Shifting


Luke is twelve years old. We have the same t-shirt and shoe size. I’m not sure why that amazes me so much…but it does. He would be taller than my grandma if she were still alive. What I would give to hear her voice saying she can’t believe he’s taller than her. She always made a big deal out of when her grandkids outgrew her. It always made me chuckle because she wasn’t very tall. But still, it was a rite of passage in my family. You felt like you were getting older once you were taller than her. So that is how I measure Luke’s age. He’s old enough to be taller than my grandma and it blows my mind.

Wednesday night at a bible study I was reminded how struggles can bring sanctification. Through Luke’s twelve years of life I can see how God worked and is still working through his struggles for the good. Looking back through my own life as well, I see how the ups and the downs were preparing me to become the person I am today. It took me a long stinking time to see that. I can now confidently say I wouldn’t want to take away any of it. One day when Luke is older I pray he will see how all the things, good and bad, were preparing him as well.

In his twelve years he has had some downs. A diagnosis of Ocular Albinism at six months old being one of them. It is probably safe to say it is the biggest down of his life thus far. Not that he knew that at six months.

I remember the day Luke was diagnosed with Ocular Albinism his opthamologist also told us to prepare him for a life without driving. I’m telling you, those words instantly shifted my life, my thinking, my vision of his future, and my idea of how parenthood would be. I didn’t have a choice. I became the parent he needed.

Sure enough he was the son I needed too. Being his parent has strengthened me. It’s strengthened my faith in God and humanity. I know I’m his mom, but he truly is an amazing person. I mean, he does have moments that drive me bonkers. He’s a twelve year old boy afterall. I’ll stick with the good stuff today though. Watching the way he lives his life has shown me what perserverance truly is all about. It’s shown me the power of God. It’s certainly shown me more than I’ll ever realize this side of heaven.

Our life, just like everyone else’s, just keeps shifting. Last year we were told Luke would be able to get a restrictive drivers license and possibly was on track for an unrestrictive one. Praise God. That gave us a hope we never thought possible.

Fast forward a year. Wednesday we were told his vision has improved to the point he doesn’t even qualify for services in school. He’s also even closer to being on track for an unrestrictive license. I was excited to hear it last year, but now it actually feels attainable.

So yep, my life has once again shifted. I was a mom of a child who needed accommodations in school. I had to worry about whether or not kids would pick on him for being different. I had to worry about the teacher taking the extra time needed to follow the IEP…which sadly didn’t always happen. Most of his teachers were great though. Now I’m a mom of a twelve year old boy who doesn’t need accommodations and who will most likely be driving like any other kid. I always imagined Oliver would be my first kid driving. I always imagined Oliver would have to play the role of big brother and drive Luke places. Now it seems Luke will be able to live out the role.

I keep thinking about how these shifts in our life shape us. How is this one shaping us? I don’t know. There are many shifts that don’t shift back to normal or good. This part of Luke’s story has. He still has other struggles, but that’s part of being human. It’s like, I keep waiting for it to not be real. More, I feel like I need to be careful and sensitive to those who have stories that may never shift back like ours has. I want Luke to see and feel that too. It isn’t that I want him to feel guilt for God’s blessings. I just don’t want it all to be in vain. You know?





Death

I’m dying.

The air doesn’t fill my lungs…

as it did in the past.

My body aches.

Each step slower than the last.

I hear a voice.

I reach out.

All I feel is empty space.

Empty promises.

I close my eyes and pray.

His Word fills the emptiness.

I let out my last breath.

I am free.

New air fills my lungs.

The pain is gone.

My path is clear.

My steps are boundless.

This truth is where…

my peace is found.

I no longer live,

it is He who lives in me.

Through the power,

through His endless love.

I am brought back to life,

time and time again.

A Moment

There’s just something about the way it is snowing today that sets my mind and body at ease. It is beautiful and powerful, dainty and steadfast. Ah, to stay right here as long as I possibly can! My eyes begin at the top of my window and follow the bunch down as far as they can, only to quickly start the cycle again. I believe staring at it too long is likely to put me in a trance and I wouldn’t even mind if it did.

The idea that this world, that the science of it all and its creation is deemed chance by some baffles me in this moment. The mind and thought…the intelligence I know it took to have created it sends shivers down my spine. My knowing without a doubt God created this moment and me to be in it brings a peace. It is pure peace and yet I am saddened to think of those who don’t hold its beauty as dear as I do. I can never quite grasp how thankful I am to know the truth. As corny as I may be sounding right now, it simply takes my breath away.

Missing Parts

We have a vacation home near my parents. There’s just something about being there that allows me to reconnect with parts of myself that aren’t here in my real residence. I don’t believe it is the house itself. Nor is it the area that brings with it the warmer weather I love. I believe it is the mere fact that my parents are there. Being around them brings out parts of me I sometimes feel are missing. No matter how much I try, I cannot fully be the person I am when they are not near.

It is similiar to running into an old friend. It is like the memory that arises of someone who has passed away. You feel a part of yourself that only that person can bring. I’m certain everyone can relate to the emotions I speak of. It is a part of this life, whether we like it or not.

I went through a phase of reading self-help books. I found it invigorating to strive to “find” my true self. I admit, each book opened my eyes to parts of me I had not known or had hidden in pains of the past. But yet, I still felt I needed to find more. So on my quest went. Book after book, picking up a little part of me here and there.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for those missing parts I recovered. I love the books and I love reading things that can better a person. It’s just, what I didn’t realize is there will always be more missing parts this side of heaven. We were made, we were designed to live in paradise. Of course, sin had to come along and change that. But I now know it’s the reason why it’s so hard to find contentment apart from God. I know who I am meant to be won’t be found in any self-help book alone. Who I am meant to be is found in Christ. It is found in losing myself in Him, missing parts and all.

The Unknown Artist

Middle school is said to be a confusing time in one’s life. It’s a mix of still being young and immature, but beginning to see things for what they really are. There are times my son behaves in a way I wonder if he’ll ever be able to take care of himself. Other times I’m on awe of his cautiousness in care and action. Sometimes I think I’m beginning to get in the groove of parenting in this weird time. Truly though, it is just as confusing for me as it is for him.

“I need you to help me get tucked in, mom! Can you scratch my back too?”

“Ugh, I just want to be left alone.”

Follow his lead, I tell myself. Soak up the moments he needs me and be proud of the moments he doesn’t. Give him more freedom but don’t forget strong boundaries. Easy, right? Not always.

As they say, some of the hardest things in life are the things that shape you the most. As far as parenting a middle-schooler goes, I’m being shaped just as much as he is. When I think about it, he’s always been shaping me. Being my first kid, he’s been the first to show me all the different stages. With his Ocular Albinism, he’s shown me vision is deeper than what the eyes can do. With his ADHD and Tourette’s he’s shown me what true resilence looks like.

It is like an unfinished painting that you didn’t even realize was unfinished. A few added strokes here and there continues to transforms it into something you’d never imagine it could be. I, of course, am that unfinished painting that has become who I never imagined I could be.

When Luke is older and thanks me for all I did for him, I too will thank him for all he did for me. For we are all unknown artists in others’ lives.

If the One

If the One who made all of creation delights in me, then why don’t I delight more in myself?

If the One set me free by facing life and death for me, then why don’t I feel more free?

He tells me to fear not, yet I fear so much.

He tells me to trust with all my heart, yet I’m inclined to lean on my own understanding.

I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself. Does that mean when I don’t love my neighbor, I don’t really love myself?

I’m supposed to seek, knock, and He’ll answer. Am I really seeking? Like really? Am I knocking? Or lightly tapping?

Why, why, why do I feel His love so brillantly one day and the next it’s seems so dim?

Oh yea…

It’s called listening to the lies and forgetting His truth.

It’s called forgetting His truth is the only truth.

It’s called being human. Humans are weak because only He is strong.

The devil may pounce and yet I can boast because God’s power works despite my many, many weaknesses.

Twelve Years

Yesterday Matt needed to change a light bulb. It wasn’t just any lightbulb. It was the one going down to our basement. I wish there was an easy or safe way to change it. Picture stairs, a heighth you can’t reach, and a ladder that probably has some fine print saying not to use it on stairs. Why does there have to be a light fixture there?

My job was to stand on the other side of the door silently freaking out. I placed my head against the door listening as he yelled, “I’m going up…I’m going down…I’m going back up again…and down…oh just going up one more time…okay all done!”

Not to sound dramatic, but my pulse was quickening by the second, there was a weird sensation in my jaw and cheeks, and the rest of my was body frozen in a tense state. All I could think was I love this man––like truly deeply love this man. Not news. Of course I do. It’s just that in that moment it struck me so hard.

I too often forget how blessed I am to have a love like ours. He’s my best friend. He’s my biggest supporter and I hope he knows that I am his. I pray for many more years of being his bride and many more years of being able to still fit in my wedding gown. It may seem silly but I love putting it on and feeling like a bride, his bride. Maybe next time I try it on I’ll actually fix my hair and apply makeup. Happy Anniversary to the best guy ever.

Through Light Rain and Onions

B2C36697-57F3-4B80-8C03-A61CA14B60F2A light rain fell from the sky. I stared out the window with disappointment wishing the forecast would be slightly different. The days go by much easier when the sun is shining and we can enjoy our beautiful yard. As I sipped my coffee and allowed myself to slowly awaken, I noticed a few robins in our yard pecking at the wet soil to gather worms. The birds instinctively transitioned and knew with rain comes wet soil and with wet soil comes…so on and so on.

It reminded me there can be purpose in every season.

On the table that sits in front of the window I was staring out of sits a pot. In that pot we planted onion sprouts from an onion that began resprouting. In order to properly regrow the onions you have to peel away the layers and separate the different sprouts. Then you take the sprouts and plant them in soil. The boys have been taking turns watering the soil and we all have watched in amazement at how fast they’ve been growing.

It reminded me there are times you have to peel away layers or take things away in order to grow or regrow. 

There are days I struggle with all that is happening. Yesterday was one of those days. I felt cooped up and bored. Add to that how overwhelming it is to hear of and see so many people struggling. I long for the day people can reconnect with others and go back to work or wherever it is they are needing or simply wanting to go.

Then also, I think back to the things I learned in nursing school; the things I pledged to do to care for others. The person as a whole––physical, mental, spiritual, and social is a fine balance to keep. There’s a part of me that has found it easier balance myself and my family as a whole since the world has slowed down. For that reason, there’s a big part of me that doesn’t want everything to go back to the way it was. The ebb and flow of our days seem to feel more real and meaningful.

The other day I overheard my boys talking. One of them said to the other, “I love homeschooling. I miss friends and that part sucks, but homeschool is so much better.” The other one agreed and they moved on and began talking about their usual boy stuff. Mind you, we mostly have not been doing the distance learning stuff from the school. I know many have been struggling with that. So know, I am no better at being a distance learning parent. I just happened to find doing things closer to actual homeschooling (low tech usage) has been easier in our house. My point to sharing that is that I agree with my kids.

I miss seeing my people who live outside my home, but I love the slowing down of everything else. In this dreary season we have transitioned and discovered some purpose through all of it. Looking forward, I wonder what things we will decide to take away to regrow and find our new normal.

 

 

April 14, 2020

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It is Tuesday. The kids are done with school. My husband is working from home. I am drinking a cup of decaf and relaxing by myself. Yesterday, the boys were grumpy and it was not an easy day. I guess I was grumpy too. Our day did not flow as easily as days past. Luckily today has been wonderful and I am grateful for this chance to breathe and write.

Sunday was Easter. I missed being able to go to a building filled with fellow believers, because I love celebrating with other believers. I missed going to my aunts house filled with family, because I feel as though we don’t see them quite often enough. I missed watching my kids find Easter eggs with my cousins kids, because it reminds me of my own childhood.

The things I missed naturally left a nagging pain. There’s a freedom I never recognized as freedom, but as more of just ordinary life. It was taken from me, from all of us. Thank you very much, Covid-19.

It reminded me of all the things I miss about ordinary life. I miss people, the ones I know and the ones I don’t know. I miss going to the store and connecting with the person standing in line behind me or the cashier. I miss watching my kids meet new friends at a park or watching them with their close friends. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss so much.

Since all of this began, there has been the blessing of being able to spend more time with family. Life has slowed down and we have prayed more, read the bible more, laughed more, and simply grown closer. The losses, though? There have been so many losses at the same time.

So yeah, it was a different kind of Easter. We made the best out of it and made wonderful memories. We watched church in our pajamas, had a very fun Easter egg hunt, ate way too much, and even prank called my brother. I allowed myself to feel the depth and joy that surrounded me…all the while allowing myself to miss all that I missed.

I cannot help to think the very first Easter was much the same. He had risen! Hallelujah! Their tangible savior, their visible savior they shared life with was gone, though. The only semi-relatable moment I can think of was when I lost my grandma. I knew she was in heaven. I knew it was God’s will. I imagine those close to Jesus felt closer to God and closer to the good and bad of their own humanity in that moment. And, they were forever changed because of it. God knew that was the only way.

I feel the same. Okay, maybe not exactly as much as they would have felt. Still though, I feel closer to God and closer to the good and bad of my own humanity. And, I too am forever changed because of all of it. How about you?

March 27, 2020

Today my family should be in our car driving to Florida to see my parents. I’m sad because that is the one place I know would make me feel stronger right now. We’ve had one heck of a week and I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Last night around 8:30pm I received a call from the Covid-19 Hotline telling me my test was negative. It took a moment for it to sink in, it took a moment for some relief to wash over me. It is hard to explain–I’m relieved for myself and my family. I really am, but what about the rest of the people suffering? Goodness, I am a mix of emotions right now.

I’m mostly writing this to say I am thankful for the prayers, the love, and the reminders of God’s presence. Now I am going to rest up so I can feel better. I have some boys who have missed their momma.