Quiet

prayer

I set out this morning to simply rest; to calm my mind and emotions. Of course, when I say I’m going to do this, the noise seems louder and more chaotic!

I’ve been meditating on this whole “rest thing” for a couple of weeks now. Some days I’m good but others, not so much. Lately, I’ve been anxious over a lot for things that I can’t even put into words. Just this morning I was blessed with tangible quiet time. The Bigs were at school, husband at work and the Littles playing quietly together. This is a strange and rare occurrence in my house. I slouched down on the couch, exhaled and began going down my Prayer List. Suddenly I heard a stern “Stop!” It took me by surprise a little, but I shut up. I stopped talking and simply sat there in the quiet. Sometimes that quiet is all we’re supposed to do. This morning, it overwhelmed me. I didn’t have an understanding of it, but I knew the Lord was ministering to my Spirit.

 waiting

Later on I sat down with the Littles to eat lunch, normal conversation, normal clean up and then as I was reading something, my understanding came from my 2-yr old. She came to me with a request, “peas help”, then sat and waited for my response. She had complete faith and confidence in me that I would answer her request. This revelation is so simple, but it floored me! Why do I have difficulty doing this? I ask and ask and ask without ever shutting my mouth long enough for a response. His still, quiet voice won’t ever be heard over my loud mouth!

Matthew 7:25-26 “I tell you, do not worry about your life; what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.”

 bird

Matthew 7:33 “But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”

“Things and provisions were created to pursue the ones that pursue God.” – Creflo Dollar

 

Today I will accomplish this! I am pursuing God because at the end of the day He is all I will ever want and need. His gift of righteousness is more than I can fathom, yet it is mine.

He is not a “Santa Claus God”; He is our Creator, our Provider, our Healer, our Restoration and our Heavenly Father. There is no need to continually shed tears over the same things daily. It’s been taken care of. He knows my heart; He holds my tears in His Hands. I’m not saying it’s bad to be upset about something. It’s our broken hearts crying out for healing or desperate pleas for a need to be met. The thing is, we’re always being healed of something, walking/struggling through the desert, climbing a mountain or sitting in a valley. He is in the midst of it all; meeting every single need we have. The key is finding His Peace in it all.

 valley mountain

I find myself looking for His miraculous nature daily, when in reality; I’m already living in it. Everyday is a miracle; some big, some small, but we are miracles! We awake and lie down with the sun. Every breath we’re gifted to breathe is a miracle! What are we doing with that breath for this day? Some days I feel I’ve failed because all I’ve done is kept kids fed and alive. But, these kids, as taxing as some days are, are being shaped and molded into World Changers! Some days I feel like the sandpaper, making noticeable progress; doing something worthy. Other days, I feel like the potter’s wheel, just spinning around in circles. But, regardless of what tool I am for the day, I’m a useful one in the Hands of the Master.

 potter hands

One random act of kindness, one encouraging word, one prayer for a sick child or a broken heart will be used for a purpose and those breaths you’ve breathed in those moments may be somebody’s miracle; their answered prayer.

I’m always going to be a work in progress. Today’s lesson is to wait patiently. Wait quietly. In the midst of it all, He will use me for His Glory.

Mark 11:24 “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it and it will be yours.”

expectancy chambers

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Finding Me

Nemo

I never thought the loss of my Mother would become a journey of finding myself. I was the square peg in a round-holed world, never comfortable in my own skin and unsure of life around me. But, Grief finds the deepest, darkest parts of your soul and brings them into existence.

In the midst of the heartbreak, everything is veiled in those initial moments. All emotions are acceptable and even vile at times. You think and feel things that would have likely appalled your former self. I say old self because after a great loss, you won’t ever be the same. Your life’s trajectory has permanently changed and now it’s up to you on navigating this “new normal”.
Most are blessed with a strong family to come along side and help each other through a loss. Or, you have an amazing few friends willing to sit with you as you fall apart. My friends, the ones there, I think felt lost too. What can you possibly say to someone who just lost their Mother?! You don’t want to be THAT person who says something stupid. We’ve all seen those lists on the Internet, “What NOT to Say at a Funeral”, “Dumb Things to Say to Grieving People”, etc. I’m sure their loss for words created some distance, but I’m convinced I did plenty of pushing away and pretending. I mean, who wants to talk about the elephant in the room?! I could pen a list of “Ridiculous Lies Grieving People Tell” with Number One being “I’m Okay, just taking it a day at a time.” That right there is the telltale of someone NOT dealing at all. Well, I’ll take that back. That’s a fairly broad statement. Some are likely truthful in their grief. I will say that I was not. I was trying to say and feel what I thought I should, but my emotional thermometer was shattered. I didn’t know how or what I felt most days. And, most of those days it was inevitable something would set off that emotional avalanche. Little things like going to the grocery store would wreck me because it was certain I would see someone there with their Mom; smiling, joking, enjoying their time together. Insert instantaneous repulsive thought of, “I hate those people!” followed within a nanosecond later, an onslaught of tears rushing down my cheeks to where I couldn’t read my list. My thoughts then turned to “Quick! Put on the sunglasses! Pull yourself together, Woman! You’re making others uncomfortable!”

Realizing I wasn’t allowing myself to have normal emotions was one small eye opener on my inability to grieve this overwhelming loss. I say small because this journey of “stuffing and surviving” went of for a few years. During that time I endured many more losses and injuries which added to my mess of emotions.

Three years later, I was still putting on my “All is Good” puppet show, but every little reminder of my Mom completely broke me apart emotionally. In the midst of those moments I found myself saying, “It’s been three years! Why is it still so fresh?”
Emotions stay fresh; wounds stay open and get infected when you don’t care for them properly.

Case in point.
2011 came, employment status changed, financial security changed, house changed, location changed, me: unrecognizably shattered. And, for the first time in three years, I fell to my knees and cried out to God.
For many of us immature people, it’s easy to blame God. Our point of view of Him is that He is supposed to be in control of all things. I was so angry at God. I was fuming that He didn’t heal this beautiful Woman. For all the things in her life NOT easy, she still pointed to Christ. He was her Daddy, her Best Friend, her everything. She was a Prayer Warrior like none I’ve ever seen or known. Her wisdom, unmatched, and her glowing smile lit up rooms wherever she went. So, Why? I don’t know. We have to recognize we live in a fallen world and there are things that just are what they are. Death is one of those things. We have to choose to keep living. I chose to live, if for no one else, my amazing husband and our children. To carry on what my Mom taught; standing up after getting knocked down, brush off and start again.

The smoke and mirrors were gone now so it was time to stop running my mouth and start listening and let the Lord work on me. What an incredible journey it’s been! I’m still broken, but I’ve fallen in love with Jesus all over again! I now have a deeper understanding of my Mother’s love for Him. I also look at my cracks and I see and feel my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and Grace. Only He can bring us up from the deepest darkest pits and make us better than before. I was in agony, He gave me Peace. I felt alone and rejected, he showed me His love and acceptance. I struggled with forgiveness, He gave me Mercy and Grace. I felt all my wounds and He healed them.

mosaic

I would like to think I would have found myself some other way, but I’m not too convinced. I relied on my Mom’s faith and wisdom instead of seeking Him and His wisdom. I’ve learned a lot about my past by reflecting on it and seeing how Mom lived her life in the midst of her storms. And, in her death, I found new life. I found who Christ really is. I found Joy. I found who I was created to be.

So, on what would be your 62nd birthday, Mom, I say Thank you once more. Thank you for being the willing vessel to give birth to me, again. Thank you for teaching and showing me Jesus. Even through our failures, He was, He is and He will always be ALL we ever need.
I love you, Forever

Mom1
Jenette Elizabeth
1953-2008

REST

rest_002

So far today, I’ve had three different things in front of me that say, “REST”.
Okay. I get it. I hear you, Lord!

“Be still and know that I AM God” (Ps. 46:10)

Do we go about saying, “I’m at peace”, “I’m at rest”, “Patiently waiting on the Lord”? I’m certain I’ve stated all of those multiple times all the while hustling and bustling “Doing”. I even caught myself in prayer this morning saying, “Lord, what do you want me to do?!” I was being pretty emotional and emphatic about it, too. Things aren’t happening because I’m not doing enough! Ever feel this way? Ya, me too!

His response, “Rest. Know I AM. I AM in control. I AM will bless you and put you on the path of your heart’s desires. I AM has created you for such a time as this. Be patient, rest, know I AM.”

How can we possibly invite Him onto our boat in the midst of the storms if we don’t recognize His ability to calm it? Can we keep the ship from being tossed about, leaking or sinking? It’s amazing how many times I catch myself thinking I can! How arrogant?!!

To live a life surrendered to Christ; filled and covered in His amazing Grace has to be a recognition of how much we need Him every moment of every day and submitting ourselves to it.

So, today, that is what I can “Do”. I am going to REST. Rest in knowing He has control of this crazy ship. I cannot do anything better than Him. What I can do is rest in the Peace He gifts me in my obedience.

Rest.
Exhale.
Rest.
No more worrying.
Rest.
Be still and know I AM.

Acceptance In The Mess

slipper

So, I was THAT Mom yesterday. The one in the school drop off lane, still in my pajamas, slippers and a mismatched hat to mat down the scary bedhead. If I had to get out of the car to walk the Preschooler in, I probably would have changed into my normal shoes. Probably.

What can I say; it was one of those days! It seems I’m having more of those days than not lately. It’s certainly the result of a combination of at least 100 options. I’m slightly exaggerating, but, seriously!

We’ve hit this delicate balancing act of mayhem in our home at bedtime. The bedtime issue is The Bigs (11 and 8 yr. olds) should be staying up till a certain time each night, but The Littles (4 and 2 yr. olds) don’t want to go to be before The Bigs. “Don’t want to” is mildly putting it. Some nights my husband and I turn into Riot Police! I digress. So, it’s not fair to make the Bigs go to bed early like The Littles. The compromise has been secretly negotiated with the husband and I that the middle time is the perfect time for all four to go down for the night. This seems all fine and dandy, but the battles that ensue past bedtime are pure insanity. They are tag-teaming and wearing us down! No wonder why we’re haggard all the time! By the time they are all knocked out, I mean sweetly asleep, the Hubs and I can barely speak and then it’s time for us to call it a day. Rinse and repeat.

From the birth of Number Two, we made it a point to make sure we left time at the end of our day to have quiet, alone time. We didn’t do this after Number One because we all know that the first child is the center of our obsessive and paranoid attention. And, you do all those “bad things” you’re not supposed to do (i.e. co-sleeping, no set bedtime). With Number One being 24/7 attachment, Number Two arrives and you’re like, “Oh, okay! Now we get it! And, how did Number Two come along when we didn’t have any alone time?” Ahem! Okay. What was I saying?

Sleep depravation! Yes, this is our life right now. No sleep. Eyes halfway open, functioning on coffee, doing parental and adult duties that can’t be ignored. It’s our “Groundhog Day” life. The day in and day out existence that I can’t even remember some days. So, those days when there is less sleep than normal, those “adult duties” like taking a shower first thing in the morning gets shoved to an 8:00 PM opening of time that you may or may not have energy to shave. And, did I already wash my hair? I don’t remember two minutes ago, so, I wash the hair again. The second wash always ensures an amazing static cling and fluffiness! Fantastic.

The kids aren’t “sleep terrorists”, but sleep just isn’t in Number Two’s genetic makeup. He loves us all so much; he has a pressing desire to share his zest for life at 2:00 AM almost daily! He’s always danced to his own rhythm. We knew he was different, a bit slower with his speech. It didn’t help that Number One talked morning, noon, night and in his sleep. So, because of all that, the Autism diagnosis didn’t come officially till a few years ago. It confirmed what we already knew, but we still had the grieving process. You know, sadness, anger, denial and then acceptance.

It’s amazing how acceptance is always the last one. Why do we go through all this emotional roller coaster movement? I’m an extremely emotional person, so please don’t think I’m some crazy, emotionless cyborg. Did I just say “cyborg”? Clearly I was at an impressionable age when “Terminator” came out. ANYWAY! Why do we accept things last? Obviously, it’s a normal process to go through these states of emotions. I do believe, though, that our ability or inability to get to acceptance can give an abbreviated glimpse of how much a “control freak” we are.

My life over the past six plus years seems to be one grieving process after another; some big, some small. Through it all, I have found myself more willing to accept the process and go through it. I do have my crazy, out-of-control days, but I know it’s okay. I no longer condemn myself for having an off day. As parents, we know our kids are going to have off days so we extend them a lot more patience and grace. I’m learning to do this for myself. My kids aren’t anyone else’s. And, just so you know, no one else’s kids are as perfect as you may think. I learned a long time ago to stop comparing my reality to someone’s snapshot. If you do this, you will always feel like you’re failing.

There’s a reason and purpose for you to have the children you have, just like there’s a purpose and reason for me to have my children. Acceptance of the place and space you’re at for each season will leave you at Peace. Even in your tears and struggle. Just like the weather, every season serves a purpose; it leads to the next season. Life is this way; changing seasons. Accepting that change and welcoming it will help you get what you need out of it. I know there will be days you simply feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Guess what? IT’S OKAY! Have that overwhelmed and exhausted day. We’re not super heroes! But, we have an amazing Heavenly Father that has more Grace and Patience for His children then we can imagine!

So, next time you’re sitting in the school pick up lane in your pajamas and slippers, know that it’s okay. You’re doing the best you can at that moment and keep moving. Accepting yourself in your glorious mess is an amazing and free place to be!

wpid-messymom

Psalms 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”