Gifts in Odd Little Packages

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Rainy days.

Following God.

Trusting Him.

Relying on Him.

Depending on Him.

Sometimes the answers don’t come in the way you expect.  Sometimes the answers are not sounding like what you had in mind.  Sometimes the gifts are wrapped in odd looking packages.  They even come a little banged up and looking a little worse for wear.

Some days come with the rain drops and grey skies.  Some come full of sunshine and gentle breezes.

As a mom, I would give anything for the gifts to always be sunny and blue-sky filled.  What do you do when the answers and the gifts look anything but that?

Needles and IVs and tubes and wires and beeps and clicks. Hospital beds and quiet rooms.  Where is the hope in this and where is the joy in the promises?

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Teaching your children that some things don’t look or sound like good gifts, but indeed they are.  That’s the starting place.

How I wish our gifts and answers didn’t require doctor visits and hospital visits and infusions.  Yet, here we are.  Good people given to administer health and care to hurting and tired bodies.

That’s a gift.

Compassionate hands and tender souls working to understand the pain and do something, anything to make it better.  God knows.

I could let myself run free down the highway of fear and burden and disappointment.  A young body feeling older that it should and hurting more than seems fair.

 But, let’s point to God.

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Yesterday, I realized I had lost some very important birthday cards I had bought a few days earlier for two special little people.

I could not for the life of me figure out where I had put them.  All I know is we have had some crazy-wild wind blowing through and everything felt like it would blow away if it wasn’t bolted down.  A neighbor I didn’t even know met me at the driveway, said she found some cards in a sack blowing around the empty lot….were they mine?  She thought maybe they would be.  Yes, yes they are.

This is such a funny, cool story to me. 

No, they weren’t priceless and irreplaceable.  Just a couple of birthday cards for some cuties.  But, I was perplexed at their loss and just moments before had searched the car for them.  She dropped them by, all fine and good and undamaged, although they had taken quite a ride on the wind.

This made me laugh!

Somewhere between being unloaded from the car and before making it inside the house they were whirled away for the ride of their short, recycled-paper life.  Soon to be picked up and rescued by friendly neighbors.

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Now.

This is not meant to be some overly-spiritual analogy or goose-bump-filled story.

It was just a gentle reminder whispered to me in that moment.  As silly as a couple of cards are, and seemingly insignificant in the whole scheme of things, they were needed.  I realized that if God can help me get my missing cards back, He can answer anything and be everything I need him to be.

Please don’t roll your eyes and exit out of this post!  It’ll be worth it, I promise!

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Here’s the deal. 

We are well on our way into a new adventure.

Currently, no job.  

The Husband is wrapping up law school with graduation in May. 

Without a job, there is no insurance and no income. 

Fortunately, our insurance is extended into the summer.  But, if I’m not careful, I begin to ask what about after that? 

No insurance–how do I make sure my Love receives the best gift in medicine he can? 

It can cause a Momma’s heart to fret. But, not to worry. 

These last few months, God has been busy showing me in various ways He has a plan.  He had a plan before we knew we even needed the plan.  What men intend for negative, God turns for good, in the lives of those who follow Him.  We can ride that all the way home!

God is helping me understand His shoulders are broader and His arms are stronger than my cares.  He loves me. He loves my children. He loves my family more than I can ever fully understand.  He knows our need. 

He has the plan. 

In fact, He only does things really well, and works to bring all things together in perfect order, in just the right timing.  And, further, He knows what we will be needing BEFORE we even know we have need—long before we are in need.  

So, with our future unknown to us (but NOT unknown to God),  I sit here in this special unit of the children’s hospital watching my child being infused with a medical gift.  This will be a regular occurrence for the foreseeable future.  No, I wish this was not part of his journey.  Surely, to never have this need in the first place would be an amazing gift. But, God’s divine plan is better.

And, I will trust.

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This man-size boy just trying to live life to the fullest.

Following his passions…running bases and hitting balls, making music and loving his family. God has a beautiful plan.  Even in this imperfect story, God is weaving great gifts and miracles into the fabric of who this man-child is.

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 I am thankful for the gifts God gives and the hope and peace that lies right within reach. 

I only need to focus on the promise of Him never leaving or forsaking. 

So, whether they are little paper-reminders of God’s awareness or flesh on hands or the beeping and clicking of monitors, I choose to see these as extravagant gifts He gives.

My hope is built on nothing less than Christ and His love for me and mine.

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Roots and Wings

Has anyone ever told you
that your job as a parent
is to give your Loves
roots and then give them wings?
Roots
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That is such a beautiful phrase.  I love it.  There is something about that line that creates such an image of beauty and strength coupled together.  And what a dichotomy!  Such different words.
Roots, wings. 
The nature of roots makes us think of an earthy, gritty, life-source, sustaining and supporting foundation.  The essence of wings calls to mind flight, self-supporting strength, beauty, resourcefulness and gracefulness.  It seems to me there may be a connection between the two.
The symbolism can’t be dismissed.
Parenting. 
The word alone can intimidate you.  In one moment, you may go from feeling completely in control, to feeling utterly out of control in seconds.  You might be on track and feeling successful one moment, but in a split second you realize everything is not as it appears.  You often lack sleep; you just may find your interests and passions intertwine or collide with late night talks full of tears and reassuring hugs.  It’s not an easy world in which to raise children.  You exhaust yourself by always being diligent and on guard.  If you’re wise, you realize you need divine help in taking these Loves from birth to flight.  And you don’t get a whole heck of a lot of time to accomplish it.  A mom further down the road than me offered this valuable piece of wisdom when my oldest was barely two…..the days are long, but the years are short.  On many occasions, this helped me keep my perspective and make wiser decisions.
There are so many joys in parenting. 
One of my all time favorites is watching my Loves find their passions and dream big dreams.  There’s nothing like the “I love you” or “Thanks, mom” that comes from hearts genuine with feeling.  Watching your Loves learn from their mistakes, and trying their best not to repeat the same mistake…..whether they do or not, to see the effort to learn is what matters.  Knowing your kids are making the right choices along the way–when choosing the wrong would have been so much easier–brings so much joy.  Gooey kisses and slobbery hugs go a long way to making parenting easier.
I am focusing over the next two weeks on the topic entitled “Roots and Wings”.  Almost 20 years into this parenting gig (that’s a LOT of toddler and preschooler years!), and I often say to my kiddos, “This isn’t my first rodeo.”  I really like to remind them of this.  Especially when they think they have a new take on a particularly time-worn lesson.  My Honey will often remind me, to my chagrin, he isn’t a first-time parent.  I haven’t experienced it all, by any means, and I’m sure my other two at home have some surprises for me along the way!
Here are a couple things I have learned along the way.
Whether you were parented well or not does not determine your parenting ability. 
I also know God gave you those particular children because you have what it takes to get them from nest to flight.
There is such beauty in parenting. 
There is loads of grace for it too. 
God does not leave us unequipped for the job he gives us.
We just have to look for his hand and be open to his guidance.  God says, “I got you!”
He will give you every good thing you need to bring your children up to be what he intends for them to be.  He will give you the grace to do all he has called you to do.
Whether that is
parenting + an outside career
or
staying at home full time + pursuing passions that fuel you,
he knows exactly how he formed you and is working to bring out the gifts he placed within you.
I would love for you to join me on this journey.  I look forward to sharing a few things I have learned along the way.  I believe God can give you just what you need.  I don’t know exactly what that is, but he does.  Let’s meet together and see what He has to say!
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