Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Running and falling

My little boy loves to run! He wakes up running in his crib, jogging in place when I set him on the floor, a wide smile consuming his face. Run! Fast feet, fast feet! And he's off. Our home is circular in its layout, so he begins most of his days doing laps. Run! Peals of laughter, the thump of his feet ~ I have a growing appreciation for wearing shoes in the house because then I can tell where he is by the thudding on the hardwood. But as his speed has increased, so has the severity of the falls he experiences, and the sound of the fall is much greater too. Crash! By the sound I can tell if it involved him alone, or if there was a piece of furniture involved, if his head met the floor (Bone and flesh has a unique thump), and so on. But then it is my turn to run! To get to my little one in order to comfort, hold, rock, and maybe even cry a little myself. Sweet boy! So happy and then so devestated. Sunday he was in a particularly fine mood, dressed and ready for church, running, and then boom! Tripped over a little stool and led with his head, contusion over his right eye. And my heart broke... because this time I couldn't immediately run to him. My mom is here, and I heard her cry out and dash to pick him up and comfort him. I was changing Liberty's diaper, so I weighed her down with a heavy stuffed animal on her belly and went to my son. (By the time I got back to her she had kicked both of her little feet in the contents of her diaper and managed to somehow paint the bedroom wall with it...)

It was a thought that was with me all day ~ running and falling. When children trip and fall I've heard parents say, even to little toddlers like Izak, "that's what you get for being cocky!" Do you honestly think that cockiness had anything to do with it?!?! How about the fact that their legs are too short, feet are too small, and their head is a third of their body weight? Do you think that could have anything to do with it? What an ignorant, disrespectful thing to say. And when little people fall, how many parents saunter over, rolling their eyes. I think it is this posture that I have assumed that my Heavenly Father has taken with me all my life. I run and I fall, and He hears the thud... and as He slowly rises to come to me He rolls His eyes and huffs a little, totally inconvenienced by me. "If you hadn't been so cocky..." Today I had the first thought that perhaps God runs to my side to comfort me, speaks words of ease and tenderness as He gently lifts me up and brushes me off, whispering "I'm so sorry that happened. It's okay, it's okay." Can I believe in a God that is that kind, that loving? It is a far cry from what I have thought all of my life, though I know scripture speaks of a devoted father, one who loves even more magnificently than I love my son (possible?). When they speak of Heaven they say, "He will wipe every tear from the eye... there will be no more crying there...". Yet He desires to run to us now ~ here.

Had I never become a mom of a little boy who lovers to run I think my misconception would had gone unchallenged for the rest of my life.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

What's in a name

Matt and I were very intentional about the names we gave our children. In light of what I have shared about mothering, the names needed to have deep and abiding meaning.

Izak is the Czech spelling for the biblical name Isaac. My great grandfather on my mom's side was Isaac Bond. He fathered 16 children, 8 boys, 8 girls. The original Isaac of the Bible was the son of the hundred-year-old couple, Sarah and Abraham. The name means laughter because when Sarah found out she was pregnant, she cracked up laughing in disbelief. I can identify with her, but the primary reason I love the name is that it flies in the face of sobriety. It brings you joy. And mothering in the presence of joy is a gift...

Liberty means freedom. And I want to teach my daughter as early as possible about real liberation from the bondage of sin. Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to share with her how God used motherhood to change the course of my life and set me free. Secondly, I do love my country and am very patriotic ~ I hope she will also have a deep respect for America, and for the service men and women who have sacrificed so that she can be free. It could be argued that America is not what it should be, that it is no longer the country looking to God, blah, blah, blah. I am thankful to be here vs. other countries in the world. I am thankful that my children have been born here vs. other countries in the world. It is one of God's immediate blessings on my home. Mothering in an atmosphere of freedom is also a gift...

It's late, my brain is mush, and Liberty is bright-eyed and bushy tailed. *sigh*

Monday, June 21, 2004

Never a mom

Growing up, I never had the sense that I ever wanted to become a mother. I can remember joking around about having a big bunch of boys so that I could have half a football team, but that was just a joke. It was more about my deep love for football than children. I never got the "warm fuzzies" around babies, though I babysat for pragmatic purposes only. Once I could get a "real" job I never babysat again. The desire for an exciting career and fulfillment in financial independence was a driving force in my teens and twenties. I never thought about adding kids to the mix; a husband ~ yes, kids ~ no. And if it hadn't been for an old home movie, I don't think I ever would have reconsidered.

Christmas 2001 I was home visiting with my husband. I came across a collection of old home videos from my aunt. It was a compilation of years of home movies that my uncle had taken, no sound except for that of the soundtrack that it had been set to. I spent hours in the night, watching for a glimpse of my family. Sure enough, there was my mother, young, newlywed to my big lug of a dad, handsome, butch haircut, no gut. And they were smiling, it appeared to be a holiday gathering. And there was my Grandma Pearl, walking, eating - what a shocker since the only grandmother I had known was a woman riddled with Parkinson's. And Grandpa Frenchie, laughing, hamming for the camera. The next shot of my mom showed her with a huge belly, due any day... and the next time the camera caught my family I could hardly watch. There they were with my tiny newborn sister, Stephanie. She wasn't focusing on anything though her eyes were open, limp on mom's shoulder. And I saw this look on my mom's face, one of deep pain and fear. My father was trying to be jocular and gentle, but there was an underlying sadness there. My big sister was born 6 weeks early in 1968 with multiple handicaps, physical and mental. The extent was unknown. While watching the footage with my mom later that weekend she burst into tears, rocking back and forth, and cried, "I was so scared... so scared." And suddenly I understood why I never wanted to be a mom.

It was no one's fault, specifically not my mother's fault, that I absorbed and assimilated my family's experience like I did. There are many kids who have handicapped siblings that joyfully have families of their own. But I will say that the brokenness of the human condition, and the desire of the Evil One to keep God's children in bondage were two factors that allowed me to be stunted in this arena for 32 years. I walked around knowing that I had a limp in the motherhood department, but I was not willing to let God heal me and provide me with an opportunity to trust him once I saw the limp. Therein lies the difference. When I knew that God wanted to free me by actually having children of my own, I was mortified and a bit embarrassed. I had said a loud "never" for such a long time, priding myself in my own tenacity, my own ability to protect myself from such "pain."

We cannot protect ourselves from pain, but we can ensure that we are always a slave to the avoidance of pain, which is a dull ache that never goes away. To willingly refuse God's hand of healing leads to a madness that says "My God is not enough, He does not want the best for me."

I am so thankful that God did not forget me in my pain. I am grateful for the persistent love that pursued me into the desert of stubborn brokenness. I am made new, not because of my own effort, but because He truly knows what is best and has a good plan for me. May He receive great joy in my obedience and freedom.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Thought I might try this...

As I sat in the hospital after giving birth to my second child, I was thinking that I may start a blog. I really enjoy reading my husband's thoughts/reflections (love you, Honey), and it's not like I don't have my own. After all, I was almost a writing minor in college, but I'd already taken 5 years to get a four year degree... . Many times I downplay or completely avoid talking about my true feelings as they relate to parenting, motherhood and spiritual issues. I don't feel that it's always the brightest thing to play an opinion card which has deep emotional ties to me and has been thoughtfully examined, only to be put under the microscope, or just blown off. This is much safer (I think). So between chasing a toddler, breastfeeding an infant, and running my home I thought I might try this and see if I can capture some of the truths that I am discovering during this time in my life.