Sunday, May 12, 2013

Be Mindful the Tide

A couple years ago, I remember sitting on the picture perfect Anna Maria Island beach watching my kids walk the shore with their nana, completely delighted to be "picking shells" with her. As I watched them giggle and point and fill the bucket I remembered walking that same shore with the same woman picking older shells. Whole, unbroken ones were the best we decided. She would walk long under the hot sun, sticky with salt, the way mothers are, helping me collect bits of mystery washed up from the deep.

She was like that. She would do that. She didn't mind taking the moment, the one everyone else wanted for themselves, and gladly spending it on me.  I didn't know it then, but the deepest mystery I was picking was the time I shared with that woman who gave me all of hers.

And she did that a million times in a million different ways though out my life. When the whole rest of the world carried on with other business I was safe and thriving in her love. When no one would build a snowman with me, my mom would. When no else would break out the glitter and glue and paints to help me create something just for fun, she would. How many times did she stay up late into the night fixing printers and helping put together projects so my assignment wouldn't be late? She wouldn't hesitate to make a midnight run for a pair of tights to perfectly match my dress for the dance. And she cried when I cried and laughed when I laughed and made me feel there was no place I would ever go where her love would not follow.

As mothers we often reflect on how fast the days with our little ones pass. It happens in a blink we all know. But we kids take longer to understand. Not until we're grown do we see that this common relationship, as old as the earth, is the true treasure from the deep well of God's goodness. Young fingers wrap around momma's hand enjoying the day, never knowing that it is that woman who will always hold our hand. She will always sacrifice her day on the beach so we can have ours.

And we grow, and we pick shells, and bits of the world, happy to forget that always isn't forever. Someday, some of us will have to face life with just the memory of her love. Sure, we'll have our pails full of lessons she taught us, moments she gave us, and the beauty she showed us. But it won't be the same - just a shell.

So hug your momma today. Tight. She is a gift. You may find bits of beauty in the sand from time to time but the whole, unbroken love of a mother is a prize to be sure.

Happy Mothers Day! So grateful to have another one!

I love you, Mom.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Greetings from the Asylum

Well, here I am again. . . 4:30 in the afternoon draining another mug of coffee, behind on dinner plans with the evening madness looming close. I should be doing a great number of other things but in my typical fashion I have found a distraction. Makes perfect sense doesn't it? Update my blog that I've neglected for years instead of staying on task?

As I type I have seen the dog run by with a full roll of toilet paper, twice, one toddler explore the wonders of the remote YET AGAIN, the other one strip himself naked and uncover an envelop opener from a drawer I didn't know he could open, had a scraped knee brought to my attention with the hysteria of an amputation, been asked whats for dinner no less then 10 times and have heard this particular episode of Barney to the point of memorization. Can you really blame me for my desperate attempt at escape? I live in a nut house. I dwell with crazy people and am certain they with not rest until I am as mad as they are.

So I'm reaching out to you, my fellow mothers carving out of moment for themselves in the blogosphere. I've revamped this silly little blog page and have decided to keep track of this crazy, loud, chaotic, wonderful, blessed life. I've been thinking a lot about blogging for awhile now and I've put it off mainly because I really don't know what to write about. Do I want to talk about homeschooling, cooking, decorating, politics, books, bible reflections or say something meaningful? I am a highly distracted individual with a wide range of interests. But enough thinking already. I'll just start writing and we'll see where the day takes us. I don't know why anyone would care about my nut house but I enjoy reading other mommy blogs so I'll jump in the conversation.

Unfortunately, my time is up.
I fear the little ones will stage a coup soon if I don't get moving on dinner. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to think a complete thought and write it down. But don't hold your breath. ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Romans 8, Our Burning Bush

"I know we're all sinners," she said, "but I'm especially wicked."

I've been reliving that moment I shared with my dear friend since she spoke those words months ago. She examines her inner black with a crinkled nose and tears and I know she lives deep in His clutches. For I know, in the mysterious ways of heaven, holiness begins when we find ourselves filthy and in the dark. And as we continue to talk about God's light and our adoption journeys, I start to feel the strange sensation of antiseptic, like we're swimming in salt.

Adoption, especially foster to adoption, is an ocean. It is an overwhelming, vast, stormy, Red Sea of salty sanctification. We stand at the shore where God called us with the world and our doubt bearing down and become disappointed that it's taking so long for the dry ground to appear. Our flesh cries out for miraculous signs and wonders. We forget that Moses didn't begin as the great Jewish leader. He began as an Egyptian, drenched in the culture of heathens, especially wicked. And even after God gave him the staff, the leader of God's chosen people was fearful and frail in faith. Its funny how we haven't changed much. His story still an ancient picture of ourselves.

The Bible tells us, "God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And Christians often cling to this verse for comfort and sustaining encouragement, but we forget to see this humbling truth from the other side. Yes, all our trials, all our stumbling blocks and disappointments will be weaved into a beautiful God glorifying work for our good. But within that luminous promise, lies the salt. We are also being worked out for the good of the others who are called according to His purpose. Perhaps our heartache is the good work. Maybe that is the sign and wonder. It is both the drowning of our Egyptian roots and our deliverance. Only an almighty God could use the especially wicked for any good work. Only my God could use me for any good end. Oh that we could pray to be pursued to the bottom of the sea with wall of salt on our right and left and the world at our back.

We have been called to look after the orphans, to receive children as we would the Father, to be doers. In fact, we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. Yet we pray, "Lord please show us if this is the baby you want us to love. "Lord please don't let me be cheated." "Lord please spare my heart." We too dare to approach God with doubt. And though he burns in anger against our young Moses ideas, His grace still promises a good plan. He still uses us. Maybe the heartache of adoption is the Romans 8 promise for our individual exodus, conforming us to the likeness of His Son. As we sacrifice and ache for the life of another woman's baby the good work of heaven is being worked out. The Lord in his Grace frees us, slaves to sin and especially wicked, to bless others.

There is dry ground under the salty sea. We need not be afraid, but "stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."

Romans 8:28
Exodus 14:13

Friday, August 5, 2011

Love is an alter. Stained.

Today I sat in the driver seat of our new used passenger van and felt very small. Three rows of back seats extend beyond my reach. Beyond my dreams. As I surveyed this giant box I was overwhelmed. And as I laughed to mask the panic rising up, I realized there was a familiar lesson being driven home on this small bus. "Many are the plans of man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 Never could I have imagined myself here. My plans did not look like this... Not five children, not a relationship with adoption agencies and attorneys, birth mothers and strange babies. My plans included smaller, prettier pursuits. But isn't it just like the Lord to laugh at our silly plans. Surely this beast of vehicle is nothing short of heaven mocking me, having a chuckle at the sight of such a small creature deluded with ideas of control and arrogant presumption. I have to laugh at myself even.

Our adoption journey has been a wild ride wrought with lessons and reminders that we are completely carried through this life by Grace. As I look at my little foster guy, Gods grace is glaring and blinding. How He provided for the both of us is astounding. Like the lilies, he kept this little one in his perfect timing until he grew me in his perfect timing and brought this alien pair together to share a most profound and fundamental connection of mother and child. One of helpless, one of us faithless, both of us carried by His plan. And now it would be hard to breathe without each other. Wasn't I an alien to heaven, yet made a citizen in HIS plan?

As look at Adam, I wonder about the illusion of parenthood altogether. I watched an amazingly selfless woman deny herself even a glimpse of his face so as not to waver in her hopeful future for him. One she can't give him. So she gave him to me. . . even now I have to pause to absorb such an act. Didn't the Lord look away as he gave Christ to us on a cross? As he gave us a future we could never make ourselves. When people speak of God as love do they understand this is the picture?... a slaughter of everything you hold precious as the world goes dark? Abraham knew. Birth mothers must know.

How can I bear such a heavy responsibility? Such a gift? How will I ever be worthy? The truth is I have never been worthy and will never be. We're dealing in souls after all. Aren't we all parenting infinite beings planned before the foundations of the earth and fearfully knit together by the hand of an Almighty God? Really we had nothing to do with it. All our children are but on loan to us. Isaac's under our roofs. Our only hope of a job well done is to accept this and give it back to the Alpha source - on an alter. Trust that ram in the thicket to do the planning, for he is also the Omega.

" Many are the plans of man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." I will sing that proverb as a psalm as look at my new future and fill this green monster van with precious cargo. May I remain small in His hands I pray, continually carried down this road by nothing more than grace. We planned the cross, Jesus planned salvation. Beyond our reach. Beyond our dreams.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

James Is Pointing At Me

I used to have a magnet on my refrigerator that read "Do you have any idea what you're doing? - God" It was a big ceramic purple circle with white lettering. Plain but bold and quietly startling. No, I have no idea what I'm doing. Still. Moments when I think I've figured it out or mustered up a plan consistently prove fleeting. Whenever I begin to feel humble and knowledgeable the Lord shows me a mirror. Oh yes, only pride and ignorance here. Still. I had forgotten what I looked like.

Again, James reminds me not to deceive myself by merely listening. Sometimes he shouts.

So . . .what am I doing? 1:30 am is a reflective hour. What am I doing? Am I loving those I love? Those I don't? Am I serving? Seeking? Am I giving til it hurts? Sacrificing? Am I digging deep? Making a difference? Am I reflecting the Son? Inspiring? Am I doing?

Tonight I am praying the Lord would not let me be a hearer only. Do I mean it? I pray I do. I'm afraid of my assignment. I know there will be pain. I will be put in the fire for refinement. It is necessary for useful pots. And I want to be useful. Still, I squirm a bit. The only way to deliver others from pain is to suffer yourself. The giving that counts hurts. The giving that makes a difference costs. I want to be like Able, and the widow who gave her last mite, and David, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing." Who am I that I should only receive and not sacrifice? Why should I remain unburdened while others know true heartache? Children orphaned. Christ left his throne for me. He suffered my cross.

Not a hearer only Lord. Make me a mama to a little one who has no one. Give our family to some innocent soul, left. Give my heart over to things that matter. Show me the ". . .ing" in the flame. My present-tense purpose.

I still have no idea what I am doing. Only that I'm going into the kiln. Obeying. Trusting. Adopting.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wafers Made with Honey

I woke up at 4:30am this morning and debated about whether to set my feet to the floor or roll over. Hubby was already long gone and coffee did sound good. Alright, I submit, get up.

I have to say, it was a lovely experience. It was still dark, the house silent, hot coffee and solitude my company. Now if only my flesh would endeavor to seek this morning treasure daily I suspect my days could be more satisfying and meaningful. Filled with calm and order, lists and smooth completion, scripture and the Spirit.

Instead I often run about my home distracted, chasing my tail, lacking purpose and forgetting to enjoy this calling. I walk by my bible lying on the end table at least a dozen times a day. A wealth of fruit bearing guidance at my finger tips. But there's laundry and dishes and English lessons and dinner and sports and a thousand other things pulling at my attention. I'm continually frustrated, impatient, wishing that at the end of the day I could have something concrete, some tangible evidence to show for my day's effort. Glory seeking.

All the while The Word, which was from the beginning, and was with God and is God sits closed up in the living room neglected. I plan and presume and it sits there. I rush and push and fail and it sits there. I murmur and complain and it sits there. Until finally, with an accumulation of sins I wish were not tangible, I break and cry out with Paul, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" At some point, while I was busy serving my family I stumbled and decided I should be noticed. Somehow while I was serving I made an idol of service. Storing treasure at the wrong temple.

But today I had manna for breakfast. A feast of truth from many generations past. In the quiet dawn I read yet another lesson from that ancient story about those Israelites who never fail to relate to me. I almost felt my soul quicken and stir with nourishment. Oh yes, now I remember. It is not about me. There is no glory to be found in this vessel. This vessel is filled with pride and worse, it leaks. Messy. Fallen. Broken. You would expect this reflection to bring burden but it does not. Rather hope. In my own ambition I am a slave but now I'm lead by irresistible grace. Daily sanctified. I've moved from Egypt to Elim where the water is sweet. And if I can remember that it is "in the morning [I]will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard [my] grumbling" maybe I'll make progress. If I can bring my weakness to Him early, perhaps it won't take 40 years to journey through this desert. That's sweet. Glorious even.

John 1:1
Romans 7:24
Exodus 16:7

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

. . .neither height nor depth . . . nor strep

I sat in the chair at the pediatrician's office yesterday, my kids shuffling around me, and fought hard against the urge to weep. I wanted to wail and gnash my teeth and make a scene, but I didn't. I just sat there staring at Dr. G. Just sat there, looking at her in bewilderment and defeat. . . We all, ALL have strep. Again.
How? Why? What am I doing wrong? Has this nasty bacteria organized against my family? My daughter has been to the ER unable to breathe diagnosed with strep, croup and pneumonia. My son followed suit covered with the strep rash. My other son avoided the ER (because I do learn as we go) but ended up in the dr. office with steroid shots and breathing treatments from, you got it. . . strep and croup. My husband visited the ER himself and last night there were more complaints of a headache from the youngest boy again. Paranoid, we visited Dr. G just as soon as possible . . . and . . . we either all STILL have it of have been re-infected. Doesn't matter. I could cry.
I feel the aches and fatigue of it today and so rewarded myself with a complete day on the couch. Surrounded by books I'm studying and surfing the net, I am grieving the health of my people. I'm having a pity party of one alone in the living room. The children have been quarantined to their rooms in an effort to contain the contamination. Tomorrow the disinfecting rampage will resume. There will be no surface untouched by an antibacterial agent and no passing hour unmarked with pleading prayer for the Lord's healing touch.
When this season of strep finally passes, I fear it will be difficult to face the world without at least a faint phobia of germs. Much less without a bubble. But the truth is we are surrounded by dangers at all moments of everyday. Strep in the grand scheme is only a small concern. The truth is our security is in the Lord. The truth is that it is in Christ that we live and move and have our being. So while I disinfect the house with Lysol, I will disinfect my heart with Truth and face the world . . . healthy.

Take that streptococcus!