Hello all.  I feel like I should apologize for being absent for a few days…life has been chaotic, and I have missed my time with you.  It is good therapy.  I am sitting on my bed, freshly clean from the shower while the Food Network reminds me of how slowly I chop and how I do not know how to eyeball ingredients at all. Daily I am reminded that I am a measurer. The whole “dash” and “pinch” thing stresses me out. I need teaspoons and red and white plaid cookbooks.  This quality, as you may have surmised, extends to pretty much every part of my life, and has always been one of the things that I like the least about myself.

When we first heard about Audrey, the doctors explained that in the state of Tennessee, you may “terminate” up to 21 weeks.  I turned 21 weeks today, which is ironic because today I also celebrated a very special anniversary.  Seven years ago today I became a Christian. I sat in my car in a dark parking lot and I did the most amazing thing…no plan, no map, no real promises of what the rest was going to be.  Surrender…hmmm…not my strong point…..What great mercy He gave me in that moment.  What confidence in the absence of proof. 
I planned to celebrate today by going on a date with God.  I love to do this…I just sit in a coffee shop and listen to Him while I sip away the world.  A word to the wise, if someone asks you who you are waiting for, don’t say Jesus.  And also, don’t tell them that He will be picking up the tab.  It doesn’t really fly.  Anyway, I was working on a project all day and the time just got away from me, but I will do it soon, and I will let you know if anything good happens (it always does).
Currently, the Lord is requesting the 3-6 a.m. slot for our quiet time. Usually it begins with me sitting straight up in bed, eyes wide open, trying to adjust to the darkness in more ways than one.  I have talked to Him about possibly beginning our time a few hours later, with the sound of classical music and birds singing, but so far He is sticking to His guns.  A few nights ago, I had it out with Him.  I feel like I understand a bit of what Jacob felt when He wrestled with God, and I also feel like I know what it feels like to refuse to release Him until He has blessed you.  
For some reason I started thinking of my mothering and my children’s behavior in a very philosophical and meaningful way (this was after about an hour of staring at the wall and sulking, in case you are thinking that I jump right into Genesis when I pray.  I actually Job it up for a good long while, so don’t be too impressed).
As a mother, I want my children to obey me.  In fact, unless I am gabbing on the phone or a new issue of Real Simple has just shown up, I pretty much demand it.  But I get so sick of hearing myself repeating:
“Did you mean to say Yes Ma’am?”  
“Tell her you’re sorry you stabbed her with the wand.”
“Ladies don’t eat with their hands behind their backs like they were just served in a trough.” 
“Say thank you. Say you’re welcome.  Say you love your burnt dinner.  Say yes.  Say no.  Say you can hear me!”
It doesn’t have the same effect as it does when they just do it, unprompted, for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do at that moment.  Several months ago, I walked to Abby and Ellie’s room after I heard Abby take a tumble.  With my hand on the door, I was struck in mid-motion as Ellie began to pray.  She asked the Lord to heal Abby, to help her not to hurt, and to be with her.  It was the prayer of a 4 year old who knew nothing but love for her sister, and a little bit of what it was to trust in the Great Physician.  Once again, in the event that you are tempted to visualize what our home is like on a moment to moment basis, you should know that after the bunny photos were taken, Abby gave “birth” to a pink Care Bear and a small (completely unfamiliar) dog, which was followed by a ten minute long screaming chase around the couch as they lovely ladies had an old-fashioned custody battle.  
So, around 4:30 a.m., in the stillness of the night, God whispered to me, and I heard something that changed the way I am processing this situation.  It occurred to me that while obedience is a great outcome, it is often tainted by the feeling as a parent that when you have forced it, you are ultimately responsible for it, and not the child.  I don’t think it is any different with God.  In that moment, I had an image of God that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
He has bound His own hands in order that He might be glorified through His people
Do I think He wants me to suffer? No.  Do I wonder if He has turned His back on me? He never would.  Do I wish it was different? Yes.  Do I think He could heal her and just call it a day?  I absolutely do.   Do I want Him to be glorified more than I want to change things?  Truthfully, the answer is “I think I do, but Lord this hurts.” 
I cannot go on without thanking you for standing in the gap.  I get emails every day from people I don’t know, people I may never meet, people who don’t really have a good reason in their busy lives to bother.  I read every word over and over and I marvel at the hearts behind them, the fact that the words really do minister to me.  
Our gracious God has chosen Audrey’s life to be what it is because He knew that all of us, behind what we thought was the closed door of a quiet bedroom, would seek the Great Physician.  Thank you for being faithful to this, and for praying for the strength for me to do the same. I weep at the thought of how He is weaving this story together, and how much I love my little girls.  All four of them.
And so today I celebrate my days with Him.  All seven years and counting. And I thank Him for January 17th, a day where more than once, He has inspired me to choose life.
Thank you Lord. Here’s to Your glory, for better or for worse…