Serrated Words

Tonight, as I lay in bed struggling to fall asleep, I read a blog post written by a mama who just lost her 5 year old boy to brain cancer. And it grieved me. It made me have that deep down, unquenchable ache.

Only one thing would help it.

I quietly pulled back the covers, grabbed a tissue and headed for my little one’s room. I climbed into his bed with him and engulfed him in my arms, relishing the feeling of every breath as he took it, stroking his soft, brown hair & kissing him- his ears, his cheeks. Whispering “I love you” into his little ear…over and over again.

And as most moments like this in life tend to do, it got me thinking.

Why do I wait?

Why does it take a post like that to remind me just how quickly life can change?

Who don’t I relish and agonize, in the best way possible, over making every moment count?

We recently moved, and in the move, somehow our knives got packed in several different places. For the first week or so of unpacking, I could only find 2 decent knives. One was a straight edge, incredibly sharp knife. The other was a serrated, not as “heavy duty” knife.

For the first several mornings, I stubbornly chose the “sharp” knife to cut and section my breakfast grapefruit. After all, it’s the sharpest. And I would, with much frustration, butcher my grapefruit. Always getting the job done, but rarely with much of the grapefruit in tact at the end. The knife simply cut down everything in its’ path.

Then one morning, I noticed my second, serrated knife lying there. It wasn’t as sharp, and I immediately bemoaned the fact that my sharp knife was in the dishwasher (isn’t that just like us “humans” to miss the thing that didn’t work in the first place?) I picked up the serrated knife and began to work on sectioning my grapefruit.

It worked.

Perfectly.

Sure, it took a little more time, but when I was finished, nice, in tact sections of grapefruit stared back at me.

But the knife wasn’t even sharp?!

No. But it was made for that job. It was made to cut through breads, fruits, whatever else, making a pathway through, without destroying the entire thing.

So often my words are sharp. They get the job done…but they leave a butchered mess in their wake. It would seem that those words, that action, that response would be the most effective. The fastest. But it hurts. It leaves behind slices of pain, regret and moments that can never be undone.

As I lay there holding my boy tonight I thought about my words, my actions, my responses. If he was gone tomorrow and I looked back at his almost 4 years of life, would the moments be sharp or serrated? Would I have correctly him sharply, leaving little bits of his heart and dignity exposed? Or would I have chosen to take the more difficult path…the path that takes more work, more carving, more of my time and energy, patience, forgiveness & love. The path that leaves behind a child who is whole, brave and sensitive to guidance?

Lord, let my words, moments and actions be serrated. Let them be fit for the task at hand. Let me look at every opportunity as if it were my last, my most precious opportunity to mold and pour into that precious little life you’ve entrusted to me.

Advertisements

Blessed

If you are in my Sunday School class- my apologies…you’ve heard this before. But it’s been on my heart and mind all day long and I just need to write it out. As I’ve said before, writing is therapeutic for me, so either join the therapy session, or feel free to browse elsewhere. ūüôā

Consider carrying a child in your own womb,

Birthing that child,

Raising him,

Feeding him,

Wiping tears from his eyes,

then watching him die at the hands of the coldest of Roman hearts.

I am sure some of you reading this have felt the grief of losing¬†a child- whether one your eyes were privileged to see, or simply one that the very depths of your womb knew and loved…

But I have not, praise be to God, had to feel that ache, that emptiness.

But Mary did. After Mary was told she would carry the Messiah, she said¬†in¬†Luke 1:48¬†that from that point on, all generations would call her “blessed.”

Blessed.

Blessed to love so deeply and lose so greatly? To watch your own child, a walking extension of your own heart, die. Brutally die.

As I sat in Sunday School this morning, I thought to myself, “That’s not my idea of blessed. Yes, she was privileged to carry and to know the Messiah- the Savior of her soul and the souls of all who will receive Him. But blessed? I don’t know about that…”

Immediately I was reprimanded in my heart. The Holy Spirit convicted me so greatly…

How quickly I would turn my back on Him- to say that I am only blessed in the good times, the times when I think things are easy and “right.”

I believe with all of my heart that if Mary could come into my living room right now, and sit on my couch with me for some girl talk, she’d say something like this….

I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense…that the grief I was called to bear is just too much. It seems to you now that a Mother’s heart could never bear so much. But I am telling you from the bottom of my heart, the heart of the mother of Messiah, that it was worth it. His birth, His life, and yes, even His death- blessed beyond measure.

Oh to have a¬†heart that sees the blessing in the pain. That doesn’t turn and run from the only One who can show the meaning and bring healing. To be like Mary just a little bit more…and to believe firmly that my calling, no matter the cost, is my blessing.

 

Raising a Giant-Slayer

My {almost} 2 1/2 year old’s favorite Bible story is David & Goliath. It goes a little something like this when he tells it…

Mean Glithe laugh.

Dabid say him not scared.

Him take fi (5) wocks & put yun (1) in him singshot.

Him singshot go yound and yound & the wock HIT Glithe.

Him fa down and down and HIT ground.

Yay!

God winned, Nana!!

I just love it. I love reading those stories to him. In our Sunday School class on Sunday, the question was asked “How can we make sure that our children know that God has a plan for their lives?”

#1- We have to live our lives as examples of this. Proof that, yes Mommy makes mistakes & acts ungrateful at times, but God still Has a plan for me. And despite my failures, He can still work through me. And you, sweet little boy, are one of the GREATEST ways that God has ever worked in my life. A dear friend posted this quote today on Facebook and it really resonated with me: “By God’s marvelous design, few life experiences humble us quite as effectively as parenting….This tiny tyrant is providentially placed in our house with one grand program: to mold his or her parents into the image of our Lord. The way up spiritually, is by looking down physically.” So true!

#2-¬†These tried and true Bible stories are examples of this. My boy knows that Jonah didn’t¬†obey God- that he ran, and endangered others, and had¬†to literally spend days in the dank innerds of a “big fitch” in order to fully realize the full Plan and Forgiveness of His God. Mistake after mistake, yet never turned away. Never told he couldn’t be used. He came back and God did mighty things through him. My boy understands already that David was a young boy, not trained in giant-slaying. He knows that the king questioned David, the crowds whispered & the giant jeered. But GOD proved Himself mighty in the most unlikely of places. A young boy- surrendered.

May God show Himself mighty through me- a mother, trying to be surrendered & allow God’s “marvelous design” to work through me and mold my son.

And may he grow to be a giant-slayer for the Lord.

____________________________________

“You Were There”

By Avalon

I wonder how it must have felt
When David stood to face Goliath on a hill
I imagine that he shook with all his might
Until You took his hand, and held on tight

‘Cause You were there, You were there
In the midst of danger’s snare
You were there, You were there always
You were there when the hardest fight
Seemed so out of reach
Oh, You were there, You were always there
You were always there

So there he stood upon that hill
Abraham with knife in hand was poised to kill
But God in all his sovereignty had bigger plans
And just in time, You brought a lamb

‘Cause You were there,
You were there
In the midst of the unclear
You were there, you were there always
You were there when obedience
Seemed to not make sense
You were there, You were always there
You were always there

So haven’t I learned that my ways
Aren’t as high as Yours are
And You alone keep the universe
From crumbling into dust
You are God and though we would
Not have understood You
There You were

Hanging blameless on a cross
You would rather die than leave us in the dark
Every moment, every planned coincidence
Just all makes sense
With Your last breath

You were there, You were there
During  history’s darkest hour
You were there, You were there always
You were the Victor and the King
You were the power in David’s swing
You were the calm in Abraham
You are the God who understands
You are the strength when we have none
You are the living, Holy one
You were, You are and You will always be
the Risen Lamb of God

You were, You are and You will always be
The Risen Lamb of God

Good, Better or Best?

I just can’t NOT tell you this. Yep, double negative. Take that Jr. High English teacher ūüôā

The other day, I posted an FB status about what a blessing it is to have those moments when you know that, not only does God know your wants & needs, but He cares about them.

Well, I’m here to elaborate!

For Christmas, some family members gave me some cash to spend on *anything* I wanted! It was so¬†¬†fun… of course I had a million ideas of where that money was going to go. When I got down to the last $50 or so, I nearly made a silly purchase.

Sweatpants. But not just any sweatpants… $40 Nike sweatpants- boyfriend fit, long enough for gazelle legs here, and (as I said to my hubs the 1st time I tried them on) felt “like butta” on. They were truly something that I had been looking for for a very long time. But (in my estimation,) $40 seemed a little steep. I wanted them, but just had this nagging feeling that I shouldn’t spend that much on, well, butta’.

Well, a few days later, I checked my email and was bombarded with the usual onslaught of “daily deal” emails. Usually the deals don’t interest me, but on this particular day, one caught my eye…

3 Rooms of Professional Carpet Cleaning for $49.

Well, I’ll be. We just “happen” to have 3 rooms of carpet that needed cleaning in our home.¬†I ¬†just “happened” to have been searching for WEEKS for a good carpet cleaning deal. The company just “happened” to agree that they would service our home, even though it was outside of their usual radius. And I just “happened” to have saved back $50 from my Christmas money.

The Lord knew. None of that just “happened.”

Yes, I could have spent that money on sweatpants, and there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that. I would most certainly have squeezed every penny’s worth out of them. They would have been good.

But there was something better. A way to better spend my money, that would benefit my whole family, and leave me feeling so blessed by the way He cares about my wants & needs.

He does know best, after all.

Just as an afterthought, if any of YOU want to help care for my wants, since God has my needs well handled, here’s a link to those sweatpants (black, size XL) hehe ūüôā

 

Dreams

Invincible.
Thinner than ever, hair halfway down my back & fixed every day, with a year-round tan.
Dating a hunk of a man, roaming our college campus, playing sports and traveling together. Eating out whenever we pleased, buying extravagant gifts for each other & dreaming of the someday.
Dating looked good on me.

Over the moon.
The ring shone like nothing I’d ever worn before. Princess cut, just like I asked for. He knew me so well. He even asked my Dad for his blessing- and got it. Starry eyed.
We planned our house, picked and registered for just the right colors and went to marriage counseling which we just knew we were too prepared to learn anything from. ūüôā
We couldn’t wait for that ONE day.
Engagement looked good on us.

Breathless.
Nothing prepares you for that first morning of waking up next to the man of your dreams. It was literally the stuff of dreams… We booked our own hotel room, came and went when we chose, and asked no one’s opinion but our own.
We were finally living that day.
Marriage felt right to us.

Then we came home from our honeymoon to an oil-heated house…without oil.

I cried. This wasn’t the “life.” The life that I signed up for was the honeymoon mountain cabin…the warm one with a crackling turned-on-by-a-button fireplace, 2 huge flatscreen TV’s, and sparkling grape juice on mountain-view balconies.

Our dish soap had congealed, the toilet seat would’ve made a polar bear squirm, and there may have been an occasion where milk (forgotten atop the counter overnight) didn’t go bad…or even get warm.

These days, the house is warm, and the dish soap remains liquid, but I don’t feel quite so glamorous. Our goings and comings aren’t quite as carefree as they once were, and my stylishness has all but disappeared – replaced by some pounds I can’t seem to lose, a stained t-shirt from trying to wrangle a PBJ schmeared toddler, hair pulled back for lack of time that morning to fix it, and jeans that could have been washed that week.

I begin to think, “This life…it doesn’t look good on me, or feel good to me.”

Then my toddler looks at me and says “Debu lub you Nana!” Or my husband, who is every bit the hunk he once was, wraps his arms around me and tells me thank you for fixing him dinner.

It’s not elegant, and it may not be the tune I once dreamed of dancing to, but I am thankful for it. Thankful that God has blessed me with this life… Thankful that,

7 1/2 years after meeting my man, I am still so in love with him.

5 years of marriage haven’t changed my mind.

2 1/2 years with our son, and my heart still swells with love every time I think of how blessed I am to have those little PBJ hands dirtying my shirts…

So¬†if I… no scratch that, I’m human after all… When I act like I’m¬†not thankful for it, remind me that I am.

Ok?

Psalm 118:28
  You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.

God With Us

Oh come all ye faithful,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

Away in a manger, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

He appeared and the soul felt its worth,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn,
Emmanuel, God is with us!

Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours. The night all the world stood by unaware that the Savior of ALL mankind was making His entrance into the world. As a baby. The Son of God Himself, humbled, born in a manger…¬†Born to die¬†on a cross.

For me. For you. For all who will accept the gift of Christmas.

The Gift of Christ. 

He Breathes Peace

At the very core of me, I am a writer. Words swirl in my mind…every funny moment, every tear, every mistake or victory¬†plays over and over in my mind, waiting¬†to have it’s script written for others to read. That’s how I think and process.

And sometimes that requires a lot of mulling. Mulling and deciding what to write down- what is painful or helpful, wrong or right, beneficial or detrimental, fluff or necessity.

I try to wait- because a lot of times, the words that come to me first are, in fact, NOT the best words.

Right now, I can’t stop mulling.

There are so many things I want to say in light of the recent school shooting in Connecticut… none of it is enough. That much I know.

None of my words will bring their loved ones back.

None of my words will fill the empy seats at more than 20 heartbroken family dinners.

None of my words will stop the awful sounds that will forever echo in the hallways of that precious school.

None of my words will erase the pictures that are etched in the young minds of the surviving children.

So I won’t try.

What I am instead going to do is bathe them in prayers- prayers for salvation of the lost, encouragement for the saved, and strength for a frightened community.

Out of respect, I am choosing not to participate in gun debates, or reminders of tragedies worldwide, but just to give them the space and time they need. We¬†never know how far our comments will resonate…I pray that these dear families don’t see some of the ugliness I have seen.

Let them grieve. Let them be.

Lift them in your prayers to the only One whose words can breathe peace into their lives, and healing to their hearts. Let Him do the work He has promised to do.