Saturday, December 15, 2012

Empty Stockings

On December 9, 1988 I went to spend the night at a friends house.  We were going to go out to "coffee" (mostly cream with a hint of coffee for flavor).  My mom had asked where we were going for coffee and when I told her she said I could go to coffee somewhere else but not there.  She had a bad feeling.  I said I wouldn't go and was allowed to spend the night at my friend's house.  After I was dropped off, my friend and I proceeded to go to the coffee shop my mom hadn't wanted me to go to.  It didn't make sense why we could go to one and not the other.  It was just coffee.

Not long after we arrived at the coffee shop two other friends showed up and asked if we wanted to go to Chico.  My friend's mom had given permission and we thought it would be great fun.  We piled into the mustang convertible.  The driver told us to put our seat belts on.  I remember the request was strange because we'd never worn them before.  We put them on and headed down the highway.  I was crouched down a little in the back because I didn't want my hair to get to messed up.  We were laughing and everything was going just fine until we got to a curve.  Apparently the new driver got nervous and over corrected causing the car to spin, slide sideways and finally flip several times before landing on the other side of the freeway upside down.  I remember the spin and seeing the girl in the front with her hands over her eyes screaming and my friend next to me sitting straight up with her hands in the air screaming.  Everything was in slow motion.  I remember the car sliding sideways and rocks flying into my face and the front of the car lifting up into the air. 

I woke up upside down in the dark.  I looked to my right and the girl sitting next to me was in an awkward position.  I remembered from drivers ed first aid that if someone is in a strange position don't move them.  So I got myself out of the seat belt and turned away.  I felt my head and it was squishy, like squeezing a Barbie doll's head.  There were cassette tapes on the ground and I started tossing them out under the space between the ground and the car.  Then I heard voices and a white gloved hand appeared under the door.  I grabbed the hand!  In my mind it registered that it was a butler with white gloves and the edge of a tuxedo jacket, not the medical gloves of a paramedic.  He told me he had to let go of my hand because they had to use the jaws of life to free me.  I didn't want to let go!  I still didn't understand what was going on, what had happened, but I did understand that the gloved hand meant I was safe.  He had to pry my fingers off of his.  I heard the loud sound of something cutting through or breaking through the metal. 

I crawled out from the metal cave and laid down on the stretcher.  They put something around my neck and wouldn't let me cross my ankles.  And they wouldn't shut up!  They kept asking me questions about who was in the car, phone numbers, addresses.  I answered them, but I just wanted them to be quiet so I could go to sleep.  I felt so tired.

When I arrived at the hospital they cut my clothes off.  They were my favorite clothes!  The ER doctor was related to my drivers ed teacher and I remember telling him not to tell anyone he'd seen me that way.  They took x-rays and did tests.  I just missed needing stitches on my head.  They put me in a room for observation.  I felt sick.  No one believed me until I hurled over the side of the bed and onto the floor.  My mom came into the room crying.  I asked her if I was in trouble for disobeying.  That was all I could think of.  She was just glad I was alive.  The nurses helped me get up and go into the restroom.  No one had told me I had scratched my face on the asphalt.  From the top of the side of my head, missing a little hair, and down the side of my face to just before my mouth I had road burn. 

After letting me sleep for a few hours my mom came back to my room.  I asked how Trina, the girl next to me, was doing.  She didn't speak.  I said "she's dead, isn't she?"  She nodded and cried.  I cried too...but it was more a forced cry because I knew I should be crying.  I was in shock.  Trina's sister came and her mother. I learned that Trina's position had been awkward because the car had landed on her.  I told them I was so sorry.  I had been another daughter in the family.  I couldn't understand why the Lord had taken her and not me.  I was a Christian, she was in the process of asking some very deep questions about the faith.  It took me years to learn that we don't have to understand what He allows to be able to accept what He allows.

This accident took place just 2 days after Trina turned 15 and 3 days before I turned 16.  I was in the hospital for a week with a major concussion, severe whiplash and minor internal bleeding.  All I could keep down were grape popsicles.  So many people came to visit.  People I didn't even want to see came to visit.  I would fade in and out of consciousness and wake up to find people standing at the foot of my bed.  On my birthday a group of my friends came and had gathered around me so when I woke up I asked if I had died because they were crying.  My brother brought the video Willow and was allowed to stay in my room to watch with me. 

Trina's mom didn't do well after the accident.  Her life fell apart.  She couldn't accept help from anyone. I say couldn't rather than wouldn't because it seemed her sorrow was the only thing she had left that she could give to Trina on a daily basis. That Christmas there was an empty stocking at Trina's house.  Presents purchased were only painful reminders of what would never be. 

These thoughts were on my mind and heart when I learned about the elementary school shooting. I think of how tragic a car accident is, but how different it is from a shooting. A car accident is just that, an accident. It was caused by someones inexperience not by someones purposeful act of violence.  An intentional act of violence is pain added to pain.  I think of the poor parents of these children from Sandy Hook Elementary School and 20 empty stockings this Christmas. 

Thank God for the hope we have in Him and the comfort we find in Him.  He too has wept.  He too has lost children.  Let us pray together for these families and appreciate our children this Christmas and cry with thanksgiving and joy when we fill their stockings and, most importantly, share with them the light of Christ coming into this world, which is the purpose of this great and holy feast!

O Lord who watches over children in the present life and in the world to come because of their simplicity and innocence of mind, abundantly satisfying them with a place in Abraham's bosom, bringing them to live in radiantly shining places where the spirits of the righteous dwell: receive in peace the soul of Your little servant (name), for You Yourself have said, "Let the little children come to Me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven." Amen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting Grounded

I have made a new friend.  She is lovely and smart and truly a "kindred spirit".  She thought she was looking for someone to encourage her, little did she know how much the Lord was going to use her to encourage me in my mommy-ing. 
My new friend and I are both moms to first born daughters.  We are also each mom to our own set of boys adopted from the foster care system.  We both endeavor, often daily, to understand the unique needs of these boys and struggle to determine whether or not we have finally lost our minds or if it is just part of raising children with extra needs.  
She asks, "Is it normal for boys to use their nightlights to make sparks and scorch their outlets? Is it normal for boys to lie constantly? Is it normal for boys to see how much they can get away with when their parent literally walks out of the room for 5 minutes? Is it normal for boys to sneak into food, hide the wrappers behind the washing machine, and do this every single morning before you wake up (and it’s still dark out) even when you’ve fed them man size, hearty portions all day long? Is it normal for boys to be unable to look you in the eyes even when they know they are not in trouble? Is it normal to go over something that is inappropriate or dangerous a dozen times or more and boys are just going to keep doing it regardless what you say or what consequence you give? Are these all seriously normal boy behaviors and I missed the memo somewhere?"
My response, "We are in the trenches in a battle for their souls as well as our own. This is what I was thinking about when I named my blog The Ascetic Lives of Mothers. We are constantly being forced to die to ourselves, battling against unseen forces (whether spiritual or physiological). There are the constant behavior grenades going off and attitude snipers that catch us unawares. We are blindsided by the attachment disorder tanks and surprised by the auditory/sensory processing special forces. And yet we stand. By the grace of God we stand. And though we might be dragging them through the mud and forcefully setting their feet upon the ground, they stand too."

Our boys are different, and they DO have issues some will never experience, but I think every mother struggles, at one time or another, to understand her children.  I think we all struggle throughout our mothering journey to understand ourselves as mothers, working out our salvation, laboring for our children and with our children to help them to be able to stand firmly as they learn to walk in this world.  I think most of us doubt ourselves and look back at our parenting journey with a list of what ifs.  But,GLORY BE TO GOD, our Lord reminds us that all is not lost and our labor is not in vain. 
2 Cor. 4:8-10 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Dearest Lord Jesus, show me how to be a loving mother to my children. You know the desire of my heart is to mother my children in a way that will draw them to You. Forgive my shortcomings and help me not to sink into despair, but to rise up in faith with the knowledge that Your holy power is strong enough to sustain me and guide me to be the mother my children need. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen and quick to forgive my children of their faults. Grant me Your vision for my children that I may know how to train, encourage and pray for them. For you are holy now and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Lord Giveth

Today was my first experience attending a termination hearing even though we've already adopted three children through the state.  With our first adoption we knew our son was going to be ours from the beginning.  Rights had already been terminated.  I'd never met the parents. 

Our second adoption was with two older boys who know their birth mom and dad.  I knew the parents before the adoption but again, because of the unusual circumstances parental rights had already been terminated before they came back into our home.  I had a connection with their birth mama but it was already a done deal so the mourning was different for them. 

But this one?  The parents didn't show up.  Perhaps it was too painful. I can't imagine how painful it would be even if I was finding a way to "cover up" the pain. 

List after list of offenses, failures and issues were read.  Some were called to testify.  All this while my 23 month old little boy played at our home (or screamed :) or escaped from the living room) totally unaware that his fate was being decided for him. 

You may wonder why I wasn't jumping for joy on the inside as the parental deficiencies grew more and more apparent to the judge.  But in situations like this there is a loss first, which should be recognized.  Not only the child's loss, but the parent's loss as well.  There at least needs to be a moment of silence...a respect that we have when someone or something has died. 

Yet out of those sad ashes comes great joy for our family!  We will be receiving another son!  4 strong and amazing sons!  Crazy and LOUD sons!  The Lord has seen fit to grow our family His way.  He knows the purposes behind providing our family as the landing spot for these pre-men.  Even with our deficiencies within our family, He knows exactly what is necessary and what will grow well in our "family garden". 

Dear Lord, thank you for the amazing blessing of our son-to-be.  Show us how to raise all of our children in such a way that they will desire to walk with You all the days of their lives.  Have mercy upon his parent and provide every opportunity for them to come to know You.  For You are blessed now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


My dear friend, godmother, mentor and walking buddy has taken the hand of Jesus and stepped over into His country.  She found out in April that her life was going to change forever, whether it was through healing or through death.

There are many lasts when a person begins their journey towards death, even sudden death.  When someone is taken quickly, unexpectedly, the ones left behind will think of last words, fights, laughs...the last things they did together or why they were apart at the last. 

I had the blessed opportunity to share some "lasts" with my friend.  By God's grace my 6 children and I were able to drive 1500 miles in our little van to visit while Terry was still responding to the chemo relatively well.  We all got to see her and, because of the kindness of others, my little boys were able to visit with family for two days and my big girls with friends so I could sit with my friend.  Sometimes we said nothing.  Sometimes I was asked to position my head so the sun wouldn't be in her eyes or to warm a hot pack in the microwave for use to relieve some of the pain.  Sometimes I just sat next to her chair clinging to her arm...laughing, crying, talking, waiting...loving God, hating death.  We stayed from Wednesday to Sunday after church.  We took pictures.  We said goodbye and I watched her being helped to the car by her children. It was a last.  The last time I saw her with these earthly eyes.

For days and weeks after that I sent emails for our daily "walks". Our last walk had taken place in Mount Hermon.  One lap around the block, but it was so precious to me!  Now our walks were in cyber space, but we still walked, though I did all the talking.  And then the news came that her body was no longer responding to chemo.  We kept walking but the walks were slower and slower with fewer and fewer words. We had our last "walk" on September 15 and our last words over the phone a few days later.

For anyone who has ever attended a birth you may understand this.  When the contractions start coming there is a sense of excitement.  The life changing moment is almost here, though there are usually many hours of waiting and work ahead.  The mother is still able to talk and interact with those around her relatively well.  There might even be some joking.  But when a woman starts to go through transition everything changes.  She desires the atmosphere around her to change so she can focus on the work at hand without distraction.  The lights are dimmed and there is a reverent quiet that hangs in the air.  The mother does whatever she must to work with her body toward the birthing of that precious babe.  It seemed like the same thing was taking place as Terry's body began going through the contractions that would birth her from this life into the next. 

And in those moments her family experienced precious, painful, glorious moments with that sweet lady.  Their own lasts that will stay in their hearts and minds forever while those of us in the "waiting room" contemplated what our lasts had been.

Last night her last breath was breathed, but a first took place as well.  Her first breath in the King's Country! 

Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant Terry who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins she has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin. For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant Terry, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Freedom from Anger

The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing. St. John Climacus
Now how do I do this as a mother? "The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred."  All too often I go with the "stirring" of the heart and wherever that might lead me.  I usually react instead of responding to the situation and I have no thought of the heart issue we're facing but I tend to look for the nearest emotional "bandaid" so we can fix it and move on.  What would happen if I kept my lips silent?  First of all I think my children might get worried that something was wrong with me, but after the shock wore off I think it would allow them the opportunity to think and to see that mom is taking it seriously enough to put some thought into her words...hmmm.

"The next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset." How wild are the minds of mothers?! I know my mind is quick to assume the role of god instead of seeking the will of Christ our Lord.  My own thoughts become judge and jury when an offense has been committed.  And if my mind is busy with its own thoughts how on earth can my ears listen to the "evidence" or my eyes take in the attitude visible on my child's face or in her body language? But if I did silence my mind...if I did put road blocks up to stop the constant would my response differ?  Those times I have stepped back and taken a moment in silence I have found many of the issues I thought were so pressing actually fall away to reveal heart issues...issues I need to bring before the Lord in continual prayers.  Of course this doesn't mean discipline may not be in order, but I will not be sinning in my anger if I take that moment to reflect, pray for my child and address him in love.  What impact might I have on their souls if I consistently approach them in this manner? 

I have a friend who made a pact with a group of young moms long long ago that they would treat their children, all the time, as she does in public. What an amazing idea.  I know I don't intentionally speak differently, but often I do.  You know how you can be...uh...speaking your children and then the phone rings.  What happens?  Ask them!  They know your voice changes to that fairy godmother sounding sweet voice.  What would happen if they received that voice all the time?  Yes, when we're interacting with other people it's like running a sprint.  It's easier to keep it together, even if you get frustrated, when it's short term.  Interacting with your children and family...well that's a marathon.  I think we often try to run the marathon as if it is a sprint and that is where the problem.

"The last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing." What does that mean exactly?  I'll give my mommy guess.  It could mean that when storms come, in this case family storms, we should aspire to be calm however hard the winds blow, anchoring ourselves in Christ.  What impact would this have on our homes? 

-Oh Lord of hosts, hear my prayer.  Lead me to walk your path in silence and avoid the snare of anger.  Bring me to those still waters and calm my heart and my mind so I may then address not only the actions of my child, but more importantly, the heart of my child.  As you deal with me, O merciful Lord, may I also deal with this child You have placed in my care. Amen.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Real Pearls

I was just looking at a picture of you holding a very baby Noah. It is so precious!!! It brought to mind the Welcome to Holland story you sent out.( )

I'd have to say you are on that same adventure but with a twist. While they were preparing for Italy and ended up in Holland, you have spent the majority of your life preparing for heaven while living on earth. You have learned to walk here and to talk and developed relationships and learned the language while at the same time studying through prayer and learning with joy about the home prepared for you sight unseen. It is hard because the "customs" here are so familiar and the relationships so deep.

There was another story about a little girl who had a pretend pearl necklace that she loved very much. She wore them all the time and only took them off for bath time. Her daddy came to her one night and asked her for them:

One night when he finished the story, he asked his daughter, "Do you love me?" "Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

-This is what your whole time in "Holland" has been for. To store up treasures in heaven through learning the language of the people the Lord loves. By caring for all His little ones. By acquiring and sowing the seeds the Lord has given you here. And you love these things dearly and although you love these pearls so much He is asking you for them so He can place in your hands the treasure that will bless your heart even more! I cry as I see you holding out your hand, but it also gives me hope that when He asks me for mine I will be able to hold out my hand to my Lord as well.

I Love you dear friend. I pray you will be pain free tonight!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Learning to Love the Water

Today we celebrated the feast of Pentecost and had our annual church picnic. Some of the kids went swimming and that just reminded me of all our years at the pool together. You magically knew if any child in the pool area had gum in their mouths...without looking sometimes. I remember those aerobics mornings when Schey was just a baby. I had never considered treading water for that long. I remember you letting Kiah take level one even though she was too young for it. You saw the swimmer in her. (she was the 4 year old who freaked people out because she would do a flip off the side of the pool and then, to their surprise, swim like a champ) I always looked forward to any of the Becks teaching my children. You all had such a magical way with them and were able to pull out the best that no one even knew they had inside. When Schey was in level 2, I think, she was so tiny. Keidi was teaching that day and got her to swim the width of the pool. I had tears in my eyes and was wondering why the rest of the pool wasn't cheering and there was no music because I felt like I was at the Olympics. I saw you with the reluctant swimmers and how you would calm them and help them learn to love the water. When Megan started she SCREAMED from Monday through Wednesday. I started to think I should take her out but you encouraged me to try one more day. Thursday was the day she fell in love with the water.

So here is the Lord, slowly coaxing you to Himself in these new waters. He is the instructor and He knows just how deep it is and how strong your muscles are. He is dipping His head in these scary waters and blowing bubbles with you. He is standing back from the side and asking you to jump to Him...He knows you can do it...and you know, deep inside beyond anything that makes sense, that He will catch you. He will take that little bit of faith you must feel you have and build on it with skill He teaches you one lesson at a time. He is teaching you to "love the water".

I love you friend!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cause Me to Know the Way in Which I Should Walk...

I wrote before that my dear friend is dying.  We were, and are, walking buddies and while we can't physically walk together anymore we've been "walking" online since her diagnosis. I thought it fitting to put some of these "conversations" on the blog because she is an AMAZING mother and certainly strives to live a life pleasing to her Lord.   I wanted to share some of our "walks" as a reminder to me to put one foot in front of the other on my own journey and so I can say to my Lord,

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You." Psalm 143:12

"It's a Corrie Ten Boom kind of day.

I say it's a Corrie Ten Boom kind of day because you have been called to do something very special and difficult and terrifying. Your story is in the public's eye as well. I love her story because she was honest and never knew how she was going to respond to each situation, but she, like you, was willing. Willing to take each step. Willing to crawl through despair. Willing to admit that you are, and always have been, powerless and the Lord really does hold the whole world (YOUR WHOLE WORLD) in His hands. I remember that Corrie and her sister Betsy found things to be thankful for...even the fleas in the barracks because the fleas kept the soldiers out so they could have at least a little peace.

It sounds like the Lord is giving you little bits of peace. It is incredible to read what you are accomplishing for one so sick! Today someone said something about your struggle being an amazing gift to all of us (here I go with another "I hope this doesn't hurt your feelings or make you depressed" thing). We are all walking to the arms of Jesus we just don't know when we will meet Him. Your journey, now more than ever, is showing us all how to walk that walk. Of course with all that is in me I want you to be well and I don't want you to have to carry this cross. I wish I could help relieve the weight of it! But what I see is you hefting that cross up on your back and taking each step. I see you perfecting your "technique" through the strength of Christ. Sometimes you have to rest, but you never put it down.

‎"Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ― Corrie Ten Boom

Thank you for blessing us all with the strength for today and "bright hope for tomorrow". Thank you for accepting the Lord's faithfulness no matter what it may look like.

I love you!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Words of My Mouth

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord…”    –Psalm 19:14

When my children were little we received some tapes from a kind Mennonite group.  One tape had little children singing the above verse.  It was very sweet and surprisingly catchy.  I found myself humming it around the house.  It is a humbling verse because I know the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart are not always acceptable in the sight of my Lord.  I know I tend to react (or overreact) verbally when my children are misbehaving instead of heeding those teaching words of scripture.  I come from a long line of loud women…and I take full responsibility for my own tongue.

When my children were babies the words of my mouth would praise their every little action or sound.  I would babble right along with them and in their eyes I could see a real connection taking place.  It was magical.  Their whole bodies would show excitement at the sound of my voice when rescuing them from nap time.  My words were soothing and encouraging.  And then they got older and my words changed a bit.  There were many more commands and corrections.  The “bad dog” tone of voice showed up and they had to learn the new language of “no”.  As time went on I used a mixture of encouraging and corrective words, depending on the moment and, unfortunately, depending on the mood or circumstances of the day.  

I will own that I didn’t always seek to use the words the Lord would have me use to correct my children for their edification.  I didn’t always speak to my husband with kind words.  I was guilty of spewing out  poisonous words of nagging and manipulation.  I would see my children’s eyes gloss over when I would lecture, giving analogy after analogy.  It was hard because when I was encouraging a sister in Christ with an analogy they enjoyed them and would often comment later how something I had said had positively impacted their lives.  Thankfully the Lord didn’t allow me to remember what I’d said so I could not boast at my own wit or creativity.  What I failed to understand with my children, and with my Lord, is that listening needs to take place in order for me to know if my words are even necessary.  His words are a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, not my words. 

“Our profit comes not from the quantity of words, but from the quality.  Sometimes much is said, but nothing is heard, and at another time you hear only one word and it remains in your memory for your whole life.” -St. Anthony

My girls are nearly grown and our words towards each other have changed.  Yes there are still corrections and commands but the volume is being turned down on my words and being turned up on theirs.  Pretty soon mine will be mostly muted as they enter into womanhood and, if the Lord allows, wife-hood and motherhood.  My words will be more "by request only" as I step back and watch them live their lives. I pray the words they retain from the years of words coming from my mouth are those of repentance, confession, prayer, forgiveness, mercy and any word that brings glory to my God.  And may the words they speak to their husbands, children and the world be full of the goodness of the Lord, in spite of the fallen state of their mother.
To God be the glory.  Amen.
To read more about how we use our words, check out these blogs:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Walk to the Finish Line

"I do so want God’s will. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else." ~Kh. Terry Beck

My friend is dying.  My strong, godly, amazing friend.  When I lived in California she was my walking buddy.  Up at 5:30 am she was my faithful companion, even when I wasn't faithful.  We had some great conversations on those walks.  We talked about memories, challenges, victories. We shared recipes, parenting tips, writing suggestions. 

Those walks stopped in 2008 when we moved to Colorado. THOSE walks stopped, but we did not stop walking.  We have continued to pray for each other and face challenges.  I've heard of victories, felt encouraged by her parenting tips and writing suggestions.  When she told me they saw a spot on her pancreas I had a sinking feeling.  I just knew it was going to be bad.  And it is. 

When she turned 50 she had a celebration of life as she embarked on the journey of being an "older woman".  Each person present told a story or shared how she had impacted their life.  Each of us had a rose which was place on a wire and the wire was turned into a wreath for her.  Well now she finds herself in the middle of life's greatest transition.  The body pleading to live and the will and mind learning to surrender to her God and Savior.  She has run the race, she has followed the path and though the finish line includes carrying that daily cross, I am confident she will be welcomed by her Lord.  He will say of her "well done my good and faithful servant".  In her lifetime she has taken the talents the Lord has given her and more than doubled them.  She has been the Proverbs 31 woman providing for her family and her husband is honored at the gates because of her.  She has been an amazing example of providing a home for the "fatherless" and caring for God's children.  She has rejoiced with those rejoicing and mourned with those who mourned.  She has been aware of her flaws and shortcomings and endeavored to repeatedly die to herself and follow Him. 

The Bible tells us to run with perseverance the race set before us. Usually I say we are running buddies in this race of life for the Salvation of our souls. In this case, due to pain and fatigue, we are walking buddies. If the walking gets too difficult I will crawl with her and when she can not move the prayers of all who love her will push her inch by in toward the finish line.

Dear Lord grant Terry the strength to endure to the end and like Aaron and Hur holding up the hands of Moses for Israel's victory, let us support her on each side with prayer until you call her home.  Amen.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lenten Journey

Normally people look for things to "give up" during lent.  Chocolate.  Diet Coke.  TV.  Internet.  But sometimes Lent isn't about giving something up.  Sometimes it's about willingly accepting something.

For the last 3 weeks my youngest son has been struggling with insomnia, which means this momma is struggling with it too.  He wakes up between 2 and 3 in the morning with his body running at 150%.  He runs, jumps, rolls, yells and bounces on the exercise ball to get all of his energy out.  Somewhere around 6 am he passes out on the floor or the arm chair and wakes an hour later to officially start his day.   We've discovered that in addition to his sensory and auditory issues he has to try and handle a mood disorder (read bipolar spectrum).  All this resting on the shoulders of a 7 year old boy.  And the Lord has seen fit to call this unworthy mama and my wonderful husband to help carry some of his burden.  Of course I'd LOVE to enjoy a quiet moment without worrying if he's putting a hole in the wall or if the bomb is going to go off again.  Of course I'd love to sleep through the night again, but being the recipient of not only this precious boy but also the Lord's amazing grace...well...I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth,
faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility,
patience and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King!  Grant me to see my own
sins and not to judge my brother (husband, children...);
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages.  Amen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lord Have Mercy

"As soon as you notice in yourself any irritation, just say firmly, 'Lord have mercy.' With prayer we are purified from every defilement." ~St. Nektary
What a complete prayer!  Whether you are rejoicing or in great despair "Lord have mercy" says so much.
My eldest son has some huge challenges with control because much of his life has been out of control.  I posted the above quote in several locations in our home to remind us all to seek the Lord's mercy instead of seeking to control others through bullying.  At first he stomped around the house saying "Lord have mercy" making sure his words were heard by the offending sibling (or mom).  He pointed out that it wasn't working.  I suggested perhaps he should say it quietly every time he felt frustrated, not to control anyone, but to find peace himself. The result?  He stomped away asking God's mercy for his delusional mom :) 
But as the days went on something started to change.  Instead of using God's mercy as a weapon, he started to see the fruit of his efforts.  Though the behaviors of those around him didn't necessarily change, he began to change.  He was giving up his control to Christ and in return Christ blessed him with His peace. 
It was a miraculous 3 weeks.  His countenance changed and he seemed to actually enjoy life. Then came the challenge we all face...maintenance.  We all tend to stay focused and faithful in prayer when life is challenging, but as time goes on and we see the Lord work in our lives and the strain lessens we tend to say "Thanks God, I've got it from here."  It seems to go well for a while as we struggle to walk on water in our own power, but like Peter, we find when we take our eyes off of Christ we begin to sink.  We find ourselves right back where we started, and sometimes worse off. 
My sweet oldest boy has much to learn, much to heal from and SO much to give.  And this momma is still in the process of learning this same lesson.  So, we take a deep breath and whisper "Lord have mercy" as we continue to learn to trust that He really does know best and that perfect peace does not come from controlling the world and people around us, but by dying to self and becoming a servant to all. 
May the peace of Christ be with us all this new year as we learn to walk in His ways :)