(written by Mary)
Today is Joya's fourth monthiversary.
For her birth we received a number of beautiful handmade quilts and blankets. Because our little place has a hard time retaining heat, I hung some of them up over the larger windows.
One is a beautiful arrangement of greens, purples, and blues that always makes me think of peacocks. It was a gift from a woman at the ceramics studio I attended briefly this summer.
Joya absolutely loves it. As soon as she catches sight of it she begins to gurgle and coo. She'll go on talking to it for minutes at a time.
At the bottom of the quilt there is a special blessing:
"Welcome, Joya Tov. I give you the audacity of hope."
Those words catch at me every time I read them.
I have always struggled with trust - trusting people, trusting my husband, trusting God.
This season has been one for learning trust and the audacity of hope.
Joya is a manifestation of hope. Her middle name means good. Not just 'fine' but good as in complete, whole, beautiful.
Before I became pregnant, I wrestled with the idea of having children. It terrifies me to think of all of the pain in store for a new little person brought into this world - pain I cannot protect her from no matter how hard I try. It terrifies me to think of the days she will reject me and walk away with my heart trailing from her shoestrings (if she's wearing shoes). To put it simply - as a dear friend did for me - I did not trust the goodness of God.
God gently minded me that He is the giver of life, and it is in His hands and His heart to make a life good and beautiful. I have only the responsibility to love and obey.
During the summer while I was pregnant with Joya, a dear friend died terribly and without warning. Even as I walked under the burden of a new hope, this weight of grief buffeted my trembling conviction. With more urgency than ever before, I mined the scriptures and pleaded for answers.
Answers came, clear and incomprehensible.
God is good, when I do not see His goodness.
His plan is good, when I do not see how He could ever right the horrors that have taken place.
He is merciful, when I am in anguish and when those I love are being battered relentlessly.
There is a new thing growing in me.
It is faith - untethered to experience, exulting in its own audacity, powerful.
Now as we pace forward, waiting for God to say "Go!", old habits of anxiety play across the surface of my mind and heart. Deeper down, there is peace that thrums in resonance with this faith.
"I give you the audacity of hope."
All of you who have met Joya have already met her incredible, gummy whole face smile.
Today, she laughed for the first time!
She is truly joyful, and she is our good gift from God in more ways than we can imagine.
Love and blessings to all of you.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement.
The Grimm Crowd