Rockabye

When I had babies in the house, by favorite time of the day was rocking them before bed. I’d hit rush hour traffic to get to them as soon as I could, make dinner during “witching hour”, and put them in the bath. As soon as that lotion and sweet baby smell took over, pacifier was popped in, and it was time to rock. Just baby and me.

This was when we could both get still and quiet. Sometimes, it took longer to settle down, but most of the time, once we hit that rocking recliner with jammies on, it was time for us both to chill.

I think about how this must also be God’s favorite times with us, when we rest in His arms and let Him rock us. He’s there for all of it. The hard times, the rushing, the washing, the crying, but in those precious moments when we let Him hold us, I imagine how happy it must make Him too.

As parents, holding our sweet smelling and contented babies, is when we can look past all the rushing and worries, and know it’s worth it. Sweetest times ever were holding my baby girls and feeling them relax into my arms. I miss it.

I know our Father in heaven must too.

We can do this anywhere. At our desk, in our beds, in our car. Let Him hold you. Let Him rock you. You are His precious child and that has never changed.

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Building the New…

Are we focused on fixing the past? Or building the new?

Jesus has the power to make all things new….and one glorious day He literally and physically will. But, while we are still here, He helps us too.

He doesn’t erase the past, but He provides wisdom from it. He doesn’t change what hurt us, but He equips forgiveness for it and provides a testimony from it. He doesn’t remove the people, He teaches us new ways of relating to them.

In heaven, all our troubles will vanish. Until then, looking to Jesus in our hurts can lead to better decisions, courage, and change.

He doesn’t call us to live like our parents did, He doesn’t call us to live like our friends do. He doesn’t call us to cower to human beings. He calls us to follow Him. The King of the universe calls us to make Him the King of our hearts. And, when we do, we should expect change. Changes in ourselves and in our circumstances.

 Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there. Isaiah 43:19 (GNT)

He goes to work. Change is scary, but when we make Him the King of our hearts, we can also expect His help in these changes. He asks us to.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

Sometimes, the new things He’s doing don’t seem good at first. They may even appear opposite. I’ve come across this many times. What I thought was a disaster, was Him making His way. So, I will trust You Lord. You are working. This is how You create change. In all things. We need to know He is still good and always good even and especially when things are not.

Last week, I apologized to my daughter for mistakes I’d made. Almost immediately, He lifted a burden. Today, no matter even her opinion of me, I’ve done what He called me to do. And, I thank God for that fresh start. May we trust His love enough to be human. To admit where we’ve messed up. To humble ourselves, receive His mercy, and show our kids how to do that. I believe God put that on my heart to better our future relationship. And, I thank Him for that.

Building the new is exciting. With Jesus in our hearts, we can expect help when the waves crash. He may not stop the storm, but He will show us how to maneuver and how to receive His peace and strength in it.

We can’t change our past, but we can learn from it. We can’t change people’s minds, but we can love them anyway and from a distance when necessary. We can’t force our way, but we can ask God for His and then follow step by gracious step.

What are you doing today to better yourself? Your relationships? Your health? Your finances? Your future? Your new? Let’s build.

I’m Done.

I’m done looking for love that was clearly never there to begin with.

I’m done explaining my choices.

I’m done trying to earn approval and hoping others like me.

I’m done pressuring myself to write or pressuring myself to stop.

I’m done expecting anyone other than God Himself to save me.

I’m done giving people God status. They are human, just like me.

I’m done letting my kids (or anyone else) tell me how to parent.

I’m done listening to the lies and accusations that I’m not a good one.

I’m done filtering my doneness. (That’s a real word, I looked it up).

I’m done trying to prove my love to people. Either they receive it or they don’t.

I’m done trying to do everything on my own.

I’m done looking for other things to make me happy.

I’m done. This is me, this is now.

Strength in a Spouse

One of the best things I’ve noticed since remarrying, is the strength I receive from him. He builds me up, supports my calling, kisses me every day, hugs me a lot, tells me I’m beautiful, holds my hand, sends me funny memes, prays over me, and texts me Bible verses when I’m anxious.

We have similar interests. We love to travel and can’t wait to be able to more.  We love to cook and try new places. Last night I hugged him and told him being married IS like a sleep over with your best friend, right? This is something I’ve never had. This is a happy happy thing. This is such a blessing, what marriage is intended to be.

He respects me and corrects me. Because of his tenderness, I receive it. He even encourages me to put myself first at times. He knows how hard that is for me. Just last night, he told me “Honey, sometimes it’s okay to think what about me?”

He is polar opposite of what I’ve experienced and his character is exactly what I prayed for. Kind, patient, strong, and supportive. I thank God for the growth I needed and went through to desire this. A true partner and friend to do life with.

He thinks I’m amazing and reminds me most every day. He helps inside and out. He admits when he doesn’t know something and his favorite place to be is with us.

He isn’t perfect, but doesn’t expect me to be either. His view of perfect is me being me. All of it. That’s his favorite version.

To feel stronger rather than weaker. To speak my mind more rather than less (he urges me to). To not fear disagreement because the love won’t change. To know that my smile is the most beautiful thing in his eyes and that my tears hurt his heart. To know I can ask for help or do nothing at all and his love is the same. To know he knows his own weaknesses and takes steps to protect himself knowing that protects us. To know he loves me that much.

This morning, I’m inspired to write this about him. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit. So, as you sleep honey, know I’m thanking God for you too. All of you.

Bracing for Impact

Teenagers.

We are coming in fast, and nothing can stop it. We have three teenagers in the house now. Well one is twelve, but will be in a few months and considers herself one.

We have a fifteen year old boy learning how to drive and twelve and thirteen year old girls in our newly blended family. It’s scary. I’m prayerful and it’s still scary. A new season.

We also have a mix of public and private schooling at our house. I’m blown away with what the public schoolers encounter at this age, and just as aware that the private schoolers will too, if they don’t already. It’s the world we live in.

Putting myself in their shoes has also got me thinking about how I was as a teenager…Not easy either. I couldn’t wait to go to college to get out of the house and have some “real freedom.”

I think about how much more trouble I would have gotten into if texting had been around then..

I remember my dad would pretty much only answer the phone if it rang after 9:00pm. And, that was to make sure boys and friends wouldn’t call the house after that time. If texting was an option, that wouldn’t have been an issue. I loved phone time. I remember talking for hours.

I remember getting caught on the phone in a lie. He happened to pick the phone up at the exact same time I did and heard stuff immediately that prevented him from hanging up. He caught me red handed. He asked me three times and I lied to his face three times. He already knew the truth, oh how that must have hurt his heart. The lying.

I’m going through this now. When our kid can look us straight in the face and lie, repeatedly, it kills us. And, we’ve probably all done it.

My dad’s punishment for that was swift and severe. He didn’t let me get my license when I turned sixteen and he sold the car I’d saved money up to buy the very next day. Severe. But, he knew me lying to his face was too. Righteous anger. And, I have some of that now too.

The video games drive me crazy, the constant secrecy of phones drives me crazy, the tablets annoy me, the staying up all hours drives me crazy, but I can’t help but think… “Would I be any different if I were raised in this age?”

My daughter has asked what I did all day when I was home for summer…I watched Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, and Young and the Restless with some movies thrown in. Same as them, except they watch YouTube and Netflix. I played Nintendo and they play graphic shooting games. The content is so much more risqué and/or violent than we had access too…Porn could be found, but not at the touch of a button. Google is wonderful, I use it almost every day. But, it’s made everything different. For better and for worse.

Summer downtime comes with summer boredom…Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. And, we’ve all fallen victim to them and to him. So, what’s a parent to do? Brace and embrace this season. Just like we did all the other ones…

So, as I write, by heart is racing and I’m bracing. But, still I will trust.

That our kids will lie and get caught and hide and also make us proud. That it will be hard, but that we will also have good times. That I will never know everything. That they will make good friends and not so good ones. That just because some friends or our own kids may lead to trouble now, doesn’t mean they always will.

Turns out the boy I got in trouble with is a preacher now. Every kid we encounter on our kids journeys are on their own too.

I will also trust that God’s grace will sustain us and that He will walk alongside us in this season too. May they come out of it knowing that no matter what get’s taken away (be it phones, games, tablets, or trips) that they are loved. And may we, as parents, model how much they have to gain when we lean on Jesus to get us through the hard stuff.

I don’t think it will be pretty, neither was having an infant. I don’t think it will be relaxing, neither was having a toddler. I don’t think it will be easy, neither is having a middle schooler. But, I believe it will be possible. Because, with Christ, He promises all things are. (Matthew 19:26)

And, I know seasons will change….because they always have.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not “Supposed” to Be This Way..

I write a lot about the difficulties of divorce. So many get them without considering the consequences. Some know full well and some are clueless. As a child of it and an adult who went through it, I want to clue some of you in.

Some sign in tears gasping for breath and some easily and nonchalantly sign papers. Some spend their retirement fighting for custody and some need a push accepting the inevitable. Some hire detectives and some throw parties. Some wake up and some shut down. Because people grieve differently and some don’t grieve at all, they are each different.

No matter what, it’s an epidemic that needs attention. Divorce causes confusion about how marriage was intended from the beginning and not only the pain of separation for the one left behind, but separation from our children. It’s not supposed to be this way…

Divorce is a life event never to be celebrated in my book. It has caused me so much pain over my lifetime, that it must be my calling. It hurts my heart for every child and adult that encounters it. It’s not supposed to be this way…

My prayer is that these articles comfort those who have been or are going through similar situations and that they warn others. That couples think twice, three times, four times, that they do the work needed, that they consider their examples, that they communicate, and get healthy…together. Because families are torn apart and it’s not supposed to be this way.

That they don’t just stay together for the kids. And never, if it’s abusive or unfaithful without repentance, but to show kids and others what marriage is “supposed” to be. Not easy, but strong. A union of two sinners who have to learn to forgive and how to be forgiven. A testimony to grace.

Once we “get over” the separation of the person we vowed that we never would (whole other article), the separation from our children is brutal.

I’m about to embark on my first month away from my girls and my heart just aches. One week away at camp pales in comparison to a month away. It’s not supposed to be this way..

I know divorced moms do this all the time. I also know it’s hard for them all. I know some travel, some rest, some work more, and some just sulk. I plan to do all of the above. I need to….

The ache in my heart reminds me that Jesus can feel it too. It reminds me of how it was the separation from His Father on the cross that killed him. It wasn’t the physical pain, it was THAT pain that He cried out over. “Father, why have you forsaken Me?”

Sin separates us from our Father. He took on ALL of our sin so that we would never feel the separation that He did. This separation needed to happen in order for us to never be separated again.  And, it killed Him. He knows the pain. It broke his heart. And, still does.

Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the one who started this journey of faith. And he is the one who completes the journey of faith. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NIRV)

Do you know that this “JOY” He looked forward to as He was beaten, nailed to a cross, and separated from His Father for absolutely nothing He did Himself was being with us forever! That outcome was worth all the pain He endured. Oh, how He yearns for that day too. He must after what He was willing to do in order for it to happen.

Even though I was the one who filed for divorce, I’ve always stood by the fact that it wasn’t my choice. I was the only one to show up to court. My dad went with me. He walked me down both aisles. I know his heart was breaking too. He’d already been through his own painful divorce. The man who paid for our wedding was now paying for our divorce and propping me up because he knew it needed to happen. It’s not supposed to be this way.

I wanted it to be different. I wanted to stay married. I wanted to get through it, stronger, closer, changed, better. That would have been my choice. But, it takes two to want that. Three with Jesus.

I also get the pain that dads feel separated from their kids. I get it. I’m married to one who misses his. While mine will be gone, we’re happy to have his kids for a month. But, we both know that they have a mama who will be missing them too. We both agree that it’s not supposed to be this way. Kids shouldn’t have to pick or miss the other parents. We didn’t bring them into the world to share them. Neither of us.

We both KNOW why God hates divorce.

Whether it’s camp, college, custody, distance, or death, may the Lord comfort us in our separation and may it be a blatant reminder of how much He hates separation too. Enough to die for it. May He fill in the gaps as only He can.

Last night all I wanted to do was spend time with my girls. They were both caught up with their friends and games. They don’t understand. But, my husband (who does) sent them to spend time with me. He knows the hurt and that time is always ticking….He knows because his time ticks too.

Next month, I’ll lean on him and the people God sends who will listen, care, and accompany me. And, may all of you other separated parents do the same.

Because, it’s not supposed to be this way…..And, because of the separation Jesus endured, one sweet day it won’t be.

What About Saturday?

This title has been bouncing around in my mind since Easter weekend…So much talk and significance about Good Friday and Easter morning, but what about that Saturday? Then, at church last weekend, our pastor reiterated this phrase. Time to write. And, it just happens to be a rainy Saturday morning…

That weekend, the weekend Jesus was betrayed, beaten, laughed at, and nailed to a cross. That weekend.

That Friday, I can only imagine. The confusion, the pain, the despair, the unbelief, that his disciples and mother felt. I can only imagine. Even though He told them over and over again what would happen. Even though He cried out for any other way. Even though He went through with it. Even though He knew it would happen. Even though…I can’t imagine the overwhelming darkness of that day for those who loved Him.

That Sunday, I can only imagine. The surprise, the excitement, the elation, the relief, the unbelief that the Marys must have felt seeing that tomb empty. Seeing that stone rolled away. Seeing Him dead before their eyes two days before and then seeing Him risen, hearing Him speak, and bolting back to tell His friends and disciples….I can only imagine the thrill of that day to those who loved Him.

What about the day between? What about the day that they were all processing what just happened? He was there, healthy and alive, and then beaten and killed. Gone. The shock was there, the grief was taking hold, the despair was still setting in. It felt over.

Just like it does for us when something awful happens. Someone was here today and gone tomorrow. The pink slip comes in and the bills are due. The diagnosis you never expected. The betrayal you didn’t see coming. The truth comes out. That day.

What about the day after? When nothing has changed. That was Saturday. All they knew was that nothing had changed. Only the difficulty of accepting something they didn’t want to accept.

Help us, Lord. Where are you, Lord? How could you allow this, Lord? That day. Saturday was more hurt, more despair, more darkness. They didn’t know what would happen Sunday morning. They didn’t know…

One thing I find comforting about that Saturday and I hope we can grasp onto in our own lives is that Jesus was sleeping and feeling no pain that day. He was resting in His Father’s will. He cried out that it wasn’t His will, but had accepted that it was and was resting in that. His pain had subsided. He was resting while the rest were hurting. May we find some rest in our Father’s love the day after, the week after, the life after…

Because when we find our rest in Jesus (like He rested that particular Saturday) we WILL see Him again. We will see our loved ones, we will have complete healing of that illness, that injury, that loss, that hurt. Our bodies and hearts will be made whole again. Our hearts will leap with an everlasting joy and relief.

That day is coming. Our “Sunday” is coming. We will be with Him forever. And being with Him is the heaven we have all cried out for. No more sad tears, no more emotional or physical pain. No more death. No more loss.

May we rest in our “Saturdays”, the days after…that we are all currently in until our Sunday arrives.

He thought of you that Friday, and that hasn’t changed.

He died for you. He rose for you. That despair and victory was for you, and that hasn’t changed.

May we rest in that (like He did that Saturday). His rest and relief from pain the day after makes Saturday pretty significant too.

Today, the rain is falling outside. I have questions. I have concerns. But, I also have Jesus. So, I will rest in them all. I’m writing on a literal Saturday. But, we are all in our figurative ones.

The answers will come, the truth will come out. It always does. And so does He. He is bigger and stronger than them all. He proved that.

May we rest in Him, like He did, on all of our Saturdays (next days) too.