Written November 3, 2011…
“‘And he took bread, gave thanks (eucharisteo) and broke it, and gave it to them…’ (Luke 22:19)
Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks? So as long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning – now; wherever, meaning – here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be – unbelievably possible! The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.
A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black.
A threefold cord that might hold a life? Offer a way up into the fullest life?
Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo.
A Greek word…that might make meaning of everything?”
– Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts)
I haven’t written a note for 2 months now…and that seemed like the most appropriate way to start a long over due (and probably way to long…bear with me) one. Eucharisteo is something that I’ve tried desperately to make a part of my life this past year…easy on “good” days…much tougher on “bad” ones. Even so, God has been so good in changing my definition of “good” from what I think is “good” or what I feel is “good” to a much simpler and yet much more complex definition.
“…and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,” declares the Lord. ” – Jeremiah 31:14
My Father is the very definition of good. Adam and I claimed this verse back in February as a prayer that we would trust our Lord’s goodness and be truly satisfied with HIM – not what He gives.
This past year or so has been horribly difficult…but also, dare I say, the most beautiful year we’ve experienced…
“I will suffer loss, as I already have, but it also means that I will receive mercy. Life will end up being far worse than it would have otherwise been; it will also end up being far better. I will have to endure the bad I do not deserve; I will also get the good I do not deserve. Idread experiencing undeserved pain, but it is worth it to me if I can also experience undeserved grace.”
– Jerry Sittser (A Grace Disguised)
A few weeks ago, Adam and I were in the car and commenting on the gorgeous colors of our Pennsylvania autumn. Not trying to be profound, my husband nonchalantly said, “Isn’t it weird that we find so much beauty in something dying?”
I had an instant lump in my throat and I knew God intended me to hear more in Adam’s statement than a simple comment about the season. We experienced the ugly death of our child last October, as well as the dark moments of waiting to be pregnant again…but looking through the rear view mirror, so to speak, a year later we could see so much beauty in the dying. Not in just the heart breaking death of our sweet baby, but also in the dying to self that occurred because of that catalyst. We’re profoundly changed, deeply humbled, and more aware of the precious gift of God’s grace in our lives. We’ve been forced to see our God with new eyes…and the only appropriate response would be…
Over the anniversary of the delivery of our last baby, God provided an opportunity for us to spend a few days together as a family in Ocean City. Seeing as I was in the almost exact spot in this pregnancy over that week as I was in my last pregnancy, I had to use much of that time away to wrestle and battle intense fear. I also needed to grieve, as the pain from last October felt fresh, raw, and overwhelming at times. In the midst of that, we spent a great deal of time in thanksgiving…struck by WHO our God is.
Thankful for our Adonai-Jehovah,who was sovereign over us. For our Jehovah Jireh, who consistently provided. For El Shaddai, who was and is sufficient to meet all of our needs. For our Jehovah-Ropheka, who continued to bring healing to our hurting and sinful hearts. For Jehovah-Shalom, our peace in the midst of turmoil or fear. For our Jehovah-Rohi, our Shepherd who has proven faithful in leading and caring for us…and will continue to do so.
“…but I will not remove from you my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. Because you hold fast to me in love, I will deliver you; I will protect you because you know my name. When you call to me, I will answer you; I will be with you in trouble; I will rescue you and honor you.” – Psalm 89:33; 91:14-15
I was able to stare at the ocean, desperate for God to help me navigate through the emotions of grief for my last baby and the mix of excitement and fear for this one.
That day, as well as today, I was increasingly thankful for my El Roi, the Living One who sees me (Genesis 16:13-14).
“God is good and I am always loved. Everything is eucharisteo. Because eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things – take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness. This is the hard eucharisteo. The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty. The hard discipline to give thanks at all times because He is all good. The hard discipline to number the griefs as grace because God chooses to cut into my ungrateful heart to make me whole. All is grace only because all can transfigure.”
– Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts)
All can transfigure into joy.
God, in His grace, has not only given us joy through the hard eucharisteo, but He’s also given us joy by choosing to bless us, who are completely undeserving, with another child…
…who, we found out yesterday, is a little BOY!
Because of my last pregnancy, my doctor referred me to a high risk specialist to consult with me and run special tests. He’s been wonderful and helpful…and even made Isaiah feel special yesterday by blowing up a “balloon” (latex glove) for him…
We’re hitting the half way mark of my pregnancy this week and so far everything looks good. Our new little boy is crazy active and strong. The doctors can already tell that some of the things that were wrong last time (like only having 2 vessels in my umbilical cord instead of 3) are okay this time, which has been a huge relief. Though I still battle fear from time to time, we’re overwhelmed by God’s graciousness in allowing us to receive more good news yesterday. Keep praying for us and this little miracle inside of me! We also ask you to pray that we can continue to surrender our will to His…seeing this child as charisgrace and giving eucharisteo thanks regardless of the outcome of this pregnancy.
“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, o Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You.” – Psalm 33:20-22
We’re so thankful for you and your love towards us!