It’s been more than a year since I found a moment to share the words of my heart through this forum; unbelievable to think that a year has past already! I remember being a teenager and thinking my life would NEVER really start. Now, many years later, my life has indeed started and is in fact passing so quickly. I have a teenager who is sprouting like a weed and three more following closely in his footsteps. LIFE IS BUSY! It’s the kind of busy that is amazingly rewarding but also keeps you from stopping to smell the roses without purposeful steps.
It has been an incredibly long time since I blogged and honestly it’s not for lack of thoughts or happenings in my life but really more about time, not really feeling much like sharing and maybe just giving the whole blog thing a break when more important things need to be focused on. However, this week has been interesting. Full of inner turmoil and so many thoughts in my head. If you are reading this, I guess I did decide to share it but there is a small part of me that wants to keep it for myself because not everything has be shared publicly right and it’s an unfinished, unanswered part of my life journey?! But we share so we can learn, share so we can support each other, share so others may know they are not alone in how they feel, or share for the sake of making a difference.
I took up reading this book as I was finishing my Teacher Education Program. I knew I would have quite a bit of spare time on my hands through the summer being finished my schooling and recognizing that I was likely not going to be working until September. So I decided on a book that was non-fiction, a subject I’ve been contemplating, struggling with for quite a period of time now and it would ease me out of the life of being a full-time student as I began summer vacation with my kids.
Someone asked me that today. It was a heartbreaking question in the wake of a tragic circumstance. Both of us sitting on the sidelines of someone else’s tragedy but feeling the soul-crushing loss deep in our own souls because we live in community and we share each other’s burdens.
It doesn’t end, my dear. But it changes for those of us on the sidelines. Our heart scars bear testimony to what we witnessed and life goes on. What changes is the pit in our stomach goes away and the memory of the tragedy doesn’t haunt us in every moment. We daily are reminded, often in the little things, because it’s impossible to forget. The tears don’t flow every time we relive the moments but the heaviness remains in the memories.
Sometimes I remember something about that day or week or month and my mind relives the entire process. Sometimes it stretches that scar enough to make it hurt and other times it feels like the pain of a wound reopened. It’s never far from my mind, easily retrieved from the corners of my mind to be understood and not understood all at one time.
Sometimes it’s in the witness of another’s circumstance that we are brought back to the gut-wrenching knowledge of our own loss. But as time passes we are able to pick ourselves up much quicker. To find the joy in the places we know we can, to continue with the life we’ve been given.
I felt that today after the question had been asked. I stood in the pew in our morning worship service, thankful as always to be surrounded by people I love and who love me. My children crowded into the chairs beside and in front of me. Sunday mornings are often mornings of remembrance for me. I still can’t define why this is the case but I often find myself thinking of little Ryker as I worship. This morning my heart was full but he wasn’t far from my mind. Then a dear friend shared her heart. She shared of God’s mercy in the midst of tragedy and I was thankful for the reminder. But seconds later I felt the opening of my heart as my youngest son, hurdled the chairs in front of me, into my arms and sobbed, great heaving sobs into my chest. He felt it too. The reopening of a that wound, the recognition that suffering on this earth doesn’t ever end.
We find joy because God has shown us mercy but the sorrow never ends. It just changes. It is there for us to give back to Him daily. To live with the peace that one day it will be taken from us. But until that day it reminds us that we cannot travel this earth alone. It brings us back to His feet, seeking comfort.
Dear friend, it will end the day we come face to face with our Creator and alongside those gone before us, are able to lay ourselves at His feet.
“Should Girls Be Highly Educated“…There are rarely things that get me super heated I feel the need to respond with such tenacity but this was the title of a blog post I came across on Facebook today and felt physically ill as I read it. Perhaps in reading her commentary I misinterpreted her points but honestly being in the place I’m in at the moment, it felt like a punch in the gut. I will NEVER underestimate the value of the time I’ve had at home with my children as a mother. I know being able to stay at home with my babies was a blessing many mothers are not afforded for a variety of reasons and some by choice. What I found so hard to swallow was the mindset this viewpoint portrays. Being thinly veiled as a “biblical” principle with a few select verses to support her argument I found it, quite frankly, incredibly arrogant to presume that the role for all women, of all time is to be keeper of the home, family and her husband. Below are some of the snippets I found particularly “intriguing” and while I tried to be fair in grabbing things that may have provided equal evidence to her argument it all seemed equally distasteful…
“I’m always surprised to discover these questions typically come from college graduates; teachers, nurses, and others turned homemakers. They have exchanged their diploma for their MRS degree, believing (as I do) that the most important place for a mother is in the home. In the face of cultural opposition, they see the value of a homemaker and understand her importance in light of Scripture….
How many unhappy marriages, broken homes, miserable, desperate wives, and rebellious children will it take before we admit that intentionally preparing our daughter to be keepers of the home is not just “a nice idea,” but a necessary one?…
Living with the blur
We all know there are times when you just aren’t sure exactly what the plan is and you don’t even know where to start to figure it out. I feel a little like that these days. I have nothing to complain about in the big picture of things so I won’t do that, but I do often wonder what the bigger picture actually looks like. This week has already been amazingly interesting and it was only Tuesday night when I started this and it’s only gotten more intriguing, although, I guess in fairness there isn’t much in my life that’s just quiet and slow-paced. Most of my life is lived in a bit of a blur and while I know there is constant encouragement from various places to just slow down and live in the moment I literally feel like this stage of my life is somewhat out of my control when it comes to the pace. I know I can choose to add things or not but quite frankly there is little I can take away at this point.
Lately I’ve been thinking about why my life is what it is! Sounds like a deep question right, but honestly it’s not! The last few weeks, in particular the loss of my sweet nephew, the changes happening in my career and schooling, and some changes happening at James’ work, have got me thinking about how my perspective has shifted. It’s little things I notice here and there, nothing major or dramatic but little moments that 2 months ago may have put me over the edge that NOW just cause me to shrug my shoulders and keep plodding forward.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”! For those who do not believe in God or the bible and for those who are struggling in their faith right now those words probably feel like a slap-in-the-face. I acknowledge that because as a believer who feels growth in my relationship with God I too feel like this passage is immensely hard to grasp.
And so the debate continues….Really to my mind such a ridiculous discussion that we have allowed to taint the times we have of praise with scowls and sourpuss faces. Silly expressions, you say? What I find truly remarkable, and even silly, is the type of discord that we allow to filter into our places and times of worship! Hmmm, I guess my inside voice just snuck out:( It makes me sad watching different generations react to certain genres of music with distain and dislike. The thing is that we’re all guilty of it to some degree…if we’re really honest there have been times when we’ve sat in a service with our hands crossed like a small child, mad because we didn’t get our way. I’ve watched it…I’ve seen the older fellow across the aisle with his nose turned up at the overly repetitious chorus that “really doesn’t say anything at all”. In the same service I’ve looked on my other side to see the younger person standing with their arms folded and their eyes rolling at the completely “old-fashioned” lyrics to that hymn that “sounds like it dropped right out of the 1800’s”. Heck I’ve even closed my eyes and viciously fought the temptation to plug my ears when the strains of a southern gospel tune hits my eardrums. There is no denying that we all have various tastes in music and our minds process the beauty of notes threaded together in very different ways.
I will probably write this post multiple times in my life…in fact I found its sister on the pages of my blog from two and half years ago when the letting go was merely beginning. The fact of the matter is that life really is about letting go many times over. We find things, people, events, moments and we reach out to grasp them. We hold them close for a time and then realize it’s time to let go, then we repeat the cycle again with something new and fresh. I find myself in a season of letting go and it’s really not a bad thing, in fact in so many ways it’s been very freeing. If I were to spend time analyzing it I could say it may be the years of maturity or perhaps the realization that I can’t control everything anyway, or even better, things just being pried from my tight grip. Regardless of the circumstance I’m glad I am in a place to experience this immense burden being lifted.
The truth is, that part of my personality has always been to maintain, organize, control (if you will) the situation. My brothers liked to refer to me as the “mother hen” or “bossy pants”, both of which I’ll freely admit to being. My husband teasingly refers to me as his “little planner/organizer”, again both things that I can see as glaringly obvious tendencies. I do think that all of these qualities have their place, they’re all part of my talents and abilities and what makes me who I am, but they can also be part of my weakness. They cause me to hold on too tight, to forget that part of our life journey is to let things go and move ahead. Over the years, I think there are a few areas I’ve held on a little too tightly, my family, both immediate and extended, my friendships, money, reputation, just to name a few. But the last few months I’ve felt my perspective shift a bit. While you may be expecting an amazing experience that led to some great epiphany, the truth is that my eyes are just opening.
The reminder that things can be great and amazing without my firm grip has occurred daily. As I’ve stepped back and opened my hands I’ve seen the great joy that comes with acknowledging that I control little and that there is One who oversees all. Here’s a few, that over the last few weeks have brought me to a place of peace…
An evening with friends, that I could have spent stressing over the budget, or lack thereof. I could have agonized over appetizers or not, steak or salad, a glass of wine with my meal or abstain, dessert or just have something sweet at home but instead I turned to my dear husband and told him to pay the bill and keep it far from my sight. The reward of just enjoying myself was immense. No knot in my stomach wondering how on earth we were going to pay for this.
A dinner with family that I walked into with the soul purpose of enjoying what EVERYONE had to offer. No worries about what may or may not unfold, no apologies for how I handled my children, no desire or need to discuss dos and don’ts, just pure and simple being together.
A last minute dinner with my husband and a co-worker that resulted in leaving our oldest home to baby-sit and for the first time put his sisters to bed. Then to be rewarded by coming home at exactly bedtime, for said little girls, and find both of them peacefully sleeping in bed.
A work event, glitches here and there, but trusting those whom I’ve asked to help and releasing my expectation in exchange for knowledge that what will be, will be.
A spontaneous jaunt to the mall with all four of my kids. Usually a place I avoid, but their desperate plea to shop broke my barriers. A few well placed words and a “letting go” of my usual need to corral and ensure they appear to be the most well-behaved children in the entire universe left me with the amazing opportunity to watch them “grow up” right before my eyes. It was as if they physically sensed my grip loosening and with that realization came the ability for them to finally take that moment to show me just how incredibly great they CAN be.
So many opportunities to experience the peace and joy that comes from recognizing that my need to have it all together generally makes a situation chaotic. When I choose to let go, I give room to experience the bigger picture that my Creator has designed and the ability for others to journey alongside me in the most fulfilling, uplifting way.