when it’s hard to say, I’m sorry. . .

 

Sizzling bacon behind me, toast jumping off the island in protest, and an empty jar of Miracle Whip started my day today.  Too late for breakfast, we dove into brunch.

We’ve been back to school now for three weeks and although the routine is settling in, the heart has been slow to follow.  The excitement is now over, and we are pretty much ready for our next break already.

We have children in many various life stages right now and along with certain stages comes attitude adjustments.  For both the children and myself.

While sitting at the kitchen table waiting for their meals, the children were finishing up on their morning school work.  One of the little ones had a request.  The actual request slips my mind now.  But nevertheless, I said NO.

jessaeyes

Behind my back, she made a face.  “Mom, she just sassed you when you weren’t looking.” I looked up to stare into a pair of baby browns staring right at me.

In an unusual soft and calm voice, I asked, “why would you do that?”  “That really hurts my feelings.”  The baby browns began to water and eventually bowed at the table.  She put down her pencil and ran to her room.

I praise God that my children truly have soft hearts and would never want to hurt someone’s feelings.  Especially their momma’s.  But they are sinfully human. . .

After a few minutes, my daughter emerged from her bedroom, with a little blanket over her head as she made her way to the living room sofa.

Embarrassed, ashamed, and full of remorse, my little girl was trying to hide herself from my presence.  I immediately recognized the behavior as my very own towards God.


So many times when I know I’m doing wrong, living wrong, acting wrong or just in a complete funk and have taken it out on God. . .I find it easier to put that blanket over my head and run from my Lord in disbelief, sorrow, and shame.  How in the world do I say “I’m sorry” to God when I’ve wronged Him.  How can He love me when I’ve taken a closed fist and shaken it so many times when struggles come my way.

Often, instead of falling to my knees in repentance, I “cover my head” and try to run far away.  It is so hard for me to receive his love and accept that this Heavenly Father still loves me greatly in spite of my constant failings and let downs.  His grace covers all.

I know that in my head. . .but those 12 inches or so to the heart can take forever.


 

As a mom, I don’t want my children running from me in embarrassment or shame.  I don’t want to see them sad or upset.  Which is why, when I find my little girl sitting on the sofa with a blanket covering her head, my heart breaks and I go to her. . .hug her and simply want to hear those evidentiary words of remorse. . .”I’m sorry.”  I want her to know I don’t love her any less.  As a matter of fact. . .my love grows.

The Lord doesn’t NEED us to say sorry for Him.  Remorse and repentance . . .turning from our self destructive ways and following the good Shepherd, seeing His forgiveness and growing in Grace are the reasons to say, “sorry.”

Perhaps I can understand why I tend to run from my Lord in shame instead of turning from my own pride to say, “I’m sorry Lord.”  “I’m so sorry Father for straying, for being upset and angry.”  In those moments when I struggle to look up and accept his great gift of grace. . .

He meets me and sits beside me in the pit.  He holds me and I feel his love;

and he makes it possible for me to say, “I’m so sorry.”

His yolk is easy. . .His burden light. . .and His mercies are new every single morning.  He is my Father.  See, it always goes back the the behavior of a loving father.

“He is conscious of every circumstance I encounter.  He attends me with care and concern because I belong to Him.  

And this will continue through eternity.  What an assurance!

-A Shepherds Looks at Psalm 23

for I know whom I have believed. . .

Across my cell phone screen I read the words from my husband. . .

“Honey, I’m so, so sorry.  Melissa’s kitty was killed sometime last night.  I found him on my way out to work this morning.  Tell her I am sorry.  I know how much she loved him.  It breaks my heart.  I don’t want my kids to know such sadness.  That is what really bothers me.  I try to protect them from pain. . .and it still finds them.”

 “I try to protect them from pain. . .and it still finds them.”

It was just yesterday on his birthday.  I woke in excitement to text him a big mushy Happy Birthday message when I read those words instead.  “What an awful way to start a birthday,” I thought to myself.  We met for his birthday lunch and in our heart to heart conversation, I paused to really think about what my husband had said.  Those words.  I try to protect them from pain.  My husband is not a huge fan of cats.  But his daughters are. . .and the grief and suffering they were going to endure was too much for him that day.  He was physically grieved at their grief.


So, is this what God feels when I am grieved?  He is after all, my Father.  I am his baby girl.  Does He hurt when I hurt?  The answer?  Absolutely!  I believe our Heavenly Father is truly grieved over our physical, emotional and spiritual pains and suffering.  God does not enjoy our suffering, but a fallen world requires it.

We live in a world where the Lion does indeed eat the Lamb. . .

Because of our fallen world to sin, we are all at one time or another touched by suffering in this life.  But praise be to our great God. . .he did as promised.  He is trust worthy. . .He made a way for those who have accepted him, believed, repented and have become His children.  Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross for each one of us.  He suffered for our eternal freedom.  Jesus is our way to a new and perfect eternal life.  One day the Lion will lay down with the lamb.  Our suffering on this earth is momentary but reaps eternal benefits.

Why are we to suffer?

The great age old question.  #1: We endure our suffering on this earth to be witnesses for others that they may see Christ in us.  When we suffer and give God the Glory, we show a peek of Christ. . .the fruit of labor.  Jesus is at the center of our suffering.

” …we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:2b-5 ESV

 #2: We suffer to be like Christ.  The Bible tells us clearly that we can count on suffering in this lifetime if we choose to follow Christ.  So why suffer for Christ?  First. . .let me tell you that I am never more near my Lord then when I am in a season of suffering.  I wish it wasn’t that way.  I wish I had the make of the individual that believes, endures and has hope without constantly being cast into the furnace.  But this is me. . .and my Father knows me.  He often has to put my feet to the fire to get me to cry out to him. . .to be closer to him and ultimately. . .grow and love Him more.

“Our adventure was to go down the road

of knowing God in suffering as far as it would take us.”

-When God Weeps, Joni Eareckson Tada / Steven Estes

Later that day, I sat down bedside by Melissa.  Poor baby.  She had been in bed for over a week suffering from a horrible virus turned bacterial infection.  She endured an allergic reaction to her antibiotic and now I was gonna have to tell her that her kitty was gone.  She played with that kitty every day.  She brushed him, fed him, held and loved on him.  Talk about kicking someone while their down.  But I knew I had to tell her.

She never cried.  She said she was sad and began scrolling through pictures she took herself of him.  From his nursing moments to his final days. . .she had it all recorded and smiled through the memories.

melissascody

“Melissa, you know that Jesus is sad for you, right?”  “Yeah,” she said smiling.  Her sweet soft voice sings praises to her Jesus.  She loves him so much and seems to suffer so much.  But she loves Jesus and trusts Him fully.  Perhaps that is my issue.  Perhaps I simply do not trust the Lord my God.

“Faith is believing that God is telling the truth.”- Tope Koleoso

#3, Finally, I believe the Lord leads us through pastures of suffering for our very own good.  This is actually incredibly hard for me to write today as I have been wading through our very own rough patch this week.  My husband, a farmer, was injured and will need surgery.  In pain, he cannot effectively work.  He is now limited in his abilities.  And for him, that is an intense suffering.  The costs of a surgery when we are in the process of adoption, added to a little girl trying to get well and then followed last night by one of our teenagers that is suffering from complex migraines.

Honestly. . .there was a moment today when I grabbed Phil’s hand and cried out to my Father, “please Lord, pull me from the fire.  I cannot endure!”

Phil still needs surgery. . .Jacob still has migraines. . .Melissa still lost her kitty. . .and we still will have go on working.  But you know what?  God answered me.  Still in my suffering- He held me close.  He wrapped His great healing arms around me and said, “Sandi. . .my dearest daughter. . .I LOVE you, I created you, I died for you. . .and I will hold you through this.  TRUST ME!  I delivered my children from slavery in Egypt. . .I parted the Red Sea. . .I provided Manna and water and a way.  I will keep you in the fire until you are purified. . .pretty. . .pliable. . .and I will remove you and protect you as to mold you but not harm you.”

Just as I held my child and told her she would grieve her kitty. . .Just as I held my husband’s hand and said, “Yes, you will have pain, but I am here and I will take care of you in your recovery.”  My great God will hold my hand through this fire.  I will walk unharmed to the other side.  And the purpose will be to get to know my sweet God more than I did before.  I will know the feel of his gentle yet strong arm. . .I will close my eyes and follow his footsteps to safer ground.  I will get the awesome opportunity to SEE His face. . .His promises and His great rescue!

 I will know my Shepherd and I will hear His voice and follow.

jessadaddydillon.1

God is certainly not enjoying my tears today.  As a matter of fact. . .every tear is gathered and bottled for my joy in Him in Heaven.  I can tread these waters. . .walk the bumpy path and smile.  Because He is there to catch me, lead me, guide me and protect me.  And as I walk in Faith and trust His plan for me. . .He smiles as I let go of my grip and fall into His will for me. . .for my good and His glory.  For I know WHOM I have believed and He will never let me down!

“which is why I suffer as I do.  But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”

-2 Timothy 1:12

the weight of the world. . .

After a short ten hour drive to the Alabama coast, I was so excited to drop the luggage and head straight for the sand.  Settling into the room, I first put away all of our grocery items in the fridge and then headed to the master bathroom.  There I opened a cabinet to find a scale.  We were missing a few of the basic essentials of a household such as dish soap, a spatula for cooking, and a decent broom to sweep up sand.  But praise God. . .we had a scale!

I couldn’t quite understand the logic.  So I assumed people were needing to gage whether or not to go out for a swim each day.  “Hey, if I hit the right number, I can be seen in public!”
What is that right number?  Oh well.  I haven’t been what others deemed my ideal weight since the second grade.  In my mind, I’ve earned the right to play in the sand like every other nincompoop out there.
So, after successfully putting on the one piece suit, which is a workout all in itself, we were finally there.  The Lamgo’s had arrived!  It was a slow motion scene as the seven of us entered the outside pool area.  The weekend after record rainfall. . .the sunbathers had already learned what he had not.  The pool was as cold as ice.  My eyebrows curled as I noticed cell phones in everyone’s hands ready to capture the Texas Polar bear club.
“AAAHHHH!!!!  EEEEKKKKK!!!!!  What The!!!!!” All screams as each walked down the steps.  “Oh, come on you guys. . .you just have to. . .” I went under.  All the way under.  But unlike the others. . .not a scream, not even a sound.  I gasped when my head hit the air.  But couldn’t take in any.  The shock from the cold just left me…Uh..Uh…Uh!!!!  The smiles and laughter from the deck of the pool began to register.  Yep, I was gonna end up on YouTube.

We made friends with those people that week, as we all tend to visit the resort the same time every year.  And this year, my kids got to see the real world.  Real men and women.  My size was closer to the  average at the beach.  Yes, a few token teenagers who strutted their stuff eventually felt hungry and left.  But we had moms and dads with bellies and bulges that made my kids realize that the little illusion that is emphasized today on a perfect body was actually a crock.
2014-05-06 10.39.49
Why is it that the thin and physically fit are the ideal and opposed to cleanliness is next to Godliness. . .the new saying is “thinness is next to Godliness.  Why do we constantly follow the new fads, diets, exercise video’s and throw away our hard earned income and time for God to be accepted by the. . .acceptable?
Perhaps the issue is not physical at all, but spiritual.  Perhaps those obsessed with what they put in their mouths and work out above all else are simply no different from me.  The anorexic, the obese, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the exercise addict. . .
What do we have in common?
The empty in our hearts that requires filling.  Am I right here?  No? Getting angry at me?  Bingo!  The desire to take good care of the body, “the temple of the Holy Spirit” is a God given one and a justifiable reason to work out and eat right.  But what happens when it becomes a constant thought, takes over your life and consumes your every thought.
Is thin everything?
What if the Lord prevented that dream?
This is where I now sit.  After years of dieting, I was taken to the lowest point in my need to be accepted by others by not only having the ideal body I had in mind, but also simply participating in obsessive dieting and exercise.  I had already dropped 70 lbs over a five year period, but needed to lose more.  I began to diet in an unhealthy way.  Refusing to eat and take care of my diabetes just to obtain thinness.  In the end. . .I fell apart.  My fear of what mere man thinks of me took over my desire for God.  It took over my ability to live simple joy.  I would take away time from God and my family to work on getting that weight off!
 Why did I need this so much?  The question that poured over and over again in my head. . .
“Why can’t God be enough?”
Why did I need to be thin?  I was exercising, eating healthy, watching my sugar and calories.  Where was my reward God? I replaced eating with reading the Bible.  My desire was to know God more and be the child he created me to be.  Where was my reward God? I held up my end of the bargain. . .so Where was my reward God?  
God was suppose to take away the weight now that I was turning to you instead of food!  So, where was my reward of weight loss?  Where was My this and my that?  The idolatry of self had reared it’s ugly head and I found myself swept away as quickly as a single ocean wave.  My focus on and love of God had turned into a love of self.  I somehow felt as though God owed ME something.

I simply wanted self more than I wanted God.  I wanted to be noticed, praised, beautiful.

And there we had it.  The short window where knowing God was enough had closed tightly and I was stuck in between wanting food and wanting God.  Somewhere in the middle there, I wanted my reward from man.  Perhaps God was pleased.  Perhaps he had the victory when I enjoyed being with him over all else.  It was short-lived when I began to hear praise from others.
“You’re looking awesome!” “Boy you’re really losing weight!” “We are so proud of you!”
Innocent and loving words.  Sweet to hear and perhaps the need to hear them was because I wasn’t use to hearing them before.  Growing up big- you don’t hear those phrases.  For the first time in my life, I felt I was worth something.  I felt approval from others.
I had lost the fact that the only approval I need is from God.  And what’s sweet sounding to the heart. . .is that God has already approved me.  He died for me and forgave me for all my years of filling my stomach instead of filling my soul.  And that is enough.
My weight loss is on God’s time table.  It could be that He is working on my love and desire for him.  It has been a wonderful way to show my children that the health of the heart, your soul, is more important that your fitness level or bathing suit size.
Our approval in life comes from God, and to base any opinion of others on your importance in this world is false and often fatal.
jessabeach.1
Listen to me.  Quiet your thoughts and heart.  ANYTHING can take the place of God in your heart.  It can be a good thing like exercise, your love of your children, spouse, job, food, etc.
I need God!  My heart, the empty, the joyful, the obsessive…needs to be hinged on God’s love for me.  Until I wrap my head around that, I will never be satisfied.
ob.1
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”
Jeremiah 24: 7

the empty on Mother’s Day. . .trading joy for loss

I was thirteen years old when I decided to become a nurse.  I spent that summer caring for my Grandma DeNeui along with my cousin in Loveland, Colorado.  Her sweet worn out heart just wasn’t sustaining her anymore.  So, I had the opportunity to stay at the farm and be by her side during those final precious days of her walk on this earth.

I took pride in the smallest of tasks aiding her that week.  Checking her sugar,  fixing her meals, making hot tea, brushing her hair with that soft white bristled brush with the silver handle; and just sitting and listening to her soft breath as it lifted her chest up and down, and up and down.

Grandma DeNeui.  My happy place.  The white farm house with red trim was small, cozy and always smelled like fresh baked bread.  I’d cuddle up to those soft aging arms and take in that Pillsbury fresh smell.  Grandma spoiled me with club crackers and when mom wasn’t looking. . .a few spoonfuls of sugar in my hot tea.

(Grandma and I walking through the flower gardens with her poodle, Sophie)

(Grandma, Mom, Sherri, and I)

Grandma worked until the day she died.  In her jean overalls, she’d tend to the sheep, hatching chickens, fresh farm eggs for sale, and turkeys for Thanksgiving.  Her gardens set my imagination to escape daily living and travel rows and rows of veggies and flowers to a kingdom far far away.

I knew Grandma couldn’t live forever.  Perhaps that’s why I’d sit and soak in every detail of her life, listen to her stories and advice and watch carefully the chapters in the Bible she favored.

Johanna DeNeui. . .known as Hannah to most, was born in Germany.  I won’t give away all of her information, for that’s another upcoming book I’m just dying to get out to you.  She was sweet, spicy, short, and plump in her older days.  Losing her husband early in life, she raised four children working the farm and making a living with only an 8th grade education.  She learned English, but argued in German.

She was my hero.

My dad was visiting that summer when we got the call from the hospital telling us she was fading fast.  One of the only times I can remember my mom and dad together. . .we were speeding with flashers on to make the 1 ½ hr drive.

Grandma was alert, but uncomfortable.  Thrashing her legs back and forth in the bed, she desperately wanted to use the bathroom.
“Just go in the bed, Mom. . .my aunt told her.”  My sister and I stood by mom as she held grandma’s soft wrinkled hand.  Mom and
her sisters were crying and with a smile each one said, “Mom, you can go home now.  Just let go.  We’re ok.”

“We love you mom!  We love you!”

My Aunt Karen, so young when Grandpa died let the tears flow as she said, “tell daddy hello for us.”

“Go on home mom. . .”

And with that, her eyes opened for the last time.  She stopped moving around and smiled from ear to ear.  The most joy I’ve ever
seen.  She closed her eyes and met Jesus face to face.

It was the most precious moment until the day my own child met Jesus face to face.  Letting go of Grandma was one of the hardest things I had to do.  My mom was all alone now.  No husband, no dad, and no mom.  Johanna DeNeui was a servant of God that
forever touched lives.

And now my own mother is that soft grandma for my children.  We travel to Colorado to visit her and the kids play with her knick knacks just as I did when little.

My mom has had four heart attacks.  She is in her 70’s and we know we cannot live forever.  I know mom has one true love in
life and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.  She longs to go home one day.  But while she waits. . .she serves those around her and loves on my littles to teach them how to live by visiting old stories from the past.  They sit on the edge of their seats for each and every story.

(Sherri, Me, Mom)

Every year, we all set aside a day in May to remember, honor, and cater to all of those who possess that admirable name, “Mother.”

We often forget that Mother’s Day can wear down certain souls who have suffered loss.  The casual “Happy Mother’s Day,” treasured hand made gifts orchestrated by Sunday School teachers, and the solicited bouquet of flowers often bring tremendous sorrow instead of smiles.

I do not take this day lightly.  I am blessed to have my mother still with me, while my husband must spend yet another mother’s day without his here with him.   It’s a bittersweet day for him wondering just how his mother would enjoy being with our five.

  (Phil’s sister Michelle, Brother Byron, Dad, Mom, Philena, Phil and brother Daniel)

Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me.  I do not have all of my children here with me.  We have two precious babies in Heaven and are in the adoption waiting process for our next little one.  I have five beautiful children filling my home with laughter and laundry. . .but there is now and will always be an empty spot in my heart, in the car and at the table.

The word “empty” brings out the psychologist in almost all of us.  Our diagnosis. . .Oh, yes, they feel empty because they don’t have children, a mother, or a spouse.  But one can have all of these things in their life and still be empty.  God created each of us with an empty, constant longing for something we cannot attain on our own.  God himself is the only thing that can fill an empty soul.  But do not confuse the longing for God with the vessel God creates to hold purpose in our lives.

The definition of “empty” as an adjective: containing
nothing; not filled or occupied. 
 

The good Lord creates vessels for His purpose and glory.  And when he is done with them. . .he takes them home.  Mission completed.  That vessel, or life still serves a purpose, even after they’ve gone home. Grandma’s life and death still teach me valuable lessons.  I wonder what kind of crazy she would call me knowing we are now farmers and we are adopting another. 

The peace that comes even with the missing and empty pieces in my life is knowing that God is in control.  Yes, I miss my little boy and girl.  I do not need to fill my “empty” with anything but God.  He fills me with his Joy.  But he also sets desires and longings in our soul.  The empty space at the table reminds me what we once had. . .what I wish would have been.  But it also reminds me that God knew long before I did that he would take home my William on June 6, 1997. 

For many, that empty is from the child that never was to be.  After years of infertility and loss. . .I begged God to take away the desire for children knowing I may never have them. 

The empty for some is in the loss of raising a child to adoption, or loss of custody.  

The empty and sorrow over abortion holds great for mothers who are now mature and live the would have, should have, and could have’s.

The chair that sits empty in my heart comes from a deep God given desire to bring another into our family to know and live for God.  Yes, I love with all my heart a baby that I’ve never met.  A baby that is most likely not even created yet.  I do not spend every waking moment trying to fill an empty with dreams of what could be.  I spend my day filling up. . .feeding, if you may. . .on Jesus, his promises, his sacrifice, his love, his grace, his mercy.  And through drinking his cup. . .I am filled with the love and desire to love on another.  A love that can’t help but overflow to the rescue and ransom of another child.


This mother’s day.  Many cringed as they watched women parade around with arms full of precious
ones.  Many remember their own mother and long for just one more hug.  Husbands watching others with their wives breath deep as their heart tries to mend after loss.  This day brings up the hurt, the
dirty, the empty.

God fills and mends every heart. And today. . .through sorrow, I have joy to know that each memory and dream the Lord has set in place, he knows the outcome.  And his plan. . .his story where I am just a drop in the bucket, all ends the same. With me in His arms.  Sweet, soft, safe and loving arms.  And every baby that has gone on before me will be right there. . .with me. 

Fall into His arms. . .let him take your burden, your sorrow, your shame, your desires, your longing to fill the empty.  This mother’s day. . .rest knowing the story ends one way.  His story is all that matters.  Let His joy fill your soul.

 

Tis the Season. . .

“Jake, if you’re alive, wiggle your toes.”  The foot that emerged from my burrito wrapped teenager extended from the thick blue comforter to reveal five wiggly piggies.  “Awesome!” I thought.  He’s alive. . .it’s gonna be a great day!

Yes, some days, this is my standard as a mother.  There once was a time when I would pat myself on the back for simply feeding my children three meals a day.

That moment in my life was busy, stressful and rather than trying to accomplish it all and go insane, I decided to embrace the season and ride it out.

Seasons…we often forget the importance of the changing from one into the other.  How our stages and struggles in life mold us into the beings we were created to be.

But How do we get through the hard season carrying joy inside our hearts instead of enduring
without hope?  How do we relax and enjoy the good seasons without the worry of the impending hard- looming around the
corner?

1. We know that each Season comes from God.

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth
kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to
them that know understanding: Daniel 2:21
 

When we understand this detail and embrace that God is sovereign; and the complete authority on each season of life.  We can turn to Him; and rather than simply endure, we know there is a purpose to our seasons of suffering.

God blesses us with both the good and the hard.  We all feel the blessing of the good season, but the hard?

Some seasons are short-lived while others seem to be life lasting.  Illness, disability, death.  These seasons don’t always end with healing on this earth.  But understand. . .it is a season.  We live for life eternal.  Our time on this earth is a mere season.  The healing often comes when one enters the kingdom of Heaven.  Some suffering is over as one passes into life eternal with Christ.  For the bereaved family, your season of mourning is new.  And although you may never end your mourning, you can rest assured that your suffering through sorrow and tears can turn into hope and abundant joy as you grab on to God and let him lead you through to the next season. . .the next chapter in your life. 

2.  We have hope as we know Seasons are always changing. They come and go.  Yes. . .they GO!

“This
too shall pass”

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis 8:22 

When in the middle of a trial, stress, or plain exhaustion, it’s hard to listen to the advice that says, “it will get better.”  We
don’t know God’s timing and therefore riding out bad seasons seems endless.  We tend to even cringe during the good
seasons just waiting for another bad one to come by.

For instance. . .the Texas Summer.  I hate it!  Anything over 80 degrees is hot to me.  So, you can imagine how miserable I am at 116.  The past three years have been almost unbearable here on the Ranch.  We’ve endured serious drought and temperatures higher than normal during the hottest part of the summer.  And each year, it seems to last longer and longer.  Around mid August, as we’re watering cows, watching crops burn and trying to work around the heat of the day. . .it’s hard to imagine it will be over soon.  It seems endless, tiring and for the most part. . .discouraging.  Many cries go out to God during the summer
in Texas
.

Just when I think I cannot endure one more sizzling day. . .we get the first signs of relief.  The evening temperatures begin to drop.  The scalding sunlight is shortened, and then before we know it. . .we’re turning off the air conditioning and searching for sweaters.  Indeed, the changes happen, but it’s not always abrupt.  The Lord leads us from one season to another.  During those days of testing in a Texas summer, I cling to God.  My prayers are urgent, heart felt, honest and pleading.  I see my dependence on God and His mercy and Grace.

3. We know that each Season has a purpose. Both the good and the bad seasons of life.

We also have GREAT seasons of joy.  Seasons are not always suffering, but adjusting.

I remember my first year homeschooling the kids.  I was six months pregnant and was teaching fifth grade, first grade, and kindergarten.  I had Hyperemesis which is severe morning sickness that lasts the entire pregnancy and it’s effects can be quite serious.  This was a “season” in my life that wasn’t entirely suffering, but for me, letting go of my daily control over a life that
was so obviously out of my control.

This season in my life led to discouragement.  I hardly kept a properly cleaned house.  I lived in a fog because our nursing baby
would never sleep.  I found that I didn’t even have time for devotions.  My prayer life seemed more like an SOS.  I was so
very tired and felt like a failure in every aspect of my life.

And then the words I so longed to hear.  “This too shall pass.”  A matured mother of a friend just hugged me
and smiled as she quoted that simple phrase.  If I could just see that moment of my motherhood as a season.  A time when I didn’t need to get all the laundry done. . .a time when I could count on paper plates and accept the messy as momentary.  I was merely in a
season.  A very busy season with littles. . .littles that can wear you down.  No help nearby, it was a time to cling to God.

Cry out to Him for even what seemed to be the simplest of requests.  “Lord, please let me find clean underwear
today.” 

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven;

Ecclesiastes 3:1

The joyous season can just as easily be dreaded by those always looking over their shoulder for the bad to come.  Embrace this God given rest in your life.  Thank God for the ease of a season to enjoy Him and his goodness and Grace…always knowing that walking with God also means suffering with Him.  The hard will come.  And you will be just fine because it is God planned and He will guide you.

Right now, I am in a season of waiting on our Adoption.  Instead of concentrating on the actual wait and forcing myself into discouragement. . .I’m chosing to focus on God during this season.  Learn all I can as I know this is God breathed.  When you turn your focus on God, it’s amazing how far you fly from discouragement and are drawn into God’s great season of life.

The season of busy, the season of tired, the season of financially poor, struggling relationships, new beginnings, empty nests, new
adventures, chapter endings.  God designs and cares for each of these seasons.  Our job is to find Him in each one and cling to the Joy that comes from learning more about him and growing closer with each twist and turn.

And let us not be weary in
well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

-Galatians 6:9

Fullness of Joy. . .

Today while eating our Fourth. . .yes, fourth Mexican food meal this week, I overheard a very spirited debate at the table next to us.

“So, if God can do anything, just why did He create this world knowing He would be crucified and why did he create people just to send them to Hell.”

Wow!  Talk about a reason to order another basket of sopapillas and honey!  Trying not to be obvious, all three of us simultaneously slid sideways in the booth to get better audio on the matter.

“Yeah!” I was thinking to myself.  Why would God create us knowing we would turn on Him and then. . .THEN. . .die for us to save us?  What about those other questions that just don’t make any sense to me?  Questions like, “Why does God allow suffering?” “Why does God create life, knowing it may ultimately end up in an eternity of hell?”  My limited human mind cannot understand or explain such a God and what He thinks.

Back to the food.  We found “Rosa’s” in Mansfield, Texas on our way to the doctor.  We have five beautiful children.  All just perfectly created. . .and all suffer from allergies or asthma.  So, this week, we set aside time in our schedule to make the 1 hour drive from our country home to visit our Allergist in the big city. . .times four days.  By the time we’re done with the doctor, we’re starving!  Although this place is fast and has good food. . .I should warn you that four visits in one week will leave you with at least a 3 lb weight gain.  4 lbs if you order a second basket of sopapillas.

Our final visit this week was with our youngest son, Matthew.  What a beautiful gift to our family.  As we’re explaining his medical
history, we had to review his heart murmur and then further review the medical history of our other son, William and his heart defect.

When casually explaining the death of our son to HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome)- my voice no longer waivers, my heart does not skip a beat.  I’m in a robotic mode.  The window to my heart is closed and acting as an observer, I can explain in detail the life the Lord created and then took home. . .called. . .William.

After the burrito settled this evening, I found myself on Facebook and in front of me the words of another mother pleading for prayer for her daughter who was crashing and dying at that very moment.  “We didn’t have any warning…” Her words smashed that window to my heart and it dropped into the very bottom pit of my stomach.  In an instant, the short sentence on the computer screen had dragged me back to that hospital hallway where I was breathlessly running with that little limp and lifeless body in my arms screaming for help.  I could feel her panic…her world falling out from beneath her.

“Help!” We’ve all been there.  That incredibly hopeless moment when we know life has gotten so ugly and devastating that our soul cries for help.  The illusion of control has turned into the reality of hopeless.  Who is this God that we cry out to for help?  Why has he allowed this?  Why has he created this world to begin with?

God created man and this world for His Glory.  Plain and simple to write and say; but one of the most difficult for me to understand and explain.  God created this world and placed man, in His image, to bring glory to Himself.  If I could, I would explain it this way. . .Glory is not just the beautification of something, but, rather, a reflective honor, majesty, praise, a glorified grace
abounding through our Heavenly Father.   More than dying on the cross, I am mesmerized by the fact that knowing we would betray him…knowing we would choose other gods over Him…He still created us.  His love, is that great.  His grace is that strong.  He created us knowing he would save us.

On this Good Friday, we remember the horror our savior endured and the life he laid down for our very own salvation from eternal
damnation.  I fall to my knees and face before God realizing that without this day…without THIS day. . .I would have no purpose.  No reason to live.  And no reason to die.  We celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection sometimes forgetting just what we were saved from.

For someone going on a journey through the shadow of the valley of death, we become one wearing blinders to the noise and chaos that surrounds.  Our focus is on that of our circumstance.  We see life from our perspective of pain and suffering rather than the journey itself and where the journey leads.  The chaos and noise surrounding are all parts of one big story.   We are but a small, small part in God’s story.  If we could see from His perspective, all would make perfect sense.  But our limited minds, our sinful souls, and our blinders keep us wondering, why?

If for just a moment. . .I’d like to remove those blinders.  A chance to look around at the sovereignty of God and what his son’s suffering for us really means.  It is with this knowledge that one can travel this journey through the valley with hope. ..with a joyful heart…with a grateful soul.

William died.  Simply put.  It’s hard.  I won’t lie about that one.  Time does not heal a thing.  The pain of the loss is always great.  The shutting the casket lid is as vivid as the smell of the funeral home flowers.  But through his death, the Lord has removed my blinders and I can see that I am not alone.  Jesus walks this journey with me.  He guides me, He protects me, He comforts me, HE leads me beside those still waters for my good and His glory. 

My suffering tries and tests my endurance.  It strengthens my hope in God and ultimately. . .brings me unexplainable joy in Him.

“and we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:2b-5

The Lord suffered for us and who better to walk with us than someone who has been through the ultimate suffering.  He knows our pains. . .He created us to be like him and He created each and every soul to long for Him and long for Home.  Without His death. . .we would have no home.  For some, this wondering seems eternal because you do not know Jesus personally.  You have not had that moment in life where you realize you are nothing without him and have not yet accepted Him into your life to rule and reign and obtain eternal joy in Him.

We serve a living and very real God.  One that suffered pain and abandonment to give us life with him.  WITH him.  Knowing Christ is more than a ticket into Heaven.  It is asking God to rule in your life, to open your eyes and remove the blinders so you can live a life of joy that comes from the hope in a God who rescues the hopeless.  Putting your trust and dreams and sorrows in
the hands of your very creator…that is what a walk with Christ looks like.  And in Him. . .you walk with a joyful heart
through any fire or valley or storm, knowing it is worth every step.

How do we get up in the morning, each morning, with tragedy and devastation?  We hold the hand that leads us.  We ask the Holy Spirit to take that pain and to open our eyes to His will and great love.  When your eyes are fixed on God. . .you only see Him.  William did not die without cause.  The Lord has used this little boy throughout my maturing life as a turning point.   A stamp in time where God reached down and pulled me from the pit and placed me on a path knowing Him and joy through him.

William’s death gave me a chance to have a new life.  And Jesus’ death gave us a chance to have our new lives.  His death gave us a way to God.  But it’s up to us to take it. . .to accept it and walk with him.

Life plain and simple, is not about us.  It’s not our story after all.  It’s God’s story, and we are all guided by His hands to bring glory to His name.  And this includes suffering.  Through suffering, we get to know Christ.  And the more you get to know Him, the more
you are willing to suffer for Him.

Yes, God is all powerful and could have saved us all without sending His son to die for us.  Heavy, huh?  But He shows his awesome almighty, everlasting and never ending love by sending a perfect Christ to take on our sin at the cross.  In my darkest hours,
my mind can wonder to question the love of God.  “Does he really love me?”  And then I look to the cross.  Having lost a child myself, I see God’s sending his son as the ultimate gift, showing me just how much He loves me.

“You
make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm
16:11

 

Brother, sister, friend. . .life is a hard journey on your own.  Take His hand. . .let go of the illusion of control.  God loves to
rescue.  In His presence is fullness of joy.  We wait for the ultimate. . .to be home in Glory with our Lord.  But until then, we can have the Holy Spirit with us at all times and in his presence, we find joy through every trial, through every moment of suffering.  Our
endurance pulls us to our God and knowing Him brings the ultimate hope.  A longing to be with our creator. . .who created us to glorify Him.  What a purpose in life, huh?  Each and every one of us has a purpose, to glorify the almighty God.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing upon earth
that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

But God in the strength of my
heart and my portion for ever.

Psalm 73:25-26

Chasing bunnies. . .

We were new in town, about three months, when my husband’s thoughtful co-worker gifted our 7 year old son two beautiful snow white, velvet soft, red- eyed bunnies.  The sweetest things, and so fun to watch. . .we didn’t know that we would end up spending the first five years of our new lives here in the country chasing bunnies.

Andrew showed us how responsible he was by caring for, cleaning up and looking after his new pets.  We were city folk. . .fresh out of the suburban smog.  How were we to know that. . .well…lurking around every corner of the field, barn, and stream banks were predators seeking a filling meal. 

It was Father’s Day.  Andrew jumped out of the car after returning home from church still wearing his navy blue pants, pin stripped shirt and clip on tie.  Before playing, I told him to feed the bunnies.  It was a scream I’ll never forget.  The kind that you know just took away part of your normal.  My purse released from my grip fell to the ground as I kicked off my heals and ran to the back yard. 

Andrew was walking back from the bunny cage, eyes wet from grief and shock from a reality far to
advanced for his young soul.  A child who had already endured the death of his brother, the loss of our home and now his new hope. . .gone.  All gone.

I ran to the bunny cage to find two crimson soaked, headless bodies.  The cuts were clean with no
evidence of entry to the cage.  The heads completely missing. . .I was devastated for my little boy.  Why did he have to witness this horror?  Why did the foundation of cynicism have to be lain so early.  This loss in life would keep us searching. . .chasing after a new purpose, new life, new hope. . .chasing after new bunnies.


A few weeks later, we entered a pet store and picked out three brand new bunnies.  One for each of our boys.  Three little boy bunnies we thought.  Within three months, we were a bunny factory.  Apparently, we had a combination of one boy and two girls.  I became the expert on everything. . .bunny.  The factory was quickly shut down.   But I still I spent more time chasing little hopplings all around our backyard than I did little children inside.  Many mornings, one could easily find the crazy Lamgo woman on the hill running around the yard, barefoot, in my jammies, swearing while running after these bunnies.  As frustrated as I was. . .the new lives made me smile.
Over the course of five years, we had every kind of bunny possible.  Lops, Dwarfs, Angora’s. . .our lawn was beautifully fertilized.
Living on a farm, we see constant death.  It’s a part of life.  But then there is that beauty that brings new hope.  The new life.  The birth of a new day, new hope, a new start.
A New life. . .fresh into this world, is a beautiful thing.  And because of that beauty of birth and newness, we celebrate new creation, new birth, the anniversary of the new birth; and the new love in our lives that brings the new hope that lives in every heart.
As a Christian, one of our most anticipated holiday’s is just around the corner.  The celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and savior, Jesus, the Christ, the son of the living God.  Many know this holiday as Easter.  A word debated over time to mean both the resurrection of Jesus and that big ole giant white bunny that lays eggs and hides them for children to find.
I prefer Resurrection Sunday over the recognized, Easter Sunday, which after researching is actually a name for the pagan goddess Eastre.  As much as we would like to connect the rituals of fertility with our Lord, it is just another way Christians have confused generational sheep herding with actual truth.  I know, it’s harsh.  I’m not condemning anyone who collects baskets full of eggs or gives fluffy bunnies to their kids.  I loved on and chased those bunnies for years.  But this year, we’ll be looking at Jesus. . .His great life, death, resurrection and the meaning of it all.  I already re-visited my life with the bunny. . .now let’s look at the egg.
Why not take a deeper look into the egg?  I’m a farmer’s wife.  So, by association. . .I’m a farmer.  I have chickens that lay eggs and we gather them daily.  Not to color or hide on a grassy hill. . .but to eat!  And sometimes, we save a few chicken or duck eggs for the incubator.  A chance to witness new life. A brand new fresh start.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Cor 5:17
Life. . .a precious yet broken thing.  I spent so many hours of my life chasing after everything to satisfy the empty, the broken, the beaten.  Searching for the newness we all feel will fill that void.
 Even cute little bunny rabbits couldn’t comfort the sorrow.
Soon we will be remembering how Jesus was tortured, beaten, and died for the sake of saving each and every one of us who desires just what we’ve been seeking.  New life.  A new life, in Him. . .with Him. . .an eternal salvation.  The filling of the void with the love of a Savior.  Eggs and Bunnies may not be the real reason for celebrating His Story.  But the great gift given by our Lord. . .the saving from an eternal death. . .and a life without Him. . .the life He saves. . .newness of life, the life to be is something to celebrate.  It is a gift I pray each of you will one day open, receive and treasure.
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
 
For so many of us, Easter Sunday is a one day celebration.  But without it. . .we have no new life, no hope.  Jesus did not just die for us.  He came back to life.  His Resurrection shows us that with God there is a newness of life.  The old is past away. . .and we are NEW!  Brand spankin new.  No matter what you came from, no matter what you’ve done. . .no matter how many bunnies you’ve chased in your lifetime. . .you can start over.  You can make all new.  And for the child of Christ who already believed, we are reminded that we have the remembrance of the Living God who raised from the dead as well as the Heavenly Father who has given us our inheritance through Him.
“In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”
Eph 1:11-12
Every day is a party!  Every day the Lord grants us one more day, we celebrate.  Not only for the life He created in the first place. . .but the New life he gave us when he suffered, died and rose again for us. . .His children.  We have every reason to celebrate!!!
“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Rev 21:5

“When you smell smoke. . .look for chicken”

“What do you do when you smell smoke?”  This was just one of many routine questions our Pediatrician asked our children during their annual check up appointment.  He just wanted our children to understand basic safety as part of his care.  So, along with questions like “what do you do if your clothes catch on fire?” and “what do you do first when you get in the car?” he asked about what do you do when you smell smoke in the house?

Our 13 yr old son in his sarcastic state answered, “Look for chicken!”  Sarcastic but true.  It’s not a secret in our home that I tend to
put things in the oven and walk away in effort to multi task- leaving many frozen dinners, bacon, open-faced sandwiches and. . .oh yeah. . .chicken subject to be burned.  I do believe my children have never had pizza from the freezer without it being slightly burnt.  “Maybe they’ll think that’s just the way freezer food tastes?”  I use to think to myself.  But, clearly at this doctor’s visit. . .I was
made aware that my children were very aware that food should not be burned.  They were missin’ out.

I just smiled and internally rolled my eyes at our son’s response.  He’s sarcastic and painfully honest.  That’s Jacob.  That’s how the good Lord made this sweet child of mine.  And after waiting for him for almost four years. . .I’m thankful for every little sarcastic breath.  Well, almost.  There are times I’ll say, “not now, Jake.”  He knows when to back off.  He is unlike our other four children.  I
think people. . .most importantly, parents, forget this key feature in God’s creations.
  God created you individually. . .YOU!  In families we tend resemble each other in both actions and looks, however, there is only one you.  And there is no one like you.

There is only one Jacob Lamgo. . .and he is not like my husband or myself or even my other children.   And that is what puts me in awe of our Heavenly Father.  He places each of these little people in my life and although I did not expect what I got, I admit I got much more than I could have ever dreamed.

I am raising five children with five very different purposes in life.  All uniquely designed by God to further His Kingdom.  This purpose differs greatly from one child to the other.  I think this design and purpose sometimes gets detoured in our minds when a child turns out different than the picture we created in our minds well before their birth.

That moment for me started early on in my parenting.  About 10 seconds to be exact.  It was a warm July evening in Colorado- in the hallway of a hospital during a tornado when God let me know that my life and the lives of my children were His and my plans didn’t always match up with His plans.  Our oldest was born that night premature, blue and not breathing.  His little face was lifted up to mine just before they rushed him off to the NICU.  He looked like a tiny little bird that had fallen from the nest.  Skinny, blue, and barely alive he differed greatly from the expected chubby, pink cheeked bundle I had envisioned.  He was Andrew. . .and there is none like him.

I tried to mold that little man into what I desired him to be.  He became more than I could have possibly imagined and for that, I am truly grateful the Lord had His way and my vision faded.  I think we try so hard to create the children we want and not the children they were born to be. . .so much in fact that we are faced with labels, depression, and even suicide because society and even parents state that they are not what we expected or envisioned.

Today is our son, Matthew’s 12th birthday.  He is precious and I cannot wait to see the journey God has for him.  It took our own journey to understand just how precious these little ones would be and how loving them means leading them back to God and letting them go.  Letting go of the future we had in mind, the personality we envisioned, and embracing their natural talents and gifts from God instead of trying to live or relive our own childhoods in a matter we wished but never lived.

Not every child must be a ballerina, soccer player, or straight A student.  Why does this bother so many parents?  I think it’s their own set of ideals they battle within that makes them force the life they deem ideal for their children.

For me, as I stood at the casket of our second child, William, my eyes were forced open into a new reality of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”  Words from my Heavenly father reminding me that the children given to me while on this earth are His. . .not mine. . .and He does whatever He pleases.  Who am I to stand in His way?  Who am I to argue with His design?

Embrace the individuality in your littles.  Embrace their talents, gifts and even those things we translate as a challenge but God created as His perfect design.  When the fork in the road changes your course, your dreams, your desires…your way…you get to release your grip, open your eyes and thank God that you have been given this job for a little while and let His will direct you.  It is the best parenting tool I have been handed over the years.  It is the only tool you’ll need.

I don’t measure our children’s success against other children or even my own ideals.  Because there is none like them.  They are five separate individual lives walking a path laid by God and on a journey to their eternal Home.

So when one child answer’s the question, “what do you do when you smell smoke in the house?”  You understand that there is not just one correct answer, but perspective.  For us. . .we look for the burnt chicken.

The Colors of a memory. . .

It’s a late Friday night and I’m found nestled in between two piles of photo albums.  I have a picture in my mind so familiar that it must be true.

I see. . .Purple and white petunias. 

So, I sift and search through pages of the past to help me find the meaning of my memory.  Memory. . .it’s something precious.  For me, I lost quite a bit of it long ago.  Daily writing has come in handy with a constant telling of stories, taking pictures, and re-telling over and over again; I can rebuild what once was.

My 6 yr old, Jessica peeks her inquisitive cheeks around the corner, “whatcha doin’ mom?”  At her feet she catches a glimpse of a photo taken of me at age 7.  “Oh, look! A Memory!”  Watching me over the past years studying picture after picture she has learned that these books of photographs are actually memories.  Memories for me, locked behind a clear plastic protective cover.

 

We call them memories. . .the pictures that link my past to my present.  At 4 yrs old, the anger and rage of another sought out destruction on my brain.  A brain that just wasn’t healthy enough then to withstand the additional strike of a car accident at 16 yrs old.  The migraines started shortly after and then like a missing dash in a sequence. . .the puzzle pieces began to fall out of place.  

I LOVE taking pictures.  Capturing each moment in time that I refuse to lose.  Something simple. . .the drawing of a whale on the tile floor by a toddler who knows no limits to discovery; the beauty of each sunset and sunrise; blades of grain waving to me in the wind; the artistry in a bank of clouds; a Lego village; smiles and smiles from those I hold dear.  They are my memory.

Why does God give us a memory bank in the brain?  Is it so we can live a story over and over again?  So we can learn from the past and improve?  So we can better predict what happens next?  What about the memory lost?  I once believed memories were both a blessing and a curse.  And for me, one morning when I actually could no longer remember my childhood; I felt utterly cursed.  And then we started diving into that blank past and discovered what a blessing it was to have a clean slate.  Bad memories, misused and undefined serve as an invisible fence, holding us in. . .keeping us back from moving on.  Removing those memories served me well most of the time.  

But if I look at our sovereign God, the one who creates, gives and takes, and directs all by design, then I must consider even the remembered horrors of the past. . .a blessing.  A memory given to serve a purpose.  A map directing me on my journey.  An answer key.

          

Why does God want us to remember?

The Bible tells us over and over again to “remember.”  Every word in the Bible is of value.  However, there are some words that perpetually appear.  Could it be that the Lord does indeed want us to remember?  He’s driving in that fact. 

It tells us in Deuteronomy- “ You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” 

Remember what once was. . .the hard.  And remember the rescue! 

To have true thankfulness of our present is to constantly bring to memory the pictures of the past and embrace the glorious joy of a promised future.

                                    

God knows our faulty human minds and that a memory fades.  It is this reason He states to “remember.”  It isn’t always a mental recall, but an act.  The Old Testament Hebrew word for remember is Zakar.  It’s meaning: remember, recall or call to mind.  Thinking back is just one way to remember.  We also remember by our acts of worship.  Our traditions, our purposeful acts that bring to mind what the Lord has done and what His promises yet to come.  Our sifting over and over again through both our and other’s “memories.”  The pictures they paint in His words. . .the stories they tell.

                               

The Lord tells us to “remember the Sabbath.”  I love this way of Zakar.  Yes, we actually have a day each week in which we can recall to mind the wonder of God through His six day creation and his day to rest.  How vast is His creation and how great is this God that brought it all into existence.  God is not just asking us to sit around and say, “Oh, hey. . .remember the Sabbath?”  Remembering in this context is an act.  Following a command in obedience to Sabbath IN remembrance.  These acts of choosing to remember through reading His words over and over and over again and call to mind in the moment. . .the hour we need them. . .are the reason we should aim to always remember. 

Paul in written word so that we may recall the past,  shows us in I Cor. 11:1-2 “But ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”

We remember what God has done for us.  His ev
erlasting Grace, His unbelievable mercy, His redemption and rescue from the enslavement of the past so we can appreciate, be thankful and feel joy for both the present and hope for the future.


We remember His promises.  Genesis 9:14-15a

“It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant.”  God calls to our memory with a bow of beauty to remind us that He has always kept his promises and has given us the hope and promise of a rescue from this broken world.  He is coming back!  He has promised. . .He has remembered. . .and we read His words to remind us that our labor is not in vain.  We read His words as a picture to the brain. . .burned now into a memory.  

And just as quickly. . .we forget.  I forget.  I forget His Grace, Mercy, Rescue and promises.  My Exodus from my enslavement to sin. . .even this. . .I have forgotten.  So, I grab that big book and read His words to link His past to my present. . .and then to my future.


I close the last book and give up on the memory locked behind.  We drive to the store. . .the spring sun warms the air and Phil opens the windows to smell the fresh cut grass along the roadside.  I close my eyes and I smell it. . .I see it. . .it’s right there in front of me. . .a memory.  Bare feet walking a path of freshly cut green grass.  Slightly wet, the Colorado velvet soft cools my feet.  I see my mom’s red shoes in front of me.  With one foot in front of the other, she pushes the green lawn mower making paths in the grass to form a pattern.  I hear the muffled sounds of the engine.  I see our split rail fence sheltering the purple and white petunias below.  I can feel the sticky of their leaves and smell their sweet perfume.  I see my mother’s face and there I have it. . .my moment forgotten.  My memory.  God’s great grace.  He remembers me. . .and I remember Him.

 

 

 

The crazy woman who lives on the hill…


We moved to the little town of Venus,Texas almost 11 years ago.  A country ranch house, high vaulted ceilings, sky lights, lots of windows, no window coverings, hundreds of acres

and neighboring homes only viewable at the end of the long graveled driveway. It would appear to some that this was Heaven.  But to city slickers, it was an adjustment.  Both for us and those great citizens of Venus.  

Three little boys, stacks and stacks of boxes, accustomed to morning sickness, I spent my first day in my short nightgown, Madusa hair style, and bare feet.  Yes, that bare foot and pregnant was not lost on me either.  Without a fence around the yard to keep out the country wildlife, the boys and I were captive in our summertime home.  I however, felt a new freedom to being able to live without curtains, run around both inside and outside the house in p.j.’s without glaring eyes.  And if we ran short on bathrooms. . .well. . .you know.

 At least, that’s what I thought.  

Putting away boxes of books in our glass sun room,  the doorbell rang.  Another delivery or installation guy I guessed.  And I was right.  Only, I couldn’t open the door to get out of the sun room.  Our 7 year old, Andrew had used his beautiful
knot tying technique to entrap me. . .short night gown, crazy hair and all. I was so proud and angry all at the same time.  Without the phones in service, I envisioned
the boys tying me up in the middle of the living room and setting the house on fire. 

And then, in slow motion, Andrew about to release me from my prison, heard the door bell and slowly began to back away. “No, no, no Andrew!”  “NO-Don’t answer the door!”  He moved at a swift pace running away from me and opened the
door to the natural gas delivery guy, who just kind of stood there looking at this crazy- haired half naked pregnant woman Pounding on the door.  Like an exhibit in the zoo, he squinted his eyes moving side to side matching my squinting eyes moving side to side as I yelled, “Um, so sorry, but I’m locked in here!  Give me a just a moment.”  

Now, he could have come to my rescue. But we were city folk, new to town, a new species.  It was hopeless.  This guy was never going to rescue me nor leave.  If he had a bag of popcorn, he would have just sat and enjoyed the show.  I left the sun room through the outside door that led to the back yard.
Bare foot and pregnant, I walked all the way around the house, crunching
the sun dried grass mixed with dirt between my toes, around the garage via lava
hot concrete and up the front walk to my own front door, past the delivery man,
and into the house to sign his paperwork.  He stared… I didn’t care. “Welcome to Venus, Mrs. Lamgo.”  Yeah, yeah. 

Deliveries, telephone repair men, Dish Network, Plumbers, glass repair men, and electricians made the voyage.  The word was out. . .Mrs. Lamgo does’t wear
clothes.  

I think it was then that “the crazy woman on the hill” became Mrs. Lamgo and Mrs. Lamgo became the “crazy woman on the hill.”  My life spent so carefully
molding the image I wanted people to see was over.  It was freeing to some extent.  I no longer had to fake my way through life, keep a pristine home, kids and image.  I
could be. . .me!  Image was so very important in our Colorado lives.  The big house,
the cars, the wardrobe.  I had moved into a society that preferred “real” people and I was anxious to fit in.

Fast forward. . .11 yrs…

Yesterday I celebrated my 41st birthday!  Yes, exciting.  I did nothing.  It was AWESOME!!!  But I think where people often suffer from a “mid life” crises actually comes from the great realization that you have wasted a great deal of your life on pleasing self, falsifying an image of “perfect” to others, and chasing dreams that in the end never matter.  I have spent the first 40 years of my life going in the wrong direction.  And now, at 40 something, I have had a big wake up call to just where I am and what I want to be doing with my life.

My children, my business, my marriage
are not my own.  They belong to God
and in my 41st year, I am begging Him to take the lead and praying to fully trust His every move.  Even if it means I’m locked in a glass room in my jammies.

That’s not easy for a control freak like me.  It’s not easy to have lost and lost over and over again and then just hand over the keys and trust that loss could come again. . .but it’s ok.  The truth. . .my life is messy!  Your life is messy!  We all create an image we want to project that speaks “we have life by the horns.”  We’re perfect little families with perfect parents and perfect children.  But it’s fake.  It’s an image filtered and fixed to fit in with what we think we want in life. 


I’m thankful that although different, we made our life here in the country.  I’m thankful that the Lord has kept my children who really could care less what others think of them.  I’m learning.  Often slowly, but I’m learning to be real.  Be myself and be only who God wants me to be.  The crazy woman on the hill is just another mom here in Venus.  Just like you. . .my life gets messy. . .but it’s real.