When’s the Last Time You Did It?

file0001944463518“Look, Mommy, I did it!”

I couldn’t see the school playground from my front porch, but I heard the girl’s high-ptiched voice. Her audible excitement made me smile; wonder…

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Did the girl cross the monkey bar’s without falling? Swing without Mommy’s help? Do a cartwheel?

My three children are grown, but I remember their triumphant shouts whenever they accomplished a new feat.

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Victory tasted sweet; called for applause.

Even before they could vocalize their thoughts, my children’s grinning faces said “look at me” as they each learned to walk. Like a new-born colt, they’d wobble, collapse to the floor, then rise again as I cheered them onward.

One step. Two. Then four hurried steps into my outreached arms. “You did it!”

However, those baby steps enabled my children to eventually walk away from me. Off they went to school, slumber parties, summer camp, part-time jobs, college, and life. While I stood by—watching, cheering, praying—as they did it!

The hardest challenge was balancing my realistic concerns for their personal safety with their need to become independent.

For example, I had to know when to stop holding my son’s hand when we crossed the street. Then I had to stop telling him (and trust him) to look both ways before he crossed the street. Because now that my son’s away at college, I don’t even know when he crosses the street.

This summer, my son wanted to drive to San Francisco for the day. Dread swept through my stomach like shards of glass. I tried to dissuade him. Suggested public transportation as an alternative.

Why? Because the thought of navigating any huge city with heavy traffic intimidates me. I warned my son, “You can’t do it. You’re inexperienced!”

Implication: you’re incapable. Nice vote of confidence, right?

However, my fear of driving wasn’t my son’s fear. He relished the challenge. And, he did it!San-Francisco-Free-CNA-Classes3-720x325

I wonder how often parents prevent their children from trying something new or accepting a challenge due to our own fears and limitations.

When the Israelites were afaid to enter the Promised Land, Caleb responded, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)

Imagine the reaction of Astronaut Armstrong’s family when he said, “I’m going to walk on the moon.” Did they encourage him? Or say, “You’re crazy? It’s never been done!”

My friend, Angie—who became a quadriplegic—refused to think of herself as disabled; hated the word, “CAN’T.” She earned a scuba diver’s licence and swam (with assistance) in the Pacific Ocean.

I pray my children will have the same confidence, courage, and conviction of people like Caleb, Armstrong, and Angie.

In fact, when’s the last time you did something you’ve always wanted to do? Were afraid to do?

I can still hear the thrill in that little girl’s voice. “Look, Mommy, I did it!”

And you know what?

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It makes we want to taste victory too.

What Do You Hope For?

My youngest child left for college a month ago. With the exception of some furniture, his bedroom is empty as a conch shell lying on a beach.

The occupant left. There’s nothing but a hollow space where there once was life.

View bigger - Conch Shell FREE for Android screenshotGone are most of my son’s clothes, his laptop computer, his Bible, the scent of his cologne. Even his lava lamp traveled East to get plugged into a college dorm.

So I decided to renovate the room. I stripped posters off the wall, and removed the camouflage curtains that I hand sewed.

Then I patched the holes in the wall with caulk…as if keeping myself busy with a room makeover could fill the empty spaces of my heart.

 If only moving into the next season of my life was as simple as replacing the fan blades in the ceiling fan.

Years ago, when our two older children left home at the same time, our nuclear family of five was subdivided. The sensation was like ripping a plant out of the earth, and then tearing the entwined roots apart to create three separate, smaller plants.

Transplanting my last child across the country feels like an amputation.

I’m still a mother, but there are no longer any children beneath our roof. I’ve severed my apron strings that held them within reach.

Those thoughts hovered in my head while the ceiling fan stirred the air which brushed my cheek like a child’s butterfly kisses.

This room never looked so good. But new paint won’t bring this room to life.

People make a house a home.

What happens when they’re missing?

I tell myself, come Christmas vacation, my son will return and this room will look lived in again—an unmade bed, socks scattered on the floor, the closet door ajar, a cup of water by the bed.

Family reunions, that’s something to hope for, right?

Isn’t hope hinged to every goodbye? If not this world, then the next….we’ll be together again one day!

“Faith is.the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

I pull the brass chain hanging from the light fixture as the fan blades spin round the globe like planets revolving round the sun.

Who’s the center of my universe? The light of my life?

Have my children and house become the center of my attention…my affection?

If faith is the assurance of things hoped for….what am I hoping for?

Am I hoping my children will move closer? Visit more often? Stay safe? Be happy? Grow strong in the Lord?

“God Himself must be the one object of our hope and trust in our work, our needs, and our desires.

“Just as God is the center of the universe, the one guide that orders and controls its movements, so God must have the same place in the life of a believer.

“With every new day, our first thought should be: Only God can enable me this day to live as He would have me live.” ~~Andrew Murray

When will I learn, its indispensable to meet with God every day in prayer, and allow Him to renovate me.

I can long for the past or fret about the future, but my time is best spent praying for those I love.

So I pray for my children. I pray for my husband of 35 years who walked beside me during the child-rearing years.

And “I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in our hearts as we trust in Him.” (Ephesians 3:17)

Even in this…..season of life.

Mother May I?

“What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

In my household that means, “Do you want to eat out?” “Shall we buy you something?”

Too many people dine out that day. I’d rather not wait for a table. And I feel bad for moms who work as a waitress on Mother’s Day.

And nothing compares to the gifts my children made for me during their childhood years. My office is a museum of their arts and crafts. A hand-painted picture frame, a pencil holder made from a clay pot, a laminated card decorated with torn, colored construction paper.

Now, an act of service is my love language. Last year, my husband and teenage son spread shredded cedar in my flower beds. I was a happy mom! If my son chose to clean his closet, that could count as three Mother’s Day gifts. Dream on.

This Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to rest. I got the idea from my feline. She slept in the sun last week, oblivious to the activity around her.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to rest without a care? To do nothing, without guilt?

Don’t know that I can.

Unless I’m productive it’s not a good day. Even my reading a book, or a friendly phone call, seems like an accomplishment. God knows this about me. He’s given numerous scripture on my need for rest on multiple levels.

Sabbath Rest, rest from labor, resting in the Lord, rest for our souls, rest for the weary, entering God’s rest….

“This is what the Lord says … ‘ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Hello, Karen? Which part of rest don’t you understand?

Remember the child’s game, Mother May I? I’m told to do something by the leader, but first I must ask permission or I’m out of the game. The Lord’s Word tells me to rest. But unlike the game, I don’t have to say, “Father May I?” before proceeding.

God has given me permission. He invites me to enter His rest. He commands me to rest.  

It’s time I believe God’s Word and permit myself to rest.

Not only this Mother’s Day, but each Sunday as well.

Remember the Last Time?

A new school year begins today. The beginning of the end of a season in my life.

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My son, a high school senior, is the youngest of three children. So this school year is filled with many last things….

·         Last first day of school with yours truly photographing my son on the front porch.

·         Last soccer season with yours truly shoving cleats next to the wall to keep from tripping over them.

·         Last time for Back-to-School Night, Homecoming, Spirit Week, Spring Formal.

I kept baby books for all my children, documenting the first time they ate solid food, took their first step, or lost a tooth.

I never realized when something happened in their lives for “the last time.”  

Like brushing one’s teeth, a bedtime story was a ritual for my children. Long after they could read on their own, we took turns reading pages from chapter books. But there’s still a bookmark in Eldest, where I closed the book and said goodnight to my youngest son years ago, not knowing it was the last time we’d read together.

Now I know, every date  that I scratch off my school calendar is one day closer to the last day of school, forever, and then what?

Who am I? If not, “my kid’s” mom?

What is my purpose if not running to the store at the last minute to buy poster board for a project? Why set the alarm clock, if no one needs breakfast or a peanut butter sandwich for a school lunch? Where do I go for entertainment if not a field trip, soccer game, or a choir concert?

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Long gone is the excitement of newly purchased school supplies: the smell of fresh crayons, plastic lunch boxes, glue sticks, and wide-lined paper.

A backpack laden with textbooks, a duffle bag for sports gear, and a smart phone are my son’s school accessories.

We hug goodbye, and he leaves for school, his mind elsewhere.

I wipe wet eyes, envisioning him in a blue, graduation cap and gown.

Wasn’t it yesterday when his name was printed in bold letters on an apple name tag, and hung with yarn around his neck?

Like the other moms in the classroom, I had hovered over my kindergarten child,  hesitant to say goodbye when he looked up at me and spoke matter-of-fact, “You can go now.”

Fast forward to his senior year, and I’m still trying to go…

And I’m missing him, because today is the “last” first day of school, the end of a season in my life.

 

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Mother May I?

“What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

In my household that means, “Do you want to eat out?” “Shall we buy you something?”

Too many people dine out that day. I’d rather not wait for a table. And I feel bad for moms who work as a waitress on Mother’s Day.

And nothing compares to the gifts my children made for me during their childhood years. My office is a museum of their arts and crafts. A hand-painted picture frame, a pencil holder made from a clay pot, a laminated card decorated with torn, colored construction paper.

Now, an act of service is my love language. Last year, my husband and teenage son spread shredded cedar in my flower beds. I was a happy mom! If my son chose to clean his closet, that could count as three Mother’s Day gifts. Dream on.

This Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to rest. I got the idea from my feline. She slept in the sun last week, oblivious to the activity around her.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to rest without a care? To do nothing, without guilt?

Don’t know that I can.

Unless I’m productive it’s not a good day. Even my reading a book, or a friendly phone call, seems like an accomplishment. God knows this about me. He’s given numerous scripture on my need for rest on multiple levels.

Sabbath Rest, rest from labor, resting in the Lord, rest for our souls, rest for the weary, entering God’s rest….

“This is what the Lord says … ‘ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Hello, Karen? Which part of rest don’t you understand?

Remember the child’s game, Mother May I? I’m told to do something by the leader, but first I must ask permission or I’m out of the game. The Lord’s Word tells me to rest. But unlike the game, I don’t have to say, “Father May I?” before proceeding.

God has given me permission. He invites me to enter His rest. He commands me to rest.  

It’s time I believe God’s Word and permit myself to rest.

Not only this Mother’s Day, but each Sunday as well.