Beautiful & Brutal

Beautiful & Brutal

Pregnancy, for me at least, is like a magnifying glass. Emotions are heightened, both good and bad. One taste of ice cold watermelon or crunchy chicken salad makes me positively giddy. The highs feel so much higher. That happy dance in my tummy when I taste salty Kettle chips or the garlicky butter sauce that comes with Papa John’s pizza.

But the lows are lower too. This past week I read about two babies, both baby boys, who were born and only lived for hours. I sat at my computer reading about one and my phone reading about the other and sobbed. These are the moments I ache for heaven. These are the moments I want to pound my fists and scream and yell and collapse in a heap on the cold tile floor. This world is beautiful but also brutal. Beautiful because it still reflects our Maker. Brutal because it is tainted with sin and death and pain.

If we let it, the journey to a child, whether through pregnancy or adoption, whether fast or painfully slow, softens us. It makes our hearts squishy like a dry sponge that’s finally found water. It’s a beautiful, brutal process, one that continues on for the rest of our lives.

My prayers have been the desperate kind this week. Trust is so hard. Fear is so easy. I can turn my eyes to the brutal and become paralyzed. Or I can turn my eyes to the beautiful and see Glory.

Spider Monkeys & Things That Push Our Buttons

Spider Monkeys & Things That Push Our Buttons

My friend Liz has a phrase that’s become a favorite for me. Going all spider monkey. It comes in handy for those moments when the volcano inside starts bubbling. You know the moments I’m talking about. You’re at the grocery store, and in some moment of insanity you said yes to the buggy with the car in front. So, now you’re trying to steer a big rig up and down the aisles while one kid grabs stuff from the bottom shelves as you pass by and another sticks her head out nearly decapitating herself when you turn a corner. And inevitably someone will hurt someone and someone will end up crying and someone will end up needing a sleeve of Oreos just to get through the whole ordeal. (I’ll let you decide who the someones are.)

Or the day has been the world’s longest ever. The kids are grumpy and complaining that they’re hungry. They ask you what’s for dinner and immediately follow it with, “How many bites do I have to eat?” So, you’re already feeling like a winner in the chef department. One child spills a Costco-sized bag of raisins all over the kitchen floor, and while you’re trying to clean that up you smell the distinctive scent of burnt dinner coming from the oven. The hubby gets held up at work, and the natives start to form a coup. Then you realize he forgot to take the trash can to the curb the night before, and now your garbage can will be overflowing for the next week.

And there it is–spider monkey. You’re equal parts spider and monkey. Ready to spin a web and catch some prey. Ready to beat your chest, swing around and make sure everyone knows, “Momma ain’t happy!!” Your prey, innocent or not, saunters by and you pounce, ready to make them pay. Oh, and it feels soooo good for a moment. All that frustration and stress and tension finally erupts. Hot lava spews, and it must land somewhere, usually on those you love most. And it’s going to burn.

There’s this particular type of monkey at our zoo (maybe it’s an ape or gorilla or orangutan, but I call them all monkeys) and it has, for lack of a better term, an exposed butt. Do you know the type I’m talking about? It’s covered in dark black fur except its red butt that you just can’t help but stare at. And that’s about what I feel like when I go all spider monkey. Like I’m one of those exposed butt monkeys just showing off all my ugly to the people I love most.

Lysa TerKeurst wrote a book called Unglued that I absolutely recommend every woman read. In it she says, “Raw emotions–anger, frustration, bitterness, resentment–are the feelings we tend to hide from people we want to impress but spew on those we love most.”

Spider monkey feels good for a moment. Until I realize my web is a sticky mess and my butt is exposed.