Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted on Oct 17, 2016 in Devotional, Love, My Crazy Family, Parenting, Spiritual Life, Wisdom | 3 comments

A Good Father?

A Good Father?

When I was a senior in high school, I got caught with beer in my car at after prom. Seriously. Me. Beer. Did I drink beer? Nope. I still don’t. Nasty stuff. How anyone can stand it, I don’t know. But nevertheless, it was my car, my friends, and beer. I knew about it, allowed it, and got caught. The principal had to call my parents in the middle of the night. I was pretty sure death would result from my sin. Either that or every single privilege I enjoyed, including the car and the beach trip I was planning with those friends after graduation, would be taken away from me.

Shaking in fear, I walked into my dark house that night, wondering what punishment was waiting for me. I expected all the lights to be on, my parents furiously pacing the floor.

Instead, they were quietly laying in bed, just like always. As I tiptoed in their room, wondering what type of new torture this was, I saw my dad’s arm go out and beckon me toward him. Slowly, I walked toward that arm. He pulled me in closer. Then he pulled me down onto the bed. Instead of yelling (or killing me), he just hugged me tight. As my fear melted away, I began to cry. Somehow I managed to blubbler out the story: I’d agreed to let my friends bring beer because I wanted them to have fun. They’d said they were unable to let loose, dance, and have fun without it. It had never occurred to me that I could get in trouble for it. I wasn’t drinking and driving. I wasn’t drinking at all.

My mind often goes back to that night. My parents taught me a valuable lesson in the middle of what must have been very frightening to them. They said that a person shouldn’t be dependent on alcohol to have fun. If a person can’t have fun without alcohol, they have a problem. I’ve always remembered that lesson. A nice glass of wine with a fine meal is a different thing than the inability to enjoy oneself without it.

Beyond the alcohol though, another issue strikes me. I learned a lot about a father’s love. He could have raged at me, punished me extensively, or demanded that I stop hanging out with those friends. He didn’t though. He trusted that I’d learned my lesson (I certainly had) and let it go. He treated me tenderly, and he treated my friends tenderly too.

There’s a worship song that’s very popular right now, “You’re a Good, Good Father.” The first verse says,

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love
In the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone.
You’re a good, good Father.

Like my dad, my husband is a good, good father. He is the one who scrambles out of bed in the middle of the night at the slightest cry of a child. He answers their cries tenderly, holding them, rocking them back to sleep, and sometimes really irritating me. Why does he have to be such a softy? Can’t he command them to go back to sleep? But he doesn’t.

Not everyone has such a good father. Many fathers are callous, hard, and ready to pounce on their children at the least provocation. They yell and issue commands, not taking the time to listen and understand. And some fathers simply abandon their children altogether, or are so evil that the child would be better off if they did. Into the mess of this world, we have this beautiful song about our Heavenly Father. HE is a good Father, no matter what our earthly fathers are like.

So why is it that so many of us, myself included, run from this good Father when we sin? Why is it that we avoid God when we are ashamed of ourselves? We have a good Father who loves us fully.

He beckons us with open arms, welcoming us into His embrace, even when we have sinned woefully. He wants to hug us, talk to us about what happened, and help us learn something from it. He wants to deepen our relationship, not push us away.

I see it at times in my own life. When I feel deeply disappointed by the way things have turned out, so different than what I thought God had in mind, I struggle to embrace Him. I feel a little like an angry teenager, arms crossed, back turned to God. I haven’t left Him by any means. I’m still leaning against His throne, and I don’t want to leave. But I am so hurt and disappointed, I don’t think I can crawl into His lap right now either. Constant questions plague my mind. Did I do the wrong thing? Is this somehow my sin? Am I missing something? And I’m facing outward, away from Him, because I’m watching so expectantly to see what He will do next.

I have a good, good Father. Surely He has sent an answer, an unforeseen blessing, and it’s making its way up the road to me now. But I’m very near-sighted, and I can’t make it out yet. But I’m watching.

2016-03-27-11-52-05How much better could I watch from the perch of His lap? If, like my tiny daughter does so freely with her daddy, I could crawl up there, grab hold of his shirt and snuggle down, knowing without question the comfort and security I would find there, wouldn’t life be so much better?

What if we started running toward God when we sin? What if we cry into His arms, pour out our sorrow, share our frustration and disappointment openly? Our good Father can handle our pain, and He knows exactly what to do with it.

A good, good Father is exactly who we have. No matter who our earthly fathers were, or are, we can rest in the embrace of God.

Read More

Posted on Jul 9, 2014 in Love, My Crazy Family, Parenting | 2 comments

Adventures in Parenting

Adventures in Parenting

A few weeks ago my family went back to South Carolina with me so I could celebrate my 20 year high school reunion.  (20 years! Crazy, right?)  While we were there, we arranged to have dinner with a friend I’ve known longer than just about anyone.  I asked her to choose a kid-friendly restaurant for us.  She doesn’t have kids, so that was a ridiculous thing to ask her to do.  With two kids, I’m just now learning what restaurants are kid-friendly and which ones I have no business in at this stage of life. How could I expect her to know?

We were late, of course.  No matter how far in advance I prepare these days, it always ends up taking me longer to get out the door than I anticipate.  It seems like no matter how hard I try, I end up the only one in the family who isn’t properly prepared to go out.  Unless I get up before dawn, I rarely have my makeup on or hair done when I walk out the door these days.  The ponytail is my dear friend.  Often the WET ponytail.

For our dinner date Eliana had on a ruffled, bright yellow dress and Charlie was sleeping in his car seat.  We hauled our 2 babies and 2 diaper bags through the oppressive heat and humidity into the loud and cramped restaurant.  Music was blaring and the hostess seated us at a center table next to the bar.  Our high chairs intruded into the normal aisles on each end of the table.  Precariously close to the kitchen, I watched nervously as restaurant staff walked by balancing hot plates of food over my babies’ heads.

I made a mental note for future reference to specify that a kid-friendly restaurant is typically spacious, not too loud, not too quiet, and not too busy…  Cracker Barrel-ish (if you can get the kids through the store without tearing everything up).

Eliana ate her food and behaved really well, which is hit or miss these days, but Charlie woke up from his nap a few minutes after our food arrived.  I soothed him as I gobbled down my delicious meal as fast as I could, hoping to finish before he started hollering.  I was almost done when he was no longer satisfied in his seat.

I pulled him out and tried different positions, but he was hungry and not interested in anything else.  We were totally exposed in the middle of the restaurant, but I wasn’t about to sit in a dirty bathroom stall or outside in the muggy heat.  As discreetly as possible, I attempted to nurse him.  We were near the door, which kept opening as people went in and out, so it wasn’t exactly cool in the restaurant either.  Charlie is a little heater all by himself, so between holding him and the temperature in there, I was uncomfortably hot.  I smiled brightly at a nearby table of disapproving women with large, fruity drinks and wondered aloud if it was better to just let him scream.

Between the heat, the noise, and the discomfort I felt trying to nurse him in such an open area, he would not cooperate.  I’ve gone 38 years without ever knowingly exposing myself in public, but I won’t be making it to 39.

Meanwhile, Eliana had a look of concentration on her face and her eyes were watery and red.  Shoot.  She was stinking the place up.  There was another table full of people two inches behind her and I felt pretty bad for them trying to eat in such close proximity to that diaper.  Although Rick is often the one who changes Eliana’s diapers, there are rarely changing tables in men’s bathrooms, so it was up to me to take care of the diaper.  (Why would a man ever need to change a diaper?  Grrr…)

I gave up trying to nurse Charlie and ventured to the darkest part of the restaurant to scope out the women’s bathroom, fingers crossed that there was actually a changing table.  Strangely, there was a chair in front of the door and it was locked.  I asked the waitress if it was out-of-order.  She went to check and was gone for a while.  Meanwhile, Charlie screamed and Eliana reeked.

She finally came back and told me it was open and there was a changing table.  I gathered up Eliana and her diaper bag and off we went.  As I laid her on the changing table, I noticed something splattered on the wall behind the table.  Hmmm…  Did that just happen or had it been there?  Then I noticed that my hand was wet.

Gross.

Sure enough, her dress was dirty.  As I began to change the diaper, I noticed that the mess had run down her leg and into her shoe.  Thankfully, I had clean clothes for her.  It took quite a while to clean her up, clean myself up, and clean up the bathroom wall.  The entire time we were gone, Charlie sobbed hungrily.

When I got back to the table, it was time to go.  We headed to the local park so we could hang out a little longer and keep Eliana occupied.  At the park I was able to nurse Charlie in the quiet, air-conditioned car.  My friend talked to me while the husbands took Eliana to play on the swings.

While we were still in the car, Charlie decided to mess his diaper.  That’s when I realized I’d left the wipes in the restaurant.  We were in a rental car so I didn’t have extra wipes in the car like usual.  I did the best I could to wipe him up with a diaper.  I used hand sanitizer on my hands and we went to find the guys.

Rick gratefully handed me Eliana when we arrived and left to find a bathroom for himself.  I wasn’t sure who smelled worse – my clothes (because Eliana’s mess didn’t just get on her), Charlie, or her.  We were a stinky, stinky family that night…

We found a small slide with wide steps leading to it, so I handed a much more content Charlie to my friend and helped Eliana with the steps. She didn’t want to go down the small slide though; she wanted to climb the steps all the way to the top and go down the BIG slide.  I followed her and decided the big slide was big enough for me, so I sat down and put her in my lap.  At that point I realized it was really steep and holding her while going down was going to make it very difficult to moderate my speed.  I tried to get off, but Eliana was having none of it.  She wiggled so much that I had no choice but to go down or risk dropping her.  My friend was laughing loudly, well aware of my lack of athleticism and balance.  But down we went, me holding her tightly while trying to not fly off the end and land on my rear in the dirt.

I gave myself a sort-of rug burn (except it was plastic-burn) on my elbow and lost my balance.  Her foot got caught, her shoe flew off, and she ended up screaming. With my stinging elbow, I recovered her shoe and realized it was wet.  As I looked closer, I realized it was poo!  The mess had gone down her other leg and into her other shoe as well, but I hadn’t realized it while I was cleaning her up.  Horrified, I could think of no other option, so I put the shoe back on and let her play while we waited for Rick to come back.   No wonder she still smelled so bad.

At some point during this adventure, my friend informed me that Eliana had left a puddle in the high chair at the restaurant.  Her husband noticed but didn’t say anything to us about it.  Since I didn’t put her back in the high chair after cleaning her up, we didn’t know and left it there for the waitress to clean up.  As a former waitress, I cringed.

After Rick got back from his hunt for a bathroom, he took Eliana down the big slide a few times without incident.  Of course.  Then we excused ourselves and put the kids back in the car.  As we were driving, Eliana decided she needed to take her shoes off.  Since everything ends up in her mouth these days, we pulled into a gas station and cleaned her up the best we could with hand sanitizer and windshield wipes.

When we got back, Rick immediately put her in the shower and I scrubbed Charlie first, then her shoes.  We figured our friends would probably decide never to have children. 

C 12 weeks E 18 monthsI couldn’t help but think about how many of my high school friends are through this stage of parenting and highly unlikely to be cleaning poop out of their kid’s shoes at 9:00 at night.  Oh well…  They’re worth it.

Read More

Posted on Dec 17, 2010 in Before Marriage Blog, My Crazy Family | 9 comments

My Family

My Family

The Wenger Family, November, 2010

I spent a wonderful week with my family at Thanksgiving and we finally got some pictures taken.  The last time we had a family picture was at my sister’s wedding in 2005, so we were overdue!  As I look at the picture above and remember the last several visits I’ve had with my family, my heart warms.  God has blessed me so greatly, I decided to share a few thoughts about each of these precious people.

The easiest one for me to write about is the sweet little girl in the picture above.  My precious niece, who is about to turn three, is so full of personality and charm.  She is confident in a way that few are, aware that she is adored, and yet so sweet and full of empathy for others.  Earlier this year while I was visiting for a few days, I spent the morning playing with her.  It was a sweet time and all my attention was focused on her.  Around lunchtime, my sister had friends and their children over for a play date, so I planned to go out during that time.  When the other kids arrived, my niece immediately showed them her toys and started running around with them.  I was on my way out when she and the other kids came running through the kitchen on an important mission.  Suddenly, she skidded to a stop and looked at me with concern. She turned to the kids and said, “Guys, guys!  Hey!  Stop!  THIS (pointing to me) is my Keebee.”  Then turning to me she said, “Keebee, these (motioning to them) are my friends.  Do you want to play with us?” 

I was stunned at the capacity she has to think of others, to consider others feelings, and to come up with a solution that might work for everyone involved.  I hugged her tightly, said hello to her friends, and told her that I was actually going to go play with one of my friends at her house but I really appreciated the invitation.  Relieved, she told me to have fun and went back to her play.  I thank God for giving our family such a wonderful child.  She has been our delight and joy ever since the day we knew she was on her way. 

My sister, mother to the amazing child, is a really good mom.  She’s funny and laid back at times, and yet is good with discipline too.  She’s the kind of person who makes friends everywhere she goes.  Sometimes it’s hard to go out with her because she has to stop every few minutes to chat with someone she knows (or make friends with someone new).  She’s also very goal-driven and works hard to accomplish whatever she sets her mind to do.  I have been amazed to see her become a woman, a wife, a mother, a rock-star sales rep, and still look so beautiful.  She thinks very differently than me, but in some ways we’re so much alike it’s scary.  One of my favorite things about her is that no matter how hard of a time she may be having, she finds a way to communicate it in a funny way.  Whenever things go wrong, I know I can call her and we can somehow find the humor in it.

My brother-in-law is also in sales and when he’s along for an outing, we stop twice as often!  He’s the guy that everyone knows and likes.  His daughter’s confidence clearly comes from him and I’ve always been amazed at what a wonderful father he is.  He’s also awesome with technology and seems to know intuitively how anything with wires works.  But from my perspective, one of the best things about him is how he handles my sister.  She and I both have a tendency to be a little impatient and high-strung.  We have high expectations and want things done a certain way in a certain time-frame.  My brother-in-law is perfect for her, working around her quirks and making her laugh when things get tense.  I’ve often thought, “Oh, what I would give for a man who could handle me as well as he handles her.”

The young man in the green shirt is my little brother.  He’s eleven years younger than me, so I can’t seem to break the habit of calling him “little.”  He’s been several inches taller than me for years, but he’s the first child I ever adored and saw grow up.  From the minute I found out my mom was expecting him, I began making plans for our relationship.  I knew that the age difference would make it hard for us to be friends, but I decided that wasn’t going to get in my way.  He delighted me from the very beginning and I couldn’t wait to see what he’d be like when he grew up.  He’s such a neat guy, with killer musical talent for writing songs, playing guitar, singing, and performing.  He can fix just about anything and loves anything with wheels and a motor.  Oh, and he can be hilarious.  He’s often quiet, but every once in a while he’ll get on a roll and have me laughing so hard my face hurts.  Leaving South Carolina at the age of 22 was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because it meant leaving him. 

Lastly, there are my parents.  They’ve been married for nearly 40 years and spent most of those years leading churches.  Dad is a pastor and Mom spent years helping him in the church.  A few years back, Mom became a real estate agent and has been one of the best sales agents in her office ever since.  Mom does everything “with excellence” (words I heard A LOT growing up) and pours her heart into her work.  Dad builds churches, disciples people, and helps them change their lives.  I’m so proud of both of them. 

Even though Mom is such a tenacious sales woman, she’s got a pretty laid back personality.  She just rolls with things and provides love and support to us all.  Dad is the one I take after – a little loud, gregarious, dominant, and able to get things done.  It’s a pretty good personality for a man, but I’ve found it difficult as a woman and have worked hard to temper myself.  (My sister and brother both seemed to get a good mixture of them both, but I try not to be jealous…)  Dad owns a room when he walks into it.  He knows what to do, when to do it, and how it will best get done.  He’s usually right, too.  Mom is smart and has strong opinions, but she often keeps them to herself and is content with letting others think whatever they want to about her.  Dad is too much of a people-person for that.  He tries to figure out what makes each person tick and bring out the best in them.  Both of them are also excellent teachers, seeming to know just what to say to explain a new concept or skill. 

At Christmas this year, we’ll all gather at my parent’s house to celebrate and enjoy our time together.  We don’t worry about planning a bunch of activities, but just enjoy relaxing and being together.  We play some games, take the baby toddler to see Christmas lights, watch movies, and talk and laugh.  Things might get a little tense every once in a awhile (we do NOT agree on what to watch on TV), but we work it out and move on. 

And this year, we’ll be joined by the wonderful man I’ve fallen in love with who seems to know just how to handle me (not that I’m ever anything less than sweet, kind, loving, and fun to be with).  We’ll be surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even snow.  (My parent’s new house is at the bottom of a ski resort mountain.)  God has blessed me richly and I am so thankful for the family He’s placed me in.  I pray that each of you have a wonderful, joyful Christmas and New Year’s.  I hope you’ll take some time to let your family know what you appreciate about them and how much they mean to you. 

Merry Christmas!

Read More

Posted on Sep 11, 2010 in Before Marriage Blog, Just Goofing Around, My Crazy Family | 6 comments

Combine Derby

Combine Derby

When I started this blog, I wrote a post about the county fair that I went to once when I was 12 years old.  I was really excited about going, but it didn’t turn out to be the most pleasant experience.  In the spirit of making new memories, I went back to the same county fair last week and had an entirely different experience.  (Thank God!)  I didn’t ride any rides this time (I prefer keeping my food in my belly), but enjoyed all the displays and junk food and the thrill of walking hand-in-hand with a handsome man who proudly introduced me to his friends.  The weather was beautiful, we were relaxed and happy, and the day was topped off with something called a “Combine Demolition Derby.”   

For those of you who are as uneducated about farm life as me, a combine is a very large tractor used to harvest crops.  It has two big front wheels and two smaller back wheels, an enclosed cab area for the driver, and a large attachment on the front that separates and cuts the crops.  These machines can cost up to $500K, so I’m not sure why anyone wants to smash them into one another, but one of the combines in the derby had a title painted on the side that seemed to explain it all: “Redneck Recycling.”   

   

In the Combine Derby, several of these huge machines enter a small, confined space and bang into one another until all are disabled but one.  The last one standing is the winner.  I’ve been to a demolition derby with cars once in Nashville, but that’s as close as I’ve come to this kind of entertainment.  I was a little skeptical when my new boyfriend (a farmer from the rural area where I grew up) said this would be a fun way to spend an evening.  Much to my surprise, it really was fun.  The large, open cabs on the combines give the viewer better access to see the drivers, who worked hard to entertain us.  We could see when they were having problems shifting or were steering one direction but the combine was going another direction.  The large wheels made it very obvious when they were disabled.  I definitely think I’d return to another combine derby.   

Two combines going head-to-head

 

So in honor of my most recent and better experience at the county fair, I’ve edited my previous story and am reposting it so you get a good understanding of the contrast.  Mom straightened me out on some of the details, which actually make the story a little funnier (in my opinion).  Enjoy!  

Wenger Family Fun, Take 2…  

In the farming community that I lived in until I was 12, the county fair was a really big deal.  There were all kinds of rides and they actually cancelled school because all the farm kids took animals they had raised to show and compete at the fair.  This was a totally foreign concept to me, but I wanted to go to the fair for the rides.  ALL the other kids went to the fair, but Mom and Dad would never take us.  It was terribly expensive to ride the rides.  I think you could get a bracelet to ride them all for $15 (plus $6 to get into the fair) and that was highway robbery.  

When Adam was a baby, I finally convinced Mom and Dad to take us to the fair.  Adam couldn’t have been more than 3 months old and they had this nifty carrier thing that Dad could strap to his chest and carry Adam around.  So off we went, into unchartered territory, with a father who was NOT HAPPY about the amount of money he was about to spend.  I was as dressed up as I could be with my little lavender purse just chock full of money ($27 was a lot of money to an 12-year-old) and about to burst with excitement.  

Things did not start well.  Not only was Dad in a bad mood to begin with (which we all tried to ignore and act extra cheerful to help him out – no fighting, no asking to go to the bathroom), but he had not anticipated the parking situation.  They had turned a field into a parking lot and it was muddy and rough.  We had to park as far away as a person could get from the fair and hike in through the field.  Mom was wearing flip-flops and after we’d hiked for a good 10 minutes (or so it seemed), her shoe broke.  So Dad tried to fix it with the metal tab of a Coke can.  Dad got it fixed up so Mom could at least continue walking, sort of (she would never admit there was another problem at this point), and off we went again.   

  

We spent the atrocious amount of money to get into the fair and started riding the rides.  I convinced my mom and sister to go on the teacups with me, so Dad went to show off his son to his friends.  After spinning around in circles within circles, the three of us stumbled off the ride to find the nearest trash can to throw up in…  (Ugh.  Who comes up with these rides?)  We found Dad and were considering if our upset tummies could handle another ride when Dad commented that his shirt felt wet.  We trudged along toward the next ride while he tried to discover the source of the wetness.  

Suddenly, we heard a great shout and looked over to see Dad standing stock still staring at his hand that was frozen in mid-air.  It was covered with yellowish brown slime.  Yup, folks, it was poop.  Upon further inspection, we found that our sweet little three-month old baby had at that very moment released more poop than we thought could come out of a grown man into the tiny littlest diaper – which of course could not hold all the poop.  

It was everywhere:  in the carrier, in Adam’s clothes, up his back, in his hair, all over Dad’s shirt and arm and hand…  And remember, things were already tense that day.  This was one of the first times they’d used the carrier, so they weren’t real familiar with how to put it on and take it off, and those things can be kind of tricky.  So Dad found an empty tent at the edge of the fair and commanded us all inside while he and Mom tried to figure out how to get this carrier thing off him and Adam out of it without smearing any more poop around.  Oh, by the way, it stunk to high heaven!  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth…  

Katie and I stood off to the side and tried our best not to laugh out loud.  I mean, what else do you do???  Stay out of the way and do all you can to stifle your giggles and PRAY that at some point this will strike Dad as funny.  

And then I made a startling discovery.  My little lavender purse with the $27 inside was missing!  After we had sort of cleaned up the poop, we silently backtracked to the teacups and discovered my purse in a nearby trashcan.  Everything was inside but the money, which brought me to tears.  All my hard-earned savings was gone.  We left the fair then.  I don’t remember the lecture I received on the way out, but I’m sure it was really good.  If I had any memory of the ride home, I’ve suppressed it by now!  

**************  

And so, now you see why this most recent trip to the fair was so much better than the last one.  And yes, Mom and Dad, I learned my lesson and brought absolutely NO money to the fair with me this time.  And when contemplating what pair of flip-flops to wear, I thought better of it and put on my tennis shoes.

Read More

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 in Before Marriage Blog, My Crazy Family | 3 comments

The Secret Room

The Secret Room

      

I’ve had a recurring dream over the years that I often think about.  In the dream, I’m exploring a new house.  It’s my house, but I’m exploring it for what seems to be the first time.  I go through the main floor, amazed at how it’s decorated just to my taste and even better than I could think to do.  Everything I see makes me happy.  I think I’ve looked at everything when I discover a staircase.  I go up the stairs and find bedrooms.  They are beyond description.  They smell like lilacs and one opens into another one, each one beautiful and spacious.     

The house becomes familiar to me then.  In the master bedroom, I notice a small panel on the wall that blends in.  I open it and discover it’s kind of like an unfinished attic space.  I crawl through and realize the space is much bigger than I thought it could possibly be.  This house is HUGE!  But again, it’s familiar.  On instinct, I walk around and find myself directly in front of another strange opening that’s very small.  I go through it and several other hidden, child-sized openings until I come into a small, finished room.  It’s full of light and like a very large closet.  There are all kinds of clothes and dolls and toys in it.      

As I enter this room, a sense of peace and comfort comes over me.  I sit down and start looking through the toys, discovering they are my dolls and books.  My sister is there with me.  We are young again.  We play with the toys and laugh and talk, feeling totally safe and protected and comforted.  We know that no one else knows about this room.  It is our room, from childhood, and we are the only two people in the universe who know it exists.      

Then I wake up.     

I love this dream.  I wish I could have it every night.  It’s been years since the last dream and I miss it.  A friend told me that the house in the dream represents me.  The unfinished part is what is yet to come in my life.  The rooms that are already decorated and set up are the good things I’ve accomplished.  The only thing about that interpretation that strikes me as odd is there’s no ugliness in that house anywhere.  If the house were truly me, there would certainly be some holes in the walls or something…  But it’s my own dream, so I guess I’m allowed to be perfect and beautiful!      

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the main rooms in the house.  But the other night something triggered my thoughts about the secret room.  I wonder about it.  What does it mean?  It made me think about my relationship with my sister.      

Happy, happy Katie

 

My sister, Katie, is 3 ½ years younger than me.  Today she lives in a gorgeous home in our hometown.  She married a great guy and they have a lovely, sparkly, princess daughter named Alexis.  She and her husband are both in sales and you are sure to have a good time if you hang out with them.  They seem to know everyone everywhere they go.      

Now she's a mommy

 

But Katie was not always the woman she is today.  Obviously, neither was I.  There was a time when we were children living in the exact same environment during the exact same time.  There was a time when we didn’t get to choose our own paths, but were taken care of and told what to do and how to behave.  We are the only two people in the world who know what it was like to be the children of our parents, to be the pastor’s daughters of our church, to be in our unique family with grandparents from the opposite worlds of rural Iowa and New York City.  We are the only two people who shared the same switch on the day Dad got tired of us fighting and hiding “The Stick: To Spank Bottoms With” (as it was labeled) behind the washing machine.  We are the only two people who had to get up with Mom at the crack of dawn to pick strawberries in the summer heat and pray we didn’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes.  We are the only two people who found out when our world was pretty well-established that our mom was going to have another baby and they were threatening to send it back if it wasn’t a boy.  We are the only two who know what it was like to have our maternal grandmother close by and to spend time with her regularly, then lose her a few years later.      

There is safety and security in our relationship.  The years after our brother was born were teenage years.  We were mean to one another, fought incessantly, stole each others things, and didn’t play well together.  When I went to college and we no longer lived in the same house, we began to get along again.  Today we are very close, talking on the phone almost daily and seeing one another as often as possible with the six-hour drive between us.      

Girls Shopping Trip

That time from the age of 3 ½ until 12 is represented by the room in my dream.  It represents a time of comfort and joy in my life.  There is a bond there that can never be broken.  The friendships I have made over the years are with people who know me well; they intimately know the woman I have become.  But my sister, she knows the child I was and the things that shaped me into the woman I have become.  And I know her in a way that her friends never will.  We are united in that bond.     

I’m so grateful for the joy of having a sister.  Were you blessed with a relationship like ours?

Read More

Posted on Feb 16, 2010 in Before Marriage Blog, My Crazy Family, Spiritual Life | 0 comments

February 14, 2010

February 14, 2010

I cried a lot today.  Today is Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a boyfriend or husband, but for once that had nothing to do with my tears.  I cried today because after three days with my niece, I had to leave again.  I also cried because I know my life is changing.  

Alexis Grace

 

My niece is two years old, and she has totally charmed me.  If I tell her I’m going somewhere, she gets a concerned look on her face and insists repeatedly, “And me.  And me!”  She wants to go along.  This morning I packed my bags and put them by the door.  I told her I had to leave, had to go back to my house, and I’d miss her.  Instead of saying, “And me!” she said, “Stay here.  Please stay here with me!”  And my heart shattered into a thousand tiny little pieces.  As little as she is, she understands the difference between a short errand and going home.   She understands that she won’t see me again for months.  And today she further understood that her charm will not always get her what she wants.  It broke my heart that I’m the one to teach her that terrible, but necessary lesson. 

My life is changing.  I’ve been blessed with 3+ years of stability, proximity to my family, a stable job, and relative calm.  I know this time has been a gift from God and I’m thankful for it.  But something is stirring inside me.  I wish I could articulate exactly what it is, but the only thing I know to call it is CHANGE.  God is changing me.  He is stretching me.  He is challenging the commitment I’ve made to total obedience, trust, and love.  He is asking me to give up things I’ve held to tightly, to open my hands and offer them to Him, with no visual of anything to replace the cherished.  

He isn’t dangling a big piece of Godiva chocolate in front of my face and asking me to let go of the m&m.  He’s just asking me to let go of the m&m.  I really like m&ms. 

I cried today because letting go is so hard to do.   

Even though I believe God has something more for me, it’s so hard to let go of the comfortable and familiar.  For a moment I berated myself for being so emotional, so dramatic, and for indulging in self-pity.  Then the thought came to me, “If this isn’t worth crying over, then what is?”  So I let the tears come and didn’t try to stop them.  I cried myself out.  

Lent begins on Wednesday, February 17th.  This year I’m taking the time to purify my heart, mind, and body.  I’m emptying myself before the Lord.  I’m looking forward to standing before Him, ready to be filled by His truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness.  I’m also dreading the days ahead when I will likely feel the gamut of my emotions with nothing to soften the rawness.  I’m giving up my comforts so I may learn to look to the Lord alone for comfort.  

Anticipation of the results is what will give me the strength to do it.  Love for My Lord and Savior will pull me through.  And yes, I plan to be radically changed.  I’m ready.  I’m excited.  Today I mourned the loss of the familiar, but my tears weren’t without hope.  Through my fear, I face my blindness regarding the future and trust God to guide me to a place of bright color and beauty.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: