When Peace Like a River, When Sea Billows Roll – a rock home companion
We live so much outside of the Rock House, outside of handheld and visual – in the realm of relationship, in the realm of faith and love, and in the realm of ideas, walking on water or sinking sometimes in dark places.
Though I got a huge peony beautifully tattooed on my shoulder on Saturday, though actual peonies from the yard inspired it, it’s the idea of home that makes one lie on a table for three hours of ten-thousand painful inky needles. It’s the idea of Unity and Diversity from the center star of the Ethiopian flag that I imagine in the center of our home, an idea I know will mature in time, especially as we become a transracial family, in our hearts first and then in tangible lived-out reality.
For now, I can’t put my finger on so much of what we’re praying and learning, but I have it in art-form inside my skin, and not all love a tattoo, but I do. I love it. I feel like I’ve promised to go get my baby girl, and I feel like I’ve promised to make home for her here, and I’ve promised to let her go back to the home where she was born, if she desires it. I have promises for her and for my boys. I’ve written it on my skin.
Just like God, who says, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” He doesn’t forget us. He doodles about us. He has scars for us. He makes art for us and sets us in our places.
Just the love of God is good.
We go about trying to imitate him, either for our own glory or for His. Oh, but we try so hard to let it be that we make art to see more of God, not more of ourselves.
Saturday night, we met with friends for dinner, all wore matching shirts, and then went to the airport to welcome dear friends home from Ethiopia with their baby girl. They came home tired and more complete and no doubt ruined by Africa and simultaneously saved, how it always seems to go.
I imagined my face in the face of my girlfriend, a mommy breathing in little girl hair. It was amazing to see instant daughter and amazing to be part of the great family crowding in to adore her.
The day was so perfect and paralleled to Sunday morning, when I shared my abortion story with well over 1,000 at church. I learned that I say “um” a lot when speaking publicly, but I also learned that when sharing the word of my testimony, I am infused with courage and increase in faith. It was healing once again to share it, and then to see recognition in so many hurt eyes.
I was able to say how thankful I am that men are feeling more comfortable to confess their struggles, how they can confess Pornography and such and then be accepted and helped. I told women that our church is a safe place for them, too.
A girlfriend came to me afterward and said that she believes she had her abortion because of the church, believes she wouldn’t have done it if her culture had not have been Christian, so scared to look like we don’t have it all together. I agreed with her that my reasoning had been the same. Things are changing, especially as we speak truth within our own stories.
Every night that I put the boys to bed, I sing hymns, so they will know them – the old ones. Last night, I ended with “It Is Well.”
And I didn’t cry, which is unusual. I sang it, repeated it, because this weekend, in this rock house, I’m feeling both the sea billows and the peace river, and I’m not thrown or sinking. Even though we have so much growing to do, it really is well with my soul.