The Fears of After (FMF #40)

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: AFTER

IMG_5323

GO.

The squabbles in the back seat reached a crescendo of “let me do it!” and “no, let me do it!” and I had to remind my 9 year-old that her 3 year-old little brother can, in fact, do it.

She let go and fell into a slump with her head on her hands. I wanted to ignore it — I really, really wanted to — but felt that all-too-familiar gentle nudge that I shouldn’t. So I pulled over to the side of the mountainous road and asked if she was okay.

With huge tears in her eyes she lifted her head exclaimed, “I don’t want Paxton to grow up! I want him to stay little forever!”

Ah. 

I rubbed her knee and looked deep into her eyes. “Oh honey, I know you do. It’s exactly how I feel every day about both of you. But you know what? He’s still going to love you more than anything, even after he can do things for himself.”

“How do you know?”

“Because you do a lot of things for yourself without my help, but you still love me, right?”

She nodded and dried her tears and joined in on what her baby brother was doing.

I know what she was thinking — that after he grows up he won’t want to sit with her at the computer playing games anymore. That he won’t hold her hand when they ride the carousel. That he won’t want her to sleep on the top bunk on the weekends. That he won’t choose her over anyone else to play with.

That she won’t confide in me anymore and will turn to a friend instead. That the day is coming where she won’t choose me to put her to bed, regardless of the arguments we had that day. That she won’t hold my hand while we walk around Target, or want to do American Girl Mommy and Me games together.

Ah.

I know those fears of after. And they make me want to fall into a slump with my head on my hands, too. But like my girl, I have to embrace the changes and choose to see love even when I feel unwanted.

Because the love never goes away, it simply grows up.

STOP.

MDS-SIG-01

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Five Minute Friday #39: REMEMBER

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: REMEMBER

TIGHTROPE-70s

It’s a tightrope walk, really, and it’s really long and strapped between two different worlds. And on one side is all the head knowledge about the truth and on the other side is all twisted lies about the truth, and it’s so hard to keep my balance between the two.

The lies whisper to me that I’m going to reap today what I sowed way back then, but head knowledge steadfastly reminds me that I am forgiven and it is remembered no more.

If it’s remembered no more, then why can’t I forget, too?

The rope I’m walking on is so thin and small and the long pole I’m gripping for dear life tilts back and forth, back and forth as these conflicting whispers take their turns.

And verse after verse that seem to contradict run through my mind:

“…forget the past and do not dwell on the former things…” (Isaiah 43:18)

“…remember what the Lord your God did…” (Deut 7:18)

“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there.” (Deut 24:18)

“You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.” (Job 11:15-17)

And I try to forget and I try to remember and I feel so confused.

It’s then I remember that Jesus is in the and. He’s in the middle of this conflicting tightrope walk.

It’s not that I should only forget or only remember, it’s that I should forget AND remember, because Jesus is in the AND. That pole I’m holding is my AND. It’s what maintains my balance and my peace and my hope and my future so I won’t fall to one side or the other and die.

So I grip the pole tighter and hold it closer to my heart as I forget AND remember and keep walking toward my new world.

MDS-SIG-01

Five Minute Friday #38: REST

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: REST

CHILD LAP

GO.

It’s time for bed and every night after he gets his PJs on, he grabs The Book — the dinosaur book that used to be his daddy’s — and shuffle-skips over to me with it. I fake a groan which delights him to no end and I sit on the floor leaning against the bed with my legs extended all the way. He climbs onto them and curls into my lap and rests his mussed head against my chest.

And I sing-song the book the whole way through.

At the end of the day when we’re all finally allowed to be lazy, she grabs my fuzzy blanket and hurries over to me before he can. I’m in My Chair and she climbs into my lap and all 9 years of her are so tall that I can’t see anything unless she lays her head to one side. But she’s too squirmy and is never still and so we keep bumping noses and heads.

And then finally we find our groove and sit together until my lap falls asleep.

What is it about The Lap? At some point every single day they want to crawl up and have Their Time. No matter how fast they grow up, they never outgrow this lap — this place of comfort and solace and rest.

This place where a Mama’s love abounds regardless of the barking of orders or nagging or failures I had that day.

This place they want to curl up at day’s end knowing that despite all of it, my love has not wavered even one iota.

I still need The Lap, too, and maybe I need to be more like my little children and just crawl up into it at the end of every day. (tweet)

That place where a Daddy’s love abounds regardless of my failures.

That place I can curl up and end the day knowing that despite it all, His love has not wavered even one iota.

His lap. God’s lap. The lap of a thousand miles where His legs never fall asleep.

STOP.

MDS-SIG-01

Five Minute Friday #37 – HOME

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: HOME

STUFFED ANIMAL & SUITCASE-SEVENTIES

GO.

She padded downstairs well before 7 am and put her bags by the front door, ready to go and the sleepover isn’t for another 12 hours. She walked over proudly and said she was all packed and ready…and then, with the bravest face I’ve seen, declared Minnie wasn’t going with her to the sleepover.

My breath caught for just a minute because she just turned nine and I’m not ready for her to let go of Everything. And as soon as I was able to inhale the understanding dawned in sync with the morning sun.

Are you sure, honey?

Her gorgeous blue eyes filled with tears and she clung close and whispered, “I don’t want anyone to make fun of me that I sleep with her.”

My heart cracked just a little and I scooped her up onto the couch and we shared. We shared how real friends don’t make fun of each other; how the other girls will probably have things they sleep with, too. How she could hide Minnie in her bag or pillow case because just knowing she’s there will make her feel better.

She liked that idea — that she could bring Home with her and carry her around and no one even had to know Home came with her.

And I realized nine year-olds aren’t the only ones that do this — that carry a piece of Home with them when they’re stepping outside their comfort zone and maybe are a little bit afraid.

I brought Home with me when I ran my first race.

I brought Home with me to my first writer’s conference.

I bring Home with me any time I write and put it all out there for critique and criticism, or take a stand for something no one else understands.

Home is that courage-despite-fear and that excited-though-anxious feeling that falls like rain when we worry we’ll be made fun of and ridiculed. It’s that comfort of knowing we haven’t failed even if we’ve failed, and that we’ve succeeded even if we haven’t succeeded. It’s the assurance of the calling and the assurance of The One Who Calls — that’s Home.

And we all carry it. Whether we’re nine or 39, whether it’s a prayer or a scripture or a stuffed mouse — we bring it with us wherever we go.

The important thing is that we GO. What we have tucked away is just the ticket that helps us get moving.

STOP.

MDS-SIG-01

Five Minute Friday #36 – BELOVED

I link up with Lisa-Jo on Fridays for a writing flash mob…throwing caution to the wind and gathering to share what a few minutes of free writing can buy. 

Today’s topic: BELOVED

WINTER LOVE-2

GO.

He is snuggled up on the couch with him and there they are, my favorite boys, contentedly watching Imagination Movers while the little one’s nose is stuffy and he can’t suck on his fingers properly when his nose isn’t working quite right.

She is curled up on the love seat next to me and her head is nested into my shoulder and I don’t dare breathe because physical touch is the least of all her love languages. And before bed last night she was in tears over an upset tummy but today she’s feeling better and her gratitude over not throwing up is demonstrated by her pseudo-snuggle with me.

So I sit very still, desperately wanting to get up and get my coffee yet daring not to breathe, basking in the love in the living room before the mood is broken and the whining and the squabbles begin.

Maybe if I call it the Loving Room those moments would last longer.

The minutes bleed into hours and the hours bleed into days but it’s these moments here with he and him and she and me that make time stand still. I don’t want to come down off this mountain. It’s where I see Jesus, transfigured and shining brightly and I want to pitch my tent and make coffee over a hot fire.

These moments are God’s treats to keep me from throwing in the towel when discouragement shows up like a bully on the playground. When life gets hard and I want to quit, He reminds me of these green pastures in my Loving Room and His Loving Room, and I gain the courage to stand up and start again.

I breathe deeply and suddenly the moment is lost and life takes over once again. And the minutes bleed into hours and days…but I am sustained for the journey.

STOP.

MDS-SIG-01