Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Lucas!

It is a tradition not to be broken....

Even if there is no one here to read it today.

Every year for each of the three boys' birthdays, I write a letter to them on this blog. When they were too little to read them themselves, I would read it to them. Then they became old enough to read it on their own. Today there is nobody here to read the birthday letter.

Today my oldest turns 17, but today he is at camp.

This is the first birthday I have ever spent without him. It feels strange. I sympathize with military moms today since this is what it must feel like to spend your child's birthday without them... Without even the ability to call them! I'm sure that he's having a great birthday today, but I sure am missing him on this day.

Dearest son,

   Today you are seventeen years old. This is the last year that you can call yourself a kid. Next year, I will be the mother of an adult child. Ugh... I always ask myself this question when birthdays come around, so I will ask again... "Why does time march on so quickly?"

   I feel like this year was a year of many milestones for you. Usually I recall the highlights of your year within these birthday letters. My fingers type quickly all the many ways in which you have shown growth in different areas of your life. As I look back on previous letters, I read about how you have grown academically, physically, in your sports abilities, and in your character. This year hasn't been much different... And yet it has.

   This year you have shown me (and SO many others) what you are truly capable of from the inside out. As you have experienced a rather large hurdle thrown in front of you, you haven't given up. You haven't spent a single moment feeling sorry for yourself. I remember the day when we sat in the car in that parking lot... When I told you what the Dr. had told me. I choked tears down. It was MY lip that quivered, not yours. You sat there still. You sat there, bit your lip hard and let me know that YOU WOULD GET THROUGH THIS. Your attitude has been healthy and strong ever since, even when I could not hide the fact that my own attitude about all of this was not.

   I am more convinced than ever that seeing your strength through all of this has been the gift of it all. As your parents, we have always been pretty good about sharing that life is sometimes hard. Sometimes you get dealt a bad hand. Sometimes things just don't work out the way we planned them to. Seeing how you have handled exactly the kind of thing we have told you about all of these years is something that not every parent gets to see while their child is still at home. A lot of times, parents don't experience their child's painful life situations until that child is grown and out of the house. I am not saying that I am happy for your pain, but what I am saying is that seeing you cope with it has shown your father and I what a strong man of God you really are! This has been a gift... YOU are such a gift!

   Lucas, I know that there is great reward in this for you. No matter what happens next, God IS using you, and He is going to continue using YOU and this story. I am SURE of this! I feel confident that this set back will not define you. Instead, YOU will define IT.

   I could not be more proud of you than I am on this day... This sixteenth day of June, 2014.

I love you more than all the stars in the sky...

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Fall

When they are little, they fall a lot. When the fall happens, there is either silence for a moment before the wailing begins, or there is immediate wailing. Either way, there is no mistaking the emotions spilling from their little beings.

As their mothers, we tend to them. We scoop them up, kiss their scrapes, bumps or whatever might be causing the hurt, and we love them like there is no tomorrow! Soon after the fall and the "mommy love session" life returns to normal and everything is right again.

This is the cycle.

The cycle changes, but the cycle does not stop.

Mine are older now, and their "boo boos" are no longer the type that disappear after a sweet little kiss. No matter how much I try to fix the things that hurt and torment my three boys at times, I cannot kiss and love them away. Their hurt and torment becomes MY hurt and torment, and there is no end. Usually, the "falls" just continue happening... One on top of the next one. It sometimes feels like we might ALL just break.

I read something in my devotional yesterday that I am trying to really meditate on during this season. This is what it said:

"When you turn from your problems to My Presence, your load is immediately lighter. Circumstances may not have changed, but we carry your burdens together. Your compulsion to "fix" everything gives way to deep, satisfying connection with Me. Together we can handle whatever this day brings." ~ Jesus Calling (Sarah Young)

No, I cannot fix their burdens. I usually cannot even fix my own. Am I obsessing over what I cannot do, or am I turning away from these burdens and instead looking into the face of His Presence? Am I teaching my young men how to attempt to fix everything, or how to let themselves fall into that deep satisfying connection with the One who knows (and loves) them best?

It doesn't look the same anymore either. When they fall, there is usually just silence... No wailing involved anymore. Sometimes that's what hurts a mother's heart the most. The silence can be deafening. It is still too. They no longer come running for comfort. Often, distance is what heals their hearts faster than my getting involved. I know it's all natural, but even though that knowledge is in me, it is still as uncomfortable to me as the fall itself.

I knew this season would come, but it came earlier than what I had anticipated. I am finding that I am not handling it with the grace that I thought I would. I find myself fighting tears in the middle of the day as I think about the struggles and hurt that my boy is feeling (and sometimes make that plural, boys). Instead of easing into the struggle I have caught myself fighting against it... Trying to figure out how to fix things for the ones I love.

After receiving the reminder in this devotional, I have realized that I CAN fix things. The ONLY way I can fix things is by finding and modeling my own connection with Jesus. If I model connection and a sense of leaning on Him for my children, then that's what they will learn to do too. If I place myself in His presence, then my children will find themselves there also. It doesn't get any more "fixed" than that!

In His presence there is perfect peace.