Still Calm and Knowing

Still Calm and Knowing

As I look at the calendar today, it’s almost shocking to me that we’re at the end of yet another school year. Our school district is on an early start/early end schedule so our seniors will actually graduate a week from Friday! We have sat at the graduation ceremony of all five of our children now. Not one of them any easier than the one before them . Graduation is a stark reminder of how quickly time passes. It seems just like yesterday we were bringing home our brand new, fresh from God newborn and yet today , there they are. Walking across a stage or a football field, ready to take on the world on their own. It hardly seems fair!

Every so often on this blog, I’ll resurrect a post from my former blog if it’s fitting. Today is one of those days. Because it won’t be long until another set of parents will be on the verge of launching their baby birds out of the nest and into the world of adulting. And we can all use a reminder of Who is ultimately in control, not only of our lives, but our children’s. So once again…or for the first time…be encouraged and calm and know that our beloveds are in far better hands than even our own.

I put them in a car to spend their first weekend away from me. It didn’t matter that the person they were leaving with was their dad. They were 2 and 4 years old and I had legitimate concerns. Would their hair get brushed in the morning and would he know how to attach the all essential hair bow in that mane of hair ? Would their clothes match all weekend? Would they eat the right things? Would they be afraid at bedtime because I wasn’t there to tuck them in? Would they sleep OK in a bed they weren’t used to? Would they play in the street or fall off a swing or skin their knees or get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions?? Would they miss me as much as I missed them?

And a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re their mom but I AM God.”

It was kindergarten registration. I sat with my sweet little 5 year old boy on my lap in a tiny little chair that I’m not sure I would’ve fit in comfortably even if I was 5. As I sat and watched other parents come in and out of the room with big old smiles on their faces , anticipating the freedom that was about to ensue in their lives as their kid finally started school, I sat with tears streaming down my face. Oh I was about to go into the full out ugly cry right there in front of 24 other beaming parents and God Himself. Then the sweet kindergarten teacher came and sat next to me, patted me on the knee and said she understood how difficult it can be when it’s time to send your first born to school. I looked at her with tears welling up into big Lake Michigan sized puddles in my eyes and said ,”He’s my FOURTH child!!” Then I proceeded to release the dam of tears that was blocking my vision from filling out the mountain of paperwork required to send your precious baby to school. Would he make friends? Would he be too shy to even say a word? Would he eat his lunch? Would he fall off the monkey bars during recess ? Would other kids make fun of him? Would he get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions roaming the playground? (Those darn west Georgia mountain lions!! They need to leave my kids alone!!)

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

We were standing out on the front porch, about to go shopping for this , that and the other when she looked up at me and very matter of factly said these words. “ I know I’m only 13, but I’m pretty sure that if I could drive, I could completely take care of myself and have my own house, pay my own bills and all that.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at my darling baby girl. This wasn’t a fit of teenage rage, mad at me and wanting to be away from her family as soon as possible. She was a 13 year old girl wanting me to know that she felt she could handle life on her own one day. I loved her spirit of confidence and independence but the thought of my first born child on her own, away from me, doing her own thing….forever…..well. Was she really ready to face those pesky mountain lions? I wanted to cry….she was growing up too quickly.

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

The music started. It was a familiar tune . My vision blurred. Babies in long black robe- like garments with weird looking hats on their heads began marching in from the other side of the football field. Oh wait….they’re not babies. They’re full grown mini-adults finishing high school … or college. Ready to make their marks on this big old world. Ready to face life’s challenges and excitements and adventures. On their own. Without their momma’s by their sides. I’ve done this seven times now (5 high school graduations, 2 college graduations) and I still have at least 1 more college graduation to go. Will it ever get easier? Will I ever be able to watch my children pack up and leave the safety of our home without getting a big old lump in my throat? Will I ever stop having mini panic attacks when I think about those proverbial “mountain lions” waiting to pounce on my kids and devour them whole?

Then a little voice deep within my soul, One I’m way more familiar with now that I’m older, gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re a good mom. But I AM a GREAT God.”

I am Mom……not God.

Let me tell myself that again, just one more time.

 I AM MOM…..NOT GOD!!!!

Ok, so I yelled it that time but sometimes I just need that loud reminder that as a parent, there comes a time when I just have to trust that I’ve done a decent-ish job as mom and let go and trust God with the rest.

When they want to drive a car…..God is riding shot gun.

When they want to go off to college and haven’t invited me to be their roomie….God is there with them.

When they have to make those first grown up decisions and they don’t want my opinion….God is waiting to guide them.

When they become parents themselves and they see Mom through new eyes…….God gently starts this process with them.

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And a gentle voice will speak into their souls just as gently and persistently as He did mine, “You are Mom ( or Dad). And I am God.”

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”..Luke 1:45

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In the Waves with Matching Socks

In the Waves with Matching Socks

Picture me standing on my rooftop (which I’d never really do because heights are scary!) screaming at the top of lungs, tears rolling down my face, tearing at my clothes, kicking up roof tiles, madder than an old wet hen on a snowy winter’s day. That would’ve been me on one particular gloomy day in January 2014 … if I’d had the nerve to climb on my roof. Well, and tear at my clothes that I spent good money on and kick up roof tiles that I don’t have the money to replace! No, I’d never really do this. But I was pretty stinking mad that day.

I’d love for all the little stories that make up the testimony of my life to involve butterflies and rainbows and cuteness and all things lovely, true and pure but I live in the real world just like you do. So ,many times, the stories of my life are going to involve the opposite of the things listed above!

Finding beauty in sticky situations. It can be tricky, but I believe that through every rough spot we face in life, God provides us with something beautiful in the end…..

In spite of the ick.

In spite of the trial.

Beauty from ashes.

Always…because He is faithful.

The end of 2013 was one icky mess after another. I got the flu… or maybe it’s evil twin… on Thanksgiving Day. And it liked spending time with me so much that it hung around for weeks. Like until just days before Christmas. I can’t remember the last time a seemingly “simple” illness hung around with such tenacity. I had a horrible cough for weeks and completely lost my voice for the good part of a month. I still couldn’t sing a note by Christmas Eve…which was quite tortuous for this girl who loves nothing better than to “spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!” I’m still not sure why I chose to go to the mostly song-filled worship service on Christmas Eve since all I could do was my best Milli Vanilli impression . Remember them? Then 10 days before Christmas, while I’m STILL trying to recoup from the flu, I get a call from my son’s school that they’ve called an ambulance to transport him to the hospital of our choice. He’s severely broken his arm. They weren’t kidding. I’d post a picture of Noah’s arm for your viewing pleasure but you’d probably never come back and read this silly old blog again. It was hideous! He had surgery and spent 3 nights in the hospital. Shortly after this, we get a call that my husband’s dad had taken a fall and broke many ribs and punctured his lung. He was in the hospital awaiting surgery….one he might not recover from. Sadly, he didn’t. Two days after Christmas my father in law was finally breathing freely in the presence of Jesus.

This was just December. I won’t bore you with tales of job losses, extremely reduced income and other stresses that plagued us January through November!

Oh sweet 2014 please be kinder………

…sigh…

But the trials of 2013 weren’t quite over. January had a rough start with flooding in our house. Twice we tromped through little unwanted rivers in the back of our house caused by frozen, busted pipes.

And so we’re back to the opening rooftop story here. On that day, I found myself standing in my sons bedroom ankle deep in water for the second time in a month but this time I was in matching socks. Yes, I said matching! My day had started so well because we all know that matching socks is a victory. Especially when your dryer loves nothing more than to always eat one sock from each pair you own!! Now my beautiful matching socks were soaked in yucky flood water.

I closed my eyes , took a deep breath and made the calls I knew were next after a flood. Then I was mad again. Still in disbelief…..I’m pretty sure I went to bed that night wondering what in the world was going on. Why were we continuously being plagued with one challenge after another?

In my mind, I deserved a big huge pity party. Who wouldn’t after going through all we’d been through? I’d invite friends over to cry with me. We’d have cold pizza and hot diet coke. It would be a blast.

No sooner had I created the guest list for my pity party than I got a little nudge from God. A nudge to remind me to open my pity filled eyes and really see what was going on. Nothing had really dramatically changed from Flood One . Flood Two happened on concrete floors, a stripped down bathroom. The floor was mostly empty of all the clothes, books, and computers that were ruined the first time. We had a roof over our heads. We had heat, clothes on our backs, food in the pantry. And the livable portion of our house was still livable.

Just like that I was reminded of a few things…

  • Blessings abound , even in the midst of turmoil. The faster I start looking for the blessings, the more quickly I’ll find them. The quicker I remember how greatly blessed I am…well, wet matching socks just seem so insignificant.
  • The faster I turn to God with my troubles, the faster I feel better. I like to feel better. Who doesn’t?? Why do we hang on to anger, fear, uncertainty, etc. etc. sooooo long?
  • I don’t have it near as bad as I think I do. Somebody slept in the cold last night. Somebody is begging for food. Somebody doesn’t have a penny to his name and only has what he can carry around in a bag on his back. Why is it so easy for me to fall into a pit of pity for myself when I have it better than a good majority of the world……misplaced water, concrete floors, ripped out walls, kids sleeping on the couch or not?

And those things were my BEAUTY…..in spite of it all.

As I stood in my son’s room on a patch of dry ground, I looked into the bathroom where water was still dripping out of the pipe into the house. There were already fans blowing attempting to dry things up as quickly as possible but the breeze from the fan was having a rippling effect on the standing water on the floor. There were waves on my bathroom floor. As I think back on that, a song came to mind. So I’ll close with the lyrics to that song and pray you too can allow your soul to rest in the embrace of the One who puts up with every pity party we indulge ourselves in and still calls us His own.


“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine”
……

”Oceans” by Hillsong United (chorus)



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