Not Your Enemy

I am not your enemy.

Words spoken. Sometimes with tears in my eyes from heartbreak. Sometimes with a wave of anger ready to crash down on both our heads.

Quincy, dear one, I am not your enemy.

Your battle is not with me…and my battle is not with you.

But right now, it sure feels like it.

Ephesians 6:12 NLT For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

I understand childish exuberance. I understand the struggle for independence. I understand the frustration of disappointed hopes. If I’m honest, I understand the desire to hurt someone…yet this is the very aspect of your behavior that tears me apart.

Your eagerness to bruise me feels intensely personal, and your aim for my heart wounds me to my core.

Your battle is not with me…and my battle is not with you. I am not your enemy.

I do not understand fully the scars that you carry. I do not understand fully what it feels like to be adopted. I do not understand fully what that loss means to you.

You, dear child, were my gain. You were God’s gracious gift to me and a symbol of His sweet plan of redemption.

Your battle is not with me…and my battle is not with you. I am not your enemy.

I want so much for delight, joy and love to characterize our relationship.

I want your heart to be softened, transformed and healed by the perfect love of a Holy Father.

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Your imperfect mom is struggling. To love when I feel rejected. To be patient in the process. To continue to see the real adversary and to fall on my knees before the Lord.

Your battle is not with me…and my battle is not with you. I am not your enemy.

And you, darling boy, are not my enemy. You are my precious son.

Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

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Miracles from Heaven

To celebrate Todd’s birthday, I took him to a fabulous dinner at a restaurant that has super tasty gluten free food. Real gluten free. Not just food with the gluten-ful food taken out, i.e. hamburger without a bun. Extra bonus:  the menu had gluten free chocolate cake to happily end his birthday meal.  


That’s about as far as my plans went. Not wanting to rush home, he suggested a movie. There were only two choices at the Pitt Theatre:  Batman vs. Superman or Miracles from Heaven.


We chose Miracles from Heaven. Enjoying each other’s company, we laughed out loud at the previews. We settled in for the feature presentation.


Almost immediately, as the little girl in the movie became gravely ill, we turned to each other in agreement that this true story might hit a little too close to home for us.


As the characters on the screen began to chase a diagnosis for their daughter, so many personal scenes jumped into my mind and emotions bubbled back to the surface from our very own struggle with Chloe’s health. 


I could relate to this desperate mother, as she watched her child in pain and languishing, forcefully questioning a doctor who said that everything was normal or that it was only lactose intolerance.


The fear.  The anger. The sadness. The grief.


All threatening to swallow up the joy and the hope…and my faith.


Like a toddler, I assumed that when I asked nicely.  When I said “please” and “thank you,” surely God would answer my prayers exactly how I wanted.


When His answer wasn’t a resounding “yes,” I acted like a petulant child who didn’t get her own way.


Sometimes God’s answer is “yes.”  Sometimes He says “wait,” “not yet,” or “no, not on this side of eternity.”


His desire is for me to come to Him. Fully surrendered. Submitted to His will. Trusting His plan. Seeking His comfort. Resting in His peace.


Chloe is in remission. It’s been nearly two years since those super scary months of tests, hospitalizations and new diagnoses.




How many miracles did I miss while I crossed my arms over my chest, furrowed my brow and stomped my foot at my Heavenly Father?


When my faith was rocked to its core, I wanted to talk to Him. I wanted to trust, but somehow God just didn’t seem so safe anymore. I stepped back when I needed Him most. 


The movie, Miracles from Heaven, reached right into my healing heart. Reminding me that my God loves beyond measure and exceeds my understanding. 


A miracle itself. 


In the midst of sorrow and pain, He is good. He is faithful.


Joy, beauty, each small triumph. All sweet gifts from His tender hand.  


Lord, give me eyes to see.  



Matthew 13:16.
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear…

Breathtaking

My Weather Channel app predicted 2-4 inches of snow. Even the National Weather Service only later issued a warning for 6-12 inches of snow. By early afternoon as my 12 inch ruler became lost trying to measure, it was obvious that they were all wrong.

All totaled by evening, there were at least 20 inches of snow laying on top of what we already had from a few previous storms.

Viewed through the windows of my warm and toasty home, the snow looked so beautiful. White wash on a grungy landscape purified by the untouched fresh snowflakes. Trees were covered with mantles of snow taking the roughness out of their bare winter branches.

The sounds muffled by the falling snow created a peaceful silence only interrupted by happy cheers of romping children. A breathtaking scene was set before me.

Until it was time to shovel. There was a lot of snow to move. My focus became consumed with the path in front of me and how far I needed to go. Each shovel full, a drop in the proverbial bucket.

With snow still falling, I could still conjure the feel good moments when I stopped to look around me or look back at the path I had cleared. But after a brief rest to untwist my bunched up muscles, it was back to work burrowing my way down to all the animal pens. First digging out gates to the chickens and ducks and then on to the goats and miniature pony.

The beauty and the burden of a snow storm.

Life is often wrapped up that way. Beauties with burdens. Bitterness with the sweet.

Chloe’s health challenges are…well, challenging! Life with seven in our household can be a burden to provide for, to love selflessly, to put first.

My circumstances have not shifted significantly from a couple of days before, but I am untwisting and stretching the kinks out of my spirit.

When I look up from the toiling of breaking a path and the weariness of taking unsteady steps, I can see the scenery all around me more clearly.

I can see where I have been on this journey with the seven of us. On my personal journey with God. From my perspective, it is breathtaking.

Isaiah 58:11
The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.

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My Life Song

I walked into my room yesterday after noticing that Quincy was quiet for far too long. I’d like to say he was reading a book, but he wasn’t. He was unravelling a cassette tape.

I have a rare CD player that also plays cassette tapes. Quite a relic. The novelty was more temptation than Quincy could walk away from. When the button pushing yielded a cassette tape, it was quite a treasure to explore.

While muttering to myself and rewinding the tape with my finger, I felt defeated. Not because of one inconsequential childish act, but the myriad of cares, worries and responsibilities.

My brain feels like an eight track cassette player with reels of tapes playing through my mind. There is the high pitched shrill of the preschooler’s whine. The bass beat of regular blood sugar readings. There are sharp notes of condemnation for not measuring up to the perfect woman. A rushing tinkling melody, urging and pushing to find healing for Chloe, plays always in the background.

The medley can meld together into a pseudo-balanced harmony. Yet more often, I find the winding reels to be discordant. Each playing feverishly with changing volumes to take over my thoughts.

Behind the noise. Behind the flats and sharps. There is a still small voice.

“Do not be afraid.”

“Do not worry.”

“Seek me.”

“Pray.”

“I will give you rest and peace and hope.”

I have to recognize His voice in the midst of all the clamoring. His voice changes everything. My ears tune into the beauty of my life song. My heart beats in rhythm with His. My hands and feet move to His timing.

Diabetes. Ulcerative colitis. Notions of being the “Perfect” woman. The grating of a whining child. The “what if’s” and the “if only’s.”

All the good, the bad, the well done and the mistakes, are orchestrated to His glory.

When I yield the battle of the bands to Him, He rewinds the tapes mixing them into one magnificent symphony.

Matthew 6:31-34
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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Who Wants to Go?

On Christmas Eve morning, a stray kitten showed up in our yard. While we searched for her owner (or a new owner) via Facebook posts, the little kitty acclimated well to our home. She was calm and made herself comfortable. Nothing seemed to rattle her (except maybe our charging dog) and she purred contentedly.

After the kitty was reunited with her owner, I laughed at the contrast between her and one of our own cats, Fraida Kat. She purrs alright, but her eyes are always darting as if looking for a way of escape. She has not come to trust us completely even though she lives luxuriously lounging on the bed, peering out the window and eating more than enough.

I have faced this New Year with a similar stance to Fraida Kat. Trepidation. A sense of overwhelm. Eyes darting. Heart racing.

Keeping up with homeschooling four students. Instructing. Planning. Grading. Documenting. It is a constant race to keep up.

Caring for Chloe’s medical needs. Researching the options. Contacting doctors. Cooking special meals. Wondering. Worrying. Praying. It is never far from my mind.

Adding a new piece to the puzzle. Studying to become a Childbirth educator and doula. Fitting in time to focus. Learning and memorizing. Developing skills and a practice. It is exciting, but it is frightening too.

Sliding and squeezing in household chores, running, preparation for children’s ministry, helping my father, investing in friendships. It is all important, but I do not want to skip or squeeze out spending quality time with Todd and my children.

As the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I felt myself tensing and longing for escape.

John 6:66-69
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The going was getting tougher. Observing His chosen ones and knowing their hearts, Jesus asks them, “Who wants to go?”

Peter doesn’t deny thinking about leaving. Peter doesn’t hide his inclination toward an escape. In fact, his answer suggests he weighed the options…Who else would we follow?

Escape sounds great. But where would I go? What would it solve?

I do not understand why Chloe’s Fecal Microbiome Transplant has not been a slam dunk yielding immediate results. I do not know how entering into a new venture as a doula will fit in. I do not know what expectations and responsibilities need to shift.

But I have weighed my options. Who else would I follow, but Him. He has the words of eternal life. I can rest in Him. I can trust Him.

I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

He is enough.

My eyes focus on Him. My heart beat slows to a peaceful rhythm.

It’s a New Year.

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Bak! Bak! Bak!

Homesteader. Backyard barnyard keeper. Small flock herder.

Job descriptions to add to my resume.

Honestly I didn’t expect to really enjoy the chickens. My hens crack me up with their clucking and scratching.

When one of my girls lays an egg in a nesting box, she’ll strut out to the front of the hen house and carry on. She proclaims to all who are listening that she has laid an egg.

It is as if she has tremendous pride in doing what God created her to do. Not once has she lamented not being like other barnyard animals. She hasn’t despaired of being an ordinary chicken. She hasn’t glanced wistfully at the cow determining in her heart that giving milk is a more noble task or at the horses, wishing that she could accommodate a saddle to carry a rider.

She lays her egg. Bak! Bak! Bak! No greater pleasure for her than doing what she was designed to do.

My eyes check out the displays in Target and at the mall. Christmas traditions and decorations pop up in pictures on Facebook. Everyone else’s Christmas wish lists are fulfilled, and picture perfect presents are wrapped with flourish.

Holiday time, especially, finds me comparing myself. Measuring myself. Longing to be someone that I am not. Wondering how it might be to follow a different path. Missing the pleasure of the plan God has for me.

I am a wife. A mother. A daughter. A friend. All to the glory of God who knit me together.

Christmas time really should drive me to my knees. There is no greater pleasure than doing what The Lord has designed me to do and created me to be.

God’s plan for His one and only Son was being revealed. To be born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger bed demonstrated the humility of our Lord Jesus. His love. His mercy. His grace.

Peace should infuse my heart. Crowding out the what if’s and if only’s. Replacing the emptiness of false pursuits with the blessed assurance that Jesus has come and will come again.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

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Life in an Instant

As I unloaded the dryer while being peppered with school questions, I imagined a camera taking snapshots of our homeschool day.

One second I am reading Caddie Woodlawn while Bailey knits, Abby braids Chloe’s hair, Timothy works on his assignment in the next room and Quincy takes his afternoon nap.

Another moment, I am helping Chloe with math, while doling out two M&M’s to Quincy for peeing on the potty, announcing spelling words to Bailey and Abby and listening to Timothy speak Spanish softly into the microphone for Rosetta Stone.

Each image only gives a sliver of the flavor of our day. Some moments capture excitement and triumph. Others showcase deceit or disappointment.

Piecing them together provides a truer picture of the contrasts and the character of our home. Grumbling is replaced with thanksgiving. Fear is overcome by courage. Selfishness is forgiven by extended grace.

Raising children and homeschooling is no simple task. Sometimes I hate the challenges and my own responses to the pressure and stress.

Each member of our family is learning who God is and how He is calling us to love one another. This imperfect group of individuals struggles to follow Christ. Yet, we spur and encourage each other to persistence and endurance along this path, to follow the plan He has for us, separately and collectively.

My life is made up of “instants.” A picture of hope is pieced from all the moments. Strung together, clinging to good, devoted to love, glorifying God.

Romans 12:9-10
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

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