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Willow Trees and Ramparts

     Today my dad helped Jack climb a tree for the first time in our backyard.

     When Matt decided he was set on this house being OUR house, I remember looking out at this yard and loving these weeping willows. Maybe it was my inner 90's girl calling to me with a scene from Pocahontas. I don't know. It took me a little longer, but I fell for the house, too. One day on my lunch break, I drove here, slipped through the unlocked gate, and knelt under this very tree to pray. I prayed that if this was the home we were meant to have, that our offer would be enough (it was, even after we decided to hold steady when someone came in with a counter offer), and that God would give us this home and children to fill it with. I pictured a couple of kids running around that yard, though at the time, we were still trying and failing to conceive, for no physical reason, which was breaking my heart. I also prayed His will above ours, knowing we would trust no matter what the outcome was.
     A month later we were moving in, aided by a small army of incredible friends. I remember my mom sitting in my book nook, looking out over my backyard, saying she could just picture her grandchild playing there. She could just see it. There was no child, though, not until two years later.
     Things are clearer in hindsight. Pain feels more dull than raw. Mourning turns into joy. But some of those painful memories serve to make me stop and breathe in what I have in this moment. I've never been good at living in the present, but having Jack gave me a crash course. When he was ten days old, I thought life was over, because how was he ten days old already?! I had done nothing but sit and stare at him all day every day, but time kept right on ticking. I learned to live in each moment because I was experiencing greater joy and greater fear than I'd ever known.
     I am thankful for the most ordinary moments of this life with him. Smelling dinner on the grill, seeing bubbles float over the fence, hearing Jack yell, "Sfing!" as he aims his club and takes a whack at a golf ball he's gingerly placed on a baseball tee...these are moments that make me pause and say thank you. This has been a really hard week in a lot of ways. Circumstances I'm not ready to deal with have fear trying to knock down the door of my mind with a battering ram. But when I see my little boy grinning at me through the branches of the weeping willow where I knelt and prayed for his very existence, I must stand in awe of God's faithfulness. Fear must take a back  seat in this place. For thirty years through darkness and fear and circumstances I couldn't control, He has been faithful. And that faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. (Psalm 91)

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