Monday, December 13, 2010


"Easy Rider" - the grumpy version
(but the trike is an awesome gift from Oma!)

I've always been a big fan of being "real." I like it when people share deep stuff with me. I'm actually not very good at small talk for that reason. I don't always filter well if I'm stuck in a surface level conversation. Sometimes that means saying stuff that is hard for some to hear. Sometimes it means sharing stuff about Noah's life that is hard for me to say.

I just want to thank all of you for reading what was hard for me to write. And for being so encouraging. And for listening and not trying to "fix" it. For calling and letting me cry. For the flowers (G.V.) The hugs without conversations. Nobody seemed surprised to hear that life was tough. No one made me feel like I had to make it better. You have walked with us this last year. You know many of our deepest wounds and greatest joys.

We had a good weekend. My house did not get completely cleaned as planned. Ditto on calling people I had planned to. Noah retched a lot. Noah tried food on Sunday but refused all day today. A lady was all annoyed with me at Chapters today because I was venting a retching Noah (ie. sounding like he is chocking and he is beet red) and thus blocking an aisle of books with the stroller. Not kidding, she asked me to move. Here I am holding a syringe full of formula and encouraging Noah that it is going to be okay. So I told her that I had to attend to my son for a moment and I would move shortly. SHE ROLLED HER EYES. Seriously. I blew the formula back down his g-tube, looked up at her and said "the aisle is all yours. Merry Christmas."

I left that moment with a life lesson. We all could use a little more love. We need to enjoy life a little more. We need a bit of patience. And some people need to chill out. Maybe we could even be a little joyful?

I'm not overjoyed with Christmas. This is a huge disappointment for me as I thought I was gonna live large this season. With the crisis of last year, I thought I'd be abounding in joy. As the weeks have past, that hasn't happened. I cried everyday. Some of the tears were of joy because my son is so joyful. He dances to every carol, claps when I play the piano and smiles at everyone. Church has been so meaningful and challenging at the same time. We've been invited to bring our pain and sadness with us each week. I think of the people I love who are hurting. I've been missing the joy I thought I'd prayed for.

Well, my dear friend Geraldine ( said it really well - your life might not be filled up and bubbling over with joy but you can be joyful while not "faking" it. The struggle and joy can live together in the peace that Jesus' arrival gives us.

Here is a story that was shared at our church yesterday ( I know it is kinda long but it had such an impact on both Jared and I. It is adapted from a sermon by Rev. Diane Hendricks.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Only it's not.
Not for everyone.
Not when there is an empty chair at the table.
Not when your body is ravaged with illness.
Not when the depression is too much to bear.
Not without her voice joining yours on the Christmas carols.
Not when you feel all alone even in a crowd.
Not when you are not sure you can even afford the rent or mortgage, let alone the presents.
Not when they are trying their best to get the best of you.
Not when another Christmas party means he will come home drunk again.
It's the most wonderful time of the year? No, it's not.

And trying to smile and say Merry Christmas is more than difficult. It's pretty near impossible.

C.S. Lewis once wrote: "No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning..."

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Only it's not.
Not after he has died.
Not after the doctor gave you the news.
Not after they told you they would be downsizing.
Not after the tsunami, the hurricanes, the earthquake
Not after 911, when there is so much violence and destruction in the world.

In truth, it has never been the most wonderful time of the year. Certainly not in the days surrounding that first Christmas so long ago. The story of the birth of Jesus is not to be told with a jolly voice and a merry ho-ho-ho.

It is the story of a teenage girl, pregnant with a child that is not her husband's.
It is the story of a child born in a dirty animal stall.
It is the story of a family of refugees who had to flee their homeland so that their child would not be killed.
It is the story of one sent into the world in peace who was condemned to death.
It is the story of a light sent to shine in the darkness, which the world snuffed out.
It is the story of God's never-ending, self-giving mercy which was rejected and condemned.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes! it is:

If we forget about the tinsel and the trees.
Yes, it is, if we forget about the holly jolly tidings.
Yes, it is, if we forget about the presents and the ornaments and the trappings.

And remember.

Remember the story.
God exalted Mary, who was alone and afraid among woman.
God revealed to Joseph, who felt disgraced, his plan to save the world.
Though the world was dark, God sent the light of life to shine.
Though the lowly were imprisoned, Jesus set them free!.
Though the blind wandered aimlessly, Christ gave them eyes to see.
Though the lame had been rejected, through the Holy One they were made to leap and dance.
Though the deaf were confined to the silence, the song of life unstopped their ears.
Though the sorrowful grieve, God wipes away our tears.
Though we were alone, in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God is with us.
Though the human race rejects God, the Almighty embraces us.
Though the world crucified Christ, God would not allow that to be the last word, and gave us the sure hope of the resurrection.

It is the most wonderful time of the year, not because we have to be cheery and happy and merry.

But because we don't.
We can have heavy spirits and shattered dreams. Broken hearts and deep wounds.

And still God comes to be with us
To comfort us.
To redeem us.
To save us.
To restore us.
To empower us.
To strengthen us.
To grant us peace.
To be raised for us.
To hold us in the communion of saints with those whom you have loved and lost.
To store our tears in his bottle.
To offer us eternal life.

It is the most wonderful time of the year. For Christ is born, Love has come; God is with us. With thankful hearts, let us ponder our Savior’s birth in Bethlehem, remembering his promises, that in the fulfillment of time, God will live among us and wipe every tear from our eyes.


  1. Sorry to hear you had to deal with an annoyed lady at the store. You would think she could have understood. Makes you wonder how some people think. Anyway, your right about "we all need a little more love" I really enjoyed your story about Christmas and it's the most wonderful time of year - it touched home for me.
    I love the picture of Noah - he's such a cutie.
    I would like to list your blog on my list of blogs if that is okay with you. If you ever create a "list of blogs" on your page, please include mine. I am hoping to link more blogs together in an attempt to help spread the word of children with feeding tubes and also to bring more parents together who have undiagnosed children so in all of our research, maybe we can find answers for our children.

    Take care and I'm so happy we have become "blogging" friends!

    Jodi Berndt

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