What is it about love ? Somehow the very word manages to be a living , breathing thing. Constantly changing, always inviting …. Love is asking you to go a little further , get a little lower, speak a little softer. I have a confession…
I’ve had a terrible habit of asking my husband ( and my kids), ” do you love me ?” Even though , there is a mountain of evidence that they do, I needed to hear the words. They always say yes. Sometimes , I ask again… “are you sure , no really ?” What a child I was! A scared , lonely child. It has been a long road , beautiful and complicated. At 41 , I know that they love me. More importantly , I know that God loves me. He burned the book of my rebellion . He has called me Esther, and showed me amazing grace. Once I was able to grasp that, everything else fell into place.
Love is alive. Living . Giving. Laying down all around me. True love doesn’t just change your heart, it changes your mind.
There are dry bones and broken places. Yes. And, there is water , and healing enough for all of it. Cupping my hands to drink this morning, getting down low, the spot where I know …. My breath is prayer, and every prayer changes the atmosphere . There is joy in the small, and beauty in the morning routine , three teenagers dressing, eating, asking, arguing , singing, and walking out the door. There is a small wind and sweet smell blowing in my back door. I inhale as deeply as I can…prayer. It’s as still and as loud as it can be , all at once. There is an army rising but the weapons ,and the violence look vastly different than what I imagined. The weapons are tiny seeds planted, and the fighting is as gentle as that breeze blowing in.
For as long as I can remember Thomas plays the same game with the kids at the beach. They build a sand castle , they create walls around it, moats and towers . Sometimes there is seaweed to adorn the corners, maybe shells . The point of this game is to work as hard as you can to build a structure that the tide doesn’t take down. The kids run around like engineers calling out -we have a breach on the front wall!! And then they build it back up. Sometimes , the tide is too strong, or the castle has been built to close to the sea, and we lose it altogether. I never knew how big a deal, how important a memory this was , until this year. Man child suggested we go down one evening and build… They threw themselves into the sand castle like it was the most important thing in the world. Everyone doing their own jobs. And this year we introduced the newest member of the family to our tradition.
To my babies who are not babies, and to Layla who holds my heart ,
We will build you , we will guide you, and support you, adding the wet sand of love and strength to your structure until you are strong enough to stand on your own. A beautiful creation , to be marveled at. And when the tide comes in , and it will , without fail, and it threatens to tear you down, wash you away, we will be there to support your walls. We will help you repair the breaches , and rebuild when neccessary. I could have never known 20 years ago , when Thomas started this tradition , what exactly it would mean to me. One more reason I adore him.
There was a time when all I wanted was to be wanted. As the wife, as the mom, as the friend, as the singer, as the writer, as the funny one, the pretty one…
It wasn’t this morning, it’s been occurring morning after morning for a long time. I’ve been waking up wanted . I woke up to the realization of what being wanted translates to for me… It’s being Loved. Big, boldly, with complete abandon , laid down.
I don’t know why it took so long to fully wrap my heart around it. Maybe because love is a journey down a long and winding path, instead of a quick walk across the street. I wish I could go back and tell the girl I was at 14 , that it was all going to be ok, that she was loved by a love so ancient and huge , that time was on her side, and that her love story was being written by the author of the world. Only God knows the beginning and the end. I would tell her then what I know now … You are wanted, you are loved. You always have been. Your name was KNOWN as the foundations of the earth were poured . You there, at the post office, at the elementary school, making lunch , walking down the hall in your highschool, and you there still in your bed….you are wanted.
Thank you mama….
For holding me when I wanted to be held
For working so hard
For hearing me call for you , even when I didn’t speak
For putting up with me through all my phases.
For telling me how beautiful I am
And for believing it
For showing me that dancing in the kitchen is good, and might just be what keeps us alive.
For always seeing the woman I was supposed to be, and not just the girl I was.
For instilling in my core, that love is all there is, all there was, all we ever needed, and all we can hope to be.
For all of this, and for tickling my arms and mending my heart so many times…. Thank you. Happy Mothers Day from one broken, redeemed, tired, and grateful mama to another one.
My past is like a city in ruins, and my future is written in gold script. Beautiful and bold. Which way should I be looking ? I’m looking forward with a firm grip on the here and now. I don’t have to worry , because the plan is laid out. The crooked paths made straight . A hand to hold. Beautiful thoughts that carry so much weight. In every day real life , there will be struggles, there will also be enough grace . There will be sadness, but the joy is there too , every day, little moments like bubbles rising … Joy. You have to have eyes open to see it, you can’t be looking backward . For now , there is wind, and sun, and a sun hat ! There is a boy running around here saying “mom”, there is a girl at school who gets up and faces 9 th grade bravely each day, and a young man who comes home from 11th grade and still holds me tight. There is a young woman who is finding her way, day by day and learning to love in the best way. These are the bubbles of joy rising over me right now , today. I won’t look away.
I can’t say it as spot on as Taylor Swift, but 🎶when you’re 15 and somebody tells you they love you , you’re gonna believe them 🎶
So hear this: I love you. I see you. I hear you. I trust you. I am proud of you. I like to hug you, and sing with you, and eat with you.
You’re 15 and I can’t even believe it. They told me time flies, but I only closed my eyes for a second, and here we are. Pig tails and hair bows have given way to eyeliner and curls. And that’s ok. Watching you grow every day is my greatest joy. It’s not easy figuring out who you are going to be, and if it takes a little time, well that’s alright with me. I love you Belle. If you couldn’t tell. Long legs and beautiful smiles, laughter , and kindness , courage and love. Most of all love. These are my birthday wishes for you.
Every day is different, just like every child is different. Little lion boy, the baby of four children , was always a joy and a handful. I have spent the better part of 10 years asking myself questions and reading books. Is it his gut? His ears? Believe me when I tell you there have been prayers. And more prayers. Prayers of desperation, and prayers of hope. He is 13 now, and with no relief in sight , we sought help. Before this , I didn’t really want help. I didn’t want medication or labels. He is beautiful and bright, he is stormy and hurtful. Easily frustrated, and impulsive. Our home can become a war torn territory where everything has been shattered to bits in a matter of seconds. That’s the truth. Hear me all of you well meaning parents and friends…. It is not about discipline ! Yes, boundaries and routines are cornerstones of civilization , but in the middle of war we all become quite uncivilized . Our parental hearts are shredded, the lights in our eyes … Dimmed. We listen to our son tear down the very walls of respect we take time to build . We get mad, and at the same time…. So sad. We live, we keep on, heart beating, seasons changing. Our son has adhd, and auditory processing disorder, and a learning disability in math…. Which leads to the roaring beast that we see on a daily basis as we try to teach him. Homeschool. It has been the best for him, but I have been battered . We are rebuilding now, with new tools and new hopes. I am understanding the stimulation that his body is constantly looking for, I get it. He needs it , good or bad. If his work, his reading, his drawing, his music, his pogoing up and down the stairs are not enough stimulation , he will pick a fight… With anyone in sight. I am armed, as I always have been , with the love of a good God. I couldn’t love my son any more than I do. I am amazed at his strength, his spirit, and his ability to love. I am on a crooked path, that God promises to make straight. I’m faithfully walking , and I’m trying to share . This is barely a glimpse. This is a beginning. Our story, unique to our family. Yours will be different. The common ground for us to stand on is love, and the courage it takes to look deep into someone and seek out answers, all the while faithfully trusting that this story is a masterpiece in progress.
The word bird came into my spirit with the new year. It made me smile. It brought my mind to a place of singing, melodies, feathers, flying, freedom, and ….nests. I clearly heard –feather your nest. I started collecting feathers, and holding them close, like prized possessions . I even started planning changes to my house. After all, that is my nest , right?
All along the way, from the new year and even before, I’ve been dealing with parenting issues. Problems and prayers turned into pleading for breakthrough. I was and am walking out the steps God has given me. And then tonight a friend got a word for me. Nest . Ok. Redundant much ? Somehow there was more for me in this word. It is a timely word, and ever evolving to show me what God is speaking. She sent me the definition because she knows that language is magical to me.
Nest- the place where birds lay eggs and take care of their young .
I read it, and then I layed down in it, this word …nest , it covered me like a blanket. And it was there wrapped up , that I heard this again – feather your nest. And this time I knew, it had nothing to do with my kitchen! And everything to do with the environment around my kids. I need to place patience and encouragement in my nest in equal measures. And then I need to layer the atmosphere with laughter and love. A soft place to land . The baby birds will not always be in the nest, but they are now. I will do my best to feather it with beautiful things: prayers, and tears, seashells, and river rocks, memories and stories, truth, justice, and grace that leads to kindness. Feathering my nest, taking care of my young.
If you’ve known the heat of God’s heart , if you’ve looked into the fiery eyes of love, then you know… It knows no bounds. Even if you feel like only ashes remain, there is an ember. A slow burning spark. Let the breath of God be the wind that starts the fire burning again. Look out. Women are waking up. We are hearing … Enough is enough …in our spirits, and we refuse to be shut up , or shut down by the voices that speak against us. The darkness that tries to creep in on us and cover the fire is irrelevant in the light of day. The vines that try to grow around my heart and squeeze it silent, are cut away, severed by the sharpest sword of truth. And once again…With the realization of god’s love for me I set out on the road before me, and I plan to blaze a trail.