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When I Can’t Protect You

A quiet ride home from practice tells me everything. She cannot open up or it will spill out. It breaks my heart. I find myself peppering her with question after question. It is like I just can’t stop myself. I am desperately wanting to be her safe spot. I want to hold her while she cries her tears.

She holds firm and it is becoming clear to me. I cannot fix this. I cannot plow my way in and give her comfort. I must let her keep it here, in a secret spot of her head where no one knows her doubts but her. She must make this hurdle and grow inside. I must pepper her with tools of encouragement and success. I must be her biggest fan.

*   *   *

In the classroom they talk about the shooting that happened a few miles from our house. In our old neighborhood, a nice neighborhood. The shock of it still rippling through whispers and fear. Do I know you neighbor? Do I trust you?

He asks me if I am mad at him for talking about the shooting. With the heaviest of hearts and a sigh that escapes my lips, I explain my no. I’m hurt for him, for us. As he stands here talking about what he heard at school I am incredibly aware that he is growing up. That I can no longer shield him as fully as I have from the world. It’s hard. It is scary.

I want him to believe for one day longer that the good in the world far outweighs the bad. You can always find something good.

*  *  *

He comes home from men’s group and talks about the folly he sees in the idea that as a man you are the protector. He glances over his shoulder and sees clearly that Zach’s death humbled him in the hardest of ways.

Together we wrestle with wanting to be both protected and protector.

*   *   *

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Always. Here. From there.

Anywhere.

Always cheering for you.

With Love,

~ Me

 

The Gift of Life – Ten Years Ago

It was a Sunday in April, 2005. My husband and I were being lazy. I was in the final semester of completing my bachelor’s degree at Drake University and had a 14 page marketing research paper due the very next day. As we settled in the office to work, I stood up and felt water trickling down my leg. Not convinced of anything, except that pregnancy ruins a person – lol – I went and stood in the bathroom and confirmed that my water had indeed ruptured.

There was no nesting for me. Just good ol’ procrastination! Ha!

Still in denial that this was real, I called the doctor. I wasn’t feeling any contractions but they advised me to come in to be monitored. So we casually, seriously, casually, loaded up and went to the hospital. All the things they tell you to bring we took but left in the car. We really lived in some hilarious cloud of disbelief.

* * *

We settled in and the doctor informed me that I was in fact having contractions, I simply wasn’t recognizing (or feeling) them. I didn’t have any epidural or anything with this baby of mine. Just the sheer comfort of ignorance and the hundred million prayers for my body to not fight labor but embrace it. My fav pregnancy book: Supernatural childbirth had given me courage enough to believe and understand that a contraction is just that. A contracting of a muscle that does get sore and tired, but does not in itself inflict pain. God met me there. Why, I don’t know. It was a gift for me. You know, before “Push Presents” were really a thing.

* * *

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Zachariah Barak Wennerstrom was born on April 24, 2005

* * *

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk … In a world that’s changing really quickly,

the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Zach was the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life. In MY type A, perfectionist, career-driven life. God used him to shatter walls. Zach was born whole, healthy and perfect. He was given to me despite of my shortcomings and failures. God gifted us with grace enough to be this little man’s parents. He would be ten today.

Would be.

His life story wasn’t written the way we desperately wanted it to go but there is grace in that too. The biggest risk carries the best satisfaction, peace, and accomplishment. His life changed mine.

Matt sometimes likes to ask me what I think our family would look like if Zach hadn’t passed. I cannot bear the thought. My children are mine, because this little man dared to wreck my world, my heart, and teach me that at the very end of the day, the end of the moment of life, sharing love, hard selfless love takes the cake.

God is the giver of life and He gave the best gift, the gift of a life full of love, now and forever. Hope eternal. That’s what I think about today. I think about 10 years ago when I was birthing a child into this world and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I would have held on to my innocence just as much as I refuse to consider my life without the 5 living children and a husband I tend to.  Hope and love are beautifully woven together. In the broken, in the joy. In the birth days!

* * *

Happy birthday Zach!

I love you.

I wonder

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