If you were wondering that is 1 more day than normal, because yes, 2020 included Leap Year. It had everything else so why not Leap Year too!?
My son is 12 months old. We have officially celebrated him achieving the milestone of a “Brave ONE”…Lion themed, of course.
A few people have recently asked me how I feel with his birthday coming up. My response, “I feel like popping a bottle of champagne in celebration!”
Let’s be honest, I mean we kept a human alive for a whole year! What a feat…come on all you parents, I know you feel me. It wasn’t always pretty and thankfully he won’t remember the times I was less than perfect but we made it!
But seriously, I want to celebrate because this is a joyous day! Our son has reached a milestone that you celebrate for all children and he reached it as a heart transplant recipient and one who is more than thriving.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself.
He has exceeded every goal I could have ever set. He lets me sleep until at least 6:30 every morning (can I get a hallelujah; he gets my love language = sleep).
Food is his favorite past time – I laugh at myself now those few times I let the fleeting fear of him being a “cardio baby” which gave him a high likelihood of being under weight and small for his age take hold…NOPE!
I want to celebrate that my son is on the move and letting me know he is going places (although I would prefer the dogs water bowl not be one of them). And again, reminded that those once small voices telling me he may be developmentally behind due to his extended hospital stay and his inability to lay on his stomach those first three months were in fact just small squeaks with absolutely no true voice. I suppose Mark Twain says it best, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.’
It’s no wonder Jesus gives us such clear instruction in Matthew 6 “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
What I have discovered this last year is something I have heard over and over in my life, “the word of God is alive and in it holds all the answers.” But I often pondered, what does that mean, scripture is alive? Isn’t it completely outdated? I mean, correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think Jesus was wondering what flashy headline to blast out to millions of people on Twitter or what filter to use on his recently snapped picture with his besties (the disciples) to post on Instagram.
The revelation that I have received over and over and over again this past year, is that yes, it is true, scripture is alive, and the word of God contains all that I need. Last year as I immersed myself every morning reading through the new testament, I gained hope and encouragement as I prepared to have my first son. A son to be born with a life-threatening congenital heart disease. It gave me strength on the days I couldn’t find it and through the teaching spread all throughout a peace was offered even when the world shouted so loudly at me otherwise.
Let me show you just one example. Let’s circle back to Matthew 6. Before Jesus plainly instructs us not to worry about tomorrow, he is explaining that we also should not worry about our clothes or about food, simply he is telling us that he will meet those basic needs. But isn’t the question we now ask, HOW?
How do we not worry about these simple things such as the food we eat and how do we not worry about even the much more complicated things such as the illness we are facing or the bills you cannot pay because job circumstances or you fill in the blank?
That’s the best part – Jesus tells us. He gives us the answer.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
While I believe there is a much deeper and yes, longer teaching here on the revelation of knowing that your Father in heaven desperately and whole heartedly loves you, let me illustrate just a couple of things.
To seek his kingdom is the action of earnestly being in a relationship with Jesus. Jesus also tells us that to know him is to know the Father (John 14:7). Being in relationship with him is like a two for one – can I get an AMEN someone? …I always love a good deal, who doesn’t! And walking with Jesus is more than a good deal, it’s the gift of a lifetime.
Being in relationship with Jesus means we spend time with him, just like you would your friend, your spouse, your parents, your children. It means you pursue getting to know him and know him intimately. And we do that through reading scripture, through reading about him, through prayer, by listening to different sermons and teachings about him, through praise and worship, and by being in community with his people – other followers of Christ.
The result of submersing ourselves in these things?? We gain knowledge about who he is and yes ultimately, his righteousness. And did you know that knowledge used in the context of scripture is not the “head” knowledge we default too but rather an experiential knowledge. Meaning you experience Christ which allows you to know him intimately and receive wisdom and revelation.
And when those moments pop up where the world is speaking louder than his promises, some days if we are lucky only once, other days it could be many times and on really hard days it feels continuous, we can remind ourselves of the good news – we already know what to do.
I picture it like hiking to a beautiful waterfall on a hot summer’s day. The hike is difficult, maybe you fell a few times and now have some bumps and bruises not to mention the sweat (hopefully you didn’t forget deodorant!). The obvious reward is not just the beauty at the sight of the waterfall but it’s to actually experience the waterfall. It doesn’t matter if you choose dipping your toe in slowly at first or jumping in headfirst, at some point you find yourself standing under the water and looking up as it washes over you, washing everything clean, every crook and cranny, bump and bruise, every fear gone, giving you a fresh place to start your journey back with the feeling of being refreshed and restored.
This is what happens when you become immersed in a relationship with Christ and seek him. When your eyes are trained on him, the worries of tomorrow wash away and you can move forward in the present being refreshed and restored.
Over this last year, I had good days, joyous days, bad days, really hard days and even sad days. But no matter what kind of day I was having, the days in which I was brave enough to trust Jesus and pursue his teaching and believe fully in him, those were always my best days no matter the external circumstances swirling around.
I have grown more over this last year than I could have ever imagined possible. Yes, we learned a lot about medicine and even in my opinion received an Associate’s Degree in nursing, we learned how to be hospital parents and then real “at home” parents. I learned how to administer daily shots and be diligent with his medicines. I have seen more doctors and attended more appointments in an 18-month period of time than I probably have my entire life.
I have learned what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. I have learned even more about the power of prayer. I have learned that sometimes when you stand in confident expectation of good and believing above of all else you will bear witness to a miracle; others may doubt you. And I have learned that’s okay.
I have learned that asking for help is still hard, but I am getting better. One of the most profound lessons I have learned is how to receive from others when they selflessly give of themselves, their time, and their resources to you. Through them I have learned to receive an abundance of love, even if yes, I don’t feel deserving. I have learned that their love is a simple reflection of how my heavenly father loves. Even as recently as today, when I learned that someone else was so excited about Townes’ first birthday that they already prepaid for his smash cake. I have learned about the “much more” Paul so often writes about it throughout the new testament and I have truly witnessed Matthew 7:11.
My guess, though, is I am not done learning.
I am still learning how to be a momma, how to be a wife and then a momma, and I am learning how to be a working mom running a business. I am learning how to balance my time to be sure I am investing in myself and others. I am still learning how to be a follower of Christ in constant pursuit of the goodness he wants to give me.
I imagine I will always be learning how to be a momma of a transplant recipient. A continuous journey in the strange paradigm of experiencing celebration and grief simultaneously, of knowing my moment of utmost relief, joy, jubilation, and excitement for a new future is someone else’s greatest moment of despair and heartbreak. But what I have learned and know with certainty after this year is that my Savior will provide me the answers when I need them, compassion when I grieve and the healing when it’s time.
So, this weekend above all else –
I want to celebrate that I have a Savior who heals. A Savior in heaven whose love knows no limits and no boundaries. Hosea 14:4
I want to celebrate my son’s 1st birthday watching all of our immediate family gather around with gratitude for the miracles we have witnessed over this last year.
I want to celebrate that we are all home together as a family of 5 (don’t forget Tucker & Luna).
I want to look into this next year with a confident expectation for what it holds. Hope for all of us.
I want to celebrate that at 12:33 pm Townes isn’t being whisked away in lifesaving hurry without so much as a word to me about his condition, that this year, instead he is wrapped in my arms snuggled against my shoulder just where he belongs.
I want to celebrate that my son is a BRAVE ONE!