Monday, December 8, 2014

O Come...

I wrote this about 8 years ago.  God keeps bringing it up and bringing it to mind, so I got it out again.  As I read it this morning, I teared up again.  Although some circumstances have changed since then, the sentiment still rings so true for me.  I just wanted to share it with you.

Christmas!  This year I want it to be different.  I want to honor Jesus this Christmas rather than worry about what isn't done, rather than grit my teeth through Christmas Eve services because I'm angry at something the boys did or didn't do, rather than dwell on the fact that we tend to act selfish and spoiled and greedy.  I want Jesus to take center stage in my holiday.  I think I can even let go of the expectations that the rest of my family needs to feel the same way or it doesn't count.  I'm ready to chuck the tree and the decorations--the whole thing--to focus on the birth of this most precious baby, but life gets in the way. 

Busy is an understatement at this time of year.  There are so many good things to do; charities, church, school.  Everyone deserves my time and attention.  But right now there is injury on top of business so I have to make choices.  What can be done today? What has to be left undone?  There's nothing that can go at this point.  What would people think?  What would they say if I just didn't participate?  Why do I care so much? 

It's Wednesday morning again--four weeks from Christmas.  I haven't cleaned up from yesterday yet, but it's time for Bible study.  Sunday and Monday were particularly hard days physically.  Should I stay home today and catch up?  Skip the worship part and just make it for the study?  All of these thoughts race through my head as I decide what to do.

So this Wednesday morning, with the boys on the bus and the kitchen moderately cleaned up, God whispers "Go."  If I stay home I won't sit like I'm supposed to anyway.  So I go.  I'm even early for worship.  With thoughts of what I have to do later and how to get rid of the pain, I sing. 

What's this?  A Christmas carol?  I'm not ready.  "O Come Let us Adore Him."  That's what I wanted to do, but I can't with all of my thoughts and to do lists spinning through my mind.  Where do I put them, the pain, the uncertainty,the expectations, the house, the Christmas tree?  Where can I leave them to worship?  As I visualize the wise men bearing their gifts, I grieve that I don't offer gold or spices or anything of value.  All I have is the clutter in my head. He gently prods me that all this stuff is really what I need to lay at the feet of my Savior. He wants me to come and adore Him  Then He'll give me a new heart.  Then I can worship the King.

O Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant;
Come ye oh come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels
O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


We've said another goodbye.  Ben has been gone for 4 weeks.  The anticipation of the event was actually more emotional for me than the event itself.  I'm not ready to be the mother of two college aged children, but I don't get a choice in the matter.  Sigh. 

  Don't misunderstand me.  I'm very happy for him.  He is having a great time at college playing video games, bonding with his roommates, going to class.  He is experiencing the exhilaration of freedom for the first time.  Hopefully there's some responsibility in there too.  I would never want to smother him or deny him this experience.  There's no place I'd rather he be.  It's just that this mommy heart is feeling a little empty--a little lonely.  

It's funny.  Ben was not the easiest baby I had.  He cried more than his brothers and demanded--well, we still haven't figured out what he really wanted all those nights.  There were times when I would have packed his bags for him and delivered him happily to a dorm.  


  Maturity happened.  He grew into who he was made to be.  He is a pleasure to be around now.  He's witty, clever, caring.  When I struggled with my back this summer, he would put his hand on my shoulder and ask how I was or give me a hug in the hall as we passed.  He chauffeured me around for groceries and college items.  Oh how I miss him some days!  And I miss his friends. 

 Several couples a little further along in this process have assured me that the relationship that develops with your adult children can be a joy.  I don't know that that really makes up for the loss of the day to day--but I'm willing to hope.   Right now I'm looking forward to fall break when he and Fred will be home again.  Phone calls, texts, Skype, and Facebook make staying connected easier, but I don't want to hover.  And it's not the same. 

I really don't like this time of life.  Letting go is not natural nor does it come easily or without pain.  Ugh!  A friend who sent her last two off to college far away said it is like going in to work one day and having the boss say, "You've done a great job. You were successful in your career.  You're fired."  That's what it feels like, and I still have two at home.  Life looks different from this vantage point.  I find myself looking around and reminding my heart, "Everyone does this.  You'll survive."  And we will.  

There are bright spots.  The grocery bill, the amount of dishes, and the laundry have all shrunk considerably.  Ben is moving on toward adulthood.  Mom doesn't know every assignment and every grade (for which we are both THANKFUL!)  God is good and when I'm sad, He understands.  He has been there.  He's said goodbye to His Son too.  And He is there with Ben.  He holds his right hand so I don't have to. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I come from a Protestant tradition.  I know some participate in Lent, but mine really didn't.  Along the way I've attended 5 other denominations, and none of them celebrated Lent either.  I usually felt like I was missing something.  I remember attending Ash Wednesday services with a friend in Maryland and thinking it was a powerful remembrance, and I'd randomly give things up for Lent trying to follow a tradition of which I really had no understanding. In reality, they were things that I hadn't mustered up the self-discipline to deal with and thought this would give me the motivation.  I have books that talk about the teachable moments of Lent, and how to incorporate your young children in the holiday, which I believe is a good idea.  I wore the Mommy guilt mantle because I never followed through.  It was just not happening consistently, and with my perfectionist personality, that spelled failure--unacceptable.  So it just became better not to try. 

I think I've matured some, or maybe have just gotten to know me a little better so that I can offer myself some grace and my kids some slack.  This year I actually thought about Lent BEFORE Ash Wednesday and did a tiny bit of research. (Woot!)  I wanted to be prepared.  We talked about what it was intended to be--a time to reflect on Christ's sacrifice for us and a time to repent and draw near to God, to prepare our hearts for Resurrection.  In the end, Jesus already paid the sacrifice, so my giving up chocolate will not make me better in God's eyes.  But there is a place in my life for sacrifice, and this year God made it super clear what that needed to be.  It wasn't random. It was very intentional and clear and it definitely fits the category of sacrifice for me.  I think of reasons each day to momentarily recant and why I NEED it.  I don't.  In the end, I want it.  But what I really want is to want God more than I want the thing, so it's an opportunity to pray and to seek Him for help each day.  Perhaps that's the purpose after all, to recognize how much we really need a Savior.  So happy Lent, and may these 40 days be fruitful for the Kingdom in our hearts.