Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Being Known

I am sitting in the grass, sunshine falling unseasonably warm on my shoulders and head. Yellow pollen collects on Caden's stroller and Jayci's blonde ponytail. I close my eyes and listen . . .  The sprinkler runs and 3-year-old shrieks of delight fill the air, Caden coos happily, the bees buzz, working overtime as the pollen count rises above 9000. Their collective energy and noise reminds me of something that I learned while Caden was in the hospital: how deeply people long to be known, particularly in their grief. And how desperately we wanted and needed to be understood and KNOWN in what we were walking through. There is something about sharing loss, heartache, joy, fears . . . a grace-filled solidarity that emerges especially in crisis. And since the first day Caden was in the hospital, I have been truly privileged to experience community in a whole new way.
A ten year old boy raises money for Caden, then comes and brings it to us, along with a pillow he hand-sewed for Jayci's dolls. Gingerly, he holds Caden, avoiding his feeding tube and smiling down at his little toes. And I am flooded with both gratitude and humility as I recognize the face of Christ.

A beautiful mom that I have never met before stops by and fills our cupboard with pancake mix and syrup for Sunday morning breakfast with the kiddos. Opening her heart to minister not only to her own children, but to kiddos whose faces she has never seen, faces that will now be sticky with syrup as they pile in our car for church. And her handsome son lifts his shirt to reveal a scar from open-heart surgery, and I am encouraged to envision Caden one day lifting his own shirt to offer hope to another mom whose baby has had surgery.

A sweet reader emailed me and told me about a hospital ministry she has been inspired to start, and I have been praying for that seedling idea ever since. Praying with the joy and knowledge that Caden's heart has helped me to find my voice, and that his story is making a difference to all who encounter it.

Our time with Caden, and this little blog, have provided me with the amazing opportunity to meet so many moms walking the "heart journey" alongside us, moms who are bravely facing health challenges with their baby and moms who hope to one day see their sweet babies again in heaven. I've met fellow "urban missionaries," talked to people on the other side of the world, and been stopped in the Chick-fil-a parking lot by a reader.  We have been prayed for, carried, encouraged, loved well . . . I could not be more grateful for each and every one of y'all. And I mean that. What a blessing it is to get a word of encouragement just when I need it. Or an email on a day when I couldn't think of any way I could possible pull myself out of the dark-hole of exhaustion. And I am thankful for a God who gives us community to pull us out so we don't have to do it ourselves. Isn't that the beauty of community? It reminds us not only of our own inadequacies, but simultaneously of a God who loves us enough to provide for them.

Five years ago when Adam and I began this journey together into inner-city ministry, it began in our hearts with a longing for a community. A recognition that God desired more for us: that He desired us to experience deeper communion with each other and with Him. And as we moved towards that community, we moved closer to the heart of God. Which means we moved closer to His heart for the poor and those on the margins. And He continues to teach us about community and entering into the hurts and pain of others. He used Caden. He uses our neighbors. And He is using you.

I have been praying that this will continue to be a place of true community. Where we can be vulnerable with one another, and honest, and truthful about feeling tired and empty. And also about feeling joyful and triumphant. Where we can pray for one another, and celebrate God's goodness both in His giving and His taking away. Know that I sincerely pray for you, for your heart babies, for your struggles, for your losses, for your heart. You have no idea how much I love "meeting" you both through emails and in real-life.
 Let's just say the yellow sign is always out around here, and y'all are always welcome!


  1. What an awesome post!

    I seriously love your heart.

  2. Totally agree with the other comments. Your ministry is changing the world in Jesus' name!

  3. Oh, Becca. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know you. I am constantly in awe of you.

  4. Wow, do I resonate with your statement about longing to be understood and known in our grief. I had to stop a moment and take a deep breath and ponder that line when I read it. It's so true.

    Thank you for being a kind friend, an incredible mother, a light to the people in your neighborhood, and a tenaciously hopeful woman despite the dark shadows of life. You are a blessing and gift, and I am so glad Caden brought you into my life!


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