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Showing posts from 2016

The One in Which a Hurting Mama Tries to Help a Hurting Son

I wanted to get out of bed today. I did. It had been my plan all along. But when the time came, I couldn't lift my head. It was too heavy. Thoughts, maybe, or just the anchor of sorrow. Sometimes that happens... everything will be lovely... and then everything stops for no reason. An anchor dropping, the boat trying to continue just gives up.

Tomorrow will be hard. I planned on that. It will be the 4th year of Avery's death. I took the day off of work. It's hard to sit there and pretend to be normal when you're not. It's hard to commiserate with someone bemoaning the fact they can't remodel their guest house when your thoughts focus on an appropriate headstone. (I just can't seem to let go of her wooden cross. I think after her graduating year. The other moms will be shopping for dorm room decor and I'll pick out a rock with her name etched in it.)

Anyway, I planned for tomorrow to be utterly difficult so today threw me for a loop.

It started last night…

Taking Out the Rocks

When I was young, I remember hearing about this guy who lived every day of his life with a small pebble purposely put in his shoe. I remember thinking that was a pretty idiotic thing to do because everyone else on the planet who ended up with a pebble in their shoe stopped and took it out. No one I knew would want to walk around with a rock pressing uncomfortably into the bottom of their foot with each step. At least, not intentionally.

But this guy went on to say it was to remind him about how Jesus died for our sins. He didn't want to forget the pain and suffering that Jesus went through to forgive him for his sins; the anguish that was leveraged for eternal salvation. The least he could do was be mildly uncomfortable. As if taking on pain could somehow make the pain Jesus endured dying slowly on a cross make sense.

I understood why this guy wanted to remember such a tragic event, but why remember, with each passing step of the life we are given, only pain and anguish?

Why remem…

Being Peter

One of the things we Christians hear over and over again is to live boldly for Christ. It's impressed upon us to courageously answer God's call - no matter how crazy it might seem - with a resounding yes! We're taught that God wants us to put our trust in Him, so even if we think what He's asking us to do is impossible or hard or scary or will take a whole lot of work, we should trust He's got us and will carry us through.

So we volunteer to teach Sunday School. And we volunteer to sing in the choir. And we take meals to the new mama and the new widow and we pat ourselves on the back and feel good about all that we are accomplishing in God's name.

And none of that is bad. In fact, it's all very good and very necessary and very appreciated. But, well, how radical is a chicken casserole really? How far out of our safe, comfortable life have we gone for Christ?

There's a story in the Bible where this guy, Peter, is out doing his job: fishing. Day in and da…

Midwest Americana Bathed in Light

This is our everyday.
Surrounded by the calloused hands of early morning risers, the ones who vacation around mother nature and milk prices, the souls who give away their plenty because that's the way God intended.
Miles of corn and beans and wheat and hay stretched out wide waiting for the rains to quench their thirst.
The slow crunch of the much too late in the night truck wheels on gravel as the farmer finally makes it home, his children tucked in hours ago. Another meal missed and still another field to harvest and the margins are slim and the stress is high and the price of corn went down by .33 but there's a plate warming in the oven and cold milk in the fridge.

And sometimes he forgets and pays more attention to the Ag Market than the jelly stained cheeks around his breakfast table but his love runs deeper than any three-piece suit on the commuter train headed toward the city.
This life isn't easy but it is good and it is decent and one of the few places left wh…

Waiting to See

Last week I was at an eye appointment where it was deemed necessary to dilate my eyes. I was assured that within two hours things would be back to normal.

Except they weren't.

My world remained fuzzy and out of focus throughout the majority of the day. My eyes were abnormally sensitive to light, even in the grey drizzle of the rain. I was uncomfortable and out of sorts.

And I was angry.

Angry because I hadn't planned on any of this. I had work waiting on my desk and I needed my eyes to review the plans and write the reports. I hadn't planned on not being able to see the computer screen and I could barely type out a text message complaining about my now aching head.

Nothing looked right or felt right or was right. I was frustrated because I felt so helpless -- I couldn't do anything to speed up the process of getting back to normal.

Then it dawned on me. I could be angry and rant and let my frustration boil over in epic proportions - or I could trust the doctor. He had …

Come as You Are

The other night I was in a bar with a group of my high school classmates celebrating 25 years since we graduated. We gave hugs and caught up and talked about things we remembered from years ago and after a while, an old friend crossed over the room to me and asked me a question: "You go to Lakeland, don't you?" 
Lakeland (or, Lakeland Community Church, as it's more formally known) is where I physically go to worship Christ each and every Sunday. 
I grew up on Sunday School and bedtime prayers and I knew there was a God in heaven that just had to have been awfully disappointed in me because I never did seem to get things just right. I was way too sensitive and argued back way too much. But I knew that if people got really sick or really scared you could pray.
What I didn't know was this God I had heard so much about was actually one of my greatest fans - I just couldn't wrap my head around it. There were so many better people in the world than me - people who…

The Childless Mother on Mother's Day

This is my third Mother's Day without my daughter Avery. She died suddenly in a car accident about 6-8 minutes after my oldest daughter, Jadrian (who was 17 years old and driving) pulled out of the parking lot after Avery's gymnastic practice let out. She was on her way to church youth group.

This is my third Mother's Day with a huge gaping hole in my heart. And my third Mother's Day being utterly disappointed, forgotten and let down. I could go on and on but really, what would it change? Let it be known that when my time finally arrives to have a sit down with Jesus, I'm going to ask him to explain why he had me experience the single most difficult emotional thing a mama could ever go through with someone who expresses zero emotion whatsoever.

That being said, I'm here to help all those other men in the world who claim to have no idea what to do on Mother's Day for the Childless Mother in their life. Maybe you messed this Mother's Day up. Maybe the las…

I Still Need Holding Up

I still need holding up.

Not like it was in the beginning. Not all the time anymore. But I still need it.

I still know that there are times I cannot do this grieving thing alone and yet, as time goes by and lives continue and the busy gets busier, I find the circle of people standing beside me, ready to hold me up gets smaller and smaller.

And it should. That's how it needs to happen. Trust me, this isn't on them at all.

See, when tragedy first strikes it's actually those furthest out from the strike zone that are the strongest to hold things together. The closer the relationships get to the one who passed away, the weaker they are.

In my case, my daughter died. I couldn't expect my other daughter to hold me up - her sister had just died. I couldn't expect my parents to hold me up - their granddaughter just died. I couldn't expect my sister or brothers to hold me up - their niece just died. I couldn't expect my cousins to hold me up - their relation just di…

The Rising of Bread and Souls

Several years ago I decided to bake bread. It seemed calming, productive, and something to do to help squelch the fears and anxiety building up inside me while my girls were away for the weekend on a court ordered visit. So, bread.

Friday night I sifted through recipes online and picked the one I could just tell would be perfect. I left my little house in the country to walk up and down grocery store aisles: flour, yeast, fresh butter for when it was complete. I was hopeful. Excited. And ready.

Saturday morning I began measuring ingredients into the ceramic bowl, careful to use the wooden spoon and not the metal. I shaped the dough into a ball, covered the bowl and began the wait. The magic of rising was about to begin.

All day I cleaned. I mopped floors and organized little girl t-shirts by size and color. I vacuumed the rug and scrubbed the bathroom sink. I dusted mini blinds and washed bed linens. And then I pulled out a magazine to flip through while I waited for the final moments…

You Don't Belong in my Club

You don't belong in my club. I don't want you here. And I'll vow to do whatever I can to keep you out.

I feel so strongly about this that I will relentlessly and strategically pursue whatever avenue possible to ensure that you do not ever get welcomed into my club.

I will talk about this to every person I see - friends and strangers alike: "she cannot be a part of this!"

I will passionately plead my case to anyone who will listen: "SHE DOES NOT BELONG HERE!"

I will lose sleep and write posts and pray with a fervor none have seen before.

I will organize events with the sole purpose to keep you out.

No, you don't belong to my club. I do not want to see you here.

In my lifetime, I don't ever want to see you here.

You belong somewhere else. Away from this.

You belong to the club of Mamas of Miracles - not to the club of Mamas Without.

You belong to the club of Mamas of Children Who Have Overcome - not to the club of Mamas of Children Who Didn't.

Knowing

The easy part was knowing.

As hard as it was to hear the words Avery didn't make it, at least I finally knew. I had my answer. I knew how to proceed (even if I had no clue how I was going to proceed).

The dying was the easy part.

The hours before it were pure hell.

Not knowing. 

But knowing something wasn't right. But not exactly what that something was.

Pacing the floor. Looking at the clock. Wiping down the counter for the third time.

Looking out the window. Punching in the cell phone numbers.

Listening to it ring. And ring. And ring. Before hearing the voice politely ask me to please leave a message.

Going to the bathroom but not knowing what to do when I got there.

Walking down the hall.

Calling for someone. Anyone.

Saying the words I can't find the girls.

Still not knowing. Hating not knowing.

Praying.

Punching in more numbers.

Trying to sound calm when I told the police it's not like them; they wouldn't be late.

Pacing. Going to one door. Then another. …