when life is a whirlwind & He sympathizes with my weaknesses.

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A few days ago, I stood at the sink in our kitchen, washing my hands, thinking. I looked up at the liturgical calendar I keep on the bar, the one nestled between pictures of the little boys, behind the holy day candle. The calendar stands there to remind me of the seasons, to anchor me in time.

Each page of the calendar tells me of a season based on the life of Christ. Right now, of course, it says “Lent.” Alongside the name of the season, various themes are displayed. And as I looked up from the trickling faucet, glanced away from my dripping hands, one theme caught my eye: disruption.

I felt the prick in my spirit immediately, recognized the inner knowing nod, the familiar frustration. In the last 8 days, Gabriel got sick, then got better just in time to go to Shriners. Twice. Then Jared got sick. Gabriel is now clingy and cautious, sore knees that haven’t directly touched the floor in weeks and uncertainty about what will happen when people touch him, what is coming next if I release him from my arms. Owen is feeling the chaos, trying to sort it out, asking me if Gabe has another “ma-ppointment,” if he has a babysitter coming.

This morning, I have called at least 6 different phone numbers trying to get a medical paperwork question answered to no avail. Both kids want my engagement at every level, want to climb on me and lay on me and are unimpressed by me attempts to engage them in independent activities. Right now, they are decorating a laundry basket with pipe cleaners and ribbon, and I suspect this will last for about 42 seconds. Actually, I overestimated. Gabriel is now 10 inches away from me pulling the cleaning supplies out from the cabinet (we’re big time “safety first” people around here, clearly) and Owen is yelling for me help him decorate his “rocket ship,” because “this is hard work.”

Gabriel has learned how to say “mommy” recently, which I treasure, storing up the gentle, excited sing-song of his voice.  But sometimes, his call makes me wonder how mommy-ish I really am; it makes me wonder if I have the tenderness these littles need. It makes me wonder why I feel like I’m one of the “mom” mothers, not the “mommy” mothers. It makes me wonder what it means when people observe that I don’t talk to my kids “like they’re kids.” It makes me wonder if I’ll be better at this when they’re teenagers.

I keep thinking about that word, disruption, about how just because our life has a high level of intensity, that doesn’t mean the little nuisances of everyday life won’t still happen. It all happens. The big and the small happen all at once, or they alternate, or they go quiet simultaneously or they get loud together and life is either a season of disruption or a season of waiting for it, of training my heart not to fear the future, not to assume that frustration is coming, but doesn’t it seem like it inevitably does?

Disruption in the context of Lent grips me hard and forces me to a lower places than I’m naturally prone to go. It transports me to the reality of the disruption of Jesus, of His perfect, earthly existence, of His sudden confinement to a body of a flesh, of endless worship turned to fatal scorn. He was not acknowledged for who He was, was not beheld, was not treasured or recognized. He was disrupted at the deepest level, disrupted unto death.

And the thing is, I don’t think that the Spirit is calling the death of Jesus to my mind in order to shame me. I don’t think He’s minimizing my disruption or negating it. I think that He is calling me to mirror Jesus in His acceptance, to acknowledge the pain and the imperfection and the wishing it could be another way and to keep going, to press in, to be willing to endure disruption, confident of the promises to come.

When I question my motherhood, when I think someone else could do this better than I could, when I see my limitations and weaknesses staring back at me in the form of two tiny faces, I think of disruption, of how to lean into it and not away from it, of how thankful I am that Jesus did not cling to that which was rightfully His. I am asking the Spirit to remind me of how unconcerning it actually is if I feel like a “mommy” mother or a “mom” mother, because I am the mother who is here, the mother who loves and prays and brings alongside, the mother God appointed for the boys He gave us. I think of how He is the One who decided that an introverted, thinking over feeling, writing over crafting woman would be the nurturer of these little souls, would be the mother who tries to live a life where experienced disruption is not equivalent to internalized depression so that her children can engage a broken world with strength, with the expectation of pain and the endurance to bear it.

Disruption is not my ideal, but it is not eternal either. And the Jesus Who faced ultimate disruption is eternal, so while I wait for the paperwork phone call and for Daddy to come home and for Gabriel’s anxious heart to calm, I’ll think of Him, how He knows more of disruption than I ever will. And maybe by the end of the day I’ll know Him, I’ll trust Him, just a tiny bit more.


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when I wish there was not more news to share. 

Last year, around this time (which is something it seems I am constantly saying these days), I started having nightmares. This wasn’t shocking to me, as nightmares have been a consistent form of stress response and, I believe, spiritual attack in my life for over a decade. We were in the midst of Gabriel’s serial casting, surgery, braces, bar; we were just learning that the condition was more serious than “just” clubfoot. I had recently discovered his clasped thumb as I played with him on my bed, a moment I’ll never forget. My brain changed as I sat on that bed, planting a thought I war with constantly now, “what’s the next bad thing that will happen?”

On the heels of that question burrowing into my mind, the dreams began. Though similar to seasons past in their intentional torment, these dreams were different, harrowing in a way I couldn’t shake, specific in their revelation of my fears. I was dreaming that Owen was suffering. He was vulnerable, harmed, in need, and I hadn’t been there to protect him. One in particular consumed me the following day. “Bad things were happening to Owen,” I told my counselor, a few friends, Jared. “I know why I’m dreaming this. It’s because I think of him as the untouched one. He’s the one left.” My mind was in a cycle of waiting for the next shoe to drop, and, sadistically, thought it “should” drop on Owen.

When the genetic results came for Gabe, “two mutations in the AARS gene…both come from you, Mom,” we knew immediately that Owen needed to be tested. It was a simple blood draw, he handled it so well, never asked why and I never told him. The sample was sent off to a lab on the east coast and, because there were so many things to focus on with Gabriel, not to mention the “normal’ busyness of life with two young children, we were not consumed by the waiting. Perhaps, really, that’s because waiting has become a constant part of our norm.

Yesterday, we had Gabriel’s first genetics appointment. We met with an intern, a genetic counselor and a geneticist, in a room just like the rooms where Gabe has been casted, where we’ve heard news that changed our lives, altered our paradigms entirely. If I’m being completely honest, I have started to hate those rooms. They hold hope and knowledge, yes, but they hold a great deal of pain, past, present, and I assume (rightly or wrongly) future as well.
We did not know what the appointment would entail. Was there more information on Gabriel to share? Next steps? Decisions to be made? Did the geneticist agree with how the neurologists interpreted the results? Speaking of results, were Owen’s back?

Yes, they were back. Yes, Owen has both of the mutations in the AARS gene.

Owen. The untouched one.

There was a 50/50 chance for each son that he would receive the copy of my DNA with the mutations. A 50/50 chance. They both have the mutations. As the geneticist said to me yesterday, “chance has no memory.”

No, I suppose it doesn’t. But this is where belief, where faith and hope and sovereignty get complicated and tricky, where they leap off of the textbook page, fully dimensional in their definitions, and I so badly want to go back to the days when I read them in black and white, studied, memorized, said, “I believe that” and moved on with my life. It may be very well true that chance has no memory, if chance is even a factor at all, but I know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God has a perfect memory. I know that chance did not create my children. Chance did not weave together their DNA, nor did chance allow for mutations to occur, allow for pain and brokenness to trifle with new life. God did. That’s reality. Did he create mutations? No. Did he mandate brokenness? No. Did he allow both of my children (as well as me) to be discombobulated on a cellular level? Absolutely. If He didn’t, He isn’t God.

See how hard this is? Tonight, as I sit here in an eerily quiet house, Jared (aka Dad of the Year, Man of My Heart) has taken the boys to a basketball game and I am typing with my eyes closed on the couch, fingers flying across the page, and all I know to say is this – my soul requires, my faith requires, the Spirit within me requires that I believe that God allowed each moment of pain we are experiencing. Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to believe these things for other people? I have observed human suffering that goes unbelievably beyond what our family is experiencing, I have read about refugees, studied the foster care system, gazed upon the homeless community and, while my response has absolutely been to engage however I can, it has also come with a side, a main course really, of “God sees. He knows, He sees, He has allowed. And He is still good.”

Because the thing is, who the heck is this God if He does not see? If He missed this one. If the day my children were being formed He didn’t correct the typo showing mutated genes? I say all of this a bit tongue in cheek, but only to have the wherewithal to get it out onto the page. At the end of the day, I mean it. And I’m asking. If He didn’t see this, then Who is He? He’s no one. And because He is good, because He is giving me faith that I don’t even understand, not even a little, I know that He is not no one. He is the Greatest Someone. And because He is the Greatest Someone, He knew. He saw, he knew, he allowed. Not one mutation, but two. Not one clubbed foot, but two. Not one surgery, but two (and counting).

Not one child, but two.

Owen, the untouched one.

The truth of the matter is that we do not know if Owen will ever show symptoms. I have never shown symptoms. The genetics lab is digging more deeply into Owen’s results, looking for variances between his DNA and Gabe’s, for possible explanations of why Gabriel is presenting so many problems so early, why Owen shows none.

He may never show anything. Not a thing. Or one day, he may try to run across our backyard, but he stumbles. He is confused, so he tries again. He stumbles again, spraining an ankle that has previously seemed strong, carried him well. Or he may start to say, “what?,” more often. And after I realize that he actually cannot hear me, I’ll remember, I’ll remember that he could start showing signs of deafness. Or not. We may walk through his entire childhood, he may walk through his entire life…well, literally. He may walk just fine. He may hear just fine. He may never even need to engage this on the personal level, other than awareness of the knowledge whenever we determine it’s best for him to have it. This may always be a part of Gabriel’s story for which he has empathy, but not sympathy. Or, he may find himself braced one day. We don’t know. We are not living in fear. But we are aware, and we didn’t want to have to be aware.

There is already so much awareness. There is already the bare baby feet I see while walking through a store, standing at church, and my breath is taken away. Awareness. There is already the continual glances down at Gabriel’s new braces, the ones he is supposed to be wearing 23/7, the ones that keep slipping, that he hates, that make sleeping nightmarish, just to bring things full circle. There is already the twinge of pain in my chest when Owen asks when Gabe will be able to play soccer with him, when he will walk, when he can teach him how to play baseball. Awareness. There is already the forcing of myself to schedule routine life things, fun things, work things, regular things, new things, with full awareness that I may have to cancel for an appointment, a surgery, a new discovery. There is so much awareness.

And now there is not one to be aware of, but two.

I am writing from such a raw place, which is perhaps the most common feedback I receive about this blog. “You are so raw, so vulnerable.” It occurs to me that on the other side of rawness, someone is bleeding. On the other side of vulnerability, someone is naked, unprotected. I am hesitant to even publish this while I’m in this frame of mind, while I’m recognizing that, yes, it is good, beautiful even to be raw, to be vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean I want to be. I believe in the power of vulnerability, or maybe I just believe it for other people. Maybe the publishing of this post is the greatest act of belief I can muster today. Maybe the bleeding and the nakedness make it all the more easy for Him to show through me. I don’t know. I hope so.

Because I know so many will want to know, because I want to know myself, I’ll tell you that there aren’t many next steps for now. As far as Owen, we watch, we wait and we ask God every day to keep us focused on Owen as a person, just as we ask Him to keep us focused on Gabriel as a person, not as a patient, not as a problem, not as a potential tragedy. These are our children. They are our joy, our treasure, our prize, our adventure. None of that has changed. None of it changed when we had Gabriel’s first revealing sonogram, when he was born, when test after test after test came back with more questions than answers, and nothing changed for Owen yesterday. While they may be the ones’ whose bodies house so many questions, so many unknowns, they are the ones whose hearts, whose laughs, whose discoveries and affection provide the greatest comfort, joy and grace to us.

Isn’t that just like God? He gives and takes away, sometimes seemingly all at once. He allows questions to linger and He answers questions we didn’t even know that we had. I have lists of questions in my mind, some even on paper, and they may never be answered. But, in a way, this post is evidence of so many answers He is giving to questions I never verbalized, of so many lessons to learn and truths to believe and gifts to open.

I come to the end of myself, in a way, when I write. I start tangled and messy, unsure and, really, a little frustrated almost every time. And then it starts to spill out. I pour out of me, He pours out of me. And at the end, I believe more than I did when I began. These posts are my cry for Him to help my unbelief. And I want to say that while I still struggle, while I am still angry and sad, I am still stunned and swirling, I believe. And I believe that He will continue to help me. He will continue to find me, and I Him. I am not alone. He is with me always. I am not one, but Two.

a jumble of an update.

i’ve been thinking about how to write this post for 6 weeks and i’m still totally unsure on how to say what i want to say. this post will not rank very highly in the eloquence category, so consider yourselves warned. also, if words like “uterus” make you feel squeamish, go ahead and click over to the next blog post in your reader.

i’ll start with a little background fact: the Perrys do not have fun 20-week sonograms. at Owen’s, our emotions took a plummet as we went immediately from the thrilling moment of having his gender written down for us, to hearing that my uterus had grown an amniotic band that could cause disfigurement should Owen interact with it, and that Owen had spots on his heart and brain. i’ll never forget how i felt in that room, like the blood was draining out of me, like i couldn’t protect a being though it be fully enclosed by my own body. we had monthly sonograms after that, each showing that Owen seemed to be doing well, but toward the end my ability to sustain him was dwindling. fluid levels lowering, placenta calcifying, movement lessening, he had to be removed from me 3 weeks early by emergency c-section. by God’s grace, the heart and brain spots proved to be nothing, and he never interfered with the band, which turned out to be attached to a uterine septum, a “heart-shaped uterus,” a division.

a touch over two years later, we giddily walked into the sonogram for baby #2. once again, we asked that the gender be written down for us to open later, and we were thrilled when it was easily deduced. and then came the plummet,

“Well, almost everything looks good, but this baby has club feet. They could have been caused by him kicking against your uterine septum.”

in case any of you are under the false impression that my initial reaction to everything is “well Praise the Lord,” i’ll just inform you that my thoughts in the moment after the doctor spoke were well outside the range of blog post appropriate.

the doctor went on to explain that he didn’t see any other issues at this point, that the feet were likely an isolated incident, as most cases of clubfoot are. clubfoot is a birth defect that occurs in 1 in 1000 births, 40% of which show the defect in both feet. clubfoot can also be a sign of spina bifida or cerebral palsy. no reason to think the baby has either of those conditions at this point, the doctor told us, let’s do a follow up in six weeks.

let’s go to Antigua and never come back, I thought.

in the weeks since that appointment, we have traveled to Antigua (that will get a “Praise the Lord” from me), hosted the first fosters, and had a follow-up sonogram. i have questioned why we have experienced such a string of strange, not life-threatening but not minor health issues, and why my body seems intent on causing the lives within it to struggle. the follow-up sonogram was consistent with the first, showing clubfoot present in both feet but no markers of a larger issue. my thoughts are still working themselves out.

i am a mix of thankful, frustrated, incredulous, fierce, annoyed, exhausted and ready. in other words, i’m a mother. i’m struggling, i’m processing. i’m learning and preparing; that’s what mothers do.

from what we have gathered, Gabriel will need to see a Pediatric Orthopedist within the first week or two after his birth. at that appointment, he will have his legs stretched and casted, and we will return for new casts every week for several weeks. once casting is completed, he will be fitted for boots with braces and a bar that goes between his feet, most likely to be worn 23 hours a day for a few months, then fewer and fewer hours until he wears it just at nighttime, probably until around age 4. the treatment is extremely effective and, while he will probably walk later than most children, he is likely to gain full usage of his legs and feet over time. for that, we are very thankful.

while we are extremely grateful at the thought of the outcome, we are also recognizing that the process is no small thing. all the “baby stuff” that can come with it’s own set of joys and frustrations, trial and error, like nursing, bathing, babywearing, clothing and playing, has to be thought through a little differently this time around. nursery workers and babysitters will need extra information. sleep scheduling will have to take a backseat to weekly trips to Houston for casting and extra soothing on uncomfortable days. blankets and pillows will be constant companions for supporting awkward limbs. it’s not unmanageable, it’s not nearly as hard as it could be, and it’s also not nothing. i can be so quick to downplay my hardships in comparison to those of others, and i don’t necessarily plan on trading in that quality anytime soon. but this time around, i’m at least letting other people know what’s going on. i’m at least saying that i have completely bought into the “it takes a village” philosophy for raising children, and if someone wants to help, i’ll be saying yes.

we would love prayers for finding the right doctor, Owen’s adjustment to a new baby who will require extra attention, wise financial planning as we prepare for a new onslaught of medical bills and my mental and emotional stability as we prepare to climb a new mountain.

one thing is for sure, our lives are never boring. they never fail to give opportunity to let our true colors show, to ask us if we will choose Christ and joy or self-pity and apathy. i’m praying that by choosing to struggle through my feelings and prepare for this baby with all the foresight and tenacity i can, that i’m choosing Christ. He’s never asked me to shut down those screams inside that say but this isn’t right, to ignore the mothering instinct that is sickened by the thought of her child in pain. i’m hacking away at the lies and accusations that attempt to keep me from taking those appeals to Him. i’m reminding myself that the desire for wholeness, the desire for health and peace and good and right comes from Him. He is the only One who can show me how to live in this in between, in this world where I know of His always goodness yet live inside the nowhere near perfect.

a friend once gave me a Bible with Proverbs 3:26 underlined in it. “The Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” i never thought that verse would have such a literal meaning to me. it’s become my verse to pray for Gabriel and myself together. Gabriel, whose name means “The Lord is my Strength.”

strength and confidence. uncaught feet. let’s add those to the prayer list, too.

these days.

as springtime speeds rapidly by, activities and change and newness abounding, a little update on the goings-on of our family seems to be in order.

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we are expecting Baby #2 in early October!
we are completely elated, amazed at God’s goodness in giving us another little one to love. i was extremely sick in the beginning but have felt better much more quickly than i did during my pregnancy with Owen. the fatigue is much stronger this time around, but i’m betting that there is some sort of correlation between pregnancy, chasing a toddler and exhaustion. Jared has been a total superhero in terms of taking care of both Owen and me while i’m at less than full-capacity. (side note: ladies, marry men who rise to the challenges that will come, because they will come.)

we have reached the home study phase of our foster care license (which is another way of saying, “yes, we are still pursuing our license even though i am pregnant.”).
if my health during pregnancy allows, we will provide respite care for other foster families prior to baby arriving and determine the best time for a long-term placement after he or she (any guesses?) is here. we are excited to see what happens and trusting that the Lord will give us the wisdom to determine what we can handle/what will be best for our family and every child in our care.

i am now a Wellness Advocate for doTerra Essential Oils.
this endeavor appeals to so much of what i care about and is a great fit for the priorities our family has already established. i love taking care of our family in a natural, healthy way, it’s important to me to continue growing in my knowledge of how God created our bodies and the world around us, and i want to honor God with our finances and resources. doTerra provides me the opportunity to do each of those things, as well as the chance to potentially educate others as i’m learning, which is something i love to do.

occasionally, i will share a testimony or two of how essential oils have helped our friends and family, but that will be about it in terms of oils and this blog. in the same way that i write about friends having babies, foster care, or any of the other adventures in our life, i will write about this pursuit as it naturally comes up. if essential oils intrigue you or you would like to learn more, email me at abbyjoyperry(at)gmail(dot)com.


there are several more things i could write about today – our fabulous trip to visit dear friends in Louisville last week, our upcoming Jared-and-Abby-only vacation to Antigua, my continued bliss over so many babies being born among our friends, mom life, work life, church life, etc. i suspect each of these things will show up in a post or two in the weeks to come. life is rapid yet peaceful, full in the way of rich harmonies and the abundance found in priorities aligned and pursued. we’re thankful, above all else.

thanks for caring about our family enough to read this little update. we value each of you! 

2014: the beginning.

it’s the first monday of 2014, the first full week of the year lingering close. i feel somewhat poetic and reflective in response to this reality, but mostly i’m just ready to get my game face on, ready to run toward the newness.

i see you 2014
 i see you, 2014. i’m coming for you.

my sister and her fiance will marry on Saturday, a joyous beginning to the new year. these upcoming days will be filled with guests and greetings and plans and promises and i could go on for pages with my thoughts on covenant and union and jubilee but there are seating charts and silverware and celebration to attend to for now, so the philosophizing will just have to wait.

i’m starting a new job this year as the program & communication coordinator for His Grace Foundation, serving the patients and families on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Texas Children’s Hospital. our family’s best friends founded the organization and my mom runs it now.  it’s a perfect fit, completely meshing with my lifestyle as a stay at home mom. this opportunity was just about the only thing that could have taken me away from my previous position, from which i leave grateful, better, bittersweet. the new beckons, so onward i go.

i’m dreaming big dreams for the blog this year. big dreams that involve goal-setting (via Lara Casey’s PowerSheets!), stretching, inching my toes a bit closer to the edge, fully aware that falling off is all the more possible the closer i get. it’s just can’t imagine that playing it safe with this space is going to lead to anything good, anything that matters. i’m risking, believing, anchoring, hoping, wild & free-ing in many areas and praying this is the place i can make some sense of all of it.

i’m dead set on intentional motherhood this year. always have been, pray i always will be, but this season demands instinct, focus, drive, vision like i’ve never had or needed before now.  Owen is 17 months old, a charming, curious, friendly, engaging little boy whose baby days have slipped away and we’re marching into the thick of character, personality, foundation. these moments matter. now.

there’s so much more. there’s foster care and a husband abroad at least twice before the year is half over and new home projects and friends and church and somewhere in there i’m claiming 2014 as the year i submit to God’s commands to rest, sabbath, be. those i know who accomplish the most, who remain the most humble, whose mouths’ drip with words of life prioritize rest. i’m taking this year to investigate the theory that lists and goals and hopes and dreams won’t be negated by rest, they’ll be enhanced by it. i’ll take a little of that win-win situation, please.

this week, i’ll pop back in with a few more pieces of my 2014 plan – a book list, a few goals, maybe another thought or two. i’m inspired by the creation account in Genesis as I pray my basic hope for this site in the next few months – may it take form to then be filled. i need structure here, the freedom that comes from boundaries. once those are in place, i don’t know what will come from them, but it could be something really beautiful.

we’ll see.

it’s a new year; anything could happen.

an attempt to savor & believe & celebrate.

it’s the most wonderful, busy, heart-pricking, thought-provoking, tidings of comfort and joy time of the year. i started decorating today, playing Christmas music and letting Owen stomp on bubble wrap as i fluffed garland and thought about who will celebrate in our home this year as we host Christmas dinner for the first time. just moments ago, Owen crawled into my lap with his two stuffed puppies and fell asleep, the sign of a morning well spent.

i suppose i’m feeling a bit sentimental today, although it feels like it’s something a little stronger than that. a need to recognize these days as fleeting, and a desire to savor this snoring 16 month old in all his sweat and sweetness. just yesterday, he handed our foster care application to the postman and stared at his wide-eyed mama as she took the moment in, the official beginning to a countdown, a decision further solidified, a craving and longing and hope and fear mingled and released. i snapped a picture of him holding the envelope before mailing it, a picture that will be sealed in my heart forever as one both precious and presumptuous as we ask our unknowing son to begin an adventure with us that will have immeasurable impact on how he sees his childhood, his parents, others, Jesus, the world.

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are we doing right by him? my timid flesh asks occasionally, and without hesitation the Spirit affirms, yes. teach him to love the least, to steward not own, to care not control, to give not grasp. oh that i could impart to my child that which i daily struggle to learn myself.

we’re walking hand in hand, Owen, Jared and i, and we’re begging the Three in One to knit the three of us more closely together with Him as we open doors and make beds and say hello and goodbye and ask why and shout yes.

Immanuel. God with us.

i’m intent on recording my awareness of just how very near He is this year. how very meaningful His presence on this earth, in a form like yours and mine, was to all eternity and reality, how very comforted i am by the Spirit’s testimony to me daily, hourly, moment by moment of Who God is and what that means about me and for me and in me and through me. a friend reminded me recently that God will continue to call us “further up and further in” [C.S. Lewis] as we follow His voice. perhaps that captures all of these jumbled thoughts best of all. what a fitting season to ponder that truth.

tidings of comfort and joy, indeed.

the weakness & the lowly.

i’m just not sure what’s going on right now.

i’ve been in bed for 10 days. i can’t really lift Owen. i can’t really stand up long enough to make dinner or really even long enough to take a shower. i can’t really understand why this is happening.

i’m dizzy. i have high antibody levels. i’m nauseous and exhausted and my face is tingling. my entire left side is uncomfortable and when you tell a doctor something like that you get sent to the ER.  and then you have six vials of blood taken and a CT scan performed and they tell you nothing is wrong and you can’t decide if you’re happy or sad, because where are the answers?

amidst all this i had to take a steroid. i hate steroids, but i like the thought of feeling human again, so i tried it. marginal improvement, and it forced me to wean Owen. regardless of the fact that we were just nursing at bedtime and he doesn’t “need” it anymore, it was a heartbreaker for me. we’ve loved nursing. it’s been a gentle happiness amidst 13 months of circling and spiraling and, like i knew i would, i miss it very much [mamas – if you ever find yourself in this moment, this post was such a comfort & encouragement to me]. so here i am, missing my baby in every way and entrusting others to care of everyone and everything in my life and feeling completely leveled after trying to take a 10 minute walk around the backyard.

moments like these are so prosaic…so unoriginal, i’m not sure why that’s coming to mind right now or why it bothers me so much. like i didn’t pick up on the cycle repeating and i should have known this was coming. life was starting to level out, to be full and somewhat smooth and just spontaneous enough. then the rug is pulled out and the control is lost and nothing in life is ever actually normal, is it?

i know that He is good. i don’t have any poetic feelings or lovely thoughts about how i know that or how i am experiencing it right now, but i know that He is. and i’m really thankful for that, because all else is vague and disheartening today.

i don’t even know if this post makes sense. my head is spinning as i write it and i’m re-watching episodes of the newsroom because i feel too hazy to read a book so intelligent television seems like the next best bet. that and i already finished re-watching the entire series of parenthood.

i have an appointment with a neurologist on monday as well as two MRIs . maybe we’ll find some concrete answers, maybe we won’t. right now, i wouldn’t be surprised if there were no answers to be found, if maybe there’s more to be found in the weakness and the lowly than healing and solution.

whatever the case, He’ll still be good. we’ll still seek the joy of His presence. He’s the Healer of all things in His time, and He’s the strength i need to wait. goodness and mercy, all the days of my life. the house of the Lord forever. the storm rages on but the peace is perfect.

when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.
[the solid rock]

gone quiet.

if there’s a burner behind the back burner, that’s where this blog has been sitting this week. to put it ineloquently, i’m full of tired (to illustrate: my eyes were crossing as i typed that sentence and i’m not really sure i can walk the five steps to the microwave to reheat my coffee for the third time this morning.).

life has been a bit of a collision these past few days. owen has been sick and is it just me or does everything else just go. out. the. window. when your baby is under the weather? it’s kind of wonderful despite the insanity, the cuddles and that little scent on their skin that only a mama could love. of course, this unexpected (i would like a genie to come grant me the wish of never expecting anything at anytime again, please.) escapade coincided with several work projects hitting crunch time at once, so last night was spent writing, emailing, editing and thank the Lord for husbands who love on early-rising littles while mamas drain all they can from those precious hours of sleep.

gone quiet

when weeks like this happen, i can’t help but think about how more likely they are to occur when we embark further on our foster care journey. i’m reflecting and praying and waiting and asking God to plant my roots more firmly, because plans and intentions and what i thought i wanted has been drifting further and further away from my grasp the more i pursue the Spirit’s call. He still gives wisdom, sometimes He lets me be part of forming what’s next, but sometimes the actual roads are so unlike the map i drew. and He says “it is very good.”.

so while the chaos and unexpected abound, in my heart i’ve gone quiet. pondering and waiting and knowing that it’s His best that surrounds and awaits me. i’m asking the Spirit to burrow deeper still, to remind and testify, to refresh and cultivate. may His goodness have great space to grow within me, for it is far greater than anything my mind can conceive or heart can hope. in the going quiet, i’m hearing much of Him. finding much of Him. and He is good.

on my ipod [#1]

this blog (and perhaps my personality? don’t answer that.) can tend toward the less than lighthearted. this was a large part of the reason i started the on my nightstand series to share a few of the books i’m reading and to provide a little review on them, continuing to (i hope) provide thoughtful insights in this space but not always be quite so…intense.  since life isn’t allowing me to read three books per week at this point (although if anyone is trying to build me a personal sanctuary, that would be the right place to start), today i am launching on my ipod, which i will rotate with the on my nightstand series. these posts will point toward music that does all those ethereal, worshipful, elevating things that music is supposed to do. some albums will be labeled “Christian” and some won’t; all will have nudged me toward depth and joy and the happiness of singing along.

i’m toying around with a few other ideas for fun, insightful tuesday posts to add to the rotation, we’ll see what comes of them. for now, here are the albums on my ipod.

this hope will guide methis hope will guide me [ross king]

ross king is a singer, songwriter, musician, worship pastor, husband, father and i’m sure many more things of which i am not aware. his songs have spoken truth into my heart season after season, year after year. ross’ new album this hope will guide me is a worship album with strong melodies, theologically profound lyrics and the kingdom in mind. this album reminds me that God stepped toward us when we were far away – in the album’s own words, God’s “kindness knows no end.” i have been playing it everyday since it came out, owen loves to dance to it and we are singing several of the songs at church as well. in fact, a few friends from our church co-wrote or contributed to this album. i’m a huge fan.

all sons and daughters - season oneseason one [all sons & daughters]

all sons & daughters is the band of leslie jordan and david leonard, a worship leading, harmonious duo with a rich, organic sound. their album season one will be forever dear to me as i played it day in and day out during our long, exhausting days of owen’s raging acid reflux. this album truly ministered to my soul through its honesty, reverence, themes and depth. care for an example?

i am a sinner
if it’s not one thing
it’s another.
caught up in words
tangled in lies.
but you are a Savior
and You take brokenness aside
and make it beautiful.

talk about peace-breathing words during a time when my heart felt frantic more often than not. this album is the kind of truth mingled with art that our hearts beg for and i’m profoundly thankful for it.

and that’s what i’m listening to these days. 

mini-post: ode to the one-year-old

little O is one year old today. my heart and mind can barely believe it, but, nevertheless, it’s true. today was simple, a few presents to open, a trip to see the home we’re building and a little dinner out. his true celebration with friends and family will be on sunday, but i just had to mark the moment a bit today. i’m working on a broader post that tries to do just a touch of justice to the past year that i hope to publish later in the week. Image

Owen Everette Perry
August 2, 2012
7:31pm

owen darling, your entrance into the world was sudden, abrupt, beautiful, emotional, thrilling, captivating. i’ll never forget the sound of you, the sound of myself as i murmured “hi, baby” in the moments before they could lay you on my chest. you spent your earliest moments snuggled inside your daddy’s scrub top, and the doctors and nurses were so touched by that choice that they asked us if they could take pictures of the sweetness. the moments following are simultaneously hazy and lucid in my mind, i remember the harshness of healing, the flood of hormones and instinct, but most of all i remember the wonder of you. your tiny mews, the way you slept “kangaroo style” on my chest, the grasp of your wondrous fist around my finger. my heart was stolen in every way and nothing, nothing has changed in these 365 days since.

Image

the past year has been a whirlwind of joy, pain, confusion, growth, laughter, exhaustion and hope. you’ve stretched and deepened my heart, strengthened and broadened my belief, deepened and widened my resolve. i can’t wait to share more about you in a post to come, but for now i’ll just say that i love you, little sunshine, and the greatest urgency of my heart is that you would know the One who loves you even more greatly than i. i cannot wait to teach you more about Him, and to learn more about Him from you. we’re in this together, my dear, you are my pride and joy.

mama