I Can’t Write About That Because I am Not Ready toTalk About it Yet

“How are you doing today?”

I smile and return the polite gesture, “just fine thank you.”  Hold it in Caroline. Hold it in. I slide on my sunglasses a little early just incase a tear escapes. 

I collect my bags and exit the store. The sun is finally shining. It has rained for so many days now. But even the sun can not hide the Fall season and the wind blows to remind me. 

Almost desperately, I dig through one of the bags that I am holding and from the bottom locate what I am searching for. 

Two simple bead bracelets. Black beads in the shape of bats. I made her costume this year. Being new to sewing, this is my biggest project yet. It took me a while but I finished it just in time for her to wear it to the Fall Festival. I will never forget her smiling proudly when she told her friend that her Mom sewed it. One bracelet for me and one for her. 

I finally reach the car and grab my phone. I have to write. A tear finally escapes and I do my best to push it away before the whole damn dam breaks loose. But I can’t write about this because I am not ready to talk about it yet. Please don’t ask. 

The Soul of My Body

The AC is blowing a little colder than I prefer to the preference of my family. The road curves, winding around the tall mountains.  I know these roads well. 

Madison did not take long to lay aside the iPad and ask, “Where’s my book?”  Even with the new apps, she isn’t much impressed by electronics. 

Our family photo books are splattered with pictures of our family exploring Duke Gardens and the college town restaurants. Madison handles these long drives and nights in “our hotel” like little family adventures. She doesn’t know life without them. 

But smack in the very center of the whole rondezvous is a very long visit that could turn into hours of waiting followed by a possible spontaneous scan, traveling on to bloodwork. It has happened that we plan another doctor appointment and then pre surgery scan, surgery, nights in the hospital, follow up, babysitter, missing school, makeup work, time off work, reconfiguring medication……

I just never know. And I stare out the window at the mountains passing by and I wonder what is ahead of me. Oh thank God that this world is temporary!

“To live is Christ and to die is gain.”  I used to think Paul’s words were morbid, but now I get it. They are more alive than ever. In fact, the more I love this life, the more I know, I know this is not life and I am just packing and getting ready for what really matters. This soul in my body is not made for this world. 

And the visit is fast. We are in and out of there and James and I take a deep sigh of relief and thank the Lord for a boring doctor visit and Madison doesn’t know there was the possibility of anything else. She is just smiling while I praise her manners and we start to anticipate the fun night on the town that awaits us. 

And I take Madison’s sweet little hand in one of mine and I hold the strength of my husband’s in the other and my heart knows the living meaning of a family that loves me. And I thank God for the answered prayers of a good checkup and for doing what it took for me to know that I have a body that is of this world but this soul will live forever. 

Something Happened. I Loved Her. 

My prayer for you. Whether You look to the left or the right, you will hear a voice saying “this is the way, walk in.”  And the one who calls you is faithful. He will do it. Follow where he leads. Lord, fill her with your spirit. Raise up a generation.  Conquer this world for your glory. Ignite them with your gospel. 

I look at my daughter and my whole entire body is filled with love. She is so beautifully amazing!  Her doubt of herself makes me laugh because I know how strong she is. Her caution is to fade away as she grows. My God made her. I see his miracle in her every single day and he knows the power he has equipped her with. That little girl is part of something big. God has plans. 

He is able to do immeasurably more than I can ever ask or imagine for my daughter, according to his power that is at work in her. I give her to him. I want nothing less. I held on. I held on. And then I loved her too much to keep her from his immeasurable plans. 

Writers are Readers

  
 I turn in my bed, open my eyes, and lay on my pillow for another minute. There is no beeping alarm and I smile at the thought. (I do not usually smile in the morning). I grab my phone off my night stand and take a quick look at the clock. Just after 8. Fall break is great for sleeping in. 

I stretch open my eyes and pop in my contacts, fill a glass with water and quickly swallow my morning medication. I head straight to one of the most important things in life:  coffee. I grab my extra large homemade coffee mug and sort of smile when I remember that I paid ridiculously too much to paint this mug one day on a play date with my girl and some friends. But the mug says, “Caroline’s Coffee” and I like that.  Fall breaks are the best for drinking coffee. 

The house is quiet. James has already left for work. (He does not get to observe Fall break with us). Conner has already left for college. (My niece lives with us and I love her to pieces!  Her college break is not even as long as my third grader’s). And Madison is still asleep. I will let her sleep just a little bit longer and give myself a little time to read. Fall break is made to have a little extra time to read. 

Over Fall Break, I completed Ben Carson’s “One Nation” (AMAZINGLY INSPIRATIONAL), started “Teresa of Calcutta” by D. Jeanene Watson (wow!  I want to be this woman!), and read a few more chapters of “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid” by Tim Elmore.

I am a parent. I make mistakes. I want to avoid mistakes. This is the book for me. My daughter is eight years old. This is a great time to read this book. He says things like “let your kids fail” and my heart has this little battle with Tim and I say, “WHAT?!” And he says “yes” and I scream “no” and he says “It is the best thing for Madison” and I say “ouch!” And grab my heart and I don’t want my little girl to hurt but he walks through the benefits of letting our children fail and learn from their mistakes and what unbeneficial adults our kids will grow up to be if Momma is always coming to the rescue. And I want my daughter to be an aide to society, so I read on. 

I do want what is best for my girl, even if it is hard for me to loosen my grip and let go of one, maybe two fingers.  But as I do this, something absolutely spiritual happens.  Every finger that I release is replaced by one of God’s fingers!

Ya see, I am not throwing my eight year old into the hands of this world. Hell no!  I am releasing her into the hands of loving God, that believe it or not, loves her even more than I do!  He has plans for her, plans to prosper her!

So, this book has helped me with some very practical ways of knowing how to appropriately give an eight year old independence and what are some ways that I can let an eight year old take responsibility and feel some natural consequences and some natural benefits!  

And do you know what, she amazes me!  And when that girl works hard and gets things accomplished and when she is not entitled to sweets and playing and when she earns a trip out to get frozen yogurt with her cousin and a family night of Uno, she loves me all the more for it and I see that, as Tim Elmore says it, that “I am not raising a child. I am raising an adult.”  And Fall Break is the best time to raise my future adult. 

Momma’s Hot Date

Pull out the date night red lipstick, I have a hot date. It is the kind of date where I first drop the baby off at MiMi’s house. The kind of date where we already have a baby, and the baby is eight. 

I try my best to rush to meet him at home, but there is traffic. So, I sip my afternoon coffee. I’ll need one to stay up past “school night bedtime.”  I flip through the radio station, but I can’t find the LOVE songs!  

I hear songs about meeting for the first time, plenty rockin’ one night stands, and a having sex to say goodbye song (are we for real?!) I’m a girl, a sappy  girl headed on a date with my man, where are the love songs?

I want to hear a song about someone that has known each other more than a first hot glance, hey, what about someone that is…let’s say it, already married?  I want to hear about love, real love, love that has made it through the hard times, love that actually knows their date’s middle name and has met their momma. 

Surely we are not the only ones that have gone on more than a first date. Surely there could be a love song about more than a one night stand on the radio. 

Coming from someone that has been married for thirteen years, and plans to make it a whole lot more, LOVE IS MUCH MORE ROMANTIC THAN LUST!

The honeymoon isn’t over after having a baby. It grows. 

Love doesn’t leave. It stays. Love forgives. 

Love is like wine. It gets better with age. 

Real gentlemen do still exist and true love can be found. 

Singers, sing a song about my man working hard for a living for his family.  

Writers, write about that sexy man rocking his baby to sleep in the middle of the night. The man that loves that baby’s Momma, even when she has no makup on. And would chose her any day over the newer model. 

I wanna hear the song about:

Even now, I still chose you. Even that, can’t make me leave. Even he, has nothing to offer over you. ‘Cause you’re my man. Always have been, even before I met you. Always will be. ‘Cause God himself made us for each other. No one else shares these memories. No one else has been with me through that. No one else could ever be her Daddy. So, you may have seen these heels before and maybe this restaurant isn’t new. And we might have a hard week behind us.  

But you are my man, and tonight you are my date. And tomorrow, you will still be my man. And we are living a real love song. 

It’s Not About Me, It’s Not About Her

I could not have been happier to be the newly wed, trying to squeeze all our wedding gifts into our teeny tiny little one bedroom apartment.  I was in total bliss, as I would have been anywhere, because we were finally TOGETHER!

Not only was I anxiously awaiting being married, I just wanted to be with my man!  James and I had agonizingly endured six months in a long distance relationship, separated by a fourteen hour drive.  Ahhhh!  My body and my heart longed to have him with me!

When wedding bells finally rang and our honeymoon cruise ship had set sail and then returned home, we began our life together.  James drove off to his first real job to support our family of two and I finished college (tail between my legs, I am that girl!  but hey, I did finish in the end.)  Part of my more flexible schedule included the responsibility of building our new home for us to enjoy together.  OK, well home keeping is still my job and he can’t have it (I love it!)

So, I am going about new dishes stacked neatly in the cabinets, putting approximately eleven holes in the wall to hang one new picture, even enjoying doing laundry for two (that much has changed.  More of it and I can’t say I enjoy that anymore.)….and then I pull out the new bathroom rugs, the very ones I had registered for, but umm, yikes.  I had two rugs for this absolutely, ridiculously small master bathroom and neither one of them would fit without having to be folded completely in half!

So, let’s make a long story short:  I returned them.  For a new lamp.

Hey, I was liking my new exchange.  The living room looked brighter and more decorated than when James left for work.  And I thought he would be pleased with my exchange, my home cooked meal, and ME forever.  And life would forever be bliss.

I do believe it was the first time he spoke to me that his voice wasn’t complete admiration and adoration, “Caaaaaroooooline…..” I hear him yelling from the bathroom later that evening, “Where is the bathroom rug?!!!”

I thought my explanation of the return for the lamp was quite enough but he stared at me dumbfounded, “Where am I supposed to stand when I brush my teeth?!”

And although a small incident, I learned that my marriage would not be perfect.  We are two humans that think differently (oh how little did I know!), we act and shop and interact with family and spend money and joke and reason and even brush our teeth differently.  Which, let me be honest, took a while to iron out…and we still ain’t perfect.  Perhaps, it is just that knowledge that has been an aide to our marriage and a relief to my idealist mind.

So, wrap it all up, marriage taught me that life is not just about me.  There is an us.

James and I were strolling about a happy marriage that we were starting to get figured out.  I had, FINALLY, graduated from college and was working in an amazing school.  We were happy DINKS.  Double Income No Kids.  And then our happy life got even better:  Madison!

I had already grown in maturity through this marriage thing.  I was raised in a family with eight children, I nannied a family for four years with four children ages five and under, I was an elementary teacher with a freakin degree in Kids, I WAS GOING TO ROCK THIS MOMMY THING!

And then something happened:  MADISON!

She could care less what my background was!  She was not impressed with our happy marriage.  She didn’t care to be “polite” when there was company around.  Madison was not concerned with the fact that I had not eaten all day or that it was the VERY MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, or that I was in public with spit up covering my shirt and pants and arms!  Madison was concerned with one thing and one thing only:  Madison!

But even though she was selfish (let’s face it, newborns are selfish) and even though I took great pains to bring her into this world (and she has yet to thank me) and even though she is the most expensive thing that James and I ever invested in and even though she required more out of me than anything, I LOVE THAT LITTLE GIRL MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF!  There is absolutely nothing in this world that I would not do for her!  There is absolutely nothing she could do to lose my love AND NOTHING SHE COULD DO TO EARN IT!

Wow!  Is that how Jesus loves me?!  NO!  HE LOVES ME MORE THAN THAT!

So, if marriage taught me there is an “us.”  Being a mom taught me there is something even bigger than us!  James and I have a purpose that exceeds our great marriage.  We have a baby to raise!  We had to “grow up.”  Less dates, less sleep, less money…there is someone else to think about FIRST.

And life went on.  I wanted the best for Madison!  She must have squeaky shoes to teach her to walk, she must have healthy food to nourish her body, and swim lessons for my little fish, and friends to teach her to share, and this and that and more.

But then something happened, Jesus took my firm grip on my daughter and loosened one little finger.  Madison wanted to do things that were mean.  She didn’t want to speak kindly to her cousin when she was upset.  Shocker to me!  My daughter is a sinner!  And then even good things, “Mom, I want to swim in one of those cages with sharks in the water!”

“NO! NO! NO!”  That was not the plan that I had!  She wanted geckos for pets and to wear Nike shorts when I wanted her to wear a dress, and her plan for the day was not exactly my plan.  And Jesus loosened one more finger!

And bit by bit by little bit, I learned something:  It is not about me, it is not about my husband, and it is not EVEN about my daughter!  I love them both so much, so very much!  But it is not good for me and not good for them for me to make them an idol and give them the responsibility of being my god!

IT IS ABOUT JESUS!

So, my darling husband, I long so very much to be a wife after God’s own heart.  I desire to be a 1 Corinthians 13 wife, whose love is full of patience, kindness, humility, and all the qualities that can only be from God and not myself.  My baby girl, I want God’s plan for you, not my own!  He made you so absolutely amazing and he has a plan for you that is so much greater than my plan!  IF HE makes you a marine biologist that swims with sharks, I want to support that!  (OUCH!)

My family, I surrender you to God.  Lord, never let me be a stumbling block to those that I love the most!  I want to be a servant that seeks ways to be helpful, not demanding my own way.  I want to be wisdom that is godly advice.  I want to be an example to my daughter of God’s grace, forgiveness, and power that can come from no one other than him!

Lord, be a miracle in me so that those that know my weaknesses more than anyone would look at me and claim, “Wow!  That is God himself at work, because Caroline could never do that!”

It is Personal

Sinking into that place of my very soul, his words caressed my heart. Her picture could not be made right in my world where I did not want people to hurt like this. I passed him in a quick stroll, yet the image of his obvious suffering is implanted in my brain. The stories where we connect, where our lives look upon someone and we stop and we do something:  we FEEL. 

This is my God. He is not a list of rules. He is not a scale that measures our good and our bad. He is a man, God in human flesh, come to place his hand on the leper that is outcast of society. He is the only religion that turns his eyes away from the rich man that follows the law to the broken sinner at his feet and declares, “I love you.”

I am the sick man!  I am the sinner! I need THAT GOD!  Religion of the Western world has become a debate, a contest, a free for all to decide your own way. 

As for me and my house, we will chose the Lord!  I do not chose myself, I fail!  I do not chose a God of rules, I can not. I can not do it on own, of my own effort, my own will, my own record. My past is too unforgiving!  I need a Savior!  I need the forgiver of sins and the healer of diseases and the giver of peace. 

His words speak to me. His story is mine. He chose me and I accept. This is my God, hear me proclaim. Let there be not doubt, no blurr in my words. No question on my face. So that when she, with her sin and her suffering quickly pass by, let her see and never forget something that can change her life forever:  my God!

Here is my story, my life. I share my details and my hopes here daily. What is your story?  Your thorn in your side and your hope of all the wrongs undone?  Please comment. 

She’s Me

She’s more and greater and bigger than what I ever thought could possibly be mine. I am the proud parent of the cute little blonde petting the puppy over there. She is tall for her age, smart, and a stinker too. 

Something happened when I endured tremendous, excruciating pain to bring that little one into the world, and it was this:  IT IS NOT ABOUT ME ANYMORE!  

This is why my heart breaks when I personally know a little girl that her Momma said, “I’m done.” And walked out the door. This is why I am furious concerning abortion. All that have parented a child should refuse to be silent until the murder of newborns is ended. This is why my heart has a deep pain when I see a child, any child, in need or in pain. These are children JUST LIKE MY DAUGHTER. If my daughter was in need, I would do whatever necessary to provide for her. And I am spending my life proving that!

And then I realized, IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!  This means that Madison is not supposed to behave so that I will look good. This means that she is not to step out of a fashion magazine every morning so that our family looks like we have it all together. This means that I can not protect her from the world, I have to prepare her for it!

Woa!  Ouch!  Grab my heart!  This is my little girl!  Ummmm, nope…she belongs to Jesus and I want his plan for her, not mine!

Yes!  ABSOLUTELY!  It is my responsibility to age appropriately protect her. But here is what I mean, IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO LOOSEN MY GRIP ONE FINGER AT A TIME UNTIL SHE CAN TAKE CARE OF HERSELF.  It is my responsibility to teach that little girl how to be a woman that not only takes care of herself but serves those around her. It is my responsibility to make her obey me so that she will grow to obey God. It is my responsibility to point her to Jesus Christ and tell her, HERE IS YOUR WEALTH, HERE IS YOUR POWER, HERE IS YOUR WISDOM!  

I love that little girl so much, so very much, I want so much more for her life than to just please me. She was made to love and enjoy God, and I am not he. 

I Want New Shoes and She Has Her Daddy’s Smile

As a mom, as a woman, as a human being, I always have a million billion, a hundred things running through my head at one time.

We are out of milk. Go to Publix. We also need turkey, apples, and new shoes.

My head is a constant check list. I check my calendar and add those events to my dry erase board. Make the beds. The laundry had babies. Triplets. Practice piano. Homework. That is not for me. It is for her. She has her Daddy’s smile.

My phone chirps and I don’t have time to check it. I still need to put on mascara and brush my teeth. I want another cup of coffee but brushing my teeth says no to another cup.

She is growing so quickly. Eight!  Eight is almost nine. Dear Lord, I pray for her husband. I pray for the father of a little boy that will one day be her husband. Dear Lord, make him a man that will be a godly model for the boy that will grow to be her husband.

I want new shoes. I saw a pair in the mall. Super cute, no cute is not the right word, hot. They were hot shoes!  But I’m saving for piano lessons.

I’m a mom. It’s not about me. Yes, I want to be one sexy Momma for my husband. But he wants me to stay in budget. I’m on my way to the grocery store. I think I’ll bake a little treat for them. The hot man I call my husband and the little girl that I love more than new shoes.

may I suggest http://freeditorial.com/en/books/spiritual-flesh-and-blood

We are Us

I am you. I am thirteen years together, which is basically forever. I am the one that claims you by holding your hand, the one who forgets to turn off the lights, and your yearly Valentine Date. 

You are my security, who I call when the GPS leads me astray, the payer of the bills, the Daddy of my daughter, a nightly back rub, the answer to my prayers, and the only one who kisses my lips.

We are a lot more moving than either of us ever intended, the parents of a living breathing miracle, the adopters of a rescued lazy pup, the fight worth getting through, the Biblical command to love and respect, and black coffee lovers. 

Love is. It lives and breathes, does, sacrificially gives, fights and gets over it. Love is you. It is a life of hard, a time of thanksgiving, and a huge celebration. It just is. It is there. Forever and always. Right this minute and at any time. Love is and I love you.