Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Amazing Faith

Recently, someone told me my faith was amazing.  What she did not know was at that very moment my faith was very, very weak.  My immediate thought,"if she only knew..."
My faith had become a small ember buried under  the ash of old wounds, the ash of forgotten hurts resurfaced, the ash of doing hard things,  the ash of longing unfulfilled.  The ashes smother and block out the fresh winds, that can spark even the smallest ember into a roaring flame.  

On top of the ashes someone has thrown new logs...the logs of everyday tasks, the logs of the mundane, the logs of unanswered questions, the logs of waiting for answers, the logs of not enough hours to complete the daily tasks. The logs wait for the flames to lick at them...consume them and bring the light and warmth, but the ember struggles to stay alive.  

Perhaps this is amazing faith
Perhaps the tiny flicker that can receive a fresh wind, a new stirring and leap into consuming flame is still amazing faith.  The amazement is in the potential not the size of the ember.  It still glows however faintly.  Still carries the capacity to light, to warm, to set a blaze all that it touches.  
Stir up the ashes oh Lord, Blow them away so your fresh wind can awake the ember. 

Consuming fire rise to tackle logs of daily life, turn the logs into life giving moments.  Turn the darkness into light, the cold into heat.  

Take my small ember and use it to light a fire.  Amazing Faith.  I believe my ember is enough.   

Friday, February 12, 2016

When I really, really want to quit

not one fighter in my boys bucket was surrendering...
I had to create my own flag.
Sometimes a voice in my head says, "I can't do this anymore." Sometimes sadly the voice of my lips says the same thing.  sigh. This morning the voice in my head was followed by another one, "but you will."  Yep, I will...I don't always know how, but I get up again, I put one foot in front of the other, I have one more heart to heart with one more of the wounded hearts.

I don't know if my words are reaching their hearts, I don't even know if their ears are listening, but I keep saying them. The battles are real.

My husband watches war documentaries (a lot).  One common thread I have seen is the military starts to lose ground and many times finally lose the war when they are fighting on too many fronts, also when they have very few if any allies. This seems to apply to chasing wounded hearts, too.
When several wounded hearts are struggling at the same time.  The days become long and wearisome.  My strength is depleted with no pauses in the battle I start to suffer battle fatigue. Couple this with a lack of supplies, no allies to come to my aid and redirect the battle fronts, and I start to lose the war. That is exactly when the words "I can't do this anymore" enter my head and pass over my lips. I am ready to surrender, admit defeat, and settle for whatever terms will bring peace to my home.  Only a heart of determination, a faith that God has called me to do this and He will rescue all of our wounded hearts if I just stand my position, keep me from throwing up the white flag.  

God is my greatest allie, my supply, my hope, my rest when I am weary.

However, I am realizing I need to have a battle plan. I need to finish well.  Thinking of war strategies, and battle plans, I realize I am not doing all I can to ensure victory and protect my troops from unnecessary losses.

The danger of fighting on too many fronts is that supplies become quickly depleted.  Time is the first "supply" depleted in the battle of wounded hearts.  I have found a few things that help free up time for the melt downs, the heart to heart talks, the bridge building, the snuggles, the tears, etc.  Menu planning is HUGE for us.  A lot of time can go into the feeding and care of nine people.  When there is something in the crockpot already the little scrimmages and even some larger battles don't deplete or throw off the day's battle plan.  When it's 4:30 and someone is falling apart over a homework assignment or the bickering is overwhelming, it is usually because I have no idea what I'm feeding the troops or I waited too long to start the preparations.  I need to find more ideas for when this crisis and my lack of  planning collide. Calling out for Pizza isn't always an option :-) Another sneak attack on my supply of time is definitely the internet.  I need to manage this time more wisely, sigh.

What about Allies? Have I identified all of the possible allies around me?  I think I fight way too many battles alone.  Do I have to? Are their ways to have more people come along side of me and build up the troops without dividing them?  Something I am definitely exploring very soon, like today and over the next few days as well.

What about R&R?  I don't think I take near enough breaks from the battle front to replenish my weariness.  I NEED to make intentional time to refresh my body, spirit, mind, etc.  I do take time each day to have a quiet cup of coffee and read a bit in God's word.  I read other good books, a little, a paragraph at a time while using the bathroom, anyone relate?  I try to take a short cat nap in the afternoon 2 - 3 times a week.  There are a lot of battles in the afternoon and evening.  I need this little replenishing of my strength.  I just don't think I step completely away and take care of me enough.

I need to remember also Who is fighting for me.  2 Kings 6:16-17 "'Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. 'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, 'Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.' Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." Lord, give me eyes to see how much you are fighting for all of us!

I definitely need to make a new battle plan. This is a new perspective for me. I hope it means I will have fewer "I can't do this" moments.  I hope the strategies will help me fight another day.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

This is what a week of wounded hearts looks like

The wounded hearts are real and so are the daily and weekly struggles.  This is our journey right now. This blog is my way of sharing, being transparent, and journaling the journey, so I can look back and see how far we have come.  Because I believe God will truly heal our wounded hearts. 

My wounded heart is struggling...I look back and can see so clearly that I am no longer the same person I was 20-25 years ago.  I am thankful for that, I don't know where that girl would be today.  But the truth is she is still a part of me.  Anyone else find it harder to forgive yourself than others?  I have regrets, I have to figure out how to embrace my past, because it has shaped the woman I am today.  God met me in that mess and changed my life forever, but these wounded hearts I live with have triggered thought processes that are still a mess.  Seeking God's wisdom and grace to sort out the mess is hard work and sometimes so painful I can't stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.  All the while helping the other wounded hearts to seek the same healing.  I have finally settled my heart and mind that I CANNOT fix these broken places even though more than anything I want to see us all whole.

My husband is lovingly being forced by God to deal with hurts that are 30 years old.  His old fears and wounds have been in control of his life for so long.  What coping methods did he use in the past that need to flee for his mind and heart to be truly free? He walks this journey almost alone I can stand with him, but I can't go where he needs to go.  God is there waiting. 

Our fourteen year old is hard working, easy going, but the wounds are real.  2016 could be life changing for him.  We would love to adopt this child, but his heart is struggling with identity.  We would love to give him a new name, but that means losing 14 years of being called by another name.  How does someone so young choose what is best for them in the face of all this one decision could mean for the rest of his life?
Found this gem yesterday at our local Salvation Army.  A real treasure!
Eleven year old read it and proclaimed, "I don't get it"

Our eleven year old professor is struggling to find his voice, his sense of humor, to navigate middle school, etc.  He is very bright, but the true absent minded professor.  He cannot stand any kind of correction, so he argues every point as far as he can.  If he is wrong in any area, he is unworthy in everything. (his perception of himself - not mine).  It is not all struggle I watched him brushing his 10 year old sisters hair a couple of nights ago.  These two fight about everything!! "She's humming too loud" "He is looking at me." etc. This tiny little moment brought hope to my momma heart.  We are becoming a family!

This ten year old girl is in such a hard place. The reason her brother was brushing her hair? She can't look at herself in the mirror.  I brushed her hair in front of the bathroom mirror, she would not look in the mirror at herself, at all.  I asked her, "what do you see when you look in the mirror at yourself?" After a long pause her response, "a dirty blanket"  How does a momma hear these words and not reveal the piercing of her own heart?  How does a momma respond to such shame and brokenness? I know the things that left her feeling dirty, before she came to our home at 22mos, but at ten years old it is not time to discuss them with her.  The dirt and shame have nothing to do with the princess she was created to be.  They are not the dirt and shame I struggle with because of my own choices...she simply had her innocence stolen.  I grieve the loss of what my daughter could have been, should have been.  For now I remind her that things happened to her before she came to this safe home and none of it was her fault.  Too simple, too shallow, to reach the deep wounds of her heart, but God...

blanket forts and clean laundry...

Our nine year old strong, bossy boy is wetting the bed again, almost nightly.  While making English muffins this morning we had a brief moment to talk about this...he misses his birth mom, doesn't know why she walked away, wonders if she is ok.  Oh sweet wounded boy, how do I tell you again that I don't know why she walked away, I can't know for sure if she is ok, I still believe she loves you and misses you.  I am here and I won't leave you, please, Lord don't take me from him. He is full of stress and worry... no nine year old boy should carry such pain.  He blames himself for so many things and tries to be helpful and be good because the fear tells him he has to or other people will leave him, too.  I whisper softly, once again, "Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. You can trust him." 

Our eight year old boy is a mess.  He is in everyone's business and insisting on having his own way even if it is at the expense of the relationship.  He is trying so hard to make a good impression, a willing helper (on his terms), but he must have the last word, he must be involved in every situation in the home.  Why?  Maybe King Baby?  His whole identity was the baby when he came to our home.  This identity was so fierce that I couldn't baby him.  I had to set such strong boundaries and expectations that I think he lost so much of his childhood.  How do we get that back?  Maybe he needs more snuggles, more time to just be little, but time marches on and third grade is no place for a 3 or 4 year old. 

That leaves a five year old and a two year old.  Their hearts are stronger than most of us.  Their wills are equally strong. They play, they fight, they make blanket forts, they pull each others hair... I carried the two year old upstairs to take a nap, and she yells over my shoulder to her sister, "love you, hon." These are the treasures.  These are the gifts that encourage my momma heart to strive for another day, to pray, to seek, to trust, to believe.  

This is our journey.  Our places to leave stones of remembrances, so we can look back and praise God for all that He has done!