A Not-normal Night Before

I wore compression socks.

I could have done worse things, but I feel like this confession is therapeutic. I mean: Who wears compression socks? Willingly.

Rather, who in their right mind puts THESE socks on?

Did a traveling clown troupe misplace their order of socks? Ronald McDonald cringes at the sight of these.

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You know what made me wear them?

Love.

We're smack-dab right in the middle of some not-normal things because of love.

It's not normal to spend 4 years chasing the endless documents and paperwork.

It's not normal to take your kids through the contested areas of the Middle East -- on your way to India.

It's not normal that I rehearse what our first minutes will be like when meeting her. And that rehearsal is every. dang. night. Before I can stop tossing and actually asleep.

It's not normal to risk so much for a guarantee of so much unknown.

It's not normal to put your kids through days of travel, countless airports, and maddening flight schedules. Not to mention that they have to change so much whether they like it or not.

It's not normal to eat this many weird and unknown in-flight meals while flying in India. (I shouldn't complain -- I can't remember this many airline meals back in the states).

It's not normal to have tightened feelings in your stomach over and over because of details we can't even plumb the depths on.

None. Of. This. Is. Normal.

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But I've never felt so alive.

Love does that. It wakes you up.

Like the most pungent smelling salt; a shock of love can awaken us out of any slumber that we so easily drift into.

I don't know how else to describe this but: this isn't normal but this is the most awake  I've ever been.

I've never loved Michelle more than right this very moment. It's like a tsunami of emotion and tears when I catch a glance of her. Doing normal things -- feels so not normal. And it's great.

I've never loved my kids more than when I see them get so thrilled at the thought of a sister in their midst. They don't see this as dividing our affection 3 ways --- they look at it like multiplication. And I can't even stay on my feet when I think about how big and bold they are with their love.

I've never loved Jesus in this same way. I depend on him so deeply these days. So. Deeply. I have wept in private. I've wept openly (like I am right now on a plane to Mangalore filled with my fellow humans eating that aforementioned Indian airplane food.). And the tears run because of the ways I've found new love for the King that came like a meager servant. Just in my surrender to His plan, I have had to let him fill me with his very real and very surreal love.

Only Jesus could have brought me here.

Only Him.

For only her.

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But I needed to be awake. And do not-normal things.

There is no other way. Awake. Alive. Full.

I literally don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Beyond all of my rehearsals -- I have no idea what we're in for. I'm not naïve. It's just 100% foreign.

But I know that we're showing up. Awake. Here. Loved. Loving.

I know that the Holy Spirit is here too. Awake & Here.

I'll do more not-normal things in the next few days, weeks, years.

Things weirder than compression socks.

But I will have been awakened with breaths of fresh love.

I want you to be awake like this. To take a belly-full of air that is uncontainable in its not-normalness.

So much of life, we spend hyperventilating into a paper bag. Breathing in your same stale air. It helps for the immediate but you can't go on like that.

But it starts with one breath. One breath in, requires you to give up one breath out.

Every inhale starts with an exhale.

More than 4 years ago, we started this journey with a measly exhale/inhale. Our hearts beat weak.

Fast forward to today, those hearts now skip beats even when we imagine the worst-case scenarios.

It's a love I could never make. Never invent. Never fabricate. Never claim.

Your awakening is certainly different than mine. I celebrate that diversity more than you could know.

But. If you feel lulled to sleep -- I'm asking you to take your first breath (exhale/inhale) and move toward this kind of life altering love.

You might start it for yourself, but it will most certainly end with selflessness.

I'm in your corner. I legit know that this Is not-normal for you. And it's probably only gonna be one small change at first. But we say this all the time and need to repeat it to realize it:

Do for one what you would want to do for many.

Love wakes you up to do something not-normal like that.

Tomorrow, we start our new not-normal. We get her.