Prepared for the Pandemic

I say I’m a pinball, and I’m glad the machine belongs to God. I can look back and see that when I started dreaming about things and feeling an urgency to take certain steps, it was God preparing me, gently nudging me into position for what was to come. I had no idea how COVID-19 would change our lives on the day we went to our favorite restaurant to celebrate our son’s grades. I did not yet understand how personally God had helped us to collect tools and materials with which we’d build systems to carry us through this present storm.

Our favorite waitress, Kim, was grateful and surprised when we hugged her, as we had done many visits before. “The craze going on in the world is making us hug our sanitizer instead of people!” she said. “People are buying water and toilet paper so they can sell what they’re hoarding online. I’m not worried about myself,” she told us, as she pulled herself away to pour a warm-up of coffee into cups at another table. Her fear was for older people living on fixed incomes, bravely gathering themselves for their weekly shopping trip, only to find the pandemonium of lines, basic staples out of stock, and rationing.

Now that restaurant is closed, except for curbside pickup—online orders that detail the make and model of the car in the “Catering” notes.

God knows the end from the beginning—not to say the pandemic is our end, but it did not surprise God. Well before the pandemic arrived, my heart and mind had been increasingly drawn to the idea of teaching our children at home. My husband did not share my desire. It had been a point of contention for months. I was ready to pull the kids from school and hit the homeschool thing with all my energy. My husband thought it was wiser to step into this possibility with a little more caution, and he pledged his support in gathering supplies and homeschooling on the weekends. Still, God was leading me to do one thing in all areas—prepare. He knew ahead of time how my desperate and seemingly futile homeschool agenda would weave perfectly into what I call “the craze.” While I was scheming to shift education from outside of our control to within it, fear of the virus and confirmed cases led to school closures and suddenly, homeschool was the only option. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Opportunity has to be met with preparation.” God called me to trust Him to hear and answer my prayers. I will not end up begging for bread, even if there isn’t a single roll of toilet paper for miles. I am established, and my path is being made straight; because I’ve committed homeschool, the craze fallout, and my family to Him in the name of Jesus.

I remember being on the phone with my husband in the kitchen having one of our tense micro-discussions—the kind where I needed to fit in a full day of feelings, thoughts, and questions into a few minutes. We had many things over which we needed to “come into agreement,” while his attention was divided between me and his computer screen, fielding pings, replies, updating code, and a meeting he just got out of and the one about to begin. I was heated, not just frustrated; I could feel it in my skin. Maybe my meetings never took place in real pants or conference rooms, but my bun and I fielded the emotional pings of kids bullied mercilessly at school. I needed to be ready with replies when my kids told me about the uncensored TV some of their teachers allowed them to watch and some of the language they were allowed to use. I felt a desperate sense of urgency to bring them home from that environment.

“Why do you trust the school and not me?” I asked him. “God knows I can do it. He has equipped me.” My friends kept saying this to me. It was hard to believe any of it when my own husband—the person God made to be one with me—was nervous about my ability to educate our children [READ THIS ESSAY IN ITS ENTIRETY on the Kindred Mom Blog.]

I Have Feelings, Momma

“I Have Feelings, Momma…”


I honestly forget who I am sometimes. I think I’m a writer. But writing’s ✍🏽 something I can do. I think of myself as “Mom,” especially because my people call me that – “Mom,” “Momma,” “Mommy,” like it’s my name; but that’s a role I play.

My true identity as a child of God is tied up His purpose in sending Jesus Christ to sacrifice Himself as the Holy Lamb of God, thereby healing me of the consequences of sin 👉🏾death. My identity, an unmerited gift of God’s grace and evidence of His inexplicable love, means a lot of things.

Inside my identity as a saved person – one adopted or, baptized into grace through faith, lives this truth: My source is always, always, always God. LORD Jesus is my lifeline, the Friend I should phone…like when my son comes home and tells me that the kids in his classroom group are calling him “a freak” or that, “no one in my [entire] class spoke to me [for 2 days straight.]”

I had to explain to my son, whose heart was breaking afresh: “We will make it through. Because we’re going over to the other side with Jesus” (SEE, Mark 4:35-5:1.) 

I encouraged my son, saying: “All the mean things that people are doing and have done are not because of them, but because we have a spiritual enemy whose entire purpose in launching arrows by day and laying out snares by night is to convince you that you don’t belong, don’t have a place, and have no reason to hope for your future.” Take note: The Bible actually says, “terrors by night,” which matches my son better, unfortunately. However, I was right when I told him: “We have an enemy who’s trying to steal from, kill, and destroy us.”

I also told my son, “God is taking you I to open places. He’ll give you the ground wherever you step. Remember we’re planting ‘God seeds’ by speaking God’s word, so that ‘God things’ will come up?” I reminded him.

He said with tears in his big, beautiful eyes, “I said it, Momma. That’s what I kept saying.”

My first instinct had been to take pictures of my son’s state – his tears and expression, so I could have a foundation to stand on when I  spoke to someone about the going’s on…

But then I remembered who I am.

22“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

(Chapter 6 of The Gospel of Matthew, NASB.) The light is understanding (knowledge of the Holy One.) Darkness is anything you don’t know from the Bible about God or anything else – in other words, ignorance; and when we are attacked by principalities in heavenly places, it is only in the sphere of what we don’t know about Jesus and God’s word (and so, therefore, have no discernment or response – in the fashion of Jesus confronting the devil in Matthew 4:4.) (SEE also, Ephesians 3:10, 6:12.)

God is my foundation (SEE, Matthew 7:24-27; I Corinthians 3:11.) And I started asking God the Holy Spirit to show my son the truth of who he is and where God is in his circumstances. I started praying friends and divine connections out of the heavenly dimension. I asked for wisdom for his dad and me.

I told him to understand that the desire of lies is to take hold of your mind and faith. Corruption and death live in every place where there is no light of understanding – knowledge of Jesus Christ and His true will and identity toward you, His power and love for you.

I said, “Lies come to you as young as possible, so that you can be in bondage and anxiety and depression and self-doubt for as long as possible.” 

I told him that I’d been hobbled early and only now (in my early 40’s) really beginning to see how much I’ve been trapped in deception and insecurity and fear. I asked him if he knew who he was listening to when he didn’t tell us the truth about what’s going on at school…or, when he believes the bad, sad thoughts that come. He knew they were lies.

“Listen to God,” I told him. “Keep planting God things with your words. Don’t agree with the lies or the feelings. God will start showing you his good plan sooner, if you listen to Him.”

Because, Friends, LORD Jesus has no plans to harm us, only plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future. And no wisdom, no insight and no plan can succeed against the LORD (Proverbs 21:30.)

I told my son: “I’m hoping against hope, like Abraham when he believed what God said about him and Sarah having a baby into their hundreds and 90’s.” (SEE, Genesis 17:17.) His eyes got big.

“Do you know what hoping against hope means?” I asked, and he shook his head.

“Hoping against hope means you look and can’t see how it could change, but you trust God will do it anyway.” 

Another way of saying that is: Walk by faith, not by sight. And, Call things that be not as though they were.

“I tell them, but they don’t understand that I have feelings,” my son said, tearfully, on another occasion. I don’t ask, Why is there no empathy for a child’s feelings? No. My question is: Will you pray? For hard hearts to be softened, so that no child has to wonder why there is no one around to celebrate a victory (catching his first fish 🎣in my son’s case – a bass) or, to care when they cry 🙏🏾 

Every Mom is Running with Glass

Imagine yourself running through life with a glass vase as you carry everything else it’s your job to carry… You’re eventually going to drop that vase, you know?

And it will crack like an iPhone screen, even if it doesn’t shatter.

Your child. Your children. They are the glass vase in my visual.

All that to say: When we think of the moms out there who do things we find unforgivable – who are negligent or reckless or cruel with their children in ways we think even G O D should not forgive… Or, when moms just fail to meet our own, religious and rigorous, sometimes unspoken Mom Standards – the ones that will get you talked about behind your back when you miss it…

☝🏾I’m saying, We should be grateful God forgives those moms…and follow His example of forgiveness and mercy and empathy.

I’m saying, Maybe we need to realize that even cracks created by our “little” misses – losing our temper and shouting, asking a child, What’s w r o n g??? with them when they do something mind 🤯bogglingly gross or hard to clean up 🧼🧹or, laughing at their “petty” issues and concerns… 👈🏾Those misses can cause cracks that burn First Truths into our children…about their value, about their character, about their potential, about what they deserve from other people, about who they are and can be.

And the Law of First Truth makes it hard to shake what was first burned into your soul by your parents (or anyone influential over your body, mind, and soul development when you’re very young), whether the “truth” is true or not. You may have heard the term stronghold; this would be one way a stronghold is born into your soul.

THEREFORE 👆🏾It’s possible that the unforgivable negligence and recklessness and cruelty that we usually read about or hear about on the news regarding some “other” mom…could be as damaging as our own “little” misses.

It’s worth considering, tuning in to our children, and giving them what we ourselves want from every interaction and connection from which we feed and nourish our souls.

👍🏾I recommend giving Dr. Caroline Leaf’s podcast, “Cleaning up the Mental Mess with Dr. Caroline Leaf” a good listen 👂🏽

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.)

Soldier On, Mom

Maybe I’ve been watching too much of my favorite baking show, but I see now that parenting puts said parent on a floured counter to be kneaded and rolled. We get worked until the gluten of flexibility emerges. Life pours vinegar into our mixture until bubbles of strength come out in the fryer of reality. And if you plan to use artificial sugar… Well, you better know what you’re doing!

We need flexibility, like you wouldn’t believe and, strength, too. I hope you don’t mind me mixing a military metaphor into the batter, because parents are soldiers. Soldiers don’t get to choose their orders. They don’t get to decide whether they’ll be sent into this or that conflict. But the veterans deserve (in my opinion) honor for their service.

Getting in work, cleaning, or exercise with limited time is an ongoing battle – figuring out the balance. Waking up each morning and deciding out how the priorities will be ordered for that day… Under these conditions, it’s so brave to have goals. It takes God to maintain a positive attitude.

I have to believe even when I don’t. I have to answer questions when I don’t know the answers. I have to do it when I don’t know how. And I have to keep going when I’m finished. Exhausted… Discouraged…

I explained to my son what it means to be discouraged. I said: You know how people tell you it will all work out? When you’re discouraged, it means that you don’t feel like it will work out. Discouraged means you don’t believe it will work out. I also told him that we have to trust God when we feel like that.

I told my oldest 2 kids: You know now that you have both faced the same challenges. That there are universal challenges, right..? Well, there are more challenges coming. People doing sex (I said it this way, for some reason) and people doing drugs, right? Yes, it seems gross right now. But you might like it later or, have friends who do. You might want to do it or watch it on TV. Yes. And the things you said you’d never do..? You might want to do those things. But this is the thing: God already knows everything you’ll do that you said you’d never do. He knows all the good and bad things that are coming in your life. So, don’t hold onto what you do, okay? Don’t hold onto whether you’re good or bad. Trust God. Hold onto that. He’s going to take you through every challenge – the big ones and the little ones.

The biggest challenge is: this life, which, like a rapper said, is all wilted roses and no leaves. I don’t know about that, but God will take you through the challenge of this life to heaven, if you believe in His Son.

The challenge you face today might be to do with nursing or getting in some sewing or exercise during a child’s nap. But it might be bullying on the bus or in Math class. It might a sassy teen or a teen who doesn’t know how to manage his rage. It might an older child who doesn’t want to live through social media attacks to see that facts on the ground change in life; the world is bigger; and death is too final.

The beautiful moments of parenting are real. Developmental Psychology says: The moments of joy in our lives are spiked way higher for parents and that the moments of distress are lower. So, there is stress, and the struggle is also real. But an accurate picture of parenting is one that recognizes how the times of pure joy make being a parent a worthwhile occupation. And I think: Parents who have God as their foundation have their hope in Jesus to carry them through it all.

In all cases…my advice is the same: Soldier on. Trust God.

Babylon

My people, go you out of the midst of her, and deliver yourselves every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD;

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.

Jeremiah 51:41; Revelation 18:4 (King James 2000 Bible.) There are so many things that show how much this fallen world and its unbelievers are hostile to God for reasons that are not guided by or based on good sense. We study history, for instance. We believe in people and in the occurrence of events that no longer have any living witnesses…but we don’t believe in Jesus Christ. There is historical support for His existence and for the events and people surrounding His life on earth as laid out in the Bible, for His fulfillment of prophecy… Yet, people say there is none. They ask, How do we know it’s true?

So, Why do the same people believe any of the History they are taught in school?

Suppose there’s an empty lot near your house. You go on vacation, and when you come back, there’s a house sitting on that empty lot. Do you suppose that the house appeared out of nowhere – without a plan, planner, and builder? Of course not… A child knows that makes no sense.

So, Why do you think there are people who suppose that our world appeared out of nowhere – without a plan, Planner, and Builder?

Does it make any more sense to allow ourselves and our children to be a part of things that are damaging? If we, as responsible parents, knew that our children were inside a house where people were doing drugs, organizing crime, and otherwise presenting a present danger to them, Would we just leave them inside that house?

Or, Would we call our loved ones out of that house? That’s what I hear when I read the Scripture above – that is, God, in His love, encouraging us to get away from the things that present a clear and present danger to our souls… No, not our salvation, but our souls

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

I Corinthians 10:23 (New International Version.) Some things aren’t good for us. They don’t take us from God’s hand, if we live there already. But they do create stress and fear and encourage us in damaging thoughts and behaviors.

I go back and forth about this, but I think: There’s a reason I wasn’t sure who might be a Christian – someone who could advise me about Christianity – when I started looking for a guide to my new life in Christ 6 years ago; and, it’s not good (the reason.)

I think we need to come out from “her -” Babylon (Babylon being representative of a confusion – a conflation, if you will, of religions, politics, and economics or, globalism.) We’re distracted and enmeshed with the same idols as unbelievers. And, so, it’s hard to tell us apart.

That doesn’t mean we aren’t Christians (made truly alive and set free from sin through faith in the name of Jesus Christ.) It just means: No one can tell – that is, that we’re any different from them. In that sense, we need to think about what we’re doing.

Lord Jesus didn’t ask that we be taken out of this world, but said that we aren’t of the world – that God Himself is a spiritual prophylactic (for lack of a better word), which sets apart whosoever acknowledges that he needs saving. But sometimes Christians let the world try to teach us how to think and behave. We speak and live from its fallen perspective. When we look around and realize that we’re dressed up as unbelievers is precisely the time that we need to come out from under a bushel to shine our light.

We need to come out from Babylon, because as Christians, it makes good sense.

Days of Our Lives

I nurse the baby for about an hour after convincing her daddy to : 1) pick her up from where she’s tossing, 2) unwrap her from her nearly obsolete swaddle, and 3) hand her to me. I strap her right wrist and fist into my nursing 🤱🏽 tank when I clip it back over her favorite side (the right). Then I eventually convince Daddy to re-swaddle and put her back down. I don’t blame either of us for the nightime grouchiness – not in the light of day. Neither one of us has slept, not really. Not since #4 was born… I think I’ve slept well once in these months after delivery by c-section.

There are 3 🧺 laundry baskets in our room at the moment (a triumph), and 😲 only 1 of them has unfolded (clean) clothes in it. But I’m concerned about the 😟 basket out in our hallway, in front of the closed doors to the master. There’s definitely poop to wash out there, and it can’t stay there forever…waiting for me…and my necessary Laundry Gloves 🧤 

I’m also worried about my son. He doesn’t want to go to school anymore. And I wonder: Can he be too bonded to me. 💭 Shouldn’t he identify more with his father? I think it might be a bad idea to tell Hubby that I wish he’d teach him more about hygiene – that they could both benefit from that interaction – Daddy teaching his son… But I feel so strongly that it’s needed 🙏🏾 

And why won’t my lovely girl 👧🏽 use toilet paper?

Why is she having such a time of it learning to wipe thoroughly when we keep trying to tell her? 👆🏾The expression on this dude’s face tells the story of the state of the kids’ bathrooms. It is really embarrassing to be in this situation.

We thought #3 had had a late breakthrough learning to tie her own shoelaces… But now I’ve just decided to buy her more Velcro ones in her favorite color 🤦🏽‍♀️ 

I have to write down the reasons that another child should be denied 🙅🏽 the next big thing she asks for (which I probably will not – deny her), because otherwise I’ll totally forget. Memory Wipe. Also known as: Mom Fog 🌫 …

It’s just past 3 am. Also known as the witching hour… That’s how many of my days begin now. The content of her day may vary, but one mom of young children understands the challenges and victories of another mom of young children.

One mom is using a wall of cardboard boxes as a fortress barricade for her 1 year old, so she can get her run in; another mom is sequestering her sick kids from the other Littles at the local library, so they can out into the winter world; and, I am hefting a car seat across streets and grassy medians. All I really needed was a measurement of my blood glucose for a wellness screening, but now I’m headed up what feels like a miles-long sidewalk for a physical.

The appointment starts after an hour of waiting and concludes with another wait for lab work in a tiny room filled with elderly people. All I can do is hope that all the things in my backpack and purse (nursing cover, pacifier, bottle, exactly 2 diapers, a new bag of wipes, 2 ziplock bags filled with clothes, a changing mat, and an infant nursery care kit, etc.) will be enough to face the potential storm of a baby waking up after a long nap in an unfamiliar place.

Writing this, I had to ask myself: What is the bottom line after considering how hard this role can be? Something a good friend said to me popped into my mind. She said: Everyday, regular life is sacred. You know what that means? Poopy Time, Discouraging Time, Silly Time, Annoying Time, Witching Hour Time, Embarrassing Time – every moment spent in this role of Parent of Little Littles is an honor. This sometimes invisible life is honorable.

We Can’t See Ourselves, but God Can

A friend wrote me a note right before my due date for #4, our third daughter… In it, she described my involvement with my children as individualized and invested. I thought of what God has done, because if that’s a true description – an accurate one – it’s a testimony to the manifestation of God in my life, the renewal of my mind that has made me more like who I am in the spiritual realm.

In other words, God is making all things new – including me 🙋🏽‍♀️

I read with our #3…and make sure she has her hugs, which she runs on as much or more than Cinnamon Toast Crunch or chicken tenders. I cook with our #2, and he’s, maybe, called to do that. And if not “called,” then wired or, made to cook 👨🏽‍🍳

I was sitting on the steps, dealing with Braxton Hicks and the hardness of wood under my bottom, anxiously waiting for my oldest to return for her things; a play date event had graduated to a sleepover after a vote and show of support from the Host Mother.

I started to do nothing, but anxiety pushed my heavily burdened body upstairs. My mind was racing ahead of those difficult steps. I knew what I needed, and God sent my husband up to put the finishing touches on all my plans – making him the bridge between what I wanted done as I sat, an exhausted whale of woman on our bedroom floor, with ✌🏾 bags: a resilient mesh tote for toiletries and #1’s Everything Bag. That’s the one with the spray paint and graphic writing design and the unrealistic rope handles.

We got her packed and went down. I trudged down to the stairs and stared toward the front door – with the eyes of my heart, waiting. 

My oldest had used the bag earlier – taking it with her to a local splash park. I’d unloaded and reloaded it. Her silver cross bracelet was in there, and as I waited anxiously to explain how I’d packed the bag, so I could hug her and assure myself she was “set,” I also held that bracelet. 

Hubby said I could relax, and he’d hand off. But I needed to see if she wanted me to help her fasten that bracelet on her tiny wrist. And I needed to hug her.

We are still a family that waits together. So, we all sat down in the filtered prisms of light that the front of the house offers in the dinner/right after dinner hours…

That moment of myself, that iteration of myself is what I was thinking of just before I saw that note 📝 from my friend – the one about my individual and invested involvement with my children. Before that note, all I’d felt from myself and that memory of me was my anxiety.

I write this on one of those days when it feels like: The devil uses the people in my inner circle to discourage me, while God is using the people who don’t necessarily see me every day to encourage me. Even so… Thank God for allowing friends to give us a window into how He sees and loves us.

*NOTE: Most of these posts have been published according to the real timeline of my life. But this one sat as a draft till well after the delivery of our #4🧐🤓

Perspective

Perspective can get distorted. Because we’re humans. Even if we’re Christians (made truly alive and set free from sin through faith in the name of Jesus Christ), we are human. Anger can distort things. Pride can distort things. Distractions can distort. That’s just one reason it’s a good idea to keep your mouth shut if you’re upset. When confronted with a problem, Think before you act.

I was faced with a son whose eye was on the verge of turning black beneath a huge egg and a thin, bleeding slice.

There was a snowy day mishap. My only son sledded into a plastic playhouse. I’ve rolled down hills, flown out of swings on purpose, and climbed trees. My little brother almost broke his arm in a crash we had one time. Eventually, he did break his arm while riding bikes with me. So many things made me think, Let the kids have their experiences, but then again… Hubby thought I ought to have him sent home. When he came, there was a distorted face of my son to contend with, and his eyebrow was dipping down unnaturally.

At that moment, I paused. Thank God. Because…what I wanted to do was lose my temper and make a lot of assumptions. God the Holy Spirit (at that moment) decided to teach me how to use the advice and live by the rebuke I’d been giving the kids: What are the expectations I would want someone to have of me – if someone’s kids came to my house to play and I was just doing what I’m doing? It’s not like I sent out an invitation, but I have a welcoming home… What kind of expectations would I want someone to have of me?

I’m trying to teach the kids to be mirrors – that is, to see themselves as mirrors. That other people can have the same feelings as them, the same exact reactions, feelings, faults, troubles, behaviors, or challenges…as them (the kids.) In this case, if I’m looking back at my neighbor in the mirror, and her kids came over here, and I was focused on what I was doing – with the baby or, making dinner, or whatever…and something happened: I wouldn’t want people to expect that I just knew everything from moment to moment. Especially if no one told me…

In our case, my son didn’t tell anyone he needed attention. He claimed his face didn’t hurt that much. Maybe it didn’t. Or, maybe it did – hurt (which is an issue of its own to be prayed about and processed and dealt with separately.) From a parental or supervisory standpoint, If you peek outside, you can’t see anything but whether the kids are all still running and in working order. So God really helped me with that – not to lose it and to keep the situation in perspective.

We’d just had an end to a family visit that was traumatic. A tantrum was being thrown, and I was feeling violence inside myself. I had to realize later, thinking back on it that: There’s a certain level of violence that is called for in things, at certain times. If you have to sit someone down or, if you have to physically stop someone from tantrum-ing, these are violent actions, actually. To settle and stop things takes violence sometimes. But then, if you keep going…it becomes a row that goes beyond what you want it to be. Violence has to be the last resort, usually. Sometimes you just gotta hug your kid in a situation and let him sit down and breathe. Then disciplinary action, consequences, talking and understanding – the lesson – can come later.

Well after the tantrum conundrum came the sled disaster. And you know how sometimes it feels like there’s just a thing and a thing and another thing? I’m not being specific, but especially if you’re a parent reading this, I bet you know what I mean. And that Thing After Thing thing almost swept away my healthy perspective.

But God… How about you?

 

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💙”