Thursday, February 27, 2014

make yes count

Hey worn out Mama's... sit down. Pause for a moment and look ahead with me. Way ahead past these long days and short years... Are you coming with me? I'm sitting here looking at the day before my first child leaves our home. The day before he launches out into that big world all by himself and leaves not only a room empty in our home, but in my heart too. In the fast pace that life moves, that day will be here probably sooner then later.

That day will come when all our efforts to get our children to the starting line of their new life is our today. It will be just that...just another day. Packing, last meals at home, sibling exchanges, and maybe something special...or maybe something just simple to say here you are, you've made it...both you and I.

My oldest hits double digits in just a few weeks. My youngest is still in her newborn year. And some where in-between all these days with these little ones, I've almost forgotten to look ahead... To see that these days come to an end.

So come sit with me... Breath deep... and what do you see?

I want to see a day that is filled with knowing and trust and confidence and love and purpose. Looking ahead only makes me look back. It's been a beautifully, messy decade being this guys Mama. In the season of firstborn's I've found I am walking ahead blind most days. And when I look to his final day here, I hope I can look back and know I was there. To know we are at the next step in life and while it may be sad for me, it will be a day I've prepared for, trenched through for, and chosen for. A day I've said yes to long before it arrives.

This life wants to move fast. This world wants to make me run a pace that won't let me stay where I am for very long. And as I look ahead I want to know I stayed here as long as I could. Made my minutes count. So I say no. And I say yes. And what I say yes to, means I say no to something or someone else. And when I say no...I say yes even louder to another.

I'm often days a worn out, run the race of parenting Mama. But even in these days, I know they are numbered. I know that day will come when it will be his last here. I want to live today, knowing that when I say yes and when I say will be for what is ahead of us. Oh Mama's, lets choose for tomorrow. Choose what will land us confidently to that last day home with our firsts...our last days with each of them here. Choose to be here today, so that he spends his final day at home knowing he's ready, it's time, it's been a good journey. We're right where we're supposed to be. Let your yes's count for us, count for them...count for a life that is full.

I'm looking ahead hoping that I choose to live today for his tomorrows. A purpose filled life that keeps me in these little moments that mold a life. Many lives. I want to say yes today to his life, so when that final day comes...I can yes to his first day away from my home.

This isn't a say yes to staying home all the time with your children post. This is a say yes to being there, all there when you have the chance. The ways of this world want to distract us and doubt us and demand of us. But lets be Mama's that devote. Say yes to devoting all of ourselves when we are present. Say no to what wants to steal our time. And say yes to being ready for that final day.

Breathe deep... jump back in the rat race of today... and say yes. Yes to today, this moment, these people... for last days will come all too soon. Baby boy's turn 10 and before long we're making final favorite meals and packing up the mini van to move them out...  Breathing deep. Saying yes.

Monday, February 24, 2014

what should I wear?

If you ever wondered if there was someone out to get you, it's true. And if you're maybe have experienced a few people out and after your heart. A wooing boy who catches you and becomes your husband. A friend who was relentless to make a connection with you and loves you even after she really knows you. A loving God who created you and wants you to come home. A selfish spirit who wants you for his own evil plans. All of these are true for me. And some days, I'm not careful of who I hand my heart over to.

The battle that happens within is often left unspoken of. But it is one I know is there. I see it when I look at myself, feel it when I breathe, and it follows me...everywhere.

From my first awake minutes of the day and through the hours that build a week and as the pages turn into the new year...I feel the pull between good and evil to chase me down. The battles that fill my heart might not be yours, might wear different clothes...but it is what breaks your soul that gives the one fighting for it a place to sit on your heart. 

Mine wears a mask of anxiety. A feeling like nobody hears my gasps for air. That there is no clear road out of the tunnel of fog. That the pages in the book never get written and my life might go on purposeless. A battle between being who I have to be and who I was made to be. A place that leaves me jittery and shaken and unsure.

Maybe you wear something else when you look in the mirror?

If it weren't for the promise I know is true in my heart, my mind would give into the ugliness that wants to cover me. The promise of It dresses me up like a girl headed to the ball. I don't always feel like that girl though. Some days the ragged old, worn out, hand me downs get left on me. And as hard as I try to take it off, I can't seem to find anything else to wear. Nobody wants to wear the left-overs everyday. Nobody wants to hand their heart over when they feel ugly.

I try to start small. I slowly replace one piece with another...

Truth to listen to. Space to breathe. Lights to lead the way. A sounding cry. A piece of me written down. Lived out. Wings to fly.

And before long, I have a beautiful attire covering me again. A honest view to live through. When the feelings of anxiety want to dress me, I remind myself that I have some beautiful accessories hanging in my closet. Maybe you do too? Maybe you don't know they are there? Maybe you don't know what they are?

 Somebody is always fighting to be there when we look in the mirror and see ourselves. Someone is always out to get me, to get us. I know my heart is being chased after.  I'd dress for the occasion, but I don't always realize the chase is on. I live and I do life and sometimes I just find myself wearing the mask of anxiety...again and again. If being clothed in His love for my life would just stay hanging on me, I'd throw the mask away... But I don't always wear what I should.

So for today, I write to say that I have been spoken for. So thank you very much to all those pursuing my heart, but I've given mine away and He has dressed me at this moment to wear the only thing that I seem to forget over and over.... His perfect love. His perfect grace.

And the mask of anxiety comes off... My soul breaks, He fills it this time. He wins. For today.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

jumping into summer

The temperature is a whopping 4 today. That's right. Four. Just one number, one digit, one shivering walk to the end of the driveway to pull my garbage cart back. I piled the layers on and walked fast, sure to skip the step of wondering what I look like while completing the task because when it's a single digit temperature outside nobody cares what you look like. The only caring is if you are staying least warm enough that not everything hurts while you meet the blast of cold waiting just outside the door. And what else does one think of while facing the bitter cold to conquer the mountainous task of pulling up the garbage cart? Two words. Summer. Sun.

I ran wildly while my ski mask covered my face and my mittens were thick enough the Eskimos could borrow them. I thought about all I put on to finish a job that was necessary. And dreamed about summer. With summer comes putting on a few less layers and double digit temperatures and plenty of pool days. Ahhh, I can't wait for pool days. Can't wait because I am surely not the only one ready to see warmer days... but can't wait because I made a promise that I can't wait to keep.

I wanted to pull a picture up to share, but it is tucked away some place where I can't fetch it. It didn't make Instagram or my facebook status or get tweeted or added to icloud. So I apologize, but it's a picture for only me. It is a picture planted on my heart and one that will stay. In the middle of a hot season and sunny days with warm breezes I spent my time at the pool like many Mama's do, watching their kids splash away the lazy days of summer.

I watched from the side and my heart smiled with all the joy my boys found from the coolness of the pool water. My boys, small and timeless in that very moment. When they caught my eye and asked me to come in, the time seemed to be moving again and I worried too much of what I would look like if I were to join them...instead of what I would feel like when I didn't. I saw them. Really saw them. Big brown eyes, hair slicked back wet from the under water flips, sun shining off their foreheads and tan backs. The deep giggle of my 5 year old and the twinkle in my 9 year olds squinting goggle covered eyes. And they saw me. Not my post-baby thighs or my left-over stomach rolls from 4 kids. Not my not so toned arms or drooping nursing breasts. Just me. Mom. They invited me. begged me even. Come in, jump in. The simplest of me and the whole of me. Slightly covered to hide my insecurities, yet totally naked to the same ones. Afraid of what somebody might see.

With the bitter cold bite of a breeze on my face, I am thinking about that summer day. Thinking that what my heart caught on tape has left a memory that can't be deleted. I finish the cold task of the day, with no care in the world what I look like while I do it. And I dream of summer knowing that this cold day will soon be it's own memory and I'll be staring in the face again of those big brown eyes, a year older...and me, a year wiser. There are not enough days during our children's years to worry too much about what we look like to the rest of the world. It's what we look like in their eyes. I said no once. I won't do it again. So bring on summer already. Not only is it dang cold outside, but I've got a whole new empty file on my heart to fill with my kids on those hot summer days... this time from more then the side. I'm jumping in. The only eyes that matter are the ones who invited me in with them in the first place.

I'm still thawing out from my garbage cart run. Cheers to summer days. And swim suit weather.
Are we there yet?