A couple of years ago I found a writing contest I wanted to enter. As I begin to pray through and organize my thoughts I decided to use my mom's letters as the foundation for my article. She died after my first semester of college so I only have 3 months of notes and letters but they are full of wisdom and love. I went to the filing cabinet where I kept them, took out the envelope which held them all, and was devastated to discover it held other things. I searched everywhere, but with no luck. You can imagine my heartache as I cried over the loss of her last words to me. One letter in particular included words of wisdom that I cherished. I had her words memorized but seeing them in her handwriting made them a tad more powerful.
Last night I was going through some old things...tossing out what wasn't needed. I came across some cards from dear friends, a thank you letter from a special friend for her 30th birthday party, pictures from college, and a picture with a note from my mom that I kept on my wall during college. Another find was one of mom's letters! And not just one of them...it was the very one that I wanted most dearly! Tears just flowed down my cheeks when I recognized her handwriting on the envelope...my heart stopped in my chest and when I took out the letter and realized it held the dearest words of wisdom. Let's just say, I nearly fell apart!
I read that letter aloud and was so moved by the timeliness of her words for today! It might be 25 years later, but her words are fitting for me now because her wisdom was based on the word of God. His words never change and they are always the answer I need. He is always faithful to me...giving me the very things I desire without even asking for them.
I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing!
I am a girl who grew up with a daddy that told her she was beautiful everyday...he still greets me with a "Hi, beautiful!" (Now, he says that to his wife, my sister, and my daughter, but that's not important right now!) He told me if I ever heard someone whistle to turn and wave because they were whistling at me! I always heard people say I looked just like my mom and I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
I am a girl who always dreamed of being a mom...just like mine! Playing games, riding bikes, going on picnics, playing cards and reading together. I learned to bake cookies just like she did, gave my best effort at learning to sew (didn't take), and took to heart the importance of solid, strong friendships (II Timothy 2:22).
I am a girl who deeply desires to be on the heels of my Savior. I cherish the few years as a teenager when I was blessed to attend First Southern Del City because that is where the passion for journaling my relationship with Christ began. I knew that if God could and would speak personally through His word to the other girls in my small group than He would talk with me.
I am a girl with faith larger than a mustard seed. I believe! I trust! I take people at their word and expect them to follow through. With God I never have, nor will I ever, be disappointed. With people, I have had my heart broken more times than it can bear. And yet, my faith continually puts me in the place of trusting and expecting.
I am a girl that was blessed to become a mom! Many girls do not get to receive the joy and blessing of motherhood and I count it a huge honor to have Jackson, Cameron and Chloe entrusted to my care! I love playing with them, teaching them (Proverbs 22:6), challenging them, and loving them! Watching them grow and mature is humbling as they are surpassing me in so many ways!
I am a girl that has made mistakes. I can pinpoint several times in my life where I ignored the escapes God provided from temptations and yet He saved me from myself. I remember a time when I fully recognized the escape He was offering me and I ignored it completely. (I Corinthians 10:13) I am ever so humbly blessed that He is a forgiving God who overflows with love for me!
I am a girl who is not defined by her past...even her recent one. I am a daughter of the most high King! I am loved and sought after! I am valued and forgiven! (I John 1:9) I am the girl I committed to be on April 24, 1974, when I asked Jesus to be my Savior. I am the girl I confessed to the world in September 1976, when I shouted by example through baptism that I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus (Romans 1:16)!
I am a girl who is resting in the peace lovingly provided through the Holy Spirit as I make decisions to be the best me I can be. (John 14:27) I am a girl who will thrive through the fulfillment of the desires God placed in the depths of my soul. (Proverbs 13:19) He knows me...He created me...He longs for me to be fulfilled and complete.
Getting outside your comfort zone is refreshing and necessary. Necessary to a life committed to laughter and fullness, that is! Today, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I danced...on stage...by myself (for a brief moment)...in front of people...to Michael Jackson's Thriller! I'm posting the video to prove I did it...but it isn't much to see! You can't hear the music because the audience is going wild!! (middle school and high school students after finals! They would cheer for anyone! lol!) I also have no moves! I watched the Thriller video this morning thinking I would learn some dance moves...it didn't work out!
But I had fun and I laughed!! I laughed before I got on stage, while I was on stage, when I was exiting the stage, and even now, I am still laughing! It isn't much...but laughter is everything! What a thrill!
I'm stealing...borrowing (because imitation is the greatest form of flattery! :) )...my title today from a friend's blog (check it out! mamacravings.wordpress.com ). Her title has truly intrigued me because I have some definite cravings. I crave laughter...Coke...chocolate and coconut...quiet time to read...the presence of people I love...and, most definitely, my children!
I remember when I had to go back to work full-time in 2003. It broke my heart to leave my precious little boys at home...even though God had blessed me with a dear friend who loved them thoroughly! (Amy, I will always remember those years you gave me! And I realize it was a gift because you worked for nothing! Thank you!) Those years I prayed for God to honor the mother's heart that He, Himself, had placed in me. He gave me the desire...craving...to be home with them. Yet, life had me working. I cried many tears throughout those days begging for a way to satisfy my craving.
God answered with our precious Chloe! He increased the depth of my heart and fulfilled a craving I didn't even realize I had! I quit my full-time job the day she was born! And, although I have continued working it has been in positions that have allowed me time at home. Just not as much as I crave...
I have missed countless field trips, class parties and being in pickup lines after school. I have missed out on the dream of having fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies on the counter when the kids get home from school.
Even right now, I am missing Jackson and Cameron's awards assembly at school. I realize it isn't a big thing...and my sister is there with a camera...but I want to be there. I crave the time to invest in my boys letting them know that I value them and their achievements. Cravings are, at their core, selfish desires...even if they have healthy benefits for others. A craving is something one desires from deep within. Webster says it is an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing.
I have that longing in several areas of my life, but I pray with my children it isn't abnormal. :) I have an intense desire to be successful in raising Godly children with strong work ethic and commitment to excellence in every area of their life. I have an urgent longing to spend quality time with each of them individually. I crave their love and respect. I crave their attention.
God created me to be a mother and I pray I honor Him with my cravings!
There are many things that we use to mark the passage of time. We countdown until the last day of school (3...for the record!), celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and use advent calendars for Christmas. I have many friends posting various things on Facebook about the coming of summer from pictures of the kids walking to the neighborhood pool to getting summer haircuts. For us, in East Texas, summer is welcomed by the opening of snow cone stands! At least one on every corner...seriously not kidding! We take our shaved ice very seriously!
In my neck of the woods, Snow Joes is the place to be in summer! Cameron even braved White Oak Road last summer to ride his bike for a Snow Joes treat! They offer hundreds of flavors and even a variety of sizes...small, medium, large and the Yancey! 32 ounces of shaved ice heaven! It is so named after one of our state champion basketball players!
This past week we visited Snow Joes twice and I feel as if summer is already here! So, while I may still be sitting at my desk at school contemplating the final I still need to write and the ones I am going to be grading, summer is in my heart! Days to relax...sleep in a little more...read a book(or 2 or 3 or 10) for the sheer pleasure of it...laze around at the pool...drive to Lawrence to spend a week with the Jayhawks...and eat snow cones!
Thank you Snow Joes! That "Open" sign spells summer!
Journaling has been a part of my life since I was a teenager, yet this past year I have stopped writing. I've chalked it up to not having enough time, but we all know that we have time for what is truly important. In a way, I'm glad I haven't documented my thoughts or feelings of the past 16 months. Except to acknowledge that I have journeyed through them with integrity and courage. I still have joy!
Earlier this week I realized something of my mom's was gone...tossed out with the trash. It wasn't a big thing. There was nothing sentimental about it except that it was hers. It was clearly old, banged up and rusted. To anyone else's eyes it was definitely trash. To me, it was precious. I can't describe the hurt I felt when I discovered it had been discarded. I didn't want to hear the apology nor reasons for getting rid of it. I just wanted it back.
I quickly understood that I needed a new perspective on this situation. I was definitely overreacting and needed to get it together. As I sat drying my tears, I begin writing out my frustrations and I was blessed with the realization that my mom's presence was all around me. I actually was curled up in a baby blanket she had crocheted for her best friend's daughter to have for her firstborn (who is now a doctor!). I use mom's silverware everyday. Her cookie making bowls are in my cupboards. Cameron sleeps with an afghan she made me every night. Best of all, her dimples are on Chloe's cheeks and her silliness is in Chloe's spirit.
Putting my heart into words got me back on level ground. It helped take the frustration out of a situation as I expressed my pain. I think I have missed this process and need to get back in the habit. My life is changing...I am changing. Picking up new things that are beneficial to me and leaving behind those things that I don't need any longer. I am still me, but I am stronger than I ever believed. I will continue putting my heart on paper as I become more fully me!