Have you ever been given a gift so extravagantly & out of the blue?
That's how I ended up attending Allume, little did I know it was about something more.
I received a call & then a text, from my friend Logan literally less than two weeks from the conference saying that she had a free ticket for me if I wanted it. Also a possible free room. Well, after talking with Ben, finding a cheapo airfare ticket and my main concern--Caprice--his response, "Kamille, you've woken up every single night for the past 14 months. I think I can handle four nights."
Generosity after generosity.
And so I said yes.
I felt very expectant, because well, wouldn't you? One minute not going and another minute you are and there creates an air of walking into holiness not knowing what.
I wish I could tell you something grandiose happened. It wasn't through the words of a keynote where he revealed himself. Rather, it was in the still small voice, which God ushered me into more of Him. That is where the miracle lay. That's what I found.
What I heard was God saying, "Delight." Delight in the gift. Delight in his goodness. Above all, he delights in me.
What I found is that being a recipient of a gift is far more complicated and harder than being the giver. Being the recipient is to be at the helm of someone else. It unmasks our shame and guilt we have held so tightly to, and reveals a raw vulnerability. It's quite unnerving.
To have hidden thoughts swirling within, only to become exposed to the elements of truth, love & grace bring me to my knees. When God speaks, when he disciplines, he isn't like me as a mama who continues to harbor bitterness and criticism. No, he shows me myself and then says, "you are now clean, be done with it--because I am."
My mothering can often times be wretched. Singing the words, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me," reverberate on the chambers of my soul; except, I stay there, as wretch.
My upbringing was full of chaos and anything but normal more days than not. I dreamed of having a home filled with peace, having 3-4 kids and a husband who loved me. One loving & gracious husband and three children later, seems quite idyllic.
Except, my visions of "normal" didn't add up to what I received. I never imagined having a daughter who wasn't your atypical child with delays and quirks. Comparing her to other kids, wondering why she couldn't simply measure up to what I was suppose to have, has left me with a wound with God.
Angry that God made the mistake. Angry that this is not how it's suppose to be. Surely, wholeness means normal, average, ability to write and color a picture without difficulty?
A month ago I was posed with the question, "If you could wake up to one miracle, what would it be?" I wrestled with this and then gave my response,
"Well, I would want to wake up to see my little girl free of fine motor delays, large motor delays, ability to function like her peers. But, then I think of the story of Jesus walking with his disciples and they point to the man who is blind and ask Jesus, 'Master, who sinned? His mother or his father?' Jesus said, 'Neither, but for the glory of God to be shown.' So, maybe the miracle is in the gift?"
The last session I attended was altogether brilliant and taught by my friend Erika. It was called, 'Avant Garde, Alchemy, Anthropology. Art.' Everyone got something different, and I'm sure what I received was especially for me. I believe God brought me over 2,800 miles to hear her words, dissected to reveal his love for my girl, his love for me and why normal is for the birds.
Avant garde means paranormal, pioneering, pushing of the norm, unorthodox. The common theme amongst vanguardists is they are opposed to mainstream & cultural values. It describes a select few.
In high school I was voted Miss Unique. I look at that title and think, "hogwash." I hadn't a clue as to what that really meant. I wasn't a vanguardist. I really did care what other people thought of me.
I gave birth to a vanguardist. Here is what I wrote that morning:
conformity is learned
Veronica is unique
Allowing myself and my family to live in the Jesus Avant Garde
What was revealed is how much I have cared what others think of me. I care more that my daughter step in line with "normal" than to relish in the God given glory, and muck and mess of her being her, because it's not due to 'sin' or something perverse that she is the way she is.
Maybe, just maybe, God gave me a child who cannot be bound by societal norms, cultural constraints; rather, to see the Glory of God revealed in this "otherness."
You see, I walked away that day to hear Erika say to me, "Kamille, Veronica is your avant garde." And she is. She has always moved to the beat of her own drum. She doesn't see the bad in other people, or that being different is a weakness. No, it's in her uniqueness where Jesus is saying, "this is the Kingdom of Heaven. She is gift."
Teachers & adults tell me on more than one occasion how she is a delight, and a highlight of their day. Those words sting, because I have not always seen it.
The reason being, is it's hard to see others as a gift when you cannot see yourself as a gift. It's difficult to delight in life, when you do not see yourself worth delighting in.
Walking aboard the plane home, I had a drawing I did during the last night's worship. The words scrawled out read, "delight in the GIFT." Yes, yes, delight in the gift indeed.
The gift which is me. The gift which is Veronica. The gift which is life itself. The gift poured out from a good Father who really does delight, gets giddy & sings over us. So I raise a glass & cheer on my little Avant Garde to sway & tap to her beat given to her by her maker.