst of the drama. My baby girl learned much about her God, her husband, and her very superhero-like-self as she so bravely fought the fear, listened to the reassurances of her Savior, and labored — willing to lay down her very life — to bring forth her son. Her son! He is healthy and perfect and an absolute miracle!
As we brought our son-in-law and daughter close and ministered to them through food and rest and took turns with baby-swaying, we remembered the gravity of the truth of life itself. God holds it all. He has purpose and intention and a plan so much bigger than what we allow ourselves to be caught up in. We see the palm in front of our face. He is outside of time, and absolutely none of this caught Him by surprise. He is fully capable of creating and weaving beauty in and through the fabric of this year. And little Christian Macintyre (the MAC!!! — wait for the punchline to register) is proof positive that He does.
Our family grew by three beautiful souls within the span of 12 months’ time! Thanks to our very-soon-to-be-miracle-of-a-daughter-in-law and our two new little lives, our Christmas Day photo will have expanded more incredibly than I could have dreamed from when I began writing 91 Little Things a year ago. Even if there were 88 really challenging — even gut-wrenching — parts of this year, those 3 miracles that popped up and blessed our socks off were enough to be the saving grace. I’d do it all again.
What things got you through? Can you see beauty in the ashes of 2020? The beauty is waiting for you to uncover. And the miracles come when you choose gratefulness and drench the whole pile in grace upon grace upon grace.