Archive for 'Faith is the Evidence'
Summer’s upon us.
And I’m running scared.
It’s not that I lament my children will be home with me twenty-four hours per day for the next several months. I did homeschool them for a few years, so I am used to having them around.
It’s just that “last-few-weeks-of-school” frenzy has me crazed, and has disrupted Edward to the point that I’m considering pulling him out of school. Yet since there are only two weeks left, that makes little since.
Plus I am supposed to got to New York during the last week of school so why would I blow that?
Why would I?
For the past four years I have gone to New York with my best high school and college friend to work a stationery trade show with her. It is desperately hard work, but amazingly fun, and many times I believe this trip has saved my sanity and potentially my marriage.
(Yes, I know I’m overly dramatic, but I’m serious about the sanity part.)
Ok, B just walked in here, saw the title of the post, and told me I should go to New York.
I am just seeing poor Edward melt down in the wake of disrupted schedules, class parties and field days. He simply cannot handle a schedule that switches Social Studies with Art and eliminates Math. Throw in a Third Grade talent show that he is not able to participate in because he is in Second Grade, and I don’t know what will happen!
Do I think that I am the only person who can help him traverse these schedule-trashed waters? Do I think that only I can make sure he is safe, well-fed and has enough books?
Can I go on this trip without crushing guilt?
Am I harboring unhealthy angst because he fell off the trampoline while I was in plain sight?
What is wrong with me?
I have loved Elaine Olsen’s blog, Peace for the Journey, for several years now. Visiting her web site is like sitting down with a trusted friend for a quiet morning devotion where the coffee has exactly the perfect amount of cream and sugar.
Elaine is an incredibly authentic writer and friend. One of my favorite topics she discusses is that peace is not the absence of conflict. Now that is something I need to be reminded of on an hourly basis!
Well now Elaine’s first and most anticipated book is out! I haven’t read it yet, but plan to do so, and I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about the story God is writing through your own life to read it as well.
Elaine’s book is available through Amazon, WinePress and Barnes & Noble!
Have a blessed day!
I am overwhelmed by all of your kindness and prayers after my frantic tweet last night! Edward has a mild concussion but will be absolutely fine and is home from the hospital happily playing Wii.
For those who didn’t hear, he fell from a friend’s trampoline last night, lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to a nearby children’s hospital. He gained consciousness during the ambulance ride, and by the end was grilling the techs about Mario.
By the time we got in the trauma room, he was quizzing the doctors and cracking jokes.
The doctors were like, “Does he always ask this many questions and talk this much?” And we were like, “Yes, absolutely!”
(Never again will I complain about answering all of his endless questions.)
Edward has several extremely busy guardian angels, and a God who loves him desperately and obviously has grand plans for him, as He has for all of us. I was continually reminded by this last night, and cannot thank you all enough for all your encouraging tweets and emails.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
They will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
I felt like a terribly bad mother last night as I dreaded this day. Not that it was some horrible blood-vial-drawing medical testing day, or IEP meeting day, or any of the other trying days we’ve all had as mothers.
It’s just that Edward had a 9 am soccer game, Joseph had a 9 am baseball game, Sue had a 12 pm soccer game and everyone had a school carnival extravaganza from 3 until 7. So much stimulation in one day is generally a setup for major tantrums, family disharmony and general filial chaos.
“Apparent Short-Lived Harmony”
“Mild disdain for sibling’s soccer game forcing you to sit in the cold at 9 am on a Saturday.”
I arrived with an overexcited Edward, armed with a passel of gf/cf treats to combat the cotton candy lust and sprinkle cookie bake sale yearnings. He bounced to his heart’s content, threw a whipped cream pie in the face of a beloved teacher, and met the school mascot.
(Is it just me or do you find this elementary school mascot a tad creepy?)
Still, the unexpected joy of the day came when Edward declared that he planned to play football with a gangly group of boys aged 7 – 16 that had gathered in the school playground.
Initially, my stomach flip flopped. I tried to steer him back to the giant bouncy slide. I cajoled him with dye-free jelly beans. I even agreed to let him drink a glass of lemonade that I am certain was laced with any sort of menacing yellow dye.
Nothing worked. He was bent on football and he raced on.
I was concerned that he would become upset and tantrum in front of all those children, but I was more worried that he would do precisely that in front of his brother who was a key player on one of the teams. Balancing their relationship has gotten trying of late as Edward’s personality has gotten a little large for the school and his brother is more of a child who likes to shrink into the background. Joseph loves his brother, but he is also ten, in a brand new school and trying to be a cool student-athlete.
Edward jumped in and was on fire–tackling 14-year-olds with abandon. He was quickly recruited by the middle school boys who loved his spunk. He played amazingly well, handling falls and tackles with aplomb and even calling a few plays.
And then at one point, the taller boys all tossed the ball to E, surrounded him with a wall of fourteenhood, and protected him through a rollicking touchdown. Everyone cheered and gave E high-fives.
And that child beamed. He shined. He was filled with such a joy it was contagious.
I sat there on the sidelines wondering how I ever could have feared for Edward’s future. Was this not God showing me a picture of His protection of my sweet child as he traveled this difficult life? How could I continue feeling so full of fear with God’s promises so clear?
Yes I will have to say, as they day closes, it was a good day.
Even the part where I had to “man” some bunjee jumpy bouncy thingy!
(I’m still hoarse from all the warnings!)
After a host of trying decisions involving homeschooling/public school, old house/new house, to pen a diagnosis on a child/to leave things vague, to try medication/to stick with homeopathy, one decision we had to make lately has been delightfully easy!
This is Sue.
She is four.
She goes to preschool now two days a week and loves it.
She colors inside the lines, writes her name neatly and packs her own backpack.
Every day as I greet her teacher, I hear the same words: “Great day! Perfect behavior as always.” And I smile to myself every day and say a prayer of thanksgiving because I know what it feels like to be the mother who is motioned to the side almost every day for a one-on-one conference about the days’ infractions and trials.
Sue is a “young four” which means she would be one of the youngest in her class if she attended kindergarten next year.
As I said, it was an easy decision. She’ll go to Pre-K again next year. That give me one more year of jammie days, Barbie jamborees, teddy bear tea parties and playdates.
An easy decision…
Isn’t it fascinating when you see your child leaping forward developmentally with apparent abandon? That is when I know God is working mightily.
The past two weeks have been such for Edward.
Last week we went swimming with two slightly older friends–one who is a fairly skilled diver and swimmer. Edward watched this friend absentmindedly, attempted dives halfheartedly, and later annoyed the friends by splashing them and simultaneously blathering “blah blah blah” in an cloying voice.
I was so thrilled when this most patient child finally told Edward that what he was doing was “dumb” and held up a kick board to shield himself. Edward actually garnered enough self control to stop his mind-numbing action immediately. This is big for him.
A few days later, Edward shocked me beyond belief by laying out a decent dive into the deep end of our neighborhood pool. Apparently, when I thought he was in “La La Land,” he had been watching his friend. His swim coach was equally surprised when he claimed he knew how to dive and then dove off the diving board to prove it.
At swimming lessons the next day we saw a dear friend from kindergarten days. He was with another boy and the two were lounging by the pool watching the lessons, dangling their legs into the cool water.
Edward sauntered up to the pool, took keen aim, and laid out a perfect dive in front of the two boys.
The new boy turned to Edward’s friend and admired, “Wow, that dude’s good! Who is he?”
The friend replied, “That’s Edward. He’s my friend!”
I blinked back tears behind my sunglasses.
Edward is a dude who’s been “good” at multiplication, reading and memorizing. He’s a dude who I’ll wager knows more about the Tudors than most adults. Yet I think this was the first time Edward had ever been genuinely admired by a peer for something athletic.
Then the child who has been terrified to stand on his head and flip over at gymnastics, a child fearful of somersaults and a child who would never consider a backward handspring, began doing back flips under the water in rapid succession.
The next day at gymnastics he garnered more shock and awe by doing an assisted back handspring.
Something is going on in that brain of his, and I am beyond awe.
Still, isn’t that the way God works? He wants to bless us so much more abundantly than we can ever imagine, and so often He comes through so mightily just when life has begun to look rather bleak.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11.
I have more stories of Edward’s progress that I will share next week. In the meantime, I am going out of town for the long weekend and will be back Tuesday!
Update: Elliot came through surgery better than expected today! Praise God! Thank you so much for all your prayers!
Elliot is a 22-month-old boy at our church with a complicated heart condition. I will never forget his parents–heavy with pregnancy and responsibility–coming before the church seeking prayer after Elliot was diagnosed in-utero with a seemingly-hopeless heart condition.
Doctors felt Elliot would not survive the birth process, and told his family that even if he did, he would most likely die during the first few days of life.
Elliot lived. Elliot fought. Elliot defied all the odds because, as we all know, there are no odds with God.
God has brought Elliot through three dicey surgeries in his short life.
I first met Elliot and his mother in the church nursery. For me, an 8:30 nursery gig is a tough deal. I struggle mightily with mornings in general and oftentimes find myself growing bitter about having to be at the nursery when others are either in church or bed.
Such was this morning. Elliot’s mother brought this smiling, glasses-bedecked toddler into the room; the unusually tiny boy was tethered to an oxygen tank; tubes and wire wound about him endlessly.
My first thought was panic. Did she expect me to take care of him and handle all these tubes and wires? How could I do that and take care of all the other babies?
So soon I felt an inward embarrassment and paradigm shift in my own view of the situation, the day, and even my own life. This sweet mother plopped down in the floor of the nursery and proceeded not only to take care of Elliot but also to help with the other babies.
Elliot cruised about, amazingly careful with all his wires and tubes; he was able to crawl and play, occasionally stopping to emit a troubling cough, but then moving on to another toy. And slowly, calmly Eliot’s mother began to weave her tale of his life story, God’s faithfulness and her own relentless love as a mother.
I left the nursery with a shift in my own understanding about tirelessly loving a child with special medical needs, graciously outpouring your life for someone else and cherishing each day regardless of tomorrow’s challenges or fears.
The miracles God has wrought through this child and his family have touched our church and our town. Eliot is now 22 months old and speaks fluently and eloquently in both English and Afrikaans.
Today as I submit this post, Elliot will undergo the Fontan procedure in Philadelphia to heal his tiny heart. His family’s prayer is that he will sail through surgery with no complications and emerge stronger than ever and able to leave the oxygen tank behind.
If you are so led, please join me in praying for Elliot.
“For as many as are the promises of God, they are all YES! in Christ Jesus.”
II Corinthians 1:20.
Certainly, I’m not sure what is going on in my life at any given moment, but whatever it is of late, it has to do with dodging and near-misses.
Sunday afternoon, after returning from the wedding, we made a leisurely drive-stroll through Alabama. We stopped in one of our favorite towns, and former homes, Birmingham, and hit Cahaba Heights to eat at a cool place called Mudtown.
Edward spilled his Sprite, swizzled ketchup and twirled precariously on his stool. Sue insisted on visiting the bathroom the minute we hit the place and rejected her chicken fingers because the breading was too “spikey.”
Things felt normal.
We’d already seen a rainbow earlier, and much to the excitement of the boys, an old couch floating in a flooded culvert, so we felt quite peaceful and jolly about the storms.
(Sorry I missed the couch in the shot! Isn’t this photographic excellence? I know Karla will be particularly impressed for two reasons.)
We’re relaxing on the porch with our salads and sweet teas, enjoying the break in rain,when the storm sirens suddenly go off. H leisurely walks inside the restaurant only to notice blaring tornado-red Weather Channel panic. Soon we are faced with several looming tornadoes quote close to the restaurant.
Our waitress speaks in shrill tones to her cell phone, “The tornado just hit my neighborhood! My children are OK. They were on the trampoline but my neighbor’s house is toast!” She throws down our bill and rushes inside to check the weather.
Soon we realize that if we hadn’t stopped at this lovely spot, we would have driven right through one tornado and directly into the paths of at least three more!
Joseph began to feel a bit panicky, with good reason. Two years ago, a large tornado hit our neighborhood, completely destroying one of our best friend’s homes, our former church and 13 other houses nearby. The devastation was massive and shocking, and the freight train sound and fear of what could have happened have lingered with Joseph, and of course, many others.
With dueling cell phones connected to weather.com, we tracked the storms throughout the night, stopping to let certain angry “cells” pass and arriving home around 1 am with two sleeping children and one wide-awake Edward! We barely missed one tornado that actually hit our town, causing damage to several businesses and homes, but thankfully injuring no one.
During the whole drive I felt undeniable peace. I knew God was protecting us, and I knew we would arrive home unscathed, despite the rain, potential hail, other reckless drivers, hydroplaning and a host of other typical fears that generally plague me in situations such as this. This assurance allowed me, often a fearful, anxious person, to (hopefully), pass my faith-confidence on to my son.
While I was thinking about the whole experience, the term “dodging” kept running through my mind. Yet as I worked on this post, I realized there was no dodging on my part. Instead it was God who was guiding us through this literal storm just as He guides us through the figurative storms of life. And whereas I so often rush to panic, and therefore cause alarm and terror in my children, by remaining calm and giving in to a new level of trust, I finally gave my children an important gift.
While I was pregnant with Sue, I had many occasions to “rush to panic,” yet early in the pregnancy a dear friend’s mother gave me this verse from Isaiah 28:16:
“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.'”
Certainly this verse spoke volumes to a mother with two recent miscarriages: the stone, the tiny embryo; the foundation, my womb.
Another translation of this verse reads, “If you trust in Him, you will not give way to sudden panic.”
Sue is almost four, and sadly I had “abandoned” this verse in an old flip-deck of verses I used to carry around. I’ve panicked too many times when Edward or Sue crashed over backward in a chair onto the tile floor, fell off the patio table onto concrete, or simply ran headlong into a door jamb, their foreheads purpling with a burgeoning swell of unknown severity, ice bags applied, pupils checked, prayers muttered.
I’ve screamed too many times Joseph has almost fallen out of a tree, cavalierly employed a butcher knife to open a video game or been crunched in football by a hulking boy twice his size.
Sudden panic has been my middle name throughout much of motherhood, and I have realized this week that it must stop.
 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
 He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”
that all I can manage these days is Monday Mumbers. Not to discount that weight-loss maven, cupcake rejecting Kia or anything, but I have scores of unfinished drafts and still have nothing ready for this week! Without further adieu:
3 Number of days I have before leaving for my brother’s “now-no-longer-a-surprise-wedding!”
77 Number of times I have panicked this weekend realizing all the things I still haven’t done to prepare for this event like: get children’s hair cut, (thereby qualifying for Stone Fox’s ‘Hair Dare’, I hope), buy matching shoes for boys (a wedding requirement), find a pair of khaki pants that will fit a rapidly-growing nine-year-old for longer than two weeks, lose 10 lbs, make pale pink rosette-shaped home-made mints with heirloom mint molds, and the list goes on…
20 Number of children at my house Saturday for a mudfest Easter egg hunt. (We put down a tarp and taped off treacherous mud-seep areas!)
24 Number of fleshly-colored turkey hotdogs H prepared for the Easter egg extravaganza!
4 Number of “flesh-turkey” hotdogs consumed by guests.
35 Number of “standard beef” hotdogs relished by guests.
16 x 21 Dimensions of the over-sized Easter basket Edward insisted on using for the egg hunt.
2 Number of “pitiful” Easter decorations I put up before the party and H took pictures of to make fun of my decorating attempts!
Here’s my mantle graced with Easter lights and children’s pottery masterpieces!
1 Number of children who captured a caterpillar, placed it in an Easter egg lined with soft leaves and exclaimed, “This is Fuzzy, my new pet caterpillar! She will live in this egg, build her cocoon here and live happily ever after until she comes out of the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly and follows me around, flying just above my head, for the rest of my life!”
Enough of the humorously pitiful!
What is truly pitiful is a fact our pastor shared with us today: If you Google the word Easter in “images,” in the first 18 images (which comprise the first page), you will only see one image of Christ or the cross. The rest are frolicking bunnies, bright eggs, ducks and fluffy chicks. (Try it!)
Now that, my friends, is honestly pitiful because the true meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ!
He has risen! He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!