Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Hard Days

There's Nothing To Do But Wait

Best of...Lindsey Smallwood

On the ways joy makes strange company with grief and other realities of Advent this year...

I miscarried six weeks ago.

I keep thinking that I’m over it, that I’m okay. What right have I to grieve when I have two tiny boys at home to cuddle and read to and tuck into bed? There are longing-to-be-mamas and those who’ve had to bury the children they’ve nursed and held in their arms. Surely my loss is insignificant in comparison.

But then I see my sweet friend across the room, her belly swollen with new life and hot tears begin to fall down my cheeks. The hurt is not over, grief still hovers close. It aches during insurance commercials and bubbles up when I hear the baby crying next door.

There is nothing to do but wait—for healing, for another chance, for the mercy of passing time.

Now Christmas comes, the story I’ve loved since childhood, of far-off kings and unexplainable stars, of angels and shepherds and unlikely hotel rooms. The story of hopes finally fulfilled, promises made true. All of it centered around pregnancy and birth and a baby. I’m not sure I can hear it so readily this year. For as angels fill the sky and prayers are answered in Bethlehem, my own prayers end in questions.

There is nothing to do but wait.

I hate the powerlessness of hope. Waiting to find out what comes next is uncomfortable, unsettling, hard. And yet as I listen again to the long cherished story of Advent, I remember that those who wait are always in good company. Elizabeth had longed to become a mother for most of her lifetime. Anna had prayed for years for God’s kingdom to come to Jerusalem. Even Mary, with her angel visits and promises from God, had to watch and wait, year after year, as her miracle baby grew into the dying Messiah.

The stories we tend to tell are the ones with action, climax, conclusions. But life—real, faith-building, character-shaping, soul-growing life—happens in the waiting, where it’s hard and lonely and unclear.

Advent reminds us that our waiting is not in vain. God is working behind the scenes to make the world right. He’s answering prayers and fulfilling promises in strange and surprising ways. Because only God could bring kings and shepherds to the same stable. Only God could grow new life in a virgin’s womb.

I don’t know what comes next, how the prayers I’m praying now will be answered. But I know that the same God who hung the star in Bethlehem has plans for me, for hope and for a future. So I sit to hear the good story of Christmas once again. The joy throughout makes for strange company in my grief. I listen anyway, treasuring its mysteries, longing for Jesus’ Advent in my own story.

But, for now, there is nothing to do but wait.


This post originally appeared at SheLoves Magazine.
Find it by clicking here

Seeing the Sweetness

#wholemamaLindsey Smallwood

It's #wholemama Week 2 - guess what that means? Another poem from yours truly.

This week's topic: What is your super power?

Today when you asked me to tell you about
all the ways in which I am super,
the first thoughts that began to fill up my mind
are places where I am a pooper. 

"My house is a mess, my children eat sugar,
my toddler loves Elmo and Big Bird."
As I rattled off all the ways I fall short,
I stopped and instead I considered...

I thought about where I find power and strength 
in my hard work as a mother. 
I gave myself space to see what is super
in me as opposed to the others. 

A small thing, at first glance, but maybe quite large
is the way I create good distractions. 
As my oldest starts crying over a lost toy,
my silly songs change his reaction.

Another ability making me strong - 
my keen sense of where to find lost things.
A forgotten letter, a neglected shirt - 
both powerless against my recounting.

But perhaps the quality I see in myself 
that's most super and most empowering
is the way that I manage to enjoy every day,
no matter what problems are towering.

Sometimes I feel it's a part of my heart
I must hide around those who are venting.
They tell me they're bored, my sweet mama friends, 
or they're tired or fat or resenting.

It's not that I don't understand these emotions
I feel them from time to time.
But no matter the feelings, no matter the day,
There is joy in this heart of mine.

Motherhood is a dream that I dreamt for so long
not knowing if it would come true.
So even through tantrums and piles of dishes
there's a smile that always ensues. 

"I am a mama," I say in my heart,
"These babies are mine now to keep!"
I find joy on the hard days and joy in the messes
and yes, joy when they go down to sleep.

The power I have is to see the big picture, 
that this season is sweet and it's short.
The things that feel hard are already changing;
there are new hard things to report.

But the incredible job that I get for these years
is to help them grow up through the hard,
to take these small babies and make of them people, 
first up close and then, from afar. 

So before afar comes and they're grown and they're gone
I'll delight in the tough and the trying,
with kisses and cuddles and beds left unmade,
and bad dancing to cheer up the crying.

Friends, what's your super-power? What special gift(s) help you be as whole as you can? Tell me more in the comments below and join in the #wholemama fun.