Going on family vacation to the beach soon. Meeting my dad after 21 years soon. Having more visitors of all kinds soon and possibly taking a trip?! Am I insane?
I'll be back. Just give me a little time.
Along about July, it'll be too hot to do anything. Maybe I'll blog then!
When I left, she told me, she hoped to see me again one day. Which really reminded me of this other mother I have (which is why I am writing about all these 'grandmas'), but that is another post. And what she said, it really stuck with me. It was a seed that made this year of reunions bloom. I am looking forward to seeing her again, but more than that, I am thrilled to see her man again. That's my Dad!
Like most mother/daughters we have a relationship with many complexities. We are so different in many ways, yet so alike at the same time. I hate to admit that, but it's true.
I can't fathom how she went about bringing 3 strange children into her home on a moment's notice. She worked hard, right alongside my father, to be sure we had a happy childhood, full of experiences and memories. In spite of that, there are bad memories too. And that has put a strain on our relationship. It's not that we have a bad relationship, but that it's never been a really good relationship.
Romans 8:28 promises God lovers that He will work out all things for good of those who love Him. I believe that my mom loves God. I love God. If we go about the purpose that He has called us to, can't he also work out our relationship with one another for good?
I am called to be an 'at home' mama. My mom was not. She wants me back in my career, so that my degree isn't wasted. I believe the best use of my education degree is at home, instructing my children. My 'Mother's Day' question is this: Given these differences of opinion and value, can't my life still honor my mother and the values she instilled in me? The interpretation may be different, but the desire to serve God and live according to His plan is not different.
My hope is that she be satisfied with my satisfaction. My disappointment in her is that she is disappointed in me. Now, she wouldn't tell you that, but her attitudes and words to me stem from that belief.
My joy is in my Savior, my Redeemer, my King. My desire is that He is satisfied with the work he IS completing in me (I'm no fool, for I know He is not finished!). He directs my path (and help me Lord to continue on that path). For a long time I struggled because I thought her path and His path should be the same, but now I see it differently.
I love her and I am eternally grateful to her. I hope my life honors her.
I prayed for a fresh word from God as I scrubbed my floors to desired perfection this morning. This is what I read:
I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
It's healing to use God's word in the battle against the deceiver. And this song. Well, it's good too. And I am cringing over all these broken grammar rules, but I see it's not about perfection, so I leave the errors today.
This grandma has been in my life a bit more than 10 years now. She married (biological) Grandpa after we were adopted and before we were reunited. So, she came along with the reunion.
This grandma inspires me. We share a love for Jesus, reading books, correct grammar and many more things. I've seen her (and Grandpa) grow their own vegetables (and flowers!), can those vegetables (and I helped!) make bread, sew amazing quilts, and another dozen things my brain is too tired to remember at the moment. She's even helped me with my taxes!
I've learned much from her and I am so thankful to know her!
To say the least, I was really dissapointed in myself, me, the responsible one, getting pregnant when we were working for the next meal- literally.
We had help a couple times to pay rent, but we couldn't get ahead. We couldn't even catch up!
About that time, the in- laws scored a tremendous deal on a house down the street from theirs. It was about to enter foreclosure, so they were basically saving their neighbors from bankruptcy. The plan was to flip it. To say it needed work is an understatement. It. Really. Needed. Work. So, work we did. And we were about to face eviction. The in- laws were so gracious to restore it and then allow us to move in and rent it. So, we helped with some of the work. Three babies later, we still are renting it.
I remember painting my baby's room- with the windows open, people! And singing this song.
I did not want to be pregnant. I did not want to become a mother. I think I was overdosing on the fear of failure.
I watched in amazement as the Lord poured on blessings, using everyone around us. My class of students were so excited and they brought in bags and bags of hand-me-downs from their baby sisters. We had two baby showers for our northern families and our southern families. Our baby's every need and then some was supplied by these people who love us. For a couple years, I was giving away baby items that we had never even used.
I saw myself as an unfit mother. I was puzzled that this God, whom I love and worship would see fit to bless me with so many things for my baby.
The problem is, for me, that I don't love my adoption story. I wasn't orphaned or abandoned. I didn't come from an impoverished country and I wasn't collected by social services in an attempt to save my life.
The truth is I have a rather large family, a family that continues to love me over the years and the miles that seperate us. It is a family who looked for us after we were gone, especially a grandfather and an aunt who never gave up the hope of seeing me again one day.
I do love my reunion stories. They are stories which lack the words neccessary to really describe the emotion. You can read them here and here. And there's another one coming soon!
Having said all that, there's one adoption that has changed my life. That is my adoption into the family of Christ. God DOES love adoption. He did after all, choose to adopt us. It is this adoption that is the dancing that followed the weeping, the joy that came in the morning. As lovely has the reunions have been with members of my original family, I can't help but wonder what that reunion will be like.
Surely words will not describe the joy we will experience when Christ comes for us.
My second grandmother (in absolutely random order) is the mother of my (adoptive) father.
Every spring, my brother, sister and I would spend a couple days at her house in the country. She had a very large yard, with a small creek (or maybe it was a ditch) running along the side. We weren't allowed to climb down into it, but we passed much time peering over the edge.
In her yard, which was as large as 4 yards in our neighborhood, there was ample room to explore and play. There was also an opportunity to learn the value of hard work. And that is what we did. We spent a day helping her to clean up the sticks, trim back the trees and whatever other chores she needed done. When we were done, she rewarded our efforts handsomly with tuna noodle casserole. I don't know her secret ingredient, but I suspect it was love, because to this day she says it was nothing special, but we really enjoyed it. In fact, we 3 kids ate the whole pan. She now insists that we did save some for her, but I am not so sure.
It was a joy to help her. She let us play and work was an adventure. Now I live so far from her, but every spring when it's time to clean up the yard, I think of her and wish I could be there to help her again. And noone makes tuna noodle casserole like her.
We were married. We moved south. There's more to it than that, but that's another story.
Moving here with unsecured jobs was not the best plan, but we felt like God was leading us here. Circumstances made it possible. Did I mention, clueless? We were newly married and just starting out, so it was as good a time as any. Soon after husband started his new job (golf course maintence) and I mine (shoe sales), he was injured and out of work. Somehow the out of work bit alluded me and I didn't figure it out for several months. Can I also just say, it is really difficult to support two people on shoe sales?! There were some cute ones that year. And I did manage to bring in top sales each day I worked. My hunger motivated.
Fall came and I started my very first REAL teaching position in a lovely school. Husband still was out of work. Now I had figured it out, and now, husband was requesting we start a family. Really? Now? Are you out of your mind?!
Side step: I never intended to have children, says the mom to three under the age of four. I wanted the saintly position of rescuing children from their unfit mothers, says the pride of the young college educated woman.
Getting back to the story,
There was certaintly no way I was going to bear children while my husband had no job. So, says I, 'Get a job, and I'll get pregnant'.
And the Lord held me to it, because I had no intention of becoming pregnant, and yet, I did.
The Head of School where I was teaching later told about my announcement. Apparantly I said, "Dr. Smith (that's not his real name), I don't know how this happened, but I am pregnant!"
to be continued...
Here's a little of what I wrote to her:
First, I caught her up on the children and what is happening around here, then in closing:
"How I wish to be around your kitchen table again, hearing about you and the goings- on of the cousins and to just be in your company.
I remember while in college, longing for simpler days that the future would surely hold, once I graduated, but I find that not to be the case. That 'staying' home as a mom wasn't much of a job, but now I see it differently.
I see for many years your labor was intense (she was a farmer's wife with 5 children), your devotion to your family strong. What a blessing your children are to their families and that you must also be to them! I see I have much to learn from your example and I thank you so much!"
These sentiments just poured out from my hand, much like they do on the keyboard, without the benefit of spellcheck! Hopefully Grandma won't notice.
After all, it is THE reason I decided to bear children. Not really. I counted the number of cards I am mailing to mothers and grandmothers this year. There's 12. Two people with 12 mothers and grandmothers. That's crazy. If I buy into the commercialism and send flowers to each of these special people, I'd be spending about $250. That's half my monthly grocery bill! I just can't do that.
Doesn't this life I live honor my mother? Why do I have to also be consumeristic? Doesn't that go against the values I learned from my mother?
Here's what I am going to do: My list included 12 special women, mostly mothers and grandmothers to my husband and I, with a couple extra special women thrown in too! So, for the next 12 days- or maybe more, if my hands are busy with my children, I am going to tell the story of these women and the impact they have had on me!
I wasn't going to post today. At the end of church, we totally. rocked. out. this song. And I knew I had raw emotion that I need to deal with, work out, into something understandable. I hope this gets me there. It might get long...
Pastor Greg's newest teaching series is 'He said, She said'. I'll update later with a link to the sermon.
Today, he was teaching men to be godly leaders, protectors and providers. He told a really great story about his daughters and their courtships, about his protection over them from ungodly men. He told about giving them away on their wedding day. He told that their hearts hadn't been stolen, but that he willingly gave them away to these godly men. It was beautiful.
And I weeped. And I didn't know why. Here beside me, I had a godly man. A man who loves this woman, who protects and provides for his children. So, why was I weeping?
I was mourning. Where was my father when I needed that same protection of which Pastor Greg spoke? I was violated as a child. And this morning, I mourned the absence of protection. Also, last week, as I finshed Wednesday's post, I told God I was done with this, talking of this subject, which pierces me, but I am reminded that God is not done. He continually brings me healing, and I continue to write it out, to tell His story.
And later, as a teen and college student, with little sense of self worth, I allowed myself to date ungodly men. Boys, who did not value me for who God created me to be. So, again, I mourned that protection.
And the end of the sermon left me feeling let down and I didn't really know why, because again, here beside me, I had a man. A man who loves God, who loves me, who loves his children, who provides and protects. Why was I weeping!?
Then there was some unfamiliar songs. Now, I love me some songs. I love to sing. I love to feel the ivory beneath my fingers. Worship lifts my soul as I lift up my Savior, my Redeemer, my God in Praise! So, these songs: they were unfamiliar, and I didn't have the strength to join, and I was discouraged. And then. And then, there was my hymn. My familiar words, which laid a foundation for my salvation. But this time, it was not slow moving and labourous. Oh. No. Our worship leaders rocked it! And the words. They brought understanding! They brought joy to my weeping!
I understood. I learned in spite of the hurt, God: my solid rock, my salvation was faithful to me. He provided my protection. He provided me a godly man. One to protect me and provide for me, one to LOVE me! And I rejoiced. Because even in the hurting, God was there and He made a way for me.
When Darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
Because Christ rescued me from that dark place, rescued my mind and my soul.
Because I find myself in Him, I can rest on Him.
Because Christ loves, protects and provides for me, I can be loved and protected and provided for by the one He sent to me.
a.k.a. Fresh salad from the garden.
And I paired it with:
corn bread, brown rice cooked in homemade chicken broth, black beans cooked w/ fresh garlic, onion, cumin and tomatoes. And you know something? This usually flavorful dish PALED in comparison to the salad. Maybe it needed some cilantro too?