Well, I'm certainly feeling a little outdone lately. When you walk in grief and cling to faith and pray that one day in the future, a future that seems so very far away, that you will know the joy of sweet baby love once again, and then God surprises you with a most unexpected blessing at a most unexpected time, you realize his generosity cannot be outdone, and that He has indeed outdone you in His wholehearted response to your fearful, feeble request.
When you share the news with your husband and confide in him that you would like to hold the news close for a while, until it has had some time to settle in your heart, and then in his profuse joy, he can't resist telling his parents, the children, and changing his Facebook profile picture to a stork holding a baby, you realize a father's joy is not to be hidden, and you have been outdone in child-like faith.
And so you make your own sheepish announcement, try to couch the news in hidden terms, tell the world that "you are laughing like Sarah laughed" even though you maybe are not quite ready to laugh and are still a little confounded by the whole thing, and then your family, friends, neighbors, all race to laugh with you, to shed tears of joy of your behalf, to appreciate to Lord's generous love, and you find yourself again outdone. The news of new life shakes the heavens and the earth with celebration bells, there is no quiet way to celebrate the creative miracles of the Lord.
And then you sit with your afternoon cup of tea and open your staunchest supporter's blog to see what she's up to today, and find that she too cannot contain the wonderment, the encouragement, the sheer happiness she's already given to you in the last few days. And you are grateful for her love, for a friendship that has been a healing balm and a pillar of strength, for a voice of experience that has consistently reminded you that making babies is an art of sacrificial love that always produces profound lessons of joy and humility. And once again you are outdone. Outdone by her wonderment, outdone in the gift of friendship, and outdone in creative blog announcements too.
Because now it seems there are so many loving friends ready to take up your news, utter prayers on your behalf and weep in solidarity with you as you ponder God's wondrous gift, that you give up. Your fear has been outdone by faith. Your feeble yes has been overshadowed by his resounding one. Your shyness has hidden nothing from a circle of family and friends who are unabashedly excited for you. And in the combined wisdom, experience, suffering and joy of a circle of women who have lived this life of openness, there is a bond of solidarity and a powerful chain of prayer that outdoes your silent begging for health, joy, and healing.
And so today as I share with you the news of our Advent, the anticipation of new life, the still difficult task of carrying the cross of grief, I realize a new tender mercy. I am outdone. And for that I am grateful.
I'm opening comments here because, in all honestly, I am relying on your prayers and support in a mighty way and want to come back over and over again to the reminder that they are with me.