consuming, feasting on my sadness like a tick on my soul
This was the place I dwelt for months
Nearly unable to do anything but weep
A friend encouraged me to attend a weekly prayer time for moms
I agreed since nothing else was working and crying was becoming a full-time job with no chance of promotion
That’s how I entered the room at the church
devoid of all hope, ashamed of my grief and dashed dreams
Nothing but Kleenex hid my tears
Unable to even wear mascara because all it did was smudge
And during that sacred time of lifting up other moms’ burdens to the Lord
Only for an hour, nothing fancy or fake
Simply a bunch of real moms who believed
They joined me praying and understanding
No judgement or condemnation
Just love and compassion
I learned I wasn’t alone
My situation and sorrow were different but gosh, we had a lot in common
Suddenly I was able to wear makeup, laugh, see hope and promise
Nothing but the prayers of others
And the inclining ear of God
Gave me the courage to praise the Lord on a beautiful Saturday when my son and his wife were married
I wore a smile as I walked down the aisle
My orange hair, freckle face olive shoot escorted me
And I wore mascara
A silk dress given to me by one of those praying ladies
Nothing stole my joy that morning. Everythingabout this journey is testimony to my Savior God who rescues and redeems.
For you – We probably haven’t met but I pray that you are encouraged today hearing some of my story. Your cir- cumstances are different than mine but the Lord cares about you as much as He does me!
Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Five minute Friday – a group of people who are given a word and then write about it for five (or so) minutes. Check out the other thought-provoking posts here.
What is your reaction when you see someone reading the Bible?
Do you feel disgust, embarrassment, judgement or anger?
Do you pity, resent or maybe even hate?
Do you feel joy, peace and love?
Do you feel envy, connection and thankfulness?
I have felt all of these at different times when I have seen someone reading the Bible.
Strange, that I can still recall going to a coffee shop many years ago with my grandma. We were listening to a vocalist. My grandma probably forgot her hearing aid and the sounds were too much for her. I looked around and there, at a nearby table, a group of young people had their Bibles open. They were engaged in a lively conversation.
The feeling in my heart was muddy. In one way, I was repulsed. How could they be sitting over there talking about the Bible in public? Who did they think they were?
But I also felt a measure of jealousy. What did they see in that book that was worthy of conversation? What did they know that I didn’t. I considered myself a Christian but had almost zero Biblical knowledge. I believed in God, that would suffice, right?
This is one of the places where we talk about truth – around the dinner table
Since giving my life to Christ about 15 years ago and by that I mean repenting of my sins and accepting Jesus as my Savior, my quest for Truth is nearly insatiable. I was a strident, abortion rights feminist, angry, confused blasphemer and that’s just for starters.
My idea about truth was to cherry-pick and make my own. Talk about muddy! But don’t think that I suddenly considered myself perfect. Far from it. I still goof up. I do, all the time. But where I find Truth isn’t from the world, it’s from The Word.
Here’s what the boys found on the chalk board recently. It opened up great family conversation.
We have a Brazilian exchange student staying with us for the school year. The Lord has opened up many opportunities for conversation between the Hubs, my youngest olive shoot and Chico. Many nights during dinner time, we sit around the table and discuss Truth. The Bible is open and we find daily application to the Truth found within. We talk about real, honest and relevant things and connect it all with the source of all truth.
I’d love to hear what you think about the word truth. I’m also curious to know what you think when you see someone reading the Bible. It’s ok if you have a different opinion than mine, I’ve probably felt something similar along my spiritual path.
This post is inspired by super cool people who all write about one specific word for just five minutes each Friday! Check it out here.
Under his breath, he muttered the word that rhymes with witch but starts with a “B.”
Only one person heard it
My youngest son
We were going to a wedding in Indiana
I was in the passenger seat, clueless, in a celebration dress
Quite honestly, I was being silly
It had been a stressful day.
But after the nuptials, on the way back to the hotel,
My youngest olive shoot says he’s in massive pain
Really sick, violently ill
We go to urgent care because Ike’s abdomen is cramping
And that’s when I learn the burden he had been carrying
Of course he felt sick to his stomach!
I mean what do you say or do when your grandpa calls your mom a cuss word and you’re the only one who hears it???
That incident happened three years ago and I’d be lying if I told you this didn’t create a rift between him (not my son, of course!) and me. I knew we couldn’t confront him about disrespecting me and putting our teenage son in a very awkward position. So we have sucked it up.
But I have kept my distance not to be hurt again. Plus I haven’t wanted my sons to feel that kind of slicing pain.
“Heavenly Father, sustain us all during this time of great suffering.”
But now here we are
The man has a brain disease
And he needs me.
So does my husband.
I can only do this because of Jesus.
Left to my own selfish abilities, I would have given up. I bruise easily.
But through Christ and with some distance and education behind me, I think that moment was just another sign that there has been a growing problem.
And that man who called me the word that rhymes with witch but starts with the letter “B.”
Guess what I’m calling him now more than I ever have done in my over 25 years of marriage?
A few members of the beautiful, imperfect, in-process people I call my family.
Beautiful doesn’t mean perfect –
Cindy Crawford is outwardly perfect
Cindy W-H (me) isn’t…
So when I reflect upon my life
There are plastic times when things on the outside might have looked good or better than they do now
But they were hideous had you looked much deeper
Families are beautiful but a lot of effort
Searching for sparkly pretties in a heap of ashes – much effort required
It is messy work, I have been warned
The pastor said something the other day that has resonated with me profoundly this week –
Here’s something imperfect and not so beautiful = sideways milk. I confess I had a few unbeautiful moments when I discovered this in my fridge…
Just remember the people you are with, they are in- process too.
And he said this too, which I wrote down because it sounded so good.
Life for those who love Jesus is not like a Russian novel that just ends in horror and despair. It has a purpose that will work together for good, the Lord’s process. “Remember,” my pastor said, “that He’s strip-mining you, He’s designed us to live through struggles, pain, confusion, weakness and suffering. Your relationship to God determines the meaning of your life.”
Something beautiful will result for those who love Jesus – we belong in the next world. This isn’t science fiction. This is promise.
Father, I seek to appreciate the beautiful, imperfection of this earthly home and can’t wait to see all the treasures and sparklies in the world ahead.
Thank you Five Minute Friday for giving me a chance to write about this word! Check it out and join the writing explosion!
I want good news. I long to hear joyful stories. Often it seems as if there is one sad tale after another, do you know what I mean? Can I get an amen?!
Seventeen years ago, while pregnant with my orange hair, freckle face olive shoot, I knew a mother at church who lost her newborn baby. My husband attended the memorial service; my emotions were too intense as to offer any comfort to the grieving family.
When I told an acquaintance of this news, she followed by telling me an equally sad story about a mom who had lost a child. Every time I shared the tragedy that I was familiar with, though my belly was full of baby, it was guaranteed the listener had to tell me something worse, usually about a child.
Soon I learned to not share information like this while pregnant. It felt like the world was competing to tell me the most heartbreaking lament. Plus the OJ Simpson trial had also started. Bad news loomed everywhere.
Second, Jesus loves you and cares = He alone is freedom and redemption, a mushy kind of love you have never experienced. I made a mess of my life, Christ cleaned it up. I continue to stumble and goof up, Jesus grants me new mercies each day.
I like to read the Bible in French. It’s such a beautiful language and God’s Word speaks to me differently when I employ these parts of my heart and brain. I have my English Bible and my French dictionary nearby just in case something doesn’t make sense since I’m quite rusty. But today as I read Marc 1:1-8 (La Bible du Semeur version) these two words stirred my soul.
Bonne Nouvelle translates to Good News. In English we say “Gospel,” I just like it better in French.
I’m doing the Deeper Into Scripture study for the next three weeks but the other ones look great too! Click here for info.
Whatever language you speak, whatever your cir-cumstances, Happy day, sad day, seriously you need Good News, Bonne Nouvelle as badly as I do.
Different versions of the Bible in French! Formidable!
For the next 21 days, I’m participating in a Deeper Into Scripture: A 21-Day Plan Reading Plan through YouVersion. Although I’m involved in a weekly women’s Bible Study, I need more time with the Lord. I’m praying that this simple commitment will help me connect with God daily through His Word. I’d love some friends to join me. We can share Good News together, Lord knows we need it!
Here’s the link if you want to learn more. Scroll down the page on the link for all the options, you will find one for you! What have you got to lose? Reading the Bible could truly change your life!
We argue. We fight. We disappoint each other and intentionally do things to annoy. These are some of the rather unsavory characteristics of my family.
On occasion our clothes are left on the ground, someone “forgets” to empty the dishwasher, the carpet needs vacuuming and the kitchen floor hasn’t seen a broom in a few days.
We battle big things too in this house…depression, anxiety, temptation and Ambien, to name a few.
But then there are these halcyon moments –
And it’s like one of us is a polished diamond
And we get it right
I didn’t grow up going to church. Raising a Christian family means so much to me. Sitting next to one of my guys makes it even sweeter.
Maybe not for the whole day, for that might be too strenuous
But for a snapshot of time, we experience a flash of heaven
Which is what happened Sunday morning…
Aaron helping lead worship. He did a great job and found it to be a very emotional experience.
It was Aaron’s last Sunday at church before leaving to attend college in Chicago. This summer Aaron has acted as one of our church’s interns. For a small church of about 50 people, I must say, they put my OS to work like a boss. In addition to holding a paid, part-time job as a pool attendant, Aaron had many church projects to accomplish. Whereas many nearly 18-year-old young people are majorly chilling the summer before going off to school, Aaron has been learning Greek, reading church leadership books and writing reports about them. Aaron worked tirelessly compiling a hymnal for our church filled with rich, beautiful hymns that are still reverent and true. Each time my OS showed me progress on this hymnal, he beamed with excitement and joy. Aaron and the two other summer interns led an entire church service and my middle OS was so moved by the experience, he ended up in tears before our small congregation recently one Sunday morning. Incidentally as a result, most of the congregation was equally emotional especially the mama with pink highlights in her hair = me!
The three pastors poured into our boy’s life and gave him a glimpse into how to truly minister and shepherd a flock of people. They showed Aaron the inner workings of a healthy church body, how to receive feedback before and after the sermon (something I’ve never heard of pastors doing before attending this church). Through their personal investment in my OS’s life, Aaron is developing into a vibrant and active young leader.
And on Sunday, our pastors blessed him in a grand way before sending him off to the Windy City. Although the Hubs and I knew about this previously, it came as a surprise to Aaron when he was asked to come up to the front of the church. Jerry, one of our pastors, explained to the crowd that Aaron was leaving to attend Moody Bible Institute and this would be his last Sunday with us. He then asked the men of the church to come forward and to pray over my boy. It wasn’t creepy and it didn’t offend my former feminist ways in case the mere thought of this bristles you.
Twice in a summer I have witnessed a moment like this.
My sandy-haired boy bowed his head and I realized at that moment, wow, this is the second child in a summer that I have seen kneeling before Jesus and his followers. (Click here to read about the first time with Nathan). We weren’t at West Point; we were in the suburbs of North Carolina but another one of my olive shoots was submitting his life to the Lord and receiving from His people, words of blessing and protection. Honestly, I think the statistics for something like this happening twice in a summer are quite small. And when I consider my wretchedness, I think it is nothing short of miraculous that something this beautiful could happen to me as a mother. And furthermore, this is the second time the orange hair, freckle face OS has laid hands on a brother and helped usher him into a new season of life. Not your everyday, run of the mill brother stuff but something lofty, holy and lovely.
The prayer didn’t last too long, no one spoke in tongues, snakes were not handled. 😉
Seeing godly men praying for my olive shoot, thank you Jesus for this glorious moment. That’s my orange hair, freckle face guy in the black shirt, his hands on his bro.
As the prayer finished and the men made their way back to their seats, Pastor Rob asked Aaron to stay up front for a moment.
And that’s when they gave Aaron another gift as if the gift of prayer, love, protection, shepherding, accountability and manly, godly leadership weren’t enough.
Sitting next to my boy one last time before college, Aaron getting his hymnal, the actual hymnal
He sweetly handed my boy the very first copy of our church’s new hymnal. The project Aaron had devoted hours on was finished and my OS got first dibs. Aaron hugged our pastors fiercely and shined like a diamond holding that hymnal in his hand. He sat down next to me and while he began flipping through the pages, I patted his knee, tears in my eyes. As sad as I think Aaron might feel about leaving his family, I think he feels even sadder leaving his church. He will be a part of our fellowship even if he’s thousands of miles away.
Here’s one of Aaron’s favorite songs, Jesus, Savior Pilot Me which can be found on page 82 in our hymnal. Surely I will think of the precious child who sat and snuggled next to me even as a teenager each Sunday morning. As a benefit of birthing this fine olive shoot, I too, was handed a copy of the hymnal which Aaron will be signing for me. I cherish it already. (Btw, yes, I’m crying while writing this.)
This is a cool song. Beautiful, timeless words. ❤
So today, we’ll see how it goes. One of us might be grouchy. The Hubs and I might bicker, the guys might not initiate folding the mounds of laundry. We are alas a very human bunch. Still, I will praise the Lord. I will exalt His name. I will rejoice in the blessings I am given, those moments when we transcend our selfishness, stubbornness and foolishness and I see extraordinary beauty in the land of the living. May it be so with you and those you love as well. ❤
Wednesday around 3am, I felt like a puny junior high girl in PE class…
Good times posing in the Kmart photo booth
My opponent this time wasn’t the rope that was hooked to the gym ceiling that I never could climb at Jefferson Junior HIgh
And it wasn’t the chin-up bar from which I couldn’t pull myself to save my life or my dignity
Wednesday morning, I wasn’t the last one picked for the volleyball match or the girl who lost the softball game
in my red PE shorts, red and white thin-striped polyester PE shirt with red trim, a lithe and flat female frame devoid of all muscle tone either
No, in the wee hours of Wednesday, I was in bed, in my pajamas, a grown woman!
but I just as felt defeated that night (or should I say morning) sleep mask, pillows, fan going full blast
because I took the stupid Ambien
it was 3am and I told the Lord I was going to do it
There have been times when I have told Jesus I was going to do something and I knew He wasn’t going to like it
I bet you have too
but I was so tired
and having been up with my orange hair, freckle face OS for yet another night
feeling helpless about how to care for him and desperate for some rest
I swallowed that tiny pill and fell asleep with my sick boy nearby
I continue to trust in the Lord
Middle school Cindy
Blocking out the Enemy’s voices that remind me of my failings
My Holy One is teaching me things
I may falter and get distracted
Day and night
Ambien and life
But there is grace
My Heavenly Father presides over me
And through Him, I can do all things
The Lord loved that little wimpy middle school Cindy way back then and is compassionate towards me now. I’m on his team, He picked me many years ago and doesn’t laugh at my shortcomings but gives me the courage to press on
If you gave up on me, I don’t blame you. I nearly gave up too. The long lapse in posts is because I had to prioritize things in my life and finding time to write was nearly impossible. I’m going to limit this post just so I can make sure I publish it. Thanks for coming back and encouraging me!
A brief summary, life is good. The burning question is what’s going on with the “romance”? Answer: as indicated in the picture, Nate’s still in love and Lu’s still very fond of him. I’ll blog more about this as I get those posts “approved.”
Two people who like each other…a lot
But Thursday morning, I awoke to the sweet bristle of whiskers on my face. Wearing my customary and oh so attractive sleep eye mask and two, yes two bite guards, Sleeping Beauty would have been jealous. With all my nocturnal regalia, I wasn’t sure who was giving me affection but I liked it. Then I heard these words, “Sorry, Mama for talking rudely to you last night. It was disrespectful and I shouldn’t have done it. Will you please forgive me?” Of course, I knew exactly whom it was and my heart smiled as I accepted his apology.
Please don’t be jealous
You see, on Wednesday evening, my orange-haired, freckle face 14 year old OS had committed several “transgressions” just before going to bed. Why does it happen that one minute everything is going swimmingly then it careens into the abyss? With very little warning, our family is prone to go from peace to war in record time!
One of our family’s fave books of all time
Ike went to bed still angry and completely certain HE was right as usual. William Steig’s adorable book Spinky Sulks is hilarious and pretty much a biography of my boy! This stubborn recalcitrance is not the way we prefer for our OS to enter Dreamland but Ike wasn’t going to budge. I believe the technical words for this condition are SIN and PRIDE! Definitely from the Hubs’ side of the family. The Hubs still tucked him into bed that night and though I shall never grow tired to hearing the cadence of “good nights and I love you’s” nary a peep echoed from his bedroom. I’m certain he bitterly muttered to himself, “Just remember THEY are wrong. YOU are right!” over and over again.
It is mere coincidence that I am holding something with Attitude. I never have an Attitude! Hrmph!
In addition, our oldest OS called from West Point shortly afterward informing us that he was heading to the hospital. The unpleasant and quite gross remnants of his Christmas trip to El Salvador were lingering FARRRRR too long. Thus our night ended with a resounding thud.
But I knew something or rather Someone would speak to Isaac in a way I could not. In the quiet of his room, a still, small voice, one pure and 100% reliable, would nudge my orange-haired, freckle face OS to make it right with those he loved. Ike wanted nothing to do with my reasons why an apology was warranted but I was certain Ike would never win a round arguing with the Lord.
I also knew the same Source who would chasten Isaac would also be with my oldest OS at the hospital in New York. I prayed with Nate before he left for the hospital, I can’t even imagine how a mom, let alone the mama of a Soldier does this whole mothering thing without Jesus. Seriously.
When situations are such that a mama can’t be with her children in difficult times, it is comforting to know that God is perfectly equipped to be there. I need to remember this as my OS navigate life…Nate will one day be serving his country elsewhere probably far away, Aaron has a heart for ministry and graduates high school next year, Ike eagerly talks about adopting children one day AND being in the NBA.
Despite our family’s imperfections (and they are numerous!) and our ugliness (simply envision me with the sleeping mask and two, yes two mouth guards!), God cared, healed and repaired. Amen
This post is to the mentally handicapped middle school girl that I chased around in the playground many years ago.
Dear Rita, (not her real name)
I am so sorry.
I could up offer a lengthy list of flimsy excuses but honestly they don’t matter. I hurt you and that was wrong and I knew it. I deeply regret my actions. I called you mean, embarrassing names in an effort to disguise my own pain and awkwardness. I.am.sorry.
——– As a mother, I have told my children about victorious moments when they would have been proud of me. I like to tell them about the times when I stuck up for the little guy, the weird kid or the janitor my classmates teased and threw pennies at in the cafeteria. Those stories make me look good.
But I have also confessed a few shameful times when I mocked an innocent person, betrayed a confidence, acted like a hypocrite. The incident with Rita is one of those tormenting times that I have tried to use for good while instructing my own OS. At a coffee shop last year, I told my precious middle OS about some experiences I went through in the hopes that he will never follow in some of my footsteps. It was strange to ask Aaron to forgive me for things I did before he was even born but the sweetest sounds came from his deep voice at the Caribou Coffee which is now my favorite place of redemption and caffeine. “Oh, Mama, I forgive you,” as he clutched his hand in mine.
Last night was the last meeting for Teen Community Bible Study (Teen CBS). We have spent over 30 weeks with middle and high school youth and I have had the pleasure of working with 6th-8th grade girls. We have studied God’s Word, reviewed lessons and enjoyed getting to know each other. Each one of the girls has a permanent place in my heart. Spending time with these girls made me fondly recall the girls I met while on amission trip to Lima, Peru. Though that was several years ago, I still keep in touch with many of them. Witnessing young people grow in their faith is a privilege, seeing them burgeon into adulthood a lovely site to behold.
But is there anything harder than adolescence? Seriously! Take a good look at the corresponding picture of me if you don’t agree! I’m the one with the hexagonal glasses…;0 So much going on, inside and outside, not a moment of rest or tranquility, something always seems to be happening. If it’s not your body, it’s your feelings. If it’s not you, then it’s your family and friends! Teenager-hood is like the cruelest and most vulnerable time of life! Perhaps that’s why I have such a soft place for middle schoolers. They flutter with awkwardness and potential.
Oh how my heart ached as some of the students held the microphone and openly shared. We heard good things and triumphant discoveries about how much Jesus loves us. A common theme was how before coming to Teen CBS, many kids were just acting like Christians, going through the motions.
We heard about ongoing struggles with depression, serious family illness, divorce and loneliness. And the room grew hushed as one girl took a deep breath and began to tell her story. She told the crowd of adults and peers how she doesn’t have very many friends. Tears streamed from her little face and she began to sob. I think I even saw a few boys getting choked up hearing and empathizing with her pain. It was deeply moving to sense that we all began looking inward pondering our own sins, pains and regrets.
But then, mere minutes later, a girl took the microphone and without a hint of selfishness or worry about what anyone would think, she openly apologized to that girl for not treating her as she should. The two embraced and wept. The spirit of the Lord was upon this place. Grace and mercy, forgiveness and love abounded. Oh if you could have been there…
The cleansing that occurs when we confess our sins to the Lord and to others is like nothing else in this world. I am free from those chains that bound me for so long. I can admit my mistreatment of Rita because of Christ and what He has done in my life. In fact, I can tell my children and anyone in the blogosphere of my regrets because they have been forgiven. Being a teenager was brutal, hallelujah, I will never have to relive those days. Now thanks to the Lord, I am a new creation. I try to help others navigate that treacherous season of life by pointing them to Jesus.