My babies are gone this week. Yes, all week. They are with their grandparents, getting spoiled, swimming, drinking chocolate milk, and driving a golf cart through a pole barn. (Nobody got hurt.)
in no particular order
I actually eat less because I am not eating in a panic. I don’t eat because I’ve
found 30 seconds when nobody needs anything and I might be hungry later so I’d
better eat now. I just eat when I’m hungry.Weird.
I am nicer to our pets. I actually have affection and patience to spare for the furry
I still think like a kid.My thoughts think as
if they are here. The children are stuck in my head.
I notice the tractor and I want to
say “Hey, look! A tract-y!” or “Look that cloud looks like a turtle!” We
finally got some rain, and it was beautiful, warm and heavy. I wanted to say
“It’s raining! Let’s go outside on the trampoline!” I was sad that they were
not there to frolic in it with me.
You said you are “fine,” and your
eyes try to smile but I can see in your quick looking-away that you are not
fine. Nobody here would understand, you think. Nobody here has real problems.
They all love God and love each other and here I am with this oozing wound that
they can’t see, and I can’t let them see because they wouldn’t understand.
Dear sister, you are not alone
sitting there with your bleeding heart.
You are not the only one
Whose hands are bloody, whose heart
is stained and broken;
Whose heart has erupted violent
hatred against God and others;
Whose breath has been taken away by
grief or betrayal;
Who screams questions at the God who
died for you.
You are not the only one who cries
on the inside while trying to keep the smile on the outside.
Why do I write
when it is risky? Why risk being misunderstood or simply wrong, here in this
very public place?
I write because I
am learning who I am, how God made me. I am a writer. My entire life
makes more sense now that I say it out loud, now that I mean it:
I am a writer.
The ability to
write is one of the things that God is growing in my garden. I try to share with you those flowers that God
is growing in me and around me. This is part of my vocation as a wife and
mother and friend. It is part of my vocation in the church and in the world.
There are plenty
of weeds in my garden, to be shure. [sic] There are plenty of ugly things, and
I have bad days, when I sit down at the computer and vomit through my fingers. I
try not to pass that on. Even so, the
hard things and the nasty feelings may lead me to learn or receive something
from God, and from the receiving comes the writing; the good kind, the kind
that makes you laugh or encourages you.
Out of the dirt
grows a flower. I pick the flower and I put it in a vase and I pass it along to
you. I hope you enjoy the flower. I hope
you know who grew it in me and thank Him for it, too. I hope you can ignore the
grammar mistakes and the dirt. I hope I am presenting you with a
flower and not just a weed that I have grown to like. I can’t always tell.
It’s not the
same gift everyone else has, and some people don’t understand it at all.
I might whine
that somebody isn’t taking the time to appreciate my flower- picking, and
neglect to notice that he is consumed by the use of his own gifts, in fixing
computers or caring for souls or taking out the trash. But then I remember that
other people have their own gardens to tend. Perhaps this particular flower wasn’t
meant for him (or her.)
I pick my
flowers and I wonder why in the world other people do other things. Why spend
your day worrying about engine efficiency? Why spend hours learning html code? Why,
when there are flowers to gather, when there is grace to enjoy?
those people have different things growing in them, and that is God’s work,
too. And I will learn that, when my computer breaks, when I need a different
kind of gardener. And I will be amazed at the strange and useful gifts in the
person who has come to my rescue. And I will thank God.
I love when the
kids pick wild flowers from the yard and bring them in to me. They give me a
gift, that cost them nothing other than the time to pick it, and they are thanked
for it. And rightly so: they noticed the beauty around them, they gathered it,
and they couldn't help to share it with me.
I try to do that
same thing here in this cyber place.
I notice, I gather, and I use words to pass
the grace along.
You are living your own day, running through your list, tending your own
garden. Your garden is filled with your own weeds and gifts and worries. I imagine
you, when you come here, stopping for just a minute, taking a breath, and allowing
my words into your day. What a privilege
that is for me, to be with you in your work or in your rest. I hope my words
are a slowing down and a pointing up and a passing on of blessings.
They want to remember ever detail, but soon they will be on to the next thing.
Mother, help your child remember summer camp!
Take time to listen, and make a memory!
Get the questions here
How was summer camp?
1.What did you normally do
first thing in the morning? When did you wake up?
2.What did you do after
3.Tell me your favorite
foods at camp. Was there anything you didn’t like?
4.Tell me three things
about your counselor.
5.What did you do in the
6.Tell me about some of
the games you played.
7.Did you do anything at
camp that you have NEVER done before? How did it go?
8.Who did you sit with at
9.Tell me about at least
one new friend you made.
10.Did you grow closer to
any of your other friends?
11.What did you do after
12.Did you have any snacks?
13.Tell me something you
learned about God.
14.What did you do during
15.Did you read or write
anything this week?
16.Were you ever scared at
17.Did the kids in your
cabin get along well?
18.Who were your three
favorite staff people?
19.Tell me three of your
favorite camp songs.
20.Did you get any mail or
email from anyone? What did they say?
21.Tell me a funny story.
22.Did anything sad happen?
Did you or anyone else get homesick or injured?
23.Did you pack everything
24.Tell me about another
new friend you made this week.
25.What was campfire like?
26.Tell me something else
you learned during camp devotions.
27.Did you ever stay up
talking after lights out?
28.If you go to camp again,
what do you want to do again next year?
29.Is there anything you
don’t want to do again next year?
30. Tell me the absolute best thing about camp
Thank you God for giving
me a great week at camp! Thank you for the counselors and staff who worked
together to make everything happen, and for all the people who give money to
the camp ministry. Thank you for the
time I got to spend in Your creation, meeting new friends and having fun with
old friends. Thank you for all the things I learned from Your Word, and most of
all, thank you for the gift of your son Jesus. Amen
There’s something about the sun when it is warm, but not too warm, that stills my body. A blanket on the grass, and a gentle breeze, and suddenly I have forgotten all the work undone.
The warm sun quiets my busyness.
The breeze blows away my constant restless doing of things.
The summer air soothes me, teaches me to just BE.
I lean back in the arms of God’s creation, and I rest.
Not long after I wrote that last post on setting aside technology, I tried it.
I walked away from the computer, and I left my phone behind. I grabbed an old sheet, and I walked with the children down to the pond. I had no agenda. We were not going to get anything done. No weeding, no teaching, no deliberate exercising.
I spread out the blanket, and I sat.
with open hands and open eyes and an open lap.
The children buzzed around, playing with sticks, showing me this and that. I listened to every word, I responded with enthusiasm and eye contact. When they wanted to sit by me, I pulled them closer with welcoming hands. Some of them did sit, for a moment or two, soaking up their available mommy and her affection. One boy laid his head on me until he noticed a stick that needed to be thrown into the water. He ran off.
A few minutes later, his sister took his spot.
Aggie sang quietly, and laid her head on my lap. She’s one of the big kids, so she does not get my lap to herself very often. I stroked her hair because I know she loves it when I do that.
Do you see it? Do you notice the scar on her head right there?
I wear a matching scar on my heart.
I sat there in the warm sun, far away from my jobs and my busyness, and my fingers played in her hair. I could “see” the empty spot in her brain where the tumor used to be. My heart winced, reminded of the great risk that comes with loving this child, every child.
My heart winced and drew back, afraid of pain and loss. But the sun and the breeze and the grace of God soothed even my heart, even this heart with this scar.
A tight heart braced for loss and for pain is a closed heart. Open hearts receive and love. And open hearts get hurt.
Father, How could I ever love another if I did not know Your great love for me? Conquer the fear in me, and teach me to stay open to love, despite the risk. In the name of Jesus, who poured out his blood and His heart for me, Amen
How about you?
Do you feel the temptation to keep your heart closed for fear of pain and loss?
Do you keep yourself busy and distracted with technology or something else to avoid this whole issue?
Have you read our story yet? Weak and Loved: A Mother-Daughter Love Story by Emily Cook Now available on Amazon.com $9.99 kindle$4.99 epub $4.99 Aggie had a brain tumor that disrupted her young life; her mother’s sin and selfishness disrupted her best attempts to care for her. Written from the perspective of a mother who suffers with her child, Weak and Loved allows readers to experience the struggles of faith and encouragement of God. Readers will enter the difficult, earthy, and sometimes humorous world of a sick child, and be pleased to find the beauty of God's love in Christ even there.
I hope you enjoy her first post!
Weak, Loved, and Healing
by Angie Durnil
don’t always take the opportunity to read as much as I did before my children
came along. However, in the last year, I have read more books than
in the past 5 years put together. Why you ask? I was searching for answers, so I made time for myself
work full time. I am a full time mom. Approximately 50%
of the time, I am solely responsible for our household. My husband
travels, sometimes without much notice and usually is gone for a week at a
time. This leaves me in charge of the girls and all of their
activities, homework, the household, the finances, the animals, the yard work,
etc. You get the picture. Now, I am not saying that I do
any of this particularly well, especially the cooking, but it does get done. Ok,
most of it anyway.
this last year or so, I had to make decisions when our youngest daughter kept
getting sick and the doctor’s didn’t know why. I worked the finances
between expense checks and pay checks and paid things on time. I was doing all kinds of things around me,
except for taking time for me. I wasn’t strong in advocating for
myself and taking care of myself. In fact, I was quite weak and
started to crumble. I was only fooling myself into thinking I was
strong. I didn’t take care of my needs, my feelings, my health –
mentally or physically. My migraines were getting worse and my blood
pressure kept going up.
was a tough year on top of all the other things already described. I
found myself one day, very depressed. Just sitting there… in this
pit… this hole… this mire of pity and loneliness, sadness, contempt,
and rage, even though there were family and friends around me
offering to help if I needed it. I found myself wondering, How did I get this far in this
hole? How did it get this bad? What can I do to get out
of this place? I had bouts of depression before, but nothing
What to do?
desperate for answers. I had convinced myself that I was praying ALL
wrong; that I was saying the wrong words, imposing my will on His and He wasn’t
hearing me. I would pray at night for hours in lieu of sleep, trying
to get the right words out, only to fall in a heap of tears and desperation
when I was sure I was failing at that too.
reached out for help, finally. I was told to think about all the
things I was doing and saying. I wasn’t praying wrong, not really, I
just wasn’t trusting God with the burdens I was carrying. I was sure
that I could do it better; after all, I was strong enough to do these other
things. If I could just get
him to do this, and her to do that… I
knew the answers, right? Wrong!!! I was already
praying for all of the things going on around me, but I realized, I wasn’t praying for me. I
wanted everyone else to stop what they were doing wrong and that’s what I
prayed for. Those things overwhelmed me, and I so wanted and needed
to be out this pit, but I wasn’t praying for it. I was praying for
the things around me to stop; or that I could change it; or that He would just
tell me what to do; because I needed to DO something!
The very first book I read showed me the errors in my thinking. I don’t
need to DO anything, other than pray and trust that the Lord will
prevail. And He always does. I don’t need to be strong
for me. I need to be weak. I need to be like a beggar in my prayers. I
need to wholly trust that God will guide me, that He will put the lamp to my
feet and guide my path. I need to be patient and pray
unceasingly. And it is ok to be weak, because the Lord is strong
just as he told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for
my power is made perfect in weakness.” He will be my strength for me! He
hears my cries for mercy and He is near!
Weak, Loved, and Healing
loves me, wholly and completely. He sent His Son to die for my
sins! He loves me even though I am weak and
impatient. I continue to pray and some things are
better. Some things haven’t changed. My spirit is
slowly lifting and I can feel the warmth of the sunshine again surround me like
a warm blanket in the middle of winter.
I cannot say my journey of reading and making some time for myself has cured me
of my depression, it has helped me, along with prayer, medication and reaching
out to others. After all, now I know that it is ok to be WEAK in the
eyes of God, because He LOVES me.
Take a minute to encourage my dear friend with a comment,
would you please?
Angie, It is such a joy to see God's work in you! May He wrap you in the warm comfort of His solid love for you. Emily
“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived...Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation... Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”
She rested on my hip, her soft baby thigh in my hand. I held her chubby thigh underneath the frills of her dress. The pink clip in her hair fell out, again. I squatted down to grab it, and she giggled loudly. I tried to shush her. “Mommy’s not trying to wrestle you right now honey! It’s church time!”
She grabbed for my earring to chew. I took them off, set them on the pew next to the small pink shoes she’d released earlier.
She gave me slobbery kisses.
She was just the baby, and I was just her mommy.
She put her arm around my neck and rested her head on my shoulder for a moment while the hymn played.
I remember climbing a tree with a pen in my mouth. Then I would find a comfortable branch, and I’d feel the breeze, and the quiet moment made me sigh and pause and reflect. I couldn’t reflect without writing. The journals filled.
I was in elementary school and writing the insides of heart in a small book with a gold lock and a tiny key. I was terrified that I would lose that little key.