Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Six Years of Amazing

Alarming. Six years ago I held my firstborn in my arms and wept with unfettered joy.  I went home with my mother two hours later to my father who had been waiting for us by candlelight in our Nigerian home. Two weeks later they left me with this little wonder asleep in my arms. This little person was ours? It was alarming that God would give us, fallible human beings, this treasure to hold, protect, and nurture in his love. 

Marvelous. In her first year, I learned to accept help from every woman on the street as they all corrected how I dressed, carried, fed, talked to, covered, and washed "our baby." I learned how having a child in a community knits you together with that community.

 

 


Attached. In her second year, she said her first big goodbyes 
Cousins.
and lots of hello's to family that didn't really know her yet!  

My grandmother.
 
 

Zestilacious!  In her third year, her sparkliness and zest for life and learning were evident. She introduced her new sister to the world with joy.

 


We saw how she was a vital part of our family ministry and she helped shape it!




Imagination. 

There is no containing her worlds, stories, and explosion of colorful thoughts that have followed her everywhere she goes. 


Naturalist

Mariama has wonderful conversations with the gardener on our compound.  She shows him around our yard, exposing the tender growth or unusual plants that she has recently discovered.  When she was five, she attended a forest school, and her love for nature grew. 



Growth

This sixth year of her life has been remarkable in so many ways!  Tonight at devotions we were sharing times we have trusted God, and she said, "I needed to trust God when I was in America and I was five, and I had to go to "real school" and then I had to stop going to school and stop going to ballet and move around a lot, and there was a lot of change. So, I had to trust God." 





 

On her birthday we were having sparkling juice, and she said, "This reminds me of what I want to do when I grow up." "Really, how?" I asked.  "Aunty Leah (that's my 36 year old sister who has Down Syndrome) loves sparkling juice, and when I grow up I want to teach people like Aunty Leah."  

 

I can't wait to see what the future holds with this delightful human being that God has so graciously given us to steward and hold.

 

 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

I Will Rise

 

Lake Michigan with my four beauties.

I walked as quickly as I could, tears spilling down my face into the bathroom in my church, with the echo of those beautiful words, "I will rise, on eagles wings, no more sorrow, no more pain, I will rise," reverberating in my heart that spilled out in sobs. 

My parents and sister Leah

I spent three weeks in the United States and am so thankful for the time I was with my family as they reflected on the remarkable life of my brother, Josh Watkin. There was more laughter than tears, as I think he would have wanted it. 

I heard this song my last Sunday at church, two days before I boarded the plane to come back to Nigeria.  I'm not sure, but I think what moved me so deeply that Sunday morning, was imaging my brother rising, and me joining him someday. And then comes the final, triumphant lyrics at the end,

"And I hear the voice of many angels sing
Worthy is the Lamb
And I hear the cry of every longing heart
Worthy is the Lamb."  
 
The week before in church there was a song that was sung and I felt so numb to the thankfulness that the lyrics expressed for the sacrifice of Christ. I stood there, arms crossed, feeling like I didn't get it, I couldn't soak in the wonder of his grace in the face of such tragedy.  The song had a line about seeing Jesus "face to face," and I knew that's why I didn't get it...I wasn't face to face with the Giver of Life.   I sensed, "Josh gets it, and he's saying it to me now." Peace washed over me as I realized that on this side of heaven, I do not have the capacity to understand the greatness of God and his goodness.  I looked around and thought, "We are ALL seeing dimly, a shadow, in our closest moments with Jesus, of how radiantly beautiful his love is, his being is, his gaze is upon us is.  Oh, but those who have gone before us get it!"  I remembered looking at Josh's body in the casket.  Still, silent...and empty. So unlike he is now.  It was a shell, and the real, true, vibrant, strong, loving, passionate, gifted man that shaped so much of my life, is experiencing fullness of joy. 
My dad with my nephew and my brother's chainsaw at the family visitation.
 
 I can't wait to rise and meet him and my Jesus in the air, and then to sing that unifying hymn together!  All nations, tribes and tongues, "Worthy is the Lamb."  He has conquered death for all of us, and it holds no sting.  It does hold pain because we were never meant to experience it, but there is no life stealing sting, only hope because our rising still lies ahead!
 


Six Years of Amazing

A larming . Six years ago I held my firstborn in my arms and wept with unfettered joy.  I went home with my mother two hours later to my f...