Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tribute to my daughters

I have been thinking a lot lately about motherhood. My friend, Diann, has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We had a conversation about how she should talk about it with her daughter, who was taking the news very hard. They have a special relationship. They enjoy their relationship as mom and daughter, but they are friends as well. It has made me think about my daughters and our relationship.

As in most families, our two daughters are alike in some ways and very different in others. Both girls are beautiful, inside and out. Both are kind and compassionate. Both are smart and funny.

Emily, our firstborn, has always been the social butterfly of the family. She can make friends riding on the elevator in a department store. That same charisma and care of other human beings is one of the beautiful qualities about her. She is a friend to young and old and has a deep love and compassion for those less fortunate.

Mindy, our younger daughter, also fits the stereotypical secondborn. Unlike her older sister, friendships aren't formed on elevators or in mall playgrounds. She is very discerning and more tenative until a proven track record is established. Yet she is the most loyal friend you will ever have once that trust is established. Mindy has always added the magic of laughter to our family. Some of the best family times are spent recalling funny stories and humorous moments from Mindy's perspective.

It is a joy to see the girls as wives and moms. It is no surprise to me that they have become wonderful women. They delight my heart to see their love for the Lord, for their husbands, and their children. I cherish them as my daughters and as friends. I loved being their mom as they were growing up, and I now love being their friend as well. There isn't a better feeling!

No matter our age, our relationship with our moms is important. My mom has early dementia. Because of her memory loss or altered mental state, we don't have the quality of conversations we have had in the past. I long for the conversations that we will probably never have again. I am thankful for the cherished memories of special times we shared. It makes me also aware that I need to make the most of my time for we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Life can change in an instant - live and love without regrets.

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. ~Author Unknown

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pink Boaville!

As I start writing this blog, my mind is so busy and full of excitement still from the Siesta Scripture Memory Team weekend, I can hardly slow my brain down! It was truly a highlight of my spiritual walk. Honestly. To meet so many beautiful, Godly women who share a love of God's word was amazing. As women, most of us have gone to retreats or conferences, so being in a large gathering of women wasn't a new experience. But women who love God so much that they commit to memorizing 24 scriptures for a year! Everywhere I looked, there were women hugging, greeting one another in fellowship, sharing their travel stories, and just making new friends. Most of us went either alone or with someone we hooked up through the blog to travel with. And I would venture to say that for most of us, that was a new experience. My roomate was a sweet-spirited woman whose love for God was infectious. We shared stories about our families and our church - our nervousness about saying our scriptures right - and we bonded on a level that some women who sit in church pews for years never get to. Isn't that amazing? It is God at work. Two women who love Him who are willing to go to the depths to get to know Him better and His word - and He in turn blesses us with new friendships and experiences. When I signed up in January, I signed up for me - for my heart to store His word. It was my time for a challenge. But the LPM staff blessed us for our obedience by throwing us the biggest celebration imaginable - and what a time we had. The teaching from Psalm 119 touched my heart in so many ways. The worship with Travis and 507 voices was incredible. I could go on and on. The pink boas were spotted everywhere, in airports, in hotels, in restaurants - I would say we did a good job of "spreading everywhere the fragrance (and feathers) of the knowledge of Him." There will probably be pink boa feathers in Houston for months to come! My daughters were so shocked at how out of my comfort zone I went to attend. They even were worried about me connecting with a woman I met on the blog to travel with (who is truly a beautiful new friend). They nicknamed her my BMBFF (Beth Moore best friend forever)!

How much I would have missed if I let my fear of flying or the many areas out of my comfort zone that there were, hold me back from attending. And I wondered today - how many other times have I missed God's greatest blessing by stopping short of allowing Him to carry me through to get to Him? I hope I always have pink boa moments to carry me on this journey!

And although I'm a midwesterner, I have to begin saying "y'all" - I think it is contagious after spending the time in Houston with all of those southern Siestas!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Slow learner!

I never thought I was a slow learner! If you asked me, I would tell you I learn new things pretty quickly and can usually adapt to something new easily. However, today the Lord smacked me with something I have known forever but lately have ignored! There is a relationship I am and have been praying about for a long time. You know how the prayer goes - Lord, so-and-so needs your touch, he needs you to change him...Lord, you know how he is...Can you just make him easier for me to deal with, Lord...

The Lord reminded me that I am the one who needs the change. My prayer changed today, Lord, please change me. I am unable to love him like you do. Please help me to see him through your eyes and be able to have a relationship with him. I know my relationship with him isn't pleasing to you, Lord. I need you to help me, Lord, to love him.

Amazing thing - progress was made today. I am not foolish enough to think that I won't take some steps backward. My way is the easy way out, for the Lord to zap him and change him. But that isn't necessarily how He works. The Lord has a lot of work to do in ME and MY HEART. I am humbled to know that He has much change for me, yet I am open and ready for Him to make me the person He has in mind. I long to be that person in step with Him so my heart can be undivided and wholly His! Praise His name!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Never forgotten

Baby loss is something most are uncomfortable talking about. Whether it is lack of experience or a sense of uncomfortableness, it is like the "elephant in the room." My husband and I suffered 3 miscarriages as we were young and growing our family. They were all early in the pregnancy so there was obviously no visible sign of pregnancy. Those who were close enough to know shared the grief but it was pretty much "normal" in those days to get a grip and go on with things. We handled the grief as most did in those days, quietly and privately, pretty much get on with life and forget about it.

This week, our younger daughter, Mindy, is in her 33rd week of pregnancy, her third pregnancy. This 33rd week mark is an emotional one for us all. You see, in her first pregnancy 3 years ago, little Callie Grace was stillborn at 33 weeks. She had felt lack of movement so an emergent visit to the doctor's office with her confirmed the worst news I have ever experienced. As a mother, I have always felt that I am the one who fixes things, makes things all better, and protects my child from pain. Hearing her cries of desperation, watching the the doctor and nurse turn off the ultrasound machine and all of that finality was more than this mother's heart could bear. I placed a call to her husband, my husband, and my older daughter, all in disbelief. And the ensuing three days, waiting around the hospital for Mindy to deliver Callie Grace were some of the darkest days I have known. The theory from the medical profession is that natural childbirth is better psychologically because the scar/incision from a C-section would be a physical reminder of the loss. I'm not sure I agree with that theory, because nothing will let a mother forget the loss of her baby. It may be a physical reminder but again, the medical profession is almost all about "getting on with life" as if this was just a blip on the screen. Anyway it was from Tuesday afternoon until Friday when Callie was able to be delivered. The family gathered around, able to hold her lifeless little body, spend some moments sharing our grief, their pastor dedicated her and prayed over her, and we said goodbye almost as quickly as we said hello. Little Callie was buried in a part of the cemetery called Babyland. Have you ever visited the baby section of the cemetery? There are far too many little ones represented by those markers. I never knew there was a special section for wee ones and it broke my heart there would be so many there.

What my heart wants to say here is that though it has been 3 years, Callie Grace holds a place in our hearts and always will. That is hard to explain, a little life we were robbed of ever knowing, a little person who is missing in the lineup of grandchildren on the hearth in the Christmas photo. When asked how many grandchildren we have, we always stumble over the number, maybe we always will. Some don't know how to handle the information if we do share, and at other times I feel protective, perhaps I don't want to share the beauty of this little life with someone who maybe won't understand or care. It is something for sure that there aren't textbooks on, no "dummy" books to follow the protocol on, not many whose path you come across who have shared the same experience.

If you or someone you know has experienced such a loss, ask them to tell you about the one they lost. Share in their story. Give them the permission to tell you about their loved one and how much they loved them. There is no better way to validate someone's grief than to take an interest and care about their hurt. Celebrate with them the life of the person they have lost.

Today, I celebrate Callie Grace, so beautiful, sweet little pink-tinted lips, one who is missed and who will always hold the place as our first granddaughter. Her eyes first opened to see Jesus - for that we cannot wish anything different. She is in His arms and we rejoice knowing that some day we will be joining her around His throne.