Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I really miss my mom. So many times have I asked God why He took her away from me. Did He really have to take my mentor away? Did He really have to take away the one person who could understand how I was feeling usually better than I knew myself? Did He really have to take away my best friend?
Whenever I do something new with the house- maybe paint a mural of a giant coffee cup in my kitchen or a red-winged blackbird in the front hall- I always wonder what Mom would have thought about it. Most likely, she would have looked at my latest work of art and smiled hugely and said “Oh, how cool!” and she would have stared at it and gone on to say what exactly she liked about it and how great the colors looked. And then she would have talked to Joshua to make sure that he appreciated this work of art in his home as much as she did (and of course, he would have.) And then she would have asked me if I’d be willing to paint something in her house next. And I’d know that she meant every word of praise that she said because she’s the one who taught me to be creative in the first place.
My mom taught all of her kids to go against the grain of society and to be interesting, creative people. And since my style of creativity most resembled hers I always felt that she had a special appreciation for my art. She was the master artist and we kids were the apprentices. And now the master is gone and it’s up to us, her children, to share art and beauty and creativity with this gray world. Now I’m the master artist in my home and I am teaching my children to be artists. But sometimes I wish my master were back here. Sometimes I don’t want to be the master. Sometimes I wish I were still the apprentice.
There are many times when I’ll be struggling with a some issue and I’ll remember something mom said years ago and then I’ll know what do or how to respond in the situation. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be and I hope that when the time comes for me to leave my grown children that they will be able to see some wisdom in my words and actions.
I’d hate for someone to think that just because I write about my mom that I don’t appreciate or admire my dad. It’s quite the contrary, I assure you. Rarely a day goes by in which I don’t talk to my dad and quite often both Joshua and I turn to him for advice and guidance. My dad is my pastor, my daddy and my friend. And even though he may deny this, he is very wise and I have been extremely blessed to have been raised by this man.
I think the greatest thing about my parents was the balance they created. Mom was artistic and emotional and Dad was logical and rational. My dad taught us to think. My mom taught us to feel. As parents they balanced each other out so that we kids were taught to have a proper amount of both art and logic.
But even though I still have my dad, I miss my mom. Moms are the ones who comfort us when we’re down. Moms are the ones who can sense when we’re under too much stress and then offer to babysit so that we can get out of the house for a bit. Moms are also the ones who can explain and sympathize with the funny quirks of pregnancy, parenting and marriage. Dads give wisdom and guidance. Moms give hugs and warm meals.
I keep telling myself that if God took my mom away that means that I don’t need her anymore. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but when I’m feeling the emptiness of the hole that my mom left I have to know that God has provided something else to fill it. My mom will never be replaced, of course, but somehow God has brought me to the point of not needing her anymore. He would never have taken away something that I needed.
At this point, I could say something schmaltzy like, “I know my mom is watching us from above and is here with us in our hearts.” But I won’t sport with your intelligence like that. I do know that my mom is a part of that great cloud of witnesses that the Bible tells us about and while I don’t understand how the saints in Heaven relate to us down here, I do know that we are connected by the same Love and the same blood that saved us all. I’ll see my mom again, of that I’m sure. I wonder what she’ll look like then. I wonder who I will be then. Can she see my art that I’ve created? Does it matter if she can?
There is so much that I don’t understand. You’d think that someone who has known so closely the bitterness of death would understand it a little better. But I’m content now to be confused. My God has given me all the knowledge I need for the tasks He’s given me. And that’s good enough for now.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Designed my mind and soul even knowing
That I would be the one to break your heart
But you sent Your only Son to be our Savior
You sent the living King to be our servant
And bought me with a price I can’t imagine
So I belong to you
---Building 429 "I belong to You
Friday, October 27, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Today Malachi had a really cute thing going. He was standing on a pillow, facing a chair while holding a book. He would open his book, look over the top of the chair and say, “Good morning. Please stand.”
It took me a minute to realize that my little boy was imitating his Grandpa B. by trying to lead a pretend worship service! The pillow was the “stage,” the chair was the pulpit and I’m guessing the book was supposed to be a Bible.
We gave Malachi his name (meaning “my messenger”) knowing that he would indeed be a messenger of God to this fallen world. And I’ll admit to having hopes that he would someday express an interest in becoming an ordained pastor. I just didn’t think it would be happening so soon...
Friday, October 20, 2006
Yesterday the kids and I were trying to get ready to go outside to play. I had succeeded in getting Malachi dressed earlier so now it was a matter of getting Lily to put on the clothes I told her to wear and getting myself dressed and presentable while keeping Malachi out of trouble. Here are the steps that we had to complete. This is pretty typical preparation for a trip to the great outdoors.
1.Tell Lily what clothes to wear for the umpteenth time
2. Trip to the potty for Lily
3. Pick out skirt for myself
4. Put said skirt on the hall floor while waiting for Lily to complete potty trip
5. Check email while still waiting for my turn at the potty
6. Hear Lily finish potty adventure and tell her again which clothes to wear
7. Hear splish-splashing sounds coming from potty room and catch Malachi playing in the toilet
8. Be thankful that Lily actually remembered to flush the toilet before Malachi got to it (this time)
9. Take my turn in the potty room and go back to the hall to get my skirt
10. Stare bewildered at the bare space of floor where my skirt lay a minute ago
11. Interrogate children about the whereabouts of the missing skirt
12. Receive all matter of unhelpful answers such as, “I don’t know.”
13. Follow Malachi to my bedroom where he is convinced the skirt is hidden
14. Try to follow his reasoning as he points to one of his daddy’s shirts saying, “Right there!”
15.Thank Malachi for his help and redouble efforts to locate skirt
16. See gas meter man out window and hope desperately that he won’t ring the doorbell and see me in my comfy, but unpresentable sweatpants
17. Finally discover the missing skirt tucked away in the dirty clothes hamper where it was placed by some well-meaning toddler
18. Don skirt, get coats and shoes on everyone and head outside
19. Play outside for approximately ten minutes before discovering that Lily has inadvertently been playing with wet tar
20. Start the next adventure of the day
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
There is no way to gauge when it started or even how it all started, but one day I found myself in a blackness that felt impenetrable. I couldn’t feel the way I knew I should feel. I couldn’t love the way I wanted to. I couldn’t bear to wake up in the morning and I hated going to bed because I knew that morning was coming and I did not want to live another hopeless day.
I remember many times when I could not even form a coherent prayer and all my heart could utter was, “Father, please help me just to be alive right now.” I remember feeling so ashamed of the different thoughts that would run through my head. Thoughts telling me that I was a terrible mother and that my children and husband would be better off if I were dead. Thoughts that said there was no way I could handle having this next baby and wondering if it would be better if I miscarried. These thoughts were always the worst during the day when the kids were acting up and dirty dishes were still sitting in the sink from breakfast and Joshua wouldn’t be home from work for another five hours. Those were dark days. There were many times I didn’t think I would ever make it through. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me. And I was so alone in that darkness. I did know enough to never act on my feelings. Even on my darkest days I knew that I would never even attempt to harm myself or my children in any way. God granted me grace enough to keep my sanity. And for that I am grateful.
Through this time I tried to not let most people know how I was struggling. If someone asked how I was feeling, I’d smile and say I was fine and then try to change the subject. Perhaps I should have let others in on the secret of my anguish, but I couldn’t bear the thought of receiving some useless sympathy that would only make me feel worse. Joshua, of course, was so sweet in the way that he was patient with me. He was understanding when the laundry wasn’t done and usually offered to pick something up for dinner if it had been a particularly bad day. My dad, too, was an encouragement to me. But even though these men helped me limp along, what I really wanted was another woman to talk to who could understand how I was feeling. I think there are some women who I could have talked to, but I just didn’t have the energy to reach out, ask for help and let them in on my dark secret.
I don’t know how I would have survived without the love of my God to carry me through- even though on most days I would feel like God was floating somewhere out in space a million miles away from me. Even when I felt like He must not be the loving Father I thought He was. Even when I felt like He might as well not exist for all the good He was doing me. But then on those days when the Curtain was lifted ever so slightly and I could see the sun again, during those brief, beautiful moments I could see clearly how my faithful God had led me through the darkness and I knew that when the time came for the Curtain to fall again He would be with me- not floating out there somewhere in my imagination, but living, working and breathing in my very soul. The Curtain could never block Him out. It could block out the sun, my will to live, and any ray of hope, but it could never, ever separate me from the love of my Father.
Just this past week, I was praying before bedtime and I could suddenly feel the gray Curtain slowly starting to fall. “Oh, God,” I prayed, “please don’t let the Curtain fall tonight! Please!” To my astonishment I could feel it being lifted and then it vanished. I heard Jesus whisper that He would not let it fall tonight or tomorrow. The next day I could feel It hovering around the edges, but I remembered Jesus’ promise to me and I knew I could fight It today. I even wrote on the top of my “To Do” list, “The curtain will not fall today” just to remind me.
Perhaps someone reading this has felt the gray Curtain of depression. Perhaps you, too, have felt the empty ache that comes when nothing on earth seems to matter anymore and the feeling that you are alone, so alone, in this losing battle. If you claim Jesus as your Savior from sin then He is your Savior from this, too. Cling to His promise that He will hold you in His loving arms. Cling to this promise even when it feels like you are clinging to empty air. If you do not claim Jesus as your Savior then repent! Acknowledge that you are lost in your sin and that He is the only hope you could ever have to live in this life and in the Life to come. Believe that He- and only He- can save you. I know this is true because He saved me.
How grateful I am to serve a God that knows the pain of living in this fallen world! How awed I am to know that He has conquered this pain and that one day the Curtain will be gone forever and that I will never again feel separated from the One I love.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Stained Glass Masquerade
Is there anyone that fails? Is there anyone that falls?
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small?
‘Cause when I take a look around everybody seems so strong.
I know they’ll soon discover that I don’t belong.
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay. If I make them all believe it,
maybe I’ll believe it, too.
So with a painted grin, I play the part again so everyone will see me
the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people? Under shiny plastic steeples?
With walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain.
But if the invitation’s open to every heart that has been broken
maybe then we close the curtain on this stained glass masquerade.
Is there anyone who’s been there? Are there any hands to raise?
Am I the only one’s who’s traded in the altar for a stage?
The performance is convicing and we know every line by heart.
Only when no one is watching can we really fall apart.
But would it set me free if I dared to let you see
the hurt behind the person that you imagined me to be?
Would your arms be open or would you walk away?
Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?
Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
House of the Sick (or Stop Being so Stupid! You Stuck-up, Self-Righteous, Arrogant.....)
As you can probably tell by the title, it's one of Mr. Fritz the Grand's posts in which he shows forth the bold honesty that we've all come to love about him.
Monday, October 09, 2006
As of this morning Joshua and I have a brand new niece in the world.
Alyssa Laurel Wismar was born to Mikael and Christen Wismar at around 7:40 this morning. (Christen is Joshua’s sister.) Alyssa was a breech baby so she was born via c-section and daddy, mommy and baby are all doing well. I haven’t seen her yet, but I have it on good authority that she is really cute with an adorable nose.
Congratulations, Mikael and Christen!!!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Haaaaappy Biiiiirthdaaaay deeaarrrr Caaarrieeeeee!
Happy Birthday to you!
( Just imagine you're actually hearing my charming voice belting out those words.)
Carrie, have a terrific birthday. May God bless you tremendously in this new year of your life.
I love you!!!!!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
There have been several times when something has happened to one of my family members and I had a gut feeling about it, but I decided to call the doctor “just in case” and go through the hassle of setting up an appointment and waiting around at the doctor’s office only to hear the doctor tell me to do exactly what I was going to do anyway.
Another option for those times when even the most intuitive person is stumped, is to ask a more experienced person for advice. So the next time one of your kids develops a strange rash why not call your mom to see if she ever had a similar experience with you or your siblings? Or perhaps an older woman in your church? Maybe a wise next door neighbor? Obviously, if someone is injured waste no time calling relatives and get that person medical attention. But do we really need to call the doctor at the drop of a hat?
To be clear, I’m not a doctor hater. I am very pleased with my family doctor and there are a couple of medical professionals in my church whose opinions (and friendships) I value highly. The medical field serves us well and we should be grateful for the care we receive from it. But let’s make sure that medicine is serving us and we aren’t idolizing it. God gave us humans the amazing ability to understand our own bodies. Yes, sometimes we do need the aid and wisdom of a highly trained physician, but does that have to be our first and only option? Wouldn’t you rather hear from a friend, “Oh, I remember when my kids had a rash like that. This is what I did...” or from the doctor, “Here’s your prescription. That will cost you...”
Anyway, this is just a thought.