Saturday, May 23, 2015

Are You There God? It's Me...


As a child I read all of the time. It was rare for me not to have a book in my hand.  Yes, I was a nerd. And I am okay with that.

I still am, and I am okay with that too. The only thing that keeps me from having a book in my hand all of the time is this whole real life thing. I tend to forget about it when i am reading which doesn't fare well for my family or house. :)

One of my favorite authors was Judy Blume.

She had a book called Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

I loved the book but apparently I also loved the title.

When I am in a hard situation and I am calling out to God, that is the first thing that comes to mind every time.

By the way, I always say it in my mind with a "reet" on the end instead of "ret" because I think it flows better that way.

Anywho, I find myself saying this a lot recently.  Or at least thinking it because if I went around and said it, some might find that a bit odd.

We are having a more challenging time in life. It is the end of school.  Life is busy.  We are experiencing some "growing pains" with one of our kiddos. We have some bills rolling in that seem a bit overwhelming.  And though I love vacationing, we set our vacation plans before those bills started rolling in so now we are kind of "stuck" with going because otherwise we are out all of that money. 

So lately I find myself standing in the hot shower, letting the water run down my back, as I cry out.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

I know deep in my heart, He is there. But sometimes I feel so alone. I feel like I am calling out and nobody is listening.

Some days I want that personal answer. I want a neon sign saying "Go this way".  "Do that."  I want some stranger to walk up and say, "Hey, I don't know you but God told me to let you know things will be okay."  I would love to open the mail and find a check for just the right amount for a bill that came due that day.

 I know it happens.

I read about it.

But it doesn't seem to happen to me.

So I despair.

And yet each nigh (well, most nights), when I sit down to write in my gratitude journal, I am reminded.

He is there.

Maybe not in the obvious ways.

But He is there.

Here are just a few of the "gratitudes" I have recorded in the past few weeks...

  • an article that reminds me we are not alone
  • friends who offer counsel
  • someone who listens and offers help
  • watching God use the trials of life to help others
  • opportunities to become a better mom
  • friends who defend my family (and love on me in the process)
  • small victories
  • the opportunity to cry with a friend
  • friends who listen and offer support
  • an opportunity to talk to another adoptive mom
  • an e-mail of encouragement from someone I was trying to encourage
  • friends who strengthen me in the Word
  • a hospital bill paid (and the HSA to cover it)
  • an encouraging e-mail
  • laughter after a tantrum
  • time spent with a friend being "real"
  • an e-mail of prayer from a friend
  • a lower grocery bill this week
  • a good day
  • a belated Mother's Day note from a child
  • a child's good day
  • resting in the Psalms
  • the freedom of a budget
  • listening to a child's giggles as we play badminton
Are they the kind of answers that we all rush to post?  Will they give people chills to hear?  Would any of them be considered miracles?


But I have been reminded over and over that though the times are still tough (and show no sign of letting up for a while), He is there.  And He shows me each day.

It isn't necessarily the out and out answer for all of our ills and troubles.

But He is there.




I just need to take time to notice.

More to come,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Fantasies...

I struggle with Mother's Day.

I mean, isn't every mother's dream just to have a little recognition that you are the best thing that ever happened to your children?

Or is that just me?

It isn't that I expect diamonds or fancy meals or huge bouquets of flowers.  Or teary speeches about the impact I have made in my kids' lives.

It is just that I want a fun day. A day of peace. A day of love.

Let me explain.

Fantasy Mother's Day:
I wake up to find my husband standing there with bags packed.  We kiss our four well-behaved children on the cheek, wave good-bye, then drive to the airport where the private jet is waiting to whisk us away to the beach. My husband has packed a brand new dress that looks amazing on me.  We dine on fresh seafood right there on the beach, watching the sun set.

Can you hear it? The waves crashing against the sand?  The call of sea gulls in the distance?


The Wishful Thinking Mother's Day:
I wake up, feeling refreshed. Not because a child woke me up. Or the dog demanded to eat at 6 a.m. I wake up just because I am rested.

I am greeted with Mother's Day greetings and a bouquet of spring flowers.

Then my family brings me breakfast in bed.  (Just to be fair, that has happened before)

My children all walk in, presentable for church. We don't have to ask anyone to change into something more appropriate.  And the kids sweetly get along.  All the way to church.

After church, we come home, change our clothes, and head out on a hike.  All of us. Not one person reminds us that they don't understand the point of being in the woods.  We just go and truly enjoy one another.  Oh, and since this is wishful thinking, I get some amazing pictures. Not one person complains that I am taking yet another picture.

After enjoying nature, we come home for a delicious meal that is NOT prepared by me.  I get to just sit, enjoy my ice cold Coca-Cola, and eat.  Then my children jump up to eagerly clear off the table and clean off.

We finish the night with snow cones on the back patio.

And I drift off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Now, the Reality Mother's Day:
The dog wakes me up to tell me she is hungry. An hour earlier than any other day.  Our youngest child pops in the room with a made up reason for being up early.

Finally I drag myself out of bed only to hear children complaining that it is Sunday and I didn't make a thing for breakfast. Gasp.

We get ready for church, sending at least one child back to try again on their outfit.  Then we head to church, arguing in the background.

After church, I will try to nap.  The arguing of children will keep me awake.

Sometime during the day, with a little prompting, the kids will say "Happy Mother's Day".  One will give me a card she made at school. The other will forget that he ever made something or will have left it at school; I may or may not ever see it.  One child will promise to buy me something the next time I take him to Sonic or the snow cone place. And one child will search her room for something to wrap and give me.  

Somehow we will have dinner.

And then the day will be over.

And I will avoid Facebook all day so I don't have to see how perfect everyone else's day was.

The truth is, some of my Mother's Days have been "perfect" (including a couple where Mark took the kids somewhere else and let me stay at home alone as well as one weekend away to one of my favorite hiking spots in Arkansas).  And some have been less than stellar (having "I hate you!" thrown at me by at least two children and then last year when we were still waiting for the results of Mark's MRI).

I have read some good posts recently about Mother's Day.  I have struggled with that desire for the  "wishful thinking Mother's Day" (and the disappointment that will always follow).  And I have come to realize something.

It isn't the gifts. Or the breakfast in bed.  Or the ideal day to post on Facebook to show everyone how loved I am.

It really boils down to needing reassurance.  Knowing that I am not botching this motherhood gig.  Wanting to not feel like a failure.

Because I do.

I feel like it every single day.

Every night as I sink into my bed, the many ways I have failed run through my head. Over and over. Like they are stuck on repeat.

Sometimes my kids tell me.  Unashamedly.  Other times I can see it on their faces.  But more often than that, I just know.

So maybe what I really want for Mother's Day is peace.  Freedom from those thoughts.  A sense of accomplishment rather than failure.  And the promise that one day, I may get this right. Maybe.