Missing You.

Mother’s day. What does it mean to you? I’m blessed with a husband who dotes on me quite often. To the point of, often times, utterly embarrassing me (I’m horrible with receiving praise but that’s another blog). So for me, mother’s day has been less about me and more about honoring the mothers in my life; biological, spiritual and in law.

This year will be particularly painful. In December we lost one of those. December twentieth two-thousand-seventeen, heaven gained a voice for the chorus of Holies. Jo, most well known as Mom, left this life.

I only knew her for six years, but she accepted me instantly. We definitely had our differences, but beyond all of them, she never failed to make sure we knew she loved us.

The hardest part for me is not just missing her. The hardest part is watching my love battle an internal struggle that he hasn’t quite got the words to describe.

Losing Mom has been one of the biggest catalysts in growing my husband, and ultimately, my family. Even in her death, she has impacted so much.

Tonight, we dine in typical Mom style at Olive Garden, because for 3 years before she took that final breath, it was all she could eat.

Mom wouldn’t have us sulking around mourning her forever. I can hear her saying “Oh, get over it already. Live your life!” Losing Mom is something we probably will never ‘get over’, but we surely can’t live the rest of our lives in mourning. That wouldn’t honor her one bit.

Sunday I do the unthinkable and try my hand at replicating her signature Dutch apple pie. That’s how I’m honoring her.

So to all the mothers out there. Thank you. The work you do is often unseen, and the impact you have you will probably never realize. From all of us, who may not know how to express, THANK YOU.

Oh and to all of those who resonate with losing MOM, do something to honor her. Show the world how great she was by being great 😊

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“I Don’t Need You Anymore”

This might be a little long but bare with me😊

I had one of those moments this week. If you’re a mom you probably have too. Aside from missing tiny babies sleeping on my chest, I’m not much of a “keep them tiny” mom. This moment though. Y’all. It stopped me in my ‘breastfeeding-while-fixing-toddler-shoe-buckles’ tracks.

All at once my brain seemed so busy reminding my heart to keep rhythm that it forgot to remind my lungs to breathe. All that I wanted, was to grab that moment by its tail and pin it down, lock it in a cage, keep it forever. I tried. Imagine that, it went as quickly as it came. My fast talking boy had moved on and seemed only to mock my longing for time to slow down.

Back story. My sweet boy. He’s determined. He’s calculated. He sometimes make rash choices; other times, he considers his options carefully; unwilling to leap unless he knows he’ll fly.

For about a year now, he has been determined, to learn to ride a two wheel bike. I’d help him and hold him up. He’d fall. He’d get angry. “Mom why’d you take off my training wheels?!” He’d Huff as he threw his bike back down. I’d just hold back a giggle, suggest a break, and praise him for trying. Eventually, he wore his training wheels bare (because he’d insist I put them back on).

Our sweet friend offered to give him an old bike with trainers. (super cool because it was CARS! Big Hit!!!) In a week, he rode our cul-de-sac so much and so intently that he literally cracked the metal of the training wheel arms.

At this point, he was basically riding without them because he had bent them so severely. He didn’t know it yet, but he was doing it! I admit that I still slightly relished in the fact that he needed mom to help him sometimes.

They were fairly useless as far as practicality had it. However, they were his security. Well, false security as it were. Then something changed.

We had a playdate with a wonderful friend. The boys played outside together in the breeze and the girls played princesses. It was a great day. Even the little ones kind of got on well that day.

Then, it happened.

The boys came running in stammering and stumbling over one another. All at the same time “mom – Ms. Chelsea you have to come see this!!!” This phrasing is their blanket statement. Destroyed a garden bed; fell and busted their head; learned something amazing; this was how they beckoned us. I pushed aside the toddler, laid down the nursling and followed.

Naturally, I’d assumed one of the former two situations had happened. I prepared mentally for them. Alas, it was the latter. I hadn’t prepared for this. It did destroy me a little and bust my heart.

Ok so I’m sure you’ve guessed.

Levi jumped on his bike and pushed off. No trainers. No “mom hold me up.” Then he shattered me even further “mom I don’t need your help anymore!”

 

 

I was so proud, but also fighting back crocodile tears as I realized that one moment had just passed where my boy didn’t need mom anymore.

My mind was flooded with thoughts about how short time is and how I only have so long until he doesn’t need me at all. He’s only five; but five came so quickly. There’s so much he has yet to learn, and I pray God grants me more patience and grace to instill all that I can – and to accept the lessons he is teaching me as well.

May I always remember that I am raising children to be adults, I am not just raising children and they are not yet adults.

Funny where my mind takes things. Thanks for reading 🙂

Reviving the Order

Is there such a thing as a mom revival? I think that’s how I’d describe how I feel lately. I’ve always known that I’d love mothering, and I knew it’d be no easy feat. Can I confess something though? I still wasn’t ready. I guess it’s just one of those things that you’re not ready for until you’re in the thick of it and the strength comes from the need for it. I once read an article that proposed that mom’s of 3 are far more stressed (pretty sure there was a percentage given but I’m not going to pretend to remember) than mom’s of 4 or more. I scoffed and rolled my eyes. Then I had my fourth. Somehow a switch seemed to flip. I still have my days when my sweet boy who is freshly five, will look me in my eyes, and firmly tell me “no”. I still have my days when I really have to pray Jesus help me because the whining four year old does so in high soprano. All that said, I feel the order beginning to revive. I feel the peace reviving. Amid the broken sleep of newborn(and even toddler) days, the peed panties of toilet training days and the personality shaping of childhood in general; I’m learning that a peaceful, yet firm guide is better for all. Order doesn’t kill the goofy fun and sweet love, it helps it find its place. It keeps anger, frustration and remorse in its place. I’m not there yet, but order has awakened and order will be had.

Practicing Quietness

I’m no quiet person. It’s simply just not my nature. And I’ve definitely not been nurtured to be quiet. My family was NEVER quiet. Rarely did I ever concern myself with the height or tone of my voice. I recall, even as a small child, when we would sleep; I could hear my mom hustle and bustle around the main quarters of our home tidying up what she could, then I typically would hear my grandmother come in late at night to talk and sometimes she’d still be there in the wee hours of the dawn when I’d meander into the dining area begging for water or a snack. Age and life only magnified the immense noise within and outside of me in every way. I preferred noise; because, without noise on the outside I’d be left to the noise in my head; mulling over every misshapen step I took and foolish fallacy I uttered. 

Practicing quietness. This has been dropped into my spirit. It’s almost a plea I’ve felt well up within me. Begging me. As if my soul, my very spirit; is pleading: “Strive to be still. Be quiet!” (If you know me at all, you probably laughed put loud. Hope you weren’t drinking anything!) Once I began this practice I began to see aspects of myself which were hidden, at least I thought. Some part of me wishes these unsightly flaws were still hidden. Covered beneath a veil of chaos, because in the midst of the chaos,  I didn’t need to deal with them. (Again, so I thought!)

Wonderous blessings are mine to be had, but how will I ever identify them if I can’t see them for all the chaos. It’s like trying to pinpoint your friend in a sea of people at a stadium. You tap a shoulder and begin to embrace them, only to be met with a glare of contempt. Uh-oh. That’s not who you thought. Suddenly you feel silly and oddly ashamed. Chaos is that crowd and sometimes, you think you’re about to embrace a blessing yet you’re just disturbing the chaos. 

I have lost count how many times I’ve been reminded to practice quietness. To be still. I need so many reminders. Lest I forget that God is a still small voice who longs for relationship, with me. And with YOU. 

Not My Virtue. 

I am not patient. Yes, Patience is a virtue, but its definitely not my virtue. Yet. Whenever I am out with the children, one of my favorite  (moreover, the most comical) comments I get, is “you have so much patience! Three children THAT close together?! You must be a saint!” The truth? I. Am. Not. Patient. I have the temper of a child sometimes. I’m selfish too. I want it my way and my children are determined to give me a run for my money in that area. They have my bull-headed determination and sometimes, I have to stand in awe of how reflective it is of myself. So much so, that I can’t even be mad about it. Battling my own flaws, insecurities and hang ups while making feeble attempts to guide those of my children into some semblance of decent people, is not for the faint of heart. It takes patience but it’s not that I have a plethora of it. It’s a daily reality check. I’m currently watching This is Us. It has me in all the feels tonight. It’s also a great reminder that, no matter what, I was chosen to raise these treasures. I. Me. It has been bestowed upon ME. (Sure, my husband and I as a whole, but I am the primary caregiver.)

I have been charged and blessed to mold these young, wild spirits into discerning humans who know when to tone it down or kick it up a notch. On days like today, I find myself repeating in mantra-like tones: “I was chosen to raise them because I CAN do it” or “I was made for this and these are MY BLESSINGS.” Far too often, I struggle to see the raw beauty of their yet fully developed, but already oh so spunky little personalities. See, it’s like clay pots. 

Clay pots.

I helped my late gramma garden in my younger years. She would use old clay pots sometimes and I recall asking her why she still used the pots with the cracks in them. She told me that cracks don’t defeat the pots. Yes, they make them more vulnerable, but they also give the soil more oxygen. And for some plants, that’s what they need to grow more. 

Maybe I’m likened to those pots. I have so many cracks that I occasionally feel as though I may very well fall apart. I feel completely vulnerable. Now, see it is because of my vulnerability; because of my cracks, that the soil in which my little ‘seedlings’ are planted, may receive a bit of an dose of that which they need to grow. 

Often, I find that my soil is dry and thirsting for the refreshing water that brings life to myself, my children and everyone around. I’ve mentioned before that I’m working my order. One of the first things that needs order is my spiritual life. How can I expect my flesh –  my non-spiritual self – to raise to a higher level, if I don’t first, raise that of my spirit. That my friends is the water. It permeates every crack; saturating every grain of soil, penetrating every impenetrable, solid clump. Each plant needs something different to flourish and grow properly. Each soil needs a particular portion to sufficiently nourish the seeds within. This is my portion and these are my blessings. I don’t it all together and I surely am not perfect, but I have what I need to do the task at hand. 

So the next time someone accuses me of having more patience than a saint, I’ll just smile and tell them my garden is growing and so am I. (And I’ll probably get a good chuckle out of the perplexed expression on their face.)

Order Before Increase

Order before increase. One of the wisest guys I know told me that. Upon first hearing it, I must admit that I cringed. If I am anything, it is the farthest thing from orderly.
I will have order!” Wha-lam! The gavel smashes into the sounding block breaking the thick layer of shocked chatter in the courtroom.  Once more, the judge demands order, this time in a firm but muted tone. We’ve all seen this plot play out on TV, some of us have seen it in real life – A shocking reveal is made during the legal proceedings and the courtroom goes wild with hushed voices. Everyone is only just barely whispering but the distorted whispers form a choir of white noise. Unbearable. The judge will not stand for such disorder in the courts. Order will be had.
Order. So many things require order. Where do I start?? Often, I find myself wishing I had a large gavel and sounding block, to pierce through the chaos in my mess. This year, I made that declaration. “I will have order.” There are days where I find myself repeating those words whilst my adorable children make enormous messes and suddenly catch a case of amnesia when it is time to clean up; in whiny tones, they huff out: “I don’t know how to clean up mom”. I occasionally try to assert this authority over the dishes or the laundry – at least when it elicits no return then, I can laugh at myself for talking to my chores.
Now, I may not have an actual gavel which I can crash into an actual sounding block, but I do have power. I have authority to declare and enforce order in my life. While I’m sure that my chores will never shape up and do themselves, and my children may forever be so dramatic; order starts from within. The first place order must be is in me. So, often and (sometimes) firmly, I declare. “I will have order.” I say sometimes firmly because, other times, it’s a whimper or a plea. Tainted with a hint of surrender.
Oh, surrender. I’ve never been very fond of surrender either. Perhaps that’s wherein my hang up lies. Surrender has such . . . Vulnerable connotations. Taking great risks requires vulnerability. When I find a way to surrender my angst, it is then that I find order in my thoughts. Without ordering my thoughts, how can I ever expect to order my time, talents, or even my life in general?!
I will have order within me. I will have order in my life. One day I’ll look back and realize that the increase has come.
Order. Before. Increase. 

Hope for an Empire.

In the battlefield of the mind, it’s not always outright depression which brings down the empire of greatness. Sometimes, it comes as a Trojan Horse; under guise of self preservation and begins to break down, from within, the columns that give you strength. And it’s from within that the battle is won (or lost).
Pretty much since I can remember I’ve stood on these battle lines, sometimes I just surrendered and let it take me into the dungeons of thought and torture my soul. Other times I took my stand, no matter how futile it felt or seemed. I know there is someone who knows what I mean. Maybe you’re reading this and you are lost, you don’t get it. Maybe you are on the same battlefield fighting the same battle, that feels like the war for your soul. And you just don’t know how to March into the thick of it and take those thoughts captive. Or, maybe you read these words I’m typing and you know me, or you’ve seen pictures of me; and you think, “Chelsea, you’re just so chipper, you’re so happy” and I am. Don’t be fooled though, don’t think for one second that some days – the smile I wear, the confidence in my voice – don’t think that those come as easily as dawn. Sometimes I find myself fighting my own mind to snap into reality; the reality that obviously, this life is temporary and I don’t live for today. The soft tender flesh of my wrist is my reminder that even in my deepest darkest battles, I have purpose. It was branded by the markings of these battles; as I had attempted to end them. I had two ways to deal with the things I can’t change: ignore them and bottle up the turmoil that they churned, or to engrave the pain into my veins, in failed attempts to alleviate all of me. For far too long, this sight served to constantly remind me of yet another way that I just couldn’t (and thank the good Lord I couldn’t!). Now it serves to remind me that no matter what. No matter who or how or when or why or any circumstances. No matter the amount of failure I am, God’s got this. Forever. Last summer I got a tattoo over those fearsome marks, there was a tattoo fundraiser done for Pastor Matt Crump and I had settled on a lemniscate (the infinity symbol) with part of it reading #godsgotthis. While this tattoo was given to countless other individuals, it has such a dear and special meaning to me. It will forever cover those shameful scars from when I was just too weak. And now, every time I feel like I just can’t anymore, I lift my arm, and I remember  …. God’s got this. In my mess (and trust me, there is a whole lot of that!). In my hurt and pain. In my shame and anger. Forever and always God’s got ME. He’s covering all of that. I no longer have to hide my scars, I no longer am ashamed of them – because God has formed such beauty in them.
It is still a daily battle. A decision that I make multiple times a day to March on this front, but no matter how many battles I face, or the enemies I encounter, God’s got this. It’s not my empire, not my battle. He’s already won the won. There is hope for this empire.

I failed today.

I failed today.

Wait. Ok, Hear me out on this.

If I’m honest, most days, I feel I’ve nothing more to bring than FAILURE.

I fail. A lot. I’ve failed at so many things in life, and I don’t mind admitting it anymore. I find solace in this: that, in MY weakness, HE is made stronger. In my weakness, His perfection can truly shine. Also, an old adage that my lovely late grandma used to tell me. “A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from others’.” so, herein lies my heart behind this blog. I can’t promise wise parables, or eloquent advice. However, I can invite you to peek into my raw, often comical, but sometimes serious, life. While, by no means, do I believe that I am a failure, I do in fact fail often. And failure is good for us. It teaches us something. Each time. Maybe I need a lot of lessons. Maybe I need more humility. Maybe someone else needs the lessons that I’ve learned.

Whenever you start to feel hard on yourself, whenever your failures feel like they are overcoming you or defining you, take a step back and evaluate what you should learn from them. Then come read my blog and find comfort knowing that I’m right there with you.

Only Suspicion.

Recently I attended a good friend’s wedding, it was a gorgeous, HOT out door wedding and the bride was breathtaking. It was pretty neat, we were given these adorable orient-inspired paper umbrellas, to bare the relentless sun. During the ceremony, the officiator said something which I have heard my entire life, both in wedding ceremonies and in general in speaking of Christ and the Church. See, often we are referred to as Christ’s Bride. We are His Beloved, His Chosen. And, that phrase “You, as the head of this union shall love your Bride as Christ loves the Church, even unto death. . . ” That got me thinking.

Alright, stay with me, here.

So many couples are joined together in the excitement of new love, mystery, (because, even if one has been married previously, this is new,  this woman or this man is new), and promises to love and endure. I don’t believe any one of us marries thinking “in two, five, twenty or so years, I’m going to become discontented with this relationship, be hurt, my spouse is going to cheat or do horrible things and we’re going to go down crashing and leave debris and destruction where we land”. Yet, somehow, too many end up in that situation; an affair, an angry drunken night, bills get too much to bare, the love is just gone. I had to ask my self, HOW? How do we traverse from a love that would give it’s own life, not even just to save the other, but to satisfy the other’s desires and needs? How do we descend from a love that is all consuming, yet simultaneously completely yielding. When does love quietly sneak out of our back door to run from hate, distrust, fear and other intruders which seek to divide and destroy such a beautiful mystery as this? When, and How? Could it be the bliss (and therefore ignorance) that a new couple is in? Is it that reality invades the relationship, overwhelms bliss and destroys it? That can’t be it. It has to be deeper.

So, if the marriage relationship is a direct example of the spiritual union that we possess with Christ, I wonder, that same thing. If we start our relationship with Christ out with so much love and excitement, we see such wondrous happenings and are overcome with more love than fathomable, how then, is it that such a seemingly indelible sentiment all but disappears? It has to be deeper than mere ignorance to the trials that one has yet to experience . . . it has to.

I have no answer, only suspicion, that those that were able to withstand the fires (in both spiritual and physical relations) know what that something deeper is, even if they couldn’t tell it in a few words, they know. They have found where the indelible sentiment has a fountain of youth and despite battles and wars waged against such perfection, these are the victors. I pray that one day, my husband and I will be one of these lovely couples who I so look up to, and until then I will be voracious to seek out and soak up, like a dry sponge, every ounce of wisdom-which literally is just waiting my discovery.

I’m in heavy pursuit to find the intersection of wisdom and reality and when I find such a place, there I will erect a sturdy home and it will be filled with bliss.