This time next year I will likely be sitting in a different house, in a different city, in a different state.
Where? I have no idea.
My husband, Tim, is a doctor in the military, so we will go where he is needed—where we are sent. Sometime before the end of the year we’ll receive a list of job openings around the country (world?) and we’ll have the opportunity to weigh our options and rank which ones we like the best. Then we’ll wait a few more months. Sometime in the spring, we’ll be told where we’ll be sent.
The upside: the Army will send packers and movers to our house to do the wrapping and packing and heavy lifting. The downside: we don’t have much time to plan.
It’s a grand adventure to be sure. It’s also potentially disastrous for a worry-wartish planning type like me. Where will we live? Will we make friends? How will we find a church community?
Halloween is weird. Cute kids and large quantities of sugar. Yards strewn with synthetic spiderwebs and battery-powered cackling skeletons and gigantic inflatable witches. A background that includes remembering the dead, pacifying ancient Celtic gods, prayer and fasting… and smashed pumpkins. A mixture of influences Christian, pagan… and just plain strange. So I FULLY understand when […]
Let’s take a quick look at my very ordinary Friday morning. I wake up, shower, and get my boys up and off to school.
Now to expand on these very bare details, let’s look at a scenario of how these events could oh, so easily have gone…
Friday Morning Scenario 1
It’s time to get the boys up, but I’m already running a little behind. This means they must get up NOW, whether they like it or not. Feet on the floor. Time to get moving. Voices raised. Grumpy kids. Grumpy mom.
Great way to start the day.
It was a cold, rainy morning and when I woke up, going to church was the last thing I wanted to do.
It’s going to be so crowded . . . the message will be watered down . . . you’re just going to have to watch a bunch of baptisms of people you don’t even know. I mean . . . baptisms on Easter? How cliché can you get?
It was Easter Sunday, 2009, in Seattle. I had only been attending the church for a month, and I had already decided the Easter baptism service was going to be over-produced and emotionally manipulative. All I wanted to do was drink my coffee in my robe and watch a Friends marathon.
Yet I felt a prompting, and my feet led me up the hill to the church.
I sat with my grieving, ever-so-long-time friend. Her son, for whom I had watched her struggle and agonize over the years, had just been diagnosed with Autism. She knew my life, my family. At the moment, she specifically knew of my son, my precious Tillman, with cerebral palsy, autism, borderline mental impairment. She knew also of the source of my strength, my gracious Lord Jesus – a Lord she did not yet share. She looked up at me with eyes full of pain and said those words that haunt the heart of every mother – “I just hope that I have what it takes.” And I sat quiet, loving her intensely – “Oh, my friend.” Deep breath. “You don’t. You don’t have what it takes. And I don’t have what it takes. Let me tell you Who does.”
Permit me to introduce my family. Our oldest child is also the newest to our family – 17-year-old Amber, who joined us five years ago in her own season of grief. Fourteen-year-old Tillman is next, whom you have already met – followed 40 minutes later by his twin sister Celeste. And rounding out our family in all kinds of crazy ways are 12-year-old twins, Andrew and Caleb. Yes, you read that right. Five kids. Two sets of twins. I’ve been known to say that Brian and I got as far as deciding we were ready to have ONE child – and that is as much of the planning for which God has ever had us participate. Let me tell you – I do not have what it takes.
Last week I came back from a week at a summer camp for women. Talk about a situation ready to send you right back into your junior high insecurities: a bunch of women sleeping in the woods, swarmed by mosquitoes, constantly sweating in the moist North Carolina air. We shared our cabins with mice. We shared our showers with spiders. We logged fewer hours sleeping than I normally do at home with my teething baby.
It was the kind of environment just uncomfortable enough to let others see glimpses of your heart.