her name...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

when she was nestled into the dark of me, she didn't move much.

and when she was named, her face was still unseen.

i thought her name would be fitting of the child who moved all quiet.

olivia - my peaceful one.


her life has been anything but.

her middle name was added in very purposefully

because i would meet her in the home of my midwife

with nothing to ease the pain to come.

and that woman, so very calm and sure, suggested the name that always seemed to bring about an easy entrance:

grace - goodwill and favor.

as i bent over and tried to draw in air with each wave of pain that brought her closer to my arms, i became convinced that all that quiet for those 9 months was just a building of energy to tear right through me.

and i was right

in a sense.

we've wrestled, she and i,

since the moment my midwife knelt in front of me, placed her hand on my belly and prayed for Jesus to protect that small one and i...

did that prayer cover us in words that have lasted until now?

four and a half years of looking into a face that mirrors my own,

battling a will that grows stronger than my own,

trying to wrap my arms around a small yet sturdy body once confined in my own that tries to break free of anything that attempts to hold that passion back.

i have felt hopeless.

i have felt scared.

scared that i'll lose her heart that burns so hot.

i have made the mistake of trying to conform her to my ideals of who she should be.

of how she should obey.

of trying to make sure she doesn't embarrass me...

oh, olivia.

i am so sorry.

he holds me in the night,

wraps his arms around me as i question everything i am doing,

everything she is doing,

everything that seems to be going wrong.

and he prays to Him Who created our sweet girl,

prays for wisdom for this mama and

protection for that little girl in the room next to us who seems to be constantly wrestling with something deep within.

and i know,

deep down,

i know...

she needs to know she's loved.


more than a nuisance,

more than a problem

more than a will that can't be tamed.

i read the words in the dark of the night,

as tears run down and the prayers seem weak,

~a. voskamp
and i know,

she doesn't see the sun very often from the face of her mama.

she hears more thunder of disapproval

and the lightening that flashes my frustration

than she ever catches a rainbow of grace reflecting His Love for her from me.

it's awkward at first,

and i am ashamed to write it,

ashamed to write that it was awkward to smile at my own daughter,

but i pushed through the awkwardness and knelt down in front of her and smiled from ear to ear,

made a silly face that made that belly laugh and throw that sweet face back and she looks into my eyes and whispers,

why did you smile at me?


she should never have to ask why,

but she needs to hear it.

she needs to know it deep down in her marrow 

because i don't want her left wanting.

mama smiled at you because i love you, sweet girl.  and because when mama smiles, you smile back and there is nothing more beautiful than that.

i walk into the room all breathless this morning,

trying to catch up on a class i missed how many days ago.

i sit down on the seat found for me and i listen and fill in the blanks like the word nerd that i am.

but it is in the closing of one lesson,

before the beginning of the next,

that my heart starts to pound.

that i want the one speaking to move from the first line and onto the second.

i'm desperate and i don't know why,

only that it's because i'm in love with my daughter and i see her name.

i see her name and i want to know...

and i break wide open.

because all this time i've been fighting to change who she is.

fighting to win this battle between us,

prove that i am in charge

and that she was created to bend to my standards.

what arrogance,

what stupidity.

because with that simple line filled in,

my whole view changed:

grace is...being offered what i don't deserve.

when we named her

before we even saw her,

i was, in an essence, claiming her as a gift i didn't and still don't deserve.

daily, she is an example of a Great and Loving and Merciful God Who looks at me in all my rebellion and pride,

Who holds me as i thrash against being conformed into His Likeness,

Who is Just and Good and refuses to allow me to stay where i am,

Who bends low and draws near and calls me His own,

in spite of who i am.

no, her will is a part of who she is,

i won't break it.

to break it would shatter her.

to break it would shatter us.

but to soften,

with the warmth of a small smile,

all full of the Grace of His Son...

we are made whole.

olivia.  the one who points me to the One Who is Peace.

grace.  the gift i never, ever deserved.

and it becomes this mama who finds herself changed...