When the Holy Spirit speaks directly to our heart it is something to remember. Today was one of those days and I just really don't want to forget it.
Today was the 1st grade party...you know...lots of sugar, lots of fun, extra long recess, Christmas shirts and just an all around amazing day when you are 7. They had a little musical chairs game to pass around their 10 dollar gift card exchange. It was great and tear free unlike a dirty game of dirty Santa...why do we do that anyway? Someone...help me.
We leave school and Davis desperately starts in on me. "When can I go to Target to spend my gift card?" Well....hmmmmm. You know I really wish I could tell you that I have that kid that immediately wants to spend a gift card on others...but I just don't. He is precious but on a spiritual gift scale giving would not be his top three. He's seven and I get that but every mother no doubt desires that her child just love giving and she probably (if she's me) wants it to be their idea. And....I get disappointed more times than not. And....you know....it's ok. Because I know and I believe that regardless of the fact that my child is not begging me to go buy food for Manna House or to pick up 10 angels off the tree....He knows in his heart at the core of who he is that 'IT IS BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.' He knew that but he didn't believe that until today.
So...in my attempt to just be ok in his self centered plea to spend...I asked Davis to ask God what He wanted him to do with that card.
He was in his car seat at the back of the van. He comes to the front after he had clearly had a discussion with THE MAN and he sits down on the console. He looks at me with that face that I have seen a hundred times...happy tears are about to flow. He PROMISES in Ez 36:26 that he will take away our heart of stone and gives us a new one. And...He did that today for my little boy. He gently reminded Davis that it is always better to give than to receive...I never said that verse...I didn't nag (praise God for miracles)....I just let him be and ask God. And...he did....and God replied directly to His new heart and his love expounded...his heart grew tender to HIS agenda in this world. His heart rested in WHO HE IS in Christ because who He is is not a selfish little boy...it is a generous kind heart the truly understands why God says what He says in His LIVING AND ACTIVE WORD. He cried living water because HE knew that God spoke to him.
Praise God for believing! Praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit! Praise God I left the job of convicting in righteousness up to the Holy Spirit instead of trying to BE HIS Holy Spirit!!
Belief is a powerful thing. Davis shopped at Target with new freedom in who HE is. It was exciting to buy things for someone he will probably never meet. At Christmas, I could not be more thankful for our identity and what He can do with us when we BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS IS TRUE. Take that on the Polar Express and see what happens!!! Punch that card...He is so worthy to be praised!!!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Does your kid have a clip? Oh, I bet they do if they are in any form of learning academy. For those of you who don’t understand, a clip is the behavior chart and my little buddy has one and has used his clip multiple times already….and he’s been in school a few days.
Just a little back story…I’m one of ‘those’ moms. You know the one who sits down to read with a very typical six year old BOY and he flips a few words around and doesn’t want to read at all and I’m broken hearted. The irony is I NEVER read for pleasure…other than the WORD and only to learn something about how cool Jesus is and my spiritual journey….typically. I read the Cliff Notes in high school…..so why would it be unusual to me that my kid isn’t really digging reading to me? Hmmmmmm……..and yet……
I freak out and have him tested for dyslexia. Help me…I beg you.
And…he’s fine. I paid a small fortune to find out that he reads more than age appropriately and he’s active. Awesome!!!
So, this is a glimpse into my summer and why this whole clip moving thing got me into a such a tizzy.
In order to encourage my child to be less active and LISTEN…..I offered the ultimate in reward to a six year old science and arachnid obsessed little boy…... A TARANTULA for his birthday. Because…..a tarantula only has to be fed one time a week and that poor thing might actually survive in our house only needing food one time per week. Good odds for Faulkners. Oh me this is it, he is going to be the most incredible listener ever after this first eight weeks because he wants this worse than anything he’s ever wanted.
So, I rush back from my precious grandmother’s funeral to pick him up from school the first day….beyond ready to receive his excitement and fervor for a new year with the MARY POPPINS of a first grade teacher that he has, Mrs. Perkins.
He gets in the car and sadly pronounces he got his clip moved to WARNING. YOU DID WHAT?????????????? There is no way that my kid’s clip got moved the first day of school….no way, no way, no way. BUT…it did and I had to face it. So I emailed Mary Poppins to explain to her that this was devastating and we were ‘ON THIS’…..make no mistake. And I went to my boy whose dreams of hairy spiders were dashed in a simple clip move for the moment and he was devastated.
I had had an emotional day to put it mildly and this sent me over the top…I cried…he cried….I went to my bed to cry as the weight of parenting fell on me...the single mom widow of two children trudging through the muck of a fallen world with no helper. And…I caved. I could not do this…I could not ‘make’ my kid behave….I could not ‘make’ him listen and because he was folding his paper and practicing his origami skill set during the instructions (which is why he got his clip moved). I went into one of the darkest moments to date as a parent. It’s ridiculous now….go ahead and laugh (especially you teachers)…..but in the moment I had failed.
As I got it together and walked from the kitchen back to the bathtub with the kids….HE …THE HE…THE HUSBAND TO THE WIDOW said this….’My grace is sufficient for you sweet girl.’
And it is…..and I wept because I knew in that moment….grace was radically bestowed on me when I didn’t deserve it and therefore I extend that to my own….not without consequence….but with love and compassion as we sit on the MERCY SEAT together. Jesus moved our clip back to orange when he DIED ….and that is where my clip stays when He sees me. Does He instruct and encourage? Oh yes HE does.…..right back to who WE are IN HIM.
Davis….tomorrow is another day….another chance to show us all who you really are……and that is an amazing little boy who listens. Do it buddy!!!! Your tarantula awaits.
I truly think I needed Davis’s clip to be moved for me to feel grace and to know that HIS NAME IS JESUS.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Any time I begin a sentence with 'I went to my counselor today'....you can expect it will be enlightening and informative because I truly have learned so much over the last six months. Lisa has uncovered things in me that were buried so deep that no key could ever unlock...so I thought. The Holy Spirit had other thoughts on that.
Today was one of those days....
It sounds crazy but I tend to struggle with acceptance...like 'myself' kind of acceptance. I am a self-professed over achiever as many of you know. I struggle accepting unmerited favor otherwise known as GRACE from the Lord because I have been a 'merit' badge earning crazy person my whole life. I mean my Girl Scout vest looks like Joseph's coat of many colors I had so many...it's ridiculous. So, today I was 'forced' to think of how I could accept my self-proclaimed short-comings as a mother and 'forced' (I use this term in a total comedic fashion...because it is so stinking hard for me to do this) to think about how God sees my self-diagnosed fails in my parenting. Now......please, please do not write in the comments about what an 'amazing mom' I am. I am by no means fishing for any kind of compliment I am just trying to remember my precious times at night with my son and what God does through that little man that 'gets' me like no preaching or worship experience or retreat ever could...that's all.
Bottom line....I really struggled to think of what 'accepting' looks like for me. I could answer the 'Jesus portion' of the quiz....but my heart struggles to believe that he looks at me blameless because of the empty grave. The reason I struggled to believe today was because I have days where I feel like I'm failing...my kid kicks his friend at the pool, and then he acts like a selfish twit (which he is not in CHRIST but he was in that moment and I did not say that to him...disclaimer) and then my daughter has an opinion....I mean 'WHY do you need an opinion..I don't have time for that because your brother kicked his friend.' UGH!!!!! Do you? Am I on an island here?And if so, I'm fine with that because it is my journey with Him and HIS perfect plan to redeem me from my 'moral compass for me and my kids' to HIS 'all encompassing' grace and love.
So I chewed on that all afternoon and then I get in bed to read to Davis. First, you must get the Jesus Storybook Bible. It's amazing and will totally make the bible come alive as a 'story.' We read about David and Goliath (a boy's favorite) and we read about Joseph. In this bible, it emphasized two or three times how God had used all the bad for good in Joseph's story and in the story of Jesus .....and I would say in our story. We rolled over to our nightly back-scratching routine and then began one of the sweetest conversations I have ever had with my child. As I scratched his back, I told him that one day he would ask his wife to scratch his back and because she loves him so much she will. He teared up and began to weep at the thought of me being 'old and wrinkly' when he's married to this precious girl that I will call daughter one day. Oh...my...word...sweet does not even describe the conversation that transpired about life and marriage and how he wanted to have kids and getting old ...and getting a job (which was one of the main reasons he didn't want to leave me...lol).
And then after the tears flowed and I finally convinced him that the wife thing is really going to work out well for him one day he said this...
"Mom, you are so amazing."
That was it...it was as if the FATHER himself spoke those words to my wounded, beat up, single mom 'trying so hard to parent well' self.
And I said, 'Davis, thank you for saying that because I have not 'felt' so amazing today and you have no idea how much that just encouraged me. And he pursued, 'Mom, just COME TELL ME when you are feeling that way and I will remind you that you are amazing.'
I can hardly write this for the tears....
And that is what MY SWEET DADDY says to me 'Come to me sweet girl, and I will give you rest. My YOKE is easy and my burden is LIGHT.' But....you have to come TO ME..not your little man. Come drink and remind yourself that I see you as righteous and blameless and flat out amazing.
So tonight for anyone who needs the reminder in the words of Jesus and sung so well by Bruno....'Girl, you're amazing, just the way you are.'
Monday, June 18, 2012
'Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.' Red Smith
If this quote I just read on Twitter is true...here comes some blood.
This past week has been so amazing and one of the saddest of my last 4 years. The only reason I bleed here is because I do not want to forget and I want to remember. I want my children to have a place to land when they can't remember how they felt..not that they will want to...but on some level I know they will not remember these days. So ...just a disclaimer.
We spent the last week at one of the most amazing places on earth. Kanakuk Kamps are bar none straight up amazing. K-Kauai Family Kamp equals Jesus Disney World. For real...you should go. Book now....they are almost full. :) In the mornings there is teaching for the parents with amazing pastors from all across the country and the kids have their age appropriate groups to romp and play with. They love it and the parents really love it. This year our pastor, Miles Paludan, taught on parenting ....last year it was a different topic. Now, I love a good parenting sermon, a great parenting book....all things child rearing are amazing. But...to sit there alone and listen to sweet Miles bringing the words of Proverbs alive for us.....was tough...I'm not gonna lie. As much as I know in a spiritual realm that I am so not alone....let's be real....my flesh is alone.
One of the last nights of camp I came to the dining hall after an exhausting day at Silver Dollar City. It was a parent's night off and fondue was being served while the best counselors in the lower 48 played with our kids. My kids were toast...so I was getting PB&Js made for them. I stood there waiting for my sandwiches and I can honestly tell you that I have never been more aware of my aloneness in the last four years. It was brutal...those precious friends of mine enjoying delish food around beautiful tables...laughing, enjoying, being fed and there I stood waiting on PB&Js to take back to two precious tired hungry children. In my mind, I knew I could not stay in that space but for a moment I really wondered if this plan was good.
Then yesterday was Father's Day. It was fine...uneventful. We recorded a video, sent it to the granddads, moved on along and then about four o'clock it came. Davis started acting very strange. He said he wasn't going to talk for two days. Well, I knew that was ridiculous but he then proceeded to start trying to sign what he wanted me to know. Now...I will be honest...it was hilarious but inside I knew he was desperate to let out a flood of sheer pain. He felt it so deep he thought that not talking for two days would make it leave. He finally caved after many a guess on the signing of letters fell way short. He crawled into my lap and said these words through huge crocodile tears and I, like you, may never forget them....'How could God's plan be good when I don't have a daddy?'
Well what in the world do I say to that.....I fumbled through Jeremiah...I said things like a hope and a future and 'Davis can you agree that God has' and he couldn't....and he still wasn't connecting and he was angry. He said he was jealous because everyone had a daddy but him. It doesn't matter that some are total deadbeats.....if blood flows through their veins it is good to Davis. I caught myself 'explaining' that so many people had met Jesus because of Blair's death and I stopped....he doesn't want to hear that. Praise God the Holy Spirit spoke through me...again, a moment when I am not really sure what I said but it went something like this.
'Davis, it may not have been a good plan for you to not have a daddy right now, but can you agree with me on one thing?, I said. Can you agree that Jesus loves you?' Finally he softened and looked me square in they eye.....'Yes, I can agree,' he said. I know at that point I looked at him and sweetly explained that God who loved his precious baby boy so much just like I love you gave him up for us. 'I know that we may never believe that it was a good plan for our daddy to not be here but we know that Jesus loves us and that He WILL provide for us.' This is all I know....this is TRUTH. The facts are that to a 6 year old....it is a pretty cruddy plan to not have a dad. The TRUTH is that our God has promised us a hope and a future and not to harm us.
So...here in lies the GAP theory. Gap theory, as my friend Leah so eloquently pointed out, is the place where what we know as TRUTH from God's word and what is happening in the natural world do not meet. An example would be....when we pray for healing and we do not see immediate miraculous healing, when we pray for a wayward child to be restored and believe God for that and it is not immediate, when a little boy needs his daddy and questions the 'good plan'....there is the GAP. I live in the gap and on some level you do too. So tonight, this is what I choose....I'm looking at Jesus not the GAP. And that is how I'm parenting....not on what we don't have but what we do....which is abundant life with a God who became flesh and died for my rottenness. There is no GAP between us anymore.....we are ONE. And...we can agree...that was a great plan.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
We saw 'My Fair Lady' recently. I gotta admit it was terribly dull....as compared to Wicked and others of note....woah. And did I mention we were on the back row...I mean balcony next to the very back row...binoculars wouldn't help.....oh yeah, and I had both kids. I know..... right? The kids were fine...Cam fell asleep at intermission and Davis got a Coke. All was well, I'm laughing thinking about it.
There is a song in 'My Fair Lady' called 'Show Me.' Once upon a time, I actually sang it myself. The song begins with Eliza barking about how Freddy's words and everyone else's for that matter are worthless to her....she needs a little showing. Can you relate?
Tonight was one of those moments that I do not ever ever ever want to forget. I couldn't make this stuff up....
After bedtime was long over, I heard stirring tonight. Davis comes walking around the corner with big tears and clearly upset. I honestly thought to myself, 'Oh heavens, here it comes. He's missing Blair so bad and I have no idea what I'm possibly going to tell him at 9:24 pm that is going to make sleep come easy.' But, he quickly says, 'Mom, these are really happy tears.' I was relieved. Thank you Jesus for happy tears...whew. Tell me more, buddy....
He then said these words, 'Mom, your prayer over me made me so happy that I am just crying. It made me feel so good.'
This is the power of Christ in me.. this isn't me I can assure you...His words....WORDS of LIFE spoken to a child are beyond powerful.
I don't remember exactly what I prayed over him....something similar to this 'you are a child of God, you are anointed with Christ in you, you are precious to Him, you are smart, you are talented, you are kind, He loves you so much, I love you so much, you are adored and loved beyond what you can comprehend.' Nothing unusual...just exactly what God says about us because the truth is that our personalities may fail us time and time again but HIS SPIRIT in us is all these things all the time. We choose who leads. I want more than anything else for Davis that he believes these words are true. And, a simple prayer showed him that tonight. A prayer tonight that I never dreamed would be the one that would make him cry 'happy tears' and that pierced his soul with God's precious words of LIFE given to all of us for us to just believe and speak back to ourselves and others. We hugged and talked about that prayer for 20 minutes...just holding his sweet little 6 year old frame....
Man alive, please dear Lord let me never forget to show my kids how these words impact their life. Let me never forget that everyday I speak life or 'death' over my children. Let your Spirit supersede my feelings of tiredness to show my kids that I am never too tired to speak life over them. Praise you Jesus for letting me see the impact of your words in my child's sweet heart and life tonight. To God be the glory....
Thursday, September 15, 2011
It clicked for her today. It may have been before today but today was the day that she referenced her daddy and said, 'He doesn't even know me ...yet.' While laying her head on her princess pillow with me laying beside her in a twin bed...she longed for him to know her today...not as a baby but as an almost 4 year old.
1. At this time; for the present: isn't ready yet.
2. Up to a specified time; thus far: The end had not yet come.
3. At a future time; eventually: may yet change his mind.
4. Besides; in addition: returned for yet another helping.
5. Still more; even: a yet sadder tale.
6. Nevertheless: young yet wise.
What a word. At a future time...in addition to....still more....you better believe it Campbell. YET we know that he will know her one day. He will know that precious lively firecracker of an angel who would absolutely melt his heart when she cries. He will know her wit, her spunk, her zest and her trademark pig tails. He will know her compassion and her love for every human in her life and even the ones she doesn't know. He will know and relish her aptitude for details and her insatiable need to hold, love on, touch, play with and attend to babies...real ones and fake ones. And she will know him.
THE ULTIMATE YET.......Yet I am always with you: you hold me by my right hand. Ps 73:23 He does hold her with HIS LOVING, TRUSTWORTHY, NAIL-SCARRED right hand. When she realizes that her daddy truly did not know the person she is even more from this point on...I will share this verse with her. I will comfort her with His words because mine are so inadequate comparatively. His right hand and my left.....we are a team and make no mistake Campbell....He's got us!!!
And...in the next breath that little peanut asks me if when we get to heaven if we will be able to 'come down' for a Chick Fil-A milkshake.....and no I'm not kidding. She's three..clearly. Of all the things to 'come down' for....a milkshake seems quite reasonable don't you think? My emotional come apart was quickly diverted by this comment.
And......it's been 10 years tomorrow since Todd met Jesus. My my how life has changed for all of us in the last 10 years.....and in the next 10 it will again. He is the Constant.... for me, there was no other place to turn in the last 10 or the next 65. My prayer tonight is for four sets of parents who have one child on earth and one in heaven. My heart aches for them while I hold onto my living legacies. I truly never understood how Ed and Glenda felt until I had my own babies and even then, I can't even fathom....losing a child cannot be compared. I am humbled to watch Ed and Glenda pour out themselves as a drink offering to other families who have lost children. They use their loss for His glory and I am so proud of how God has used them to help others cope, understand, and laugh again. Todd would be so proud of you both and I am privileged to walk along side you for His glory alone.
What a difference a day can make....a realization of what should be for Campbell and a decade of anniversaries remembered. I stand in awe of what He has done, how He has moved, who He has changed in the last 10 years. Believing Him for exceedingly more than I could ask or imagine.....I Love YOU!!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Today was the day that my baby boy started his journey to higher learning.....and wow what a day it was. I wanted to share a letter that I wrote him as I reflect on this day. One...so it will be permanent and we won't forget and two...for me to just catalog a flood of emotion.
My beloved Davis,
Today you walked into the halls of Whitesburg Academy and instantly you grew up before my eyes. But, this journey began almost 6 years ago and will continue til Jesus takes us home.
You came into this world with quite a buzz.....mommy was 34 weeks pregnant when Hurricane Katrina changed what your birthday would look like. Instead of Baptist hospital in New Orleans, you met us at ECM hospital in Florence on October 10, 2005....because of a storm...isn't that amazing? It was God's sweet provision for us to have a home and careers that were incredibly accomodating to our situation. BUT, more than any of that...it was the greatest day of my life (besides the day I met Jesus). You were perfect in every way. We cried tears of joy....just like I shed while we were swinging yesterday. You can't understand 'happy tears' but mommy cries lots of those because I am so grateful that your were God's perfect gift to me and daddy.
There is no way to sum up six years in a letter but I am going to try because I want you to know that the little boy that you have become makes me so proud. I adore you and you are a true delight to my soul.
Year one...wow, mommy didn't quite know what she was doing but we had quite the adventure. From New Orleans, to Florence, to Columbus, to San Antonio....you were quite the little trooper for all of our moves. Not to mention, you were the brightest light in our eyes. I learned in that year what it meant to know Jesus in such a way that you could follow me to the cross. I am forever grateful for the fervor that you gave me to pursue His kingdom and all its righteousness. I truly believe that in God sharing the gift of motherhood with me....HE allowed me to really understand the cross in a way I never had. On top of all that...you were the cutest little thing ever and you slept really well...Praise you Jesus:))!
Year two....wow...can you say...PER-SO-NA-LITY!! Man...you were clapping, swim float swimming, not walking (of which I was not sad about but daddy was ultra concerned..ha), high fiving, 'so bigging', and signing with the best of them. You knew what you wanted and went for it. It was amazing to watch you lap up the knowledge and the love of the world around you. You were a constant source of entertainment and joy....you still are.
Year three....well....as your personality grew...so did your will...big smile. We think they might have written a few books on you this year.....like one called 'THE STRONG WILLED CHILD.' You were a t-ball hitting crazy man, knowledge seeking, a red mustang driving, dirt digging, full of life little boy. You gave us quite the run for our money in year three. BUT, with God's word and wise counsel, we trained and we trained and we trained......and we're still training. Growing in wisdom and stature is quite the process....:) Daddy met Jesus in Columbus this year. You didn't really seem to understand at the time the permanence of our new normal. Your life and day to day...minus the evenings... really did not change that dramatically. There was a hole left for all of us that only Jesus can fill for us everyday.
Year four...as we settled and another year of preschool started it became even more apparent to me how intelligently curious you were about everything. The one day that we found 5 different kinds of lichens and you wanted to 'google' them ....I knew I was in for quite the ride. You are a voracious learner and I am so grateful that God has given you this fire. I knew one day soon the training would become fruit. I could see the beginning buds. It's so hard to parent you alone and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that angels must have followed you tenderly everytime you climbed Mark and Elizabeth's crape myrtles and every other time you jumped off something crazy. God is truly our helper and we get that in a very real way. He is your daddy today while yours sits at His feet in heaven waiting for the most amazing reunion one day. Miss Bekka was our earthly angel and carted you and Cam around like y'all were her own kids. We will always be grateful and I don't want you to forget what all she did for you. They ate every 'Monday night meal' with us....and we treasured our sweet little table full of laughs and people but more than that we treasured the company and compassion.
And year 5....wow...Davis you are certainly the most amazing little boy. Since the day you turned 5 our life has been full of the highest highs and some of our lowest lows. We moved to Huntsville and life took on new characteristics and emotions that you had never felt nor experienced. God has again been our Defender, our Provider, our Abba. He was present enough that within this year you heard His call and responded right after your 5th birthday. You were baptized in May and there is no doubt in my mind that pieces of obedience and grace are coming together in the puzzle for you. Your heart is tender to His word and I am so grateful that we can 'talk about it' and move on with Jesus knowing that He has covered us with His blood. It is a treasure to mother a child that constantly keeps me engaged and in tune to His spirit and the truth of Deuteronomy 11:19. You embody walking along and talking about His words.....you bring us back all the time....how grateful I am! As hard as it has been, God has the most amazing purpose for your life. No doubt in my mind....His kingdom will be different with you in it.
So...as I reflect on my uncontrollable tears....and swinging with you....wow...I'm overwhelmed. The swinging brought back these years of swinging and singing 'If you're happy and you know it'....but it brought back the face that I have seen mature into the boy that stands before me with his purple academy shirt, new tennis shoes, and magnetic belt. The years have flown and my love has grown exponentially for who Jesus is in you and for you as one of the ultimate contributors to this thing we call life. With every pump of the swing, I saw new beauty in our ashes. You told me that you wished your daddy could see you go to kindergarten. Of course you wanted that, and I wanted that. But, in reality you know he does....and he is incredibly excited for what your future holds. It's gonna be amazing baby boy. Kindergarten.....watch out. There's a little boy at Table 3 who is God's mighty warrior.