Forty. Seven. Three.

Seven years ago, i started a journey of forty weeks. Forty weeks and a baby. Forty weeks and a life change. Forty weeks of being on two types of nausea medications because, well, one just didn’t cut it.

My first was born in February of 2010. My middle in October 2011. My last in June of 2013. Forty months.

Forty months and three tiny humans have entered the world.

Forty months ago my oldest turned three. And i was in round two of potty training him (long story for another time), and I had a newfound walker toddling around, and I was pregnant… and staying married felt like the biggest impossibility of my life.

Now, forty months later, and my youngest is about to turn three.

 

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Three is my favorite number. Or it was. Before my children turned three. The twos may be terrible, but the threes… well, the three’s will threaten your very existence as anything resembling a sane human being.

Three year olds haven’t just discovered the word ‘no’- they’ve discovered they can center an entire universe of a household around their very selfish souls. They’ll do things they wouldn’t have dared to dream of doing six months ago, incredibly self-absorbed things. Because they need the bubbles now. And they need food now. And bedtime can happen when they say it can, and reading a story doesn’t cut it anymore. Read five. Then sing a song. While tapping out a soft shoe.

Now snuggle.

And cuddle.

And go and get that book and read it again.

Basically, three year olds are the rulers of the toddler terrorists. They set the rules and you best d*mn well play by them. Or those Candy Land cards are gonna get it. …and how do you feel about an overflowing bathroom sink?

You can’t catch all of them. So you repeat, under your breath, and maybe over their angelic sleeping faces,

You may have won this battle. But I will win the war!”

And so you struggle and claw your way back to some sort of sanity. Maybe you stand at the top of the precariously drawn cliff you just peaked and survey the wastelands you’ve wandered and struggled through over the past forty weeks.

You hope and pray you will find a way to do the right thing at the right time just once. to make a breakthrough in your child’s life. to bestow upon them some rightness in their next steps or future steps.

you close your eyes and hope one day you can be the obedient child who enters into the place you are called to be and by doing so can be Hands and Feet and Light… and do it all right.

That’s when I realized – and maybe you do too(?) – I play the three year old with my Heavenly Father.

There’s a tiredness which arises in a season of waiting. It will seep into the sinews of your soul if you aren’t careful… and when a door needs to be kicked down, you may find yourself slumped down against it, a wailing heap on the floor, begging for someone to just open it for you.

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There’s a resurgence period. When forty months leads to forty weeks of gradually regaining more to life than surviving the day to day. When dreams are remembered and passions are stirred and it all just seems to be waiting for you to take one.more.step. – smash the window… knock down the door… step through and step out of the waitful wandering…

It’s a process and that’s for certain. At times it may just feel like you are going to drown in the gradual slowness of it all. And you might just find yourself being a three year old. Again.

I have this insane calling to write a book, and how I see it at the moment is an enormous amount of time, thought, emotional and physical energy… and no promise of any recompense at the end of it all. I could finish and that could be that. Years of stories coming together in a few hundred pages may very well end at the end of writing it. It may go nowhere past that. In fact I’m kind of betting on it. … and hoping it doesn’t at the same time.

I have a dream to foster and adopt children, and bring them into a sort of refuged haven- away from any and all sorts of abuse and hardships they have faced in their short lives, and just love them in as safe a space as I can provide them with our family.

I long for a move to take me away from the heat which torments and destroys my body (literally), and a place which provides an easier year round interaction for me with my children. Because i just want to freakin’ enjoy every minute with them. And that isn’t easy when you’re constantly battling a heat and sun sensitivity causing the world to spin around you and your skin to feel as though it’s about to melt right off your body.

So i dream of finishing a novel. And adopting the daughter i’ve prayed over since i was eight years old. And living somewhere i don’t have to fight and struggle with my own body just to participate in life with the children i’ve always longed for.

I think we’ve found our dream home. And we only have a little over half of what we need for a down payment. So… donations welcome. haha, 😉
In one week and three days we will celebrate our baby turning three. And yes, we actually will celebrate. Because, despite the fact we are entering his “three year old” stage- we’ve already survived the three’s twice over, and i have little doubt we will get through this too. I mean, technically, if you think about it, turning three means he’s finished his third year of life –he’s actually starting the first day of his fourth year the day after he turns three … but… semantics.

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fickled expectation

expectations are funny things. fickle things. falling-short things, really.

and boy howdy do we have much too many of them all at once.

i know i do. did. will have again. unfortunately.

yes, i was one of the many who thought marriage would be something i would be good at.

my perception of wife-hood was one of which i totally thought i would rock. like i rocked those wrangler jeans in the barn days of my youth.

being a wife was something i totally thought i had covered. and yes, this is where i pause to laugh because i honestly thought: 

how could it not be?

how could i not have this covered? i paid attention. every compliment. every seeming act of virtuous wife. i studied it. i mimicked it. craved it. grasped for it. fell short of it. and kept on again.

that is, until i got married myself. and realized expectation doesn’t come in terms of “one,” it comes as a whole flock.

it’s not about having an expectation.

it’s about having expectationssssss. times infinity.

because sure there’s the expectation of the condition of the marital relationship. of how fights will go. or not go.

but there’s also the house.

the city.

the lifestyle.

a thousand little expectations all culminating and merging into one whole expectation of what marriage will be like.

you may not have any expectations for your spouse. at least not unrealistic ones. but what about the environment of living it all.

and in the midst of the reality of my fickle little friend, Expectations, i was affronted with the fact that being a mother would be another time of me falling so much shorter than i ever imagined.

motherhood and wifehood. and all the whimsical dreams of youth now brought to light.

how do we turn that stark brightness off? dim it down a little bit… a little less harsh… a little more dream-like.

Halmark-Card-me… there should be an app for that…

or at least an oil.

oh naive, simpleton, me.

children are the mirrors of ourselves. and our spouses. and you thought communicating with another adult was hard. or trying to understand your own self at times was exhausting enough… *laugh* *cough*

and then you try to lead a child version- understand the child, speak with the child. listen to the child. have patience with the child. and don’t lose your-self to your-selfishness along the way.

don’t take the frustrations of the child-learning into the husband-endearing, and don’t take the trials of the husband-loving into the child-growing.

going from tiny humans to grown human, and back again.

the meter running out all the while on that little introvert battery of yours…

for how do you really truly fill an introverted heart in an overflowing house. city all abuzz and never a moment to breath?

the rush of it all collides against and collapses into you, and all the while trying to catch, and rear, teach and love…

it could overwhelm a person entirely.

too entirely.

but all is grace.

all is gift.

i always wanted to be a mother. i just never wanted to be a city-mother. an errand-running-mother. a life lived everywhere but here, mother. 

i am not the mother i wanted to be. 

i wanted that life of sitting on palettes in front of fire place… reading books, snuggled close. pajama day? every day.

play outside on mountain knoll… climb the rocks… explore the untamed woods… do it all with the nose in a book.

you all can have the city… i’ll take the farm… the mountain ranges… the anywhere that herds of people are not. 

oh, the fickled expectations… if only life always fit like the pair of jeans from childhood. the ragamuffin days. the lay on the hillside, watch the clouds play, days. 

the scramble to the woods. the build a fort from fallen Aspen trees. the days of black and white, and everything fell just right. 

but you see what i’ve done, don’t you? equating the circumstance to the occupation of motherhood. that the mothering comes easy when the life comes easy. and when the winds of life blow hard, the air gets knocked right out of me and i lay down not knowing what to do.

expectations locked up in circumstance.

and everything begins to crumbled right dust.

so i name the grace gift of motherhood.

of wifehood.

of Him being All Good.

of chilled days.

and warm teas.

of log piles.

and Christmas trees.

of fort climbing.

and slide racing.

swing giggles.

wild and crazy.

i name the grace and pray that finds the Joy He gave in this life of mine.

to let it go and let it be… and maybe find a peace for me.

to give up on this grating desire for everything to lay perfect. quiet.

to live the upside down motherhood life- of mothering in the life.

and not letting the living control the mother i am going to be.

to name the grace even when everything seems to not be… as it should be.

 

 

 

 

children may just teach you your own childishness

and we are all just children. the all of us here.

children.

yes, there’s a reason we’re not called God’s “adult-children.” and having children of your very own will teach that better than any writings or vocalizing on the subject.

children scream

because when those days come we get to hear God’s words through our mouths and watch our reactions in the faces of our children.

we question their refusals and rebuttals.

their disobedient acts and their flagrant disregard.

and disrespect.

their wandering hearts and their fickle emotions.

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we see it all.

i see it all.

i feel the hurt of it and the anguish. the desperation to get them to understand that what i ask of them is ultimately for. their. good. 

they don’t see the tomorrow that we see. a day filled with adventures and plans – which in turn requires a good rest the day prior in order to enjoy the activities of the next to their fullest.

and there is no reasoning  with a toddler.

we are asking them for something that is severely precious. anguishing to relinquish. and guarded ferociously.

their trust.

i am honestly not quite sure why we haven’t obtained it yet.

you’d think after all of the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes… the stroking of sick backs… the cleaning of sheets and clothes… and the fact that no matter how long it takes to get a meal made, they will still get fed… that we would have earned the right to be trusted by our children on all accounts.

without question.

despite all of the provisions and all of the gifting. there is a lack of trust.

of complete trust.

perfect trust.

and the belief that the child’s way will yield the best results. better than those of the parent. yes, that.

Tuck leap

you’ve seen a tired child. i’ve seen a tired child. that middle of the day meltdown where it’s so ridiculously obvious that poor kid is exhausted out of its mind- trying to control the laughter- while at the same time running down how to actually convince that child of the fact. you as the parent, or caretaker, or just keen adult observer, know this child’s needs.

most children don’t think they need sleep though. most fight it. i have one who viciously fights it.

i’m talking this kid gave up morning naps when he started to crawl. at five months.

he gave up afternoon naps when he started to walk. at eleven months.

and we did cry it out. sleeping in bed with me for nap-time. you name it, i most likely tried it.

he would scream for fifteen minutes. pause for one. then scream for fifteen more. and repeat.

for over an hour. 

he probably could have gone longer. but i couldn’t.

daddy Liam snuggle

there’s no reasoning with a baby. or a toddler. my kids aren’t at the other ages yet. but i don’t hold out much hope. because when i reflect back at my own actions with my own Heavenly Father, how much worse am i than them?

because i can understand not fully trusting another fallible human being.

but the Creator of the Universe? the One knitting together of DNA into marvels? miracles and life abounding from His touch? and my very breath evidence of His very Grace? what is the reason for not putting my trust wholly in Him and His Holiness?

why haven’t i been able to teach my heart that the more i seek the Joy in Christ, the more i will be in-Joy. en-joy my life. my children. this grace gift given at highest cost?

mirroring my attitude of child to the King back in my mind- i see all too well the screaming for my longings and fleeting desires. all the while He stands bent over stove and agonizing over what He is making for my life to become.

with calm voice and gentle hand, He repeats to me, “I am working all these things together for your good. for My purpose.” (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)

Liam toss

we teach our children to ride a bike with training wheels. looking to the day when the training wheels come off and the child flies off on two wheels and a grande feat accomplished.

one of the firsts.

and not the lasts.

us parents are already looking to the next.

we labor over the learning of letters and numbers. singing alphabets and counting to ten… so they can write their names and count their ages. for starters. 

why then do we not believe that Christ is working in us? that every refining moment has a purpose-  equipping us- readying us- for when we need those tools we will also need to know how to use them.

that is what this life is.

all moments that lead to deeper and more. all purposed and planned. diligently. intricately.

and we are meant to enjoy it all.

trusting in Him. naming the grace-gift of this life. and its moments.

even when our children are red-faced and refusing to rest their weary selves. even those moments can be a refining fire.

 

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so may i encourage you as i remind myself- to not miss the opportunity to be refined. it may not be what you are wanting. but it may be what you are needing.

(a good way to tell when you are in the midst of this? when you feel like throwing a tantrum yourself. generally that means you are being told to obey a Father who isn’t acquiescing to your requests. and instead insisting that He knows what is for your best. And isn’t that just so incredibly good? Hard, yes. but GOOD.) 

provision in the everyday life

the rains came in the morning.

that downpour of freshness, quenching the earth, and bringing rest to the soul. Because the soul was in need of the watering. those deserts needed to be drained so the cup could fill to overflowing.

“funder! Funder mommy, funder!! Funder SCARE me!!” 

and when the storm turns violent and the pulse quickens in the veins, the fear rises, and the child clings tight to those she trusts most. snuggling deep in this lap made just for her little perfectness- all to watch a monkey be exceptionally curious.

and the fear subsides.

and she nestles deep into me.

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in that state of complete and perfect peace.

the faith of a child… that a mother can protect from thunderstorms- the belief that as long as this hug is tight enough, the truly scary things of this world cannot get close enough to do any harm. 

and what if we held to that relationship with our Father? to clench Him when the fear is at our necks like a rabid dog or creeping quietly and steadily across the floors to just up and drink us completely dry of all Faith?

and maybe it isn’t a terrifying thing when the husband comes in on Sunday morning saying he feels miserably sick- maybe to people without 3 kids aged four, two and a half, and almost one- but to this momma, with teething baby, and crazed toddlers… it may as well be a death sentence.

and the relief? it came in the form of some little inconsequential bottles.

bottles full of these natural, “essential,” oils. and the provision that they had come a day before? yeah, that fact has not gone unnoticed. to the momma who wants to “detox” the house- who is trying not to buy over the counter drugs if she can help it- to be able to take care of her husband with products that help-with-no-fear-attached?

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God gave us this earth, and made our bodies so that basic needs would be provided for- that we can trust Him to take care of even the smallest things (like excruciating sore throats, and stiffening-headed-to-sickness-overload muscles).  it just makes me so happy to know that there are ways we can take care of our bodies- to prevent disease, or to help combat illnesses- ways that our Father has made possible through His creation.

gaaaaalory!

It’s so complex, and yet so intricately simplistic- this natural way of living the life God has given to us. He really has provided for our needs!

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 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. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? -Matthew 6:25-27

do we trust in a faithfulness that we cannot fully comprehend?

to be able to see His goodness, His constance, His truth- in the midst of any and all uncertainties? 

To find that peace that is complete in Him…

to trust His purposed and provisioned plans

and to rest in His perfectly-tightened embrace

when we are gifted the waters we have been begging for are we able to receive them?

What IF: we became a generation willing to suffer…

So- What IF?

what if every single person cared so much about every. other. person. in this world and those to come that they wanted to come along side the poor. the hungry. the homeless. the orphaned

 and gather everyone up into this same. standard. of. living: 

…mentally?

…physically? 

spiritually?

when it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven- and maybe that man is in reference to us? – that the standard of life we live here in first world countries is considered the wealthiest in the world-

and, yes, that does in fact make us the “rich” of the world. 

And then does it start? Those immediate defenses that spring like geysers – those mental images of that handful or group of others who have more or do more or spend more than you ever could or would or do– spring to mind?

and that makes you any. less. wealthy. ? 

And what if wealth had no actual meaning in regards to earthly endeavors and possessions but solely those that are for eternity and His glory? … And are we wealthy then?

Are we being the true last?

Are we serving the orphaned?

… the widowed?

… the sick?

… the lost

And when the preacher is standing at the pulpit on Sunday morning and your blood starts to surge through all of those depths, because just YES that is where you want to go- those unreached people groups– that your heart is so pulled for that that you end up ignoring the fact that you are where you are in this season for this time- that His reason for keeping you somewhere will be the same as His reason for sending you over oceans.

That calling to live the Gospel- waiting until His plan and timing reaches utmost perfection– and you may just board that plane with a solitary one-way ticket – the lost just as much there as they are here. 

And we are living in His timing now

And if God provides all the needs for His people, why do we not see ourselves as being a part of His body as a provision?

That He has provided us to do His work.

That His work may in fact be something that puts us right in the middle of suffering?- 

That despite the friend, the parent, or even the stranger who looks at the sacrifices and the sufferings of your life and declares “Enough!” – they are in fact not God? – That you are in fact NOT here to do their will, but rather you are here to do His will and obey His commands? 

And oh are we missing this!

For those who look at the orphan crisis, human trafficking, or even just the general third world conditions that exist today- and sit back, “broken hearted” and. do. nothing.- 

 

My son recently opened a fortune cookie. Delighting in ever crisp piece he placed between his lips- humming to himself that song of lovely contentment…. when he handed me the little rolled up white piece of paper.

Tiny printed black words, which I was expecting would read something along the lines of: 

“Fame and fortune will soon be yours.” 

“Something lost will soon be found.” 

“The sun always shines after the downpour.” 

“The star of riches is shining on you.” 

But instead read:

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions.”

After researching this fortune I discovered it to be a Margaret Thatcher quote, the second part of which is “He had money too.” But we do have wealth, in abundance, both in the Gospel and in this first world life-style of ours! … so what is our excuse for not #endingitALL –

All the abortions?

the deaths

the lies?

the poverty?

the starvation?

the sickness

the thirst

the abandments?

the slavery?

the brokenness?

the abusing?

the unreached

So how do we sit here, in our air conditioned 21st century lives, and be just plum okay with Satan having a freaking playdate with all the lives of all the lost? 

And what if we weren’t

What if we lived, actually lived, the Gospel?

What if we lived in submission to God’s will for our lives, instead of our loved ones’ wills for our lives?

What if we up and stopped trying to please others and rather focused solely on pleasing Him?

What if we actually loved the Gospel so much we were willing to suffer for it?

What if we did something to #enditALL that required more from us than just clickinglike?”

 

entry twenty five

I seem to not get very far into my reading of Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts,” these days before my heart is hit.

“Trauma’s storm can mask the Christ and feelings can lie.

I draw all the hurting voices close and I touch their scars with a whisper: sometimes we don’t fully see that in Christ, because of Christ, through Christ, He does give us all things good – until we have the perspective of years.

In time, years, dust settles.

In memory, ages, God emerges.

Then when we look back, we see God’s back.” (156)

And hand is at lips and the words strike true. How the darkest and blackest of moments are, in all actuality, “the holiest ground…” and “God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will,” (156) when the world feels like it’s falling out from underneath.

If someone had come to me over a year ago and said that where I am now is where I would be, I’m fairly certain I would have laughed in their knowledgable face.

It was dark.

In all honesty there have been quiet a few pitch black moments over these last five plus years- and I know I am now only seeing such a small fraction of the perfection God has orchestrated through these trivial events in the grand scheme of this life.

And what’s to come.

grass turtle

It’s that feeling, after a long exhausting day, where the tired just lays heavy in the marrow, and all you long for is the deepest and sweetest of slumbers, when you make your way to relaxing.

When the house empties into the blissful rarity of quiets.

To sit. soak it all in. deep.

The soothing blast of warm four hundred degree air as the oven opens to receive its bounty. and opens once more to relinquish its treasure. and yes, food soothes. almost as much as the rush of that air.

there’s a saying of grace for food, and it is something that brings a trust of provision… there is joy at the dinner table.

if ever any have sat around my childhood table, you know that food speaks to our souls, and I have yet to find one who is not warmed by good food and good conversation.

and isn’t our Creator so creative? and is He not good?

If He can care enough of us to indulge in creating these delicacies to soothe us down to our very souls, is there really the slightest doubt that, when the world looks to falling away beneath our soles, that He is not there- creating something utterly and deliciously GOOD?

Oh dear heart, may you be truly able to hold to these times-

where you are able to turn and see God’s hand in the midst of the crumbling achings-

and hold fast the next time the light fades into night-

resting in the blessed assurance that God, well, He’s passing by.

entry twenty three

And the eyes ache. And the human patience has its limitations. And when eyes are pushed, and patience trembles, and all inside wants to shout out and curl into tiny quiet places- because does a woman ever have just one emotion?

and it’s all right about to be ruined.

It feels like dropping a ball over and over and over and over again… and the ferocity of it all makes me want to pick up each of these orbs and instead of catching them one. more. time. … just throw them like hot potatoes as far and fast away from my nervous system as is humanly possible.

because it hurts.

there is ache and exhaustion and a constant state of servanthood is not an easy supplication.

and the cry of my heart is to be as Christ like as possible… and with the opportunity to give all of myself on a daily basis, here I am wanting to run for the hills.

To be Maria on the mountain top once more- and to think she never would have come down if she had only known she would end up being a mother to seven.

And children are blessings? And everything for good?

And the baby screams instead of accepting sleep, and screams for days. and weeks follow slow. and this is blessed?

I sit mother over child. I stand and sway the unable-to-be-soothed-babe against my chest, and hold tight when it hits hard. For my mother heart knows the eyes need rest, and the body is weak and it is weary, but the boy-full-of-sobs doesn’t understand and he builds up defiance deep within his lung fibers, releasing bellows of indignation right to my face.

And how often do I scream at God? I am pleading for something I am not receiving, and does He not hear? And how as Father does He not just silence it all right then and there? For we are but children, and are unaware of what it is He is preparing us for, of how He is trying to give us exactly what we need in this present time… And in that black pit of the depth of my heart, am I sitting here thinking i know better?

“Shhhh” is the sound I give to my child. Eyes red and swollen, circles formed deep underneath. And more often than not I believe are faces bear similar markings of just right exhaustion. Or maybe we are fighting against the thing we need most. When we cocoon within our own commiserating and refuse to let in the light which might just warm us through to the very tips of our being…

the holding of grudges, the withholding of grace. forgiveness. thanks. we deny joy, and cling to the rot of our own misery. And we stand against the Father and declare we know better. And it all, all of defiance, may in fact sound like a tired defiant infant child.

And then thankfulness may fill up the heart and overflow out the mouth for the realization that the perfect Father is the one standing over this time- this life- and He. is. Patience.

Just as we want to give our children every good and beautiful thing- He gives us all good- all of Him– for all of us, and of that good there will always be enough.

And the baby quiets, the sleep-suckling takes over, and there is grace. and He is here. And we can rest in Him.

entry twenty

apple harvest. pumpkins. boxwood wreaths. crackling logs.

the crispness of autumn. the wash of refreshment colliding with bare senses. and it lightens the heart.

i’ve been told this does not ring true for every soul who experiences it. and that is such a sorrowful thing. for a breeze that sweetens the air sweetens into the very depths of me. i am passionate about the beauty that draws me to Him. and i could talk into long hours of darkness of how His creation stirs within me a deeper longing to know more of who He is.

and perhaps it is all me alone in this? that when autumn leaves shake down from trees ablaze in amber hues, my soul wants to rush the winds and meet Him in the race of it all? As though when the year begins to end that is when things are stirred into action. and slowed into gratitudes.

when we render thanksgivings and unite in the delighting of the end-of-year fruits…

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How we close each year in celebrating His coming as one lowly babe here to save us all from all our sin?

And how does the changing of the leaves and the gathering dark of the days not make one pant with desire to be huddled in close to His Word? The year’s ending brings us within doors to rest in front of fires, with mugs of something that warms us to the toes, and curl up close in everything soft- all just to be able to bury deep in a written living Word.

When white begins to blanket the hillsides and the trees have turned barren, and how can you not think of it all just up and ending? And so it will.

And the Savior’s returning. And this Grace here. This Joy now.

And how can this not fill one to the depths- this rosy cheeked, frosted breath, crisped freshness that surrounds us and bring us all in close?

when we allow ourselves to get gathered right up in the chaos of the season instead of the celebration of the season, and allow that panic to come right into our homes and burrow deep instead of immersing deeply in the Reason for it all.

when less is more just doesn’t make sense to the worldly cognition. and when generosity just doesn’t have a role to play within this life.

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maybe that’s when the steps need to be taken back a bit. and the childlike joy found in the changing of the months’ tides needs to be rekindled. when the realization of just how much you get when you give needs to be anthem-ed out and set ablaze…

feel that crispness penetrate through the skin and deep into lungs, and don’t be afraid to smile when you just. let. it. all. go. 

because that is the very start of how to beg in– it’s in the letting go. in the whisper of the freshly fallen leaves underfoot. in the apple’s juices ready to be relinquished. so too may we relinquish the juices of Grace and pour forth ever generous the blessings of the every day and those to come.

entry nineteen

A small step towards healing a huge hurt… and it starts with this. And being able to listen to events take place at a school – and hearing a story that bears similar wounds as my own.

And being able to respond with these words.

And my heart.

And to those who have been here, or are here, or heaven forbid will find themselves here…

This, for the parent. This, to help you.

This, for you.

 

Your world has been turned on its axis. The ground has slipped away into a black hole beneath your feet and you aren’t sure if solid ground is ever really coming back. Every cog in your brain is turning at full speed to try to make sense out of something, to try to put reason into this situation, and to most likely attempt to justify by denial that this is actually happening.

And yeah, I’ve been there. And those worse case scenarios that your parent mind plays out, one of those may have come about in your own household, and every single fiber of your love-strong-sacrifice-ridden-bleeding heart is being torn into one. thousand. million. pieces.

And I try to imagine what that must be like. And you are trying to wrap your understanding around this, and trying to see how a man who earned your trust (and dare I say your love) so easily- effortlessly even- could be capable of doing harm to one of your own…. It is inconceivable.

Oh, dear friend, my heart aches- because, true as that may be, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

And so as you sit and read this, or listen to this, you may be trying to take the next step in this horrendous ordeal, and you may very well be asking yourself, “What do I say to my child? How do I talk to them? How do they talk to me?” And I get it. It’s uncomfortable. It may make your stomach knot, your hands shake, and your mind turn to blank slate status.

(And that’s why I’m sitting at my table amidst chaos of child crazy to write this to you.)

Because at this point you most likely know the statistics, and you are probably going through all the “would’ve,” “should’ve,” and “could haves” that go Speed Racer through your thoughts. As it becomes more real you’ll look for blame and you’ll feel white hot anger that seers your blood and scares your soul.

And what about your child?

And, like I’ve said, I’ve been there.

Not where you are.

But where they are…

And maybe you need this tonight…

 

Dear mom, dear dad, dear guardian,

I’m confused.

A surge of emotions is coursing through this hormonal crazed body of mine – and adding to all of the thoughts and doubts and uncertainties that this world is already hurtling at me faster than I can sort through and swallow.

Shame flushes my cheeks and quiets my voice, and trust is something so broken within me I can’t speak a word even if I could somehow make sense of it all.

So here I am looking to you.

And you may go meet with a counselor and urge me to do the same- because suddenly so much has started to make some sort of sense to you- and I’m glad you are taking this seriously.

and it means so much to this battered and bruised heart of mine that you care enough to pursue all out the best way to handle my brokenness.

but going to see a stranger scares me right to hollow depths, because I can’t trust a single new face right now.

But I trust you.

The embarrassment brings shame, and there are things this child-growing-into-adult body of mine should still be ignorant of. And now I wish it was. But I can’t tell you that– I see the fear written plain across your face, and I know you feel hurt by a man you welcomed into your heart (and possibly our home.)

I wish you knew, despite whatever words are in my mouth, that I don’t blame you.

I need you to know that I am scared right to my core that you blame me. – And that this weighs elephant-heavy on my chest and crushes me right through.

Can you tell me honestly that the fault here is not mine? Not in any part?

Can you just hold me close when words fail you?

Don’t act like nothing has happened and that this is something to sweep under the rug- because I need to know that when I’m ready, whenever that may be, that I can talk to you.

That you aren’t afraid to hear me.

That you want to talk to me.- yeah, that. I need to know that.

Will you listen to me when I don’t speak a sound?

Invest in time with me and give me the opportunity to come to you?

Will you let me know that however much you may have cared for him, you care for me infinitely and un-matchedly more?

I’m sorry I can’t say everything right now. There’s too much I can’t put into words, and the flush in my cheeks and the fire in my veins (those flames of hate), makes it so I can’t say everything I need to.

Not now.

But sometime…. Sometime I want to talk to you about all of this.

But I see you are hurting. And I know your confusion. And I am child born from your flesh and the whole of my being aches right raw to think of causing you pain by telling you all there is to tell.

I am the child you bounced on your knee.

You curled my hair. And read me stories. We sang songs and laughed and we have caused each other hurts.

But this?  This is hard to tell. For this will be deep sorrow that will stain profound.

This will cause you pain, and I can’t say sorry at the end of it. There’s nothing for me to apologize for. I’m not used to sharing a pain with you and for there to be no fix.

But maybe we could walk through this together?

And don’t allow me to be complacent and victimize myself, but help me to move past this time. And make sure you continue to move through this time as well.

But don’t forget that this is now a part of my story, and this will shape who I become. And don’t worry, it will be good.

And yes, I will need counseling. A lot of it. And you can help. My certificate of birth you were given by the nurse the day you labored hard and bore me into this world licenses you to do just that. You can help counsel my heart and mind and bring me to a place where I can trust.

But here’s the most important thing, and it will be so hard for you to do.

Abandon yourself at the Cross. And open yourself entirely to Him. He has a plan in all of this. Point me to Him, while kneeling right alongside of me…

And let us find Peace,

Receive Grace,

And Seek Joy

Together and for each other.

entry eighteen

and how is so much wrong so fast? and why do the scales of life tip heavy to anger and irritability? a constant, rip right through your gut and straight out your throat – hot anger.

and why doesn’t time freeze?

dressing the baby in an outfit he’ll wear for the last time today. and it has come.

here.

now.

and it’s too fast.

the last time this clothing will be worn by a child from my womb- and have I missed most of it? has my energy been spent doing dishes and mopping floors – and thoughts consumed by these trivial mundanes when they are not actually being accomplished in the moment of the here and now?

when I have nothing to do but give in to sleep and still the list of the daily chores goes and rushes my mind- so I can be sure as to not forget a single one when it’s, you know, tomorrow?

and do I find my children’s laughter as important? to read their favorite lines for the thousandth time that day?

and what is true importance?

am I raising up children with an eternal outlook on life- the kind of young people who know what it means to live all out full tilt for the Kingdom- or am I teaching them to find their worth in the clean of the day?

and there’s a need for smiling more. for finding more of the joy. for putting away as you go and if something is missed allowing it to be found at a time.. one that is not now.

for laughing more.

for more pages and less screens.

for soft words and silly songs.

for just an actual enjoyment of the day that is given right gift. the now.

for writing the Scriptures on their hearts and for guiding them a little closer to their Heavenly Father. for teaching by action and not by diction. for allowing room for messes and ugly and for it to be okay when they just can’t control every emotion that bombards their tiny beings.

for grace.

for thanks.

for joy.

yeah, more time for joy.

for less putting off until tomorrow.

because the outfits of today may not fit tomorrow. and the growing doesn’t stop. and time is a never ceasing torrent of minutes. and days will never come twice.

little man coos

Liam’s crooked “got a secret” pure joy smile

a boy-child’s intuition

a girl-child-not-quite-two’s ability to make every expression heart stopping and hilarious

a husband home from work on days when the body isn’t strong enough

wedding invitations that cover photo wires

lit by glowstick toddler faces all awe and giddy