Questions and Answers

The Bible is full of some pretty hardcore awesome women. But, just like us, those women were real, authentic, vulnerable, and imperfect. The other day I was reading Chapter 18 of Genesis, which gives us part of the story of Abraham, the granddaddy of all of Israel, and his wife Sarah. While I was reading the story that I had read several times before, I noticed something I must have somehow skipped over in the past. Sarah said and did something that stopped me in my tracks. It made me chuckle. It made me put my hand to my mouth and say, “That is SO me!” It also made me think. Allow me to explain…

This is all my paraphrasing of course (NCV: New Christina Version), but basically God told Abraham, “Listen man, your descendents are going to be so numerous, that they will outnumber the stars in the sky. Like, get ready, because there might be a TLC reality show about you guys. We’re talking that many kids.”

Here’s the problem. Abraham was almost 100 when God told him this and Sarah was 90. I’m sure you can understand why they had a hard time picking up the truth that God was laying down. In fact, it says that Abraham fell facedown laughing when he heard this news. Then, cut to Sarah. She overheard Abraham talking about this and she laughed to herself, thinking she was alone. After all, she’s 90 years old and thinking, yeah right, I’m way past my prime, this is some sort of joke.

Then God asks Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and question what I said?” Which is hilarious really, because. Um. He’s God. It’s like when I asked my then 2 year old, “Why did you draw all over your body with Sharpie?” Because she’s two and has no impulse control. I know this. He’s God, He knows why everyone does everything. ButSarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

To which he replied, “No, you did laugh.”

Again, cracks me up because it makes me think of my child with a Sharpie. I have her on video denying that she drew all over herself and she said, “No. Mommy did it. Effer did it?” Effer was her endearing nickname for her brother Christopher at the time. Anyways, my child, don’t try to deny the obvious from mommy, okay, I know it all. Almost. And Sarah, you can’t hide the truth from God, because he legitimately DOES know it all.

And the story goes on that yes, within the next year, Sarah did get pregnant, she did have a child, that child did go on to do everything that God said he was going to do. And it got me thinking about what we do when confronted with something I view as absurd or difficult. We get this “You’ve got to be joking” mentality and we laugh at what God puts in front of us. We can’t believe it. I know I’ve been there. So many times in my past have I laughed, or maybe laugh-cried, when things seem hard.

Ha! You want me, as a brand new mom, to move 1000 miles away from the only life I’ve known and then right after that, navigate life while my husband was on an 8 month combat deployment? Ok God, you’re hilarious. No way.

And yet...

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This may happen with a variety of challenges that people face.

You want to place me in WHAT situation?

You mean to say that I’m going to have to do THIS HARD SCARY THING?

No way, uh uh, no can do.

But I skipped over what God tells Abraham in Chapter 18, verse 14.

He asks him, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Another question to which he already knows the answer. No. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. If He brings you to it, He’ll see you through it. No matter how crazy or unbelievable it might seem to you. You just have to let down your guard, let Him guide you, and keep moving forward in faith. Just like Sarah. Well, just like Sarah after she got over her shock and laughter. ;)

Hugging a Cactus

I write most often about my life as a mother, but another large part of me is my role as a daughter...

I recently heard a powerful comparison by writer Angie Warren that loving an addict is like hugging a cactus. From my own experience, the same thing holds true when you love someone with a mental illness. The tighter you hold, the more painful it can become. It can be difficult, and emotional, and some days it leaves you completely undone. But still, you hug, because it’s your cactus, darnit, and because you worry about how it would get the water it needs without you. So tonight, we hugged my mother in the form of talking in the dining hall, taking snapchat photos because she thinks they are hilarious, and playing with a toy that is just as fun for her as it is for my four year old.

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I’m not a saint, and I still get frustrated. There are still times when my heart hurts because she doesn’t remember our birthdays, or because she says things that are painful to hear. Depending on the day, our visits may be long or they may be short. Nothing is predictable. Never has been. Never will be.

 

But the single most helpful “a-ha!” moment I ever had was realizing that there were other people out there who walked a similar path. Who had a cactus of their own. For the longest time, I guess I thought I was the only one. If you love someone with a mental illness, and you don’t know this already, then I’ll tell you now: You are not alone, my friend. It took me a long time to realize that, so I just wanted to pass it on to anyone who might need to hear it.

31 Days of Real Life: Day 19

It's funny, because a picture can tell a 1000 words, but it can also hide 1000 more.  

Chris has school on Wednesday nights so he had to leave as soon as I got home from work. Time being in short supply these days, and knowing that we needed to accomplish our annual Jack-o'lantern carving tradition soon, the kids and I said goodbye to daddy, climbed in the van, and headed to a Farmer's Market just down the street to pick out some pumpkins. I snapped this picture right before we left the market, and while I love their smiles and while our pumpkins are just right for the five of us, this picture doesn't say it all.

It doesn't say that Evelyn gave me copious amounts of sass because there wasn't room for her to sit on the wagon, or that she and Christopher had been bickering like an old married couple all evening, or that a second later, she dropped her pumpkin on Jackson's head (purely on accident though!) and then it fell and rolled under the car parked next to us. It doesn't show Jackson being upset because he didn't get a chance to pull the wagon, or one of the kids tripping as we walked under the awning of the market to pay...it shows the smiles and the pumpkins and the happiness of the moment, and for that, I'm thankful. But it's also important to note that the unhappy, gray-hair-inducing moments DO happen...for EVERYBODY. Sometimes we tend to forget that, at least when looking out in the great beyond known as social media. We look at everyone's highlight reels and don't believe that they ever have any bloopers like our own. But we ALL do. Not every moment is perfection. There is always a mixture of highs and lows. But what we choose to remember is up to us. 

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31 Days of Real Life: Day 18

The past week has flown right by. First the hit and run incident from last week, then getting ready for and having Jackson's 5th birthday party, and busy schedules for Chris and I both between work and his college courses. Between all of it, I've been feeling wiped out. So today, the best part of my day by far, was forgetting about all of the to-dos, and playing with Play-Doh with the kids after dinner. Little moments of playing on their level means a lot to them, and I'm not the best at doing it as often as I should. But tonight, this took precedence, and I'm glad. 

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31 Days of Real Life: Day 11

Today when I got home from work, the boys were in the front yard, learning how to use their new slingshots that my husband had made for them this afternoon. After they got home from school, they went on a walk to find the prefect branches and then did some slingshot engineering. He is great with the fun stuff and I'm thankful for that. They though it was the coolest, and I was happy that no one shot their eye out. We've had enough excitement for one month already!

 

 Jack selecting the perfect rock. 

Jack selecting the perfect rock. 

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