Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day

In 2009 Mother’s Day changed for me. It’s a behemoth of emotions. A beast of thanksgiving, appreciation, guilt and grief.

Thanksgiving because I am a mother. A mother to five unique, thriving, challenging, life-loving children that make me better. For that, I give thanks.

Appreciation for the mother I was givenAn overwhelming realization that I had it so very good. The best of the best gave me my start. For my grandmother and her mother and the legacy passed on through their hearts and hands. For the mother that raised my husband in to a man. I am indebted.

Guilt because I had no choice in it. Chance…fate…call it what you will, but nothing I did or didn’t do gave me the privilege I was born in to. The country, the color of my skin, the education, the family of faith and hard workers…a family of love. Chance.  A sour taste in my mouth that I can give them the life she couldn’t. A confusing mix of questions that wonders why me.  A realization that there is no answer that comes but the responsibility that does. A guilt unnecessary and uncalled for but felt just the same.

Grief. Unhinged, uncontainable grief for a birth mom. A longing for a young mother that the system and this world completely failed. Her family failed her. The Church failed her. A young mom I met on a park bench  that desired to keep her children safe and give them the opportunity for a different, healthy life. A young mom that knew she wasn’t capable of supplying that. A mom that chose life for her children but was unable to trust us after years of getting love and being used confused. My heart fractures  a thousand times over remembering that day . A mourning for what could have been and a life untouched by real agony.  An anguish I see my children struggle with in different ways at different stages. A loss so real and raw and unimaginable that I can never fully heal for them. An unnatural loss. A rip the flesh from your chest and leave a gaping pain type of loss. A hole that seems to heal and close over and with a sound or smell or a moment of happiness can erupt open to expose the wound deep inside.

Mother’s Day. A brutally beautiful day filled with the inexplicable emotions of a life fully lived. A life of big love and big loss and appreciation and grief and redemption. A day of remembering, celebrating, grieving, and praising. A day that has forever changed for me. A day for life moms and mom’s for life. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Some love.

19 years ago 2 kids planned for their marriage instead of their wedding day. They were smart and kind and focused on a life together with Jesus.

And it was good and it was hard.

Job changes, sick parents, children, adoption and more of other people’s children…Resources stretched thin and budgets thinner. Shift work, and sports schedules, surgeries and health scares, dance recitals and tutoring. The business of life competed for their attention. Parenting styles, spender and saver, impulsive and planner, logical thinker and heart responder, open communicator and a blank stare. Freakishly disciplined and bored with routine. Conservative right and progressive moderate. One that’s right and one that isn’t:) Marriage is not for the weak. I don’t know if God puts us with the one that will challenge our weaknesses or he just has a warped sense of humor. We have spent years laughing together and other years clinging to one another when we wanted to run. Marriage has been my greatest blessing and biggest challenge. There have been days I’ve not been able to picture my life without him and days I’ve wondered how we ever made it past the first date. Ours isn’t the fairy tale you often read about. You won’t be seeing us frolicking through the open field on the big screen anytime soon. Ours isn’t the love they write about. Ours is the love they should.

I think we unfairly show a love that few have. A love it’s easy to feel jealous of, truth be told. A love I think people spend a lifetime searching for instead of investing in the one they have. I think some loves start like an intense love and infatuation and when it starts to require work we have been taught in error that love shouldn’t be that hard. Love is hard. Some love requires work. Some love requires sacrifice and compromise. Some love looks different from year to year but is love just the same. Some love goes to counseling and cries late in to the night trying to get back on track. Some love says I blew it again but will keep on trying. Some love grasps hands at the end of the day and asks God to help you make it through another. Some love asks for forgiveness a hundred times over. Some love needs a daily reminder not to keep score. Some love works hard to focus on the good when it’s standing in the middle of stink. Some love isn’t perfect, made for the big screen, flower filled, romantic gesture, warm fuzzy, never disagree, filled with quality time together goodness. Some love just keeps fighting through the stink when the water gets murky. Some love keeps breaking through the mask of the life worn person they see to get to the heart of who they know. Some love knows that this season may be difficult but there is a new season waiting if we just choose to love through this one. Some love is a process. A journey. Some love hasn’t made it to its’ final destination but chooses to stay on the path.  

Learn to appreciate that some love. Learn that if your marriage doesn’t look like the movies this week that if you hang on long enough you’ll find your own amazing love story. Know your love is worthy. Know that at year 25, the stink of year 9 and 10 won’t matter. Know that love is more than passion and fireworks, flowers and fanfare. Some love hunkers down and does the work. Some love says you stunk today but I’m gonna be here tomorrow. Some love wants to flip the other in the forehead one day and kiss it the next. 

19 years ago after dating for 5 years, we stood and we didn’t say I do. We said, I will. I always will. The beauty of our story, of our love, is better than any of the tough stuff. When I look back and see the family we have built, the life we have lived…there is not a single other person I would rather do this with. No one else would have gone for this crazy. When I look back I see a love that is real and deep and lasting. I see a love that reflects God’s presence in our life. Not a love of perfection, not a love free of struggle but a love full of grace and goodness. A love full of redemption and sacrifice. A love of persistence and joy and forgiveness and beauty. A love I am proud of. A love I’d choose a thousand times over. A love I look at and say, now that, that is some love. Some love.