Lately (2 Months After John)...

As of late, we've posted less on this blog and more mini-updates and lessons learned on Instagram and Facebook. For those of you who don't engage those social medias, here's a few updates in the life of the Wolf family...

"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you." (- Frederick Buechner)

John Wolf, after one week of life in this joy and sorrow-filled place, may you never forget, your whole life through, that you are not alone. We are with you; He is with you.

Perhaps these brothers , James and John, might also be "sons of thunder" like their Biblical namesakes, and we pray their fervor would be fueled by hope, their passions would be grounded in grace, and their truth would always be tempered by love.

After nearly 3 weeks of life with John, pondering the miracle of his life and the rather extraordinary details of his birth, we wanted to record for ourselves and share with you the story of the day he came into this world so we might all remember to find God in the details of our stories, so we might not be afraid. {READ JOHN'S BIRTH STORY BLOG....}

This experience of new parenthood must be some reflection of how God feels about us, smiling over our sleeping faces, waiting with giddy anticipation for us to wake up into a new day with Him, a day He has made for us. But to be fair, just like new parenthood, there must be some times when God smiles even bigger when we finally go back to sleep again.

In the midst of James' rather chaotic childhood, one place of stability has always been our nighttime prayers, a mix of spontaneous requests and rote recitations, both spoken and sung, sometimes through yawns and sometimes through tears for seven straight years. And now, perhaps as an answer of sorts to all those prayers, James no longer rolls over in feigned sleep when his turn comes, but rather, he belts out his blessings over the little brother he loves and they mean something new to him and to us too, and we all say Amen and goodnight...

A brainstem stroke affects the most basic, involuntary systems that give life and function to the human body, and we wondered how my lack of fine motor skills and impaired coordination and balance would affect life with John. As it sweetly turns out, perhaps the only primal instincts that run deeper than those lost in my stroke are those gained through motherhood. John, you are the best medicine.

"If it is life, not death, which motivates us to flourish, and if love and sacrifice are at the heart of our humanity, rather than choice, then we must desire life, pray for life, manifest life and choose life for every other human on this planet, and in so doing, we all might know grace more." {READ 'CHOOSING LIFE' BLOG POST...}

"Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed." (- Mary Oliver)

Living with disabilities is hard.
Living with a spouse is hard.
Living with a newborn is hard.

It seems we all spend a lot of time looking for different lives, ones we think we are owed, ones that aren't so hard. But then sometimes, we're reminded that the best life and the greatest gifts are already right in front of us.

Finishing some final edits on the "Hope Heals" book (coming April 2016, published by Zondervan). It's one thing to occasionally remember what God has done in our lives, but what a huge gift for us to have a tangible reminder, in black and white, of God's hope and healing in the midst of our deepest hurts. We are already praying it gets into the hands of those most who most need that same reminder too.

Like an old newspaper, John's "1 Month" onesie is already obsolete. 6 weeks with a newborn is nothing if not a reminder that life blooms at an unexpected and breathtaking pace, which of course is exactly what makes it so beautiful. Thus the task at hand is learning how to love well whatever and whoever is in front of us for however long they are there.

Today started off perfectly. John had slept 9 hours and was still going, and we woke feeling so refreshed. Jay even went on an early jog and brought home coffee which we shared over slices of camp toast so thick two eggs fit inside them. The dining room was calm and quiet as the sun rose, and it was just the two of us.

Then, as life sometimes goes, we found ourselves taking an unexpected detour to the hospital as I accidentally lacerated my eyeball by poking it with my no-fine-motor-coordination right fingernail (I wish I was joking). Nothing quite kills a lovely moment around the breakfast table like a bleeding eye!

Sweet friends came over to watch the boys. On the way to the hospital, I almost cried feeling I had yet again ruined a perfectly good moment with my persistent health issues. Then Jay comforted me in the wise way he does, "I'm just glad we didn't have to make this hospital run with a newborn, after a sleepless night and a chaotic morning. We can do this. It's OK." I dried my (bloody) tears. He was right.

Thankfully, after a few hours at good old home away from home UCLA Hospital, it was determined the cut wasn't too deep and my eye will be fine.

Sometimes life's "easy moments" are a sweet gift--relish them--and sometimes they're a preparatory grace--recognize them. Either way, give thanks for them because God knows you needed them.

"Cease endlessly striving for what you would like to do and learn to love what must be done." (- Goethe)

Anticipating, dreaming, and hoping all give us life, yet the space between those expectations and reality is often the place most ripe for discontentment, so that even the sweetest circumstances can be discolored by what is not.

I haven't really left the house but a handful of times in nearly 2 months because it's just easier not to. Breastfeeding has been 10x harder than I remembered. James is asserting a newfound, pre-teen hyper-activity that makes patience with him a near-impossibility. And Jay and I are often stressed and annoyed and too tired to love each other well. And yet because of all this, the need to practice contentment is more important than ever.

Contentment is an evolving work of the Spirit, one that takes longer than we think--maybe our whole lives--and costs more than we want to pay--maybe our whole pride. Yet this work unveils the life we have as the life we really want, not because it's what we thought it would be but because it is ours to learn to love anew every day.

As James popped out of his room for the first day of 2nd grade sporting his "Big Brother James" t-shirt, Katherine and I looked at each other with a mix of wide-eyed terror and amusement. Should we intervene with a subtle outfit change before our not-so-little-boy's earnest but childlike proclamation makes him the target of playground bullies? But as we prayed with James before he left it was clear, we'd rather he unabashedly display love than be muffled by shame and fear; we'd rather he be courageous than live a comfortable and easy life. And we sent him off into a new year, with one foot in childhood and one foot in boyhood, knowing by his last day of school that will likely change but praying the good stuff growing inside won't. And everyone at school actually loved knowing James had finally become what he'd always wanted to be...a big brother.

UncategorizedAlex Wolf