Thursday, May 4, 2017

Contemplation on Graduation

If you haven't had the chance to know Mikayla Kuckel, it's probably my fault. I hold tight to my kids...I know my time with them is short, and I'm selfish. But, my first baby? My guinea pig? (as I so affectionately call her)...Yeah, I held tight. And I'm sorry if that meant you didn't get to know her better or at all because she is an absolute gem, a gift bestowed to me in my youth and immaturity, but one that has grown me and grown with me, loved me when I have not been lovely, and blessed me with her wisdom when I most needed it. I know I don't deserve her. She's my daughter, my friend, and my sister in Christ.

Mikayla was born in Michigan in May. I can remember taking her on long walks in the carriage-style stroller handed down from her grandmother. Even in those days, I confided in her my fears, thoughts and dreams. She brought peace to my days and always listened with happy eyes and a big smile. She could have ended up pretty spoiled--there were many people who loved and doted on her, especially me and daddy.

We began to notice how she closely observed others at play. She would eventually join in, but she was cautious and reserved with strangers. She could also be rather strong-willed when it came to being forced to do things she didn't want to do. Now, I see how the strength of her will and ability to assess any situation, when submitted to Christ, have proven to be mighty weapons in her life.

When she was two, I gave birth to twins. She adjusted well and rarely bucked against the system she now knew. That was a tough year, but without her easygoing spirit and ability to play alone it would have been so much harder. She has been an incredible example for her brothers, learning how to handle both of their unique personalities and relating to each in their own way. This continued with the addition of sister, then brother, brother, brother, sister and brother. She doesn't lose her cool when people are difficult, she can concentrate in chaos, she has set dreams aside for the sake of family, she challenges her "limitations," and she's quick to offer help when needed. As she was a quiet child, I never expected her to be the leader she would eventually become. She has surpassed my wildest dreams.


My Mikayla. Dear daughter, big sister, gifted writer, figure skater, babysitter, children's ministry leader, deli worker, chef, little genius, guinea pig, friend, world traveler, trail blazer, wise counselor, kitchen messer, missionary, self-starter, teacher, student, beautiful inside and out... My heart is truly glad to have been bound with yours in this life. I love you!

“Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:14-17 NASB

Monday, May 1, 2017

Winning at Twinning

How can we not be amazed by life? It is an incredible gift bestowed by our Creator. In my younger years, I tolerated children. I believed life was precious and sacred, but I didn't much think I'd ever have children of my own. It's funny how God can change a heart.

I began this post while still pregnant, but now I have two newborns. Number 8 is Sophia Joy. She is breathtakingly beautiful. Her name references "wisdom" and "joy." Wisdom was the desire of King Solomon's heart, and he desired rightly. Wisdom does not come easily. It must be sought after, prayed for, and granted to us by our Heavenly Father. Joy is a gift. It floods the emptiness that despair leaves behind in its wake. I've watched precious heros miraculously choose joy over despair and known truly it was by God's grace alone. He is the great healer and lover of our souls. Many months of hormonal despair plagued my heart and mind, but I knew joy would come. It is promised to us who believe

Baby number 9 is Judah Fitzgerald. Judah means "praised" and his middle name, Fitzgerald, is a continuation of the middle name given to all Kuckel boys. A memorial to the namesake David Fitzgerald, a young man who served and died in Vietnam. He never had children of his own, but his name continues.

Judah is a happy and strong-willed boy. Over the last months, I've watched the smallest of all my babies be the earliest to achieve all his milestones. I was shocked to see such a small kid crawling with ease by 7-8 months! God is indeed worthy to be praised for the blessing of children and the beautiful gift of watching them grow.

Now, they have enjoyed 10 short months and have awed and amazed all in our household. It has taken me nearly a year to complete this blog post! But the bottom line is never assume that you can't change. Allow God to change your mind and heart with regard to feelings and truth. Be willing to let Him amaze you.

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart. Psalm 119:34


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pressing On...Gingerly

Today we buried our sweet and beautiful cat. She died yesterday, and we are heartbroken. She was "the pet I always wanted" and I loved her very much. I pray God will have mercy on my soul as I look toward healing the loss of my friend. 

She was just a cat. But, she had spirit to defy odds. She was the mother to children she never knew; perhaps now they can be reunited wherever God holds his lost creatures. She was the sister and mentor, playmate and guide for Pinky. She was even tolerated by Shadow in these last weeks. And I believe Daisy had great respect for her. 

Thank you, God, for the friend you gave us, if only for a few short months. I am grateful for the investment I made in her and the bonding that we shared, but it makes the pain deep. Deeper still I dig down for the Hope that comes from knowing God has a purpose for our pain. I thought I had cultivated a garden in Ginger, but alas! She has cultivated a garden in me. 

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