Friday, February 9, 2018

What I Never Thought

What I never thought about several years ago-- telling my son to "just take my car" to basketball practice when the roads are covered in snow.

What I never thought about when babies were sleeping soundly in their bassinet next to my bed-- falling into bedtimes without a goodnight, just a quick "time for bed", hollered up the stairs.

What I never thought about when I was up to my elbows in toys and clothes and packs of diapers-- packing up the last of the baby clothes for good--or at least, for a long season of growing kids up until their kids need them.

What I never thought about when I was thirty, that when I was forty, my heart would hurt at the faint memories of baby curls and squeals of glee and jibber jabber with Disney Junior playing in the background.

What I never thought about...I wish I had--because then maybe, I wouldn't have wanted it to go by so quickly.

And maybe it wouldn't have.

And maybe I'd handle all this growing up a little better.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Who am I, that I should..?

Moses asked this very question, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the
sons of Israel out of Egypt?"

He asked it to the Maker of the Universe. How inadequate he must have felt to do such a task. And while his task seems greater than any that I might ever be asked...I understand his sense of inadequacy.

I understand it from the side of my daughter's bed at night, admiring her freckled nose, and watching her bright eyes gently closing, and grasping the potential of so much greatness that I can hardly catch my breath...and I am her mom. I am the one who will guide her, model the woman she might become.  Who am I, that I should be trusted to be that person in her life?

I understand it when I sit in the living room and my high schooler excitedly rambles on and on about his fitness routine, his aspirations for the next season of ball, his hopes and dreams and...sometimes his own insecurities. Who am I, to pour goodness and encouragement in such a motivated creature as my son?

I understand it when my youngest son begins to share his opinions on great big world things, and his intelligence casts shadows over mine, and his passion for change is the same as mine once was as a young adult...and he's eleven. Who am I, to have the words to give room for his opinions, to allow him to think uniquely, to not impose my own point-of-view that would shape a bias in his life?

And I especially understand it when my child is sick, and I lose patience with the whining, and I give him all the comforts in my limited knowledge, then walk away from his misery, saying "this is all we can do" and I don't affirm him when I should, nor take him seriously...until it's serious. Who am I, to be trusted with nurturing and caring for these little people?

I am so human, it's debilitating. I am so flawed, mistakes are inevitable. I am so selfish that sometimes my nose is usually the only point I see clearly.

I am so...

...exactly like the men and women who God used to carry out His plan. I am nothing, and He is everything. In spite of that, He chose me for purposes that I consider treasures above any thing or desire. I am a mother, and a writer. I am a wife, and a friend.

Who am I? I am called. And I can only live out my calling trusting that it really is up to Him why I should.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Difference Makers

Life has been gearing up in super speed. Two teens in sports, one guy in Cub Scouts, and a little lady dancing and tumbling away. Not to mention school activities on top of that. And in between all the running around, we have these pockets of time where we must parent, where ugly comes out and we are facing the same battles of emotional management, bad choices vs. good choices, and anger issues...just like when they hit the terrible twos--only so much more significant in their older ages.

If I allow myself to sit here and try and find the bright side of last night's tug-o-war with brothers fighting, or last week's slew of missing assignments, or consequence-dishing for bad language, I would be sorely disappointed.

This part of parenting stinks. 

It's the part of parenting that not only has me wade in turbulent waters of conflict, but also chips away at my confidence that I am doing my best as a parent. It makes me stare at my child and say, "Where did you come from?" (In my head...I hated being told that as a kid, so I promised myself I would never say it out loud. LOL).

This morning, I was on Facebook and an old memory popped up in my newsfeed. It was a status I had in 2012 about my son (7 years old at the time) giving the rest of his birthday money to a  family who wanted to adopt a baby girl in Africa. And then it brought to mind all the times my kids have poured out generously to others, have shown compassion without being asked to, have given a glimpse of the difference makers they will become.

I suddenly found myself looking from a heart view of each of my children, and remembering the good that was beneath all the necessary growing pains of becoming an adult. And it's so much more important than any drama we have today.  The bright side is there, amidst the mess, and I am just now realizing it. No matter their mistakes or disobedience, I know their hearts are compassionate. From the same naughty lips that speak foul language, come the heart language of a boy who wants to help the less fortunate. From the same brotherly discord, comes a defender of his brother's honor in face of a bully.

While I have been yanking my hair trying to direct these children into adulthood, there's something that I would argue is even more important going on in their rearing.

We've been growing hearts. 

And while there is lots of practical--sometimes excruciating--parenting to do, there are future adults here who will at least remember, and hopefully live out, one of the most important values we could teach them amidst the chaos, one that otherwise gets pushed aside in this culture of success and status. No matter how much my children accomplish on paper or on the field, I hope they remember the words and actions in those pockets of time where we parented beyond the reprimands, but impress upon them the need for compassion.

And, occasionally, my kids are displaying their roots in love and compassion, and I can forget the mess for a moment, knowing that it is truly fleeting. We are only wading through it to get to the good stuff--adults who will indeed make a difference in this world.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My Holy Rubble

For the past four years, I've had this song in my heart. It's the song that would erupt when I sat in a puddle of defeat, splashing about, trying to find one ounce of hope in the mess. It holds the words that would crop up on my tongue when my spirit could only groan.

But I didn't know all the words. I just knew the first few,

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.

And those weren't even in the correct order...I just knew, Holy Holy Holy is what my heart could muster when my head was blanketed in darkness. I didn't even think to look up the words, I just let them come forth and sprinkle some kind of partial comfort for my ears, maybe my heart.

During the singing, I'd think of Isaiah before the throne, with a red hot coal on his tongue. I'd think of the Cherubim and Seraphim and the unworthiness of a man and the great mercy of God Almighty. And I'd beg that God would stay close, even though I felt abandoned.

I'd remind myself, that even though He seemed absent, He had a hold of me beyond my comprehension. No matter how strapped to this earth I was, with this life I had sculpted for myself crumbling at my feet, there was something so much greater out there promising me more.

Even though I didn't feel it. Even if it was hard to believe.

While my flesh rebelled, and my tongue lashed out, my spirit still sang, Holy, Holy, Holy. My spirit still sings Holy, Holy, Holy, when any prayer falls bankrupt.

Today, I sang the song again, but not in the confines of my closet where I'd hide my crying fits. Today, I sang it with the words in front of me, words that I did not realize were part of it.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Though The Darkness Hide Thee
Though the Eyes of Sinful Man Thy Glory May Not See

Oh how my soul had sung those first three words over and over like a skipped rock that sank into the pool at the third skip...potential and momentum lost...sinking deep into darkness.

Would I have found comfort in knowing that darkness had the power to hide Him, and would I have fought harder to escape it when blinded from His Glory?

Could it have been God's plan all along, to allow me to sit in the darkness, void of the Glory I longed for, with only the rubble that had been my life surrounding me, in need of being sifted through so I could find a new path to Him? One that was untainted by my opinions and biases and that shone truer His Power, His Love, and His Purity?

The more distance I put between myself and the rubble of my darkest season, the deeper I go, the bigger He gets, and the Holy declarations become more my heart's song than ever before, even if darkness is there, and I know the words now--Holy is He, and my soul sings it regardless of my mind. I've been given the next glimpse into more, and I believe it's because this is the time that my heart can handle the next words...when my heart had battled and discovered the truth behind them.

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God almighty
Early in the morning my song shall rise to thee
Holy. holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed Trinity
Holy, holy, holy
All the saints adore Thee
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
All the cherubim and seraphim are falling down before Thee
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be
Holy, holy, holy
Though the darkness hide Thee
Though the eyes of sinful man Thy glory may not see
Lord, only Thou art holy and there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love and purity
And one day, I'll sing these with Truth abounding:

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God almighty
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea
Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
You are God in three persons, blessed Trinity
You are God in three persons, blessed Trinity
Oh, God in three persons, blessed Trinity

(Holy, Holy, Holy, by Donnie McClurkin)

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Love Letter to My Children

Dear Children,

It's winter. A time when we pull out over a decade worth of tiny handprints on Christmas ornaments. A season when we focus on a baby, and a mama, and a family. A chance to reflect and remember all the Christmases before, holding tight to the good, and forgetting any bad...or trying to.

I have always said, "I hope my babies remember the best, and forget the worst."

And now, I wonder, will you?

I love you so much that my heart can hardly take the pride attack when you all achieve your goals, give us a glimpse at the people you are becoming, take the initiatives to step toward greatness.

My smile can’t be contained when I watch you all triumph in the face of adversity, even after we argue, even after words have stabbed like daggers, even after temper tantrums, and insecure parenting judgement calls.
Even though you roll your eyes, say heartbreaking things, choose everything else over me—I can’t help but love you.

I love you so much that I sit and watch each of you from a distance, allowing the worries to slip away, and admiring the differences I see between your childhoods and my own, and the similarities. 

You are the babies in my arms even when some of you don’t welcome hugs anymore. You are the little buddies who joined me at every grocery trip, every gas station stop, every morning breakfast table, and every evening snuggle time. One of you takes most of those trips to the gas station on his own now, and a couple of you just eat on the go. Snuggle time? Only half of you need that now...and sometimes, we are all too exhausted to even say goodnight.

My mama heart squeezes tight, and I want to forget for just a moment the fact that one of you is spreading his wings to take flight in a few short years. But, then, I struggle with a longing to speed through these days where every word seems to be a battle, and the angry looks are searing, and so many decisions shatter like glass.

I love you so much that even still, I wake up each morning to see what the day holds for each of you. You are my babies. And no matter what you think about me, I will be here for you until my last breath. You are my children. 

I pray only good things for you. Can you remember only the good things around here? Forget the bad? I can't help but wonder if you will. I can't help but worry. And most of all, I can't help but love you.