Friday, February 27, 2015

Five Minute Friday:: visit

We stopped in, many months ago, with many months that had passed since we had last seen her due to the distance of our homes.

We hugged her and my breath was taken away. She suddenly seemed so frail and so small.

I remember her, so vibrant and full of life, baking cakes in the kitchen. Later she would bring them to the table and let me ice the scraps or teach me to make roses that hardened enough to break your teeth when you tried to bite them. Of the clicking of her knitting needles, of cuddling up at night while she read me Winne the Pooh for the one hundredth time. Of wearing her dresses, especially the gold one, and all her necklaces and clip on earrings.



She wasn't perfect, but then she didn't expect me to be, either. She somehow thought the sun and moon rose by me and when I introduced my children to her, she thought the same of them. She spoils like no one else can, but you can't help but mind because of who she is.

Soon I will visit her in the nursing home she recently moved to. And I am not prepared to see the wisp of a shadow that she once was. I am afraid and I am nervous and I feel guilty just thinking those things.

But I miss her hugs and her laugh and the way only she can love me.

Linking up for Five Minute Friday.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

On struggling and why we should do it together

I've struggled over what to write today. I've written and deleted so many words, my delete button is almost worn right out.

I've struggled because as much as I want to be real and honest, I am wary and afraid and would rather hide behind these walls I have carefully constructed over the past few years.

But then I read this. And I remembered how I feel about masks in the first place and decided it was time to take mine off again.

So. I'm struggling. I do a really good job of making it seem like I'm not, but I am. I've been hiding because although the mask was in place, it was slipping and I didn't want anyone to see what was really underneath it.

Underneath is a girl who is feeling tired and worn out. Discouraged. Lost. Without purpose. Like a failure.

I've struggled with bitterness and envy for so long, they've become comfortable companions, and that scares me. I've struggled with disappointment and jealousy, with wanting things that do not belong to me, with hurt, with anger. I hardly recognize myself in the mirror anymore.

It's hard for me to admit, because three short years ago I was filled with so much incredible joy during an incredibly hard season. We lived for the majority of my pregnancy with the reality that our baby may not survive, and on top of that, we saw many people we thought were our friends drop out of our life when we needed them the most. The joy I experienced came only because I could keep my eyes fixed on the One who had my baby's and my life in His capable and loving hands.

I can barely see Him now.

So. I'm struggling and I feel like a fraud, blogging under a nifty new header that proclaims me to be full of joy. I want to encourage, yet the only words that seem to flow from my fingertips are words filled with discouragement.

But this is who I am today. And for reasons only He knows, God keeps nudging me to tap out words as He reminds me that even in these moments, He is here. Especially in these moments.

I had the privilege of being a guest speaker for an online workshop (which you should totally sign up for - it's free and amazing!) and I spoke about self-control. Which is funny, because self-control is not something I would ever say I have all figured out. I shared an illustration of a bowl filled with the fruit of the Spirit, filled by His hands and offered freely to us. And just now, I am picturing that bowl, filled to overflowing with His love and grace and mercy, freely offered to us.




Love and grace and mercy that sustains, that nourishes, that refreshes our souls.

I really hope you aren't in the same place I am today, but if you are, I want to hold your hand and look you in the eye (mine are a bit blurry with tears right now) and offer you this same bowl, too.

There's more than enough to go around. And I am willing to bet, that this lonely place of struggle will feel a whole lot less lonely after all.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Of milestones and loud boys and fog lifting

This is the week our littlest mister turns 3.

THREE.

As in three years old. As in, three years ago I was staring down at this tiny little baby imaging how we could have ever done life without his cute little dimpled self and all of the sudden he is now tearing around the house while singing at the top of his lungs that he's Spiderman.



Spiderman with Iron Man's repulsor blasts, no less.

Once upon a time, I asked God to give me just girls, because girls love dresses and painting nails and doing crafts and just pretty things in general and I could get on board with that because I love all those things.

And now, in addition to our daughters, we have two boys who think its great fun to race around the kitchen yelling at the top of their lungs while they pretend they're in a real life Mario Kart race and I WIN YOU LOSE YOU HAVE A BIG BRUISE is the soundtrack.



(What does that even mean? I will never, ever understand how the male mind works!)

I love and adore my boys. I have a lot more wrinkles and gray hairs (expertly hidden with blonde, thankyouverymuch) because of them, but I love them and can't imagine life without them.

It seems crazy and surreal to me that this year our littlest mister enters the age I am most gifted to handle, that were I willing, he could go to preschool and in two years be off to Kindergarten. I just want to hold him close and make time slow down. If I could actually catch him.

These past three years have been rocky for me as I have struggled to be content to be at home and let go of my longing to return to teaching preschool. As we've been dealt one thing after another on a personal level. As I've struggled with personal sins and with finding joy in the everyday once more.

But.

There is hope. Because knowing that my God is able, I weakly begged Him not too long ago to please make me willing to change, to please change my heart, to please help me cling to Him, to please help me see Him in the fog that was descending around me.

And today I can see.

I can see how He is reaching out to me, how He is changing my heart, how He is drawing me back to Himself. I can hear His voice speaking to me and it is music to my weary soul.

My boy is hitting a little milestone this week.

But I think, just maybe, so is his mommy.

Linking up with SDG.