the Judge will see you now…

November 14, 2015

Judges can make all the difference.

A photo posted by Jenifer Matthews (@3here1there) on

we were there for good reason.  Filing to obtain guardianship of our now ‘adult’ son, who will need to be in someone’s care for all of his life.    .. .. ..  all. of. his. life.   we were there asking to be given that responsibility, an action that would even be applauded by some. and still I felt sick.  judged. . …. guilty.

up until this moment of my life, I had never been in a courtroom.  my run-ins with the law consisted mainly of speeding tickets and a handful of ‘you better just get yourself home’  from back when I was a know it all teenager.  I understood that we would be in a courtroom for this hearing.  all the other sets of eyes, shuffling papers, law enforcement officers, metal detectors, clerks, lawyers and nervous looking people was what I was not ready for.  I was not ready to stand up in front of all these other people and the judge and explain why we were there, EVEN THOUGH OUR REASON WAS NOT A BAD REASON!  we were not guilty of anything.  ANYTHING.  and still I felt my temperature rising with every little tick tock of the courtroom clock.  and still I felt my heart beating faster than it should be.  and still I could see the tiniest of shaking in the lawyer drawn up documents I was holding onto with anxious hands.  even having the steadfast love of my life and all around solid guy right beside me smiling encouragingly did precious little to regulate my breathing or heartrate. . … …. … .. …. ….. then all at once, our case was called and we were standing before the judge at the front of the courtroom, swearing to tell the truth.  …  and it went RAPIDLY down hill from there.

with not even a twinge of a smile or welcoming attitude or concern for a couple of very nervous parents trying to do the right thing, the judge began dissecting our, what I had thought to be very well in line, paperwork.  ‘where is your lawyer?!’ was asked repeatedly in a tone that gained aggravation with each repetition.  of course we were completely caught off guard and unaware of how it was that we managed to be making this judge so upset.  we had THOUGHT we had this in the bag.  we had THOUGHT this would be very simple.  we had THOUGHT we just needed to show up mainly as a formality.  we THOUGHT we had done everything right. .. … .. in fact, we had been counseled as such.  professionally.  and we completely trusted in that counsel right up unto the moment the judge sent us out of her courtroom, with red hot tears running down my face, Brian’s confusion and the words you better get your ‘things’ in order  before you come back in here, and I expect you back in here as soon as I attend to the next case.  at this point, I was shaking, crying, confused, embarrassed, angry and Brian was looking at me with absolute loss for words or direction in his eyes.

…. . . .. … .. . ….. .. . ….. .

skip ahead a couple weeks, Brian and I are back in courtroom.  a new lawyer by our side, and the whole process is painless.  of course there was a lot of work that went on between the two court dates.  A.LOT.  phone calls, frustrations, certified signatures, lawyers office meetings, tears, worries, case workers… prayers.  But the thing that I can not correctly give words to is the emotion of sitting at the desk with our confident and well versed in guardianship trials lawyer…  all the correct paperwork neatly organized in her hands.  The judge was kind.  He knew her and all ready knew we had everything in order, because of her.  He smiled at us and thanked us for taking on this role and for being caring parents to our disabled child.  the whole thing took 5 minutes and we were happily strolling out of court and off to lunch.

this mess of words and emotions and ‘how do I say this?’ and ‘how do I share this?’ has been in and out of my thoughts for months.  then last week at church we sang, ‘Before the throne of God above’, and it all came back fresh.  you can see the parable within my small life experience right?  the difference the lawyer makes?  the difference the One who is representing you  makes?  the difference in who are you going to trust with your very life when you are before the Judge?

with all the news and sights and clips and posts about Paris surrounding me, I thought of this life lesson again… the value of it.  the need for it.  the need to say it out loud.  one day, and we have no idea of when that day will be, we will all stand before the Judge, before the throne of God.  and you may THINK you have a good case.  you may THINK you’ve done nothing wrong so there isn’t anything to be worried about.  you may THINK the person, or thing, or ability, or health, or wealth, or might that you are trusting in will be enough.  and then the Judge starts in to question… and it will either fall apart very quickly or you will see His smile as he looks on His son, Jesus, who is advocating for you, pleading for you, interceding on your behalf…

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

  . …. . …. .. . . .. ….. there are only two ways to leave that courtroom.  guilty or covered by Christ.  as our world seems to turn more unstable, with mass shootings being common place, terrorist attacks on the rise, beheadings … . . . … it would be wise to have this matter settled.  it would be wise to know the One representing you is completely confident and capable, the ONLY one capable of defending you. ‘the Judge will see you now’ could be a very frightening thing to hear if you are unprepared or trusting in anything other than Jesus as your advocate. .. .. .. . Trust in Him.

that girl…

June 10, 2014

look at her. .. . . … just look at her. full of confidence, the world by the tail… no fear. I had forgotten about her until I recently found this picture in a shoebox containing the most random of precious images from my life. my heart just leapt when I first found it. I adore this picture of us… from so long ago when we were so in love. we were just inseparable. … and he loved me like that. just looked at me with young and hungry love … he still loves me like that… .. . .. like that and so much more tenderly. tenderly because she has become more fragile. where once stood a girl who had her life planned out perfectly, not expecting any glitches in all she imagined, now stands his wife who knows that life seldom goes according to plan. and while the things that she thought would be the end of her, either by mental fracture or suicide, have actually come to pass, she is still here. still standing. still holding on.

I hurt for her. thinking of the things she couldn’t have ever even dreamed of that were coming down the pike. … standing next to a hospital bed with her oldest baby boy, over and over and over and over and over and over and over…. trying to sing sweet lullabies and nursery rhymes to comfort him while he was put under again and again and again… holding the warm, soft, brand new pink little hand of her fourth for just a few seconds before he would be whisked away by an entire mob of doctors and nurses who would try with all they had and all they knew to keep him here.. . .. and then being handed that swaddled little boy just hours later, when there was no breath, no kicky legs, no life… . . … .. .. .

even though it hurts, I know it is good. this life. and I am thankful for all of these things. because ultimately, these things brought that head strong girl, the one who was going to do it all on her own, to her knees and lead her to salvation. her and many others in her family, in her circle of friends. she realized along the way that doing it on her own wasn’t going to work and she would need to carried. she would need someone who knew what it was to lose a son, someone with overflowing mercy, grace, compassion, strength, patience. she would need the sure and steady hands of God and his son Jesus. and it was really only in being sweetly broken that she, .. .. . I.. realized my need for him. had the hard things never come along, it is difficult to imagine where I would be… mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I fear I would still be doing it all on my own, quite possibly succeeding by all worldly standards. But would I be secure in knowing my name is graven on his hands like I am today? Would I know that there is nothing that can snatch me away from him? Would I know this love, this peace, this unexplainable joy that is in my life?

I keep looking at her… that girl from so long ago. and even though I hurt for her, I wouldn’t spare her the trials that she would face. they have made her a better person, a more compassionate soul, a more empathetic being.. .. . they have brought her salvation, which is a treasure beyond compare. the thing that I miss about that girl is the confidence. . .. ….. … . . ….. I think it may be time to start bringing some of that back into my character. now that priorities are better aligned.. .. . I think it is time for that girl and this tender soul to merge, that confidence, married with the empathy, could be well used for the good of the kingdom to come.

we’re all wrestling…

February 12, 2014

Leloir_-_Jacob_Wrestling_with_the_Angel[1]

I am always there. I’m a little more than halfway up the bleachers, on the edge of my seat, watching him jump rope and jog back and forth, warming up those ever growing, young man muscles… taking deep breaths, stretching his arms, glancing anxiously at his mama every now and then. he’s trying to sike himself up to confront his enemy.

I know this. I am trying to remember to breath myself and prepare to watch someone grapple, in the most physical way, with my babe.

the blood bucket is alongside the mat, and it has all ready been used a couple times tonight. they keep a bucket for blood… they know that someone will be bleeding, someone will be hurt.

the shrill buzzer sounds, a hand is raised victorious, and as one fighter leaves, flesh of my flesh comes to the middle of the mat and shakes hands and enters battle.  2 minutes has hardly ever lasted so long. and now another 2 minutes… my heart pounds, I am so anxious for him. it is much harder than I had expected to sit idlely by, and just watch, as my boy wrestles and is wrestled.

the final round and I see pain streak across his face. the mat is slapped. and this time, the other man-child’s hand is raised, while mine limps out of the ring… thru his supportive teammates… and slumps against the wall… beaten. … … … and my mama’s heart falls.

…. .. …. . . ….. .. …

even though I know, and can see, that this season of wrestling has made him stronger, refined his skill, increased his character … I want to run down to him and tell him he did his best and ask what hurts and take him home and help get his sweatshirt back on and get him something to eat, something to drink and how can I take the ache away?!?!?  but I sit.  and wait.  giving him time to catch his breath and perspective.

as I sit … … the thought comes to me… how much more? how much more does God, our Father in Heaven!, hurt for me, hurt for us? how much more does He watch us train and warm up and prepare for the battles ahead and feel proud? how much more does His heart stir as we step out on to the mat, facing all kinds of foes … depression, fear, parenting, marriage, finances, health ? how much more does He hurt when we limp away from our battles, to go quietly lick our wounds and prepare for the next round? and just how much more, even though He can see that we have become, and are becoming, stronger, more refined, increased in character, does He long to gather us up and bring us home, where there is no more hurt or anguish or sorrow?

…. .. . .. … .. ….. .. .. . . ….. …

we’re all wrestling. wrestling big things. sometimes we win the battle and sometimes we don’t. we need to remember though, that through the process, we are becoming stronger. we are building character and most importantly, our Father God is always there for us. always watching, always cheering, always aware of our struggles and hurts, aware of our tears.  He knows we’re all wrestling something and He is always for us.

~If God is for us, who can be against us?~

Romans 8:31

it’s your funeral…

February 2, 2014

sometimes death comes slowly… the lingering illness, the hospice, the disease.  other times it comes quickly, unexpectedly … the heart attack, the accident, the just. stops. breathing.  but this is sure for all of us.  death comes.  we will all die.  we will all lose someone very special and important to us … the mom, the husband, the baby boy. … … …  here’s the thing, we can relieve some of the sting, some of the pain by talking about it a little now.  now.  before it has to be decided without you.

is there a special song you want played?  you know… that one that sums it all up for you.

are there special people who you think should be your pall bearers?

who will deliver your eulogy?  what will your eulogy say?  what do you want it to say?  what is the one thing that you would want to tell everyone when you have all the attention for one last time?

where will you be buried?  cremated?

do you want to have the prayer service the night before or just the funeral or both?

how bout those picture slide shows?  seems like those are pretty popular.  will you do that?  what pictures?  how long?

… … …. …..  .. …… …. …. …

I am not trying to be dark or depressing.  I am just being honest.  maybe you don’t have any specific requests.  it would be reassuring to the ones you love if they even know that.  if you trust them with all the details, let them know.  the conversation doesn’t have to be so awful.  in fact, brian and I were just talking about who we should ask to be pall bearers at our funerals, and we laughed and laughed talking of all the possibilities.  maybe you just talk about little bits here and there.  maybe you just type up a couple of things and let someone know there is a ‘file’ with your funeral plans on it, just in case.

a neighbor and good friend died almost a year ago from cancer.  she knew it was coming.  she had a remarkable faith, which took away the fear of death for her, and gave her the courage to talk about it.  she wrote her eulogy, looked up the number to the paper she wanted it in, wrote something meaningful to be read to everyone, decided some plans and requested a nice sit down meal for afterwards.  and even though she knew death was coming, it still came quicker than she had hoped.  having all of those things done, made it so much easier for her husband to handle the funeral part of it all.  she was making it easier for him and her son even in her death.  she inspired me to get things a little more in order for myself.

you might even want to think about your kids.  I know that is awful.  the unthinkable. .. .. I also know it happens.  I had to pick the songs for my own sweet boy. and I know other people who have had to pick the verses that seem appropriate for their own small ones… cancer comes…  stop signs get missed…  sometimes… …. I believe . … .. God just calls our sweet little loves home, for reasons we may not know on this earth.

maybe you don’t want to talk about it because you are unsure of what will happen to you .. … your loved ones ….  this seems like all the more reason to spend some time thinking about it now.  because as sure as I know death will come, I know that Christ all ready came.  He came and paid the price, your ransom, your loved ones ransom, that we can be with him in paradise forever.

think about it.  talk about it.

..  ….. .. . … …… .. ….

I just hope in asking you to think about it, to talk about it, your loved ones will have a bit more time and space to grieve more fully when the time comes, rather than trying to figure out all the details in that moment.  after all, it is your funeral.

play this one for me.

 

words won’t come…

December 31, 2013

all this … hurt, sorrow…  confusion has been rolling around in my head for days.  days.  not the raw, burning pain from years ago.  something different.  something I really want to get out of my head and into words on paper, daring to hope that the act of sitting and searching for the right words will alleviate the busyness…  the scatter of what is in my head.

but the words don’t come.

I read another chapter of Heaven, another piece of the Problem of Pain,  another book on suffering.  so many, many good things in there. so much that I believe, so much that I am betting ALL THAT I AM on.

but the words don’t come.

laughter comes so much easier than it did 5 years ago… 4 years ago… 3 years ago.  the kids bring me joy and my friends make me laugh ’till my sides ache and happiness turns liquid and comes right out my eyes and down my cheeks. …  I know peace.  I know peace that is beyond my understanding. … I love the moment. all the little moments.  I try so hard to take it all in because I know that tomorrow it could be gone.  whether another of my babes, or the man I love or my sister in Christ or any. one. of my family and friends could be taken Home in an instant.  the heart attack, the stroke, the car accident, the allergic reaction, the cancer, … …  the lungs that just can not take in one more breath.  and I want to have this mad dash of words to apply to the broken hearts, even my own … a healing balm, a cooling compress … all strung together quickly with sound theology, deep compassion and a solid measure of tears that express “I know” .. “I understand”.

but the words don’t come.

so often there are not words.  there just are no words for the deep and aching pains of this world.  and some how trying to fix it all with words often ends with saying the wrong words.  the words that were meant to help actually hurt.  they add  little slivers to the all ready bleeding and broken heart.  … I know this.  I have heard these words.  … … but I just can’t keep my mind from scrambling to have something to say. … and I read, and I wonder, and I pray, and I stare off into nothing, and I sleep on the couch, and I read, and I still long for the words to come.  and then… I read it, I hear it, I see it.

“Jesus wept.”

… … …

“Jesus wept.”

He came to his friends.  He hurt too. and for awhile, He just wept.  He didn’t tease them for crying.  He didn’t say there is nothing to worry about here.  He didn’t just storm in and fix it all in that moment and laugh at their sorrow.  He just wept with them.  Even knowing that Lazarus would soon enough walk among them again.  He was just there with them, weeping.  Maybe this is the way to handle these things.  Maybe being present for the trails, being His Presence in the wake of the tragic, just. being. there.  is enough.  maybe allowing others to be His Comfort, His Healing, His Love is enough.  Being present is the present.  the knowing look from a friend, a long embrace, a quick text of ‘thinking of you’, a card, a flower.  maybe this is why the words won’t come.  they aren’t as needed as we think. a friend sitting with us and crying too is sometimes just what is needed.

Thunderchild

November 7, 2013

Thunderchild

“it’s a thunderchild crabapple tree.”  She says….  “we got it for you, thought the name fit well” she says, with humor and sarcasm all mixed in.  I can’t really argue.   It does describe me, where I am, what I am doing… These teenage years all full of what seems like what has to be the most dramatic and hardest days of life.

Fastforward a good number of years, I am out of the house with my own brood to raise, and “my tree” is in a bad spot.  My dad has to move the tree.  Not something trees like to do… Not at all.  Well, it has to be done.  My beautiful, screaming pink, sweet smelling tree is pulled from the ground, roots and all, and relocated.  Moved to a new spot in the yard and replanted and cared for, and hoped for… A new life… A new beginning…  Will it make it through such a tremendous strain?

…. …. .. …. . . .   …….

Another number of years go by… “you are bearing fruit” she says.  Confused and caught off guard I reply “what are you talking about?”  … ” your tree! it is full of apples.”  … … …  Dumbfounded, I stare.  There it is right in front of my face.  My thunderchild, full of apples.  Good sized, edible yellow apples.  How?  How can this be?  Crabapples don’t even bare fruit. … ….

. … … … …

do you see it?  Do you see the parable of my life played out right in front of my eyes through an apple tree?  Here’s what I see.  I remember when I was all full of myself, all about showing off my youth and vibrancy, regardless of whether or not there will be fruit to come… Just like that beautiful thunderchild.  And then my Father saw fit to move me, because of things I couldn’t understand, and replant me in another place.  A place I didn’t pick and a place I didn’t want to be. … Just like my tree.  And finally, after years of struggle to heal, growing again.  starting to bare fruit.

Now to the part that is almost more than I can take in.  It was only because of the  painful uprooting and struggle that the thunderchild now has limbs with fruit.  You see, because the little tree was so starkly cut back, it had to go to it’s true roots.  what everyone saw as a glorious blooming spring tree was only the result of a grafting process.  The true root was a golden delicious, which of course produces So much more than blossoms.  Just like me.  Grafted in.  grafted…  Finally producing because of the true root that i am grafted to.  thank God!  … … Thank God I was grafted in to the true root, which is Christ, and thank God I was moved and made to struggle so that the veneer fell away.

Amazing.  I am amazed ….  Amazed and encouraged.  A thunderchild brought back to her true roots.

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.

psalm 17:8

3 gifts falling …

October 2, 2013

this started yesterday. a daily practice of being thankful for the entire month of October, part of a joy dare from ann voskamp.  I am up for it.  I would love to spend the day thinking of 3 ‘somethings’ to be thankful for… it is good for my heart.  and my soul.  this is also part of my coming back to blog.  I have more to say than will fit conveniently in a FB post.  here goes.  let’s see if we can shake the dust off of these scattered and weary thoughts and pull them together.

3 gifts falling

falling in love with that nice looking blonde, who had my heart stirring and warm sensations of curiosity spreading over me… through me, like melting butter the second I saw that blue IROC come into town.

falling even deeper when that same blonde sat by my head, gently brushing my hair from my face and tucking it behind my ear as 4 little ones, warm and pink, were pulled from my cut open abdomen into the stark and blinding lights of an operating room.

falling to my knees … … … in joy, in utter despair, in the mundane everydayness and in those few moments of as close to glory as it will ever be here on this earth.

coming back…

October 2, 2013

after years away, I am trying to come back.  it has been recommended on more than one occasion by more than one person.  it helps.  it clears my mind … I believe it clears my mind more than any drug or any diet.  it is just something I need to do.

weight of winter…

October 20, 2011

sunshowers…

May 8, 2011

be my sweet…

March 11, 2011

I really wanted to post this a week ago, but as usual, time gets away from me.  it seems it would have been more thought-provoking a few days back.  now, lent has started and the question of what should I give up may all ready be settled for you.  of course, maybe you don’t give anything up over lent, in that case, I’m going to try to persuade you to try it this year.  you can still easily start even though ash wednesday is behind us.  before you just dismiss the practice of  ‘giving something up’ as another catholic ritual, I want you to listen.  be open-minded.  give it a chance.  now, of course I am not a theologian.  I am merely expressing an opinion, suggesting a ritual that I have found favorable.  I know it may seem small to some, pointless to others, but I feel it is what you make it.  the range of things that you can do during this season before easter is endless, from giving up french fries or red meat or coffee to adding a new habit like walking everyday or adding 10 minutes of prayer every night before bed.  the idea though, is to spend some time everyday in self-denial, sacrificing… preparing our hearts for the world’s greatest act of love.  and shouldn’t we be thinking a little about Jesus everyday in a more purposeful way during this time?  pondering the depths of His love for us in letting the Father’s will be done?  wouldn’t it be especially nice to grow closer to God during this time?  to celebrate easter with a new depth and fresh faith? 

I’ve decided to forego all chocolate.  I know it may sound a bit silly, but I can tell you that in the last 3 days I’ve all ready been praying and thinking of Jesus’ sacrifice more than I usual would.  a couple of times a day I’m asking Jesus to be my ‘sweet’.  the One who is my delight rather then that chocolate covered almond at a friend’s house or the hot cocoa from starbucks or the snack offered from a friend or even the delicious sea salt caramels that I was asked to go and buy for a friend.  I am really enjoying the time that just gets stuck into whatever I’m doing without me having to plan it out.  it’s like random reminders of the cross… at target when the kids want a candy bar, at school when the teacher throws me a hershey’s kiss.  ordinary moments in my ordinary day that now mean a bit more.  I am blessed to participate in this tradition.  I think you may be too… whatever your faith. spend the next 6 weeks sacrificing something… maybe it is going through the drive through for coffee, maybe it is spending a lot of time on facebook, maybe it is online shopping.  give the money to a charity instead, spend the time praying for your kids instead.  do something good.  something beneficial.  spend some time reflecting on all the blessings you have been given.  rededicate your quiet time, take stock… I think God will bless your efforts.

well…

March 5, 2011

I feel like I need to say that I am well… or at least let everyone know that.  I don’t want everyone to think that I am stuck in the darkness of sorrow still, weeks after I post that that  is in fact where I am.  as I had said, and always proves true, the tide goes back out, I gain my ground again.  once my birthday passed, I really did feel better… at least… I felt like my usual self again.  the self that is in search of joy and actually looking for it and thanking God for it at every turn.  like the sweet, small, feverish girl who leans her head on my shoulder, the ever growing young man who likes to text his mom, the long and lanky broken-bodied boy who now flies through the house singing, ‘super cole!’ (courtesy of the new lift and track system… more to come on that), a steadfast man…  a very steadfast man. … … … grace.  grace for today.  one more day.  and the promise of grace for tomorrow, whatever tomorrow may  bring.

thank you all for your love, thoughts, prayers and concern.  it is a great encouragement to me… more than you could know.

damn birthday…

February 18, 2011

there was a day when I sweetly dreamed of sharing a birthday with my soon to be baby boy…  now as my birthday looms like the dark of night, I am crushed beneath the weight of what should have been.  it is heavy upon my chest to the point of making it physically hard to draw breath.  I stand in an emptying parking lot, with the last of the wintry winds blowing around me… through me… I try to take a long deep breath of the cold damp air.  it doesn’t work.  I want to be blown away, or at least have what is left of the sorrow that seems to ever seep from my broken heart be gone with the wind or frozen out of me.

I don’t know what happened.  I was fine when I woke up.  somewhere along my very average, absolutely typical day,  an ache crept in.  I think it is because my birthday is just a few days away.  when I was first pregnant with luke, I counted out the days and figured I would have a little one about the end of february, close to my birthday.   knowing that I would have a scheduled cesarean, I figured that I could maybe  have it worked out to deliver on my birthday.  or I imagined myself as pregnant as can be, absolutely full of child, going on a birthday date with my true love.  these thoughts seem to have been deeply cemented into my brain.  I sincerely felt I was doing well, but the impending date seems to have brought me low once again.  now that the weight has landed, it seems immovable.  once again I am at a heightened state of awareness of everything baby, everything boy, everything pregnancy.  from the little board books on display that will soon be filling the easter baskets of someone else’s little man, someone else’s fourth born to the perfect hand prints left behind on the restaurant door that look to me to belong to a little person of about 2.  two perfect handprints, side by side where that child stood and pushed the revolving door… two handprints that I wish were gracing the glass doors of my home.

getting into the van, I turn on the radio, hoping for an uplifting song to chase away the reality of pain that is squeezing the air right out of my lungs.  something to help me glaze over and think of anything else but that beautiful, tiny boy that I held but for a moment.  no relieve.  the song playing is ‘if you want me to’ by ginny owens… a song from luke’s funeral.  my eyes burn.  once again it feels as if God is mean.  why?  why!?  I seem to be ever haunted by this loss.  I try to tell myself to pull it together, it’s time to get over this, and then I argue with myself saying that that thinking is absolutely ridiculous!  my baby died!  I carried him for what seemed like an eternity knowing that I had lost him before he was even free of my body and yet not being able to let go of the thought that maybe this was my turn for a miracle.  that wound is deep. … … deep.  I don’t know that it will ever be gone.  I may notice the blue fuzzy jammies on the end cap for the rest of my life and always have that pang of loss and sorrow.

interestingly providentially, the verse I read this morning was:

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? … This I know, God is for me. Psalm 56:8-9

 

I’m going to cling to that.  … He is for me … He knows all these tossings and tears … He knows more than I do and is more worried about my character, that ever needs refining, than my comfort, which will be but a mist anyway.  this wave of sorrow will pass, the healing will come, the space between the waves keeps getting longer.  I just need to get past this damn birthday.

there is an hour…

February 15, 2011

There is an hour, in everyday, that I greatly look forward to.

It isn’t because of where I am or the things I get to do.

I could be in Tahoe or Whistler or even the Mediterranean.

I could be skiing, sunbathing or cruising on a Harley-Davidson.

Or maybe it’s an ordinary kind of schedule I’ll keep,

with carpools, kids, cooking and laundry knee-deep.

Whatever the plans are going to involve for the day

I still look forward to my favorite hour in exactly the same way.

It’s all about you Babe! and how much comfort you bring,

I count down the hours, and all the while, my heart sings.

When will that hour come and finally be here,

when I can crash next to you and be pulled oh so near?

The peace and quiet at the end of another long day,

all made perfect by your love and your ‘sugarmouth’ ways.

when did this happen…

February 8, 2011

after a long and challenging day of home school, I made a rather frantic call to brian, expressing that it would probably be in the best interest of all involved if he could get home quickly after work.  (just the kind of call I’m sure he loves to get)  of course he asked and answered all of the obligatory questions and then he decided it would better for him to stay home for the night rather than go to bsf…  he had some ‘principal’ work to attend to.

as the afternoon was wearing on, I started to think that I acted in haste and a certain young man would be paying for that when his dad got home.  I also knew that brian can be very loud and definitely intimidating when he wants to be… especially if you are half his size.  I started to feel bad.  what could I do about it at that point?  brian does not like it when someone is giving me grief, even if that someone is another member of the family… he wasn’t going to just forget about it and move on with his day.  he’s going to want to fix the situation. 

so then, as I stood in the kitchen, watching the silver pony (that’s what we call the truck) back into its parking place, I got a little nervous about what was about to go down.  needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised when my sweet lover and protector calmly walked in the door and exchanged all the usual niceties with everyone.  then I began to wonder if there would be any punishment… I mean, I expected something… I didn’t want dawson to get away with the behavior that had been incessant all day.  I didn’t want him to be hollered at necessarily, but I did want him to be accountable.

no sooner had I thought that, then I heard brian call from his desk, “dawson.  come over here and bring your bible.” in a very stern, you-better-be-paying-attention kind of voice.

I stood there by the sink, thinking to myself, ‘hhhhmmm.. this is could be interesting…’

anyway, long story short, brian had dawson write out about 6 different verses from his bible dealing with wisdom, obedience, love and respect.  I was SO impressed and all most moved to tears that this was the consequence that brian had come up with.  he never raised his voice in the slightest and obviously had put some thought into what would happen when he got home.  I got all warm and tingly and started falling in love with this man all over again… one more reason to love him(or maybe four or five reasons)… he wants to raise these children in a godly manner… he’s doing his best… he’s always on my side… he loves them… he loves me…

all that back story just to say:

then my thoughts went to, ‘when did this happen?!’  I mean, at what point in my life did a man with some kind of moral convictions become charming to me?  I don’t remember ever  thinking that I would want to be married to a man who reads his bible or a man who would have a conversation with his children about why it is so important that they love, honor and respect their parents… not that I didn’t want that, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.  and yet, that’s exactly where I am now.  I wouldn’t want anything less.  I know it has happened in the last few years, because I can remember the first time I became aware of this ‘draw’ towards a man just because of his faith.  we were sitting in church and when the pastor asked if there was anyone who would like to stand and say the verse for the week, a young man proudly stood and recited the whole thing ( and it was long ).  I was greatly impressed and thought to myself that someday that fine young man would make someone a great husband.  he became more attractive of a man, just because of his love for Christ.  that had never been a feature that I had been attracted to before in my life.  now it is.  which leads me to conclude, that brian and I are living proof that God is amazing in His ability to change lives, hearts and minds, for His pleasure and for His glory, through putting a desire for a godly man in my heart and softening brian’s would be anger to a gentle answer … and that was just today!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

~2 Corinthians 5:17~

in the shadows…

January 24, 2011

I usually know exactly what I am going to say.  I’ve got a title for a post and most of it finished up in my head before I ever get the opportunity to actually sit down for an hour and be able to write it out.  this time I don’t.  I’m speechless… almost thought-less.  I’m overwhelmed. all because of a short book called, ‘wrestling with an angel’ by greg lucas.  it’s a father’s story of raising a boy with disabilities, severe disabilities.  it is a quick read.  you can get through it in a couple of hours.  but it is the last two paragraphs that have left me… silent.  here they are:

But perhaps the sweetest discovery of all was learning more about the character of my heavenly Father through the struggles of my disabled son.  It is one thing to read about His faithfulness, to talk about His mercy, and to write about His grace.  But to experience these things face to face requires a heavenly vision that can only be obtained by walking through the suffering of His providence and coming to the realization that the darkness I have experienced is actually the shadowing shelter of my ever-present Father.

It is in this shadow that I have wrestled with an angel until the breaking of today.  And even though I now feel beaten and broken from the battle, the limp that carries me away from the sacred place forever reminds me that I have been touched by the hand of the Almighty.  And by grace, I have prevailed.”

to consider this ‘darkness’ the shadow of God… how amazing… he’s precisely right.  feeling beaten and broken… yes.  that too.  the limp is proof that I have been touched by God… absolutely.  “and by grace, I have prevailed.”  … I unconditionally, wholeheartedly agree. 

now, if I can just keep this perspective at the forefront of my mind as I too, clean poop off of an ever-growing boy that doesn’t want to be cleaned… as I am bitten on the shoulder, arms, hands and face… as I am hit, scratched, pinched… my hair is pulled… and I am hollered at.  could I just remember that it is when I am weak, that I am strong… that this ‘thorn’ is what  keeps me from becoming conceited… that His grace is sufficient… that I can boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses and afflictions so that Christ’s power will rest on me… (2 corinthians 12)because, like greg lucas said, “and by grace, I have prevailed.”  there is no other way.

please check out the book  “Wrestling with an Angel” by Greg Lucas.  he also has a blog.

thank you so much for writing this book Mr. Lucas.  it has been truly inspiring.

 

a thousand things…

January 17, 2011

a friend shared a blog with me recently and I thought I’d share it with you.  at the moment she has a post about listing all the gifts of thanks that you receive at any given time and she has asked others to list theirs too.  there is a link at the bottom of this post, so that you can check it out. 

here’s what I’m thankful for so far today.  there is an endless list from days before and I’m sure there are more things to come then I can even imagine. 

I woke up with breath in my lungs and joy in my heart.

my legs worked just like I expected them to when I rolled out of bed and landed on the floor.

a heated house

sleeping children

a puppy who thinks the world of me and shows it every time he trots toward me with tail wagging

an incredible husband who gets up early, even though he’d rather be under the cozy down comforter with me, and heads of to work

running vehicles

food in the cupboard

the way cole sings along to all  the intro songs to all  the cartoons

a beautiful young helper who shows up with a smile on and steps right in to help cole finish his eggo while I go start laundry

clothes to wash and something to wash them in

when the garage door shuts on the first try

grocery stores so overwhelming stocked with food and produce that I hardly know where to begin

a free country where I can go to the overwhelming packed grocery store without fear of suicide bombers or child trafficking or drug lords

the man on the corner on a cold day in january with a sign around his neck that reads, ‘desperate.. help please’ to remind me of all that I have and to remember Jesus’ words…  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ .. Matt 25:40 and “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

another beautiful young helper that comes along to help finish out the day with cole, pulling on her hat nad gloves and pulling up her boots, because cole wants to drive his powerchair around on the ice

power wheelchairs

gabrielle’s insatiable desire to do craft projects and the way she says, ‘let’s try that!’  with such enthusiasm, over glue and yarn, again and again and again

watching dawson shovel snow side by side with his daddy dad for the hundredth time this winter.  watching him grow and grow and become strong and smart

brian… who loves me… everyday… who hugs me and kisses me and laughs with me and holds me together when I fall apart

the mixed pain and joy of hearing gabrielle say, ‘if luke was alive, there would be 3 kid boys, plus max and daddy… so 5 boys and only 2 girls’

luke……………………………………………………………………………………

bedtime for silly, crazy, wound-up, wiped-out kids

bath time for me

an outlet for all the ups and downs and ins and outs of this broken yet beautiful life I’m in

JESUS

a holy experience

I was looking for a special poem to thank the paras and teachers in cole’s classroom and I came across this one by erma bombeck.  ( I really like her writing)  it brought me to tears pretty quickly.  it’s nice to have a different perspective every once and awhile.  I get so busy just going through the motions and doing what needs to be done, I forget the bigger picture.  to even think   be reminded that God is not only aware of me, but that He is on my side and considers me worthy of the testing is so very humbling.  I hope you like this poem.  pass it on to other parents of special needs kids.

The Special Mother  

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,
a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of disabled children.
Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth
Selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.”
“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.”
“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a disabled child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child a mother who knows no laughter?
That would be cruel.”
“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she’ll handle it.”
“I watched her today.
She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see–ignorance, cruelty,
prejudice–and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.
“A mirror will suffice.”

………………………………..

so much of this poem rings true for me personally…  happy, selfish, unbelieving.  and other aspects too… I’ve seen cruelty, ignorance.. I’ve heard the miracle of ‘mama’ ( at age… 4.  4 years-old that is) I take no physical activity for granted.  I don’t know about the ‘give her a mirror’ part, but otherwise I feel this poem to be pretty accurate. 

it’s hard to think of character development as a blessing most of the time.  usually because that path lies through a valley of pain… physical, mental, spiritual.  but, now that I am well acquainted with this path, I can appreciate the growth a little more.  I’m thankful that God said, ‘give her a disabled child’.  I can’t imagine the person I would be if I was choosing my own way.

trigger…

January 4, 2011

I started seeing a therapist.  my regular MD has been recommending it for at least a year.  I finally went.  the whole baby luke in my BSF class, born in late december was the final straw… the last push.  I need a way to handle all these things that seem to follow me, taunt me.  the therapist agreed.  she too, confirms I have PTSD. (post traumatic stress disorder)  and then add PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) to it and a 13 year-old with CP (cerebral palsy) and I’m bound to have some pretty tough days.  still, this is who I am… this is my life… I have to be able to function.  I want to function well.

my first assignment from her was to keep a list of everything that is a trigger, things that send my mind to where I was 2 years ago.  startlingly enough, I all ready have quite a list.  so far, more visual things, like the mcdonalds drive thru and the baby row at target and the newborn at panera and the ‘luke’ that took our order at taco bell.  I’m realizing that there are an awful lot of audio triggers too, like anything about death, family size, snowflakes, references to how small something is…  with my brain trying to hold all of this info, trying to protect me from so many things that are being interpreted as potential ‘hurts’, rather than being able to understand that I am not in danger of being hurt by the pregnant lady, understanding that season has passed … there leaves little wonder that other functions like short-term memory are being dropped off.  hence, the overflowing kitchen sink, keys locked in the van and purse left at the grocery store… to name a few.

I’m happy to be in this place.  I think this is where I need to be… this is where the healing begins.  kind of sad it has taken this long for me to get here…  always pride in the way… thinking I can handle it all on my own, I’ll deal with it,  I’ll be fine, I can figure it out, telling my self, ‘rub some dirt on it.  walk it off.’  I feel better saying… I can’t do this, I need help, I’m tired.  here I am, weak and wounded… show me the way, lead me by the hand.  no more triggers…  only sweet reminders.

fall like rain…

December 31, 2010

my day started with someone knocking at the door about 9:00 this morning bearing flowers and words of love from a dear friend.  beautiful, vibrant flowers.  knowing that others are remembering me and mine today is a very sweet balm to my wounded soul.  I have another friend who had dropped off a box of little gifts secretly, 10 days ago, to help ease the week or so building up to luke’s birthday.  (same friend who did that last year too)  it may sound a little silly, but it really does help.  the gifts are simple… a box of tea, a notebook, candy, a book, kleenex… but, and maybe this is because my love language is gifts,  these little things mean a great deal.  each one is wrapped nicely and has a verse that kind of goes with the gift.  I love the gifts, the friend, the thought behind it all.

about 10:00, brian left to go pick up all the balloons.  he brought home balloons and a few long-stemmed roses.  they smell so sweet.  we all wrote little messages on them and then headed outside to let them go.  it is so fun to let balloons go.  something you never really get to do and are often warned against.  they all look so lovely floating away.  next year I think we’ll get more.

after letting them all go, we headed out to champps for lunch, just like we do for everyone else’s birthday.  that was nice too. 

……………………………………………………………….

 

………………………………………………………………..

when we got home, there was another delivery.  white roses and evergreens with a snowflake in the middle from my parents.  it has  such a lovely piney scent and is one of the most beautiful arrangements I’ve ever received. 

all these wonderful things, along with… cards in the mail, emails, FB messages, texts, hugs, thoughts, prayers and concerns… really carried me through the day.  I understand that it has been 2 years since the most traumatic experience of my life was coming to a close, but at the same time that just seems impossible.  that seems to have happened just yesterday.  I still hurt, I still want him, I still think of him all the time.

as we were driving off to lunch, a song by jeremy camp started as if by cue.  it was the song, I still believe.  part of the lyrics say,

“but it’s now that I feel Your grace falls like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain”

and I closed my eyes and leaned my head back and thought, yes… this is what is happening… all these gifts, all the concern from my friends… this is God, working through them to bring me some sort of peace.  and as His grace falls like rain, it really is washing away my pain.  thank you so much to all of you who were part of the comfort and joy today that was falling like rain all about me and mine.

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