Mama’s story

I just have to share something totally amazing that happened today. It wasn’t Laelia gaining a new ability, even though that’s been happening a lot lately. But I’m talking about something personally cool. For me the Mama. (My name is Laelia’s Mom… I mean Alexis. Hi.) Okay this amazing thing  needs a bit of back story. Hang with me, it will be worth it! (Or at least it was really cool for me.)

Eleven years ago I traveled to Egypt and Jordan. I saw the pyramids and Petra and the Dead Sea. It was amazing. But maybe I’m going too far back. Let me start over.

This last week my dad and Christina came down to help us fix up the house. You saw the pictures of Laelia and Roland’s new room in the last post? Well my dad built that bed and the night stand and made a 36 inch crib fit in a 34 inch space by taking it apart and putting it back together again. And he fixed our shower (that my darling husband cracked) and built anything from Ikea that confused me and put up a giant mirror in the dinning room. Oh and they bought us a grill. Here’s a picture of Laelia helping Grandpa set it up. She’s reading the directions upside-down because she’s that good.

So where am I going with this? Well one project I got done while Christina did Laelia’s walking therapy and dad fought with my shower is that I got to set up a bookcase (*cough* okay dad set it up) and decorate it.

Decorating one bookshelf sounds simple enough, but I went through boxes and boxes of pictures and other goodies to fill it up just right. It took me all day and I left a big mess that my scavenger cats pawed through all night.

Ta da!

The top shelf is my husband and me… and our embarrassing prom pictures. WE WERE BABIES! The second shelf is our family picture (soon to include Roland). The bottom shelf is all our photo albums. One up from that is a shelf of Laelia stuff–a photo album, splints, hospital  bracelets, baby footprint (once they were corrected enough), baby handprint (once we could spread her fingers), orthopedic shoes, etc.

Then there’s that middle shelf. I decided to put some bits and pieces of my world travels there. A long time ago this Mama had some wild times.

Eleven years ago I went to Jordan. Even though I lived there for a few weeks, the only real souvenir I have from Jordan (besides pictures) is that awesome stamp collection on the right.

This is something I got ELEVEN years ago. That was well before I was married and well before I had a child with arthrogryposis and another on the way with arthrogryposis.

I got this souvenir during a young and interesting time in my life.

Let me back up one more time. :)  Just the other day I was thinking about how things in my life seemed directed towards me having these awesome kids with arthrogryposis. I mean, I’d NEVER heard of arthrogryposis before my daughter was born. Even after I’d heard of it I couldn’t pronounce it for weeks. But lots of things prepared me for my children. Like the fact that I worked in respite care for a child with DS and then later in life used respite for my daughter. Or the fact that I was a special needs aide in a public school and now my daughter has one of those. There are just a ton of things in my life that have led me, silly ignorant me, to be a well-equipped mother for my daughter and son. It’s amazing. It’s as if my life has been directed all this time without my knowing it.

You see I truly believe in the eternality and omniscience  of God. He knew I’d have a daughter with arthrogryposis. He knew that was coming. He knows the end of things before the beginning takes place.

“Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” –God (Isaiah 46:10 in the New Living Translation)

“It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. Yet, mortals still can’t grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end.” –King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:11 in God’s Word Translation)

Now let’s go back to my Jordanian stamp collection. Check out that stamp in the upper right hand corner.

Notice anything? Club hands maybe? Club feet?

That my friends, is a boy with arthrogryposis.

My eyes lingered there because that’s how my daughter stands.

Then I recognized it from the back cover of my  arthrogryposis textbook  and gasped.

I was in the middle of an  important  conversation with my husband, mid sentence, and I gasped.

The Italian painter, Jusepe de Ribera, painted this in 1642. Jordan put it on a stamp. I bought it.

I bought it the year my mother was killed. The same year I ran away to the Middle East to try and distract myself from the pain. I ended up with people (American people) who were emotionally, verbally and physically abusive. Oh and I got back from the Middle East right in time to watch the World Trade Center go down. 2001 was a hard year. Even then in the darkest year of my life, God saw me. He saw me and he knew life wasn’t over like I thought it was. New life was coming. And she would look just like the picture in the stamp I  flippantly  bought.

Then just when I needed to see it, to prove that arthrogryposis existed outside my small world, there it was.

Cool, right?!


7 Responses to “Mama’s story”

  1. Linda Record says:

    This is more than just cool. It’s awesome, amazing, super, and so wonderful that you would make that connection. All of these strands are weaving such a beautiful tapestry. :)

  2. Linda Wesley says:

    Wow. I believe in the eternality and omniscience of God too. But how amazing when that same unfathomably beyond-us God sees fit to let us glimpse the things he is doing. How God is so beyond us and simultaneously so near to us, so intimately involved with our lives details, is a thing that is impossible for me to grasp. May he be glorified.

  3. Robin Clark says:

    Well, this moved me to tears Alexis. Our God is an Awesome God for sure!! Simply amazing story. Thanks and God continue to bless and guide you.

  4. Melissa Rowe says:

    VERY cool! I love it.

  5. Liz says:

    I second that WOW! It is so exciting when we look back and see how he has planned for us and know with confidence that He will continue to do so. YOU and Charles and Laelia (& Roland soon!) are such an encouragement to US! We pray God continues to bless your little family and care for all those yet to be adopted. We love ya.

  6. Liz, for Byron too! says:

    I second that WOW! It is so exciting when we look back and see how He has planned for us and know with confidence that He will continue to do so. YOU and Charles and Laelia (& Roland soon!) are such an encouragement to US! We know God will continue to bless your little family and care for all those yet to be adopted. We love ya and our prayers are with you all.

  7. Joann smith says:

    Ok, so this deserves more than 2 or 3 Wows! What an amazing story, like reading something out of God’s Word that reveals who He and all His glory! Thank you very much for sharing! You are a fantastic writer, making the people and their stories come alive and in 3-D.

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