yesterday bella sported a green belly button (an encounter with a not so magic marker). today, she was covered in stickers. i mean it. covered. head to toe kind of covered. that's our bella. each day she is into something and up to something. in the past week i have found her naked in the fridge eating a slice of bologna and on the island counter, clothed, but with a carton of ice cream and a big spoon. (clearly a girl after my own heart). we'd probably all be a little better off if we'd give into the whims of eating bologna naked and ice cream perched on countertops. okay, perhaps we should nix the naked thing. anyway, we are enjoying bella to the hilt. her laughter is like sparkly bubbles floating around our home each day. her antics and escapades are delightful topics of discussion each evening. we all want to hear or tell the latest buzz on bella. this afternoon as i watched her approach me be-decked in tiny stickers i could only think to myself, "how did we get so lucky?" i know it has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with God...but still i must ask, how. how. how. nothing about our family deserves a little girl like this. nothing. we weren't especially good this year. we weren't especially faithful or friendly or fabulous. we just weren't. in fact, only a few weeks before leaving for china i had this mini panic attack thinking about how much Stuff we had to work on before we could add bella to the mix. we had so much Stuff in our lives i couldn't see straight. it was everywhere. i was stepping on it...wading through it...pushing it to the side...getting tangled up in it. i couldn't breath somedays as i became more and more aware of our issues and problems and messy lives. so, in typical jody fashion, i sat down one morning and made this long list for our family. under each family member's name i began to jot down a few areas in need of work. oh my. the list grew longer with each stroke of my pen. i am not sure this was exactly a healthy exercise just weeks before heading to china. i'd like to tell you my husband's list was the longest, but no, it was mine. i had the most Stuff to work on. and i new the Stuff really well... i also knew it wasn't going away easily. i began my desperate attempts to fix it all. quickly. time was short and the list was long. i had six of us to fix. my mission: to tidy us all up and straighten us all out before bella's arrival. so, in my own power and by my own might i began to address all the Stuff. oh my. how depressing. it immediately became Really Clear i was in way over my head. i had no magic wand to wave and no tricky fingers to snap. there was no genie in a lamp to be found. if i had one, he would have been long gone or buried in the clutter of our home anyway. i was forced to stop. this wasn't an exercise in productivity, this was a display of futility. i looked at that list and i realized it would be better off tucked away in a drawer than it was clutched in my control-needy hand. and so, i put the list away. it is often good to go eyeball to eyeball with our issues. this is at times healthy. but there are also times when we need to set down our Stuff and leave it alone for a while. bella was coming whether we were all polished up and pristine...or not. she wasn't in need of a magazine layout life...she was in need of a family. and guess what? when bella arrived, she came with her own Stuff. she fit right in. she, too, is a messy little thing and we love her all the more for it. i'll add her to our Family-Fix-It-List....when i get to it....but for the mean time we are just delighting in the whirlwind of dust she kicks up. bella is now here and our Stuff is still here. yes, some of it has gone away on its own, but most of it is still around. it may be hiding under beds or in closets...but for the most part, we are still in need of fixing. funny how the monotonous issues of life can fade a bit, when God gives us a little taste of His miraculous ways. God is working on us. we are His constant workmanship. He has us. He holds us. He is busy forming, fixing and refining us and He knows all about our green belly buttons, our bologna eating and our long lists of Stuff.
"for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ~ ephesians 2:10