My parents divorced before I was old enough to retain any memories of the time they were together. There is not one picture of me with both of my parents. Not one trace of evidence from the life we lived together. For that reason I find it impossible to imagine that we ever had the same last name or lived together as a family although we did for only a short time.
In my earliest memory I am standing at a screen door crying for my parents. From what I can remember I believe it must have been springtime which means I was less than two years old. My mother’s sister is telling me that my Mom is at work and that my Daddy will be here soon to pick me up. That first memory is one of loss, abandonment, fear, and confusion. It explains a lot about who I am and how my personality was formed. I understand so many things about who I am and how that first memory held me prisoner without me realizing it.
I spent many years feeling like a victim. Social situations almost crippled me. I scrutinized every conversation and became my own worst enemy. Fear and shame were my constant companions until I slowly started seeing myself the way God sees me. Little by little I gained a new self image and stopped worrying about what others thought so much. Those feelings have not gone away but I have learned to control them instead of letting them control me.
Lately I’ve been feeling somewhat like that little girl; confused, afraid, alone, abandoned, unloved. I know that those feelings are real and justified but unlike that baby girl standing at the screen door I don’t have to let those feelings define me or hold me prisoner. I have a new identity in Christ. He will never leave me or forsake me. He shelters me beneath His wings.
Psalm 17:8-9 (KJV)
8Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
A few weeks ago God began a change in me. I started to feel His gentle tug on my heart and faintly hear the sound of His voice calling me. There has been a drought in my Christian walk. One that I couldn’t seem to find my way out of. To be totally honest, I didn’t try very hard to look for a way out of the dry and desolate place I found myself. I became content to sit there and slowly dehydrate to the point that my spiritual cup was down to a few drops instead of overflowing as God says it should be.
The first thing God told me was my husband needed to spend time bonding with other Godly men. You may say, “I thought you said God called you. Now you say He wants your husband to do something.” The answer is simple. I crave my husband’s time and attention which are in very short supply. He works two jobs which total 55+ hours a week, not including commute time. He doesn’t get home until after 9:00 every week night except Fridays and works half a day on Saturday. I need time to take off my Mommy, teacher, cook, playmate, caretaker hat every once in a while. Having a child with special needs means that I take every step my child takes and sometimes I get burned out but God showed me that my husband gets tired and discouraged too. That is why God spoke to me. He wanted to guide me on the path to being a better wife to my husband. He asked me to put my husband’s needs above my own.
The second thing God reminded me of was that it is my responsibility to teach my child about God. Our family needs to be in God’s house learning His Word. It is my duty to take Sweet G whether he wants to go or understands the importance it holds.
Step three, I started reading my Bible and being more purposeful in my walk with Christ. For the first time in a long time God’s Word was fresh and alive to me. I was getting it, growing. Then I started feeling the familiar sting of satan’s fiery darts. Someone verbally attacked me on a social site over my view of an issue. My son misunderstood a couple of comments I made. My mother seems to think I am a vile and unfeeling monster because I disagree with the family on a very delicate family issue. Everywhere I turn it seems someone is misunderstanding what I say or questioning why I see things in a different way than they do.
I finally broke down in tears tonight questioning why this is all happening to me. The answer came through the post of a fellow blogger. She wrote about parenting. She reminded me that sometimes a child asks for something when in reality it isn’t good for them. Her children prefer the cardboard boxed macaroni and cheese with the fake powdered cheese over her homemade nutritious Mac-and-cheese. They don’t understand that she sacrifices much more time and energy to make the dish from scratch because she loves them and wants the best for them. As my Heavenly Father, God will not settle for the easy Mac way of life. It is not good enough for me, His beloved child. Even if it is hard to swallow and I’d be much more pleased with the instant heat and serve version He patiently gives me what I really need.
My prayer has been for God to lead me out of that dry place I’ve been sitting. As we walk the sand is hot and makes my steps unsteady at times. Walking in hot dry sand is difficult but it’s the only way to get out of a desert. The amazing thing is every now and then I take a peek inside my cup and see that instead of becoming empty it’s gradually getting fuller. Every step I take and each sip of water I drink fills my cup a little more.
Do you have any everyday items that bring comfort to you or put a smile on your face? I have a few and I thought I would share a few of them with you today.
1. My favorite bowl. It was a gift from my sweet husband. I love it. When I eat out of it I can’t help feeling uplifted. Isn’t it gorgeous?
2. My favorite soup. Homemade chicken vegetable soup.
3. My favorite spoon. I call it the comfort spoon. I love the groove in the handle, the size and weight of it, and it’s simplistic design. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother and I tell him that if he ever decides to leave me I am fighting for the spoon.
4. My favorite fruit. Avacado. Wonderfully buttery avacado.
My dad loved snow more than any person I’ve ever known. Living in the south, we don’t get snow very often and when we do there’s not very much of it. Snowflakes bring with them a sense of wonder and magic when they fall in Georgia and when I was growing up every time it snowed my dad would arrive at my front door, beeming from ear to ear, to deliver a brand new pair of shiny red snow boots. I can only imagine the joy it brought my dad to give me those boots. I most likely only wore each pair of those boots one time since snow doesn’t last very long in north Georgia. That didn’t matter to my dad. He loved snow, he loved me, and those little redboots brought as much happiness to my daddy as they did me.
I really didn’t think a lot about those boots and the sacrifice my dad made to go out into the snow and purchase them for me until recently. In fact, the loving, unrequested gift of those boots is the perfect picture of the sacrifice my Heavenly Father made for me. Just as the red boots covered my feet and protected them, Christ’s blood covers my sin and ensures eternal protection for my soul. The crimson blood of Christ washed me as white as the snow that I played in as a little girl.
It is my prayer that I stay focused on the precious gift of salvation and that every time I see a pair of red boots I am reminded of the sacrifice my Heavenly Father made to purchase eternal life for me.
I have never been one to like change. I like for life to be predictable, to know what is coming next, well, basically I want to be in control. Over the past few years God has done a work in me concerning my desire for control. Through many painful lessons I have learned to enjoy the season that I am in and not worry about tomorrow. My problem now is that I tend to want to look back and mourn the things that have passed or been lost over time. I mourn the loss of friends. Friends lost through tragic death and friends lost through deception and betrayal. I wonder if they were ever truely friends at all.
I look back with regret over the mistakes I have made as a mother and wish that I could go back and live certain moments over. I grieve because time is passing so fast and changing my babies into men. I am so thankful that God gave me my two boys and I know that they are His first; but I so want to keep them young and happy and safe from the world.
T will be a senior this fall. He will turn 18 years old on his birthday. He’s already old enough to drive, old enough to be held legally responsible for his actions (thank God he is a good boy), will soon be required to register for selective service, and will be able to vote after his next birthday. It has all passed so fast. I wish that I could go back and relive it all again.
Tomorrow, or rather today (it is after midnight) will be T’s last day as a junior, it will also be G’s last day at the school he has attended for the past three years. He has really come to love so many people at that school. They have meant so much to him and I truly believe that they love him. We went to see his new school today. It is a great school. The people there are very nice but they are not yet family like the people at his current school have become. Everything is changing and in a way it is exciting; but at the same time it is sad. I know that tomorrow I will cry when I walk out of that school for what may be the last time. I am so thankful to those who have embraced my child, loved, and nurtured him. He has blossomed this year and they have spoiled him rotten. I pray that God will bless them as much as they have blessed us.
I am a little girl sitting in a backyard swing I am sweet tea with a slice of lemon I hear the distant sound of crickets from my childhood I smell the coming of rain in the air I feel the refreshing dew on the grass I build pine straw houses under the shade of a tall Georgia pine I stand at the backdoor waiting for freshly mopped floors to dry I am a little girl sitting in a backyard swing
I am the feel of a cool summer breeze I am Conway Twitty and George Jones blaring on the breeze of a spring cleaning I hear little girl voices singing shake, shake my playmate I feel the hot pavement on my bare feet I mix delicious mud pies with my little sister I climb an apple tree for a snack and ride in a wheel barrel around dead man’s curve I call a friend, just because I am a little girl sitting in a backyard swing
I am fried green tomatoes, pintos, and cornbread I am the smell of honeysuckle in the summer air I hear the faint sound of the snowball truck coming down a country road I see the bright stars of summer nights as I play hide and seek I skate in sock-feet to the sound of Charlie Pride coming from an old record player I ride my bike down long country roads I glide through the house on a magic blanket I am a little girl sitting in a backyard swing
I am a plate of gravy and biscuits topped with tomatoes I am clothes hanging on the line to dry I hear the sound of an attic fan on a hot Georgia night I taste warm blackberries picked fresh from the vine I hear the sweet sound of birds in the morning air I feel cold water coming from a hose on a hot summer day I walk down a long country road with a friend I am a little girl sitting in a backyard swing