Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Open Letter to My Teenaged Son

You are smart. Handsome. Funny. Sweet. Compassionate.

You are such an amazing human being.

I see you struggling in the in between. In between a boy and a man.

Some moments I still see the sweet blond-haired, blue-eyed little boy who loved toy trucks and cars. The boy who loved to watch cartoons on Saturday morning in his dinosaur PJs eating a bowl of cereal.

But more and more I see glimpses of the young man you are becoming. The kind and compassionate young man who wants to also be tough and hard. The smart young man I know you are who doesn't always want to put the effort in to excel where I know you can.

I can't say I know exactly how you feel. I was never a teenage boy.

But I was a teenager, and I know what it feels like to be stuck. Stuck between then and now. Stuck between child and adult. Stuck between putting down roots and taking flight.

You are desperate to grow up, to experience all of the excitement and privilege of being an adult. But you are not ready for the enormous responsibility that goes along with that life. As much as you don't want to, you still need us-your parents-to guide you through these sometimes tumultuous years.

You have so much potential. You have a heart that truly seeks God. You have a heart that truly cares deeply for others-almost too deeply. You are smart-sometimes too smart for your own good.

There are so many years ahead of you for you to grow up and be a man. To carry the burdens and enjoy the privileges of manhood. But right now, you need to slow down. Stop plowing ahead into the unknown and slow down and listen to those around you.

You are so very blessed to not only have a family who loves you, but to be surrounded by good, godly, Christian men who are willing to pour into you. Listen to them. Learn from them.

I can't put into words the love I have for you. You won't understand this kind of love until you have a child of your own, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate it.

This time in life is not easy for anyone. And I now know that it's even harder to parent someone during this time than actually be that person.  Again-something you will not understand until you have children of your own.

You are a gift from God. You belong to Him, and we are simply His ambassadors here on earth. We are here to guide you to the light of your Heavenly Father. Never forget that. No matter what-God is always there for you and so are we.

I love you more than I ever thought possible.


Friday, March 11, 2016

God Works All Things For Good

Five years ago this past November (right around Thanksgiving), I suffered a miscarriage. I was about 12 weeks pregnant, we had seen our sweet baby on ultrasound and were excited to add a new member to our family. And then I started to bleed and eventually I lost the baby.

I was heartbroken. I was devastated. I was lost.

I did not understand why God had allowed this pain in my life-I could see no good coming from this, only pain and heartache.

At the end of 2015, I joined the Prayer Ministry Team at Thrive Moms which is a wonderful Christian resource for moms in all stages of life and motherhood.

This week I was on the "team" to answer the prayer requests that come in via e-mail and one caught my eye. A mother of 4 was pregnant with her 5th child, but was having complications. Over the course of a few days we communicated back and forth and I prayed continuously for her, her family, and her unborn child.

Today she e-mailed me to let me know she had lost the baby.

My heart broke. It hurt almost as much as when I lost my own sweet baby in 2010. I responded with some words of encouragement and my phone number so she could call if she needed to talk.

And then I saw it. I saw the purpose in the pain. I saw God's plan laid out beautifully in front of me. Had I never had a child born into Heaven's nursery, I would not have been able to connect to this mother on the same level. I would not be able to share my story with her so that she would know she is not alone in her grief and it is okay to grieve. I would not have been able to tell her the pain will never go away, but it will get easier and she will learn to live life with joy again. I would not have had the opportunity to tell her she needs to give herself time to grieve and it is okay to be sad and angry and all of those things we go through when confronted with death and loss.

I feel privileged to be able to witness God's work in this manner and to be used for His purpose.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Walking Through the Hard

I am not a 13 year old boy.

I have never been a 13 year old boy.

I have exactly 0 experience with the psyche of 13 year old boys.

This makes me feel incredibly under-qualified to be responsible for the eternal soul of a 13 year old boy.

But, when God was assembling the cast of characters in our family he included a funny, goofy, smart, kind, sensitive, compassionate boy.

Lately, our family has faced some significant challenges and those challenges have deeply impacted my sweet, funny, intelligent and slightly aggravating 13 year old boy. I have to be honest and admit that I don't know how to process many of the things that have happened, and therefore I feel utterly worthless at helping him process these things.

I don't remember ever walking through the hard when I was a child. Not to say I grew up in a fairy tale, but I had a wonderful, safe, stable childhood and my parents kept me carefully shielded from anything that was beyond what they felt like I was old enough to handle.

Maybe that is my mistake-being too open about this hard time we are walking through.But I also feel a need to model transparency to my children so that they are able to model it in adulthood.

So I am walking this hard road with my son. We fight, we make up. We yell, we say things we don't mean, we apologize, we forgive.

I can't give him the world, and I don't think it would be good if I could-he needs to understand that this world is of no eternal value to him. So what I am trying to teach him, while learning at the same time, is that the hard is temporary. It is the blink of an eye in the eternity of our future with God.

Being 13 is hard.

Being 37 is hard.

So we are learning to survive the hard together.