Shades of Motherhood

Reflections as we take another step closer to our eldest son’s future. The college of his choice seems nearly set, praise God. A mama’s heart soars with pride, especially as this boy is continuing to bust autistic stereotypes right and left. Yet, the letting go part a parent is supposed to do? Well…😏

Only a blink ago,

I think,

You were that lively little thing,

Popping up to greet me,

Meeting me with the sunniest of

Grins,

Wholly unperturbed by drooly chin,

Chubby hands outstretched on cue,

Looking to be fetched

From crib’s depth,

Always ready to give the new

A hearty spin.

Yet, it also feels a hundred

Countless lifetimes,

A thousand layers of soul-aging

Climbs

Since our hours were spent

On a child’s carefree explores

Just beyond the nursery door.

We’ve seen so much, you and I

Sometimes, too much, I cannot deny…

Enough to tug a heart’s string

To tendrils strained taut.

Oh, when I remember the raging

Wars we’ve fought!

For understanding,

For soft landings,

For clarity to bind,

For sanity of mind…

Now, here we sit,

Some days, rather spent,

Putting the fatigue

In our battle fatigues- more than just a bit. 😉

Yet, there’s also a hint of a gleam,

A fresh sheen glimmering on the old dream.

And, I admit, I love the new light in your eyes

As the adult begins emerging,

Shockingly wise,

Gently choosing which childish ways to nudge aside,

Judiciously picking

Youthful character traits

And new responsibilities to begin merging.

Yet, it’s sometimes hard to see

How my part in all this seems to be…

Fading.

And I wonder where my role

Pencils in best now,

Just what spaces are still light

And which are meant to become

More subtle shading.

Ah, but, then I stumble yet on the moments

I catch the searching wobble

Hidden in your grown man’s voice.

And I see there are areas

Where there lends yet a tint

Of mother’s Godly guidance as

You survey your many, often

Overwhelming choices.

The becoming is hard, I know.

I’ve done it.

Still doing it, as life takes me to and fro. 😏

But, I am here, battle-fatigue ready,

Hoping all the best for you, son,

Praying on Him you’ll stand steady,

Prepared for a long and beautiful run.

And, in that, I am reminded how true

It is that roles don’t actually diminish;

They only change shape and hue.

For, we mothers never truly finish,

We only step back from the crib

And, in the Lord’s strength,

Learn to await His ever reliable cues.

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! And, look- comment box! 😁Thanks, WP, for at least giving me a new trick to outwit this bug messing with my discussion settings! 😊

Winepresses We Hide In

This is sort of a reworking of a poem from about 14 years ago. I originally wrote it after picking through some of the Bible stories of the unlikeliest He called, including Gideon. I wrestled much with doubt then. My faith has been mightily stretched, of course, but I can admit thoughts written long ago still echo through the here and now

Sometimes, I feel like Gideon,

Crouched down in the winepress,

Hiding out,

Quaking with anxiety.

I’ve never seen an angelic guest,

I confess,

Nor do I ever find myself with

Much wheat to thresh, 😏

Yet, there is a something in the

Story there

That sounds such a

Recognizable ring

Through the air…

Perhaps it’s his utter smallness,

From birth order to clan,

That meets me where I live,

Connects to where I am.

Perhaps it’s the “Who, me?”

Manner,

An imagined incredulity at the

Idea of “valor”

Which tends to give to my soul

A nod of familiarity.

Between us lies years and

Obvious difference in

Circumstance,

Yet, in feelings?

I suspect there ‘s very little

Disparity.

For, I can well picture

My questioning heart here,

My begging for just one more

Fleece, please,

To alleviate my fear.

I can feel the wonder

As the odd proceedings

Prove might is not in man

And it’s His truth which sends

Doubts and enemies asunder.

I can only pray my faith keeps on

Gathering

And my growth in Him becomes

More than a mere smattering.

For though my battle be

Not with a Midian horde,

Nor my weapons broken jars,

Torches, or ram’s horns,

That which I march into

Is a trust walk nonetheless,

Numbers with me modest,

And my tendency is to the flesh.

Yet, I know that I know

He meets us

In every winepress we hide in.

And, oh-so-patiently,

He lifts us beyond cowering dust

To call out a depth of courage

We didn’t know was within….

May we step out of our respective winepresses and approach each battle with faith and courage in the Lord, especially as a new year prepares to unfold! Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends! ☺

Of Time Swiftly Spent

I am beginning my year-end pensiveness a little early. Bear with me as I ramble a bit…😏

Spring was barely budding only a few months ago.

Then, summer came with freedom and bare feet.

Before we could turn around, fall crackled and cooled the nights.

And, now, winter is settling in with its frosty mornings and heavy-coated evenings.

Already?

It couldn’t have been that long ago already, could it?

We were just finishing up first grade field day- and fretting on the possibility of sunburn on my sweet little freckle-faced boy.

Our summer vacation plans were just shifting like sand with the unwelcome intrusion of a blown gasket head…and, yet, being used of God for major hotel room togetherness and unexpected witnesses ( Don’t ask. Not just now, anyway. 🙂 Someday, this adventure needs a whole post of its own.).

Fresh pencils and crayons were just being procured and packed!

We were just nervously embarking on a whole new way of schooling/ interning with our senior. Oy. I have a senior.

That thought alone makes me reach for chocolate.😏

Shoot. On that note, October’s candy is still being finished! 😀

November’s musical was just coming to life on stage after months of teasers wafting up the stairs from basement practice sessions.

Now, it’s all just smiles and glories behind us.

A long chilly nap is firmly planting itself in our midst.

Yet, many things are yet to come on the calendar.

The one that says “2020”. 😬

Time slides away so quickly! One need only observe a row of yearly family experiences to see it is so.

I find myself asking how can it be?

And there steals in a wistfulness to hold on.

Especially as we prepare to really, actually launch our oldest into the world in a few oh-so- short months and the other three cluster rather closely behind, vying for their turn.

All in time. All too soon in time.

It makes me ask the serious question, What are we doing with our time?

That which the Lord graciously affords us. That which once spent can never return.

Ok. Yes, Lord. I will go back to the story of the vacation that never was. It does bear unique weight here. And it pays to heed Your prompting…😏

So… suffice to say, rarely was there a more frustrating situation.

We were supposed to go see edifying, faith-encouraging things-The Ark, The Creation Museum, historical sites.

What we saw mostly was a hotel room a state away from where we’d hoped to be, the free breakfast bar, (make your own waffles are admittedly cool. 😊) and the few sites that were in walking distance or a cheap Uber ride away.

We wound up waiting that entire week of our vacation-the little time and finances we could afford- for the family van to be fixed. By the time it was done, it was time to be on the road for home again.

The family purse agreed. 🙂

Yet, where time in a worldly view appeared robbed or misspent, in a heavenly view, it was infinitely valuable.

For, we were just coming off some particularly tough moments even prior to leaving, to be honest.

But, there in close quarters, intimate family conversation happened, needed words were said.

Laughter bubbled up despite our disappointment, a fascinating place or two was discovered.

Prayers and scripture flowed from our place of need.

But, best of all, was chance after chance to relate not merely our circumstances but also the Reason for our hope-from nearly every Uber driver to hotel staff to the awesome tow truck driver and amazing mechanic that went above and beyond to help us.

We saw grace both smile on us and pass to others and time, as always in the hands of He who keeps it, was beautifully redeemed.

As it always is, when given over to Him.

As I know it will prove to be again and again as the seasons-oh, so swiftly!- pass.

He’s got us through it all, from freckle-faced sunburns to blown gasket heads to tuning up for the big launch.

And all that comes before, after, and in-between…

Thanks for joining me on my reflective ramble here, friends! May we each think carefully on how we are using our time. Each moment is precious-and some that may seem misspent can turn out to have unexpected purpose! Blessings and prayers to you!

Iron Sharpens Iron at the Family Table

Coming back following holidays left my mind tired yet full. This thought rose above others tonight…

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be with family after a long absence.

Well, duh, Captain Obvious. 🙄

It’s also difficult to leave them when time draws nigh.

Also pretty much a well duh statement. 😏

There are the numerous delights and countless challenges alike to our spirits in coming together after extended months apart.

You’re no longer a child and your tendency is to attempt earnestly to prove it, all to varying degrees of success.

For, there is also the something of being in their midst that pulls you back to that place of littleness compared to the elders in your life.

In my particular case, there’s a lot of shadows to that former existence, some areas stepped into tentatively, others not at all.

Apprehension can seize my soul if I don’t take care to surrender it to His hand.

Now, forgiveness has been flowing in abundance among us for decades now, and, yet, must still rise up to be met again in entering into one another’s presence.

Past is not swept under any rugs, by any means, but, in looking back, love softens the edges of the pain.

Hearts don’t necessarily forget all the twinges, but they do connect afresh through the knowledge Christ makes all things new.

Including each other.

And, then, we get to share that newness of being. What a wonder that is!

Thoughts fly back and forth across the table. Struggles are examined in a different light, growth is noted, wisdom imparted.

Each moment, both the tender and the hard, threads itself to the ever-changing tapestry of our existence, tethering us tighter together.

Iron sharpening iron sounds sort of scary at first glance, but, how it shows itself in our lives can be incredible.

Home can be a great place to see this at work, for you get to surprise each other with what God’s given us to bring to the table.

You get to witness the learning you each have done and become that safe place to reach across said table with it.

It may not exactly feel like light family fun at times, yet these times the Lord affords us to deepen our walks, both with Him and with one another, are vital.

Hence, the observation at the beginning.

Difficult to be there, difficult to leave…

But, this truth I hold fast to to keep me going:

God grants us fond memories to soothe the bittersweet and carry us through to the next day we meet.

In Him, we are never truly apart.

I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed one, dear friends. May we ever seek those iron sharpening situations, whether by family, by friends, or both.

Seasoned

Bear with me while I repost again. My comment button is once again on the fritz. 🙄

Time.

It’s in His hands. So, why can it feel like such a cruel taskmaster?

It moves so swiftly some days, aging us all the more swiftly in the process.

Like my beloved George Bailey, I have always felt, in many respects, I was born older.

Couldn’t bypass a photo of his earnest prayer here. Courtesy of cinemaarchives.com

Not necessarily just due to my attraction to things of a bygone era, though being the only twelve-year-old I knew with an antique display worthy of the PBS roadshow was somewhat a clue. 🙂

Admittedly, that is a piece, but, really, it goes deeper than that.

Even beyond the childhood abuse that can simultaneously stunt growth and drag one to premature adulthood, though I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that role as well.

I can’t say I never had innocence or naivete of any sort, because it was there, in some manners and forms.

My older brother, for example, could persuade me of a lot of things that had not a shred of truth in them. 😉

But, inexplicably, almost paradoxically, the eyes of one who can see through the world to the unseemly underside were also often there.

And, needless to say, looking at the world through such eyes can be a weighty prospect at best, whatever your age.

It’s honestly hard to remember a time I didn’t feel a certain amount of heaviness in my soul.

And, coupled with it the unfortunate tendency to look for some way to safely unburden it, or, as bashfulness rose up more pronounced the more rejected I felt, to at least long to.

I became quite the quiet, grave little soul as a result, only unwinding some of which had me so tightly wound around said brother, who mostly understood the unusually oldish creature in his younger sister, though even he could become baffled and annoyed at times! 🙂

This heaviness stayed with me over the years, by and large, like a shroud, lighter sides of me only breaking through at rare moments or upon being on stage. ( Ah, for I wasn’t me then! )

Such an asset in socal gatherings, let me tell you! 🙄

For a long time, I walked about with this odd duck label.

So serious. 😐

The wallflower. 😔

The overthinker. 🤔

Almost always feeling the need to apologize for it.

For, surely, it must be a shortcoming.

I think of Amy March describing- in hushed tones- her sister, Beth, in “Little Women”:

She has an infirmity. She’s shy.

It was much, much later I pinpointed my autistic tendencies via my children’s diagnoses. This did help shed quite a new light on what I had coped with all those years.

Undeniably helpful.

But, whereas it is in fact integral to the human makeup He created me with, it’s not the be-all end-all of me, either.

It’s why, where I appreciate deeply recognition of special needs, I no longer feel it need always be what I personally talk about. But, I have tread this road before, so, let me stop circuiting…😏

All this to say, all those pieces, all that weight on my shoulders, the harshness of life and the rapid beating of time…all so acutely evident in my sight, needn’t become an unhappy, isolating thing.

I don’t have to apologetically stammer how I’m older than my years, subject myself to a burning silence, or consider myself a lonely curmudgeon, an embarrassing oddity of nature for all time.

For, what the world calls odd, He often calls seasoned.

Matt. 5:13 says:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Seasoning is a necessary part of the Christian life. Without the salt to preserve our faith, this world can quickly contaminate it.

To be seasoned, to me, means being able to recognize the true from the false.

Even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.

For, when we can taste and see that the Lord is good, it ruins us for all other flavors.

And that’s a good thing! ☺

As is the burden, if you will, of helping others recognize this fact.

It has been such an irony to me, honestly, that God directed me to places seemingly contrary to my rather old-fashioned ways, both in previous years and now.

Teaching toddlers and ministering to youth would seem to call for a child-like energy and some level of, shall we say, “coolness”?

Where I did and do allow myself some youthful zest where able, no one could ever accuse me of “coolness”. 😏

Yet, I feel God tell me not to assume what they have need of.

For, who am I to say they don’t need the sort of seasoning He has uniquely called me to help provide?

In seasoning should also come a growing confidence in His goodness and wisdom, after all.

And, as I referred to last time we spoke here, beautiful bridges can be built between generations.

So…if you feel older than your years…

Feel good about it. To be seasoned is not a bad thing.

And if you feel younger, or, maybe even just your age, that’s okay, too.

Your seasoning can still be there.

And when we surrender to its aging us, we can see it’s not actually done cruelly, though it might seem to be, but, rather, beautifully in its time.

And guess Who has it all in hand?😉

Blessings and prayers, friends. May we each embrace who we are in Him and season the earth with His truth.

Why I Don’t Talk Shop a Lot Anymore

I keep feeling like I should address this. Perhaps there are a few readers who knew me way back when wondering where some stories have gone. I could be overworrying as I tend to do, but, nevertheless…

My previous writing ventures were a lot about my children, a lot about autism, a lot about the inherent struggles.

With an emphasis on Christ to guide us through, of course.

I hesitate to say I was a mommy blogger, as that term conjures up some images of the overshare I honestly wince at.

Not saying all mommy bloggers do that. But, there are those whose children are treated more as anecdotes, complete with photo spreads better left to family only.

It’s particularly rampant in some special needs circles and something I’ve long decried.

So…safe to say, I was not really a typical “autism” mom ever. ☺️

But, still, a mom. Writing about being a mom.

Which is okay. I am a mom. It’s what I do. There is a time and place for sharing such.

And I know there’s a lot of people out there, particularly parents of those on the spectrum, some on it themselves, that need grace and comfort and solidarity on this ride we’re on.

I wonder sometimes if I’ve abandoned some of them in my jealously guarded privacy.

Yet, for me, as I watch all four of my children grow and mature, especially my two spectrum kids, the stories become something I wonder more if I ought to be sharing.

Because it’s their story. Not mine.

I am obviously linked intimately to it, as are my husband and my two typically functioning boys.

They teach me many, many lessons.

Daily.

But, not every stop on their journey need be my own, or appropriated to write about.

After all, I’m more a side character in their walks with the Lord, in this life.

I experience a lot with them, mind you.

But, each child’s faith and growth in life and in the Lord must be their own.

My job is to tell them what scripture says of salvation through Christ, demonstrate the Christian life through both the good and the hardship, and facilitate the atmosphere for them to thrive in.

And, of course, pray, pray, pray.

Beyond that, what happens next must be in their own hearts.

For there’s no grandfathering in to the body of Christ. Nor into being successful in life in general, for that matter.

The parenting thing is a huge responsibility, no doubt, but the decision to follow Jesus is ultimately individual.

As are many of the gains and setbacks they might go through.

Oh, yes, we strive together. There are teams in their corner.

But, the work? The actual day to day effort?

That’s their own progress, their own choice to share it. Or not.

So, I tend now to let it be their own, to stick away from certain topics this go around, place an emphasis more towards my own spiritual walk and the thoughts that crop up that won’t let me be.

Now, I don’t know if my conviction is overly zealous in this regard.

It could very well be. 🙂

Yet, I feel I must follow His call here.

And with a hearty sidelines cheer, let my children follow theirs. 🙂

Prayers and blessings to you, friends. May we each remember our role, both as parents and in the Christian life.