It’s been a long time since I have had more stories to write down than I have had time. For all the stories that have been building up, my time seems to be toppling. Like a seesaw…lots of stories on one end…little time on the other. I feel that I have all these gifts inside my heart that I need to get into the hands and hearts of others so that they may be unwrapped and shared with this world.
I had planned on writing about “someone/something” that has been blooming in my life for about a year this past week…it was a story so robust that my heart was swollen with it. It was knocking on the door of my soul so heavily that if I didn’t open the door it might collapse down on me with the words crashing onto the floor. But my plans got interrupted as Roman had a crazy reaction to his MMR shot last week, running a fever that kept him at home. I wiggled my way out of that degum shot for some time as I am kind of…as in very anxious about vaccines, but he was almost 3 and if I wanted to keep him in preschool I had to bite the bullet. And on top of that, I had my own crap I was dealing with for lack of better terms. I needed a week of solitude from the bloggy world…sometimes I need to let the words etch themselves on my heart for a while in order to translate them to this ole computer.
So back to that “someone”…there is someone I have been wanting to write about for a long time now. But I have not. Maybe because I was wanting to protect him. Maybe I was worried of where the relationship might go. Maybe because I thought he’d leave. I don’t know. I just know I am ready now. He’s much too part of our life not to share.
And let me warn you this post may have a ridiculous amount of pictures as no one would believe me unless I had proof:)
So, here goes it…
About a year ago when we moved back in this ole, loud and lovely neighborhood, there was a sweet, but solid knock,knock on the door while I’ll was fixing Roman a snack. I thought it was Joe as he comes over to impart his random ramblings on me from time to time after one too many beers. But as I opened it, I saw no one.
Until I looked down.
And saw this face…
And there stood a sweaty, bright brown eyed boy with chocolate skin so smooth you could gobble it up and a smile so wide that it was eating up his face.
Before I could take in one more of his seven year old face features, this little fellow half out of breath uttered, “Ms. Linzeee, my name is Nicolas, and I live across the street, I thought your little boy might want this here bike. It’s too small for me.”
An instant grin at his benevolence birthed itself on my face, then I looked down and to the left at this cumbersome bike he was propping up with his lanky-about-to-hit a growth-spurt body. And I had to chuckle but not in a condescending way, rather in a way of delight, as the bike was quite large…almost too large for Nicolas himself. But the gesture and the thoughtfulness behind it were so kind, that I uttered out a “well, why sure, I know he’d love it!” Meanwhile Roman was two years old at the time and could barely say two words much less ride a bike.
On that steamy summer day at 4′oclock in the afternoon I gained a not needed, much too big bike and a boy that needed me as much as I needed him.
That was the beginning of Nicolas growing into our family, as the months passed his visits grew more frequent and longer. If you were to find us on the weekends or weekday afternoons, he’d be piled up in Seth’s trucks running errands with him, bunkered up in our guest room with me trying to help him with homework, eating dinner with us at my friend Amanda’s house, going to Opryland to see the Christmas lights, and most recently getting family photos with us. Wherever we were, odds were Nicolas was there too. And we wanted him there.
Seth and I began to notice that there was something unusually gentle and thoughtful about this boy—his was sweet,kind,trustworthy despite his not so ideal circumstances. As our bond grew stronger, Roman would beg for him to come over the minute we rolled up to the house in the afternoon. And we would go knock on Nicolas’ door, and his mom, Precious (who I have talked about so much) would answer the door, welcome me in and we would talk about Nicolas, the weather, groceries. Whatever hit my busy mouth we talked about…
And as the months got colder, my heart got warmer towards this family, towards this boy. Nicolas would become this son that I needed, that I wanted, but my body would not produce. I cry even now as I write this, because this fertility journey has been long and tiring and some days my anger makes my heart inflamed with sadness and on other days I realize it is a gift that has grown my heart in ways that I never imagined.
But here I stood, one day in the kitchen cleaning up—I had just failed another round of IUI so I was a bit emotional—and while I scrubbed my emotions off my heart and onto the dishes, Roman and Nicolas ate popcorn in the back room. And out of the blue, Nicolas came around the corner with a suspicious grin. All I could see coming at me was his sweaty self with his hair newly cut with a star engraved in the left side of his head–he looked up at me as if he had some kind of emotional radar and hugged me so tight I thought my stomach might come out of my mouth, and blurted with all sincerity, “ms. Linzeee I looooovvvvveee you. A lot.”
It was all I could do from balling. I wanted so badly to have two little children playing in the back room, as my yearning for another child is more for Roman than me. The despondency I feel when Roman is so lonely and has no one to play with tugs at my heart. The longing to give him someone to laugh with, to fight with. Grow up with, share stories with.But I don’t.
But what I did have was this little boy,with a heart bigger than his grin, that was loving me so well. Loving Roman. Loving Seth. He had stolen my sadness and replaced it with joy on many days when my heart felt undone.
The whole family had fallen in love with him and we knew it. And we loved it. It was as if God had not answered my prayers, but He had. I knew in my inner most being this was Jesus. Jesus saying , “I know you have so much love to give. Give it to this boy.” And I did. And I am. But odd part is he has given me so much back that I could never repay him even if I lived to be 103.
So after that day, when those 3 blessed words exited his mouth and fell on my soul, our visits became more and more—always with Nicolas knocking on our door or me knocking on Precious’ door. Each in quest for the other.
But the chatting with Precious would change from mundane subjects such as how to do weaves in women’s hair to Jesus…and not in some artificial, religious way. In a way so sincere I felt the very heart of who God is was enveloping itself around me—binding its way around me so tightly yet setting me free all at the same time. And as my love for this family grew, so did our conversations.
One day, several weeks back on a cold, yet warm day in February, while Seth was playing with Nicolas and Roman in the yard, Precious and I were standing on the street and she uttered this profound statement, “Linzeee, I need to start my life over. I need God, but I am “Fucked up”…and I just thought this and muttered it back, “well, aren’t we all?? Aren’t we all.”
And somehow this conversation that started with the F bomb was such a reflection of who Jesus is. He is not a poster of some white guy with perfect hair. He is not some man chasing us down with rules. Or an angry grandfather ticked off at us when we go astray. No, Jesus is the one that came to those that realize they need Him, those hearts that are broken and open to His love. Those hearts that are “$$%-ed up” as Precious said. Those are the hearts His love can permeate and lives He can change. Indeed it is the sick that need a doctor. And we are all sick. All of us.
In this moment my heart was enlarged with hope and redemption. Only a God as good and kind and creative and loving would birth a friendship between two such contrasting women. A friendship that probably perplexes most looking outside in, but invigorate the few that could see the hidden beauty in it. Because if you see beyond the outside differences, you realize why God does not call to warm up church pews and beat people over the head with judgement, but to love. Loving others, getting out of our comfort zone is what really sets us free. We think we are doing it to help others, but we are the ones that end up being blessed the most.
So last Sunday, after an invite from Precious, me, Seth, and Roman went to see Precious and Nicolas get baptized—we got to watch them celebrate starting over—beginning life anew. It is a memory that will be forever engraved in my heart and soul. I don’t know what I loved more…the music of the church as Roman danced and hollered “amen!!” with both hands clapping high in the air, or the look on Nicolas and Precious’ face as they peered out at the audience before getting dunked. We were honored that they would even invite us. It was a sacred moment in time for the Jennings clan.
Just take a gander:
As I sat listening to this sermon, watching Seth beam from ear to ear at just the sight of Nicolas, my mind wandered. I was so in awe of the fact that God allowed us to move back to this neighborhood, little did I know a little boy would save me from my self-pity, and nurture my heart in ways I could not imagine, and grant me a friend in Precious that was far beyond my most creative story telling.
With tears of joy in my heart and eyes, I felt closer to God than I have in a long time. I sat and reflected with the loud, charismatic music playing yet my heart was quiet with reflection. Reflection on a God that really wants to write a beautiful story for all of us if we will just let Him write.
And then this thought rose to the top of my thoughts, buoyant with revelation. You see the last two years, I’ve been waiting on God to answer me in regards to His plans for my life. But as I looked at Nicolas’ radiant and pure light shining form within this is what God put on my heart:
Sometimes life is what happens when you are waiting for life to happen.
Make sure you don’t miss it.
Here are some more everyday photos with Nicolas