24 Dec 2012

When you feel left out

All I want is to be in church. Right in the deep of the service in a row not far from the front.

In a sea of my favorite Christmas carols, letting the music wash over me and my tired, end-of-year self. I want to sink into that place of remembering what happened that night. I want to embrace Mary in my mind and watch as the Father God Maker of the Heavens sent His Son into the silent planet, behind a veil of sin, that would inevitably separate them, and imagine the midwives that caught him in their wise and worn hands.

I want to stand in the dark and travel the road alongside her with every kick and stretch of the new baby in her womb. I want to walk her footsteps in my mind and listen to what heaven sounded like when it held its breath and then exhaled its hallelujahs.

But I am standing in the church nursery instead looking into the eyes of a three year-old who looks back and says quietly, stubbornly, “I want you to stay with me, mama.”

The room has been decorated for “Jesus’ Birthday” – there are cupcakes and streamers and balloons. He’s holding one of them clutched tight between chubby forefinger and thumb. It’s red, helium, and floats above his curling blonde head.

It has been marked with his name – Micah.

“But this party is for kids; I’m going back to church. If you come with me you won’t have cake. And you can’t bring your balloon.”

I’m certain that once, just once he will be swayed to stay put.

He looks at me and up at the balloon floating red and warm and delightful in the air above him. He lovingly fingers the ribbon that binds it to him. And then he turns around to the teacher and holds it out to her,

“Here,” he says softly. “You take my balloon.”

Then he spins back around and grabs at me with his empty hand – filling it up with mine.

I feel like there must be a balloon where my heart once was. I am afraid it will burst. He chooses me. A toddler chooses me over cupcakes and balloons. The nursery door is open and I catch the strains of singing; “Oh Holy Night” rises above us and blue eyes look into mine and a small hand is locked onto my fingers.

I’m on my knees.

Suddenly all I want to do is join Jesus at his birthday party. On a child’s terms. Remembering the baby that gave up heaven and came bloodied to find me. To choose me.

We both eat cupcakes. I tie the balloon tight around Micah’s wrist. I am the amnesiac who doesn’t want to forget. Babies and toddlers over choirs, the wise and Sunday sermons. A small town chosen to bear witness. A prophet who wrote it faithfully down. And the namesake who helped me remember:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”

3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.

~Micah 5:2-4.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    …..and I cried like a baby on this one! What a beautiful, beautiful honor we have to be mothers!! Thank you for such a heart grabbing post this morning! Merry Christmas Lisa-Jo!!!! Erica

  2. 2

    Crying. So Wonderful.
    A Merry Christmas of love and laughter wished for you and yours, Lisa-Jo

  3. 3

    Oh that is the most beautiful post. As you turned toward love and Jesus and were able to let go of “you” and find joy in being with Jesus and your little one. I felt your joy and felt the peace that had overcome you.
    Celebrating with you at this time of year.

  4. 4

    Lisa-Jo, thank you for blessing me with your words and your heart. Following your blog has been such a gift and I love how God speaks to me through you. I hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful and blessed Christmas filled with so much love!

  5. 5

    What a beautiful and touching entry! So glad I stopped by this Christmas Eve. Blessings abundant to you and yours!

  6. 6

    I love your frankness and your blog helps me center on those people who are important in my life. I struggle with raising two grandsons ages 5 and 6 at the ripe age of 45! God bless you with His gift of Joy as you struggle to keep your eyes on Him.

  7. 7

    Awww, I love it! This is exactly what I needed today!

  8. 8

    Absolutely beautiful, Lisa-Jo. Merry Christmas!

  9. 9

    There was something so holy in all of this post… I’m holding on to this kind of beauty as I pack up my own toddler in pajamas for our Christmas Eve service.

  10. 10

    I spent my Christmas visit with my extended family on a floor, alone with the kids, while everyone else was upstairs, chatting it up. Upstairs was where I wanted to be, downstairs was where I needed to be. You get it, I know.

  11. 11

    Perfect and by far my most favorite post so far.

  12. 12

    My husband, son and I went to the Christmas Eve service on Monday. My husband isn’t a current believer so to have him in the service was a very big deal to me. My 14 month old wanted to run around and play. He wanted to talk and giggle and visit all the people sitting around us. I wanted to listen to the sermon and soak it all in. Instead I took my son and went out to the vestibule and tried to listen through the door as I ran after my boy taking him by the hand to bring him back into the room over and over and over again. I wish I could say that I embraced this like you have written in your post. Apparently I really needed to read this post on the 24th! I was sad that I missed the service. And heartbroken that my husband still doesn’t “get the faith thing.”

    On another note, I used to get your blog posts in my email but for some reason they stopped coming. Can I be added back onto your list? Thank you! = D

    • 13

      Hey Jessica,

      Thinking of you and a Christmas Eve service and faith that still manages to filter through the cracks. May there be much more of that for you and your man both, in 2013. And thank you for subscribing! You know, I recently switched to a new email service and I wonder if it’s getting trapped in your spam folder? If you don’t find ’em there, you can always just re-subscribe, it’s quick and easy peasy. Blessings on your new year.

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