Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Life is hard, God is good

I met a real warrior a little over four years ago. Her name was Emily. 

On my birthday, four years ago, my husband came in from work upset. His coworker had walked in his office that day and said his daughter was taken to Children's Hospital for some testing about bruises on her legs. Sometime during supper that night his friend called back to say Emily had Leukemia.

This morning I think back on the last four years and what their witness has taught me. I think what Emily's mission has taught me.  For four years we were friends that sat on the sidelines and watched a family fight.  We watched in awe at times as their faith grew and never waivered. 

Brian was our fix it friend. If we had a tree down he was there using a chainsaw. Before we owned a truck, Brian was the pickup truck driver. He has installed every appliance I have at my house. The new oven is only in my kitchen because of Brian and God. He would tell you the same. No matter what is going on in his world he is the guy who wants to fix. Most recently he has been the consultant by text on our bathroom remodel. Michele and I have learned to be the wives that don't call repair men. We are wives very grateful that the men in our lives have each other. Brian and the kids have been in the stands watching my kids play ball in cold and in heat. You see even in the midst of great trail, they showed us how to be friends. 

Emily, age 11, left this world Sunday and was immediately in the presence of her creator who she knew and wrote about. Emily was an author. She wrote Picnic Pals when she was first diagnosed. Her heart and mission was to feed hungry children. Emily's mission became reality when her book was published. All proceeds from her book go to feed hungry children. 

Most recently she wrote another book that will also be published and the proceeds will continue her mission. You see she was a warrior for Christ. Never circumstances. Never test results. Never numbers discouraged her mission. We may never know the seeds or harvest from this child's life but we do know her witness. Her witness to me personally has been at times life changing, eye opening and convicting. 

but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:32-33 ESV)

I read these verses and I know this. He causes grief. He afflicts. But it is in a merciful purpose.Oh grief is not without mercy. Even if we don't know or see.

My son said it best the other night. He said, "Mommy this is good and hard." My reply was, "yes and only Jesus makes it both." Only God can make things that are so hard and so good at the same time. Today please pray as we celebrate the life of this child. Keep their family in your prayers and thank Him for making the hard good. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Son

I remember the day your daddy and I went to the doctor to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. I didn't have any idea what I was carrying and was still very young an unsure if this mommy thing was going to work out for me. The ultrasound technician immediately said well "It's a boy!"  I looked over at your daddy and he was beaming. Excited to say the least. I remember he went back to work only to call me and ask if he could buy a basketball goal and a boat.
Boys were new to me. The first boy I lived with was a cousin in college. We shared a bathroom and I thought I might die. But as soon as you were born, I knew the world was keeping quite about the secret with a momma and a boy. 

It has been a blessing to watch you grow. You were always the best sleeping baby! You had 5 pacifiers at all times. Your favorite toy then and now was a ball. Any ball. When you were two you had memorized all the dinosaurs. You could name them and tell me who ate plants and who ate meat. Staying home with you meant countless hours outside in our small back yard. You loved sprinklers, mud, power wheels and bugs. You were 2 1/2 when you became a big brother. You brushed her teeth with a power toothbrush when she was 3 days old because you said she stunk. You are the reason we call her Marlee Grace because just Marlee was not her name. 
When you started kindergarten you told me not to cry that you were a big boy now. You made friends easily and fast. You still could make a friend anywhere. Your dad and I laugh when we go on vacation and you have friends by the first day. You whistled for a year of your life. Seriously all the time. You now click your tongue so loud it hurts my ears. You were made to make noise. 

You still surprise me.  Just when I think I have you figured out, you show another side of yourself. In Belize you lip synced a praise song to get the kids involved. You made a decision to be baptized in a village that had not seen a baptism in years. You taught me about witness and discipleship. Your prayers have always amazed me. I am thankful you have learned to speak to God without fear. To watch you grow in your relationship with The Lord is by far the biggest blessing in my life. You told me our family is at its best when we serve together. I couldn't agree more. Serving with you on mission locally and in Belize are some of my favorite mommy moments. 

Going to the doctor this summer with you was a little unreal. Your legs hung off the table almost touching the ground. You are now 5 feet tall. You have passed me in shoe size. You are somewhere between little boy and young boy and trying to figure that out. You will always be our first. We don't know how to parent sometimes. Just this year I told you, we are still figuring out this parenting thing and mommy and daddy don't know what we are doing. You smiled as if to say, I already figured that out. Tomorrow at 3:50 p.m. you will be 11 and I must say that I like this age. Sometimes you need me and sometimes not. Just when I think you are growing too fast, I catch you whistling and I smile because I know you are still the boy I get to mommy. The first one to call me that word. The first one who stole my heart. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


The bathroom remodel is still going along. Our daughter took some action photos of the happy couple working away. Husband actually said to me he feels like we have hit rock bottom and are now making it back up. That is good news. We no longer have a wide open hole in the floor but the toilet is still on the side porch. The pizza guy gives the strangest looks and the other morning, I caught a bird sitting on the top of the toilet thinking maybe it was a new bird bath. Sorry Mr. bird, we drained the water. 
This time of year when summer is coming to an end and school is about to start I am always a bag of emotions. I was having a pity party yesterday when God reminded me He wasn't concerned with my happiness. Gasp.  Now there are some that would disagree with me there. There are some who would tell me that God is concerned with our comfort and happiness but I don't think the God of the universe is concerned with our superficial happiness or self seeking pleasure. His purpose for me and my life is to bring Him glory not give me happiness. His word commands us to be happy in Him. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 ESV) If we have deep satisfaction in Him then we can experience true happiness. Anything that this world can give will fade. Lately He has been teaching me in the uncomfortable moments. The one bathroom. The difficult relationships. The parenting. So in my surrender yesterday, I thought why not be uncomfortable in a tent? 

Husband left for a week of travel and the kids and I were pretty sad. We have a boy in a cast and it is the last week of summer vacation blue. It was quite an adventure. There were bugs, August heat, coyotes howling at the train, a large lab chasing our flashlights inside the tent, etc. I don't want to romanticize our adventure. There were tears and there was an exodus to our beds after rain. But for a few hours there were two kids who God gave to me laying in a tent laughing and making memories. I made them promise that when they are parents they will do the same thing and think of me. 
I have told husband for a long time I wanted a pop up camper. I am hoping my recent night under the stars will prove I am ready. I found these shirts online that I am going to get printed for us. I think I may have to plan a fall trip with a rented rv to get his attention. 

In Him,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Married with Power Tools

Hello 1984 bathroom. It is time. The husband and I ignored it for a long time. This is our kids bathroom and also our guest bathroom. The floor right in front of the toilet was...let's say...caving in. Literally. I had been home a hot second from Belize when the contractor showed up. The price he quoted made me sick. Did we have it? Yes. Could I spend it on a bathroom. No.  I had seen worse than my bathroom. 

The being a good steward of our money sounds so grown up and hokey. But it is true. I called my husband and said, "I have terrible news.  You know how we discussed we didn't have time to do the bathroom ourselves? And how it was worth paying someone? Well I cried with the contractor. And you and I will be doing the bathroom. I could go get a baby with that money. I could buy a car." So that night my husband of 12 years knew that he would be ripping out cabinets and working for what seems like months on end to redo the falling in bathroom. 
It is a very slow process. I am a hurry up girl. He is a planner and precise boy. I have learned so much about him and our marriage in this process. I don't encourage all couples to take on a job this big but for some of you, I would say go for it! First, you learn to pray about everything. Really. The night we hung beadboard I thought this is a terrible idea. He would ask, "is your side straight?" Then he would look and say, "no it's not!"  I was scared to death. I would pray out loud. I would leave the room and pray. I would tell him to pray.  I was trying to hold a very heavy piece of beadboard in place all while he held a very loud nail gun above my head. Secondly, this has taught me trust. Trust. Nothing says trust like a nail gun at your head or a saw coming towards your hand. When my husband has me hold a board as he runs a circular saw directly towards me, I choose trust over fear. Trust that God put you together for a reason. If I hurried through it and he took months to plan we would be a hot mess alone by ourselves. Trust in God's sovereignty. Lastly, it has taught me the dreaded word...patience. Ugh!  We have one toilet right now. One bathroom. Four people. Oh, how spoiled am I? You see I have friends that I can name with no inside running water or toilet. I know children that run and jump over sewer that runs straight from their home. I can deal with one toilet. 

I didn't decide to redo our bathroom because I wanted a strain on our marriage. I did it because we are spoiled and I know it. I did it because I need to be uncomfortable. I need to remember what I have seen. I need to remember who I fell in love with on a crunchy dirt road in the hot summer. I need to remember that my money, my bathroom, and my choices all matter. My marriage takes work. Hard work. When my husband looks at me through his safety goggles and gives me a high five when something fits...He gets the glory. When a friend who has a daughter battling cancer comes over to help in the bathroom construction...He gets the glory. When my family of four is crowded into one bathroom getting ready...He gets the glory. When I host a home group gathering and the old toilet is on our side porch...He gets the glory. When I give up the American dream of perfect...He gets the glory. 

And when we get done...He gets the glory.