Not Alone.

They were any other family.  Active, loving, playful.  They, the mom and the dad, were beautiful examples of all that God expects of those that he makes husband and wife, mother and father.  Their bond was strong, their love even stronger.  Their children, siblings, bicker and squabble, but their bonds, too, were growing stronger and stronger.  Sisters, leading, following.  Brother, teaching, learning.  They worshiped together, prayed together, lived together, love     together.  This family that God created.  This family that embraced all that God offered; their love, their each other.  She was any other child.  She shined with the joy of play, the shimmer of love and the brightness of childhood.  Her eyes sparkled, bright blue, full of wonder, amazement and curiosity.  She embraced life, although at her tender age she couldn’t know that’s what she was doing.  She was the reflection of God’s pure love.  A loSunflowerve that doesn’t go untested.

If you saw her, you wouldn’t know.  You wouldn’t know the evil that lurked just beneath the surface, right in the heart of all that makes her go.  The growing, changing evil, bent on taking her life.   If you saw them, you wouldn’t think that anything was different or special about them.   You wouldn’t think that they would soon be spending their days encouraging, loving, comforting this little one, the one in the middle, the one with the sparkle in her eyes.  You wouldn’t think that they would soon be spending their nights in silent, tearful prayer for the life of their daughter, knees red, swollen, sore.  But they are.  And she is.  As mother and father reach out to those who know, love and care for them, they unwittingly tap into a well of prayers and love so deep that only God knows.  No, they are not alone.  Not alone in prayer for their daughter, not alone in sorrow for what she has already lost, not alone in compassion for what she has to endure.  Not alone in their battle for her life.  Not alone.

We are the ones they don’t know.  Our names are hidden from them.  We are any other people.  We are any other families, with husbands and wives and children.  We are beautiful examples of all that God expects of those who call him Father.  By his grace we are not praying for the lives of our children, laying silently in hospital beds while drops of poison are forced into already weakened bodies.  By his mercy we go to soccer games, baseball games, end of summer picnics.  We buy school supplies and agonize for our children about the expectations in school.  We bring them instead, to ballet lessons, piano lessons, Sunday school.

But God hears our prayers.  God hears us cry out for the innocent children who suffer daily from the evil of cancer.  Take a look, here.  This is any other child.  Her name is Kate.  She is 5.  She has a brain tumor.  Now, please, take a few moments and pray for her.  By His mercy and grace she is not my child.  But my tears are real, and my heart aches as if she were mine.

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Bottle of Wine

There is a bottle of wine in my fridge.  It doesn’t quite fit, and frankly, I don’t want it there.  It annoys me.  Honestly, I hate it.  I despise it.  I resent it.

Yeah, I know, I’m talking about a bottle of wine. But it’s what it represents to me.  There are alcoholics in my family.  I’m not one of them.  As a matter of fact, I don’t drink.  (And it has NOTHING to do with my feelings about alcohol, it’s simply because I don’t like it.)  But seriously, to me it represents dysfunction.  It represents sadness. It represents the demolition of a family.  It represents horror.  These are the things it represents to ME.

Disclaimer:  I do not believe that alcohol should be banned or that it is the cause of every bad thing that happens.  This is just MY view.  End Disclaimer.

Every time I open the fridge, this awkward bottle stored in the door wobbles to one side or the other and makes it’s presence known.  I sneer at it, threaten to toss it out and then slam the fridge door closed behind me.  It’s not mine.  I can’t just toss it out.  I have to continue to store it.

So, like the bottle of wine, there are things in my life that I just don’t want to store anymore.  Things I despise and resent.  Things that represent dysfunction, sadness and horror.  Difference is, they are mine, and I can just toss them out.  But I don’t.  They wobble around in my life because they just don’t fit anymore.  I sneer at them and then slam the door closed behind me, leaving them right where they are.  In some ways, it seems like if I get rid of them, there will be something missing from my life.  There is a bizarre sense of comfort that comes from having them there.

For a long time, I didn’t know that I could get rid of them.  I thought that since they were a part of my past, that I had to carry them around with me forever.  But I don’t.  I know that I can, at any point, simply put them down and walk away.  I don’t have to look back.  I don’t have to worry that I have “illegally dumped” them because in the Kingdom of heaven, there is no wrong place to dump things.  You just do it.  And mysteriously, God makes the trash disappear.  But then He does something even more profound.  He replaces them with things that I need; love, compassion, mercy, acceptance.  Things that fit perfectly into my life.  Beautiful things that I want to look at over and over; things that I would NEVER slam a door on!

Every day is trash day.  One by one I’m going to take things out and dump them.  I’ve done a lot of that already, but I have more to do.  Anyone care to join me in de-cluttering?

Life since High School

Recently through facebook I have  been re-connecting with some old classmates, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the twists and turns that got me where I am.

Summer between sophomore and junior year of high school, my parents divorced and we moved to the east coast from the mid west. Life wasn’t easy. Here’s the rundown in fast forward:

Struggled with the new social rules and language, joined the swim team, made varsity, went out for softball and blew out my knee triggering all the surgeries, worked at Wendy’s, finished high school, worked at an electronics manufacturing plant, got pregnant, had an abortion, married the guy, had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, divorced, worked, worked, worked, moved to California to be a ‘nanny’/Auntie to my beautiful nephew and niece, started a long distance relationship with Mr. Right, moved to Michigan, moved to New Hampshire, married Mr. Right, built a house, got a puppy, started taking classes to change careers, got another puppy, moved to Connecticut (hated it), adopted another young dog (bringing the total to 3 dogs at 1yr, 1 1/2 yrs, and 2 yrs old.)  Moved to Rhode Island, met my father-in-faith via the internet and was led to Jesus, found my church family, started a new career as a tech writer, fostered a child, adopted that child, waiting to hear about fostering another; this time a newborn.

There…that about covers it.  Looking back, there were defining moments: parents divorce, moving away, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, divorce, that really changed me, and one defining moment that really confirmed Me.  I’m not proud of what I did.  But I’ve been granted the forgiveness and mercy that helps me to learn and move forward and beyond those moments.

As difficult as it has been at times, God knew all along the path I would have to walk.  He wanted different things for me however I made choices that changed the path.  But never the goal.  God made sure of that.

UPDATE:

As of December 2009, we are foster parents to a first grade boy!  The newborn we were waiting for was placed elsewhere due to his medical issues.  But once again, God showed us that His plan is perfect and sent this wonderful, challenging, articulate, fun, loving little boy into our family for how ever long he needs to be here!

Surgery Update II

Well, I survived the weekend.  I don’t know how, but I did.  The shot given to me in the OR on Thursday wore off by Friday night, and I spent the rest of the weekend wondering what the heck happened.

So here it is Monday, and things are a bit better.  Not as good as Friday, but better than Saturday evening.  I start physical therapy tomorrow, and I’m hoping that there will be some relief there as well.

Stitches come out the end of the week.  Check it out:

Not too bad, eh?  I’m loving the blue sutures. And yes, those are band-aid marks.

Last Letter

My Dear Children,

The day has arrived for me to let you go.  I have not wanted this day to come for obvious reasons, but I have been waiting for it for so many years.  The sun is shining brightly this morning, and the sky is crystal clear; just the kind of day that makes the earth look happy.

This is going to be my last letter to you.  Not because I don’t want to write to you, but because in saying good bye, I need to close the door behind that keeps me in this prison and cross the bridge to a new life, one without regrets and without sorrow over you.  One that rejoices in knowing that you were, even for a few brief moments, lives that had meaning, purpose.  Lives that will not be forgotten but will be remembered with joy rather than shame, guilt and sorrow.  I want that so badly, and I’m sure that you would want it to be that way as well.

I wish that I could share with you the joys of earthly childhood; the meaning of a mommy wiping a tear, or the feeling of climbing into a welcoming lap when the world has beaten you down.  I wish that I could see your faces, and hear your voices.  But it was not meant to be in this lifetime.  I can look forward to seeing you, hearing you, holding you, knowing you in the kingdom of Heaven!  The anticipation is great, but please know that the love is greater.  The love that keeps me right where I am, giving to the little girl God has given me all the things I would give to you, but knowing that she is not you, and you are waiting for me!  In her, I will continue to see you, and through loving her, I will be loving you.  She is my purpose, and a gift from the God that loves and cares for you.

I know that letting go of you is not going to be easy.  I know that there will be tears.  But I also know that when I have really let you go to the One who created you and loves you more than I can fathom, I will be free to cross over the bridge to a better place in my own life.

Please know that this is a bitter sweet day for me, one that will not be forgotten, just as you are not forgotten.

Love, Mommy