If these walls could talk – not every story they tell would be good.
I am a lover of all things faith and family. I write blog posts about the intrinsic beauty of family-life, the sacredness of family gatherings, and just how amazing family life really is.
While all of these things are true and have their place, that’s not all there is to it.
Sometimes there is struggle.
Sometimes there is pain.
Sometimes there is downright ugliness.
Every day, as a wife and mom, I strive to “fight the good fight” and to “finish my race” well (2 Timothy 4:7). But still, it is a fight nonetheless.
Let’s face it: fights are ugly, messy, and painful by default. They are not for the faint of heart; yet, my heart is no stranger to fainting.
Everyday I strive to spread the sweet fragrance of Christ throughout my home. I try to weave that sweet aroma into my relationships with my husband and my children – but still, there is struggle.
And I am a chronic struggler.
On a good day, I seem to be one Scripture and prayer away from being the One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Still, I’d like to believe that at the end of my life’s journey, those who knew me would be able to say that EVERY DAY I tried to fight the good (family) fight.
When I began blogging eight years ago, I dedicated this website to my Aunt Barbara, who was dying from cancer.
Right before she passed, a family altercation erupted in her hearing, and in her frail and withering state, she lay on her couch, pulled me in close and mustered up enough energy to tell me that I was afraid of one of my kids. AFRAID OF ONE OF MY KIDS!
Sometime soon after my dear aunt slipped into eternity, and I was left to wrestle with the weight of her words that lingered in my mind – and my heart.
I’ve wrestled with her sentiment for years now, and I’ve finally come to realize – after years of wanting to dismiss it as merely a matter of her opinion, and not the Gospel – that she was right! I am afraid of that kid; and not just that kid, but ALL OF MY KIDS.
It’s not a fear of physical abuse ‘cause a sista will jack ’em up in a minute. I’m fearful of not being liked.
The Hard, Ugly Truth
Sometimes I tiptoe around my children, especially the adult children, so that I don’t lose their favor.
I struggle to make hard decisions . . . decisions that would inevitable help them grow emotionally and spiritually. I don’t want to be their scratchy sandpaper, I want to be their smooth-sailing mom.
Then my husband makes the hard decision for us both, and of course, I hate him for it. In the hating, I fail to see God’s grand purpose for putting us together as a couple.
But lately, I’m starting to see what I believe to be God’s grand plan, a beautiful orchestration for us being together.
It’s larger than us. We compliment each other – Mrs. Good Cop and Mr. Bad Cop (LOL!), and maybe God can get some glory from that. (And I will endeavor to grow a backbone, too.)
I want to be like the handful of godly Christian women who mentor me through their books and online writing.
Like them, I want to disciple my children well. I want to create a beautiful home-life. I don’t want to be a snarky, overly emotional bundle of nerves. I so desperately want to be a parent who can say that all of my children are walking with the Lord.
But that’s just not my story.
I have one kid navigating the court system, and another whose life circumstances previously spun our family into crisis.
When the crisis was happening – I cried daily. I kicked and screamed. Sometimes, I fell apart and became undone. At times, I doubted and didn’t believe . . . but we kept praying and I embarked upon a meager fast and I HELD ON for what seemed like DEAR LIFE! And now that kid is beginning to bud and flourish as a Christian; and I think that all I did was to get out of God’s way.
There are marriages that are off to a fresh start and others that are navigating tough terrain – all while bearing the fruit of new life. When you have a lot of kids, you have a lot to keep you on your knees.
Still, my husband and I are wild enough to believe – after having had the wind knocked out of us as parents more than once – that we can reach out and take on more kids . . . that even while bruised and bandaged, we can still offer up ourselves and make a difference in this world for Christ.
I’ve been parenting for 30 years, and I’ve been married for 23 of those years.
Regrettably, I’ve wasted so much of that time obsessing over why some of my kids are not walking with the Lord –trying to figure out where I went wrong as a parent and kicking myself for not having the outcomes that other parents (seemingly) have.
And all the while, the Lord has been trying to teach me that I am responsible to love, guide and disciple my children with ALL of my heart, BUT I am not responsible for their outcomes. The outcomes belong to Him, and to them.
He lovingly reminds me that His purposes for my life are unique, and so shall be my life’s story.
It won’t necessarily look like others – so I should stop trying to fit my round peg into their square hole.
He pleads with me to stop obsessing over knowing how all the pieces of my life’s puzzle will fit together, and to be content and grateful for this amazing life that He’s given me – lock, stock and barrel . . . husband, home and kids!
It’s an amazing life! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. EVERY. BIT. OF. IT!
It’s His story. I’m on the Potter’s wheel. I am His masterpiece.
Faith: the Antidote to Fear
I figure that either I’m going to be like Ruth, who made lemonade with the sour lemons of her life, or I’m going to be like Naomi (her mother-in-law), who was bitter and crippled by Providence, and said, “the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” (Ruth 1:20)
Either I’ll be like Job’s wife and curse God because of what I don’t understand, or I’ll be like Job who acknowledged God’s sovereignty and goodness in saying, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
Listen, if these walls could talk they’d tell stories of dishes flying, of doors being kicked-off hinges because a teen slammed them in a parent’s face. They’d tell stories of a parent who took scared little kids for ice cream after a mom lost it, again!
Even so, if these walls could talk I’d no longer be buried under the weight of their stories.
I’m learning that the “bad” is just as important as the good, sometimes even more so, because it’s in the trials, the suffering and the brokenness that we tend to know extra measure of strength and grace – the comfort in affliction that we are promised in God’s Word.
Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Cor. 1:3-4).”
Here is the Truth I am learning: God uses everything!
He uses all of my faults, all of my mistakes and all of my ignorance to write the beautiful and unique story that is my life. And He uses that unique story to accomplish His purpose for my family’s life.
And if I let Him . . . if I can just trust Him and get over myself long enough to believe that He really knows what He’s doing and that He has my best interest at heart – oh yeah, and that He loves my kids EVEN MORE than I do – then I won’t try to make sense of it all.
I won’t waste time despising the lemony cocktail that is sometimes my life. I won’t cast blame – even at myself. I won’t tell myself that things haven’t been perfect, so I don’t qualify to offer up the broken pieces of what I have.
I WILL BE SET FREE!
I’ve shared this post at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.