As a general rule, I try not to be sappy, but if it affects me enough to write about it, chances are – I’ll be sappy. Oh, and long winded. This is no exception, on either count.
As the kids are getting older, I am trying to wrap my mind around what I want to do regarding the church situation. I am glad that I was brought up in the church. I believe in the values I was grounded in, and am not resentful of the teachings I was told. Unfortunately, I have come to the place where I cannot bear to deal with the other facets of church; the human side of hypocrisy, politics and the forced worship. I feel that to go now, would be a lie to my kids that I stand behind the current institution of church. I don’t want them to know ‘their’ version of God who is stale, unavailable, and trite. That’s not the God that I serve. That is not the creator I praise for the millions of moments that make up my life. This week showed me that the true God will find me, no matter where.
As I posted previously, this week has been full and wonderful. Throughout the week I have had those moments when your heart is stirred. Those moments that are going along when suddenly, you feel a physical beat change of your heart, and it startles you enough to really look around you. When I have felt this, I have seen true beauty and blessings in my 9-5 life. Think last act of ‘Our Town’.
I have been rocking Ava to sleep the last few nights as she is transitions away from her pacifier (yea!) and as she nods off in my arms, I’ve been watching her. And as my eyes lose focus on her; I can picture my brand new Ava sleeping the same exact way with her full, rose, perfectly pouty lips opened ever so slightly, just like she would after she was done feeding. And another night as I bent over her in the bathtub, she put her head on my shoulder, the moment hits when I genuinely said to myself “Really, God? She’s mine?” and felt the wonderful weight of being chosen to be a mother. I realize that the God I serve is responsible for this stubborn, giggly, sassy, intelligent, standoffish, perfect fireball in my arms.
Trying desperately to get the video camera to record Ava as she woke up on her birthday, cursing under my breath as I can see nothing but black; I capture just the sound of Owen greeting Ava with “Happy Birthday!” the second she comes into sight. In that moment I have captured my son’s gut wrenching abandon to love and loyalty to his sister and her happiness. This happened again as he snuck into her room in the morning to put a sticker under her pillow from the “Bop Fairy”; and yet again as he sat for 15 minutes helping Ava decide on what color nail polish to choose, never once asking for anything for himself. The God I serve, he has formed my son’s heart.
I have noticed how my heart lifts just like the kids and the dog, when Jason’s key is in the door. In walks my best friend, their dad, and our family is complete. While I am incredibly blessed to have our house that I love, I know then that it doesn’t matter what door he would be walking through, we would all feel the same when he enters. The God I serve has given this feeling of contentment.
I have also had the opportunity to sing a few times with my brother lately. (Oh gosh – I wish there was a way I could say this and not sound like a yahoo, but there’s not. Barf on me if you must, I understand.) But as we sing, I’m connected to the person I truly am. Suddenly we are kids, with our heads out the window whispering as we watch a storm roll in… Two tiny bodies splashing in the lake at sunset… Picking berries and mosquito bites in summer…laughing at the world in the back of a station wagon. My brother connects me to the part of myself that is always there, waiting, unaffected by career goals, motherly duties, adult life; just me. He was my first friend, enemy, confidant, betrayer, hero and love. You never try to be different for your sibling the way you do for your parents, society, even your spouse. You have the courage to make them take you as you are. Daily life and getting older gets in the way of that, but when we sing we are connected as we always have been. My God has given me this bond.
Ava and I were upstairs while O was playing by himself. He came running up the stairs telling me that he just heard someone calling his name. I asked if he thought maybe it could have been Ava and I talking. He responded “No. It was someone whispering…Owen, Owen.” He then told me that he thought that it was Jesus, reminding him that He was there protecting him. Later that night after he was tucked into bed, he came barreling out after a car with a loud stereo system drove by. “Mom, I’m really sorry I’m out of bed…but I couldn’t hear Jesus protecting me over that loud car!”
The God I serve has been there with me every day this week, stopping my heart as he calls my name with his creation. I will stop feeling guilty that God doesn’t come to me every 9:30 Sunday morning with my hands folded in prayer. He whispers my name, filling me with joy and his presence, and I will try like my son, to listen.