Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Bend in the Road...

“…my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend…” Anne of Green Gables

I always enjoyed Anne of Green Gables as a girl, but I understand the richness of the stories so much more as a grown woman. Recently, I re-discovered this quote from the book and it has been tumbling around in my mind and my heart ever since. Something about it, at this particular time in my life, resonates with me.

I've been on the "straight road" many times and it is wonderful to be able to clearly see where I am headed. But therein lies the problem. When I can see where I'm going, I tend to forget that I'm not directing my own steps. I tend to become complacent and enjoy easy street a bit too much for my own good.

I'm thankful for bends in the road because they have made God's love for me concrete. I wouldn't have wished for many things I have faced in my life, but I'm not sorry that they happened. During those times when I can't see the next step, God lovingly guides my heart towards him. It is those times when his love is palpable. When I leave what is familiar and step out in faith, it is never easy, but it is what is best for me. God's dreams for me are always better than my own. 

I don't know what lies ahead for me, but I know that there will be many more bends in my life's road. I hope that I can face them believing that the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fare thee well...

I don't like to say goodbye. I'm always terrible at it because I am an emotional person. On ordinary occasions I have been known to cry for no apparent reason. When saying "goodbye" to friends, I'm a mess. My solution? I don't say goodbye. Goodbye sounds so final - besides there really is nothing "good" in it, at least not right away.

Our dear friends are just a few days away from a new adventure, and I wish them all the best. But I will not say goodbye. I will send them with my prayers because that is the best of what I can offer.

As I listen to the giggling of two little girls who have become the best of friends, my heart breaks because partings always hurt. But I am thankful that, for now, they are blissfully unaware of how short a time they have left to play. You see, we've learned that friendship isn't really about time after all. It's about connections. It's about serving one another, laughter, and the knowledge that in someone else's eyes; you are special.

When they are away from us, I will smile when I see how much my daughter has grown because of her special friend. When they are gone, I will remember how much I was blessed by my beautiful friend and, in turn, I will be able to bless someone else.

I won't say goodbye. I think this says it better...

"May the LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Numbers 6: 24 - 26

Monday, August 16, 2010

Running on empty...

...let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith...
Hebrews 12: 1 - 2

I really don't have it all together like I thought. (I'm certain that I'm the only person surprised by this admission.) I've spent hours planning our school year and so far I've accomplished very little of what I planned to do. Nothing has been working out like I thought...and that is exactly where God wants me to be.

So many things went wrong one day that I literally fell to my knees and prayed, "What do you want from me, Lord?" His answer: everything.

He wants all of me, not just the parts I'm willingly giving. The hymn "I Surrender All" came to my mind and I realized that my version was more like "I surrender most of my life, but I'm still going to keep control of this stuff over here." Needless to say, this isn't where God wants me to be.

He brought me to the end of myself countless times lately and gently asked, are you ready to go deeper? I've taken steps of faith in obedience not knowing the next step. I've laid aside feelings, choosing instead to react the way I know I should - praying that my heart will follow. I let go of my plans for school and dared to dream God's dreams for my children's education this year. That has been a struggle, but God has rewarded my efforts. I wonder why it's taken so long to realize that God's dreams are better than mine.

I realize he is sanding off some rough edges so that I am more "usable." He loves me enough to care about those deep recesses of my heart.

It hasn't been easy. What I know now (perhaps more than ever) is that keeping my eyes on Jesus makes it easier to keep going - even when I am running on empty. He's never tired, never too busy, never out of grace for my feeble efforts. When I am at the end of myself, Jesus can fill me completely because there is nothing to stand in his way.

It's going to be a good year!

Monday, August 09, 2010


This weekend I dealt with a lot of boo-boos.

A scraped foot and turned ankle were easily fixed. There weren't even many tears to dry (I'm brave now, mommy.)  A fall down the stairs  - again - brought a lot of tears (from both mommy and child).  But despite an angry-looking knot on the head and a bruised nose (did you even know your nose could bruise??) the injury was fixed with ice and a lot of TLC. I think the lollipop helped too.

There was another injury this weekend too, but ice and tylenol can't heal this kind...

I've known that something has been bothering my precious daughter for a while. I can usually tell. I also knew that pressing her to talk to me wasn't the right thing. So I waited...and I prayed for the right time to come. It came unexpectedly during a shopping trip yesterday. Had I not really been listening, I may have missed the opportunity. As we were driving home, in the midst of random conversation and laughter, the hurt was revealed.

Sadly, some wounds cannot be fixed with band-aids or tylenol. Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin is never a small thing. I can tell her she is beautiful just as she is, but I can't make her believe it. Oh, that there was an easy answer! These wounds pierce flesh and go directly to the heart. My tears and understanding were really all I could offer. Thankfully, I could also remind her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made for a special purpose - one that only she can fulfill. I could point her eyes to a Heavenly Father who loves her with a perfect love even greater than my own. I can only hurt with her; I can't fix it.

I once heard it said that being a mom is like having your heart walk around outside your body. I'm beginning to understand the truth of that statement. Physical wounds are healed and kissed away and ultimately forgotten. Emotional wounds can scar in ways that are hidden. There is a lesson here, and it is this: I can't possibly do this on my own. I can't fix these unseen hurts, but I can point my sweet girl to the One who can. I'm thankful that as she grows and matures she will begin to see herself through the eyes of the one who made her. My tears may help for a moment, but God's love will heal.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Let us not become weary...

Have you ever had one of those days where you just feel like asking your children "How many times have I told you (fill in the blank)...?" Truly, there are things that I know I've said hundreds (thousands?) of times. Yet I still somehow have to find the strength to take a deep breath and remind them - again - of the expectations. But these are also the times when I feel the most weary. Weariness isn't just feeling tired. It has an emotional component, a feeling of being ready to throw up your hands in surrender. So when we find ourselves at the brink of despair, what can we do?

The author of Galatians reminds us:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

It sometimes seems like all the behind the scenes work of mommyhood goes unnoticed and under-appreciated (especially when the shirt is the one thing that didn't make it into the laundry!) and I am left to wonder if it's worth it. When you add to that a string of days where all the training and correcting seem to fall on rocky soil it spells DISCOURAGEMENT.

This business of training up children in the way they should go is difficult. Especially when the way they should go runs so contrary to our sinful desires. But, thankfully, we aren't parenting alone. The ultimate parent is right there in the trenches with us. God sees all the little tasks that we do even if no one else does. When we gently correct our children and lead them to restoration, He smiles on our efforts. When we serve unselfishly he lavishes his love on us. The task can seem overwhelming at times, but I'm reminded that it will ultimately be worth it - even if I can't see it right now.

If my efforts are not bearing fruit today, I can hold on to the truth that "at the proper time" they will. There will be a harvest beyond what I can imagine. All I have to do is wait in expectation.

So today as I retrain and redirect and cook and clean and serve my family I will not become weary. I will smile and gently redirect. I will hold on to God's promise in faith. It is worth it. God doesn't want us to be discouraged, he wants us to rest in him. I'm thankful that I don't have to do this alone. Today if I feel discouraged, I will just remind myself that God is faithful. My children are far too precious to give up.