Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blue Diamonds

It's Mother's day. A pudgy little Boy of four or five hands a clumsily wrapped gift to his mother. Most likely an older sister had offered to help him wrap the gift. But chances are he instead on doing most of it himself. That's just the way he is. Content to be the baby of the family, but fiercely independent at times.
His mother opens the box and does the appropriate ooing and ahhing and holds up the gift for every one to see. The little boy's eyes shine as he see's the earrings in his mother's hands. Boy had spent a long time agonizing over his choices at the jewelry wall in the dollar store. He was determined to find something worthy of her beauty. Watching Mother show off the blue plastic hearts he knows he chose well.
"I wanted to get you diamonds" say Boy, "and then I saw the blue ones."
She could have worn them around the house and Boy would have been thrilled. That's the kind of child he was. Innocent and easy to please.
But she didn't wear them around the house. She wore them to church that morning when her husband preached. And proudly showed off her Blue Diamonds when people asked what she received for Mother's Day. That's the kind of Mother she was. Always proud of her children. Always.
Boy is 20 now. And still the same. Innocent, laid back, and always thinking of others.
Mother is the same as well. Proud of her children. Always.
She received 5 other presents that year. No one could tell you what they were.
But the blue diamonds are still in a small box on her dresser.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spiritual Kansas

When I was 15 we drove from Maryland to Colorado and back. On the way we passed through Kansas. I don't remember much about it except is was flat. Very, very flat. There weren't any mountains. There weren't any valleys. Just flat. Lately I feel stuck in a spiritual Kansas. My walk with God is fine. It isn't bad. I'm not in a valley or anything. But I'm not on a mountain either. Now I know we can't always be on a mountain top, but it's been a long time since I've experienced anything other than a mole hill. Perhaps it's just contentment. Maybe I'm just getting comfortable with my walk with God. Maybe this is what a walk with God looks like when not clouded with the hormones of adolescents, college, or pregnancy. Maybe I'm just analyzing to much. Perhaps I should be glad. But I am feeling pulled, drawn, I am craving something more....

Monday, August 18, 2008

His Grace

I had a break through today. Though that phrasing makes it sound way more dramatic than it actually is. Perhaps a nudge through would be a better description. It is a realization that has been floating on the edges of my mind. A lesson that God has been trying to get me grasp for who knows how long.
The majorty of my issues and/or sins come down to a failure to grasp the promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficiant for you. My power is made perfect in weakness." My entire life I have been told I expect to much of people. I have a very hard time loving people with out expecting something from them. I know this. It is a struggle I have had since child hood. I am afraid that if I pour into some one else with out knowing they can pour into me I will some how be left empty. It is selfish I know. My sin is in trusting other sinfull fallen saints to meet a need only God can. If I love as God has called me to, then His grace will overflow in my life.
Another area I strugle with is finances. I have such a hard time seaking God in that area becuase I am afraid He will call me to give more than I am comftorable with. I have put my trust in my savings acount and not in God's grace. I actually feel kinda stupid. He has proven himself over and over in this area and yet I have a hard time beliving.

How limited my life will be if I am only willing to give my time, my money, my love, my gifts if I am assured that I or some other humane can replenish them. About a month ago I was really strugling with this concept. "If God's grace is sufficiant then why do I feel so empty?" I wondered out loud to my best friend. She asked if I was truely seeking God's will, or if I was running head first at what I thought I should be doing and expecting God's grace to catch up with me. See God's grace is sufficiant to fulfill HIS plans for us. Epshians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
God's grace is sufficiant for the work He has for us to do. And the only way to tell the difference is to desperately seek Him. The only way to know God's will is to know Him. It is such a simple thought and yet one I struggle so much to grasp. I feel so sorry because of the opportunities I have missed and the people I have hurt becuase I haven't had the faith to trust His suffiancy. I am also overwhelming greatefully for the people in my life who has paitently sat there and pointed out the truth, even when I didn't want to see it. Thank you.
And now I am left with a choice. Will I seek God's will and accept His grace. Or will I continue to run ahead hoping grace will find me and blaming God when it doesn't?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An Autobiography.

I have come to the conclusion recently that I don't think I could or would ever atempt an auto biography. I found this surprising becuase I had often thought that one day I would. Not that I think my life is terribly interesting but becuase a number of my life experience has been out side of the main stream. (Being a pastors daughter, being home schooled K-12, going to a christian college, getting married strait out of college.) I also firmly believe that every day things such as waiting tables, being a camp counselor, and raising an extroverted 9 month old, can make for rather entertaing stories assuming the are communicated in the right manner. The more I obeserve life however the more I realize that I don't trust myself to convey the story of my life.

For starters our memories are never as acurate as we assume them to be. The further away we get from an event the more scewed our memories become. Either we look back at nestolgia remembering only the wonderful warm fuzzies of the moment We remember only the we recived the baby doll we wanted for Christmas when we were 6 and forget that it broke the next day. Or we do the oposite and mainting the our exboy friend is a horrible jerk and forgetting the qualities in the person that first drove us to be with them. That being the case how could we ever present a truthfully acount of our memories if we only present one half of them.

Which brings me to the second reason I would hesitate to put my life story down on paper. Since I was not raised by monkeys in the middle of a tropical forest, my life is full of other people. And any attempt to write my story would demand an effort to include at least part of theirs. If I can not even accurately remember my story, how presumptious of me to think I could pressent some one elses story. I could never begin to imagaine the unknown thoughts and motives of even my own family. How could I present the truth, If I don't know what that is.

Not that I believe that truth is relative. I believe there is one truth. However, I think as a humane it is hard to fully understand the truth of ourselves and others. Perhaps it is reality that is realtive.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"It"

"Your sister tried for years and she hasn't done 'it'." The words haunt me. Mock me. Subtly assuring me that I was right all along. I don't measure up. I will never be as good as them.
It doesn't matter that I spent four years studying "it". It doesn't matter that I did "it" as an internship. It doesn't matter that I received scholarship for "it"... twice. All that matters is that she my sister tried "it" and is still struggling to make "it" work.

The unspoken message screams at me. Asking what makes me think I can be successful at "it" if she hasn't? It obtrusively insinuates, no flat out states that she is better than I am and, in the process, stomps on any hope of ever measuring up.

They were only spoken once, but those words still Inger. Whispering doubt. Laughing at me for wasting four years of my time. Shaming me for wasting my money and theirs. Snickering behind my back at any attempt to prove them wrong.

And I realise that the voice is right. If I allow one carelessly spoken statement to hold me back from "it", then how was I ever foolish enough to think that I could make a dream come true?

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Miss You.

My Husband and I were talking tonight and he mentioned how much he enjoyed something I wrote for him a long time. A life time ago. When we were first married. So, for him, here it is.

I miss you. Did you know that? I miss you when I am work. I miss you while I'm cooking dinner. I miss you while we are sitting next to each other on the sofa watching TV. I miss you at night while you are holding me in bed. It sounds foolish when I say it out loud. But it is real none the less. There are times when I am surprised that you can hold me so tight. I feel as though there is something between us. It's not a wall. If it is a wall I wouldn't be able to see you or touch you. No it's not a wall. It's a fence. It is a fence that allows me to look over and see you. You are on the happy side. You are on the side I want to be on. I can touch you to. I can reach over the fence and hold your hand. I can graze you with my finger tips. But ever time I try to pull you close that fence gets in the way.
I miss you. Did you know that? I miss you so much I've thought about climbing the fence. I've even tried. But I keep falling down and scraping up my knees. Once or twice I thought I found the gate. But when I pushed it was only a loose board, taunting me with glimpses of the other side. But to tight to wiggle through.
I miss you. Did you know that? I hate myself for building this fence. I know it's my fault. I built it to keep me safe. It was supposed to keep every one else out. Not you. I don't remember burying the key.
I miss you. Did you know that?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anything possible?

As children we are told we can be anything we want to be when we grow up. We are told anything is possible if we just try hard enough. And then one day, the world stops telling us this and instead points out all the obsticles keeping us from our dreams. It is an odd phenomenon. One which I am straddeling at the moment. I find myself already telling my 5 month old daughter that she is amazing and can do anything she puts her mind to. And yet, I am constantly telling myself why my own dreams are simply that, fluffy cotton candy dreams. What message am I sending to my child? Why should she be confident that I believe in her, if I display such little confidence in myself. Maybe I need to pursue my dreams, not for my sake but for hers.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Birth

"She looks so much like you. She has your mouth." This was one of the first pieces of information my husband shared about my daughter that made its way through the morphine and lodged itself in my brain. Over the past eleven weeks I have heard that time and time again. And it's true. Her little nose and the lines around her mouth are shockingly familiar. There are moments when I could swear I was looking at a photograph of myself. However, a frown and a cabbage patch doll nose are not all we have in common. The more she develops, the more I see personality traits similar to my own. She's already showing a determination that borders on stubbornness and a tendency to over react. While I expected to share some things in common with my daughter, I didn't expect this to show itself before birth.
Some women are thrilled when they find out they are pregnant. They eagerly wait for their husband to come home so they can share the news in some super- cute manor like presenting him with a pair of baby booties. I, however, was not one of these women. After taking four home pregnancy tests I called my husband on the verge of tears. After he came home we went and bought even more tests. After six additional positive tests, I spent about a month in denial. I had no desire to be a mother.
It's not that I never wanted to have children. I always figured it would happen eventually - somewhere down the road. I figured we would both be established at good jobs and have our own house before we got pregnant. I still was considering graduate school and wanted some time to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I didn't want my only career accomplishment to be sticking with the same restaurant chain for five years. I was not ready to be a mother.
Nine months later when my water broke I was excited, but still a little skeptical of the whole situation. Apparently so was Mouse. She was just as afraid of change as I was. For months she had been safe and warm. She was familiar with our routine. She was content with her life. When my water broke and my body began to usher her into a new phase of life, she refused. After 25 hours of labor I was cut open and together we were forcibly born into a new life. She as a baby; me as a mother. It was a violent and unexpected birth for both of us. And neither of us has any regrets.
It took Mouse about one day to adjust to life outside the womb and she has decided that she loves it. She is a happy ,content baby. Despite her stubbornness and over dramatic reactions to hunger and messy diapers ,she is one of the most laid back, easy babies I have ever known. She sleeps through the night and is content tolie on her back and watch anything you put in front of her face. She recognizes the voices of a few people and is thrilled to hear them. She smiled for the first time a day after she was born and has hardly stopped since.
As for myself? I couldn't be more content with my new life. I am learning to enjoy all those domestic activities I once found dull and boring. I find enjoyment in trying out new recipes and received a sewing machine for Christmas. My favorite part of the day is when Mouse wakes up from a nap and breaks into a smile at the sight of my face. If given the choice, four months ago neither of us would have chosen this idea of “birth”. Ironically, it was the best thing to happen to either of us.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Remembering

My scar was bothering me last night. Nothing serious. Just a little sore and tender. It still stings on occasion. Mostly when I've had Mouse on my lap all day. She wiggles and squirms and rubs against the scar that bears witness to my love for her. Every time I catch a glimpse of the bright purple addition to my anatomy, my mind is flooded with a million thoughts. It is a constant reminder to me. A reminder of the terrifying procedure I went through to bring my Mouse into this world. A reminder of her reluctance to enter this world. A reminder of the million changes both physical and emotional that I have gone through the past year.
Weeks before the expected arrival date, Josh and I sat down and wrote out a detailed list of our wishes during labor and delivery. It included a dozen little details on everything from who we wanted in the room with us (no one) to Josh cutting the umbilical cord and how soon we would want to try breast feeding (in the first hour).
It was two days after my due date and two minutes into my doctor’s appointment when my water broke. We rushed to the hospital and because we were originally intending to go to the grocery store and not the hospital, we were not in the least prepared. My bag wasn't fully packed much less waiting in the back of the car, and the birth plan we had so carefully constructed wasn't even printed out. Not that it mattered. We arrived at the hospital sometime around 10 a.m .and what ensued in the next 25 hours had nothing to do with my carefully constructed plan.
Because my water had broken, I had to have monitors on at all times which meant that walking the halls or using the jets in the bath tub was out of the question. I was in so much pain I soon forgot my desire to have no one but Josh in the room with me and was relieved to have his mother there to coach us both through the contractions.
My original plan was to have a natural birth. When labor started slowing down 17 hours after my water broke, that plan was thrown out the window. Pitosin and an epidural were ordered. I pushed for two hours, but Mouse still didn't want to show. I had wanted to avoid a c-section at all costs. I was terrified of being cut open, I wanted to see my baby as soon as possible, and with no insurance the expense of surgery sent me into a mild panic attack. With tears threatening to spill down my face, I made the choice to throw out the last of our plans. It was one of the hardest and easiest decisions I've ever made.
Though I hope to never go through that experience again, I wouldn't change it for the world. Those 25 hours of labor are some of the sweetest hours in our marriage. We leaned on each other more intensely than ever before. It deepened our bond in a way I never expected. Even more unexpected, however, was the effect it had on our walk with God. Like so many other moments during the pregnancy, God had stripped away everything we could have used as a crutch. All of our plans failed, and we were left with the perfect plan of our Father.