Sometimes the very least is the very most.
You just left my house as a young married wife. The next time I see you, you will be a full-fledged card carrying member of the mom club. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was getting ready to have you?
It has all gone by so fast. I know everyone says that, but you’ll see. Even though the nights can be terribly long. Even though the days of hardly any sleep seem never ending. Even though you could watch her sleep for forever. It will fly by.
So enjoy the hard days, for without them there wouldn’t be easier days. Enjoy the days where you forget to eat; you can eat later. And enjoy the new relationship you and your husband have as being parents.
As great as it all is, and as hard as it all is, one day you will look back and know that these are the greatest days of all.
I didn’t love her just because she was my mom. I loved her for who she was and how she lived her life.
She was lovely and she was beautiful.
She loved God with all her heart, soul and mind.
She so very much loved her husband.
She loved her children, but not at their expense.
She loved her grandchildren and found great joy in them.
She invested her life in other’s.
She invested her life in her church.
She was caring and kind, yet firm when needed.
She was creative and could do almost anything.
She was adventurous.
She was willing to do the right thing.
Even though she is no longer on this earth, I still love her because she made a life for me.
I remember that I always knew how much she loved me.
I remember crying, as a preschooler, when I was separated from her.
I remember the grilled cheese sandwich she made me the day our dog died.
I remember her letting me pack a lunch box, just like the kids who went to school did, and having a picnic in the back yard.
I remember all of the special Christmas and Easter dresses she made.
I remember the Barbie clothes she sewed, including those teeny, tiny buttons.
I remember her frying my dad an egg for breakfast every morning, then getting back into bed–but not to sleep–to read the Bible and pray.
I remember her stopping everything every afternoon, combing her hair, and putting on lipstick to greet my dad when he came home from work.
I remember how very much she loved him.
I remember her patience with a wayward teen.
I remember her selflessly giving of her time to others.
I remember the painstaking hours she spent sewing my wedding dress without a pattern.
I remember the love she had for her grandchildren.
I remember the last words she said to me.
I remember how very much I miss her.
I have always loved Valentine’s Day! From old-fashioned victorian-era post cards to those adorable tiny children’s classroom cards to just taking the time to let others know you love them. I love heart shaped candy, heart shaped jewelry and anything heart shaped… I just love it all!!
When my kids were in elementary school, Valentine’s day was so much fun! I passed down my love for those little sweet and funny cards. We would sit together and have the best time signing and addressing cards to their classmates. Long after the day was over, I would still find those cards among the treasures in their room.
So it would only be fitting that on Valentine’s Day 30 years ago, a certain young man would propose to me. I remember getting a postcard in the mail from the newspaper letting me know that there would be a message to me in a special section of the newspaper on Valentines Day. I remember going to my parent’s house that morning to read this special message. Of course, they already knew what was going on and watched as I looked through what seemed like millions of Valentines Day messages until I found the one that was just for me. And there it was. “Starling, will you marry me?” I started crying and my parents, who acted like they didn’t have a clue, were asking me what the message said. I remember finally getting to talk on the phone to my boyfriend- turned- fiancé. He was working that Saturday morning and we wouldn’t see each other until late afternoon.
I never grew up dreaming of getting married or what my wedding would be like. But by the time Chris was off work that day, our whole wedding was planned! I remember going to look at rings that afternoon. Chris knew it would be best for me to pick out my own ring. I remember the sales person being so patient with us. Then we had to go to a friend’s Valentines party that we had already committed to going. We got to share the “big news” with everyone there, and it was so fun!
So here we are, 30 years later. And, Chris, I would say “yes” all over again.
We all have things that break us. Things that just flat take us out and leave us in a state of confusion and bewilderment. Things that totally alter our life, our way of thinking and our emotional state.
But there is another type of brokenness. One that brings redemption, transformation and joy. One that brings the opposite of what we think brokenness is. It is brokenness through Christ. It is brokenness from this world and living through brokenness in Him. He is the Brokenness that we can take all of our brokenness to.
Brokenness through Christ doesn’t mean that we will never be sad. It doesn’t mean that things of this world won’t affect us. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have the hard things. But we can choose what or Who will break us. We can choose a destroying brokenness or a healing brokenness.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
It’s been awhile since I have written. And it’s been on purpose.
While God is my main Bible study teacher, I believe that He has created people to help us with interpretation and understanding. Three women have been that for me. They have been that for others. Then, one by one, they all fell. Just like so many we read about in the Bible. Yes, we are all humans and certainly aren’t perfect. We fail others and we fail God. I am the first to stand in the “failure line.” But these women were considered to be spiritually solid. I never thought it would be them.
One went totally against God’s word in her theology, one aligned herself with those that give me a check in my spirit and one began marketing something that I believe to be wrong. All in the same time frame. It has broken my heart.
The day that I took all of their books off my shelf and said good-bye to their blogs and other teachings was a gut wrenching day. Yes, there is forgiveness. And people can make things right with God again. But they can no longer be my spiritual mentors. Trust with what they say and write will never be the same. It’s been hard. It has made me question so many others who teach God’s word. And it has made me question my own writing and use of scripture.
I have said before that when God stops leading me in writing this blog, I will stop. So we will see if I am supposed to be done, or if I am just supposed to pause.
After being married for a long time, I’m here to tell you that it is worth it. There is something to be said for going through life, making a history and leaving a legacy with the same person.
Whenever you are first married, and you are going through the challenges of adapting to each other’s ways- it is worth it.
When you have obstacles and challenges coming from every direction- it is worth it.
When your income isn’t enough and you have sacrifices and decisions to make- it is worth it.
When your income gets better, and you still have decisions to make- it is worth it.
When you really want to leave and end it, but you stick it out- it is worth it.
When you can’t stand each other, but decide to live by your vows- it is worth it.
When you face the stress of illness, both yours and your family’s- it is worth it.
And yes, it is so worth it through all the joys and good times as well. But there is something about enduring the storms of life together and coming out on the other side together that speaks deep down into your soul. It brings you closer together like nothing else. I believe that is what is meant by “for better or for worse.”
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Belong Tour. This is not something that I would normally attend. But, 2016 is all about going out of my comfort zone.
All was good with the conference. All was not good with me. There were times when I was overwhelmed, times when I was overcome and times when I was just over it.
You see, this going out of your comfort zone thing is not for the faint of heart. It is not for carefree and careless actions. It is not for undermining the enormity of it all, even if it is something perceived as small.
However, it is for learning to let go. It is for learning about yourself. It is for pushing yourself to grow, no matter what stage of life you are in.
But most of all, it is for increasing your faith. It is for giving the whole situation to God, and being ok with where He takes it. It is for glorifying God while humbling yourself.
James 4:10- Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
I have been facing some mountains in different areas of my life recently. You know, those things that are so overwhelming. Those things that you look at and think that there is no way to have accomplishment. Those things that seem so impossible that you don’t know what to do.
Then God brought to mind a passage of scripture that my pastor spoke on awhile back.
“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!'” Zechariah 4:7.
I have begun praying this verse over those mountains in my life. And only by God’s grace are those mountains becoming level ground.