Saturday, November 9, 2013

May 26th 2013

Dear Carter,

The longer I'm at this mothering thing the more convinced I become that this job of raising you and your siblings is one for the longest of long hauls. And it is not for the faint of heart or for those desiring instant gratification. A few years ago I felt I heard God whisper to me in a time of worship that my job with you kids was going to be akin to scrambling around gathering up tiny little pearls that you drop here and there as you scatter about through your days. You'll maybe only drop one a year some years, which means so SO many days where I'll see nothing. No fruit, no evidence that anything we're doing or teaching you or praying for are making any difference what so ever. And in those stretches, I am to cling to your pearls. To hold them as evidence that God is at work in your heart and I can trust HIM. So this blog is the place I will try to write down some of those occasional pearls. Mini signs of softening, mini glimpses of the gospel seed, taking root, burrowing down deep in your heart. And I will pray over them fervently until the Lord turns them into a beautiful Oak of Righteousness.

Sunday, May 26th 2013 was one of those days. You, of your own volition. Coaxed by no one, encouraged by no one, wrote down on your Sunday School paper, "I want to receive Jesus.". Your teacher showed it to me, our eyes went wide and then we went on with our morning as normal while I waited for the right time to make mention of it. But as we loaded in the car, you brought it up yourself.

"Mom, did you see what I wrote on my paper today?" you asked. "Show Macy".
I told you I did see and I thought it was amazing, and I asked why you decided to write that.  You responded something very matter of fact like, "Well I hadn't done it yet."  Child, you make me smile.

Later that night I had a chance to talk with you more and your dad did too, we both had pretty enjoyable conversations with you separately. You are a boy of course, so our talks with you are completely different than with your sister; shorter words, less emotions, lots of distractions. But you were happy and engaged and you seemed genuinely aware and settled on your decision. Like you knew it meant something. You said you believed Jesus was real and that He died so you could be friends with God and you wanted that. We talked about your teacher and you told me Mrs. Lemos doesn't believe God is real even though 'You told her He was.' We talked about how not everyone believes or understands that God is real and that He loves them and that's part of our job to show them how much they matter so that they'll know there's a God who they matter to. You told me you were gonna try really hard to show Mrs. Lemos that God is real by the way you treat her and others. My heart soared with your little words. Pearls Carter. Pearls.

Months and months have gone by, but we've had another smattering of pearls dropped the last couple weeks and so I'm recording them here as well.  Last week as we drove home from church you asked me if we could talk like we usually talk at dinner about our highs and lows, but do it now. I was a bit confused (and distracted..lets face it...5 loud kids aren't easy to talk over) :) and trying to figure out what you meant and you were getting antsy trying to find the words. Finally, with a sheepish face you half smiled and I heard these words pour out of you.

"Well, really I guess I just want to tell you that, I just, I dunno, I just really really like church. And I like when we sing the songs, I just feel really good when we sing them, like I love God a lot or something."

Be. Still. My. Heart. I almost wrecked the car. :) I agreed with you, told you I knew what feeling you were talking about and we shared a moment, amidst the crazy chatterings of your 4 siblings, we looked at eachother in the rearview mirror and I swear I watched another tiny little speck of 'hard' fall off your heart.  Since then you have had a couple other "mini's". Offering to pray at dinner, and actually really trying to pray. Asking to help make dinner, offering to do kind things for your brothers and sister. Unexpected snuggles and happy obedience. They're sporadic, they're always surprising and they're most often sandwiched between fits and frustration. But so is LIFE, right?

My first born son. My heart. I'm convinced I'm sitting front and center, watching the slowest of metamorphoses take place in your heart. Watching chunk by chunk of it be transformed and softened.  I'm believing God for it, and I'm cheering you on. I am your captive audience.

Keep it up Lord Jesus. Keep it up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lest I Forget

To my children. I'm not writing or remembering much these days. Life is too immediate and all consuming. But tonight I will try to pause. Even if just for a second and in a very haphazard and chunky way; to jot down the happenings of our now, and my feelings about each of you on this very ordinary night in the middle of March.  

My sweet daughter. You are eight and in second grade. Actually you're in Ms Hallam's 2nd/3rd grade split class which makes you feel just a tad bit bigger than 'just' being in second grade. You are smart. So so smart. You are reading at a fifth grade level, blazing through books like crazy. You read to Carter all the time and I love watching you guys in those moments. It's touch and go, but you two have something pretty cool between you. You asked for gymnastics lessons for your birthday and then completed a 'diligence chart' of sit ups, push ups, back bends and jumping jacks every night for 4 weeks to earn a second 'session'. You are a hard worker, and you LOVE you some reward charts, yes you do. Nothing motivates you more! Except maybe earning money :) You are currently scheming like crazy to create a 'business' of things to make and sell, the latest being little mini pouches you've sewn for kids to keep mini treasures in at school. Ah school. You are a little leader, daughter of mine. You come home every day with a new 'badge' or position, or paw print recognition for helping someone, cleaning up trash, organizing the lost and found, you name it. You make up clubs and talk to me about all the girl drama that goes on at recess and ask for advice on how to help your friends get along! Sometimes you display this kind of leadership and patience with your brothers. You are super helpful with the twins and Jack, playing with and doing things for them. Other times you are fed up and well.. not so patient, but I think you are learning alot of that from me and it breaks my heart. The other day you came out and announced that Cooper and Jude had 'prayed with you to ask Jesus into their hearts!' you were pretty serious and excited about it, the twins had the goofiest 'we don't know what just happened but we made our sister happy' faces on. It was adorable! Oh you have a soft heart little girl. I can see you longing to be close to your dad and I, the other night you genuinely started crying when you realized that there were only 10 years left before you'd go to college and you told me you never ever wanted to go, or get married or anything because you didnt want to leave us! But for all that love, you are also pushing up against us pretty hard at times lately. Testing out your attitude, expressing your frustration over so many boys in the house, or the high expectations we have for you (like keeping your room clean and staying focused when you're told to do something right away - gasp! the nerve!). Yep, there's been a whole lot of stomping and eye rolling coming from your little 8 yr old body lately, but you're staying teachable and when I take the time to meet your eyes and draw out your heart, you always meet me there in humility. I'm sorry I don't take that time with you ALL the time, it makes me sad how many missed opportunities I have with you because of the craziness all around us, but I hope you know somewhere deep down how much I adore you. Because I do. I desperately do!

Mr. Bot. YOU are six. And in Mrs Lemos' Kindergarten class. We are thankful for her because she's firm and tough with you but she clearly likes and enjoys you and I think you respond well to her because of that. Kindergarten has been good for you which is SUCH a relief for your dad and I. You struggle to not talk and keep your hands to yourself so you go down to 'yellow' a ton and we are working on that one like crazy, but for the most part I think it has pushed you in so many areas to work through things that used to be harder for you. Oh how I pray you keep moving in this direction! Clothes and shoes and stickers and showers etc etc etc are all still a struggle for you, but there is progress and understanding occurring. You glue things in class and you wear underwear now..(MOST of the time atleast) and those are no small victories! You are getting older. In that strange middle place between the innocence of still calling a cut an 'owie' and wanting me to sing to you and scratch your back at night to the obnoxious grade school boy-ness of cracking up at farts, smelly feet and wanting to go to the park by yourself. (with your sister of course) :) Child, you have the strongest, most stubborn will I've ever known. You would demolish your 3 yr old brothers in a fit throwing contest. You just seem to see red and flip and for the most part theres just no 'pulling you out til you pass out' for lack of a better way to say it. At the same time, you are growing so much! You now do karate all by yourself since Macy is filled up with gymnastics and softball. You are doing so great! You focus, you practice, you try. It's awesome to watch, I am SO proud of you. You just did your schools 'Starstruck Dance performance' tonight and you totally did it! You were so cute up there, nervous and trying hard to remember the moves etc. Watching you succeed is a bigger thrill for me than I could ever hope to explain to you, I really don't know how else to say it. 
You know how to read now, even though its still a battle every time you are doing incredibly well in school and nothing seems to be hard for you once you decide to do it. You still love animals intensely and pick a new book about them every week from the library. You are also reeeally into Bey Blades right now. Speaking of being really into things, theres nothing you are more into than your baby brother Jackson. My goodness I've never seen you so soft and lovey and helpful. I can ask you to do ANYTHING with or for him and you will, in an instant. And he loves you too. It's been a miracle to witness. You still dont really want us to talk to you about God but you'll have your moments when you bring it up and then I can see you are processing and letting things sink in. I pray that over time you will want Him in your life like He is in ours, but that's His deal with you, I'll let Him seek you out in His timing. It is my hearts prayer that you continue to see how much your dad and I are FOR you, how much we love and like you and want to help you go wherever you want to in this life. I am your biggest cheerleader and your biggest fan. Dear Lord I hope you know that.

Jude. Jude-Dude or JoodleBug. You are 3 and you are one of a kind. Hilarious and super smart. You're independent, dad and I call you the wanderer because you just kinda do your own thing and you're good with it. You are so funny, always seeming to hit the right timing for a funny joke or look. You use SO many words to describe whatever you are saying or explaining and you just connect so many more dots than you would expect a three year old to. You are compliant, even in your disobedience; meaning you seem to logically understand when you've chosen to disobey that you'll get a consequence, and then you'll take it, without a fight or too many tears, just kinda matter of fact. It's pretty funny. You also have a sweet sensitive heart that I can tell understands and feels badly when you've chosen wrong or made someone sad. You don't like when I get frustrated and I can picture you scrunching up your nose to shield the blast when I've lost my patience with you. It makes me want to weep. Im so sorry sweet boy. Like your sister, I think you are softer than being with your other two brothers, and a part of this crazy household allows you to be at times and there are no words for how much this breaks my heart. I really don't know what else to say about it but I had to atleast acknowledge it.  You are a happy kid, though you do have a major pouting lip and you like to explain your 'fits'. Like "Mom! I'm kicking this wall because I'm mad that you said that I couldn't play the 'bideo' game on your phone anymore and I wanted to weally weally badly and since you said I couldn't that made me mad and so THAT's why I'm  throwing a fit!"  Seriously, you have said this exact sentence to me. It is very hard not to laugh. :) You have also been preoccupied with death and heaven the past few days. Asking me constantly when you are going to get to go to 'God's home' and telling me how badly you want to go 'while you are still three'! It's actually begun to make me cry at times as I get this irrational panic that maybe somethings going to happen to you or something crazy like that... So I kind of hope you stop this train of thought soon...okay?! :) Oh Jude. You bring me such joy, your sweetness, your humor, your smile. I love you bud.

Cooper. Mr. Man. You are also a major crack up at 3. So fun and SO much energy, You are a buzzing little bullet, speeding and zipping and dashing every which way. You have that side of Carter in you. You are a very happy and helpful boy. Dad and I call you our 'little buddy' because you want to be with someone at all times. You dont really seem to care what they are doing, if someone is including you, you are all in. You help me with dishes, dad with building or cooking, Carter with his toys and games, Macy with her elaborate plans. You beg to do 'schoolwork' with me and Jude or have playdates with Blake and Jordan. You just love being with people! You are also super athletic and ask to play baseball, soccer, scooters you name it, ALL the time, and you are such a natural! You too have a string little will my boy. You're a fighter and have quite the feisty side, your fits aren't anything to laugh about that's for sure. I see you learning and grasping and figuring things out. I am needing to be more consistent with you because you are starting to push limits and test boundaries. You and Jude can make me lose my mind sometimes with your 'silly' disobedience, particularly in stores and man can you whine with the best of them. But you can also switch it off and snap out of it pretty quick if I take the time to get your attention. Thats encouraging. Because I can see in you that you are infact eager to please and obey. Both you and Jude are, I see it, its just that youre we're still working on it! :) Oh yeah, and you and Jude loooooove love love to wrestle. Constantly, all the time, without ceasing. Your bodies literally seem like one body at times you just do not stop touching, pushing, pulling, falling on eachother. It. is. exhausting. *Sigh* My absolute very favorite time with you Cooper, is when you wake up. You walk in, usually bare chested since you don't like to sleep in shirts, with your blonde hair all tousled and messy, a sleepy daze in your eyes, and a slight curled up grin on one side of your lips. You come really close and with your suuper raspy voice you yawn out, 'Mom, can i peaz 'nuggle you?' Oh Lord, I hope I can always picture you doing that. You just melt my heart to pieces every time.

And finally. Jackson Wayne. Jack. Jackie, Cracko-Jacko. Oh my precious little baby boy. I am in love with you. You are so incredible sweet and cuddly and squishy. I could stare at your pudgy little face for hours. I could just sit and watch your eyes light up when you smile at me and never want to go anywhere else or get anything done ever again. You have melted every last ounce of me into a puddle of mush. You are almost 5 months as I write this and I desperately want time to stop. I dont want you to talk, I dont want you to walk, I want you to stay my easy, simple, little one for as long as you live! Dad and i joke that you'll never do anything wrong. Ah if only one could dream! Its just so wonderful and therapeutic to have a baby that you dont need to correct or teach or encourage, it has suddenly become so obvious why there is the classic youngest child syndrome! I will try my best not to spoil you but I can already tell it's gonna be hard! You are so easy going, the best sleeper in the whole wide world, I didnt even have to teach you how to get yourself to sleep, take naps, sleep through the night etc etc, you just did it. Crazy baby :) You love to just watch all the commotion around you and you barely make a peep about it. You let anyone hold you (and shake, poke, lay on, kiss and squeeze you) all day long and you reward them with smiles and happy noises. You sleep about 12 hours at night. I haven't started solids with you yet but soon, you're getting close to rolling over but haven't yet and you loove to chew on your toys and fingers. You suck your thumb but still take a paci too and you *might* be a lefty... we shall see! Dad and I call you our 'Cheater Baby' because it's almost not even fair to call you a real baby you are just so sweet and mellow and easy... so far.. so keep that up will you?! We'd really appreciate it. Oh Mr Jack. Thank you for forcing your way into our lives. I can not imagine not having you here!

So my FIVE children. That's who you are. On March 20, 2013. Our life and house and days are crazy. There is alot of loud, alot of rush and ALOT of tears. But there are also alot of smiles, ALOT of laughing and a ton of memories being made. And because there ISN'T alot of stopping to write things down going on. I thought I should take a second tonight, while you're all sleeping soundly in your little beds, to stay up way too late, and get some things down on paper. Lest I wake up one day and realize that all five of my babies are already grown ups.

Goodnight little ones. Your mom loves you with a desperate kind of love.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friday, Dec. 30 2011

Macy Grace.

The date above marks a special one for you and I want to record it for you before I forget the details. Your dad and I have never really wanted to put an emphasis on the idea of 'becoming a Christian' or that praying some magic prayer one time makes you one. Being a follower of Jesus is so much more than one decision you make when you're only a few years old. BELIEVING in God, Who He is, What He says about himself, you and the way this world works, is a LIFETIME journey of faith that I pray God deepens in you over years and years and years. It will involve millions of tiny steps of faith as your capacity to learn, grasp, trust and act, grows. You've actually already taken quite a few and your dad and I have watched you genuinely believe that God loves you, genuinely believe His truth that His ways are good, and that He wants you to love others before yourself. We've watched you understand His forgiveness and want it. In your tiny person way, to the utmost of your ability at this very young age, you already want His ways and His help. So we didn't feel any need to compartmentalize your journey and relationship with God into a recordable decision.

But on Friday, December 30th, 2011 when you were seven years old and lying tucked in to your pink polka dot bed, something really special took place in your little heart. You were reading your 'big kid' REAL bible that we gave you about 6 months ago, like you do every single night, with out fail no matter what. (you are ADAMANT about it, I dont know where you got that but it is NOT optional to you and you cry if we try to suggest going straight to sleep when it's been a longer night for whatever reason. It really is baffling to us, you NEVER forget.) I came in to tuck you in and convince you to turn out the lights for the night and you were full of questions. You'd been reading the story about the Israelite people and how they had to put the blood of the lamb over their doorways to show that they believed in God and wanted Him to save them from the plague of death that was coming that night. You'd think that'd be a confusing and maybe even scary story for a little girl but you were very matter of fact. "Mom, how come that made a difference?" "Why did the sacrifice of a lamb rescue them?"

We went through a number of these questions and then asked the ones at the end of that section of your bible. "Where else in God's story do you see Him rescuing people who believe in Him, once and for all?" You were confused at first and I said, "Is there another time in the bible that you remember there being a great rescue?" "When Jesus died on the cross" you said, "Oh! like Jesus dying was like them putting the blood over their doors, it says we believe in Him, we're part of His people and we want Him to save us?"

You are pretty darn articulate for a 7 yr old :)

"Yes!" I said "that's right!" We talked a little more and for some reason you got increasingly agitated. You kept huffing and acting weird and finally said, "Mom, I just.. I just, I dont know! I just don't know if I have what it takes." I giggled a little to myself at your drama and asked you to clarify. "Like what it takes to believe," you said, "Like I THINK I believe but how do I know?" you said and you started to cry.

I couldn't tell what line you were walking. Sometimes these questions are serious, sometimes they are you playing out some adult like conversations and drama in your head." Either way it felt real to you right then so I did what you and I do alot now. I drew you back to truth. "Mace, let's not let our feelings trick us right now, let's look at what we know."

We read "But if you confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart, Jesus is Lord, You will be saved."

In over emphasized simplicity, I smiled at you. "Macy. Do you want Jesus to be the Lord of your life? The One in charge? Do you believe He is the Son of God who can forgive you when you make mistakes so that you and God get to be friends forever?"

Giggling a little bit. "Yes"

For added silliness. "Have you said that out loud? Do you want to say it out loud now?"

Real giggling now. "Jesus is my LORD!"

Pointing to the bible verse. "Then what can we KNOW for sure?"

Big Smile. "That I'm saved?"

That's right! You are friends with God, you are forgiven and saved. Forever. You will have lots and lots of opportunities where you will have to choose between your way and God's way. Whether or not you are going to believe things God says are true about Himself and this world. And that will help your friendship with God grow stronger and your belief in Him will too. But that's about growing up with God and it will happen over time. God says even the tiniest little bit of belief in Him is enough to start your friendship, and you already have that. You don't ever have to worry that you don't have enough.

I'm not sure exactly how all the rest of our conversation went, honestly it was a bit of a blur. But it was awesome. And then your dad came in and we told him what we'd been talking about. And then we all prayed together and you prayed out loud asking Jesus again, to be in charge of your life.

Gosh I love you sweet Macy Grace. You are a very very special (not so little anymore) girl.

Congratulations on another little step in your journey with Jesus :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clinging to the Truth

Dear Macy,

My precious baby girl. You are already six years old; I can't believe how you've grown before my eyes. Sometimes I watch you, and I become overwhelmed with the full blown girl in front of me. We have definitely entered the next phase of parenting with you and it is frightening and exhausting and completely wonderful.

I have to tell you some things I'm learning about you though. So that I can get them clear in my head and continue to hold a mirror up to you so that you too can grow to see them clearly in time. They are things that I am afraid you are just beginning to battle, and you will have a long and tear filled journey ahead of you I'm almost certain. But oh my sweet girl, I promise you, I will battle with you. I will help you, I will show you truth and I will be your teammate. Because I know this struggle I am seeing in you and my heart breaks that it will be yours too.

You my daughter, are self-righteous.

And you are struggling right now, really really struggling, to see your wrong doing in any and every circumstance. You do not easily admit fault, you look for every which way to blame someone else, and to distract from the truth of your guilt; even by bending the truth. You're not bending it like in a bold face lie you know you're telling. It's worse, more tricky than that. You are lying to yourself. You are working yourself up, in crying and fits and complete uncontrollable despair and you are telling yourself LIES. Your emotions are distracting you from being honest with yourself about the situation at hand and so you truly convince yourself of these 'it's not fair' and 'everybody hates me' lies.

I am not a stranger to these tactics, they get worse as you get older. And so my daughter, I see you. I see you. And I love you all the same, and it hurts me to watch such a complicated struggle go on inside of you. But don't worry. I am here, and I will help you.

Tonight we had a good talk. I don't know how much you will remember, but I sensed the Lord step in and give me wisdom and words for you, so I want to record them before I forget them. Cuz like I said, this is a complicated struggle, one that stirs deep wounds and memories in me, and I often feel incapable of steering you down a different path than the one I've walked.

It started out with a silly choice you made to come back to the table and eat your dessert without cleaning your room like you were supposed to. You let us believe your chore was done and ate your cookie anyway. So when the 4 of us sat down to read Magic Tree House and I discovered the state of your room, I let Daddy and Carter go ahead and start reading while you picked up your room like you were supposed to. You were missing the beginning, and you came completely unglued.

You began reeling with excuses and tears of injustice, when I stuck to my guns you became mad and huffy. The amount of times I had to stop you and correct your attitude and disrespectful comments while you were stomping around picking up your room ended up making you miss the entire chapter of the book. You were so so upset.

Climbing in to bed with you I waited for awhile until your tears calmed just a bit, but your sobs were still consistently about how unfair it was and how I didn't like you and how nobody cared about you. When I asked you who chose to not clean their room, you wouldn't answer. Instead you started talking about a bunch of other things. I could tell you were so distracted you couldn't even keep your mind focused on why you had actually received the consequence. We were making little progress.

I asked you to give me three feeling words and you said, "Stupid, Sad and Angry." We started with Stupid and you said you felt stupid because you felt like nobody loved you, even God. While I had a suspicion that you did not actually feel that but simply thought that would get my attention and I would feel sorry for you and let you off the hook, I decided in that moment it would do no good to convince you you didn't actually feel that. We'd simply go round and round.

So instead I told you there was a tricky problem with feelings and I was gonna tell you a secret. You were a little intrigued, I felt your little body relax a bit and quiet itself to hear me.

I told you that the bible says that feelings, more than anything else, are tricky and can lie to us. So it is our job to take our feelings and check them against things we KNOW are true, even if we don't feel them. And then we cling to truth. I asked if you knew what it meant to cling to something and you said "No", so I wrapped my arms around you and squeezed you as tight as I could. You giggled a little and rolled over to face me.

"That's what it means to cling. To hold as tightly as you possibly can to something and not let go. And the bible tells us to cling to what's TRUE." I said.

So then I helped you check what you were feeling against what was true. We talked about how we know it's true that God loves you no matter what. And we know it's true that you have lots and lots of people in your life that love you. So your job, if your feelings try to lie and tell you no one loves you, is to tell your feelings to 'Get out of here!' cuz they are tricking you.

This seemed to make sense to you. So I went a little further.

"Macy", I said "What is TRUE about tonight? Did you chose to come back to the table for dessert without cleaning your room first?"

"Yes" you whispered.

"So is it anyone's fault that you missed the book tonight besides yourself? Is it really unfair?"

Your response was barely audible, but your mouth formed a little "No" and I didn't push it any further. I know how hard that admission is. And I'm very proud of you for seeing it.

We talked about alot of other things after that too. We made a deal that I would always help you figure out if your feelings were tricking you, but you would need to always trust me enough to share them with me; and then trust me enough to believe me when I pointed you toward truth. And then we prayed and your little words brought joy to my heart.

"Dear Jesus, please help me cling to truth."

Yes Macy, YES. YES. YES!

Tonight, you went to sleep calm.

Oh Macy Grace, I love you so so much. Hang in there sweet girl, I am on your team.

Love Your Mama

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


"Does anyone else feel as tired as me? Does anyone else feel the tears rise to their eyes but the timing simply isn't right because there's children, or business or life to tend to and so you shove them down consoling yourself that you will find the time to release them...later, and then quite possibly an entire week can go by as you continually push them back because literally there has not been a single convenient moment in which you could cry? And then when you finally do find that moment, late at night, does anyone else feel the tears heavy in their throat but for some reason the relief that you know would come from a good cry, just won't come? Does anyone else go around feeling like their grown up mask can't possibly stay on for very much longer and then the overwhelmed 15 year old will just crumple under the mound of things she's known all along she can't possibly handle? Does anyone else feel like they have no idea what they are doing?!"

I wrote the above more than a week ago. A sort of spewing of the contents of my heart in the silence of a lonely night. Things have not changed much since then except that finally, the tears did come. In big shoulder shaking sobs with huge gasps of air in between. Something about having a husband there to catch the tears makes them come easier I guess. Even though I'm sure he wishes they'd escaped me while he was still on the other side of the world. Oh well, "for better or worse" he said. Today was for worse; and he was still my champion. Allowing me a couple hours freedom to wander aimlessly around in my somber 'post-cry' state, clearing my head and tackling errands that have piled up to an insurmountable height. Already I feel slightly lighter. Gosh I love him.

I don't have any more to write right now. No tidy packaging to wrap this post up with, no hopeful moral of the story or silver lining. I believe in God. I believe He cares that I feel weary and bent beneath my load. I do not believe He is freeing me from it, even though I believe that He could. But I don't fault Him for it, I am not stomping my feet like a child not getting what she wants. I just do not know what else to say about it except it does not shake my core belief that He is still good and sovereign and holy. It just makes me cry, because I am tired, and I wish He would simply take pity on me.

This post is beyond low, but I feel beyond low. I'm almost positive I will feel silly and dramatic for posting this, but my fingers are flying across the keys without restraint because it just feels so freeing to type out this cloud weighing so heavy in my chest, to let it come pouring out through them even if only for a moment of escape. Posting feels like getting it out of me for a second, but I don't want to deal with feeling the embarrassment of having to look someone in the eye who ended up reading it. So I guess that's why I'm posting it on the hidden blog, the one I atleast can tell myself no one or atleast almost no one reads. Here you go cyber world, it's me. In the rawest of form.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Celebrating Victories

Dear Carter,

Last night was a good night. One I really really needed to have with you. It brought my heart such joy to see in you a glimpse of our Almighty God at work. Some movement, a molding of your little heart toward His ways. Toward a softness, an understanding and awareness, a wanting of Him. I wanted to record it before I forget; I wanted to record it so I can go back and remember that God is faithful to hear my prayers, my begging and pleading with Him for my children's hearts, and that even sometimes in the midst of my discouragement, He will bring about token's of victory that provide me the strength to keep marching on.

Last night threatened to be a tough one. Your Dad had already left to work on his sermon prep and you and Macy were buzzing to your toes with excitement that 'Tomorrow you'd be leaving for San Diego!'. Sleep was not going to come easy, and you had already disobeyed twice and gotten out of bed for less than necessary reasons. After receiving the standard consequences I could tell you were unaffected and had little intention of surrendering to the night, even if you were going to be punished for it. So when I heard your tip toes down the hall for the third time there was a heavy sigh lodged deep in my chest.

When you got to the couch where I was sitting and I turned to stand you saw the Character Trait book I'd been flipping through. You like this book and you like the stories we read from it at breakfast when we are consistent with our 'Trait a week' plan. You are also very very smart and you know that it is about God and that if Mommy was going to give in to anything it was going to be a request to hear stories about, as you put it, "How to make right choices." You literally said to me as I was walking you back down the hall, in the most sickeningly angelic voice, "Oh Mommy, I want you to read me those stories so I know more about how to make right choices!"

Child, you will be the end of me.

While I was in no way disillusioned to the state of your true motives; I decided to take the bait. So we climbed up on your bed and I chose the Chapter. OBEDIENCE.

See now, you're not the only clever one in the family! :)

And so we read, story by story and we talked about what obedience meant. And then we came to the story where the little boy thinks about doing something wrong but then remembers that God is always watching. You looked up at me with big serious eyes and said "Mommy, I believe that verse is true." The hint of a question in your voice betrayed your confident claim and I knew you were actually asking me if I thought it was true. I told you I believed it was true too and that I knew God was always watching and cheering for us to make good choices and obey. I told you I knew He was very close to us all the time, offering to help us obey if we wanted Him to.

You thought about this for a second and then with the sheepish sideways glance you've grown famous for you reached over to your covers and pulled them back far enough to reveal a stowaway. You had hidden your toy snake in your bed so I wouldn't see it, and in that moment I knew your little conscience had been poking and prodding that heart of yours.

"Mommy?" you asked, "Can I sleep with this tonight?"

I looked at you and though I knew my answer in an instant, I could tell you had no idea what your honesty had just afforded you.

"You know what Carter?" I started, "Because you chose to be honest instead of sneaky, because you chose to tell the truth instead of trying to hide something from Mommy, I get to say YES right now, you can keep your snake in bed with you tonight! I'm really proud of the choice you just made, doesn't it feel good?"

Oh your smile. Your dimples. The sparkle of pride in your eyes. Carter, I wish I could bottle these moments of softness in you; they turn me into a complete puddle.

"Mommy, I knew God was watching and I knew He wanted me to tell you about the snake."

And this was my favorite moment, I looked at you with excitement and told you what was clearly a hilarious picture in your head.

"You are absolutely right Carter, and you know what? He was rooting for you and saying, 'Come on Carter! You can do it!' and when you made the right choice He was so happy!! He's watching right now saying 'WAHOO!!! Carter!! Great job!' "

This tickled you so, you couldn't contain your giggles; but I could tell you were enjoying the feeling that comes with choosing honesty, choosing God's way. I pray it took root deep in your heart. I pray it wedged itself in there tight and that it will fester and grow an unquenchable thirst for righteousness in you. THAT is my prayer.

I kissed your sweet forehead then and said Goodnight one more time. We didn't even need to talk about what would have to happen if you came out of bed again, there was a sense between us at that moment, an understanding. You wanted to obey, you knew it felt good and you had no desire to test the limits. Oh for the ability to freeze time!

As I made my way to the door you laid tummy down on your bed, head on your crossed arms, cheek squished against your elbow.

"Mommy?" you whispered.

"Hmm?" I stopped and turned halfway to see your one eye poking out at me.

You lifted your head ever so slightly, "I just wanted to tell you that I love you."

Oh Carter-bot. Precious boy. I love you too. Way way more than you know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Dear Carter,
I'm fairly confident that through your entire life, no matter how old you get; you will never, ever grasp how many times you have made your mama cry. I am praying most of the tears are coming in a concentrated time during these couple of toddler years, but I'm certain more will come as you grow into a teenager too. And I'm just feeling so lost. I have no idea what to do with my hurt and discouragement over you, I never in a million years would have dreamed that a three year old could hurt my feelings so badly. And there seems to be no appropriate outlet for such pain, I can't try to make you understand how mean and personal your behavior feels to me and I don't want to go smear your precious little name to anyone who will listen and then be tainted in their perspective of you, and so I guess I will just write. Because you may be three and I may be a grown woman, but right now my emotions are so raw, my feelings are so hurt..I simply don't know what to do with them.
I love you so much Carter. It physically aches me, and yet your love is so fickle towards me. I know that should be expected of a toddler, but your fits feel so mean, so personal. I was so excited to spend some special time with you today while Macy went to preschool, possibly our last for awhile once these babies are born. And it started out so sweet and you were so tender with me, I was so glad for the gift of that moment. But I think it was just because you were getting 'treats' even though I let myself believe you were enjoying the time with me and my attention. The minute I had to draw any sort of line, make any sort of decision against your desires, you flipped your switch completely and fell right back into your defiance and angry faces at me. I have had to spank you two different times already today and you've just gone down for your nap! And in neither instance did I feel your complete softening toward me at the end, or a spirit of true repentance. I'm baffled at how hard you become as you look at me and laugh at my attempts to talk with you before and after your consequences. I'm shocked at how you don't seem to care at all that there remains a rift between us, if I can't get you to see it and not want it there, then how do I talk to you about reconciliation and restoration? How do I get you to seek it? I don't know how to get through to you.
I know I am too emotional about all this. I know you are too young to fathom how you are actually affecting me and I know my perspective should be much more that your transgressions are against the Lord and not me and I should just be pointing you to see that. But I can't help how painful and personal it feels. And I just needed somewhere to cry.
Oh Jesus, give me wisdom, please help me teach and train my little boy, please capture his heart and soften it, call him to You as only you can, break his strong will, bring him under your authority and even at three, give him some sort of compassion for his mama. I need your strength and patience Father God. I need help.
In your name I pray.