Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chased by Darkness

AJ has had a busy week, a birthday, a confirmation, a prom, and a concert!
AJ struggled this week with feeling stressed and full of anxiety. He struggled through feeling as though every inch of him was on fire. My poor sweet boy struggled this week with not having his brother by his side. 

He couldn't understand what was making him feel this way.

Then one car went. Then the next began leaking gas. Then my husband began to feel stressed and upset. Then my father's stress level escalated. Then my mom's anxiety.

Then I understood.
Darkness always tries to steal the light.

I stopped what I was doing and made a conscious effort to pray and get control.
I had to explain to AJ that when we move to be closer to God the evil of the world tries to remove us from the happiness and graces that are headed our way. Because darkness sucks the energy out of the light.
If the darkness steals your light, then it wins.

We can't let that happen.

AJ was confirmed this week. He was sealed with the Holy Spirit! My oldest son was his sponsor. I love how close those boys are!
We were in danger of missing the confirmation, but after some vehicle shuffling we all made it there.
It was an incredible evening and I was so happy to see my son making such a giant step in his faith life!

Pictures You Won't See

In my basement, on a ledge, is a stack of pictures set into frames I never hang. Pictures of the boys in matching yellow and blue sweaters. A picture of the three of us for the church directory. Pictures at Tyler's First Holy Communion. Pictures of the boys

Pictures of my boys and me in the years between. Between Daniel and Trevor, between broken and functional. Between here and there.

Those pictures are too painful to look at. Even 14 years later I still hold my breath when I see them. They bring me no joy. No comfort. My heart skips and I feel my stomach plummet when I see them.
It was by far the worst time in my life, the most painful. It was brutal. The visceral reaction to those photos is overwhelming and unpredictable. They bring me nothing but pain.

And yet I was refined by fire, even then.

I keep those pictures so that my boys will have them some day. I don't want them to not have that piece of their childhood simply because it was dark. It was dark for them too, but it was different in their eyes.

I am finding out how well I protected them during those years. Too well it would seem. There are so many things they don't know. So much I will most likely never tell them.

And yet I was refined by fire, even then.

Those trials as difficult as they were, shaped me into who I am. It created in me the destruction necessary to build an even greater masterpiece. One with faith as the glue.

I was a pretty blue vase.
The was shattered back then. The pieces were so small I couldn't fix it myself.
I had to give myself and all of my brokenness to God.
He created , in me, something amazing and even more precious.
He made me a beautiful serving platter, to serve my family around me.

Here I am , broken again.
The pieces no longer something I can work with.
I have no choice but to hand my brokenness to God and let him work with remains of that platter.
Because as beautiful as it was, it still isn't what I am meant to be.

I have no doubt that I will be remade many times within this parenthesis. Not every time will be this brutal.

But for now,

I am refined by fire.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sometimes I Get Tired

Sometimes I get tired.
Sometimes I feel like every prayer, every tear, and every breath is missing the mark. Not because of my Lord, but because I am human. because I feel unworthy to be heard.
Sometimes I am just tired

Sometimes I just feel like I am being sucked into a black hole.
sometimes my brokenness just shines brighter than my spirit.

Tonight is one of those nights.
tonight is a night where it feels like evil wins.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Praying for Them

" I told myself that charity should not only be a matter of feeling but should show itself in deeds. So I set myself to do for this sister just what I should have done for someone I loved most dearly. Every time I met her, I prayed for her and offered God all her virtues and her merits. I was sure this would greatly delight Jesus, for every artist likes to have his works praised and the divine Artist of souls is pleased when we do not halt outside the exterior of the sanctuary where He has chosen to dwell but go inside and admire its beauty.
I did not remain content with praying a lot for this nun who caused me so much disturbance. I tried to do as many things for her as I could, and whenever I was tempted to speak unpleasantly to her, I made myself give her a pleasant smile and tried to change the subject. The Imitation says: "It is more profitable to leave to everyone his way of thinking than to give way to contentious discourses."
When I was violently tempted by the devil and if I could slip away without her seeing my inner struggle, I would flee like a soldier deserting the battlefield. And after all this she asked me one day with a beaming face: "Sister Therese, will you please tell me what attracts you so much to me? You give me such a charming smile whenever we meet." Ah! it was Jesus hidden in the depth of her soul who attracted me, Jesus who makes the bitterest things sweet!   pp. 126, 127"The Story of a Soul

We all have those people in our lives. The ones we don't like. The ones we can blame, whether it be righteous or not. We all have those people we would like to banish from our islands to protect our very own sanity. We all have someone to blame. Sometimes that person is staring back at us in the mirror, other times, it's someone with the worst representation of things we dislike in ourselves. Sometimes the person is just so broken that they cannot help but break everyone they come in contact with.  Sometimes, that person deserves our disdain and anger. We want to wish punishment on them. We want to hate them, and they deserve it.

It's so easy to blame and stay angry. I would prefer that entirely. Anger I can handle. I understand it, it's kind of my comfort zone really. Compassion has entered my life the last decade or so. Perhaps it's age and wisdom, or faith. Perhaps Jesus is working on those things in me that are unlikable. In the last 10 years he has smoothed out my edges. I am a work in progress like the rest of us.

I want to be angry. To me anger is like a warm wool coat or an old friend. I take comfort in my anger. It's familiar, safe, and easy.

What is a girl to do when God asks her to step outside of that anger and pain? What then?

You pray for them. That person that is the thorn in your side or knife in your heart. You take a moment and pray. At first it's through gritted teeth, with clenched fists. Despite how you feel. It's brutal and it makes you feel raw and vulnerable.

Then something changes.

You see them for what HE sees them. You see their lonely brokenness. You see the bird that has fallen from the nest. The nest we all worthy of. So you continue to pray, and somewhere along the line, your heart gets healed. Your wounds, your tears, your desperation all fade into the time between.

So you continue to pray... like it or not

Friday, December 26, 2014

One Picture

I wanted one picture of all the children in one place in their Christmas jammies. I felt like that was reasonable. I thought it would be fun.

Instead this happened...

 at one point every single child from 10 down was screaming and crying. It was ugly.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Promise You - I know

I can be high a little high strung at times. I worry about a lot of things. Crazy things. Things I won't go into tonight.

But I try really hard not to put that on my kids. I like to sit back and let them be free.
I have been catching a bit of flack for it recently and I just feel like I need to be clear with something.

I promise you, I know most of what is going on. Some things get by my, as they do all of us. But we deal with things as they come up.

The world will not end because my son refuses to cut his hair, or my daughter wants to shave hers. I promise it wont make either of them serial killers or out of control teens. What it will do is make them feel heard.

I will sit back at the playground and allow my one year old to climb and jump where she pleases. If no one is waiting I will even let them go up the slide.

Or in our case , up anything they decide to climb (as long as it isn't destructive.) I promise they wont decide they don't ever have to follow rules, it might just give them discernment to know when to follow the rules and when to just let go.

It is't because I don't care. It isn't because I am unaware. It is because I trust them to know their limits. That seven year old on the monument has been climbing everything he could fit his pudgy toes in for as long as he could balance. Because, he learned how to balance and trust himself. He learned that risk is good.

I stood so close and silent when they were little. To catch them just in case they fell. Sometimes they did. Sometimes there was blood, tears, and fear. Through that , they learned their bodies and their boundaries and as a result they can be just a little more free.
isn't that we all miss from childhood. The feeling of being free?

 Because, that childhood freedom is fleeting. They grow up so very fast. I want them to enjoy these years even more than I do. Because in the end, I am not raising cattle, I am loving children.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Graces and Joy

 I have been so stressed and busy lately. I haven't even had time to blog. Some days are just ugly and really, all I want to do is run for the hills. Alone.

Some days  just shutting the bathroom door  or closing my eyes results in catastrophic wailing and mayhem.

Like Tuesday.

AJ was watching the kids. I closed my eyes for exactly 11 minutes when I heard " She got into the makeup!" and splashing coming from upstairs. Then I hear Grace giggling like a crazy woman and she screams " IT'S NOT MAKEUP IT'S POOOOOOOOOLISSHHHHHH"
 Yes my only bottle of nail polish was covering my girl, my sink, my floor, the door jam in the boys room, and the side of my tub and toilet. Oh and 2 toothbrushes.

AJ threw her in the tub hoping that since it was still wet it would come off. It did. sort of. It did dye her skin a bruisy looking red. He moved too fast to get a picture.
Very similar to when she got into the blue stamp pad!

The Stamp Pad

Grace is known for her messes and disasters. Like this last picture where she emptied out an entire bottle of baby powder while she was "napping"
Baby Powder
She cannot be left alone for a moment.

Evangeline is in a clingy stage. she has to be touching me at almost every moment. Unless she is eating. Thankfully she loves to eat so that saves my sanity some.

She loves to just be with me. She doesn't demand anything. Just my touch, and really she is so perfectly perfect how can I say no?


The combination of a great explorer , a cling-on, and two home school children  is enough to put most over the edge. On top of that I am 21 weeks pregnant and GIANT!
It's a recipe for disaster and temper loosing.

But it hasn't been
There has been this outside myself sort of calm that has come with the days of chaos. watching my children be kids and live makes me heart feel so full it just wants to explode.
I was overcome with pure and surreal joy just watching my children eating pie the day after Thanksgiving.

granted it was breakfast. But hey. shhhh

I just feel like I have been given this amazing grace that is allowing me to get through some incredibly trying times. even today when my dryer went down, I didn't panic.

For me these things are huge.
I am so grateful for the joy that has taken over in my house.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Every moment

make no mistakes

 I am not saying that  we should not or cannot complain when we are upset and stressed. I am not saying that we don't all have the right to cry, and be upset at some of the hands given.

But, every single moment in life has a purpose, a value.

With every pregnancy after loosing Emma I would panic from week 14 to week 15. Somewhere in that week is when my sweet girl passed. I would wake in cold sweats, my heart racing inside my chest so hard that I felt my ribs could break at any moment.

I lost my mind when I discovered that Evangeline's due date was a mere 10 days from Emma's. It was too close. I was convinced the pain would find me again. I was panicked and frightened.  I was also clinically depressed , one might think.

Evangeline's birth provided me with closure I hadn't expected , but because God is bigger than my fears, I was able to feel safety again.

Then the healing began. It took the tragic loss of someone else to bring me to a point where I was able to heal and not feel so broken inside my heart.
Seeing that moment in my mind's eye and knowing my sweet girl is safe and waiting healed the deepest places inside of me.

That doesn't mean that I don't miss her, or that I don't think of her all the time. What it means is that it is no longer a chain around my neck.

I cruised through week 14 this time. One dream of my sweet girl. Holding hands on the dock sitting quietly.
The healing continues for sure.

This time, it's different for me.I am grateful for every moment,kick, and heart beat this little baby growing in me has.

So much is the life around us. The person-hood of everyone around us. The unique and irreplaceable soul that God gave all of us.  The sick, the young, the old, the afflicted, the perfect... those dying with terminal illness. they all have a unique place in this world. Every moment of every life. Every single one. Even the ugly moments that hurt.