how to walk through life (& the growing pains)

The night Sara stepped off earth and into eternity, I ran the bath three times for a girl crying over growing pains shooting up her legs.

Growth has this way of hurting.

And bereavement has this way of birthing.

And what is becoming without a going?






It’s only after the third bath, rocking this girl aching out of her skin to sleep in my arms, that I read the note that Sara took one breath and just didn’t take another and I hadn’t known. I’d been running bath water. How do you ease the throb of a soul?

It’s in the morning that the girl finds me at the bedroom door. She tells me her legs are still a bit sore. She tells me that she will wear the smocked dress to church. She tells me that she hopes I know where she put her white hair bow.

I look at her, sun tangled in her hair, and I tell her that I don’t know about ribbons but I know where Sara is. I tell her I know how Sara breathes, exhaling pure eternity. She takes my hand, turns Sara’s ring on my finger slowly, says it quiet: we can be sore together.

There is a dropped yogurt container on the floor of the garage, a spoon, a coat, the garbage all dumped. Doesn’t anyone care about who comes behind? The back door can slam loud. I can’t find the hair bow. A son decides that sitting down to read Robinson Crusoe is a better use of the last five minutes before we have to leave for Sunday chapel than cleaning off the porridge bowls. He has no socks on. He hasn’t even thought about brushing his teeth. I tell the oldest girl she really needs to figure out how to do her own hair.

When we stand in the back pew to sing “It is well with my soul” I can’t even open my mouth. How does Christ let a sin-stinking pig into His temple? How can my hurting sinfulness come before a holy Savior? How can Sara dance before Him and I still sin before Him? Why do I allow creeping annoyance to sabotage my own happiness? Is anything worth sacrificing joy?

How can I worship Him on Sunday at ten past 11 but be wallowing deep in the mire right up to the time we shadow the chapel door? I am ashamed and I can’t. Sin makes me sore and death makes me dark. Someone run the red. Pour out the  communion. My soul aches bad.

Charlie Heimstra, he strums the strings and sings Hosanna. His sister Caroline chimes in clear:

“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen”

And the beast in the back row, she breaks wide open, everything running right down.

She raises her hand, and she bows her head and she lets it fall, all this grief, and she prays: Open my eyes to the things unseen, open my eyes to the priority of things unseen— how the garage floor doesn’t matter, how the dishes don’t matter, how just the love matters and the truth of things unseen and one day His face and how Sara knows. And it’s running here in the sanctuary, filling for all the ones aching in sin — this grace down a Cross, red for the wretched, holy hope for the hurting.

The clouds are so high out the chapel window. How to measure that, from here to there? How His faithfulness reaches to the clouds, reaches even me? Grace is the only air that isn’t toxic. Who can ever take God’s grace for granted? The only way to take God’s grace is with staggering gratitude.

It’s only those who live aware of the great gravity of their sinfulness who can live in great gratitude to their Savior — who know there’s really no such thing as cheap grace.

Sara chose the joy and she staggered straight into His arms.

I pick up the yogurt container in the garage when we get home, hang up the coat and the girl asks me to unbutton the back of her smocked dress. She tells me that her legs don’t hurt anymore.

I murmur it in her ear: “Hosanna! Hosanna!  Hosanna in the Highest “

She laughs and spins, her in her skirt, her healed and now whole….




Resource: Walk in Grace pillow… from Blessings Unlimited

and from the One Thousand Gifts that never end… thanks for the grace moments from Christ who does it all, gives it all…

#2732 – #2742

re-reading all of Sara’s letters

voices drifting in through screen windows

The Farmer taking my hand in church and whispering, “All is well” — because He is

lingering long in the passenger seat, talking with the firstborn-almost-man about life and his dreams and prayers

September days that feel like August days

ice cream sundaes with sons

setting Augustine’s Confessions on the night table … thinking about this

how a sin-awareness can become a Son-adoring

sleeping hard and long, Spurgeon’s words on my mind: Living in peace, do not the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory?

thinking of how Sara must dance

how today really offers a choice and what can stop us from choosing joy?

kaileaves.button onethousandgiftsbutton
the book button

Free Printables to wear the habit of Joy

September’s Free Gratitude Calendar

Gratitude List Screen Shot

Write down 7 gifts, 7 days of the week, 1 sheet of paper :

(folding instructions for booklet here)

Picnik collage

Will you join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post. Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!