While I was doing my devotional reading a few weeks ago, my thoughts snagged on this particular passage:
“Within truth however no life is present, only within good. Truth is merely the recipient of life, that is, of good. Truth is like the clothing or a garment worn by good. In the Word too therefore truths are called clothes, and also garments. But when good composes the rational, truth passes out of sight and becomes as though it was good; for good is now shining through the truth, in the same way as when angels are seen clothed they appear in brightness that looks like a garment, as also was the case when angels appeared before the prophets.” Arcana Coelestia 2189.3
It might be quite worldly, but reading this brought to mind all of the clothes in my closet that I don’t wear. What might they represent when looked at through a more spiritual lens?
If we think of garments as truths, then what does it mean to invest in clothing items that we wind up rarely or never wearing? For me, there is an appeal in having things “just in case” I need it. There is a refreshing sense of possibility in buying something that could serve a purpose. But that possibility stagnates quickly when I fail to give the garment said purpose by never putting it on. It doesn’t matter how much I insist that I like the color or the style or how it looked in a dressing room. It doesn’t matter if the clothes are especially pretty or comfortable. Clothes left hanging in my closet or taking up space in my admittedly stuffed dresser drawers are utterly useless.
Continue reading Being Truly Clothed
“Rainbow baby” is a term commonly used for a baby born after the loss of a pregnancy or infant. A “double rainbow baby” is a baby born after two or more such losses. My husband and I are currently hoping for our own double rainbow baby to arrive this summer. I would say we are “expecting,” but to be perfectly honest, after two back-to-back second trimester miscarriages, I don’t feel comfortable using that word. At this point, I expect nothing. But I do hope. I fervently hope that this baby gets to join our family the way the Lord intended.
I’m not sharing this for pity, although we certainly appreciate any prayers you feel so moved to send our way. I’m writing about this because pregnancy after loss is one of the hardest things I’ve ever faced in my spiritual life and if my struggles and growth can help someone else at all, then that’s one more little good thing to come out of a whole mess of pain.
Pregnancy before loss and pregnancy after loss are profoundly different experiences. Before our losses, we were blessed with three beautiful healthy babies. During each of those pregnancies I knew that something could go wrong. But the possibility of losing the baby was a distant murmuring fear that I only brushed against occasionally. My trust in the process of growing and delivering a baby was unshaken. My trust in the Lord was solid. The Lord wants us to have babies. Most babies survive and thrive. I knew people who had experienced miscarriages or stillbirths or had lost an infant, but I felt somehow protected from that pain. It was something other, something that wasn’t mine—a cloud in the horizon that might never reach me.
Continue reading Hoping for a Rainbow
Lately I’ve been reflecting on what makes a place feel like home. Our family moved from Toronto to Pittsburgh this summer and I’ve found that the act of “settling in” is made up of a myriad pile of puzzle pieces. They come in a jumble of shapes and sizes and when painstakingly put together (in any order), they somehow make “home” happen. The big ones that spring to mind are these:
Bringing my family with me
How lucky am I that I get to bring my husband and children with me wherever I go? They say home is where the heart is and it’s true. Making memories with my family in our new home makes it feel like we all belong there.
Annoying bureaucratic “grown up” chores
In my humble opinion, this is the worst (but necessary) part of moving. New driver’s licenses, finding a new bank, new doctor, new dentist, school paperwork, transferring information from the last place you lived to another, letting EVERYONE know your new address…does just reading this stress you out? It sure has that effect on me so let’s move on to the next category.
Figuring out where staple places are located
The grocery store (not to mention how to navigate said grocery store), the library, the best spots for buying clothes and shoes for your family, a hair dresser…all the essential “will visit regularly” places. This is Step 1 of this piece of the puzzle. Step 2 is that glorious moment when you go out to run an errand and don’t need a GPS.
Discovering local treasures
Continue reading Homemaking
Local parks, restaurants, date night destinations, zoos, museums, theatres, eating any signature foods that your new area is famous for (Fries on salad, anyone?). Soaking up local culture and charm always makes a place feel more like home to me, as if by sampling the treasures, I get properly adopted by my new city.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29: 11-13
Tis the season for all sorts of moving forward. The weather is getting warmer. School years are coming to a close. COVID vaccines are inching many parts of the world towards a shadow of “normal.” I personally know lots of people who will soon be moving on to new jobs and homes—our family included. These times of transition always seem to tug the heart in two directions—looking forward to new adventures and the ache of what we will miss about the here and now. Leaving the familiar is always daunting, isn’t it?
In March, Tania Alden shared an article about the simple power of intentional gratitude and how it connects us to heaven. I’m finding that standing on the brink of a big move has me counting my blessings twofold. For months now, I’ve had a running list of people, places, and things that I will miss about our lives here in Toronto:
Continue reading Gratitude in Motion