Friday, March 18, 2011

One more thing I want to say...

In a half hour we'll be leaving the house in route to the hospital where I'll begin the induction process to have our baby girl. Hopefully sometime Saturday, March 19, she'll arrive.

We couldn't be more excited.

Or more scared.

But mostly excited.

And even more than that, thankful.

Bela and I prayed together just a few minutes ago, wanting to bring the next few days before our Provider and just say thanks and would He continue to make His presence available.

Last night I was watching my belly move in its strange alien way as she, the baby, fought for more room to stretch in my womb. I looked at Bela and said: remember when I was so afraid of losing her?

The first half of my pregnancy I was terrified she'd slip away from us.

And now, she's doing flips and somersalts (I know, not really, just feels like it) and I am so overwhelmed by this little life that my heart is bursting.

So, one more thing I want to say is that I am, we are, so thankful. It makes my heart ache, it brings tears, it brings me to my knees.

Sweet baby girl, still twirling in my womb, you are a gift. We can't wait to unwrap you and know you. No words exist, I don't think they will ever be written or discovered, to express our gratefulness for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On time and beauty

He makes everything beautiful in His time,
But time has mostly been my enemy
And I the victim of its freak thievish ways.
Still vacant,
Still longing.
Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.

And if by beauty you mean
This debilitating illness
Stretching over the days of my life,
Then I’ve got more beauty than most.
In fact, mine is a terrible beauty
Because it strains against rubble layers of
Eroded ground and piled leaves,
And reaches, breaking through
For sunlit blue and sparkling green-
Life in a time where it does not belong,
Hope when all hope is lost.

And if by time you mean
A thousand years as just one day,
Then this time is not my own.
It is His slow meandering
Through centuries and millennia
and my vapored life.
And I am mixed up in a
Strange crime of scandalous beauty
And unmeasured time-
Risking it all
Because even if beauty is terrible,
And even if time cannot be contained,
It is still my hope-
If by hope you mean
Life in a time where it does not belong,
Hope when all hope is lost.

**Photo taken by Bela Ispas at the Santa Monica pier.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

These final thoughts...

As the days grow closer, hours tighten, minutes and seconds evaporate before the birth of our baby. We are eager to see her and hold her and the time leading to that great moment is slipping through our fingers.

And I am realizing how the safety of where she is now housed, my womb, will soon be merely a memory, an idea once born of desire and now a place where she cannot return.

It is only the month of March of the year 2011 and our world has seen such turmoil. Our baby will be born just after one of the largest earthquakes has ever slammed the earth, bringing with it a tsunami and then the danger of radioactive winds.

This after another big earthquake only recently devastated New Zealand.

And there are the countries in turmoil: Egypt, Lybia, Bahrain, and others I've heard of in the last few days whose names are escaping me mostly because there are just so many of them.

Besides this, the people of our world are daily faced with famine, hunger, disease, slavery, abuse, addiction, and other calamaties that are beyond the scope of imagination.

Our girl will enter this world of trouble and I know that for such a brief amount of time all those issues will slip away as we hold her and cry and say thank you for this gift.

And I know that moments and even days and weeks will exist when I want to hide her. Maybe not in my womb, but keep her safely away from a world that will seek to steal the gift that she is.

And I know there will be times without number when I/we will fail her, fail to love her well. When we will break her trust, break her heart.

Still, here is what I hope.

I hope to show her beauty. Maybe it will be the Grand Tetons or a flower in our backyard or the constancy of friendship or a marriage that lasts or a moment when so clearly you hear the call of a Savior Who says: I love you.

I hope she knows her own beauty.

I want her to know that there is darkness. Ah, but the light, the light overwhelms that darkness.

I pray that she will know that there is an end to mourning. I long for her to be sure of the promise that we are not alone, He is with us.

I desire for her to laugh often and deeply. I hope she isn't afraid to love. I pray that she will be wise.

May she understand grace and see it in our lives.

May she live, truly live. Holding what is painful along with what is lovely.

I wanted to say these final things before she comes because right now the world is full of fear, but her birth, it brings love. And love casts out fear.

And that love which is perfect, it never changes. He never changes.

We welcome you, little girl, into a changing, scary world where we commit you to the One who does not change, Who brings life, Whose light overwhelms the darkness, Who promised to always be with you, Whose very name is loveliness and beauty. He is mystery, but He is truth and that truth can be trusted.

Welcome. There truly is so much to hope for...

Monday, March 14, 2011

More things to say...

Here's another thing I want to say before our baby is born...(I'm 39 weeks today!)

About a month ago my friend Rebecca posted this video/song by Andrew Peterson on her FB page.

I loved it. I loved him. I've bought his most recent CD since then and feel a connection with many of the songs. Check him out...

But giving Andrew Peterson a plug on my blog is not the reason I bring him up. Instead, it's more about my husband and some of the the lyrics in the song "Dancing in the Mine Fields."

Bela and I left Romania 4 months ago. Coming home to the states was, for me, while not an easy decision, one that was in many ways necessary. Especially being pregnant with our first baby. I was battling with much anxiety over the pregnancy and other things and so coming to the states just seemed the best decision for our family.

But it was the hardest choice for my husband.

He is Romanian. He's never wanted to live anywhere else but Romania. He'd served for over 10 years with Word Made Flesh in Romania. He loved the kids, the community. His parents are in Romania. His future was in Romania.

We knew that coming to the states would mean going through the immigration system (not an easy nor an esteeming process). It would mean figuring out a future in terms of jobs because, while educated, we didn't know how that education would translate in the states for him. He'd have to make new community, new friends. We'd be living with my parents. He'd have to learn how to get around a new city, new cities since we're in Southern California.

And he did it. He left everything. For me. For us.

Before listening to the Andrew Peterson song I'd often thought about what my husband had done similarly to the lyrics Peterson uses...

But to lose your life for another I've heard
is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life
is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
for the life that we have found.

Scripture says that there is no greater love than when a man lays down his life for his friends. Or his wife. Or his family.

I've not ever known a greater human love than the one my husband has shown me in leaving his life. I often pray that what he has lost will be replaced manifold times. That in losing his life, he will find it.

I wanted to say these things before our baby is born so she knows ahead of time what a great man her dad is. How much he loves us.

And while it often feels that he and I, Bela and myself, in this move to the states are 'dancing in the mine fields,' that all of this is harder than we dreamed, we also believe that this very thing is what the promise we made to one another is for.

May our child find safety and home in that promise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some things I want to say...

My mind of late is very much on having a baby, our baby. The one that's due in just a little over a week. And since her arrival is so close I've realized that there are a few things I've wanted to say before she arrives.

As most of you know, I married at a more mature age :); I was 38. Knowing that the window of opportunity in which to conceive was growing small, my husband and I decided not to wait to have children as we both knew that we really wanted kids.

It took a year for us to conceive. It was a difficult as well as amazing time in so many ways. Hard because we just didn't know if having biological children would happen for us. Great because it was our first year of marriage and we enjoyed to the full our time alone together.

Still, that shadow of unknowing about children hovered over us. Especially over me.

In June of 2010 we made a trip to the states to visit supporters, see family, and attend a retreat with Word Made Flesh, our mission organization. Being from Southern California, part of our time was spent basking in a California summer.

Which included going to the church in which I grew up.

We only had one Sunday there and I was soaking up the worship time. The primary burden of my heart at that moment was my empty womb. It felt like an emtpy tomb. And not in the resurrection sense, but in a way that the women must have felt when they first stumbled across the tomb Jesus was supposed to occupy...simply empty with no trace of a body or any other sign of life.

The band began to sing 'Mighty to Save' and I found myself weeping. Here's the song with lyrics:

Those words: He rose and conquered the grave...

And: Savior, He can move the mountains, He is mighty to save...

Even this empty womb I was carrying He had conquered in His resurrection. Jesus, in all His resurrection power, was mighty to save what could very well be vaccant all my life.

I knew as I worshiped that should I never carry a child, He would still redeem and raise from my empty womb life.

Before our baby is born, I wanted to say this...

And even as I sang this song and wept in church, my womb was already full with life. I didn't know it, but Bela and I had conceived a child.

I wrote something during that year of 'trying for a baby...'

It's from Genesis 17, 18, & 22.

When God said
take your son~
He did
Because he'd seen
an empty grave before~
a barren womb~
rise from the dead.
He knew
something could come from nothing~
and it was counted unto him as righteousness.

I heard a story
about my grandpa.
He laid his hands
on a man
who had lost
all feeling and movement in his arm.
Grandpa knew
something could come from nothing
and it was counted unto him as righteousness.

An old woman was made young again.
An arm ~ as good as dead, brought to life.

I know something can come from nothing.
May it be counted to me as righteousness.

My next several posts will most likely cover those things I want to say before our baby is please come back!

And, I want to say thanks for all your comments about our baby and our pregnancy. It always means so much to me to hear your responses to my thoughts and heart.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Random Updates at 38 Weeks: Humility and Hope

March 9, 2011

It's been almost 2 weeks since I posted anything (although I've had the best of intentions to post...something always comes up).

I've been thinking a lot about what this blog will look like as what our lives look like right now are what most would say are in transition, a holding pattern, a waiting, and yes, maybe even a humbling:

~38 weeks pregnant and about to be parents for the first time.
~Living with my parents and somehow we're making it work.
~No jobs.
~No green cards.
~We own just about nothing except a couple suitcases worth of clothes and books and art. Good thing we have just the one bedroom to fill!
~Working through what we want to do in the future.
~Figuring out how the past shapes us now.
~Remembering to grieve what we've left behind. (As if we could forget to do this...)
~Still holding close the faces of those we love in Galati.
~Making new friends, re-establishing old ones.
~Reminding ourselves that in many ways, we're still newly married.
~Keeping what's important, letting go of what isn't.

Not so random, really, these points I've made. They shape our daily lives, they'll form our future.

Not too many days from now, we'll welcome a sweet baby girl into our family of 2. We can hardly wait...but waiting we are. My body is swollen beyond recognition. When I see people I've known all my life in a store or at church, I usually have to remind them that it's me...I look that different. In some ways I'm struggling with gaining so much weight, and not just water retention (or edema) weight. Some really thoughtful people (and I'm not being sarcastic here) have bought me clothes and cut the tags out...clothes that are about 5 times too big and I think: do I really appear that huge to them? Or they say to me: I don't want to make you feel badly, but I've lost 10 pounds.

Today, though, I'm reveling in the what my body has done. It has created something for the first time. And me, almost 39! I've made a baby...not all on my own, but this body of mine that was formed and knitted has done the same. And while my feet and legs often feel like stumps and the weekly weigh-ins at the doctor's office can be hard, I stand amazed at what has been made.

And, in my very un-medical language, my doctor told me the water retention is a bodies way of preparing for the birth so that not too much blood is lost. The water dilutes the blood during childbirth, therefore preventing anemia.

How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news...

In other pregnancy related news, at my doctor's appointment today we learned that our babe has dropped a bit and so she's getting ready to make her appearance!

Almost 2 weeks ago my sister and friends threw me a baby shower. It was so lovely and such a celebration of this gift of a baby girl. Think lots of pink!!! Lots of sweet clothes...and just a general sense of the holy as we gathered to recognize the Giver of all good things. I'll have more pictures to share of the shower on another day.

I've also been working on creating a space for our baby in the room we'll all be sharing and I have to say, it's turning out pretty darn cute. I made (or tried to make) some canvas art (idea taken from Jones the blog title for the tutorial) using prints by the artist Pauli Ebner. (again, click her name for more info.) I discovered her when Bela and I were in Paris last summer. While there I bought a few postcard sized prints and these we framed and hung beneath the canvas art with sage/pinkish ribbons. On the canvas art we've put our little girl's name and need to finish up the second canvas with the French for baby: bebe.

We bought or were given a couple baskets with a sage toile-ish look that I love and once we set up a crib, we'll use a sage bumper and bedskirt. For now, we're using this tiny bassinet (I say tiny because Bela finished putting it together, I cried for how small it is...thinking how little our baby will be for such a short time!)Oh, and I lined her dresser with pretty pink and green paper. You can also see the cross-stitched, chenile backed quilt my mom made for the baby hanging on the bassinet.

The only thing we've needed to buy for our baby is the dresser changing table (for $30 used). We've been so blessed to be given more than we ever thought possible...bassinet, crib, stroller, high chair, car seat, baby bouncer, slings, diapers, pack and play, diaper hamper, etc. And many of these have been given in duplicate (meaning, we are the proud owners of more than one).

Here are some pictures. Please forgive the sponge painted wall. About 14 years ago in a flurry of bad taste I sponged a wall in this room and, well, my decorative oversight has never been repaired.

This is turning into quite the post and if you're still with me I hope you'll read just a bit further.

I mentioned about this being a humbling time...and in many ways I guess it is. We can feel a bit lost at sea, if you will; no land in sight, catapulted by waves of the unknown, thirsty for something familiar, hungry for some certainty.

A friend said she said to her husband: can they (meaning us) be any more humbled?

I know that when we are humbled we are in the place where we are meant to be. We often think being humbled means we're doing something wrong, but I think that's a wrong view of humility.

Instead, this place is one where we live with hands open and raised to the God who provides. We are jostled at sea, but we are not lost. We are uncertain of what lies ahead, but we are certain of His provision. We wait, yes, we wait in humility and hope.

And into this place of humility and hope, we welcome our baby girl. The answer to so many prayers, a dream come true. I can't wait to gaze at her tiny face and say: see, even this He has provided.

Here are some maternity shots Bela and I took today (at 38 weeks). Please forgive me reveling in what is now a very pregnant body...or, just join in the revelry!

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