Saturday, November 12, 2011

A mother's heart bursts.

So while my son screams at me {you see Asperger's mixed with anxiety disorder mixed with puberty tends to mean acting out when stress enters in} . . .

and my daughter shares that she wants to be a foster care mom and housewife when she grows up . . .

and my tiny peanut of a little girl, who wears Indian lean features like a champ, cannot stop braggin' because she is beating us all in bowling . . .

I almost begin to get taken in.  I come to the edge of the cliff where I think perhaps I'll jump.  I'll take credit for the amazing and blame myself for the struggles.  And then I remember.

All is grace.

It makes sense.  And so, I lower my head and thank God for this wild adventure.  I remember that not one piece of this is because of me. 

It is all his.

Reaching for his hem,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

cutting ourselves some slack.

My hair was 4 different colors . . . darker brown growing in, reddish on the ends, lighter brown in between, and gray.  Kinda like this little guy.


My toenails desperately needed to be trimmed.  I was ever aware of the extra 10 pounds that have found their way to me.  And, I was {okay, I am} beating myself up for not taking care of myself.

And then, he whispers . . . you are mine.  You are my beloved

I am kinder to myself.

I whisper back, I am sorry.  I settle in to the fact that this is the causality of a different stretch of this life.  Crafting and chiseling and strengthening a soul is worth this causality.  Carry on, my King, and please ignore my vain complaining.

Reaching for his hem,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

the small.

The small has always had a hold on me, drawn me in.  I loved anything miniature as a child and let me tell you, as an adult, it is no different.  Give me my girls' miniature erasers, tiny little doll house sets, a barbie house to set up, a fairy house to create, and I am in my own paradise.  I love the small.

The small can become a world unto its own, a safe haven.

And so, these days, as life feels big, I crave the small.  Family issues, disagreement, big decisions loom.
  I want to feel small, safe, simple, uncomplicated.

As I crave this smallness, this blessed simplicity, I start to become hard on myself.  I begin to wonder.  Would that be running from challenges?  Could that mean playing it too safe?  Does God ask us to be small for him?  Or, is it that God asks us to be small so he can consume the space remaining?

And then, I remember a favorite passage of mine. 

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD,
for the LORD is about to pass by.”
   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

I remember that if I am too big, I won't hear the whisper, the whisper that breathes life and hope and feedom.  I decide it might be just what I need to become small in the ways God needs me to, because that smallness might be the only place I can hear his whisper.  And, I could use a really loud whisper from God right about now.

Reaching for his hem,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

tea party.

You just never know what is going to happen when little girls have tea parties.   Dolls attended.  Tea was shared.  Our dog attended and drank milk from an small tea cup.  And then, there was this little girl who drank out of an itty bitty porcelein Barbie cup.  {Did I mention she's a rat?}

If we can love a rat, who couldn't we love?

Reaching for his hem,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not what I had planned.

 written on Friday, October 14, 2011

        It’s the eve of the long anticipated Hartford Marathon.  The evening is gorgeous and the weekend promises to be quintisensial autumn weather.  Seven months ago I selected this particular weekend and set it apart.  Big letters on the calendar, in fancy script – Hartford Marathon.  I would run 26.2 beautiful miles, through the crimson and cinnamon and pumpkin colored splendor of New England in the fall. 

I would feel alive, adrenalin pumping in my soul, heart tapping a steady rhythm, feet jamming to the beat of dedication.  And then, the moment I visualized over and over in my eager mind would become a real life moment; my tired, worn out, exhausted body would cross the finish line, the hard work behind me and the celebration ahead of me.  I would be glowing, beaming, full of teary eyed amazement that I had followed through on this lifetime goal and I had brought my body to the best shape it had ever been in. 

A gold marathon medal would be mine.  I would wear it proudly, smiling at other runners who wore the same.  Forever, I would carry this achievement, this journey, this run; forever, I would know that even I could do this, me, a marathon.
        The eve has arrived.  And, there is no carb loading meal, no spaghetti and meatball dinner.  My running shoes are on the garage shelf and will spend the entire day there tomorrow, without the smallest run.  The medal that would have been placed around my neck tomorrow in Harford, while I so proudly smiled and inhaled the crisp fall air, will be awarded to another runner.  Tomorrow, when the runners take their positions at the start of the race {on your mark}, I will find my position on a gps so that I can find the conference location.  While the Hartford Marathon participants prepare for their several hour long race {get ready}, I prepare for an even longer day of my own emotional marathon.  The athletes will set their gaze on the miles that lie ahead {get set}, and my eyes will focus on the promise that there is a plan, there is a journey and a map and guide to escort me.  They’ll take off {go}, and so will I.  Their journey will challenge them, inspire them, bring surprises, hopes, disappointments and so will mine, so has mine.

        My feet have failed me in the physical.  They have ached.  Plantar fasciatis.  Tarsel tunnel syndrome.  Nerves, tendons, all inflamed, angry, injured.  Running taken off the table as an option.  A marathon deemed out of the question.  If only the physical was the only obstacle.

You see, my heart has cracked.  My soul has ached.  Disappointment.  Betrayal.  Hurtful words.    Ignoring this soul injury has been taken off the table as an option, while this marathon has been deemed absolutely essential.  So this race, I run.  This one I must run.  And, I suspect that “marathon” will not be a big enough word to describe it. 

I imagined that completing a marathon would go down as my greatest accomplishment.  How proud I would be of me.  Shallow.  Pitifully self focused and shallow.  Not my best thinking about where my worth is rooted.  My new race, this new marathon, will not be about accomplishing anything.  It will be about merely showing up and turning every bit of it over to someone else, the One.  This One will carry me through many miles as I grow tired and weary, walk beside me on others to provide encouragement and support, and pick me up during those miles when I stumble and cannot seem to find my will again. 

 It will be about growth, about strength, about enduring when it hardly seems possible, about one step at a time, even if I must slow down to a crawl.  It is all about Him and not a thing about me.  I will not be able to complete this race, to run against this challenge without him.  His living water, his spirit food, his promises.  Without these gifts, there is no marathon, no finish line, no strength to complete the task, to run this unanticipated race.

        It likely is obvious that I never expected this shift in plans.  I suppose no one ever does.  We plan as if we have control.  Silly folks that we are.  Yet, each day, while I took care of details unassuming, He knew this was coming my way.  He knew as I sent in my registration for Hartford, that I would eventually send in a form to request a refund.  While I was picking out the most fun color for my fuel belt, He knew the box I would package it in to return it to amazon.  He listened with me to countless hours of runners’ stories, tips, experiences, knowing all the while that there was valuable wisdom that I needed much more, wishing I would give Him that attention. 

 He knew my story and knew I needed to rest in him, not my own abilities.  I suspect he was sad to see that a physical accomplishment was where I was focusing all of my energy.  When did He ever speak words of direction toward focusing on the physical, on earthly accomplishments, on turning something so innocent into an idol?   While all along I thought a marathon would shape me, He knew better.  He knew that I needed to be refined in the fire.  I needed a different kind of training, for I would be running quite a different kind of race. 
    The conference, “Healing for the Brokenhearted”, is designed for people just like me.  And so, tomorrow morning, I pack up my broken heart and broken dreams and I head in to a room full of strangers to hear beautiful words of truth, of healing, of my King’s unconditional, indescribable love for me.  I sit with my heavy {as in lead} heart, held by my Savior, and I begin to drink his living water, his spirit food, his promises.  I fuel for the marathon.  I prepare for the healing.  

Reaching for his hem,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

in the whisper.

There is a whisper in the deepest part of my soul.  It sits right next to the longing.  No doubt that both were placed side by side by an intentional God.  I long to do something for children whose circumstances are wrong, whose love is present but not returned, whose hearts ache and they do not notice because they have never lived without an ache.  This longing is compounded by my heart, my passion, my love for special needs children.  It's so intense.  It burns. 

Enter circumstances.

There is nothing in my life right now that spells "go".  It simply signals that I halt, that I wait.  There must be a purpose for this passion, this longing, this love.  Oh that I might sit patiently and wait for his plan to unfold in circumstances that feel impossible.


I long for resurrection.

Resurrection of dreams, of traveling the road that leads to difference.

After all, I am claimed by the God of resurrection.  Have at it, God.  Use these deep passions of my soul. 







Reaching for his hem,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

fresh air.

Today was our Fresh Air interview.
A child will join our family for a week.
A child will add perspective to this spoiled life of ours.

I cannot wait.
I am scared and nervous and estatic and thrilled and giddy.

Here's the region we live in.  Perfect for some fresh air, right?

When I was younger, I begged my parents to have a Fresh Air Child stay with us.
No way.
"When you are older, you can do it," is what I was told.

Well, here goes . . . .

Reaching for his hem (and some adventure),

Saturday, March 26, 2011

life is coming.

I could spend hours out there.
Tracking down blossoms.
The signs that life is coming.

Reaching for his hem,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Parenting lesson no. 634,598.

The parenting lesson I learned today:

never, ever ask your 12 year old son to wake up his 8 year old sister;

he will select the foghorn app on his ipod, set the timer, and place it next to her ear. Sister will be grumpy all day, while brother will giggle all day.

Laughing while I am reaching for his hem,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Did I really just do that?

I did it.

I signed up for that Hartford Marathon.

What have I done?

Reaching for his hem,

Friday, March 4, 2011

i will follow.

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you I will follow you
- chris tomlin

Reaching for his hem,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

made it!

Plotted a running course for this morning.
I am certain the hills were just like this.
But, I made it and the hills seem so defeated right now - even if I did have to walk a little bit - and I feel just a wee bit stronger than before I tackled them.

Hmmm . . . could there be a metaphor for life here?

Reaching for his hem,

Monday, February 28, 2011

before my King.

Job did it.   And, he was found blameless.

David did it.  And, he was a king after all.

So I did it today.  I ushered myself before my King and shared that I am not pleased. 

And, I asked him to blot that lousy state out of my heart.  I told him that I am craving him. 

I want to hear his heartbeat.  I want to feel his hand.  I do not understand him.  I wish I understood why I would give him my life and he would allow these difficult moments to enter in.  I do not see his plan or how his hand could be in it.  I cried at him.

And, I knew it was okay.  I knew he holds my tears and my hand. 

It was okay because he already knew everything I was feeling and he welcomed it.  He welcomed all of it - the lousy and the ungrateful along with the belief and the grateful.  That is just the kind of God he is.  He wants me as he made me, not a me who wears a mask or pretends I have it all figured out.  

Job received joy.  David received purpose.  I know he's got a plan for me also.  And you, too.

We'll find it.  We'll see it.  He promised.

Reaching for his hem,

Saturday, February 26, 2011

forever surprised.

Anne Rice, in her book, Christ the Lord, gives Jesus words, words she might imagine him saying.  At one point, when asked what he will do next, he tells his seekers, "I will go on from surprise to surprise." 

I love it. 
I claimed it. 
I had the words engraved on a bracelet. 

Surprises.  He greets us with them daily.  I wear the words to remember that I must open my hands to receive them - the good, and oh it's so hard, but also the bad.

Yesterday was a struggle.  Somehow, I put the struggle on the shelf and decided to live like it wasn't there.  Oh, if it were always that easy.  I spent the morning at my daughter's preschool brushing up against the amazing love of children, and decided I was going to soak up the creative.  Forever 21 looked like a fun store to check out.  I forever felt way too old to be shopping there, but I dove into the fun with my girls.  We laughed.  They picked out necklaces and helped me pick out a cute shirt.

The struggle didn't join us.  Surprise.  The pain slipped away.  Surprise.  My living in the moment of who I was made to be and not in the storms that threaten my sea - it was possible.  Surprise. 

And then, he reminded me he was there and he had been the one who let the joy in, who brought the strength to find the joy.

Surprise.  On the bottom of my Forever 21 bright yellow bag - there it was, in simple bold letters: "John 3:16".  Surprise.

Don't you love when he surprises you?

Reaching for his hem,

Friday, February 25, 2011

he notices.

“ . . .God notices the most trivial act, accepts the poorest, most threadbare little service, listens to the coldest, feeblest petition, and gathers up with parental fondness all our fragmentary desires and attempts at good works. Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He loves us, what different creatures we should be!”
-Mrs. E. Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward

Reaching for his hem,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

she waits.

She waits after class for me each morning.  Lecture ends, questions are posed, students gather at the front of the room and then they weave their way out.  Each morning she stays.  Her heart is so heavy. 

She can't eat.  She can't think straight.  She can barely get through a sentence without filling up with tears.  Life has been so difficult.  His abuse, his nasty living, his put downs, his mean words, his manipulation.  She has decided to make a different choice.  She will live free of this.

So, we talk of divorce law and custody and support.  But, what we really talk of is pain and freedom, tears and hope, sadness and possibility. 

And, I pray.  I pray for her, for hope, for her heart to be safe.  And, I utter a huge thank you.  Thank you for this moment where I can feebly attempt to support.  I wonder how many times I fail to see these moments because I choose hurrying through the moment instead of meeting the needs of the moment.

Reaching for the hem,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

my job in heaven.

"Mom, you're so good at drawing butterflies," she said proudly and thought deeply.  "Maybe when you die, that will be your job, you know, making butterflies."

Ahhh.  I love the way a five year old thinks and dreams.  Through my children, I begin to see more and more why he asks us to come to him as children, to have faith, to dream, to love as children do.

Reaching for the hem,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This very moment.

During our recent visit to Mexico, I stumbled across this mask. That portion of the mask that appears to occupy the area of thought contains what is, in fact, the Mayan calendar. It led me to think about how we so easily get stuck on thoughts of the calendar, the next thing, the next moment, time, plans, rushing, hurrying. It's nothing new. My desire. You've heard it before. Simply said, I want to focus on the moment. I want to be present. I do. I want to breathe in each grace filled gift. Or do I?

Well, maybe. Maybe not.

What about the moments that I just want to fast forward, the ones that are painful and hard and mean spirited and beat me down. What of those? Do I really want to remember those and embrace those and be in those fully? How does one live in even the moments she wants to run from as fast as she possibly can, the moments she wants to erase from that calendar in her mind, the ones she wishes were not a part of her life?

What of those moments?

His grace is present there also. Oh for eyes to see.

Reaching for the hem,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Buried. Words that no good can come from.

We gathered in the kitchen, programs in hands, laughter under our breaths and serious understanding in our hearts. The burial ceremony had begun. We buried "words no good can come from."

Really. We listed them - put downs, nasty comments, names, stupid, freak. We named them - mean words, idiot, jerk, critical words. We dug up the earth and made a place for them. We will strive to keep them in that place, pray that we can. These words, written on small strips of paper, are gone forever. These words are to decay in the ground and be wholly absent from our relationships, we pray.

We needed this important reminder that the words we use have power beyond our understanding. These children need to believe in and with every fiber of their being that they are not what words are spoken about them or called out to them in anger. And so, this simple ceremony was theirs, an indelible memory of the choices we will make with our words.

It seemed right to give the laughter and giddiness that seeped through smirks and smiles its proper place and so, we ended with an apple juice toast in colorful classes to celebrate the gone forever words that no good can come from.

Reaching for the hem of his garment,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beautiful Things.

There are beautiful things in this journey,
even when the pain is immeasurable,
when the person you love cannot be found underneath their facade,
when you cannot figure out how to take yet another step.

This, even this, all of this, will be made into a beautiful thing.

Reaching for the hem of his garment,


A shift.

It's time for me to make a shift, to crack through the ice and emerge with purpose.

Three posts in and I feel the nudge.

I am walking through this journey with a bipolar family member.

It is rocking my world. Bipolar is difficult, gripping, painful for those effected.

And, support is hard to find.

So perhaps, this can be my place to offer some of that needed support to others.

Here goes . . .
Reaching for the hem of his garment,