Monday, November 8, 2010

Maintaining Regrets

Regrets.  We all have them.   We regret not spending more time with a loved one who has died.  We regret yelling at our spouse or our children.  We regret telling that lie or maybe we just regret not buying that cute pair of shoes the other day that would've matched the pants we are wearing today.  Life is full of regrets.  Some are a learning experience.  Some are sad and some are just downright annoying when they keep reminding us of our shortcomings.  So what do you do with all those regrets?  

Although maybe not so humorous at the time, I have one regret that makes me smile and sometimes laugh.  I regret not checking on Crystal and her cousin a little sooner the Sunday afternoon they completely covered themselves and the entire bathroom with powder.  Two little ghostly white 4 year olds stood in a cloud of powder surrounded by powdery tiles, tub, toilet, carpet and sink, peering at me with the only things not white in the room, two little brown eyes and two little blue eyes.  This regret was short lived but one that helped me to remember to check on them a little more frequently.  This one definitely falls in the learning experience category.  I also regret not snapping a picture of the scene which I would've scanned and included here for your amusement.

When is comes right down to it, I think many regrets are born out of sin.  Things we did that we wish we hadn't done or things that we didn't do out of selfishness that we wish we had done.  Things we have long ago repented of and asked forgiveness for but we can't quiet rid ourselves from the memory of them.  This thought hit home for me while listening to the song, "How He Loves" by David Crowder.
A line from the song says, "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us.  Oh how He loves us. How He loves us oh."  Is that what I've been doing?  Do I carefully maintain my regrets?  Do I allow them to distract me from the fact that I'm a forgiven child of God.  Do I hold on to them instead of living in freedom from them?  

With 6 girls you can bet that they all have things that they wish they had said or not said and done or not done.  As their mom/stepmom, I would never consider reminding them of those things.  I would never want them to continue to hang on to anything that might cause them pain.  I love them all too much to want them to hurt.  Doesn't the same thing apply to all of us.  God our Father would never want us to maintain our regrets and continue to hang on to them.  He loves us too much for that!  

It's hard to let them go.  It's hard to forget them but maybe the point isn't to forget them but just to learn from them.  I've found that it takes courage to trust someone enough to believe that they will not hold your regrets against you but sometimes it takes more courage to not hold them against yourself.  Love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8  

Maybe I should live in grace and maintain my sanity instead of my regrets!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some Fun and Some Not So Fun

It started out O.K. as weeks go.  Monday I got my hair colored and hung out with 2, two year olds and that was fun.  Monday evening we went to watch my oldest grandson play football and that was fun.  They lost.  That wasn't fun!

Tuesday I got to play most of the day with my granddaughter who doesn't live here and that was fun.  Went and did a little shopping with her mommy and that was fun.  That evening Lauren Beth took pictures of Gary and I.  That was fun.  McKinlee  went with us and after a long day she was a bit out of sorts and demanded attention by stripping down to her diaper in 10 seconds while crying and screaming, "Shoes Off!"  Not fun for her but funny for us.
Yeah, we are those people that laugh at our little ones when they are in distress and act totally irrational.   This was also a not fun evening for my daughter Crystal.  Someone broke into her car and stole her purse while she was at her dad's house.

Wednesday I worked.  Not fun.  Got a hot pink hair extension for breast cancer research.  That was way fun.  Took 4 grandkids to supper and that was fun.  We were celebrating birthdays and so we went for ice cream afterward.  Annalee got her face smashed by the door.  Not fun!  Ice cream makes it better though when you are 4 years old.

Thursday a red truck pulled out in front of me on my way to work.  No, I was not on my cell phone.  I slammed the brakes on with such force that my toes hurt afterward.  Now when faced with impending impact a million thoughts speed through your mind and everything else seems to be in slow motion.  A few of my thoughts were, "Are you kidding me?  You are seriously pulling out in front of me?  There is no way I'm going to miss them.  How do I cause the least amount of damage to my car?  Turn the wheel!!!!! "  I missed them by inches and they sped on their merry way as I sat sideways in the right lane shaking uncontrollably thanking God that no one was in the lane next to me and that I was safe.  Not fun!   Lunch and supper (that is dinner to those of you who aren't from the south) with some friends and that was fun.

Friday is today and the washer broke.  Wringing out wet jeans is not fun!  Being told that the warranty has run out, also not fun.  Learning that they can't come fix it for 8 days, not fun.  Cleaning house falls in the not fun category.  Taking a break and writing on my blog, that is fun!

Wait, isn't this suppose to have something to do with courage?  I'm thinking it was more of a week requiring self control.  I didn't say what I was thinking to the rude parents at the football game.  I didn't yell at the grandsons for slamming their sister in the door.  I didn't chase down the driver of the red truck who made me cry.  I didn't even let a foul word slip from my lips as my car was skidding  sideways down the street.  I continued to smile and talk calmly to my confused bloody patient who pulled his central line out and was swinging and yelling at me.  Yes, I would say it was more about self control.

Well that's the week so far and now it's time to scrub the tub and toilets!  NOT FUN!!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Wicked Stepmom

Lauren and Katie
When I was a little girl, "Cinderella" was one of my all time favorite children's stories.  I watched the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of it on TV and danced around singing the songs and imagining myself wearing the beautiful dress with all the dazzling sparkles.   Oh how grand it would be to be a princess!  ("In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whatever I want to be.") I'm rather amazed at this moment that I still remember the words to that song!  Go figure!  Childhood dreams seemed to disappear as I reached adolescence and were replace by more realistic aspirations. Maybe I'd just be a teacher.  After all, there isn't much of a demand for a princess in Texas anymore.  In all my dreaming and aspiring I am absolutely certain that I never once wanted to be the wicked stepmother in the story.  As fate would have it, all the princess jobs were taken and it was my lot in life to become, you guessed it, the stepmother.  

Now I've never considered myself wicked, but I use to worry about what my reaction would be when I heard the dreaded words, "You're not my mother!". If they ever thought it, they never said it and I'm eternally thankful to 3 step daughters that I never had to find out.  There are some things in life that we don't need reminded of as a step parent.  

When my step daughters were young I use to pray all the time that I would be a good step mom and that I would love them like they deserved to be loved.  For some people this may come naturally.  For me, it was a source of anxiety and self doubt.  Was I being fair?  Would I make the same decision if this was my own child?  Am I showing them enough love?  Did I spend enough time with them when they were here?  Could I ever possibly love them as much as I love my own daughters?  The list was long.  It's so much easier to fuss at your own children and then forget about it.  When you fuss at your step children you tend to keep thinking about it and trying to justify your position.  

A couple of Jokers!
My oldest step daughter Lauren Elizabeth turned 21 this year.  For her birthday Gary and I took her and her friend, Katie, to Las Vegas.  We had a great time and they loved the shopping, eating, site seeing, shows and yes, even a few slots.  It was a fun trip and we all had a blast.  

The girls flight left earlier than ours so I told them goodbye the night before and Gary got up and made sure they were headed to the airport on time.  We caught our flight a few hours later and they called to let us know they had landed.  They had a 2 hour drive from the airport back to college.  We got home and unpacked and then we got the call that no parent wants to ever get.  The girls were involved in an accident on the highway and were being transported by ambulance to a hospital in Austin.

A million questions racing through my mind all at once.  Some things too horrible to even verbalize.  Lauren's mom was already on the way to Austin.  We were debating what to do.
No flights out until morning and the drive would take us 6 hours.  The details were sketchy at best and we were unsure of their injuries.  I suggested calling the hospital and seeing if we could talk to someone in the emergency room.  When we got hold of the E.R. nurse the girls were still being evaluated and they said we could talk with Lauren if we called back in 15-20 minutes.  I retreated to my room and prayed.  When we finally got to talk to Lauren it was evident that she was very medicated.  She had no memory of what happened and still doesn't to this day.  We were told that she had non life threatening injuries and would be moved to a room when one was available.  Since we weren't Katie's parents we couldn't be told about her condition.  

11 o'clock at night with no hopes of seeing your child until the next morning is not when you want to hear that they are moving her to CCU because she has a possible brain injury.
I couldn't quit crying.  I wanted to be there to hold her and tell her it was all going to be OK.  Was she scared?  How much pain was she in?  Did she wonder where we were?  Did I kiss her goodbye the night before she left?  Suddenly the last haunting question that had plagued me for years was answered.  I do love her as much as I love my own girls.  It hurt just as bad as if she were my own flesh and blood.  I couldn't have been any more upset or any more worried.  She is a part of me even if I didn't give birth to her.

Lauren had a bruised liver brain and lungs, a cut on the back of her head, a broken pelvis and numerous other bruises and scrapes.  Katie required surgery to repair her broken arm and she also had a cut on the back of her head and numerous bruises and scrapes.  From the looks of the car it was nothing short of a miracle they survived.  Their seats appeared to be a cocoon where angels kept watch as the rest of the car smashed in around them.  The contents of their luggage exploded all around the countryside and Lauren's bible was found beside the passenger side door.  It was retrieved by the tow truck driver who did his best to gather all the belongings for the families of the victims.  He was surprised to learn that the occupants of the car were alive.  When Katie's dad asked him if he believed in God, he handed over the bible and said, "I do now."  

Being a stepmom takes courage.  Courage to love when you think you can't and courage to believe that God will supply what you lack.  Courage to let their mom be their mom and to find your place in their lives.  I'm thankful for a God who loves me enough to show me in the midst of such turmoil that He answered my prayer somewhere along the way and has now removed my doubt.  Isn't that just like HIM?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Memorable Birthday Wishes

I recently had a birthday.  Recently as in last week.  As I was reflecting, I became increasingly amused by what the occasion had revealed about our 6 daughters.  Each of them unique yet somewhat predictable in their actions, they helped to make the event fun without even trying but just by being who they were created to be.

Let's begin with the day before my birthday.  I received a text bright and early from Crystal, the oldest, explaining to me that she would be calling me later to wish me a Happy Birthday officially.  I laughed as I texted back to tell her that it wasn't until tomorrow.  Now Crystal is the mother of 4 with 2 playing soccer and one playing junior high football so it was easy to understand how she could get confused about which day my birthday actually fell on.  With 5 games to attend that week and everyone having practice and homework she was actually being quiet efficient by letting me know early that she hadn't forgotten.  So a big kiss and a hug for Crystal for being on top of things. 

Melanie arrived to pick me up to run a couple of errands later that same morning.  As I jumped in the car I told her that Crystal had texted to tell me happy birthday.  Before I could finish the story, Melanie began to apologize, "Oh, Mom I'm so sorry I haven't even wished you happy birthday yet."  I laughed and said, "It's not until tomorrow so you can tell me then."  She looked very puzzled trying to figure out in her mind what day it actually was on.  Now Melanie has always been a bit oblivious to what is going on, so it was not surprising at all that she might get the days confused.  I'm sure that when God passed out the post it notes for the brain, Melanie was not present.  She was however present to receive an extra portion of tenderness and for a moment her heart was sad when she thought she had forgotten to wish me a happy day.

Now let's fast forward to my real birthday.  My mom was first to call followed by my best friend Laura who calls each year without fail and sings the entire Happy Birthday song.  Next came a text from Lauren Beth who said she was at work and would call when she got off.  Around 11 a.m. Lauren Elizabeth called from college and wished me happy birthday right after her only class for the day.  I'm sure Gary texted her and her sisters to remind them and she took care of things right away.  She is very responsible and more of the get it done before I forget to do it type.  Both our Laurens are very thoughtful and are good about planning ahead.  She had already mailed me the sweetest card which arrived the next day. 

Emily, the youngest,  tried to call but missed me so she left me a text message.  Being a senior in high school keeps her social calendar pretty busy so I'm lucky she got me squeezed in.  I sent her a thank you text and we called it good.  I know she loves me whether I actually got to talk to her or not.  Emily loves big and lets you know how much you are loved all the time.

Lauren Beth true to her word, called as soon as she got off work and let McKinlee my 2 year old grand daughter wish me happy birthday.   It was so sweet and her mommy knew that it would make my day to hear that cute little voice telling me how much she loves me.  Now Lauren of course had already sent me a gift the previous week.  Like I said before, both Laurens are very thoughtful and good planners.

Birthday dinner was consumed at a local restaurant after we watched a riveting soccer match between a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds. The grand kids loved it when they came out banging pans, announcing to the entire restaurant that it was my birthday and making everyone wish me a Texas sized happy birthday by yelling Yee Haw or something like that.  Honestly, at that point I was too embarrassed to pay attention to what they were yelling.  Texans are into public humiliation on birthdays!  

Fast forward a few more hours as I was getting into bed.  Gary asked if everyone had called.  I laughed and said, "No and I'm sure you can guess who I haven't heard from.".   Within a few minutes my phone rang and we laughed again knowing full well who it was.  Our little procrastinator and other college student Lindsay was on the line.  She and I shared a good laugh as I told her she had gotten the call in just under the wire with almost an hour to spare.  She entertained me for a few minutes with her quick wit and then the day was done.

So for me, with 6 you get courage but you also get a lot of fun and amusement along the way.  I'm blessed beyond measure by these 6 beautiful women in my life and look forward to what this new year holds for each of us.  Somehow I'm thinking that next year's birthday wishes may play out about the same.  Absolutely perfect!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Becoming a More Beautiful You

My daughters Melanie and Lauren on the trip

Last summer my daughter Lauren saw some pictures posted by some missionary friends of ours and called me saying, "Mom, we have to go and help these people!"  So began the planning of my 4th trip to Guatemala.  Through those pictures God planted a desire in her heart.  A desire to go and share the love of Christ with them and hopefully meet some of their needs.  That was what she was able to tell the group of cold, wet dump site workers and dwellers that we encountered on a rainy day a few weeks ago in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.  

The first morning we were able to go to worship time at Gerizim school which is run by the Reynolds through His Appointed Time Ministry.  If you have never worshipped with a bunch of elementary school children who have little or nothing as far as comforts in their lives, it's something that I just could not explain to you here in words.  The raindrops were falling as we gathered outside under a covering and praised God for this blessed moment in time.
Maryorie with the Team
Our Team sponsors her financially at the school

Some of the children praying

Praying for one another.

By the time we left the school the gentle rain was turning into more of a downpour.
I can only tell you that it was by the grace of God that we even made it to the dump that day.  It was pouring rain and the dirt roads looked more like muddy rivers on the way up the  mountain.  Each time I was sure we would not make it through the next bad looking area somehow the wheels just kept on bouncing us closer to our destination.  We had prayed fervently for the rain to subside before we left the school but it soon became apparent that God was making sure we were serious about this portion of our mission.  Would we let the rain deter us or were we "all in"?  Well, I looked at the team and it was clear that these ladies were indeed ALL IN!!  They waded through the water and floating trash to a makeshift shelter where they endured heavy smoke and flies in order to share a message and our purpose.  They stood in the rain and distributed food, first aid kits and other items that we had acquired through financial donations.  A few of the young guys there seemed distracted and were laughing during some of the lesson.  When asked what they were giggling about they replied, "It's like Christmas!"  So what looked at first to be a lack of interest turned out to be an inability to contain their excitement.  In retrospect of this part of the mission I'm not sure how much of an impact we made on them, but I know that they made an indention on our hearts that will always be there.  To see them smile in the face of their adversity if only for a moment made the whole trip worthwhile.  Our time there was short but rewarding.


And more trash
Day two was our most planned for day.  This day was to be spent with a group of 10-16 year old young girls who we invited to come up to the Restoration Center where we were staying.  The city of Chimaltenango is known for its prostitution houses.  From the first time I went there I had a desire to reach out to young girls and hopefully touch this high risk group with the love of Christ.  So the day was titled "Becoming a More Beautiful You."

2 of our little beauties!
This day was sort of a Queen Esther day complete with a banquet for the girls.  First they did crafts and had their hair cut and fixed.  Their nails were polished and they were crowned with tiaras.  Now I can tell you that none of these beautiful girls needed any beauty treatments but neither did all the pretty girls rounded up for the king in the book of Esther.  The girls learned that being beautiful wasn't really about their outward beauty and that if they believed Jesus is King and they are daughters of God then they were indeed already a princess and that their actions should reflect that.  We had so much fun spoiling them and showering them with little gifts.  It was another day etched in our hearts and minds forever.


The Team with all the girls.

Studying in their new bibles

Doing some crafts
Now day 3 fell on Sunday.  We were honored to be asked to give some testimonies in a local church that morning.  What a special time for us.  That afternoon we distributed food to some of the neediest people in the church and left bibles and other things for the pastor to dispense as he saw fit.  We also had supper served to these families and they heard more testimonies from our group.  They were a joy to worship with.  

Melanie gets a hug from a grateful family!

Some of the people enjoying their meal.
After months of planning and organizing the trip was coming to an end.  We accomplished all that was set before us but this hopefully is not where the story ends.  We may never know the lives that God chooses to change because we are obedient to His call.  I do know of 12 lives that will forever be changed though.  9 wonderful ladies and 2 daughters who said yes when I asked if they wanted to go on a mission to Guatemala.  What a wonderful display of courage as 11 brave souls trusted me to lead them to a 3rd world country and back without even the slightest hesitation.  Well honestly I guess they trusted God to get us there and back and I just went along to be bossy!  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Several years ago Gary and I decided it was time to take our girls on a mission trip. We were fortunate to have a good friend whose parents are missionaries in Guatemala and he put us in contact with them. After emailing back and forth we picked a date, got all the girls passports, made reservations, did some training, planning and packing and headed to a foreign country with 5 girls. Let me correct that last line. We headed to a foreign country with 5 VERY SPOILED girls. The oldest daughter was expecting and unable to go with us.

The first half of our trip was spent at a Christian school in Chimaltenango which is run by the Reynolds through their ministry called, His Appointed Time. We played, taught, praised and loved on the cutest group of kids you've ever seen. In the afternoons we did some painting at the school. We were privileged to get to see the site for the new restoration center that they were planning to build and get to pray for the future of the ministry there.

The second half of the trip was spent in in a little village named Atitlan. Three
volcanoes sit around the lake and the mountains are dotted with brightly colored buildings which are nestled in lush green foliage. Most of the people wear their native attire and the different weaves denote their particular tribe.

The girls and I had a blast shopping with all the local vendors. We picked out our treasures and Gary and Lindsay did the bartering and paying. Lindsay is not much of a shopper but her Spanish came in handy for wheeling and dealing.

After deciding to take a tour around the lake by boat, we all loaded the seaworthy craft and shoved off. Just as we were leaving another man jumped into the boat.
After a short drive we began pulling into a small village. Not being proficient with the language we were not really sure what was going on. Gary became a bit anxious but maintained a calm demeanor so as not to alarm us women who were totally oblivious to the situation as we took in all the beauty of the view. Our unexpected passenger simply jumped out of the boat and Gary made it clear that we were not wanting to visit the village and we were once again on our way. It never occurred to me that we could've been robbed or left for dead somewhere. I suppose it's sometimes a good thing not to have trust issues but in retrospect, maybe a third world country is not the best place to be a trusting soul.

Our next scary moment took place around dusk. We were sitting inside an open air restaurant feeding our starving shoppers when we heard what to us sounded like loud gunfire. The room went dark and we were all trying to figure out what was happening while we somewhat crouched down at the table. The waiters appeared with candles and explained that a transformer had blown and we would be dining by candle light. I'm of the mind now that it was a plot so that we would be unaware of what we were eating, as it was the worse meal we had on our trip. We are relatively certain this was where Lauren Beth contracted her stomach woes requiring her to start the antibiotics we packed. She was still running fever when we boarded the plane and I had to get a bit testy with the flight attendant who refused to find me a pillow and blanket for her. I tried not to cause a "Meet the Parents" scene but let's just say that she did indeed find her a blanket.

To sum it all up, it was a courageous adventure in the unknown but one that none of us will ever forget. I think of all my trips and travels this had to be one of my very favorites. It was filled with spiritual awakenings, adventure, fun, and lots of love and laughter.

In September I will be making my 4th trip to Guatemala as I lead a team there to do some mission work. I'm thrilled that 2 of our girls will be going with me this time. It will be an honor to get to serve alongside Lauren Beth and Melanie again in this beautiful country and among these humble and precious people.

I would like to report that as I type this 2 more of our girls are currently in Brazil doing ministry work. This is Emily's second trip to the Amazon and Lauren Elizabeth's first. Lindsay went 2 years ago but decided not to return this year.

From our first mission to Africa in 2003 I can tell you that each trip takes a certain amount of courage. Courage to step out of your comfort zone and step into an unknown culture. Each step is committed to being God's hands and feet and helping to fulfill the "Great Commission". "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matt. 28:19-20
You never know how much you are capable of until you feel incapable. The freeing moment comes when you admit you are unable to do it and allow God to supply you with all the strength, courage, and wisdom you will need for the journey knowing that He is true to His word and ..."with you always, to the very end of the age".

Saturday, April 17, 2010

War of the Wills

When my 2nd baby girl was born she was a beauty. Still is I might add. She came into the world sucking her little thumb and was a sweet blessing during a difficult time. Her paternal grandmother was battling cancer and her arrival was a bright spot in an unusually snowy West Texas January.

By the age of two she was very independent and always trying to keep up with her big sister. She had extremely straight almost white hair and the darkest brown eyes you've ever seen, was potty trained at 17 months and at 2 and a half years we were all ready for the arrival of baby number 3. Well, I thought we were ready.

Whoever came up with term "middle child syndrome" must have been peering through our windows. My precious little, highly intelligent, super advanced 2 year old suddenly turned into what would be my greatest test of strength and courage for the next 3 years.

It all began so subtly. She loved to sit with me while I was feeding and rocking her baby sister. Somehow she would wedge her little feet between my tummy and the baby and then begin to straighten out her legs trying to shove baby sister out of my lap. Thankfully this behavior was short lived and mildly amusing.

Next came the loss of all ability to make it to the potty. Now after a good 7 to 8 months of going to the potty we suddenly couldn't make it. As if cleaning up pee wasn't getting her enough attention she must have figured out it took me twice as long to clean up the other, which sometimes required a bath. I don't remember how long that all continued as I seemed to have block it from my mind, but I know it was well over 6 months. I feel quiet certain that a desperate mother of a middle child was the one who came up with the idea for Pull Ups!

Once we passed the 2nd round of potty training then came the stuttering stage. This was not severe and only lasted about a year praise the Lord. The final stage and by far the most stressful for us all was the separation anxiety stage. I wish I could say that I handled it with grace but then that would just be a bold faced lie.
I think on several occasions I was certifiable.

My worst meltdown from this stage of course took place in front of people I had to see every day. After months and I do mean MONTHS of the teachers dragging my anxiety ridden child from the car every morning kicking and screaming I hit my all time low. I had already removed her from all activities except kindergarten at the urging of her pediatrician. Each morning we would pull in the line and I would try to be cheerful in hopes of keeping her spirits up. Her older sister was always a big encourager but I think she even started dashing for the building to save herself from embarrassment. This one particular morning an impatient dad began honking at me to move out the way. Not just one little beep mind you but several blasts. Rude behavior for a christian private school attendee parent if you ask me but what followed was probably rude beyond all measure. After getting out the car to help pry 10 little fingers from anything within grasp and tearfully watching my screaming child once again be drug into the building, my frustration hit the boiling point. Poor unsuspecting dad with the honk happy hand probably wished he could escape when he saw me marching back to his window. My words were few but I'm sure they reached far and wide in the chilly morning air, "Buddy, if you think you can do a better job then you go try to get her in the building and I'll sit back here and honk the horn!!!!". There was no response other than a look of complete shock and bewilderment. I would like to say that time has made me rueful of that moment but I think it was a real turning point for me. After months of being held captive by a 5 year old's will, I affirmed to myself that I was doing the best I could do and was courageously battling on.

By the time she hit 1st grade you will be glad to know that she became a well adjusted and outgoing child. She re-enrolled in dance, took piano, went back to children's choir and Sunday school and marched into school voluntarily each morning. She has grown into a beautiful young woman and now has a little strong willed two year old of her own. When she calls me with a new "terrible two" story I admit that I probably have a twinge of satisfaction as I laugh. Oh, what joys await her on the other side.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Courage Isn't Without Heartache

This morning I was thinking about when my oldest daughter was just learning to read. We were out running errands and she was proudly showing off her new reading skills by reading all the signs along the way. When we pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store she read the name of the store and then read the other large words on the front of the building. "Food", "Drugs" she read aloud with confidence in her ability. She then innocently turned to me and asked, "Mom if they want people to stop taking drugs, why don't they just quit selling them?". It was obvious that they had been pushing the "Just Say No" campaign at school.
This is a bittersweet memory for me. If I had known on that day the intense battle that lay ahead of us, I would not have been laughing. I would have been face down on the floor begging God for mercy for this sweet child. Was this moment a foreshadowing of the future? I can't really say for sure. I only know that there were many days I wished she was still that sweet little brown eyed girl looking at me with her simple solution to one of life's dilemmas.
During her turbulent teenage years and into the early 20's of this precious child's life I learned what it meant to take courage to a whole new level. I did things I honestly didn't think I could do. Nothing heroic mind you, but it takes a great deal of courage to place your child in the care of others and walk away.
Day after day I prayed, "Please God, free her from this addiction. Please watch over her. Please, remove all the bad influences from her life. Please, Please, Please!". The prayer list was long and growing daily. I cried, begged and pleaded with God over and over. Then I realized one day it was time to just throw in the towel. Not to give up, but to give in. I admitted to God that I had a trust issue. I didn't trust God to take care of her, I didn't trust him to keep her from harm, I didn't trust him to find her a way out of this mess. I simply didn't trust God to love her more than I did.
God! You know, the one who created the universe, spun the world into existence and set the stars in space, well he just simply wasn't big enough to love her as much as me. For heavens sake I was her mom! No one could love her as much or as unconditionally as me. Right? Let me just say that I'm thankful that God is in the forgiving business because I was certainly standing in need of it. So after repenting of my unbelief, I timidly placed her in His hands.
Now when you place your child in God's hands and say, "They are your child God and I'm only part of their life because you chose me to be. Do with them what you will.", you don't stop worrying automatically. You gradually learn that with every worry you reach out to your source of strength and you ask Him to give you courage to face whatever the next minute, day, week, month or year holds. You ask Him to hold you as tightly as he is holding them. You submit to His will for their life as well as your own.
Today this beautiful young woman's life is a testament. God gives her courage each day to fight the good fight. He has restored what Satan tried to steal, kill and destroy. My life is richer and my courage and faith stronger because God allowed me to be her mom. The joy she has brought to my life far outweighs any pain that Satan, through addiction, caused.
She is a work of art designed by the Master's hands and I am the blessed Mom who get's to be a part of her life and His work.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I read somewhere once that "Courage is fear that has said it's prayers.". I liked that thought and I wrote it on a paper and stuck it in my bible. It's still there along with a few other things I liked the sound of. Now I realize that is not the official definition of courage, but I find that I have a little more of it when I pray about something that I'm afraid of.
My way of dealing with fear when I was a little girl was to worry. I thought that if I could come up with the worst scenario in my mind and worry about it then it couldn't come true. For instance, I was always afraid that my mom would have a wreck and be taken from me. I would sit and worry about it until she pulled into the driveway. I convinced myself that by thinking something so horrible it would keep it from becoming a reality. Yeah, I know, that is just messed up. I suppose I worried enough as a youngster though because she is still alive and 82 years old now.
I deal with fear much more constructively now. When I have a fear I pray about it and just leave it with God. It did take a great deal of practice and many failed attempts but I'm really good at it now.
I have 6 girls. Three daughters and three stepdaughters. Hence the title of my blog,
"With 6 You Get Courage". You simply can't have six girls in your life and not have courage.
Any mother will tell you it takes courage just to give birth, courage when they are sick and courage that first day you send them to school. When they become teenage girls there is always some sort of drama. They are either on the top of the world or in the pits of hell. It takes courage some days just to wake them up! As they become young women courage takes on a whole new meaning.
So with many adventures in courage waiting in the wings I'm hoping you'll join me for this courageous adventure in blogging. With 6 you get courage and lots of fun!