Friday, December 30, 2011

Defining Moments

"Kind of defines you, doesn’t it? You know like, one moment you’re gliding along… the next moment you’re standing in the rain watching your life fall apart." - Hitch

We have had Zack and Sabo staying at our house the last couple days since they're out of school for Christmas break. Desperate to watch something other than Waterboy (which is always, always their movie selection when given the choice), we suggested Hitch. There's one scene where Sara tells Hitch about her past, when she saved her little sister from almost drowning. She says that she doesnt think she ever got over it. And he agrees that those moments define you.

At her words, I felt an immediate rush of relief. A kinship in feeling changed by the past, even mired in it sometimes (nevermind that they are fictional characters). Captive by the fear of what might have been, what could have happened, how close we came to losing him. And I know that those moments defined me. They changed the person I am today, while I sat at his bedside. When they answered my question of "will we lose him?" with an "I don't know."

Last January, we declared 2011 "the year of new beginnings," and it has certainly been that. One of those years where life's pendulum has swung wide, and big changes have shaped all of us. We have been defined by a new home. By a new ministry, a new baby, a new family landscape, a hospital stay . . .

And undoubtedly those big moments DO define us. I can look back at my 27 years of life and point at those snapshots of my life I would declare "defining." Adam and I at the altar. Grasping hands as they laid Jayci on my chest, and I gained the role of mother. Showing up at camp for the first time. Tentatively inviting Sabo and Zack out for lunch. Deciding to quit our jobs to do ministry. Caden's birth, and when the cardiologist walked into my hospital room with the news. Seeing Caden's sweet eyes open for the first time while his heart beat new. Bringing Caden home.

Yes, those moments have shaped me. But I am also defined by the in-between. Quiet moments, chaotic ones, boring ones. When I fold yet another load of laundry, or wake up at 3am and again at 4, 5, and 6 to nurse an-almost five month old who still lives on a newborn schedule. When I cry a little in the shower as water drenches my head, and these are the only quiet minutes without someone asking "why mommy?" or knocking on the door and interrupting naps for a glass of water and a safe place to color.
Today was one of those mornings when I felt a hopeless ache in my spirit. Like I might never sleep again, or have space to breathe again. Like I was doing something wrong, because both of my children refuse to be put down for naps or to sleep through the night. Like I'm the only mother on the planet who can't handle two kids on her own when her husband has to work outside of the house all day. Embarrassed at how triumphant I feel just to get Jayci some broccoli and spaghetti for dinner without Adam around to help me. Weary as I lay in my bed finally snuggled with Caden because his eyes pop open and he wails each time I lay him in his own bed. And then I hear bikes clattering through the front gate and footsteps and shouts and I brace myself for the knock and barking. Because even though we have rules, even when I scribble a desperate note begging kids who cant read not to knock right now, the knocks still come.

The truth is that I'm ok with being defined by the big moments, the ones when I am able to rise to the occasion. Because he is my son, and what else will I do but trust in the Father's goodness? But I'm not always defined as beautifully by the moments when I'm answering Jayci's "why" 800 times a day. Watching episodes of White Collar instead of praying with Adam before bed. Deciding how I spend my money. Folding the sixth load of laundry this week. Ignoring the knock at our door for the fifth time this morning because Adam took the kids to give me a little quiet time. And I'm staying snuggled here, writing and reading, until I recognize anew that every single moment is a reflection of His grace.
So if 2011 has been the year of new beginnings, I am determined that 2012 will be the year of celebrating in-betweens. I will learn to embrace the everyday moments and somehow accept that my inadequacies in their midst point me to Jesus just as surely as they did when Caden was in the hospital. To recognize that my role as mother is a holy one. That who I am is a product of each little choice I make.

In 2012 I will grasp hold of the joy set before me. I will see through the haze just how dependent I am on a Father who is holding me close and wrapping me in His great grace. I will grab peace and cast my cares on him. And this year, I wont just do it when I'm mired in the hard times. No, I will thank Him for those hard times, but I will draw near to Him at ALL times.

I am a better person because of 2011. My own heart has been molded by our experiences with Caden's heart. I am attuned to motherhood and the loss and hardships that so many mothers have experienced, which somehow I have never noticed before this year. I am grateful for all we have been through this year and who we are on the other end. And I am praying for us that this year will be another year of growth and change, and of walking closely with a Father who loves us deeply.

"Standing in an imperfect place is just the perfect place to begin, and everyday offers the hope of Day 1." - Ann Voskamp


  1. Becca-I just find your honest words so refreshing. This is something I have been learning as well. The big moments matter, but most of life is not spent in the big moments. And sometimes, those quiet moments reflect who we are so much more deeply.

  2. Oh bless your sweet heart! Your honesty is inspiring. I love how you said this year will be the year of celebrating in-betweens. That... THAT... is awesome! :) Happy New Year!

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  4. I tell you all the time that I look forward to your posts and I'm sure it's getting old... but I will let you know again, I love reading your blog! I was telling my husband the other day that I wish I could express myself like you do... you're so poetic! You put your heart out there and you can tell you're always trying to do better. I don't ever want to forget what it feels like to go through a heart surgery and recovery - to have that hope - looking back the scared feeling and just being faithful was so amazing. I want to make everyday mean something - but I know, it is so hard. Especially right now, when my house is a disaster, the kids are going crazy and I just want to stay in bed all day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I so appreciate it - it makes me want to live differently daily.

  5. Becca, you are one amazing Christ-follower, wife, mother, friend, and writer! I stand in awe of your honesty, walk, and communication!

  6. Oh dear friend, my heart aches for you right now. I am so blessed by your friendship and feel for the challenges in the "little things" the small moments that feel unceasing. I pray that you will begin to get some sleep. I pray that you will have some peace and quiet moments. I understand, and though it's different with Kevin, it truly is those big defining moments where you can step outside yourself and literally watch yourself grow, closer to God, closer to your loved ones, and just a little bit more outside of yourself. I treasure watching you grow into that person, your heart is so open and honest. You know, oh you know, that we are just down the street, I'm here for you to sneak away, even if it's just to nap somewhere else where the kiddos can't "find" you for an hour or two! Love you love you love you dear friend. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. They are truly a blessing to me during all our craziness.

  7. Wonderful post as always, Becca. I ache for you on that schedule... While we didn't start off our journey in the CICU, we did have a kid who wouldn't sleep through the night until he was 2, ate every hour, and a new baby who came along when he was just 14 months old. I understand sleep deprivation, dirty hair and red eyes - the universal sign of motherhood. One of my "in-between" moments was laying on the floor of our house, HUGE and pregnant, and watching our first born walk for the first time. To have a child just walking and one about to be born... I thought I would lose my mind. But as I look back - that was a small, but big moment that should have been celebrated. I can't imagine how tough it is for you guys!!! But your outlook and faith is awesome and I pray that sleep and rest will come soon for you. The "in-betweens" are difficult, but you are right... they are what make "life." Thank you as always for sharing your journey with us. You have made a great impact on our lives.

  8. Beautiful, my friend. I'll be with you- pressing into Jesus in those in between moments that come so frequently as a mom of little ones. Blessings to you!


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