Re-commitment Revelations Found in the Wilderness of Distractions

So many things have happened since I last blogged about my unique take on friendship and, being a mom and wife in Christ… No writing has been happening, but I have cleared my office of a lot of completed yet unsuitable manuscripts that had been gathering dust. And, I’ve spent about 10 months not sleeping at night, along with my husband. And, finally, I’ve asked God the Holy Spirit to clean house inside of me. Look, be a w a r e that when you ask for something like healing or growth in any area: You’re actually asking to see the dank basement areas inside of you – the places with the cobwebs… The places that loved darkness more than the light…

You’re gonna need the grace of God to reveal Himself as Christ then – if you’re going to be able to handle the Pandora’s Box that prayers like that open up before us. You’re going to need God’s hand on you (His power). You’re going to need His love.

When I started praying for patience and inner healing and searching for places to feed my starving Spirit (Wo)man the Word of God, I came across lots of podcasts and social media posts that made the hairs on my arms stand up.

Episode 67 of The Love and Respect Podcast: Relationships | Marriage | Theology | Psychology, “Parenting God’s Way Part I,” told me that whenever (an older, nearly independent) child does the wrong thing (something with which we do not agree), our model as Christian parents is the father of the prodigal. That was big and new to me. Joel Osteen preaching about the effects of mental magnification – like holding up a quarter near our eye and how it would block the sun (appearing bigger than what is billions of times the quarter’s size) – made me think of Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord…” (Luke 1:46.) Understanding that what we magnify distorts our perspective, gave me something to say when I got a call from someone who felt like a bad grade was threatening to blot out her hope for a career she’s  dreamed of… Joyce Meyer’s prayer journal, starting and ending your day devotionals, together with her advice about asking God who we can bless every day, led me to be a blessing and, to write prayers…and see them answered. Tony Evans’ Instagram prompt – to read Joshua 24 each day one week, was such a powerful reminder that we need to remember – that God is good…and the cause of every victory. Ron Carpenter, in the short time since I Holy-Spirit-stumbled into him preaching on the Hillsong Channel, has shown me in many ways: We really are only as delivered and victorious as we have been cleansed with the washing of the word, having our minds renewed, and having grown in knowledge… And then Stephanie Ike’s Instagram photo with Dr. Caroline Leaf made me stop and listen to her The Same Room podcast, which made me compulsively take notes 📝 for my family’s sake. And that podcast made me subscribe to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s podcast, and ☝🏾 O N E episode (“#64 How to help teenagers and young children deal with identity issues”) made me realize: I’m a bad parent. I’m literally doing everything (most of the time) exactly wrong! That’s a huge realization to swallow, but I’ve been praying. And in my prayer journal I asked to know these things – to be led by God the Holy Spirit into such understanding. So, that’s an answered prayer I can record, a token of His faithfulness.

And God gave me the grace to swallow and repent (changing direction); I’m already forgiven, and as Joseph Prince said in a sermon: Jesus didn’t say, “It’s almost done, now do your part!” from the Cross; He said, “It is finished!” so there is no more unforgiven sin, no breach between me and God for my works to cross. Therefore, as much as I can accept and take on the truth that I’m a bad mom is as much as I can be changed and healed. Paraphrasing DeeDee Freeman’s Instagram post, An excuse is an invitation to see the same issue again. Therefore, I feel good about recognizing where I am, accepting it with a big gulp, and turning c o m p l e t e l y in the other direction.

I almost forgot to credit God for using Ron Carpenter’s Game Changers series to help me see that being a servant and a living sacrifice – setting aside my own wisdom and my own dreams and my own isolated independence from other Christians in an organized setting – is the way to find out who I truly am in Christ. That is, the woman God crafted me to be – the me that is living according to His calling, purpose, and good plan… I have to be willing to set aside my own authority and selfishness to see that happen, and I’m renewing my mind to relieve the cognitive dissonance between that truth and the will of my soul.

Thank God for the revelation of His grace, which was a secret, riches stored in His Son and unearthed circa 2000 years ago. (TD Jakes posted Isaiah 45:3 on his Instagram, and God the Holy Spirit cross-referenced it for me in Ephesians 1:3-9.)

Momlife: When it Feels Like I’m Falling

We enter the story just after I have spilled hot oatmeal all over one slipper and my maxi skirt and my bare leg… After I’ve vacuumed – the chore my oldest daughter is supposed to do every morning before school… We enter as my next youngest child is explaining to me that MY explanation of How to Wrap the Cord Back on the Vacuum has “unlocked” her understanding. She (the next youngest 👆🏾) also thinks that the actual baby (less than 2 months old) has yet to unlock many things – crawling and walking, for instance; but, that baby has unlocked falling asleep on her own.

The thing is, my next youngest SHOOK my youngest. Yesterday. So her head was whipping back and forth. Witnessing something like that is so scary, it threatens to trigger dangerous reactions. Seeing your child shaking another child that way sets off thoughts and fearful questions.

I’m already struggling. I struggle with fear and with exercising patience. I need patience for my children and their antics and their youthful ignorance and enthusiasm – that which overrules the inhibitions (my and their father’s directives)… I need patience for incessant, obsessive-compulsive questions about things that are little to me.., yet are the world to the little people asking them.

I need patience for gluttonous need – the kind that grows up in the soil of insecurity of change. Chang-es. Many changes.

I need patience for dealing with other people’s need for freedom – freedom that, ironically, burdens me.

I need patience for my body that can’t keep up with my mind and, patience with obligations that eat up the time for keeping up with my plans and want to’s.

I need to access all the patience I have in the only begotten Son of God today as I face a world with fewer trusted friends… Have you heard that saying before – ? – the one about summer friends and winter friends? The Bible puts it this way👇🏾

There are friends who are friends, and there is a friend that is closer than a brother. 

Proverbs 18:24 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English.) I take it to mean, generally, some people are in for the long haul. You don’t have to doubt them or perform for them, and they don’t doubt and question you.

But some folks are part of the fun while it lasts. And life is both – better and worse.

This recurring thought I’m having – about patience – feels like a lesson God is teaching me. A lesson, but without the guilt and judgment teachers usually impose – that is, the ones who aren’t God or, His agents: What feels like a lifetime when you’re waiting (and feeling kind of doubt-y in your faith) is actually many, many times shorter.

In my head, it ties back to another thought I recently had:

The way God loves us is not 🙅🏽‍♀️ like the way we (as adult kids ) are loved.

🙏🏾 God loves us like we love infants 👶🏽 [] the way we love new borns and babies : He loves us before we do anything or, are anything, except amazing creations – creatures who have been formed, life breathed into us…but needing everything.

A nursing baby is most like what we are to God – being fed from Him on demand, crying when we sense lost connection But really, we are the ones to pull away from what feeds us, yet never out of His protective and loving arms 💜

My Post (Facebook, October 8, 5:01 AM CST.) A baby feels like my 25 minute detour away from her (to pay attention to the house or, her siblings or, her father) is a lifetime. She cries like she’s in the cross-hairs of impending destruction.

I kind of laughed inside myself about it as I chided her gently the last time she had such a “meltdown,” but then ☝🏾 It came to me: Don’t I also melt down? Don’t I, too, feel like the sun will never shine upon me directly – as soon as I’m sick, in pain, shaken out of my calm, wise persona by fear or, loss, change, or the inertia that comes by trying to be God when I’m only something He made?

The answer is: Yes. Of course I do.

But this is what I heard God saying in the face of all my mental tossing and turning: Let not your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid. SEE ALSO, 👇🏾

Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me.

John 14:1 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English.) And I’m trying not to be afraid, trying to see the glass half full moments – the kiss before the buss ride, the back rub, the chore or homework done without being asked… My son saying that his problem this Friday is: “Momma, I don’t get to hold my sister enough💙”

The Race

It’s been a weird journey, and recovery in The Post Emergency C-Section Tunnel is the latest pit stop. My marriage, my motherhood, and my investment as a friend – every aspect of relationship – is in that dark place, the tunnel.

Sometimes I forget that I’m not all the way back. Not by a long shot… But I also cry a lot. Because it’s hard.

I feel like a million bucks in the morning and a million years old by early afternoon; and it’s hard, even though I prayed for this baby and wanted her for all these 7 years. Even when I resigned myself to the possibility that the motherhood part of my womanhood might be a memory and deeply mourned that change, I wanted this baby. But it’s hard, and I cry a lot.

Partially because of something I heard in a sermon recently: Experience reveals our weaknesses. And Hubby and I have never had a baby in our forties…7 years later, like starting over again. It is, in a lot of ways, like being first time parents again. Except, of course, in the ways that it isn’t, like in our being the parents of 3 other kids who’d settled into the reality of a family…of individuals – all with their own significant measure of independence.

Babies don’t want to leave you. This baby didn’t want to leave my womb, ostensibly. Babies want you and want to know you deeply, trust you instinctively, and need you for everything. Every day after birth, this baby will (as all babies do) grow away from her parents. From me. She’ll grow into her own significant measure of independence.

But today, she watched me do everything, and she wasn’t just happy to watch me…as I watched my phone or the tv; No, she wanted to stare into my eyes and imprint everything about me into her soul – my skin with its blotches, and my hair. Today it (the hair) was too messy to be seen pushing her in her stroller, even for the shortest walk. Today there are gray curls where they weren’t when we took the pregnancy test that confirmed she was coming.

Today, Experience has made me afraid of the very things of which I once dreamed, made me doubt the things that I felt anchored me.

But the thing about being at this pit stop of life, about being in the darkness of the tunnel…is you don’t know exactly where you are or, when you’re almost out. You don’t know til the light starts to blind you.

This is one of those pit stops along the race – one with the table full of cups of water and surrounded by the litter of all the people who made it there before you (SEE ALSO, II Timothy 4:7.) And just like in the race you’re envisioning – your 5k or, my half-marathon, you have to realize: It doesn’t matter who or how many made it there before you. It doesn’t matter who’s running beside you, who’s out in front, or who might be drafting you (in the unlikely event that that is even happening)… The race is yours. It’s personal. And the race I’m talking about is the one with a finish line in heaven, where Jesus Christ is Himself the light and there is no darkness, ever.

And this pit stop, no matter how tough a place to abide, has to be viewed in that light…so we keep looking up up toward and, listening for God.