Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Capture Your Grief 2014: Day 7

There is no one place that feels sacred for me. But watching him grow,
that feels sacred. There are more moments when I pause and simply watch, capturing the feeling that wells within me to see him here - healthy and whole. Watching the way he follows the girls, mimicking them. Listening to his voice. Treasuring his smile. I run my hands over his curls and trace his face and I know that he is a miracle. That is my
Sacred Place.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

CaptureYourGrief: 2014 Day 2


At first, the shell I built around my pain was rather fragile. Sometimes, without warning, it was pierced rudely - leaving me without defense against a consuming anguish. People would say something so asinine or downright tacky and my heart would break all over again. My pain would pour from me as I tried to make them understand that these were my babies. I was bewildered by their lack of understanding and crippled by my hurt. It was all I could do to get from one day to the next.

Then anger purged my pain. Anger at their ignorance, insensitivity, and uncaring or dismissive words. Anger at God. My heart was full of anger as I tried to reconcile the life I expected with the life I was living. The truths my heart knew fought with the lies the world was spinning. Anger was a fire deep inside my heart that burned me up, burned up my Grace for others.

After the anger left, burned out from raging too hot and too fast, there was a strange empty feeling. Heavy, like the air before a storm, but very still.

Gradually, I filled that space. I found what some call the new normal. Where up is down and right is left and everyone just accepts it and moves on. Where babies die and mommas hurt and families are changed and different...but it's just your life.

And I can't really pinpoint when all that hurt and anger and sadness changed direction. I can't really say when some of the cracks that were there one year ago during Capture Your Grief mended a little. I can't pinpoint a moment in my fight with God where peace was restored and faith reaffirmed.

My heart, right now, knows boundless Joy in the children that are with me and an incredible Gratefulness for them. But underneath there is a Heavy longing for those children that are in God's Hands, a burden no one sees. I guess, strangely enough, that my heart is healing. One day and prayer at a time. 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

In Which Mommy Gives Dancer TMI

I walked into my room, expecting to see Dancer and Diva laying my clean laundry out on the bed for me to fold and put away. What I did not expect to see was Dancer with her arm through the front hole of her daddy's clean boxers all the way up to her elbow - complete with a very perplexed look on her face.

I stood there dumbstruck.

Mommy, why do all of Daddy's boxers have holes in them? she asked me.

At this point, having collected myself sufficiently, I took a deep breath and thought...You've totally got this, girl. Just be matter of fact about it....and brief.

Well, I said, boys have penises...just like your brother...and they stand up to pee. The hole is so they can pull it out and use the bathroom. Then they just....tuck it back in.

Dancer's eyes grew increasingly rounded during this explanation and as I wound down she looked at me - slightly horrified - and said,

No, Mom. I meant why do all of Daddy's boxers GET holes in them. 

At that point I decided discretion was the better part of valor and walked away. 


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Too Long Gone

I can always tell when I haven't been either reading or writing. It's like my head gets so full of half formed thoughts and frustration and tired that I can't accomplish anything. Because reading is where I fill myself up - with ideas and joy and knowledge. I cry and laugh at books the way some people do at movies. It's my relaxation and catharsis all in one. And writing...well, writing is my way of ordering what's been going on in my life and in my head and heart.

Neither has been happening. Reading? Who has time to read? The days start early and end late. Three kids - it's less than some people and more than others - but overall, kids are just hard. There are other words you can throw in there: blessings, joy, happy, special, maternal, rainbows, unicorns, gum drop raindrops. But really, raising little people is hard.

And writing? The last few weeks might have been depressing for my more faithful followers.

Because the holidays were bittersweet. Great! And Blessed! But bittersweet. Watching Little Bit look around somewhat bewildered at all the lights and paper and TOYS caused a pang. Somewhere in the vicinity of my heart. I watched him and thought, they should be here. The gap that is always there between Diva and Little Bit seemed larger and emptier somehow with the Christmas tree in the corner.

Then I watched him take his first steps. He let go of his daddy and took one....two....plop! right into my lap. After watching him travel back and forth, wearing out his little legs and resembling nothing so much as a tiny drunk, I could - just for a minute - see them there with us. They should be here.

When I heard of someone's baby dying over New Year's, I wept for them. When I heard another family lost their child, I wished I had some comfort to offer. I listened to a friend rage against her child's illness.

It all piles up. Until it feels like my heart is in my throat. Until my eyes ache with the tears I don't have time to cry.

Joy and Sorrow can and do coexist quite peacefully. That, at least, is a lesson I've learned. Admitting to the Sorrow doesn't negate my joy. It just means that life, real life, is full of both.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The 4 Year Old's Gospel

When Dancer was four she attended a small private Kindergarten in Texas. It barely had a van; so when field trip days rolled around, parents with SUV s were recruited.

Thus it was that I found myself with four little girls packed into my RAV in the fall of 2010, just weeks before Dancer's birthday. We were headed to the zoo, and after the giggles and games and rowdiness got to be too much I put in the Action Bible Songs CD.

One girl, after listening to a few songs, asked who Jesus was.

Dancer was appalled. You know....Jesus, she said. He's the son of God. He died on the cross for our sins. But don't worry, she reassured her...He CAME BACK. 

Ohhhh, said another little girl. I know Him. I saw him at church during VBS

Dancer whipped her head around and stared at the little girl. Her mouth hung open and I thought her eyes were going to POP out of her head.

You've SEEN Jesus? she practically screeched.

You can only imagine how hard I'm trying not to laugh at this point. Because Dancer was absolutely dying that Jesus was apparently going to Church and had never come to hers.

After it was determined that Jesus was a statue, Dancer actually breathed a sigh of relief. She then proceeded to evangelize.

Gotta Love Her.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

With the Best Of Intentions

When I was seventeen I sat in a crowded auditorium full of teenagers and listened to a well known preacher (at the time) speak on love, sex, and marriage. Surely he made some good points, but the one that still, to this day, sticks with me is the don't gain weight so you'll still be attractive to your husband rule. No joke - this man bragged that his wife weighed within ten pounds of what she did when they were married 20 years earlier...and that's what he really appreciated. Because, you know, if you're just as pretty as you were when he chose you then he won't have to look elsewhere.

I remember feeling indicted somehow. Scared even. What will happen to me, I wondered, if I can't do that? And deep inside...really deep....I just knew there was something else. This was Christian womanhood? Watching the scale to make sure you didn't gain more than ten pounds during your lifetime?

Now, as an adult woman, I look back at that and cringe. And then I think of all the sermons and classes I've taken - the same lessons that young men have learned - about what a Godly Woman is. Most of them are about service. They are about how to serve our families, our churches, communities, and therefore God. They are about the parameters of service, the whys and wherefores of our service.

And while young men are off learning how to lead a prayer or give a lesson, young women are learning that being pretty matters and you should really learn how to cook.

So we're teaching young Christian men how to lead a church service, but not their homes and families. And we're reinforcing for young women that love is about their weight and their talent with a crock-pot. This isn't a Godly message. It's one that reinforces what the world has to say about womanhood. It's one that leaves the young mother wondering if she's done enough when there's still dirty dishes in the sink, or if she's given enough to her family and the elderly and the homeless and the church and that neighborhood dog...when she's exhausted and teary eyed at the end of the day. It's a message that leaves her feeling unloved and never good enough.

It is not ALL of the church, but it is enough of them to cause great confusion and hurt in our younger generations. In our teens - and in our young families. Because it is incredibly difficult to figure out how to implement the Bible knowledge into actual living when the messages are like the ones above. How do we instruct our young? How do older women mentor? How do men lead? And where is the heart of the matter? Because teaching women to serve is not a BAD message. It is simply insufficient.

Because the truth is this: my worth to God is not in my face or my crock-pot.  I am saved by the Grace of God, and His Spirit dwells within my heart. His Spirit which takes all that I am - all that God made me - and uses it for good...for His Glory. But only if I hear Him. Only if I hear that whisper over the cacophony of noise that is the media, the world, and sometimes the church.

I search my heart for the answers. Because here I am, an adult with children of my own, and I struggle to shut out the bad and only listen to the good. Listen to Him. How do I teach a new generation of women about love, and loss, and struggle, and faith without making the same mistakes?

And who will help me? Because the church sometimes likes to skate on the surface of things. This world is a hard place. It is no easier or smoother because of our Faith. We should not fear talking about the hard things. Some topics are messy. Or scary. Some we like to think someone else will take care of.

But if we do not speak truth to our young people - if they do not see the heart of God in what we tell them - then we have failed them.

"Oh, we know the expectations that have been laid upon us by our families, our churches, and our cultures. There are reams of materials on what you ought to do to be a good woman. But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal really should be." Captivating, Stasi Eldredge