Friday, November 30, 2012

things that come in threes

Good things come in threes they say...
i've noticed that sometimes nudges from God come in threes too.
The other night i was texting with a friend who lives far away. We got to talking about how God is so funny in that for Him it's so rarely about what we do - or how our actions turn out... It's usually about where our heart is.  We talked about how that tiny shift in perspective (away from success or failure - and focused securely on heart) gives a different twist to our prayer lives.
We finished our conversation and my mentor texted me...and we got talking about the difference between apathy and opening ourselves up to really have relationship with God... She sent me this:

The next morning, over coffee, Neil said to me, "My friend and i got into an interesting discussion about heaven..."
i did a double take 'cause heaven isn't Neil's usual conversation fodder.
"Yeah? What about heaven?"
"Well... we got talking about how certain behaviours might honour God more than others - but i asked him what difference does it make since once we get to heaven it won't mean you get a nicer house or a greener lawn - isn't the point just to get there?"
i was like a third grader that has the right answer - holding my arm up in the air waving it with eyes glowing...
"No! That's not the only point! The point is to build relationship!"
i explained it to him like i've heard it explained before... that making the harder choices to honour God, to build relationship with the One who loves us, to obey when it doesn't seem like an obvious win...? Those choices are building spiritual muscles that we're gonna need in heaven. i told him how in The Great Divorce - CS Lewis imagined that some would find the ground difficult to walk on - or the air hard to breathe - because those spiritual muscles were weak and needing exercise. The beauty of learning to exercise those muscles here and now - is that we're going to want and need them someday - if not here... then there...
So three little conversations - all of them pushing me into a Conversation with Him.

Father? Do you want me? Because i'm here... and i'm yours... i'm ready.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

why wait?

Taking a deep breath & posting a few drafts from the past couple of months... This one is from nearly 6 weeks ago. There are more to come...
As a side note - i have been wanting to blog more, but a little one broke my laptop screen and we just can't stomach the funds to get it fixed right now, so i haven't been able to write as much as i've wanted to. Oh, i've had some good thoughts that have flitted in... & flitted out. i really, really miss my laptop and late night writing sessions when my husband is out of town. But for now - here is a little bit of life to share...


At the time of this writing, i am seven weeks pregnant... and it's a secret.
i've done both - the frantic spilling of beans and the careful holding of news... and i've found that the careful holding of news seems to spare me some anxiety - so despite the heaving volcano inside wanting to jump up and tell the world our news, i'm holding it, examining it, pondering it and keeping it... just for now.
i guess anxiety is to be expected for a mama who has miscarried three times. i know that sometimes my little ones have come to stay - and sometimes their stay has been painfully short. And so in these months - tho i have never been able to hold back the waves of love that lap over the little one growing in the secret place - i hold them with open hands, accepting this gift from the Creator, yet knowing that the Great Giver and Taker of life is sovereign... and i trust Him.
i don't know why i feel less anxious when less people know about my tiny growing one - but i do. It's some psychological blip that makes me feel the comfort of solitude in waiting out these anxious weeks... of course, i'm never completely successful in my secret keeping - my husband is in on it - and as of a day or two ago - so are my big girls... Which brings me to the next reason waiting works for me:
Morning sickness? Is awful. i won't dwell on this topic because goodness knows, i could fill page after page of whining, complaining and self-absorption. i'm so sorry that the first trimester seems to shake everything out of me - leaving me exhausted, nauseated and useless. i needed to let my bigs in on the secret because i owed it to them after my bewildering sudden failure to do and be and cook and teach. But i've found that sometimes - if i talk less, i complain less... i hope it works - even just a little.
When i'm nauseated and tired and hormonal - to the point that it's really hard just to focus on anything other than that tiny, flailing being that is making me feel so rotten, i start to fantasize about telling people. If only to explain myself, to give a real reason to little furrowed brows of little people who wonder why mama is being such a lunk.
i'm counting down in my head - not that many more days - then you can tell, paige... 
But then i imagine the reactions that are going to feel like a kick when i'm down & i start to think that maybe any number of days wouldn't feel like enough.
"i'd kill myself if i were you!!"
"How old are you anyway??!!"
"i thought you weren't having any more?"
and oh my heart, i just know i'm not strong enough to string together coherency amidst my nausea... i know i'm not smart enough to respond with wisdom amidst my first trimester exhaustion...
And so i bite my tongue and think to myself - in a few weeks i'll deal with all that...
But meanwhile, my little one grows.
Tiny son or daughter sprouts arms and legs, and furiously beating heart begins to pound in wee forming chest.
Technically - this little person is still considered an "embryo".
But my baby is blissfully unaware of this title - and is growing, doubling in size, taking what is needed from mama...
In a matter of days - baby will be out of the embryonic period, and enter the fetal period... It will be the same babe created on the very day of conception - the same one who had a tail and paddle hands, the same one who will one day... hopefully... be in my arms pursing pink lips - blinking in the light of day.
And so - i hope that someday i can post this... when i'm not seven weeks pregnant. A little memory of the snivelling, barfing, mess that i was in this first trimester - daily making the choice to trade anxiety for gratitude and sickness for a slower pace - and imagining the little June baby who will make every moment worthwhile.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mama's voice

Baby grows in mama's womb and her voice is the rumbling thrum in baby's underwater ears. Soothing strains become familiar before birth - and after - it's the sound that makes baby turn reaching for the one whose sound is constant, familiar and safe.
Soon, mama's voice is understood to be speaking mama's words - and they are not sifted, they are accepted as truth.
"No, baby. Danger, honey."
"Try this, it's nummy..."
And baby learns to hear and to trust the 'mama-words' from the mama voice that loves and teaches and instructs.
All other voices add to a rumbling distant thunder, but mama's words ring clear in baby's ears as baby grows and becomes child full of wonder..

And then something happens.

Other voices begin to be heard.
Their words are measured against the mama-words that are known truth, and sifted and weighed in a primitive balance of trust and maturity.

But Mama's words weigh the most.

For a time.
i've noticed my words have at last become a mere whisper to my big girls who are all but grown. Sometimes advice comes easier from other voices... wisdom from newer sources... instruction from different leaders.
And it's ok.
i never wanted to be a bull-horn authoritarian to my teens.... i've tried to be gentle and humble as i've mothered - and taken that primary - foundational - role of parent with pleasure, knowing the honour of that title is profound and my influence over those little lives distinctive.
So i write this blogpost to those who are granted that exquisite privilege of taking on a role of influence in my daughters' lives...
O, musician with the soulful voice who captures my daughter's heart... know that my 14 year old hears the strains of heartache and joy in your music. It moves her.
Be worthy of her respect.
O, speaker with the heartfelt YouTube three-minute sermons. My 16 year old is watching you. She is weighing your words against scripture and what she knows to be true about her Father.
Teach truthfully.
O, mentor - you might not even think of yourself as my daughter's mentor.... but trust me, she does. She watches you with your husband, or children if you have them. She follows you on facebook, she reads the links you post, she tries to imitate you in the tiniest ways that maybe only her mama will notice...
Live your life authentically.
And i hope my whisper gets to remain in the chorus of voices that my little ones choose to allow to speak into their lives... but i feel desperate to communicate to every entertainer, pastor, musician, artist, neighbour, friend and acquaintance that enters our lives - "HEY! My girlie is listening to you... could you be careful with that influence? She's awfully precious to me... i do the very best that i can - but my mama-voice is fading..."
And i feel grateful that i've spent all these years speaking truth. i'm glad they saw me struggle and give words to my doubts, fears and triumphs. i feel joy knowing that every day i did my best to point them to Jesus - the voice that i hope is the loudest of all... and i'm curious and pleased to see what influences they're allowing and inviting into their lives...
The teen years are humbling, awe-inspiring ones... We're only a few years in and so there's still a lot of fear and trembling, flying by the seat of our pants, holding on tight and letting go all at the same time... And i'm learning to trust my babies as they make their own paths, discover truth and begin to engage it, wrestle with it and then express it back to the world. i'm learning to sit back and listen, asking more questions, offering less answers... i'm learning that love doesn't micro-manage and that my littles are God's workmanship... not mine.
And so i'll teach my littlest ones Our Father and Jesus Loves Me. i'll present Truth with love and humility while my mama-voice is strongest. i'll keep their trust by staying transparent... and when my mama voice fades, i'll remain a familiar consistent hum in the background whispering my influence over the ones i love.

Monday, November 12, 2012

one day

i waken to sweet two year old Yum patting my cheek and whispering, "mom..."
i crack open one eye to see his sweet blue eyes gazing into mine hopefully, "It not sleep time anymore?"
i glance at the clock and shake my head, "Nope. It's not sleep time anymore, buddy. We can get up now."
His little make-shift bed is in shambles - a pile of blankets and pillows that exists permanently beside our bed that he claims is his real bed - and we let him claim it since we've been so relieved to kick little writhing boy out from between us.
i'm not getting up though, so little one asks hopefully, "i come snuggle in your bed with you?"
And i throw back the covers to welcome sturdy legs and dandelion fluff bed-head with impossibly fast beating heart into my arms. He can't stay still. He wiggles from side to side as i hold him and soon he's on his knees smiling at me... and i smile at him... and i get up.
Daddy's away on business, and there is coffee to be made. Hopeful sparkling eyed one pulled out frozen pumpkin mush from the freezer - knowing i'll mix up a batch of muffins if i see it there melting on the counter.
And soon there is perpetual motion - a family meeting about the fighting, a little one spraying an entire can of air freshener onto the couch, two and a half dozen muffins consumed, milk spilled, bibles pulled out, slobbery kisses exchanged with my morning boy.
And you know... i feel like i'm failing... amidst all the good smells of hazelnut coffee and pumpkin muffins... amidst the ever threatening messes and the broken, the dishevelled and needing a haircut... amidst the almost, but never quite fully finished school work, and the grades that should have been better but weren't... the teeth that seem to be coming in crooked, the husband that i need to ask forgiveness from... again, the tempers that flare up and the ones that respond in kind...
And it's such a broken pathetic little mess...
But i have felt more peace about this place of not excellent but adequate.
So i wrangle a wiggly boy and chop some of his mop of blonde hair off. It's a little better, i think. We pray for our family - and talk about how we can do this better. i tell my littles to get out some books - and i know that today - even if it doesn't all get done, some of it will. i sweep up some of the crumbs and clear a spot on the counter.
i'm doing my best.
And it's enough.


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