Warriors

Something about this day reminds me of a day a few years back. I drove the youngest, just sixteen at the time, to drama practice. We didn’t speak out our angry, hurting words, and a twenty minute drive felt like driving nails into our dying relationship.

We’d recently learned that our youngest had chosen drugs over life and a future.

That last sentence makes my bones ache.

We lived through that battle. We lived through five years of that horrific battle, and now we’re more than five years out.

Our youngest fought all the way back to life, and I’m grateful.

But those memories.

They’re like a stain I can’t remove in a garment I’ll never throw out.

The value of those lessons, the scars that remind us of battles won, the healing- all of them woven in like patterns in fabric.

I fight new battles now, and I find it’s much harder to fight just for myself. I wrap myself in worry and weary and somehow, forget battles won. Defeat becomes a name. But then, I get a reminder, a game changer.

Today, this song is the reminder, and the words are like putting on armor, reminding me I’m not alone. They’re weapons at the ready, clashing with the challenges faced. They’re life giving, breathing life back into the warrior, giving life and breath and strength for the fight today.

Memory verses from that battle for the loved child are dusted off and added for this battle weary soul. They’re re-breathed and re-lived and the they’re soul re-newing.

Here’s the song- because maybe you’re battle weary too. You’re not alone. Fight the the good fight.

We’re not defeated. This is how we fight our battles.

We are warriors on our knees.

Truth

www.youtube.com/watch God Forbid – Point of Grace

We’ve been fed lies, and we’ve gorged ourselves on them. “We are not enough as we are. Not enough. Insufficient. A mess. Failed. Broken. Foolish. Ugly.”

We’ve replaced truth with a lie, as

though we can somehow be less than who we were made to be – an image, a likeness, a creation made in the image of our creator.

We face our flesh in the mirror, and forgetting our DNA contains holiness, we see unworthiness. And we have believed the lies.

His holiness has been passed down through thousands of generations. We are the heirs to a holy God.

And that is Truth.

Bookend reminders today of who He is and who we are in Him.

God bless.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeOyFxjkqKY&feature=share Back to the Garden – Crowder

This has nothing to do with car crashes.

I think the thing that stills me, that slows my breathing, and catches me most off guard is when someone doesn’t absorb another’s emotional break.

How can we drive past a collision and feel nothing? Yet, at the same time, how do we stop, snap a Facebook moment, and drive away? Just drive away. A moment captured. We feel enough horror to document the moment, enough shock to confess we “had to share,” but not enough empathy to stay. Not enough compassion to help.

We do that. We document and drive away. We see the emotional break, gather the details, absorb information, and move on.

It’s easier. Life is too… Fill in the blank.

I’m broken. I’m full of my life and so full, I’m overweight. I no longer need.

When did this happen? Each day. One slowly on top of another. Shedding the excess life is just like shedding gluttonous pounds.

We’re broken as a society. We’ve lost our sense of compassion. We’ve lost our unity, our oneness, our sense of bring me your poor. Parties be damned. How do we find ourselves?

Maybe it starts with outrage. Maybe it starts with concern. Maybe with common sense. It’s time. It starts with each of one of us.

Ragamufffins?

The telephone’s ringing woke me from late evening tv sleep. The oldest son’s name glowed, backlit by the screen. His voice is deeper and softer than the other two.

“Momma, do you remember ever calling us ragamufffins?”

What? No. Sleep clogged my memory bank. Had I? I hoped not. Where’d I heard the word last?

A silly conversation between my son and daughter-in-law had led to the phone call.

After we’d sorted out the memory and searched for a definition of the word, I’d concluded, no, we’d never called our boys ragamufffins. No, we’d straight up used the word orphan, which the beloved son then remembered. Yes. That was it. Orphan.

A ragamuffin or an orphan is someone who doesn’t belong. That’s not always bad. Not in the way we usually define those words. Sometimes, they’re just people who are not caught in this world. They belong to another, to a greater being, to a higher power.

I shook my head, sighing as we ended the call. Great, just great. Good job, mom. Of all the child rearing triumphs and failures, this is one of the memories that sort of stuck..

Thirty minutes after the phone call, I remembered my last run-in with the word ragamuffin. Rich Mullins and the Ragamuffin Band. I’d shown the movie to my boys a few years earlier and gotten mixed reviews.

Well, I’d liked it. Rich Mullins had been popular in my day. And the movie is good. So, I text my son. Maybe he’d remember the movie, too. Not that the movie really had anything to do with the earlier phone call, but I had a sudden need for him to remember.

This post from a few months back sat drafted and forgotten amid the rush of my work days and my menopausal sleepless nights. Then today, the blue-eyed boy and his bride sat with us for a stolen hour, the last of their Christmas week off before a few hours of driving home.

Have you ever tried to breathe in every moment, like a scent you want to remember? Grown kids move away. Their phone calls become the filler between gasping absences and their visits like our need to breathe.

Ragamufffins? Hardly.

Wake up!

It’s that day after I woke up at three in the morning feeling soul bruised. Words woke me. Words have a way of doing that sometimes, but these straight up shouted deep into my brain: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wake Up!” And my soul said, “Yes,” and my feet hit the floor.

See lately, I’ve become sick of me. All the healthy changes I’m making are scrubbing away at the exterior, but they’re also exposing the slowly rotting interior. I’ve had to own up to my own complacency. I’ve traded better and best for good enough. I’ve settled into the lackadaisical and made a resting place in Laodicea. My world has grown small. It’s been a solo ride of all about me. Enough.

After a weekend gathering of women, I came home weary and burdened. The refreshing relaxation I had expected got left at the door. Day one began with listening to trials that have led to doubt and day two ended with listening to hurt that has led to fear. But laced between every word was woven a message of faith, perseverance, and overcoming.

So this morning’s early words reflected the determination that’s been breaking through my protective layers of me-ness, calling me back to warrior mom knees. The lost child and his lost love need saving. It’s time to go to war. The child struggling under the weight of inner battles and his love doing the same–need prayer battles fought on their behalf. The child contemplating the unknown future and his love in the same boat–need prayerful support and guidance.

Having children changes your world. It does. But it doesn’t take being a mom to be a warrior. Being a woman and/or a mom doesn’t mean you can’t fight. You were born to be a warrior. In fact, you may be the only warrior some people ever meet. Pray like a warrior. Take a stand. Believe. Persevere. Love hard. And if you’re a parent, even when those kids grow up and grow away, they need you to make war on their behalf. So, for the love of your loved ones, wake up! It’s time to pray.

Why the table, the forgiveness, and the younger living

img_4383“I’m just saying, I wouldn’t tell my kids they can’t do something outside my home that they wouldn’t do in front of me. So, if they want to drink, they can drink in front of me first. If they want to try something like drugs, well, I hope they won’t… but if they do, they can try them at home first. That way, they won’t be so tempted to run off and do things away from home just because they can’t do that thing at home. You’ve got to give kids the chance to try stuff, or they’ll just try anyway, but without your knowledge.”

I’m paraphrasing a little. Words spoken aren’t always remembered word for word. But that’s the gist of the conversation.

I looked deep into the brave, young eyes of the speaker, a brand new guest in my home, and someone new and dear to my child. I sat listening as my parenting skills were challenged.

A year later, those words were still rubbing hard against the sore spot left from four years of trial by fire. Four years the beloved child lived addicted to drugs. We had been the parents who just said no. No to drinking. No to smoking. No to drugs. And while we were at it, no to tattoos too. For Heaven’s sake, just no to anything that might steal our beloved children from us.

I’ve lived as the child and the sister of the addicted. I’ve lived the years of secreting away my own addictions. And then, after all those years, I’d stood face to face with my own addiction in order to stand toe to toe with my child’s. I’ve run that race, fought that good fight, and walked out of the darkness of addiction. And I’m stronger for it.

Yet, here in my living room, sat this young soul face to face with me, angry, hurt, and implying accusation. Wanting to convey a message. I should have done things differently.

That evening, a little over a year ago now, I sat quietly, acknowledging the condemnation. The lecturer finished and I smiled, said something unmemorable, and the awkward conversation came to a stumbling end.

For most of the last year, that conversation swirled around me, questioning my parenting skills and numbering my mistakes. The early beginnings of a list of things I’d like to say to my kids began taking shape in my mind. In fact, if you look back from this post, the lists are found here in the pages. And there are more lists to come, but today, the fourth day of a new year, I wanted to say something–to myself. And maybe one day to the young soul.

You didn’t sit at the table.

That table is why I have this blog now, but I didn’t even know that myself until a cold day just this past December when your words came to mind again, loud, accusing, rattling around inside my brain. And that’s when the realization crept in slow, like a low fog rolling in, covering a multitude of hurt and angry regrets… You didn’t sit at the table.table blog pic

See, after those agonizing years of a loved child’s addiction, and while our loved child went through a year long program of addiction recovery, our family gathered around a table alongside others who were hurting just the same. We were those who currently or in the past had personally battled life controlling issues, or we loved someone who did. We shared the ache. We spoke honestly about the fear, the hurt, the anger, and the hate. We were honest about our pasts. We laid bare our souls, took off our masks, and bled out from our fractured hearts of pain and regret. We left everything at the table. Everything.

But you weren’t there. We didn’t know you then.

Even the loved child was in the recovery program miles and miles away and couldn’t join us at the table. So, no one’s told you the stories of the table. No one’s shared with you stories from the weeks of soul baring moms, dads, and almost grown children. So, for your year-old, bravely spoken words of admonition, young soul, I can only extend grace, because you don’t know about the table.

It’s been a month worth of days gathering forgiveness for the young soul. Love came from the ruins of my hurt and anger. Forgiveness is the gardener of blessings.

I’m slowly moving on from those years of reliving and questioning decisions we made in the child rearing years. I’ve quickly moved on from reckoning with a year of pondering my own aging. And now I’m moving on to brighter things. Better choices. Healthier living. Younger living. If you stay with me, you’ll see the difference here on the pages. At least, I hope you do. We’re into Young Living around here nowadays. but truly, we’re just in to living younger.

Thank you for joining me at this table. It’s a place we gather. We’re honest here. We’re bold, we’re tender, but most of all, we give grace here.

God bless- more next time.table

The truth list–for young love.

IMG_5191A weekend spent watching two young loves fight over common ground left me weary and wondering. I know, as younger marrieds, the husband and I battled over every thing big and small. And I thought I wasn’t a fighter. I’d told him so before we were even engaged. But that was then. Now, I’m watching you kids, and I’m questioning the groundwork we laid as parents. I pray you saw the good ground too. There was lots of good ground, yet I know, because these lists have more than covered my own nearsightedness, that sometimes the hard times make up the majority of the memories that stand out. But haven’t we learned about hard times? They make us stronger. Or maybe, you need more time to mature enough to know the truth about hard times. At your age, hard times can make you think you’re weak. That’s a lie.

Don’t let the enemy of your soul rob you of the ground you’ve fought and bled over. Your walk through marriage is one victory after another–daily–down the road to becoming two people who live and breathe as one. That walk down the aisle was only the beginning.

So that’s the first of this list and bears repeating.

  1. Don’t let the enemy of your soul rob you of the ground you’ve fought and bled for.
  2. And the next one as well. Your walk through marriage is one victory after another–daily–down the road to becoming two people who live and breathe as one.
  3. And the most important lesson I learned somewhere around five years into my own vows. Love covers. That verse says exactly that. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love covers.
  4. I wish I could carve this one into the mini-mountain we climbed that holiday weekend so all the young marrieds could read it and remember. Winning an argument with your spouse is not a victory you celebrate.
  5. You don’t want harsh words to be the legacy you leave to your loved ones.
  6. Remember, your spouse is an adult. Treat one another with mutual respect and affection.
  7. Don’t keep a list of wrongs. The verse so important to a solid marriage. Those lists grow like weeds and produce a harvest of hurt and regret.
  8. Silence is not a weapon or a shield. Silence is something you gift to one another when truly listening, really hearing, relaxing, and/or simply appreciating. Silence should be a gift you give.
  9. Give one another second chances. And thirds. And fourths. You’ll see things differently with a little more time.
  10. Being right doesn’t make you superior. Being right makes you a teacher. Be a godly teacher.
  11. Respect one another’s differences. Recognize one another’s feelings. Don’t try to mold your spouse into someone they’re not. Don’t set one another up for failure. Instead pray and pray hard. The love of your life needs your prayers. They need you to intercede for them. They need to know you go to God on their behalf. There’s no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Now there’s a verse to live your marriage by. Love like that.

This has been the hard-fought for list, the list written through tears, and all because a holiday weekend of watching young couple dynamics left me in a quandary. This list may seem cliche to some, but in truth, these are the hard truths. These are the reckonings of my heart for the hearts of the ones I love. This is the list I prayed over, lost sleep over, and finally received the words for all within a day and a night. Yet still, this is not the last list. More to come.

With all my love for those I love,

Mom

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