If we were sitting together with a cup of hot tea, this is what I'd say to you...
So much mercy... It overwhelms.
Cora is not only off the ventilator, but today was moved out of PICU.
David's coming home from the hospital tomorrow.
Judah's pneumonia is all better and he came home today.
So many glimpses of His presence in their lives... but still more to be lifted up.
Jennifer is still in the hospital battling pneumonia.
Catherine will be having her complicated heart surgery tomorrow.
This is the nature of life in this place; the ups and downs never really stop... like crashing waves. And when you stand in waves, you get wet. Wet with His presence. Wet with His love. Wet with His kingdom. Sometimes getting wet feels a little like drowning, and I wonder how we manage, because I know we're not strong enough. All I can say is that He fills our cups and He keeps us going.
Jacob and I are reading Prodigal God right now. Wow. Seriously. Has to be one of the best books we've ever read. It hits us at our cores, exposing the 'elder brother' inside each of our hearts. Have you read it? If not, you should.
What are you doing for Christmas? I want to hear about your plans. Makes me feel like I know you better. :) Speaking of which, if you read this blog a lot but don't ever comment, will you do so today? Just a small hello will do, and if you blog, a link to your corner of the web would be nice! (I'd like to get to know you, too!) A few weeks ago at the foster home, a visitor called out my name from across the courtyard. I didn't know who it was, but found out when we met that he reads our blog. (Hello Dave!) Anyway, let's have some shout-outs across this virtual courtyard.
Since I asked about your plans, I should share ours. We're baking 200 or so Christmas cookies tomorrow and decorating them on Wednesday with the little ones. By decorating, I mean trying to keep the fact that frosting tastes yummy a complete secret until we only have about 50 cookies left to decorate. Otherwise, we end up with slobbery frosting. Not yummy. Thanks to Operation Giggle, the children are going to have a fun Christmas, though we're celebrating on the 24th instead of the 25th. Christmas Eve, we're hosting a small "wine and cheese" party for some of our dear friends here at our house... On Christmas day, we're going to hang out with family.
That's right, I said family!
Jacob's little brother and his girlfriend are coming to visit us, and they arrive on Christmas Eve. We have a busy week planned with them, including a jaunt to Shanghai, so there might not be much blogging. We're thankful we get to spend Christmas with some of our family.
Yesterday, Jacob and I thought we'd died and gone to heaven. We found out that there is a Subway restaurant about 30 minutes from where we live. Previously, the only western food available within that distance was KFC and some Chinese-influenced western food. Subway tasted exactly the same as at home, and even had my favorite unhealthy sandwich, the Spicy Italian. Yay!
I've intended to write some more Christmas thoughts, and I might still get a big post done before the big day. But since I haven't mustered the energy, I wanted to share this exceptionally good post with you.
The last couple of weeks have been rough. Jacob's been down for the count - nasty flu mixed with a stomach virus. He was out for a week straight. He's better now, but we're dealing with some personal challenges right now. I feel really tired, and to be honest, angry that an easy solution isn't at hand. I want to say that I believe all that I said about God being with us wherever we are, but I have to confess that I don't really feel Him with me right now. I see Him all around me - in Cora, David, Judah... But sometimes I struggle with trusting that He really loves me and has my best interest at heart. I want to... I really do. But, I don't want to let go of all that I'm clinging to; all of my self-constructed safety nets that keep me from holding on to Him. Even if it might be an illusion, I feel safer with self-constructed safety nets. If I let go, what if He doesn't catch me? I know I'm not the only one who wonders this sometimes... Yet I sense He's asking me to abandon myself to him. Why am I saying this? Just to be real, mostly. I don't want to get put on a spiritual pedestal by anyone. And, also because I know you'll pray for me. And maybe because I know you have your doubts too, and I want you to know it's OK. If we really try, we can feel His eyes on us. And they are looking on us with love, not guilt and condemnation for our inadequacies and failures and doubts.