I hesitate to even write this as there are millions of voices already clamoring to be heard in the midst of this devastating tragedy. And the more talking there is, the noisier it gets.

And the harder it is to listen.

I am not a politician, nor am I a member of the NRA. I don’t understand much about mental illness, especially the shadowed corners of a human mind that can carry out something so evil.

I am a mother. I am a mother who welcomed her 1st grader home from school on Friday with grief in my eyes.  She asks me what’s for snack. I stare at her Tinkerbell backpack and hold in sobs. For my child, life goes on like any other day. And yet for others…

“WHY is this happening?!” we cry.

And we are pummeled with answers: Gun control, mental illness, policy, religion….our hearts cry out for restitution and relief, while our minds struggle to analyze and problem-solve. Similar to the 9-11 tragedy, we begin looking for a way to rebuild.

But with so many opinions, where do we start?

Brick, mortar, wood, nails…Are these not all valuable materials when building a structure?  It would be unproductive to attempt to build a home with just brick and no mortar, wood and no nails. When it comes to solutions for rebuilding, perhaps we should all be more open-minded about looking at ALL of these issues or “materials”.

But suppose we do decide to use all of the materials. What then? Do we just fling all the materials into a pit? Do we attempt to build the second story first? Or do we start with the foundation…

And go UP from there?

After all, if we don’t get the foundation right, everything we stack on top of it absolutely crumbles – good materials or not.

America is going very wrong. No matter who or what we choose to blame, we can sense the ground beneath us crumbling. And we fear for the future.

But if something is crumbling… shouldn’t we be checking the foundation?

I am a mother. I am not a religious scholar, nor do I want to “push” my beliefs on anyone. But evil visted us on Friday. Most of us agree with that. And we can’t asnwer a spiritual problem with a non-spiritual answer.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

Jesus says He is the Rock upon which we build. Only when He is the foundation can we start stacking other materials. Evil is all around us, threatening to crash in at any moment and steal everything precious to us. We can make good policies…and we should. We can investigate mental illness…and we should.

But if we throw all of these on a faulty foundation, we are on sinking sand.

I plead first with people who call themselves Christians to listen to the Person they claim to know. Let’s get the foundation right in our own homes and hearts and stop expecting everyone else to behave in a way that we ourselves haven’t seemed to master.  We can toot our horns and clang our symbols…or we go to work, erecting  beacons of light and towers of love that will prevail in the darkness. Let’s get involved in policy, but let’s also raise our children with values…children who truly love Jesus and who pray, whether their schools allow it or not.

And let’s live clean and blameless lives. God forbid we are the ones who invite the evil in.

And I plead with everyone else. That, at the very least,  you might understand that those who know Jesus believe with all of our hearts that we possess a hope, an absolute treasure – even if we don’t always act like it.  Horrible things have been done throughout history in the name of Jesus. I understand this. There have been far too many counterfeits defacing His Good Name and mocking His credibility….people who bear His name and live horrible lives. Even true Christians are guilty of representing him poorly at times. Many times.

I ask your forgiveness.

But the Truth of Jesus is not held down by weak impersonators. Jesus is GOOD, despite the shortcomings of man. He is nothing BUT Good. I believe His goodness is often attacked and hidden because evil knows His value to us.

Do we?

According to Jesus in this Scripture, there are those who hear His words and follow through…and those who hear and do not follow through. Almost all of us have heard the name of Jesus in this country. To some, He’s almost “old news”…as though He’s a juvenile answer to a complex problem. But we will hear His name a lot in the upcoming weeks.

I pray we listen.

And follow through.

I’ve seen Him. I’ve seen what He can do to change hearts, to offer hope, to right wrongs and to heal the broken-hearted. I’ve seen it.

I’ve experienced it.

I am a mother. I am not a politician, I am not a preacher, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I am not a religious scholar. I am a mother whose eyes are swollen with tears of sadness, longing to live in a world where innocence is no longer violently raped against its will.

But I am also a mother who believes that Jesus is who he says He is. And when my daughter asks me why bad things happen, Jesus is a comfort I know I can always give her. In the midst of evil, we can panic and search for answers…or we can go straight to the source of Love itself.  Our thirsty, aching souls can drink Goodness in until it fills every crack and crevice of our shattered spirits. Right here. Right now.

And we can cling to the Hope that one day He will “wipe away every tear”. For good.

I don’t know why it so often takes tragedy  for us to finally pay attention. But of all the voices clamoring to be heard, I beg all of us, listen to His.

It’s the only One worth listening to.

  

My Hope is Built (an old Hymn)

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

 I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.

 In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found.

 Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

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Anyone who’s ever gone through a busy season knows that it can feel like the world is spinning so fast you’re going to get seasick. I often find myself in these seasons unintentionally, as I pack my life to the margins and work it out so everything fits “just so”…but neglect to leave any room to accommodate surprises  – both good and bad alike.

This is the place I find myself in today, trying to catch my breath. If my life was pushed to the margins a couple of months ago, I’m certain I’m a few surprises past the margins by now. Read the rest of this entry »

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So I decided I’m boycotting Mother’s Day next year. Can I do that?

Here’s the reason. For two years in a row now, I’ve had a less than stellar Mother’s Day. I know, I know…how is that possible when you have the best family on the planet?!

Well I can start by telling you what is NOT to blame. It has nothing to do with all that mumbo jumbo about having unrealistic expectations in regards to holidays. You know the whole idea about how we women put so much pressure on the day that it inevitably fails to live up to our high hopes?

No, no …THAT is a rookie mistake that only newlyweds make. It only took me a few years to learn that you’re not supposed to expect too much,…that way you can be really knocked out when something goes awesomely.  Once I let go of hopes that my husband would hire someone to skywrite, “You’re the world’s best mother” across the horizon during a sunset dinner, things began to go much more smoothly.

So that’s not the problem. The PROBLEM is that life does not care what the calendar says. Apparently, all of the things that make ANY day a bad day can happen any time, including on holidays. Things like, oh I don’t know, being overtired, having cranky kids, getting behind in laundry, housecleaning, and yardwork…and really wanting to hang out with your family, but secretly wishing you could just take a nap.

As nice as it would be for the universe to refrain from dishing out my serving of “bad day” until after a holiday has passed, sadly it does not. And for two years in a row now, I experienced a very “normal” bad day that just so happened to fall on Mother’s Day. Now we have a problem. Experiencing a bad day on Mother’s Day can make us feel really ripped off as though the universe isn’t cooperating. Does it not understand that this is MOTHER’S DAY?! I only get ONE DAY A YEAR for crying out LOUD!

So THAT is the reason why I have decided to boycott Mother’s Day. I’m through with trying to put it in such a little box, because it’s too big to fit there anyway. Instead, I think it makes more sense to look for Mother’s Days all along the way. Like in Alice in Wonderland where they celebrate “un-birthdays”.

Perhaps I’ll be surprised when it shows up next week when my daughter tells me I’m “the best mommy ever” for no particular reason. Or maybe it will be when I catch my son sleeping in just the right position so I can see his lips all scrunched up, and he’s in a deep enough sleep that I can kiss him without waking him up. Or when my kids do something hysterical and crack me up just when I need it most. Or eat their vegetables.

Or maybe Mother’s Day will be this winter, when we have a picnic under the dining room table because it’s  freezing outside…and my husband takes my hand and says, “Thank you for being the mother of my children…you really do rock”.

Yep. I’m pretty sure we’re all selling ourselves short if we focus on just one day a year. So let’s not. There are too many great days out there that will qualify as a Happy Mother’s Day. Let’s soak ‘em up so we don’t miss a single one.

Who cares what that stinkin’ calendar says? :)

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Today I’m a guest blogger at Laura Kroko’s website, Beholding Glory. She is a mother three children and the author of a bible study called, “Beholding Him, Becoming Missional”. I just finished leading 20 women through the study at my church and it was GREAT!!

This post is a part of a series Laura is doing called “Creation revealing the Glory of God”. Be sure to subscribe to her blog so you can see all the posts in this series! To see my guest post, please click  HERE!

 

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Mom, do you need a hug?”

Our kids say the “darnedest” things, to be sure. But this question from my four year old was so profound and unbelievably well-timed that it transcended simple cuteness. I’m not sure there is anything sweeter than a little face framed with dirty blond curls saying in so many words, ” I SEE YOU, Mama”.

My son has wisdom far beyond his years in this way. He truly does see people. Tell him your back is hurting just a bit and he’ll somehow remember to ask you three weeks later how it’s doing. He just notices things. (This is an amazing quality, but it can also be a little unnerving as a mother. Secretly, I really hope to go unnoticed when I’m having a “cranky day”, as we like to call it around here.)

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My two oldest kids are 6 and 4, but being that my four year old potty trained himself (no joke), I feel REALLY out of touch with the latest potty training methods. Frankly, I’ve been so busy just trying to keep my youngest from meltdowns that potty training hasn’t even crossed my mind. By now, I can change a diaper in three seconds with my eyes closed, so it hasn’t really bothered me. It’s a much bigger hassle trying to squeeze three kids AND a full cart into a tiny stall in the middle of Marshalls because someone “HAS TO GO NOOOOOOOWW”.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned after being a wife and mother for a certain period of time, it’s that I don’t know that much about what it means to love. It seems simple enough when you first think of it….but am I the only one who feels like loving well can actually get really complicated in certain situations???

I mean, if you had to describe what love was, how would you explain it? Many couples have a reading of I Corinthians 13 at their wedding – I did! But I can’t tell you I had any real idea of what it meant at that time. Or how to apply it! It states that, ”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.

That’s a lofty list!

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Wow, I don’t even recognize my own website – it’s been a while! Where on EARTH does the time go?!?! I had to spend some time getting aquainted with my own writings – I couldn’t even remember where I had left off. So I guess this post will read sort of like a weird Christmas letter…a re-cap of the past year, if you will.

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Motherhood is a journey full of unexpected surprises. I know by now most of us have discovered that it’s much harder than we thought. I know most of us have also discovered that it’s more wonderful than we could have ever dreamed. But to say it’s full of ups and downs is an understatement. Like a roller coaster full of twists and turns, there are uphill battles that can seem to stretch on forever, and swooping let-downs. There are seasons full of joy and seasons full of heartache. Motherhood is unpredictable.

But what would you do if, just a few short years into your motherhood journey, you were given one of the most devastating surprises that a mother could possibly expect to receive? Your 3 year old son has been experiencing some developmental delays…and when doctors begin to investigate, the final diagnosis is this: he has a terminal illness – a genetic disorder passed onto him by a recessive gene that you and your husband both carry. It’s rare, but not rare enough to bypass YOUR family. He will continue to delay developmentally AND physically…and there is no cure.

And then, when things can’t get much worse, you look to your newborn little girl and wonder if her fate will be the same. There is only a 25% chance that she too will have this disease. Surely the odds will be in your favor that at least one of your children will be healthy….

The news comes back. This is a lottery you did not wish to win….but you beat the odds this time. Not only do you have to endure watching one of your children suffer with this disease…but BOTH of them.

This is exactly what happened to my friend, Stefanie Boyce. Not that long ago, the hypothetical story I just delivered to you was her reality. And the future of her children changed forever. Before the diagnosis, she was a “typical” mom just like me and you. She had the same dreams for her children that we all do…and in one doctor’s visit, it all changed.

I could go on telling you their story, but this video does it so much better than I could. Will you please stop just  a moment and get to know my friends? After you watch this video, please scroll down so I can continue to share my thouhts with you.

I want you to know their story because, surprisingly it’s one of the most inspiring stories you may ever hear. There is so much hope hiding in the midst of this tragic tale. Stefanie and Justin have chosen not to simply “survive” their circumstances but to THRIVE in them. A choice I don’t know I could make if I were in their shoes.

But so far that’s exactly what they have been doing. And I want to help them.

They are working to raise money to build a home that will better accommodate their children’s growing needs. Many of their friends, including myself, have committed to raising 1,000 dollars by next year to contribute to their efforts to raise the money.

In order to raise MY part of the funds, I have chosen to do something a little “radical”…I will be taking a leap of faith and, together with several friends, will be jumping out of an airplane on July 23, 2011 to raise money and awareness. A part of me is terrified (I have the most ridiculous fear of heights)…but when it comes down to it, it’s the least I can do.

So what would YOU do if you found out that your dreams for motherhood were going to be different than you thought? Thankfully, most of us will never have to experience the pain of that question.

But what would you do if you knew someone who does? Would you help?

I have been praying for your hearts to feel tender towards my friends. I know God will put the right people in place to help in their efforts. So I thank you in advance for those of you who I know are going to give generously.  I am hoping that this story will inspire you all…I would love for you to be a part of something so special and to be blessed the way I have. We hear stories like this all the time and can feel so helpless…but you really can make a difference. And there is no greater feeling than knowing you’re helping another person.

 If you wish to donate, you may do so  HERE.  I have 150 or so facebook followers of this blog. If everyone would just give 10 dollars, I would make MORE than my 1,000 dollar goal. No contribution is too small!

 If you’d like to know a little more about the campaign to raise money for this family, check out the video below or visit www.buildwiththeboyces.com. And please, spread the news around to your friends!

 THANK YOU!

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So I started to draft up this post to pay homage to one of my favorite subjects on this site…several weeks ago. Then I got sidetracked as always. It’s been WAAAY too long since I’ve done a Fun Photo Friday…so why wait one more day? Since it’s been a while, there are a few. A nice recap of the past few months :)

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