Brave Heart

7 03 2011

I push harder, 130-140-150 steps per minute, sprinting up an elliptical stairway to endorphin heaven, the blood pumping, the lungs filling, the muscles flexing, and the heart beating a steady rhythm of thank-you-thank-you-thank-you. This heart, strong by birthright, gift of genetics. All my life, nurses slip off the blood pressure cuff, and raise eyebrows, impressed.

I climb this stationary stair, watching the heart monitor blink its steady confirmation, and I wonder. Why for me? Why not for her?

Sarah, whose heart touches the untouchables, reaches out to the unreachable, and welcomes the homeless home. Sarah, who has believed for the impossible and seen miracles, now gasping for breath, fighting for faith, and contending for joy. Fear never did play fair. It strikes at the place where the deepest wounds and longings lie.

Motherhood. The heartbeat she danced to in the womb, long since silenced. Now six months pregnant with a daughter of her own, her heart races irregular. Blood pressure rises, spiking into dangerous territory. Also by birthright. When she was the forming one, her mother was placed on bed rest for this. When she was sixteen, that weary mother’s heart literally broke.

When God gave her to my son, he gave her to me, making me a joyful mother again. I embrace the name and all it means with all the strength of this steady heart. All that’s mine is hers.

But I can’t fix this.

Lungs fill, muscles flex, and I think of how this workhorse heart pulsed blood through corded lifeline to developing lungs, muscles, son of my womb, knit together cell by cell in secret. Luke. Young husband of just a year. Now a father. Poet philosopher, who can quote reams of T.S. Eliot but doesn’t remember where he left his cell phone. Learning how to plant the feet. Learning how to lead. Learning how to love and serve well. He works, he prays, he gently kisses the forehead. When the pain crushes, the head spins, and the fear suffocates, he holds her hand and whispers comfort. Places his hand on the swelling belly and speaks benediction to blossoming life.

But he can’t fix this.

The legs churn faster, racing to escape possibilities but going nowhere, and the heart beat shifts to what-if-what-if-what-if. Fear slithers, prickling the skin, hissing its whispers. Worry dressing itself as concern. Fretfulness presenting itself as realism. Fear comes as a thief, a captor, a tormentor. Fear is a liar.

And what is my birthright? What is hers? The answer comes in words. Promises. I know the plans I have for you, plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness, every day written in My Book before there was one of them. My thoughts toward you outnumber the sand. I will never leave or forsake you. Let not your heart be troubled.

I breathe them in. Let not. Pound them out. Your heart. And trample fear underfoot. Be troubled.

Lungs fill. Every breath grace. Blood pumps. Every heartbeat grace. Faith muscles flex. He who promised is faithful, and not one word He has spoken will fail.

I’m sprinting up an elliptical stairway, my body in this gym, my spirit raised up and seated in heavenly places with sovereign grace and perfect love, and the heart beats a steady rhythm.

Thank-you-thank-you-thank-you.


Giving thanks in community:

#39. A beautiful community of faith surrounding Sarah and Luke in this journey
#40. Blood pressure medicine
#41. An anytime, anywhere welcome at the Mercy Seat
#42. Sarah’s brave heart, choosing truth, and contending for joy
#43. Sweet son, laying down the life and learning Christ-likeness.
#44. Precious granddaughter, safe and well, all her days written even now

Please pray for Sarah, Naomi, and Luke, and thank God with us for all His good gifts, even the difficult ones. To read more stories or add your own voice to the community, visit Ann Voskamp’s site.


Actions

Information

31 responses

7 03 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

Beautifully written story of love, reminder of God’s promises and call to prayer. Of course I’ll pray, Jeanne.

Much love,
Patricia

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you so much. God hears and gives what is good. xo

7 03 2011
Glynn

Praying, Jeanne. Having a daughter-in-law, I find myself with tears in my eyes reading this.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you, Glynn. For the prayers and the tears. I appreciate you and your tender heart.

7 03 2011
katdish

Read this beautiful post and remember your words. Remembering to say thank you rather than ask why. Praying for you all.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

That is one of the highest compliments you could give me. How good to be reminded of my own good words. Now to live them moment by moment, letting them rise like incense before the throne of grace.

I cherish your prayers. Love you.

7 03 2011
Christa Allan

Your post changes the focus of my day from the trivial to the profound. Praying for you.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you, Christa. We appreciate it so much. Love to you!

7 03 2011
Cassandra Frear

Powerful. Hard to read. But good. This is life hitting hard, faith blending into fear, purifying the thoughts we think, and bringing renewal. How hard it is. I’ve been through it. But on the other side is glory.

A glory no one wants to miss.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Yes. Momentary light affliction. Eternal weight of glory. Not only then, but now. He only gives what He uses for our good. Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

7 03 2011
Nancy

Hi Jean, First time at your blog, I’m very moved by what you’ve written about your daughter-in-law. Later this year I’ll have my first daughter-in-law and love your line “When God gave her to my son, he gave her to me.” Exactly. I will pray for Sarah and her baby.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Nancy. I’m honored you stopped by and appreciate the prayers so much. Blessings on you and your new daughter. Such a gift!

All’s forgiven on the misspelled name. Happens a lot. 🙂

7 03 2011
Nancy

Forgive me, I spelled your name wrong in what I just posted.

7 03 2011
Windows and Paper Walls

Good grief, Jeanne. You and Billy consistently raise the bar for all of us.

Praying for both of those sweet girls, too. XO

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

You make me smile. Thanks for the kind words and prayers. XO back at ya.

7 03 2011
Jennifer King

Thank you, Jeanne, for opening the window into your world, with its heavy struggles, grateful perspective, and joy independent of circumstances. Definitely count me in on prayer. Blessings to you and your family, friend.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Jennifer. We appreciate your prayers so much. And it’s always such a delight to see your face. Blessings to you and your beautiful family, too.

7 03 2011
craig

I’m here from Ann’s again today.

My favorite one, #41. An anytime, anywhere welcome at the Mercy Seat (Amazing to be able to enter the throne room and crawl up on the king’s lap. No?)

And “Let not. Pound them out. Your heart. And trample fear underfoot. Be troubled.” I so get that – wanting to fix things – but not being able to. I wonder if that hurts God – that he hates to see a single broken wing – but for whatever reason that we doesn’t always understand. He limits himself. It must hurt him.

This was terrific. Thank you

God Bless and keep you and all of yours.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Craig. Delighted that you stopped by again and so appreciate your thoughts. You’re certainly welcome here anytime. I browsed a bit of both your Going Deep sites. Can’t think of better pools to dive into! 🙂

7 03 2011
Jenna

Visiting from Ann’s…wow you are such a gifted writer. What a beautiful post. Saying a prayer for your family.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks so much, Jenna, for the sweet comments and the prayers. I clicked over to your blog. What a happy bunch! Blessings on that beautiful family of blond boys.

7 03 2011
laura

This is the hard eucharisteo. I will be praying for your Sarah and all those who love her and the sweet little one she carries.

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Yes, Laura. It seems like God often brings our family back to the, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” brand of thanksgiving. The good news is His peace and grace always wait in that place, once we get still enough to let them enfold us. When the fog of fear and frenzy clears, we remember that God loves Sarah and Naomi more than we do, and He will give what is best. Prayer is a huge part of holding us there, so we thank you (and all the others who are praying) for that.

7 03 2011
Carrell

“Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give me one thing more…
A grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleases me, as if Thy blessings had spare days.
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.”
– George Herbert 1593-1632

Prayers lifted for your sweet children

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

So beautiful! So rich. Thank you.

7 03 2011
Cora

I’m so glad I found you today! I was so moved by the burdens of your heart but even more so by your faith and the hard thanks! I was struck by your one grace-gift “Anytime, anywhere, welcome at the Mercy seat.” I will meet you there when praying for your family! Thank you for sharing your heart!

7 03 2011
jeannedamoff

I’m so glad you found me, too! There’s always room for more to gather at the Mercy Seat. Thanks so much for your kind words and prayers.

8 03 2011
DS

Im praying.

And let me tell you, this was the best post you’ve ever written. Loved it. But not the sadness of it. Praying for your DIL.

8 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Duane, for your prayers and the lovely compliment. Sarah is leaning hard into Jesus, and that’s always a good place to be.

Congrats again on your acceptance to nursing school and the new gig at BibleDude.net. Exciting times for you! 🙂

8 03 2011
deb@talk at the table

oh how you weave the wonder of life into my heart.

praying for all of you.

19 03 2011
good reads vol. 1 | duane scott

[…] Brave Heart by Jeanne Damoff […]

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: