heart skipping a beat and an eek of delight

one month from today.  one month, folks.  november 4.  my due date. that block of my calendar that has been marked off, circled, and exclamation-pointed for the past 8 or so months.  the date that has been etched in my mind since my first doctor's appointment back in march.  the date that i have been counting down to on my handy-dandy iPhone app.  the date that has been long-awaited and prayed for...for years.

now i realize that she could come sooner or later.  that date is by no means definite.  there is nothing magical about it.  but it is meaningful.

and you know what?  it actually has carried a bit of magic with it.  it has served as a life landmark.  a polestar.  a fixed spot in time that we can point to and move toward and pray for and look forward to.  that little date.  the date when things will change.  when we become parents.  when our parents become grandparents.  when our sisters become aunts.  when our grandparents become great-grandparents.  what a difference a day makes.

i think God gives us those little moments in life that can serve as bonding and encouraging points.  remarkable days and seasons and happenings that bring us together.  that remind us what life is all about.  that remind us how quickly time flies.  that remind us of what matters.  that remind us of His goodness.  that give us a fresh and cool mist of joy.  that bathe our weary and tossed souls with the balm of His grace.

recently, i heard a beloved pastor and theologian give a fresh perspective on "grace".  he said that grace is the unexpected kindness of God.  this is His charis (xáris).  charis is His favor.  meaning that He is disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit.  what a picture!  God leaning in toward us.  to share His favor.  to whisper soothing words of sweetness.  and what happens when He surprises us with His kindness and favor?  we cannot help but be overcome with joy.  we respond in joy or chara (xará).  as He leans towards us with His favor, we respond by leaning in toward Him.  we nestle under His wing.  we are joyful.  joy is grace recognized.

God is giving us such a gift in our little elinor grace.  and i know that when we get to meet her, He will surprise us afresh with His kindness.  and we, we will respond to this grace recognized with joy inexplicable.