October 27, 2010


You know how couples can make up annoying lovey nicknames for each other? Well, Anthony is my Sweenie. Like Todd, but spelled differently and without the long-handled razors.

Word origin for Sweenie begins in the English, "sweetie" and was changed in 2010 by the addition of an Eric Cartman pronunciation.

Today Sweenie and I embark on another Army adventure: the transition to his new (Cav?!?) unit. After 14 long months of TRADOC and a few weeks (ok, a million weeks) of paycation, it is time to get to work. We don't know what working active duty outside of TRADOC feels like, nor do we have a good idea of what an infantry officer will do in a cavalry unit, although we are curious about the stetsons and spurs.

(After-note: Anthony actually ended up being put into an infantry batallion, where he is loving his job as a platoon leader. No spurs after all, which is ok, because we don't own any Black Beauties.)

What we do know is that God called us to reach out to the Army (yes, the whole thing) with His love. It's a new kind of infiltration.

Sweenie to me will be someone else's light in a dark place.

October 12, 2010

A Sacred Story

This place is dusty. I want to write more, and to do so, I must open my heart and tell the story that God has given me.

Last Sunday while we were back home in Tallahassee, my former youth pastor, Roshad, taught the morning service at Calvary Chapel Tallahassee. He had remarkable influence on me in my formative years and though we may not talk much since our move to Ft. Benning, I still consider him a spiritual influence in my life and love him dearly. His teaching confirmed something that God had been telling me for awhile -- that there is no shame in the story of mercy that God has done in our lives, no matter how difficult it is to tell.

(If you want to hear the teaching, go here: http://www.calvarytlh.net/MostRecentMessages.php and listen to "If You Knew Me" from 10/10/2010.)

Here is my God story.

A few months ago, in March 2010, I found out very early that I was pregnant. Anthony and I were so very excited to start a family. Another perfect piece of life had fallen in place, just as we planned. We cried and laughed at the positive test, went to the doctor and started waiting for my belly to grow.

At week 8, I miscarried. It was a slow process, nerve-wracking and tense. I was too much in shock and denial to process the gravity of the situation. Only days after doctors confirmed the loss did it hit me. I felt ashamed of my body and like I had done something wrong. I felt like a life's future had been erased without asking for my permission. I could not stop crying in the shower and though I had people close to me die before, I truly grieved for the first time.

In all this, I knew that God was there. I could not hear Him or see Him or even feel Him, but I knew that He had received our tiny, tiny baby into His kingdom.

Miscarriage happens to many. It is most commonly explained as the body's way of preventing what might have been a worse scenario. In my case, I know the exact purpose of its occurence: to bring me closer to a loving God and to bring healing to others.

God's purpose was made clear in the days and months to follow. We did not tell many people other than our family and close friends and church family what had happened, but God put many in my path, strangers and those close to me, that had also dealt with the loss of a child. Some I was able to comfort and some comforted me. Healing, in all its forms and struggles, had come from an open wound.

The loss of our baby is still often fresh in my heart and I don't think that I will ever stop feeling sad that it happened. As I read what I have just written, the words have oversimplified the complexity of it all. What might best portray what I am trying to express is the story of Abraham and Isaac.

In Genesis chapter 22, God asks Abraham to give up what is most precious to him in this world, his son. It seems masochistic of such a God to ask such a thing. It is a strange truth that God asks of us difficult sacrifice. In the end, God did not "slay" Isaac. He spared Him to show Abraham what true obedience -- letting go --  felt like. In our case, God's will was done. No conversations, no merciful angel's hand. The baby was a gift from God, taken early and dearly loved. And after the fact, we gave it back to Him, understanding that He is good and that His mercy endures forever. It was our conscious choice, with the help of God's Word and the Holy Spirit, to lay down what we thought should have been rightfully ours for His glory.

Yesterday I saw my second child, a girl, for the first time on an ultrasound screen. We have named her Emmanuelle, which means "God with us". He has been with me and with Anthony through literal, figurative and spiritual deserts, and He will continue to be with us until we enter into His kingdom.