Few illusions of control left here! Living raw and giving thanks for innumerable blessings!
Before I get started there are 2 things you should know.
A – I’m a 5th generation Floridian (Did you know there was such a thing?)
B – We have a pool, although we don’t currently live in FL.
This year, the pollen-covered-massive-wad-of-pool-cover on the deck might clue you in that the perk of a pool comes with it’s share of work. And to be honest, I suppose I’ve been a little bitter that the amount of work we had to put into the thing in no way matched the amount of use we got out of it. Between therapies, doctor’s appointments and 3 kids that are on a mission to drown themselves, and continuous feeding pump and equipment needs etc. – There have been a few summers where we made it in the pool a number of times I could count on one hand.
And remember, I grew up in Florida. My mom claims I could swim before I could walk (at 8 months). And judging by that baby tan I had, I think she’s right. Summers were lived outside. Meals happened pool-side, and my now dark hair used to be a dirty blonde.
There are many picket fences you never knew you had until you approach them. Summers lived outside with my kids playing in and out of the pool – I ran smack into that toppled-fence-of-expectation when we got this pool. And today – something beautiful happened.
Today – as a family – for the FIRST time: we managed to spend a couple hours in, and grill, and eat by the pool!!! Can you say American Dream?!! (or maybe just a Floridian one).
Somehow between all of Blue’s equipment needs etc, I never thought it possible – but these girls keep getting older and over the years I’ve been amassing the tools to make this work: the outdoor papasan chairs to support Blue when he’s out of the pool, the umbrella for shade, the the special head float so that he can swim semi-independently, and these awesome swimming trainers for the girls. And today hubbs was able to take a study break at the perfect time, AND I was able to supervise the kids on my own for a while! (Hubbs has been studying 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, at this point.)
As I read my own words, I realize that some might take this as complaining…but really, I’m just using all this as the background – the contrast – to show you how beautiful a couple of hours by the pool can be…pretty darn beautiful!!!
Praise God that when picket fences fall, flowers can emerge that you never would have noticed, but for the fence falling!
In today’s sermon there was mention of moments in the ER.
There was talk of the desperate self abandon that comes with motherly instinct and love.
Tears started streaming. I wonder, were they self-pity? Maybe.
For all of those who can live daily or hourly in those adrenaline flowing moments: I know it hits home with you more – to realize that you domain is in a state of emergency or can be at any moment. It doesn’t feel as if life is meant to be lived in this upside down way with panic and fear begging your attention at the drop of a hat.
But this mother’s day, I’m not lamenting the upside down things so much as taking in the sweet things that roll in with this tide. Last week I was wiping my boys tears in a room full of international doctors. They had a powerpoint slide of a severely jaundiced baby in critical condition, and I looked over to see my boy’s eyes well up with tears. As the tears streamed down, I wiped them from his face – something he cannot do for himself. Tears of my own threatened to erupt. He knows what happened to him. He feels compassion for sick babies. It slices me in two! And it also displays something beautiful in his intellect and heart all at once…
Today I bathed in the love of 3 children.
Today I could not believe that I get to be their mother.
Today I got PRECIOUS gifts from loving little hands and minds.
Today I feel as if the trials of life have brought me glasses to see through the haze and appreciate the infinite beauty in “the little things.” The little things would be haze and blur if not for these glasses. I would not know how to appreciate a child’s voice, pictures made by little hands, words given through laboriously choosing with eyes, if not for these trials.
To read my first post for PICK, click here. (The site is under construction, so please bear with us)
You know my story, most of you. You know that I have a big heart for the silent epidemic that is KI.
This week Blue and I head to DC with 4 other KI moms and 2 other kids with KI.
Getting there is quite the battle! A couple of us balance careers with this almost full-time volunteer work. One mom is looking at loosing her house. Another is facing serious health issues of her own. Another is a military wife with 3 small children. …and of course, we live with the daily demands and wreckage that KI brings.
You guys know that I’m a grace seeker…I see the beauty that can come in the hard and bitter providences…but the flip side, is that I also feel VERY compelled to SPEAK UP. This is a battle that needs to be fought!
Unless the victims cry out – change never comes. People live unaware unless we speak. So we, these moms with some pretty full plates…we are using our voices to support those on our team at PAS and to get the word out!
Please pray that our voices would carry!
(site is under construction, so please bear with us)
Last Sunday I wrote these words, as I struggled.
This Sunday I’ve had the better kind of tears.
Whichever way they come, I feel that they are all a part of His Amazing Grace being poured out on this journey as we learn one lesson at a time.
They run. They take a fleeting pause to mingle with mascara, concealer, eye-shadow.
The salty compound trembles down warm skin.
On bright sunny Sundays the chances of these tears are slim, right?
But really, in Sunday finest, aren’t they most likely?
Somewhere deep down, I’m sure of it.
I’m sure that 90+% of “together-people” find themselves utterly undone,
…in the minutes before church,
…in the time that follows it
Imperfections are uncovered.
Dark circles under eyes are unveiled.
Would the simpleton say these tears are a beautiful reality?
Or would they say they are just misfortune?
Can’t they be BOTH?
Can’t they be a part of the sweet and bitter providence that is every moment?
That balance that is salt and sweet and a flavor all to it’s own? How can you put it to words?
Whether we love it or hate it, it’s the flavor in the air that we breathe and…
Life is a winding and troubled road, switch back after switch back.
The point of biblical stories is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns.
The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory it’s more like a dark and seemingly unknown trail through the mountains. There are rock slides and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backward in order to go forward.
But along this hazardous twisted road that doesn’t let you see very far ahead, you may even feel like you’ve been lead to the edge of a cliff, God gives us encouragement and hope that all the perplexing turns in our lives are going somewhere good.
Often when we think God is farthest from us and has even turned against us, the truth is that he is laying a foundation for greater happiness in our lives.
God is plotting for our joy. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ. That is a sweet and bitter providence.
-John Piper (Read by John Piper on the album, The Joy Eternal. Also, I believe the original and slightly different version is available in the book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God
Her boy and I made faces at one another while I waited for her to open the door. She welcomed me with these bare feet, fully equipped with spiffy green toe-nails.
Saying goodbye to a friend – never easy.
You might wonder how someone who lives an hour away and stays of facebook can be a friend. She’s lived over an hour from me for over 2 years, and we’ve seen each other face to face less than a dozen times, but her moving? – I don’t want to think about it…I don’t want to cry.
Ironically, some of my closest friends have shared very little of actual space and time with me.
In my experience, Friendship has more to do with the proximity of our hearts than geography. Her heart and mine abide in the same territory, and I’m pretty sure they did before we even met.
This knowledge – it doesn’t take away the tears. I suppose that’s okay.
Tears, they mean that we feel – that we’ve had something worth holding – that we’ve a gift to count. It’s the loss of sensation that presents the strongest threat.
Confession: I debated going to say goodbye. I even decided last-minute. Me-time has been sparse lately with sick kids and stressors pushing in. I always crave a cup of coffee and some silence with a pen/book/computer/paper (some or all of the above).
I knew the solitary Barnes and Noble option would mean missing that last hug. I wouldn’t get to see her newborn babe. I wouldn’t get to say – “goodbye” to her face…but what if I couldn’t face the day w/o time to recharge?
It was one of those decisions where the upper senses stand in opposition to the lower ones.
I’m pretty convinced that it will NEVER be easier to order a salad at McDonald’s. The quarter pounder will always be calling my name. And I wonder why this is. The things that are REALLY good for me…the things that my soul craves, I rarely chose them over the things that smell and sound and look and taste good right in front of me.
Even now, I hack away at a keyboard while kids run wild, dishes and laundry are piled high, and dinner time is minutes away…or should be. (The kids will be raiding the fridge and begging me to open cheese sticks soon.)
I am SO often powerless to go with my upper senses.
You might assume some nice things of me. You are likely wrong.
When it comes to those choices that feed my soul for the long-term over my short-term comforts, my choices are usually poor.
The forever tyrannical urgent versus the eternal*? – Tyrannical urgent has the winning record.
These battles forever take place in the subconscious – and though they are waged over valuable ground that needs defending, they are usually surrendered in silence.
Today I opted for the long-term.
Seriously, DON’T pat me on the back. I ain’t so great….I promise.
And a side note on that:
We are all forever painting everyone flawless or flaw-full – building walls between selves. I’m continually battling the thought that no one else can inhabit my “stratosphere of broken” – that particular level at which our flaws and scars lie.
…and this is another UNTRUTH that isolates and holds us back from better things and richer friendships.)
So, back to my little goodbye adventure. Why did I ever even debate it? Time of quiet in the car, of chatting on the couch, the time face to face with a friend – it did far more than a lonely cup of coffee, and BONUS, I got to have coffee with her!
My lower senses always tell me that there is more satisfaction in doing something for myself, in something easy, in the things that take little effort?
Lies. lies. lies.
The harder fought, hard won, long-distance hikes – those are the ones that give the best of both worlds! The sights and smells and sounds echo into our future and reverberate in the present. If my friend had not made those many hike to see me – I wouldn’t have had the tears – I wouldn’t have had the gift of this friendship – a friendship that will endure the miles.
Here is to the hike! …and how to fine tune those upper senses…to make the better choices, that always happen to be harder? – still figuring that out…still praying…still reading.
*and one thing I need to clarify – when I talk about the eternal – I don’t mean lofty things. I’m learning that the eternal can be in a load of laundry – in serving the people I live with. The eternal is every bit in the ordinary – in the slower and in the simple.
So, much is still the norm. There was no razzle-dazzle spring break. We decorated easter eggs, 5 days after easter. I centered pretty much every waking hour of the day around one child’s needs, but not so much the child. I did have some special moments with my boy and a pretty awesome hour with the girls. We wrote one heck of a story together and ate ice-cream at 9 am…and I reflect on prayers answered.
Prayers for balance…desperately needed balance between the world inside my phone, volunteer work, the people I love, advocacy, writing, etc. I’m a work in progress, to be sure – but there have been some moments – some moments where I’ve actually been fully present enough that my heart and breath could barely coordinate for taking in the joy of words and smiles and laughter.
And there has also been this: We are getting back our nursing - not through the old avenue, but a new one. The goodness of this moment, and the relative ease of it when so many things are so hard fought…I’m thankful. Thankful for your prayers and thankful to the Heavenly Father “who does all things well.”
Most of all, I’m thankful for this growing confidence that in the prayers that are answered quickly and “favorably” and in the prayers that are answered with an uphill battle, there is a good that is greater, so much greater and richer than what I would hold onto with my fists full of desperation, clinging to air. He is trustworthy. ”Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”
Life with a junk food junkie and a raw vegan wannabe [emphasis on "wannabe"]. (A recent date night photo. Yes – we are different…and a lot alike.)
The stacks of books I have on parenting and marriage…they give testimony to something. I’m not sure what. Inadequacy? Maybe. Maybe – definitely?
I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage advice lately. There is a lot of good advice out there, but the thing that I keep circling back to is this:
“Solus Christus” - (In Christ alone.)
In Christ alone can our marriage or parenting get better. Identifying 10 steps or 5 languages, they can help, but only so far. We all are as unique as snowflakes, and the problems that emerge when you pair a couple of us together – chock-full of intricate complexities.
I don’t know about you, but my best efforts can often leave me flat on my face.
So when it comes to marriage, the best advice I’ve ever heard is this:
When your pride can’t let go, when you just don’t have the grace, in the middle of an argument – Pray.
Pray together. Pray on your own. Pray any way you can.
Resolving to resolve?
I’m often helpless without his help without bowing down to remember that I am the debtor that has been forgiven much!
Is there a problem that is too big for God?
Dive into his word. Dive into conversation with him. The only answers specific to your unique-snowflake-combo-life are there…from the creator of all things!
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
I’ve never done a 5-minute-friday, but this word, I couldn’t scroll beyond it. Not tonight.
Who knows what will fly from my fingers tonight, but I must comment…without filter. Ready?
I sit in a hotel room. You heard me right – mommy time!
We’ve successfully traversed a month without daddy and now influenza has taken residence in the house again (adding up our A’s and B’s this year). But the thing that was really wearing me thin is my new-found 3-year-old-roomie. She slips in past midnight every night. I’ve been tired…so many different kinds of tired. I’ve had years of being up every 2 hours or so with a poor boy that’s body will not stop moving long enough to rest for more than 2 minutes at a time. And this tired should be a piece of cake – but it’s not. I’m aging in dog years, I’m pretty sure of it.
It does occur to me though – These days are so fleeting. How much will I miss that wispy little hair, the sound of her sucking her fingers in her sleep, the mommy-dependance – it’s all fleeting, right?
But for tonight, one night, I get no roommates and a huge bonus of sleep!! This night of rest, it is something heavenly – something I’ve dreamed of for years…and somehow when expectations are stripped away, it has an even sweeter aroma.
In my home, Lord help me to hold tight to these moments, to live in the day, in the minute. Not to gripe about my exhaustion – but to have these tired eyes wide open to blessing after blessing. There will be tears, but there will also be the day when they are all wiped away!
For this beautiful night of sleep – thank you, hubbs!!! For the rest that comes in looking back – - thank you Jesus!
The body grows old and worn with trials heaped upon each other, but my soul? I feel it growing younger. (I say this and tomorrow I will find an ugly age spot in my soul…I grow so disproportionately!) Each unexpected trial, each twist that brings me to another impossible trail – each one tempts me to tears – always. But when the day’s journey is complete, I get to look back and see that somehow, one step at a time, I made it through (and not of my own strength). This “Ebeneezer,” this testimony, strips away some old rustiness within me, bit by bit to show these tiny glimmers of faith.
Don’t get me wrong, I take more steps backward than forward. My default posture is to whine and groan against anything that’s not in MY plan. But in the sparse moments where I do have proper focus, I see something that fills me with hope and rest all at once. In seeing how much HE has provided beyond my ability, I find more rest every day to grow young in my soul.
and the 5-minute thing….I can’t claim that…certainly not when I have a quiet room all to myself! Maybe next time. It was my first go…so you can let it slide, right?
May each trial strip years from your soul and bring you closer to rest…rest in HIS capable arms.
This concept builds, as her thoughts travel down many roads.
We’ve also had short conversations here and there about the heart.
Tonight her tear-filled words gave new angle to old truth.
Me: “You really shouldn’t have hurt Kate like that. Several times today you did things to her that were mean. There are consequences for mean things.”M: I didn’t want to do them!! I don’t know why I can’t control my heart!! I really wish I could control my heart!! (tears)Me: I’m sorry M, even when we feel like we aren’t in control, we are still responsible for those times.M: (tears increasing) I don’t know what’s wrong with me, that my heart does that!!! (both hands over heart)
I’m just like Blue* on the inside! (very upset) My heart does things that I don’t want it to do and I can’t control it!!!!
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. – Romans 7:19
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.