Monday, March 31, 2008
A few weeks ago, as I was tucking the boys into bed, I looked over at the wall by Ayden’s head and I saw the horrible uneven surface of the drywall that I had poorly patched before painting. This particular spot is a spot that I now cringe to look at. I don’t know where my mind was on that day, but I don’t think I have ever done a worse job of “fixing” something in my entire life. Needless to say, it drives me crazy!
As I kissed Ayden goodnight and then caught the glimpse of that horrible wall, I said out loud, “I can’t stand that job" (meaning, of course, the poor job I had done with the drywall).
Not even thinking about it, I started to walk out the room when I was stopped by Ayden who very timidly said to me, “Mommy, you don’t like your job? Does that mean you don’t like being my Mom?”
Okay, this is the part of the story where you take a knife, stab it in my heart and twist it around 47 times!
When I realized what Ayden thought I had meant I immediately ran back to him and assured him that I never would think those thoughts. I explained how I was just disappointed with the work that I had done on that wall by his bed. Of course, being 6 years old, he said, “Oh, great!” and promptly fell asleep.
Me on the other hand?...
Probably a good month has passed since that silly little incident and I can honestly say that I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t thought about it. The concern in Ayden’s voice when he (for a split second) questioned my love for him, will stay with me forever. What a reminder it was to me of how blessed I am to have the high calling of “Mommy”.
There is no doubt about it; it’s by far the hardest, messiest and often most monotonous job I have ever had; but the benefits of such a high calling, far outweigh the bad days. I can only pray that when my children think about me, they will never question how deeply my love runs for them.
For over a year I have been saying that I needed to get my act together and properly fix Ayden’s wall so that I don’t cringe every time I look at it…After this amazing reminder however, I am very tempted to leave it there as a daily memento of this highest of all callings.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
One of the most annoying parts about traveling with young kids has been the absolute chaotic mess of clothes that inevitably end up lying around the hotel room as the kids have ravaged through their suitcase trying to find a shirt to match their pants etc. etc.
The simple tip that I came across was to pack an entire outfit for each day in one Ziploc jumbo sized bag. Each bag has a shirt, pants, socks and undergarments in it. I then also packed one ziploc bag that was full of all of the pj's for the vacation and another bag that was labeled "Sunday" with the dress clothes in it.
We tried this on our recent trip to Florida and it made such a huge difference! Each morning I just had the kids grab their baggie full of clothes and we were on our way! Every night at bedtime they knew that if they just found the baggie that was labeled "PJ's" they could easily find their pajamas.
It's such a simple concept but it made this past vacation SO much more pleasant. I didn't find myself constantly cleaning up after they had removed every item from their suitcase and left them in a heap on the floor!:) BRILLIANT! I hope it will help you enjoy your spring break a bit more also! :)
Friday, March 28, 2008
When the day finally came, the little girl awoke to find things not as she had expected. Instead of being excited for her; and helping her get ready for her big day; the little girl’s mom looked very worried. The little girl brushed it off and began picking out the perfect outfit for the occasion.
Often the little girl would glance out into the living room where she could see her mom sitting in her chair looking incredibly solemn. She wasn’t used to her mother acting this way, but she wasn’t about to let her mom’s grumpy mood spoil her big day.
As the morning went on, the little girl could tell that something was really wrong. Finally, her mother said;
“Sweetie, come over here and sit down with me for a moment.”
The little girl sat by her mother as her mother explained that she had a very unsettled feeling about this trip.
“I can’t put my finger on it Sweetie, but something is not right about this. I’ve thought it through; over and over again; but my job is to protect you, and I think that right now I need to keep you home in order to do that. I’m so sorry honey, but I can’t let you go to the city today…I just can’t.”
The little girl was furious! Who was her mother to take away such a special trip from her! Of all the people in the world, her mother knew how badly she wanted to go on this adventure and how exciting a trip like this was for her! Who did she think she was?
The little girl begged and pleaded. She cried many tears. But the mother was relentless and the little girl finally ran up to her bedroom where she stayed all day, fuming at how irrational her mother was and how unfair her life was.
I think that as believers we often feel the way that this little girl felt. We trick ourselves into thinking that because we believe in Jesus Christ, we are promised a life free from difficulty and free from disappointment. But, as believers, we need to remember daily that we cannot see all that God can see. We see just one brush stroke of the masterpiece that God is weaving together in our lives. We get disappointed if that brush stroke bends the wrong way, or drips improperly onto the canvas.
‘It wasn’t supposed to look that way! It wasn’t the way I had it planned…it’s just not right God!’
What we often overlook is that, as the Master Painter, it looks perfect in God’s eyes. It’s just what He had planned all along. It may not make sense to us, but it fits perfectly into His perfect plan for our lives.
The next morning when the little girl awoke, she went downstairs to find her Mother in tears. The mother ran to her daughter and pulled her tight…
“Thank you Lord, thank you Lord…You are so good.” The mother cried as she held her daughter.
The mother then explained that she had just received word that the little girl’s aunt and cousin were seriously injured after some scaffolding gave way and fell down upon them as they were shopping in the city. She then told the daughter that another woman who had been walking beside her aunt and cousin was killed in the accident.
Never before in her life had the little girl seen so clearly the Hand of God protecting her. What began as disappointment, turned into rejoicing.
That little girl was my grandmother. She and her mother are the Spiritual legacy of my entire family that now includes over 30 people who put their trust in the Lord. We praise God often for the disappointment that He brought to Nana’s life on that day….He always has a reason for every “disappointment” in life, even though we often can’t see the masterpiece that He is painting.
I am writing this story today because I have a Sister in Christ who is dealing with life’s disappointments right now. Tomorrow, when it is my turn to deal with disappointments, I hope that my Sisters in Christ will also remind me of our Master’s plan.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
He is truly one of the friendliest dogs I have ever met. He loves to be with people and he loves to play fetch with the boys. He lounges around on the carpet and loves being brushed. The first few days we had him, we kept saying….”What’s the deal here? Why was this dog in a shelter? Who would have given this sweet 4 year old spaniel away?”
Now we think we understand the situation a bit better. You see, my parents have appropriately nicknamed Adidas, Adios. Adios may in fact be the most fitting name this dog could ever have. It turns out he’s an escape artist at heart. He can go under our fence. He can go over our fence. I think that on occasion he has actually levitated through our fence. If you open a door he is there. It’s quite a trick really….one minute you look around and he’s nowhere in sight. The next minute you open the door and he’s running down the street. (cue the Chariots of Fire music).
Today I was just throwing a diaper into the driveway (since you all know that I frequently do that). Along comes little “Adios” lurking from the shadows and next thing I know I am running down the street in my fancy shirt, wedge heeled shoes and fake pearls. I’m sure it’s quite a sight to behold. I think our neighbors are getting used to seeing the flash of a black spaniel crossing through their lawns and then me trailing behind.
And so, that was my day. All dressed up and chasing a dog down the street. As one of my dearest friends said, “Cyndie, you are insane! Why would you go and get a dog?” Maybe she’s right…but hey, at least I’ve been forced into a regular running routine! Maybe I’ll actually lose some weight! I’ll keep you posted on that:)!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
As we were sitting out there, I noticed that Brekyn was watching a bird fly from tree to tree. He then looked up at me with an inquisitive expression on his face and said,
"Mom, can I fly away?"
"Fly away?" I said a bit startled and completely curious... "Where would you fly to?"
"Ya Ya's" was his simple reply. (Ya Ya is my mother)
"Ya, Ya's huh? What would you do once you got to Ya Ya's?" I asked.
"I would get her mail for her."
There's no deep meaning behind this post. It was just one of those conversations that I find completely precious and I hope I'll always remember. If I could come up with any deep thought in regards to this, it would simply be a reminder of how blessed I am to have family that loves one another deeply.
It is really a rare thing in today's world to have family that is still in-tact and loves one another through the good and the bad. I must admit that it has been hard that the Lord has always called us so far from our family, but it makes me smile to think about how much my children love their grandparents and aunts and uncles and great grandparents despite the distance. It truly is a testimony to the power of love. Praise God for that!:)
We spent many hours in the pool where Ayden learned to swim like a fish and Brekyn finally conquered his fear of water (YIPPEE)! Elle didn't seem to mind the water one bit (and you've already seen how cute she looked in her vintage bikini)!
We had a wonderful Easter and I would say that one of the highlights was attending church with my Bop and Nana (grandparents). The pastor's challenge to the congregation was to think about all that God gave up for you (in the sacrifice of His Son) and then to really think about what you're willing to "give up" for Him. It really called me on and I spent some time after the service pondering how often I have great intentions that then slide by the wayside when it comes to my commitment to the Lord. (Ie: Lord, I'm going to get up at 5:30am today to spend time with you ALONE; Lord, I'm going to follow through on encouraging that friend of mine who has had a rough few days; Lord, I'm going to really work on the way that I speak to my kids).
So many times I have great intentions and then I don't follow through with them. Praise the Lord I am forgiven and that the Lord followed through with His plan of sending His Son to die and be resurrected for my sins!
Those are some of my thoughts for the day. If I ever get through the mound of laundry and have another deep thought I may actually post again later. In the meantime, WELCOME BACK and now that I'm back home again, I hope that you will see more consistent posts again! Happy Wednesday!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
“I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.” (NLT)
Now; I know that most of you can’t imagine me yelling at my kids…it’s hard to imagine someone as laid back and mild mannered as myself ever struggling with yelling:). Alas, it is a stumbling block that I am fighting against each and every day!
As a matter of fact, I have never before “given up” something for lent. Growing up Baptist and then going to mostly non-denominational churches since college, Donn and I have never really explored the season of lent on a major basis.
However, as many of you know, this past year God called Donn and I to serve and to be served in a church with a Methodist background. We have been incredibly blessed and incredibly challenged by this body and I can easily say that one of the things I have loved the most has been learning more about the traditions of the church than I ever thought I’d know.
And so, with Easter upon us, the season of lent (a time to anticipate Christ’s resurrection and remember His sacrifice) has taken on a new meaning for me.
Many weeks ago, as friends around me began thinking of what they would “give up” for lent, I actually didn’t seriously consider anything. I figured I would just let another year go by without participating in that “tradition.” Even if I did have a desire to give something up, I certainly had no idea what I would give up.
However, one day at bible study, I was talking to my friend Sondra and she mentioned to me that she had given up yelling for lent. When I heard those words I can’t describe to you what came over me. I just knew it. That was perfect for me – I would give up yelling for lent!
Over the course of the past weeks I have learned many things:
First, I hate how quickly my voice can go from calm to yelling! One minute we can be singing “This is the Day that the Lord has Made” and the next minute I can be yelling, “Son, stop jumping off of the couch!” It’s disgusting and completely ungodly!
Secondly, it is really tough to keep a 2 year old from running into a parking lot when you can’t yell (I opted for yelling on that particular day)!
Thirdly, I am SO far from where I want to be with this battle.
When I sit and think about it, it’s truly heinous. If I were in an office building at a “typical” job, I would be fired if I ranted and raved at the drop of a hat or took out my frustrations on everyone around me. However, because my “office” is my home, I feel like I have the right to behave however I want to (no matter how foolish it may be).
Recently I “stumbled” upon a verse in Psalm 101:2. It says,
Man, did that one hit me upside the head! Am I living a life of integrity behind my closed doors? Would I act the same way if you were here visiting me? Why am I willing to settle for mediocre when my children are watching every move I make? Why should my amazing husband get the worst of what’s “left of me” at the end of a day?
Easter is just a few days away but I am definitely not ready to lose the momentum that I’ve gained over these past weeks. They’ve been really hard weeks. I’ve blown it on most days. I’ve realized how despicable I really am…and I’m not ready to give that up. I NEED MORE TIME!
And so, here’s my proposition:
I know that I can’t be the only person out there who is waging this battle each and every day. Please tell me I’m not…Please, please, please!:) I also know that we are called to spur one another on. So, if this is a battle that you are longing to fight then let’s fight it together!!
Will you join me?
I’ll be honest with you, if you’ll be honest with me. On my “Mean Mommy Days” I’ll let you know how I blew it. On my victorious days, I’ll share my happiness and we can praise God together.
Let’s make our homes places where God reigns instead of us! I can use all the help I can get!
What do you say?
(If you want to team up on this endeavor, just "comment" me below. If you have a blog of your own, please let me know the address! We can do this!!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I just couldn’t help myself. I turned up the volume and was cuttin’ a rug like nobody’s business. Ayden and Brekyn (who are obviously used to Mommy’s foolishness) came flying into the living room to join in. There were the three of us just livin’ it up.
Seeing as though I now had an audience, I decided I should give the kids a really good show. I pulled out my best moves… arms were in the air, feet were kickin’, Ayden and Brekyn were laughing hysterically and trying to imitate everything I did. Needless to say, I was feelin’ pretty good about myself!
And then, I looked over at my sweet little Elle who was watching from her swing.
I could never explain to you the face of disgust that I saw from my precious little girl. It was as if she was looking at me thinking,
You know what, she’s probably right….after all, she is half black.
One day I’ll ask her for some pointers.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
“Oh, man” followed by the ever appealing, “UGGGHHHHH” followed again by “come on car!” and ultimately ending with a whiney cry that can make any mom shudder.
I walked over and said (in my best whiney voice), “Brekyn, what is wrong?”
He looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said, “I just can’t do it!”
“You can’t do what Brekyn?”
“I can’t make this car go straight to hit the door.”
Now, as I looked at Brekyn lying on the kitchen floor, I could see that he was holding the big purple metal car. We’re talking, this car is SO heavy that it consistently causes tears as it runs over someone’s toe or into a finger. (Why I haven’t accidentally “lost” it yet is a wonder). Nevertheless, Brekyn’s apparent mission at this point in time was to send the car sailing across the kitchen into the side door.
I’ll be honest, my first thought was to say something along the lines of; “Brekyn, don’t worry about it. Lunch is almost ready and you shouldn’t be rolling that big car into the door anyway. It’s going to leave dents.”
However, as I looked into those blue eyes I thought of something that I recently heard.
Often as parents it is easy to overlook the problems that our children are having as being unimportant or petty. Obviously, in our experience of life, we know that when Brekyn is 30 he will not still be dwelling on the fact that the purple car didn’t go straight when he was 2. BUT, just because his problem is not as big as some of the problems that I would consider truly important, I have to remember that it is truly important in his little world.
Therefore, I resisted all temptations to avoid the conversation and I grabbed a towel and got down on my knees instead. I explained to Brekyn that maybe if we rolled up this towel and placed it by the door, it would give him something that he could aim at. I then took the purple car and took my best shot at sliding it across the kitchen floor and into the towel at the base of the door.
Then it was Brekyn’s turn. As he pulled the car back he actually turned to me and smiled his big dimpled smile (be still my heart!). Then the heavy purple car sailed across the kitchen floor and landed softly against the rolled up towel. At that moment Brekyn’s hands shot straight into the air and he yelled out, “YES, I DID IT!!!!”
It was a precious moment and it meant the world to me. Sure, it’s just a car and it’s just a game…but to him, it was one of the best parts of his day. Instead of ignoring the situation and distracting him with his lunch, I was blessed to be reminded of how precious these moments are in his little life. Of course, I must admit that it was a stroke of genius to add in the towel…a great lesson learned AND no dents in the door! Chalk one up for Mom!:)
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Today my BABY sister turns 24! You have got to be kidding me! I still remember the days when she was the annoying little brat who wouldn't leave me alone! Now, she's "all growed up" and I can hardly believe that before I know it she'll be a quarter century old!
It's great to know that despite the fact that everyone around me is getting older, I am still as young and hip as ever!:)
Okay, maybe not so young....I had to go to the doctor last week because I have bursitis in my knee. Bursitis, which in fact was caused by the crazy nights that I spend out dancing...okay; maybe not...
My doctor actually asked me if I spend a lot of time on my knees.
"Hmm..." I said. "Do you think the 4 million diapers that I change on the floor each day would account for that?" (see my older post if you need proof of the amount of diapers I change)! My doctor recommends that I invest in a changing table. Go figure...$30 in a co-pay and the only solution the doctor could give me is to go out and buy a changing table!
Well, at least I'm still really hip...oh, wait a minute... I do drive a minivan - GULP! BUT, it's a cool minivan! Granted, it does smell like dirty feet mixed with sour milk...and there is always an endless supply of cheerios in the seats, but who cares! Get off my case!:)
Oh well, it's okay if my baby sister wants to go and get all old. As my older sister reminded me on my last birthday, "I'm not really in my 30's! I'm just $29.95 + tax!"
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEG!! I love you (even though you're makin' me look bad)! Before you know it you'll have bad knees and drive a minivan too:)! It happens to the best of us!
Me and my Sis
Saturday, March 15, 2008
We were FINALLY there. Finally at that point in the adoption process where you just sit back, take a deep breath…and wait. For months upon months we had waded through the paperwork swamp filling out every last bit of information on our family. The check book had been on overdrive, the fundraising had been put into place, the four-million grants had been applied for…now we would just wait.
Our dream of adopting had actually begun 10 years earlier while I was on a mission’s trip in Calcutta, India. I was devastated by the amount of orphans that were left to fend for themselves and I knew from that moment on that I would adopt someday if the Lord allowed me to. Over the years, my husband and I went on and had 2 biological sons, but in the back of our minds we knew that our adopted child would one day also grace our home.
When we heard about the Ethiopia program, our hearts immediately knew that it was the one for us. There were really no specific reasons that Ethiopia fit our family, it was just the peace that came over us that allowed us to know that God wanted us to pursue a child from this poverty, AIDS stricken country.
For months and months we studied International adoption and worked tirelessly toward pulling together our dossier. We flew an Ethiopian flag from our flag pole and as a family we began to learn the basic language of Ethiopians. We went to the library and checked out countless books on Ethiopian culture and spent our evenings reading together as a family. We laughed about differences in traditions and we learned all we could about the city our precious daughter was to come from.
We named our daughter Elle (which means “shining light from afar). We prepared for the trip by setting up childcare for our boys and opening up a credit card that earned us air miles. We had over $1000 worth of medical shots to protect us from sickness while in the country and, as any planner would, I began to make list upon list of the items we would need to travel. On the home front, we transformed our spare bedroom into a girl’s paradise and we set up the crib. Since our daughter was slated to be between the ages of 9 months – 1 year, we sold or gave away all of our baby items to make a little extra money to go toward the adoption expenses and to clear out space in the house.
We were as ready as we could be and we were anxious to get the phone call that a baby had been found for our family. Once that call came, we would only have about two more months to wait before we could go pick her up. I dreamed of all that I would do in those two months to prepare for our daughter. Once we knew how old she was going to be, we could shop for clothes and start to fill her closet. Our friends had graciously planned for a baby shower to happen once we had more details. It was such as sweet time of anticipation.
And then the phone call came…
When I picked up the phone that day, it was certainly not the call that I had expected. My heart skipped a beat as the voice on the other end identified himself as the Director of the agency. For a moment I thought, ‘this is it!’ but then I remember thinking….wait a minute, why is the director of the agency calling me? Over the next few minutes I tried to soak in information that seemed confusing at best and devastating at worst. The Director told me that they had been having trouble with the orphanage that they worked with in Ethiopia and that they were going to be cutting their Ethiopian program. Then came the words that I feared the most,
“We just don’t think that we will be able to get you a child. You should pursue other options.”
Pursue other options! What other options? For almost the past year, we had put everything we had into pursuing Ethiopia. We had been certain that the Lord had our daughter in Ethiopia! How could we pursue other options? What other options did we have? We could start over again with another agency, but we had already exhausted our finances. What was the Lord trying to say? I cried, I prayed, I cried some more….and then it hit me.
In the past months, I had often said to family and friends, “We know our daughter is out there…we just need to find her.”
In my heart, every time I said those words, I was actually thinking about Elle being “out there” in Ethiopia. But, what if that wasn’t actually the Lord’s will? I couldn’t understand why He would have had us pursue Ethiopia if it wasn’t where He wanted us (all we wanted was His will). But if I really believed that Elle was out there, then I realized that I’d better have the faith to realize that “out there” may not look exactly the same as I had once thought it did.
And then the phone rang…again…
This time the voice on the other line was of the Director of the local adoption agency right in our hometown. This was not the agency that we were originally adopting through (because they didn’t have an Ethiopia program) but they had handled our State home-study for us and over the years they had become friends since I had done some consulting work for them. The Director said, “Cyndie, I got a call from your Ethiopia agency this morning and I’m sorry about what happened.”
He then said the words that changed our lives forever.
“Cyndie, if you and Donn are willing to consider it, I think I may have a child for you.”
The next five days of our lives were a whirlwind. After two days of praying and confirming that this was the Lord’s will for our family, we officially accepted the referral. Unlike the 1 year old that we were expecting from Ethiopia, this baby was going to be born any moment and we would be bringing her straight home from the hospital! All of those feelings of being “prepared” went out the window. We had nothing but love and a crib to offer our new daughter.
On Thursday night we went out and had the boys pick out a few outfits for their new baby sister. While we were out shopping we got the phone call that our daughter had been born. On Friday morning we drove to the hospital to meet the birthmother and to hold our precious Elle! On Saturday morning our house was a buzz as friends stopped by in droves with bottles, formula, clothes and diapers!
On Saturday afternoon we brought our precious Elle home from the hospital.
We may never know all of the reasons that the Lord had us pursue Ethiopia, but what we do know is that He knew where little Elle was all along. Every time that we prayed for her safety and the safety of her birth mother, He knew who we were praying for. Every time that we dreamed of what she might look like, He knew who we were dreaming of. We have learned more faith through adoption than I ever thought possible. More than anything, we have been reminded that the Lord is Sovereign and He will show us His will if we trust Him.
Less than a week after our world seemed to crash down upon us, we were putting pink balloons on the mailbox and praising God for His goodness. As we now hold our daughter, there is no doubt in our minds that she was meant for our family. Our little Elle…our little “shining light from afar”! It turns out that she wasn’t so far away after all…it was just that we had to go to Ethiopia and all the way back home to find her.
Oh well, thousands of miles away or just a mile up the road, she’s been in our hearts all along!
If you'd like to see this woman's post yourself click on: http://danelleandres.blogspot.com/
Have any great tips to share? "Comment" them below!
(Becky could just take pictures of her entire house....it's an organizer's paradise!)
Thursday, March 13, 2008
“An empty stable stays clean, but there is no income in an empty stable.”
Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)
I didn’t ever meet her; I never knew her name; I never even heard the sound of her voice. She was from a world completely unlike anything I’d ever known and she changed my life forever.
As a senior in college I felt like I had the world at my fingertips. I was blessed to be engaged to a wonderful Godly man that loved me more than I’d ever known. I was working in an internship that was a great addition to my resume as well as good money, and I was looking forward to tossing up the graduation cap and facing the world head on! Life was good. Life was orderly and well planned out. In many ways, life was just beginning.
As I saw her walking along the railroad tracks that day, I remember thinking how out of place she seemed. In a very wealthy suburb outside of Boston, it was typical to see signs of the ‘better’ side of life. Boats in tow behind expensive SUV’s, mothers running in and out of the boutiques along the street, people scurrying around with Starbucks cups in their hands.
And yet, there she stood that fall morning as I drove to work. Her long salt and pepper hair badly mangled from what clearly had been years of outdoor living. She carried with her a mangy bag that undoubtedly held all of her worldly possessions, and she wore a holey long mauve winter coat that was covered in patches of dirt and mud.
As I saw her struggling under the load of her bag with the cold Boston air whipping against her face, I couldn’t help but wonder what her story was. How did she end up in this place? Did she have anyone else in life or was she limited to this solitary existence? Where was she going and where did she come from? My heart ached for her.
As the months dragged on, I began to look for her each day as I passed the railroad tracks. Despite the different lives that we were living, we clearly had one thing in common - we were both tied to a schedule. And so, each morning around 8:17am I would anticipate my daily ‘meeting’ with this woman who had stolen my heart.
As I went driving past her I often wondered if I should stop. Maybe I could offer to buy her a cup of coffee or give her a lift to her destination. And yet, just as quickly as these thoughts would enter my mind, they would be lost in the world of “what if”.
What if she’s a psycho who murders me while I’m driving her down the road? What if she doesn’t want my company? What if she thinks I’m crazy? And so, the days dragged on and we remained nameless in one another’s eyes.
It was not until months later, in the midst of a winter storm that brought almost a foot of snow to our town that I learned the lesson that the Lord had been preparing for me.
With the snow moving in all around me, the roads had already become very unsafe. I called my fiancé and told him that I would be heading back to campus in a few minutes. I asked him to wait for me at my apartment to be sure that I made it home safely.
As I drove down the same road that I had come to know so well, with wiper blades swishing from side to side, I tried to do all I could to keep the car from sliding on the wet, winding pavement. As the snow picked up, I began praying, “Lord, help me get home, help me get home.” My body was tense and my eyes in full alert mode as I rounded the corner that ran along the train tracks.
And there she was.
Though I had never seen her before on my afternoon commute, there she was; walking along the road with her head bowed and her eyes wincing from the bitter cold snow that was pelleting her face. Her mauve coat was hardly noticeable under the layer of fluff that had covered her body and it was clear that with each step came an excruciating amount of pain. The wind swirled around her and my mind began to race. “Lord, she’s going to die out here! Where is she going? She needs to find shelter! Lord, she’s going to die!” In many ways I felt as if I was watching a friend suffer a tragic and horrible end.
“I need to do something! Should I pick her up? Where would I take her?”
And yet, the very minute those thoughts entered my mind, I felt myself giving into the fear again. “What if she’s crazy? What if I end up dead? What would my parents or my fiancé say?”
And so, I gripped the wheel tightly and continued on my way, offering up a silent prayer that the Lord would protect my unknown friend.
By the time I reached my apartment I could barely breathe. I opened the door and ran in and began sobbing as I recounted the entire story of this woman who had been a silent part of my life over the past months and how I had just left her to suffer alone. Donn listened intently and then said, “Cyndie, I think we need to go back. If we don’t go back, you will spend the rest of your life wondering what could have happened.”
We jumped back in the car and drove the 10 miles back up the road that had now become treacherous under winter’s wrath. When we got to the area where my unknown friend had been, we scoured the streets. We drove in and out of side roads searching for any sign of her. We pulled into parking lots and looked in store windows.
“Where was she?”
“What have I done?”
“ Oh, Lord, please don’t let her die out here!”
She was no place to be found. She was gone.
I had missed out on an opportunity to be used by God.
I had missed out on an opportunity to be blessed by God.
How many times have we allowed the opportunity to simply pass us by? How many times have we taken all that we have for granted or made excuses for why we are not “equipped” to bless someone else? How many times has our calendar been too booked or our wallet been too small? How many times have our jobs taken priority or our “Favorite TV show” been on? How many times have we known what God was calling us to be a part of and we’ve turned and walked away instead?
As I lay under the warmth of my down comforter on that blistery winter night I made a declaration to God. Never again would I ignore the tugging that He placed upon my heart.
If we’re really honest about it; we all know what God’s tugs feel like. It’s that moment when you feel absolute certainty and confidence that God is asking you to do something. It’s the feeling you get when something that seems absurd in the world’s eyes, makes absolute sense in your heart because you know WHO is guiding your steps. It’s the feeling I had on that day when I passed my friend by in her moment of great need.
Proverbs 14:4 says, “An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable.”
My life was tidy and orderly back on that fateful winter day. I had a fiancé, a good job and an entire future to look forward to. In many ways, I had a very “clean stable”. It was nice that it stayed clean. It felt safe and comfortable. It felt predictable and soothing. It was peaceful. It was my comfort zone.
I wonder how many of us live in a world of “clean stables?” A clean and tidy life is a wonderful thing; don’t get me wrong. BUT, how many of us refuse to allow God to use us for fear that it may mess up our comfortable lives? What if I invite that needy person in for dinner and the neighbors see? What if I have to give up some of my “coffee money” to help out a friend who’s just lost their job? What if God calls my family to go to the mission field? What if?? What if?? What if??
“An empty stable stays clean, BUT NO INCOME COMES FROM AN EMPTY STABLE.”
If “income” is the blessing that we receive from our efforts, then we quickly realize that according to God’s Word, sometimes it takes getting messy in order to receive God’s blessings. If we sit around in our neat and tidy and comfortable lives (clean stable), we will receive no blessing (income).
What is your “clean stable”? What mess are you trying to avoid but you know that God is calling you toward? Is it the alcoholic that needs a listening ear? Is it the child from down the street who has a broken home? Is it the pregnant teenager that is scared and alone? “An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable.” Are you ready to get a bit messy and allow God to bless you while you share Him with others?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Some days, it seems as though there are just a few “little gifts” strewn around the garbage can…those are the good days. Other times, it looks as though a snow storm recklessly hit our driveway and we need to get the shovel out to clear a path.
If I can literally feel downtrodden and saddened after a day of tossing diapers out the door, what more does God feel as He watches me and all of the “dirty diapers” in my day?
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I was in the bathroom putting on my makeup the other day when I asked Donn to get Elle dressed for the day with the clothes that I had out . A few minutes went by when I heard Donn saying to Elle, "What in the world are these things? Why does mommy want you wearing leg warmers?"
Needless to say, I was intrigued (since I knew that I had never purchased leg warmers for my 3 month old daughter).
When I entered the family room, this is what I found!:)
For those men out there who think these are "leg warmers" let me show you how they are actually supposed to look (and how incredibly cute they are)!
Poor little Elle!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I say "pretending" because I am thoroughly convinced that is all she does. Lately it seems as though she lays in there quietly just until I try to actually settle down to do something. At that particular moment her radar goes off and she lets out an earth shattering scream which inevitably shakes the house and lets me know that I will not be getting much accomplished at this particular moment. :)
Oh well, such is life...at least the life of a mom of three. I have come to realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg. What kind of mom in her right mind tries to blog anyway? Get real!:)