2020 A Year of Vision

As the new year approaches, I’ve been pondering on my word. I don’t do resolutions, but I do pick a word to set my mind for the new year, something to center myself around and keep me working toward.

At first, the word focus spoke to me, and in many ways it still does. There are so many things I need to divert my attention in the upcoming months. Grad school starts in about two weeks and I’m so very nervous. No doubt, it will require a ton of focus.

Aside from this, I am currently working on my second novel and would love to have a rough draft complete by the end of February. This, too, requires my thoughts, my devotion, my time.

Then, there’s my family. Since my little daddy passed away nearly two years ago, my heart has focused on the loss. I don’t want to do that in the new year. Instead, I want to focus on the love of those I still have in my life.

In short, focus has weighed heavy on me.

Focus on the love instead of the loss. Focus on the dream instead of the despair. Focus on the present instead of the past. Focus on the now instead of the never. Focus on the joy instead of the junk. Focus on the better instead of the bitter. Focus on God instead of the gloom.

God. How do I focus on Him? With prayer, with everyday actions, with reading His word.  And what does His word say about focus?

After church today, that was the question bouncing around my head. Tonight, I searched the it, the word that has been hovering in my headspace for the last week and what I found shocked me. What does the Bible say about focus?

Nothing. Not a single thing.

This threw a wrench in my plan. I don’t want to waste my time and plan my year around a word that God Himself doesn’t use a single time in scripture. Instead of scrapping the thought, altogether, though, I wanted to dive in deeper.

What does one need to focus? Eyes, sight, a focal point. A vision.

Vision.

That’s what you have to have to focus. Eagerly, I typed this word in the search bar and hit enter. The showcased verse that popped up did not disappoint. It was, ironically, Habakukk 2:2 and said:

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

That’s what I want to do. To see with perfect 20/20 vision in the year 2020, write down what God reveals on the tables of my heart, and run, fast and furious, head down and hard toward the high mark He has called me to.

Vision.

It’s my word, my goal, and my prayer for the year. Beyond doubt, I know if I stay within God’s will, He will sharpen my focus and fulfill the calling He’s placed on my life, all the while doing so with a heart of contentment.

❤ Like Baby Bear Soup

 

God is Bigger

On hard days, God is bigger.

On happy days, God is bigger.

On days like dreams or nightmares,

God is still bigger.

I have been away for a while, a loooonnnngggg while, but I feel the urgency to speak again welling up in me. My God is doing a work I have been waiting for a long time now. He is filling me full again, full of compassion, love, sorrow, and hope simultaneously.

It has been a difficult time. My daddy, who I love dearly, is battling cancer. Surgery is not an option. The doctors say it is incurable. He can no longer eat or drink, and a feeding tube supplies him of the nutrients he needs daily. I have cried and begged for healing. I have prayed for comfort and peace. I have asked for strength.

My God has been gracious enough to supply all this, and more. Healing, for my heart, is happening. I am accepting of His will and know He has purpose. He has walked me through the hard days and carried me when I was too weak.

My daddy is still sick. He is still discouraged and downhearted. He still cannot eat or drink.

But there is hope.

God is filling me with unexplainable hope and joy through all of this. Yes, I am heartbroken, but I am filled with peace today. Today is good a day.

Though I know there are rough days ahead. It is likely sometime in the near future I will have to say goodbye to my daddy on this earth, unless God choses to do a miracle, which I wouldn’t put it past Him. There are days I will be overwhelmed by heartbreak and loneliness.

But through it all, God is bigger.

I know this in my heart of hearts. In the deepest crevices of my soul, it echoes and soothes me, revives and sustains me. I will survive, and though I will cry, I will smile again. The joy He has given me will not quenched but beat with my heart. It might hide for a season. It might be only a memory on some nights. But like annuals in a garden, it will bloom again, and again, and again.

Because God is bigger.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  -Psalms 51:12

The House Call

Are you dying? 

No.

Are you lying? 

No. 

That’s not what the doctor says.

I know. 

The doctor said you’re dying.

I heard him.

Tell me the truth. Are you dying? 

No, love. I’m not.

Are you sure?

Yes, very.

Then why does the doctor say you are?

Because he’s a smart man, a man who knows what the human body can and cannot do. He understands the breathing of the lungs and the beating of the heart. He knows what books have told him and professors have taught him. 

So he’s right, then?

No. He’s wrong.

But you said he knows what the human body can and cannot do. 

He does.

He says you have days, at best. 

I know what he says and he’s right. I do have days.

Then, you are dying?

No, I’m not. Do me a favor. Close your eyes.

Can you still hear me? 

Yes.

Do you still know I’m beside you?

Yes. 

Am I alive or dead?

Alive. 

How do you know?

Because you’re talking to me. You’re sitting next to me. I can feel you there. 

Do you feel me only when I’m in the same room you are?

No.

When else can you feel me near you?

I can feel you when I wear your jacket. The one mom calls a letterman. It’s big and wraps around me the way you do when you hug me.

If my heart wasn’t beating, would you still feel me when you put that coat on?

I don’t know.

Let’s see then. Put it on.

This is silly.

Old men usually are. Put it on. 

Fine. 

Can you feel me? 

Yes. 

How about now?

Yes. Nothing’s changed.

Open your eyes. Has anything changed?

Yes. 

What? 

You’re not in the room with me anymore. 

Can you see me?

No. You’re behind the door standing in the hallway.
Can you hear me?

Yes. The walls are thin.

Can you feel me?

Yes, just like a hug.

Okay then. Let me ask you again. If my heart stopped beating at this very moment, would you still feel me? 

I don’t know. How could I know that?

Can you right now?

Yes, but your heart is beating. I can still hear you when you call me. You’re just behind the door.

Death is only a door, my dear, and the walls between you and me will always be thin. 

But you’re not dying. You said so yourself.

I know and I didn’t lie. I’m not dying. I’m just leaving the room. I am simply stepping into another hallway where you can’t see me, like the one I’m standing in right now. I am not dying, just leaving the room. 

The doctor is here.

Leave the door open for him, love.

You can go in if you want, Dr. Holmes. 

But he’s already left the room.

❤️ Like Baby Bear Soup

New Mom, I Mean It When I Say That’s Great

When I see you in the store with your new bundled blessing, I guarantee I’ll smile. I’ll look you right in your love filled eyes and tell you your little one is beautiful. I’ll comment on the baby’s hair or eyes or lips, whichever feature jumps out and grabs me, making my insides crave that newborn stage again. I’ll gladly hold your little one if you offer and talk to the babe the way I did mine when he was little.

I’ll nod in understanding while you tell me of the ease of the delivery or the difficulty you had. I’ll ask you how you’re doing and genuinely listen to your answer. It’s not been so long ago my son was new I don’t remember those first few weeks and everything they entail. I’ll laugh a little with complete understanding when you say you’re tired and remind you to sleep when you can. I’ll stress the importance of taking care of yourself, both for you and your little one. I’ll smile when you tell me your mom’s been there to help.

“That’s great,” I’ll say.

Then I’ll quickly change the subject to ask how the baby’s sleeping. I might ask you what brand of bottles you decided to go with. I might even excuse myself from our conversation, suddenly remembering I need to dishwashing liquid from the other end of the store. I promise I’m not being rude. I just don’t want you to see my smile start to fade and my eyes begin to water. I don’t want you to think it’s something you did or said to cause it.

It’s not you, it’s me.

I just can’t relate to your experience. I don’t know what that’s like. My mother was unable to be there for me. I lost her nearly a decade before I myself became a mother. So I have no stories to share with you or memories to reminisce about. I only wish that I did.

My child will never know my mother as the Nana she wanted to be. He won’t ever taste her banana pudding or divinity candy at Christmas time. He won’t hear her sing off key with the choir during Sunday morning service. He won’t ever beg to spend the night at her house because she doesn’t enforce bedtime like I do.

It’s not in the cards for me and mine. I’ve accepted this truth and am beyond grateful for all the wonderful people I was fortunate to have in my life to help me find my way. I can’t adequately express the gratitude I have for each and every person that called to check on me or dropped by the house to welcome my baby to the world. I will never forget the acts of kindness I was showered with.

There was a void no one could fill, though. There was an empty seat where I wanted my mother to be. There were hugs I longed for, pieces of advice I needed, and joys I desperately wanted her to share in. Those first few weeks of parenthood were the most loved filled days I’ve ever lived in my life, but they were also the loneliest.

I’m genuinely happy you have your mother to guide you through the twists and turns of the newborn weeks. I’m ecstatic you don’t have to go it alone. I know how hard it is to forge a path through the rows of motherhood and I’m beyond thrilled you have someone to share those first smiles, cries, laughs, and sleepless nights with. Truly, I am.

At the mention of the mother you love, I can’t help but remember the one I’ve lost. I can’t help but feel the loneliness all over again and I don’t want you to see. Forgive me while I excuse myself. Allow me to make my get away before the tears begin to flow. Pretend you have somewhere to be or smile back when I tell you I do.

Above all else, ignore the shadow of sadness that falls on my face when I tell you how great it is you have your mother to help you before I say my goodbye. This is the purest sentiment I can offer you. It’s all I know to say.

I really mean it, too, even if the expression on my face says I don’t.

Mother’s Day Is Coming

There are certain times every year I can’t help but be depressed. During the day, I do a decent job of hiding it. But in the wee hours of the morning, like now, I can’t pretend. I have no one to pretend for. This is one of those times.

Mother’s Day is a day I dread every year. I go through the entire grief cycle in the month that leads up to it. I feel everything anew. Anger, sorrow, regret. They take turns and come in waves, leaving my heart battered, bruised, exposed.

Tonight is sorrow. Tonight is loneliness. Tonight is really tomorrow morning and in a few hours, the sun will rise. I will most likely be getting ready for work when it does. I will be tired and worn. I will be cried out by that time.

Eventually, joy will come. I know this. It always does.

I just have to be patient.

❤ Like Baby Bear Soup

It Is Finished

  
With “It is finished” it all began,

Death took a stand as red blood ran.

The breath departed, a body hung,

Redemptions song could finally be sung.

Freedom rang and grace fell down,

As sweat drenched the thorn made crown.

Water flowed as the sword pierced his side,

With the sacrifice done, sin ran to hide.

Atonement made for one and for all, 

For every soul that’d heed the call.

Three days passed, the time was done, 

And with the morning arose the Son.

Victorious o’er death, Hell, and the grave.

Breath returned, resurrection to a life freely gave.

Glory to the Highest! Glory to the Son!

With “it is finished,” Salvation was won!
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If I Could Cry Like My Toddler

If I could cry like my toddler, I would. I’d just throw my hands in the air, scrunch up my face, and let it all go, snot slingin’ and all. But I’m too grown up for that. I can’t cry like my toddler. Instead, I wait until I’m alone and cry like a mom.

I cry hard and silently. I ugly cry sometimes. I cry more than anyone knows. I cry because I can, without fear of judgment or an answer as to why. I cry because it releases the pressure that fills me so full I might burst. 

I cry because I forgot my son’s shoes today and he had to wear his rubber yellow rain boots all afternoon. Even to a birthday party, at the bowling alley. I cry because the probability of a full night’s sleep is slim to none, no matter how much I think I need it.

I cry because my child is beautiful. My child is healthy. My child is smart and funny and deserves so much more than what I have to give.  

I cry because I made dinner, washed clothes, hung laundry, and picked up toys, just like the night before and the nights before that. And I know I’ll do the same tomorrow, even though I’m worn to a frazzle. Because it has to be done.

I cry because today was a Friday that felt like more like Monday, and I hate Mondays.

I cry because I’m a mom and mom’s have to adult every day, all day, against their own will. Because someone has to be in charge and being in charge is in the fine print of the mom job description with a sad face emoji beside of it.

I cry because the house is always a mess. I’m always a mess, and I’m OCD. That combination would make any woman cry. I cry because tomorrow is another weekday, so in turn another work day, meaning it’s another day someone other than me will ensure my child’s safety, prepare his meals, and love on him while I’m on the clock.

I cry because I doubt my ability to be the mother I want to be, and the mother my son needs me to be. I cry because even though I’m a mom, I’m still someone’s child and crying is every child’s response when they feel overwhelmed. I haven’t found anything more overwhelming than being a mom.

I cry because despite my flaws and the errors of the day, despite the reprimands and time outs, despite me being a first time mom who loses my patience more than I care to admit, I am greeted with a morning hug, a squeal of Mommy, and forgiveness. 

I cry because after the tears fall I feel better. I cry because my mommy guilt graciously melts and slides down my cheeks sometimes when it gets too much to bear.

I cry because being a mom is scary. Someone depends on me to lead them through life and keep them safe and kiss their boo boos and pick them up when they fall. What if I fall, too? No one picks up the picker upper, do they?

I cry because my son loves me so big with a pure and consuming love I don’t deserve. And he loves me with this love every single day, no matter what, relentlessly. I cry because this love pushes me to be better every single day, and I don’t know if I can be better. 

I cry because sometimes this love is heavy and tears me apart. I cry because no matter how many times it tears me apart this same loves stitches me back together time after time after time, even when I doubt it can. I cry because this big, pure, consuming, weigh me down, cut me to the core love is everything I’ve ever wanted and everything I will ever need.

And that’s something to cry about.

❤ Like Baby Bear Soup

He Sees You, Mama

He sees you, Mama.

I’m not talking about your husband. Although I know he sees you, too. At least most of the time he does, unless the game is on, or a car auction, or fill-in-the-blank favorite television show. That’s when you fade into the background, only to be seen when you block his view.

No, I’m not talking about your teenager who thinks you’re ruining his life. He sees a lot, though, more than he’s willing to admit, and definitely more than he’ll thank you for now.

And I’m not even talking about your toddler who’s stealthily pilfering in the cupboard hoping you don’t see him, the one pretending he can’t see you shaking your head when he asks for another cookie. He’s not who I’m talking about, either.

The “He” I’m referring to is the biggest He of them all. That’s right. I’m talking about the Big Man upstairs, the Creator of the Universe, the all powerful and all gracious, true and living God.

He sees you, Mama.

But just as the angel told Mary, don’t be afraid. He’s not watching you to see if you burn the meatloaf. He’s not interested in the piles of unwashed laundry you have lying around. And He doesn’t care that the floor is overdue for vacuuming by more days than you want to admit. He sees these things, but they are not His concern. Just like your husband’s tunnel vision during the football game last night, He has tunnel vision for you.

In the book of Psalms, David writes, The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. His eyes are on you and He sees you. Every day, and every night, you are in His line of sight. Through successes and stumbles, He sees you. Through messes and mistakes, He sees you. Through faults and failures, He sees you.

Those mornings you can’t get out the door on time no matter how hard you try and the dark circles under your eyes can’t be hidden with any amount of make-up, He sees you.

When your heart breaks because you long to rest at your Father’s feet, but you just can’t find a way to make it happen today, and you couldn’t yesterday, either, but you so desperately need to, and want to, He sees you.

The nights you walk the floor with a sick baby in your arms that you cannot consol with any amount of singing or rocking or snuggling, He sees you.

When your tears fall down as your replay the day, wishing you’d hugged your baby longer, or hadn’t snapped at your husband, or simply sat down instead of rushing and worrying and being productive the way you know you should be because you just have to get the dishes done tonight or you’ve failed at life, He sees you.

The Sunday mornings your lips are singing How Great Thou Art, but your eyes are resting on the two year old that’s trying to climb under the pew for the third time in ten minutes, and you can’t help but release a sigh of frustration as you watch him, He sees you.

And the nights you’ve fallen asleep without telling Him goodnight or giving Him praise because you truly cannot hold your eyes open another second, because your soul is worn to a frazzle, and your heart simply needs a recharge or it just won’t make it through another day, He sees you.

Let that truth sink in for a moment. God sees you. And He cannot see you and not love you. He cannot see you and not care for you. He cannot see you and not know you. And herein, lays your comfort. Herein, lays your safety. Herein, lays your peace.

In the book of Jeremiah, God said, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee. Just as He knew Jeremiah before he was born, He knew you, too. He knew you then, and on your first birthday, and the time you flew over the handle bars of your bicycle, and the day you married you true love. He knew you when you saw those two lines on the test that changed your life forever. He knew you through hours of labor, and midnight feedings, and the first terrifying fevers. He knew you, then. And He knows you now.

He knows you, Mama.

He’s knows you’re doing the best you can, but sometimes you stumble. He’s not mad at you. He’s not disappointed. He knows you are so much more than the sarcastic remarks you threw at your husband because you felt overwhelmed. He knows you are more than the sobbing soul on the couch because you just need a minute to yourself. He knows you are more than that preoccupied woman who forgot to enjoy bath time with her boy because her mind was on everything that needed to be done after.

He knows you as the Mama who gives all you can every day, until you have nothing left to give. He knows you as the wife who adores your husband and treasures the man he is. He knows you as His daughter who longs to meet Him at the beginning, and end, and middle of your day.

And He knows you’re trying. He knows you’re trying so hard to be everything for everyone and sometimes you get caught up in what that entails. Sometimes you forget to let the little stuff go and let life’s frustrations get the best of you. Sometimes you focus so much on who you want to be that you forget the what you already are.

His girl.

In the eight chapter of the book of Romans, verses 16 and 17, it reads, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

You are His, first and foremost, before being a mother, before being a wife, before being anything to anyone, you are His. His to hold, His to take care of, His to love.

So don’t drop your eyes to the ground. Don’t let the weight of this world keep you down. Hold your head up high. You may be struggling today. Your heart might be broken. You may feel numb and far from God, but I can guarantee He still sees you.

For you are His daughter. You a child of the Most High King. You are of royal decent, with your Father still sitting on the throne. And from way up there, He sees you.

And, Mama, you are precious in His sight.

❤ Like Baby Bear Soup