Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mama Verses the Dentist: Worry and the Sovereignty of God

I had a spiritual breakthrough yesterday. At the dentist's office. Actually it was my son's dentist office. 

Titus sorta doesn't like going to the dentist. Like a we pray for days leading up to the visit that he'll open his mouth this time aversion. We've bribed him with everything under the sun, and I confess in my darker moments I've wanted to beat the tar out of him if he doesn't open his blessed little mouth

We made progress this particular day as I didn't have to physically carry him to the back from the waiting room. Instead he was plastered to my leg as I awkwardly hefted the carseat containing the newest chick through the halls. We passed by the open space with a row of petite dental chairs containing the compliant children on our way to the back room. One that has a door. Because this ain't our first rodeo, and we clearly have warning notes on our file. 

I promised that kid a straight up skate board if he would sit in the chair by himself. No chance. So I squeezed into the little person dental seat with a 61 pound 1st grader laid out on top of me as the hygienist attempted to work in between his sobs.  For a routine cleaning, ya'll. They didn't even use the scraper. JUST THE HARMLESS SPINNING TOOTHBRUSH. When it was time to use the suction thingy...utter wig out. And don't get me started on applying the fluoride foam.

Finally, Cutesy Hygienist Girl finishes and I assume we can all breathe a sigh of relief that it's over for another six months. And then she says, "Dr. Greenlief will be in to check you in just a few minutes." 

Cue fresh panic greater than the first. 

She goes out to "let him know we're ready". But bless her darling bones, I think she needed a break from our brand of drama. I have nothing but love for her. She was totally patient and kind and over the top gentle. I feared for her fingers the entire time she was working in Titus' mouth.

Alone with my boy, I attempted to turn down the dial on the terror. I asked why he was afraid of the dentist. The hygienist had already done the hard stuff. All that was left was for the dentist to look in his mouth with a mirror. 

And so we got to the bottom of it. My little fella was terrified that the dentist (who is no small guy) was going to do something to inflict epic pain. And he had no power to stop him

I didn't pause to pray about it. There was no scripture quoted. I simply responded with this guttural truth:

Titus, do you think that the dentist is the boss here? I am your Momma, son, and I AM IN CHARGE OF YOU. Which means that dentist can't do one thing to you that I don't allow. If I tell him to only look in your mouth with a mirror, he can only look in your mouth with a mirror. What I say concerning you is what goes. 

I said it with absolute confidence and complete authority. Because it's true. I birthed that boy which means the dentist has to go through me to get to him. Besides, I pay the bill. Okay, Nate pays the bill. 

Meanwhile, as I was dealing with my child's fear, I got a good glimpse of my own. And in the same moment I spoke to my son, God was speaking to me on the matter of some fears I've been wrestling with lately: 

Child, do you think the world around you is in charge here? Your fear exposes your belief. When you worry, when you fret, when you allow terror to run wild in your mind, you are buying into the lie that this world can have it's way with you. I am your Father, and I am in charge of you. Not one thing can happen to you that I don't allow. The powerful forces that you think are in control are under my domain. And they have to go through me to get to you. If I do allow pain, it is for a good that you can't comprehend. I won't let anything happen to you that I don't deem purposeful. I work all things to your good, child. Your times are in my hands.  

The craziest thing happened yesterday. Titus fully believed the truth that the dentist answers to me. Probably because I repeated that little speech when Dr. Greenlief came in the room. I got a bizarre look from the big guy, but that's another post. What matters is this: 

My son saw me as more powerful than the object of his fear. He believed I would intercede if needed. He trusted that I loved him enough to. 

And the kid opened his mouth.

What would change if you and I consistently believed the same? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To Grieve a Little

I've heard it twice now. But it was the second time that got me. Something along the lines of,

"You knew what you were signing up for" after I disclosed the fear and pain of potentially seeing this little one leave. 

Why, yes. Yes I did. 

We walked into this with eyes wide open. We accepted the likelihood of sending children back after loving them. We knew the danger for heartache and pain. We considered the negatives. We weighed all the risks. 

But in the end, we found them worth it. This sweet baby who's tethered to my heart, he's worth loving. 

And he's worth grieving. 

I don't feel one ounce of hesitation about weeping over him. Being informed of the facts beforehand won't keep me from missing him when he's gone. Or loving him till the day I die. 

My grief means I've loved deep. And I think Jesus is okay with that. 

He loved deep too. 

In fact, He had his own bout with grief. He grieved even though he knew He had signed up for it upon entering planet earth. 

Because part of living in this feeble skin is loving and losing. 

And knowing pain is coming doesn't make it's punch hurt any less.

He suffered loss. It cut deep. 

And He wept.

He wept even though He knew He was going to set it all right

I weep even though I believe that, too. 

If you're in a season of grief, keep this in mind: grieving deeply is not a sign of a weak faith. It's the evidence of a strong love. 

And the loss of a beloved is always worth grieving. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Motherhood and the Six Year Adventure Slump

Are there any other moms out there who remember the life they once lived? You know... before children. 

Am I the only one who misses it? 

Because at the risk of sounding ungrateful and whiny, I sometimes pine for my old lifeThe way it was exciting and wide open and untethered. I miss living unrestricted to do big stuff with God. And the thrill I got from it. 

And quite frankly, sometimes this mom thing doesn't feel big. Or adventurous. Or thrilling. I get lost in the find another episode of Dora and break up another fight and fix another snack sameness of it all. 

In my darker moments I'm completely jealous of my husband. The way he has seeming freedom to pursue goals and plan plans and pull it all off. And I can remember when I had that.

Enter Titus six years ago. Then two more since then. And I know lots of people have way more than that, but wow does it feel like a lot today. Because all of these little people mean someone needs to care for them.

And I can't figure out a way to do that well and all the other big stuff too.

So that girl with the unfettered sense of adventure is in an adventure slump. For six straight years.

Meanwhile there is still a corner of my brain that hums with a constant working of big ideas. And I can't shut it up

I have all those same dreams and desires AND kids. But without the confidence that I can still do the big stuff. Or the conviction that I should do the big stuff.

Because isn't raising kids big enough? 

Before I had them, I thought it would be. 

This is so not a conversation about the worthy pursuit of motherhood. I already know what I'm doing is important. But can I bear my soul without judgment for two seconds and say 

Sometimes the other important stuff seems like more fun.

I've had this conversation with Jesus one billion times in the last six years.

I whine and complain. And ask him why He gave me all these dreams and then asked me to put them on the shelf. 

He reminds me that there is a time for everything and a season for every purpose under heaven. 

I ask Him if I'll still have a brain by the time my season gets here.

He asks me to be a living sacrifice, dying to self so I can train up these children in the way they should go and love them the way He loves me.

And I try. I really doBut the thing about being a living sacrifice is that it can crawl down off the altar. At will. 

I see the altar in the distance and realize I'm off it again. I wish He would just tie me on, already. Sometimes I wonder how many times I'll repeat the scenario. 

Probably until I'm all the way dead. 

Until then, I pick up the baby who's crying and sit down to the tea party in Anna's room. I breathe a repentant prayer, asking for the grace to love and train the tiny chicks He has placed in my nest. 

It won't be long before they fly. And I want them to be ready for the adventure.