Living Resurrection Hope

There was little time for the weekly stand-around-and-chat session after church. It was Easter service and the children’s pastor had planned and epic Easter Egg hunt between services. Every child at service got a bag of candy, too. She picked out each piece carefully, so she knew she could eat it with her braces. She picked out others specific to what she knew her family liked to eat.  As soon as she saw her step-brother, she forgot about herself and gave him the whole bag.

And then time came for the hunt at Cornerstone…Pastor Joe counted down.

5 minutes

3 minutes

1 minute

20170416_103336_HDRShe’s there in pink, orange, blue, neon yellow dress, complete with pigtails and her Tinkerbell Easter basket.

The children lined up across the field. Their weight of anticipation bent the marking tape protecting the egg field. The children ages from just barely walking to 12-years-old waited, plotted and planned their attack routes. Allyson sought out the golden egg. She’d seen the prizes–one was the exact same bowling set her brother had looked at Saturday at Mardel’s and wanted for our family.

She had the determination to get the 20170416_103443_HDRgolden egg and win a prize.
And she did.

She got the egg; she picked the bowling set.

“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10

The hunt was over, prize won, and we loaded up with their overflowing baskets of plastic orbs. We followed our scheduled activities: having a meal together, playing at the park, and feeding the ducks and the geese.

kids geese park

But something was upsetting her. It seemed we were always walking on egg shells, it was the attitude and arguing taking over our lives again.

Every single one of the 100 eggs she and her brother gathered had candy she couldn’t eat with her braces.  She keeps them in–her emotions and anxieties. The despair over having given up the only candy she could have is held inside by our 10-year-old. And watching her brothers eat a couple of pieces of the sticky stuff, built up. When we got home, it happened.  We had already expressed in many ways she could have candy when we arrived home. It would be hard for any kiddo. She had waited all afternoon, but she couldn’t wait any longer.

She sneaked an Easter egg from the hunt (filled with the candy she couldn’t have) into her room and got caught.  Then she lied about it.

Melting down ensued. Crying, screaming, huge tears. But she couldn’t articulate, she couldn’t pinpoint the emotion to express. She cannot pinpoint the way to react and ask for help. We’ve been working on not lying and what it means to deceive. But the biggest and most important hurdle is discovering the heart attitude motivating the behavior.

It took chipping away at the small things to get to the heart (excuse the pun) of what made her lie and deceive. What was making her believe she wasn’t lying and deceiving us? (This is incredibly difficult, time consuming, life consuming in the moment when you have a child who has language concerns.) It was worth it. It was worth every loud, sad, angry, frustrating, curious second to find out what was motivating her behavior and what had made her grouchy for much of our afternoon out.

In her sacrificial love for her older brother and family, she had given much for a 10-year-old and was disappointed to find that the candy she had kept from her Easter eggs was 100% off limits for a girl with braces. She felt anger, regret, sadness, conflict, because in her heart she knew what she did was kind, true and loving.

She modeled the love of our God who gave his ONLY son (mamas who have dealt with the loss of a child or fertility know the weightiness of the word, only). Sacrificial, true love. She displayed love that doesn’t see the flaws of a fallen world, but sees the object of its affection as whole, pure, and desirable. Just like God. Just like Jesus.

Thank you, Allyson for modeling sacrifice and resurrection today and every day. We love you.

“And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2

 

 

The Dressing Room

You’re going to try on clothes. You usually reserve that for home, preferring to use your mirror and your lighting to decide if something fits or looks good.

The dressing room has mirrors everywhere. You walk in greeted by a half octagon entry aligned with mirrors. In the stall, there are mirrors on every side. Even when the dressing room is adorned with a charming chandelier, the hippest paint colors and trendy wall décor, the lighting is harsh and the mirrors show the reflection of every nook and cranny. They highlight the parts of you that you are disgruntled with.

Failure. A broken pelvis isn’t a failure as we typically think of it, but can seem like it when you’ve fought hard to beat endometriosis and take care of yourself. Getting the x-ray and MRI results confirming two breaks in my pelvis, elicited more testing that told the story of severe osteoporosis. It was as if I was looking in the mirrors in the dressing room and seeing the dimples of fat and a pair of jeans that didn’t quite fit right.

Since then, many have asked how it happened. I thought up this great story about trying to perfect the longest ollie while taking up skate boarding over the summer to explain the break. It’s much more exciting than the truth: My bones gave up while I was waiting at the copier.

It has taken a long time to be even remotely independent in my daily life. No work for more than two months has been both a blessing and a hardship.

The time off and the fractures caused me to reflect and plan. What will life look like now? Things I had hoped to do one day, uncertain or outlawed. What does this mean for a future? Limits are put on activities. Surfing? Horseback riding?

Compression fractures.

Broken wrists

Broken femurs

A re-break in the pelvis.

These were like accessories to the wardrobe I’d been wearing. It’s been like trying on outfits you know you should wear, but don’t want to buy and walk out of the store with because they don’t fit your personality and dreams.

These forced choices to be made in changing my exercise routine, changing my diet/supplementation, and adding prescription medication, as I waited through the healing process. The continuation of this process is taking leaps of faith to pursue my dreams now and not wait for when the children are grown up or more independent, to wait for the financial security the world says I need for it to be a level-headed, responsible choice.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

I’m beginning with putting my heart’s desires in the forefront again and creating a time and place to pursue them. Welcome to the journey with me. I would love to build a community of others who are choosing to carve out time for a dream, maybe one that our culture says is crazy and not worth pursuing.

My pursuits:

Writing every day on a project

Continuing my exercise/physical therapy changes

Blogging consistently

Completing the Iowa Writer’s Workshop online course

Tragedy, disappointment, strife, and pain allow us to know how to celebrate life nor live it fully. When was the last time you celebrated your life? When was the last time you gave yourself permission to live happily in the moment? What can you do to be true to your heart to allow life to come?

 

 

Dreams

Dreams…

This summer it seems everyone I run into asks me what my dream is? I’ve been asking myself that for a little over  a year now. I cannot pick just one thing. What is even more frustrating, is feeling like I never really dreamed big as a child. I knew I’d go to college. But for what? The whole focus was just on getting in and getting it paid for. Yes I have dreams of where I’d like to live, what I’d like to be doing, how I want my children to turn out. Places I’d like to visit, etc.

But really, now what? How do I get there? I’m almost 15 years out of college and feel like I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Torn. Torn between being the picture of a responsible adult who stays at the same job so that I have a retirement and am providing all of the American Dream for my family and following what’s really in my heart. Torn. Torn because obviously I want to provide a life for my children that is beyond just getting by, but also because I want to live in the moment and enjoy the whole beauty of the world and share that with my family. I don’t want to live in the future. Because when I do that, I’ve thrown away the present.

So here’s the list of what I’ve decided I need to do to live for today based on my priorities:

  1. Exercise.
  2. Read: Must be something I want to read, not something I have to read or feel like I have to read
  3. Play games with my family: Interactive, board games, charades, or our new family favorite, Pictionary
  4. Intentionally spend positive, life giving time with my husband (no to-do lists, discussing raising children, or politics)
  5. Rest and enjoy the beauty around me

 

I’ve not thrown out the dream of traveling or living other places to experience our world and share it with my children, but focusing so much on how or if I’ll ever get to do that spoils the current reality.

What would you put on your list to make your life more intentional and enjoying the moment?