Monday, June 20, 2016

Are you hurting?

Today I watched a heartbroken father
honor his 19 year old son
at his memorial service.

His precious son committed suicide on Thursday
during the commission of a crime.

I wept as I saw this fine man
and his precious, grieving wife,
pay homage to their youngest child.

And I wept as I heard of this
unique young man's struggle with
bullying and the resulting depression.

I wept as I heard his father talk of
the things they learned about their boy
while searching his room
these last few days.

I wept as I felt the pain and suffering
this fine young man felt throughout his youth.

I wept as I heard how the bullying apparently did not end
with high school graduation
but continued on into his adulthood.
No end in sight.
And so, on Thursday night, in an out of character move,
their son got drunk
and returned to the middle school where the bullying began.
He broke in,
trashed a room,
and when the police arrived,
he ran.
Suddenly, with police in pursuit,
he stopped,
fired one shot into the ground,
then turned the gun on himself,
and fired.

And the world changed.
A family is forever altered.
No longer innocent,
they have experienced the worst,
the death of a child,
magnified because of the circumstances.

But let me tell you about my friends.
As I watched his parents honor their son,
I saw grief written all over them.
They had aged years in a few short days.
Swollen eyes marked the father's face.
Pale skin marked the mother's.
A catch in the voice,
trembling hands.
But about them was something else.
There was a glow about them.
Even in this storm,
this tsunami of grief,
God was evident!
His Spirit surrounded them,
held them up!

As I listened to them talk,
I heard no condemnation.
Not toward their child.
Not toward themselves.
And not toward God.

They talked of their son's struggles to learn.
They talked of his speech difficulties.
They talked of his small stature.
They talked of the things that made him a bully's target.

And they talked of his big heart.
They talked of his service as a volunteer fire fighter.
They talked of his salvation and baptism.
They talked of his love for God.

They begged those listening to express their hurts
rather than suppressing them.
They told of how crushed their family was
and begged that no one else ever crush their family in such a way.
They begged that if anyone listening was contemplating suicide,
that they


Your family and friends cannot read minds!
They do not know the depth of your pain!
Tell them!!!
Call someone, anyone!
Cry out!
But get help!

I am echoing that plea today!
I have been depressed!
I have contemplated ending my life!
How glad I am that I sought help instead!
If things seem hopeless to you,
if you cannot see any way to get past ---
--- IT ---
whatever "it" may be,
KNOW this one thing!
"It" is not permanent!!!
No one is so broken,
nothing is so bad,
that it cannot be mended!
Seek help!
It is out there!
Ask a friend!
Ask a clergyman!
Ask a stranger!
Ask a professional!
If you know me, ask me!
But ASK!
And ask God!
The solution is not instant!
It will likely take hard work and commitment.
But there IS a solution!

You are precious!
A child of God!
Dearly loved by Him
and by more people than you realize!
Do not end it!
Do not take a permanent action
on a temporary situation!


I look up to the hills,
but where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let you be defeated.
He who guards you never sleeps.
~~ Psalm 121:1-3 NCV ~~

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The house I grew up in

Today I ended a chapter in my life.
I entered into a contract
to sell the house I grew up in.
I am not speaking of my childhood home.
I am speaking of the house I moved into
four years ago.
Let me tell you about it.

On May 25, 2012,
my Al was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I had just celebrated my 55th birthday.
We had a lot of decisions to make
very quickly.
His time was short.
One of the decisions we made
was to sell our home of 19 years
and move to a smaller house
nearer our children.
The purchase and sale of both houses
happened very quickly and very smoothly.
It truly was a miracle from God!

Because of the circumstances of the purchase,
we made the very difficult decision to put the new house
in my name only.
And so, on July 6,
I took my Al to Short Oaks to die.
And I began my journey.

You see, I had never lived alone.
I was 18 when Al and I married.
I moved from my parents' home
to my husband's.
I never had to budget just my income.
I never had to be the only one responsible for upkeep.
I never had to be the only one to lay down under a roof to sleep.
I never had to be the only one -

Now, I'll tell you a little secret.
I always regretted that I'd not allowed myself that experience.
Don't get me wrong!
I loved my Al!
I am glad I married him!
But I always felt I'd somehow not really been an adult
when I married.
Because I wasn't.
I was 18.
A baby.

And so, as I searched for silver linings
in those dark, dark days
following his death,
I thought that perhaps having the experience of living alone
was a silver lining.
Or maybe more silver plated.

And so, I began growing up.
I paid my bills,
only once facing a disconnect very early on
while "widows fog" was in its full-blown state.
I painted asking only myself what color I wanted.
I purchased light fixtures and flooring without input.
I selected new furnishings.
I bought a car.
And I'll tell you something.
It's not all it's cracked up to be!
But I grew up during those three years.
And now, the house I couldn't wait to get rid of
because it was where I took my Al to die,
is going to belong to someone else.
And it makes me surprisingly melancholy.

I am discovering that that little house
has become more a home than I thought.
It does not have years of wonderful memories
with my beloved.
I still sometimes see his hospital bed in the dining room
where it was placed so he could be a part of the daily activities
when he was awake.
I still remember the many nights I came home from work
after his death
and sat for many minutes in my car
because I couldn't bear the thought of going into a dark, silent, lonely house.
I still remember the days of anguished tears,
the long, sleepless nights.

But I also remember the satisfaction I felt
in the colorful, warm rooms,
the cozy furniture,
the office that made me feel accomplished,
the kitchen where I sat at the island
having my time with the Lord
and looking out at the beauty of His creation.
I remember that I grew more in my relationship with God
while I lived in that house
than at any other time in my life.
It was in that house
that I made the decision,
the conscious choice,
to live not simply exist.
It was there that I did the work.

I had my third date ever with a man other than my Al
while I lived in that house.
I experienced my very first goodnight kiss from a man other than my Al.
I experienced my very first romantic heartbreak.
And I learned to move on.
I romantically broke my very first heart.
And I learned that companionship was not enough,
I needed to love again.
And in that house,
I fell in love with my Lanny Love.

I grew up in that house.
And selling it now makes me a little sad.

Turns out the lining was silver after all
and I am grateful to God for showing me.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mother's Day

I know.
Mother's Day is several weeks past!
But this has been brewing for a while.
It's finally come together
so it's time to post.

This Mother's Day was unique.
It was another first.
I've had a number of firsts where Mother's Day is concerned.

The first Mother's Day after losing a child
The first Mother's Day I had a mother-in-law
The first Mother's Day I knew I was pregnant
The first Mother's Day after my oldest daughter was born
Several first Mother's Days after miscarriages
The first Mother's Day after my mom died
The first Mother's Day after my youngest daughter was born
The first Mother's Days after I knew there would be no more babies
The first Mother's Day after I had a son-in-law
The first Mother's Day after my Al and my mother-in-law died
The first Mother's Day after I had no more grandmothers

And now this year.
More firsts.

Once again, I have a precious husband who,
though we do not share biological children,
celebrated my motherhood with me.
Once again, I have a wonderful mother-in-law to celebrate.
But the big first,
one I never expected to experience,
is that this year,
I am a step-mother.
And that's what this blog is about.

As is the case in any blended family,
there have been some growing pains.
And, just as my children will likely especially miss their daddy this week-end
as Father's Day is celebrated,
I am certain that my step-children especially missed their precious mama
on Mother's Day.
And, honestly, I wasn't sure just how to act on this first for them -
another wife in their daddy's life on Mother's Day.
Because while they know he still misses their mama,
it very likely felt different to them this year,
as if, somehow, he didn't really miss her as much.
In reality,
my presence probably made him miss her more.
And it probably had the same affect on them.

But I would never have known it!
All three of my Lanny Love's children remembered me on Mother's Day!
In some respects, the enemy.
And in the midst of their sorrow and longing for their own mother,
they took the time and effort to make me feel special!
How it pleasured me!
This gift, their love and acceptance,
is the most precious Mother's Day gift I have ever received!
How I love them for their efforts!

And that's what I want to focus on now that you have the back ground story.
Three things:


According to whatever entity it is that names relationships,
I am a step-mother,
the wife of a man who has children with another woman.
They are my step-children,
the children of my husband with another woman.
Except they aren't.
In my heart, they aren't.
And it surprised me as Mother's Day approached
and I began to realize the truth of that statement!
I love Tiffany and Aleisha and Zach -
and their spouses, Blu and Jamie!
And while I do not think of myself as their mother,
I do think of them as my children.
Not my step-children,
my children.
It's confusing.
How can I not be their mother,
but they are my children?
Here's what I've come up with.

A long time ago,
I babysat a little boy.
He came to me at about four weeks old.
And I fell in love with him!
When I went shopping and bought something for my girls,
I bought something for Steven.
I was not his mom.
But I loved him like a son!
When we moved away and his mama wouldn't let me take him with me,
(unreasonable woman!)
I grieved as if I had lost another child.

Several years later,
my brother and sister-in-law and baby nephew
moved in with us for a while.
Same thing happened!
Eric became mine in my heart!
And, again, when they moved away,
I grieved as if I had lost another child.

That is how I feel about my love-children!
They are mine!
I did not birth them.
I do not share
their DNA.
They don't look like me
in any way.
They don't sound
like me.
They don't have any of 
my habits.
They don't have any of
my mannerisms.
But they are mine.
I love them deeply!
As my children!

I don't know why since the same thing happened with my sons-in-love,
but I did not expect this!
They are adults,
not sweet, tiny babies.
I expected to love them because I love my Lanny Love.
I expected to love them as friends.
I did not expect to love them as children.
My children!
But I do!
And it amazes me!
And brings me great joy!
And it makes me realize anew how great is the love of God!

I was an adult watching my Al be a daddy to our girls,
and experiencing the absolute, complete adoration I felt for them,
before I really understood the concept of
God loving us like a Father.
But those were littles.
They grew in our hearts as they grew in my belly.
By the time they were born,
they were our precious children,
forever bonded to us in love!
During the teen years,
it sometimes felt like only the shared DNA -
and remembering my own obnoxious teen years -
kept me from killing them.
But I did not and do not love them
for what they did or didn't do,
I love them for whose they are - MINE!
And I found myself wondering,
as I did in my youth,
if a perfect God would tolerate and love me in my imperfection.

While my head knew the answer to that,
today, my love-children have reminded my heart that 
God's love is
protecting - 

I am God's Child!
No matter what!
No matter how many growing pains I experience in our relationship.
He does not love me for what I do,
He loves me for whose I am - HIS!

Isn't that a thing of great wonder!

The Lord your God is with you;
the mighty One will save you.
He will rejoice over you.
You will rest in his love;
He will sing and be joyful about you.
                                                                     ~~ Zephaniah 3:17 NCV