A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

 

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I’m already thinking about what I will put on the walls of my children’s bedrooms when we move. (After, that is, we get our house ready to sell, put it on the market, successfully sell it, and find and purchase a new house. Then.)

I’m planning Word Art.

I love this new Word Art craze. I could never draw anything thing worth displaying, but Words have decorated my mind from my earliest days.

Words are just so powerful.

Last summer my oldest brother took my 13 year old son backpacking. At some point my brother, noting Paul’s strengths, put his hand on his shoulder and said with manly emphasis, “You are damn efficient, Paul” He has never forgotten it.

But I’m guessing Damn Efficient isn’t the best choice for Paul’s wall. So I’m leaning toward Called.

Between Paul’s strengths, grit, and sensitivity, I’m praying he rises to the Call that God has on his life. I can See it. But I am waiting eagerly for it to be realized.

I’ve seen the power of Words in my daughter Grace’s life too. Earlier this summer when she was feeling low about where her life was heading, I shared with her a bit about her infancy that I had somehow neglected to communicate earlier. I told her about the people who came to pray for her in the hospital and how they believed she had a special calling on her life. I told her how she always had an unusual interest in spiritual things from her earliest days, and how I believed that maybe she was called to be an Intercessor.

She seemed doubtful.

But since then I’ve inadvertently run across several comments she has made on various prayer and prolife websites, stating that her mother believes that she has a special calling on her life and so even people who have disabilities have incredible value.

Indeed, Grace.

I’m seeing the word Set Apart on her wall.

And although my daughter Katherine has grown up and moved out on her own, I still have a room for her, and she’s always welcome. For her, I’m thinking,  Destiny.

A few months ago as we were having a serious talk, I felt compelled to express to her that she had a Destiny, and that she must not forget that. But as I said those words, tears started involuntarily splashing down my cheeks. I wouldn’t even mention this, except for the fact that I really had no emotion at that moment. We were both somewhat surprised.

The next day as I was praying about it, I asked God if I had just made that up or if it was from him. Moments after I prayed that, I popped into a coffee shop and ordered a latte. The cashier took my order and nodded toward the barista saying, “Destiny will have your latte in a minute.”

“Wh- what is her name?” I stuttered.

They both looked at me blankly. “Destiny,” she answered.

“Perfect,” I mumbled.

And then there is Lydia.

That’s where this whole Word Art thing got started.

This morning as I was praying for this sweet daughter, I specifically prayed that God would write a different word on her heart. Many children who begin their little lives in orphanages have the word “Abandoned” etched on their hearts. It takes a lifetime of love and prayers to undo that. Until then, they just expect to be abandoned in relationships, and this causes a variety of responses.

My little girl always looks completely surprised and ridiculously happy when someone shows unconditional love for her.

So I prayed that the word Loved would be etched there instead.

And that’s when I thought… I should put that over her bed!  Loved.

It’s only a prayer right now. But history has proven that Heaven has a special hearing for a momma’s prayers.

I don’t know as of yet when these Words will make it to our Walls…but regardless, I’m praying that the reality of these words would be realized in the lives of my children. And I’m praying that I would be a faithful messenger of them in all I say and do.

 

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

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I’m having house problems. But that’s not the half of it.

We have been thinking about moving to the other side of town for some time now. There are many good reasons. That’s where our church, school, and many of our friends are.

And, believe it or not, we need to Up-Size. While most of my peers are transitioning to smaller homes now that their children are grown up, we actually need an additional bedroom to accommodate one of our adult daughters. (I have a complicated family. Did I mention that?)

So like many other homeowners who are hoping to sell, we have been trying to catch up with all the tasks we should have been doing over the last, say, 15 years or so. Cleaning closets, purging, touching up here and there.

It’s taking forever.

But like I said, that’s not the half of it.

Last night I felt a wave of anxiety. Not about my house — although that seems like a good metaphor. But about my Home. My family. My complicated family.

We are in the midst of making some changes to meet the needs of our children, and hopefully make some progress in some necessary areas. And while it all looks good on paper, the reality is starting to sink in, and I wonder, what if this doesn’t work?

So this morning I took it all to God. Poured out my heart. Asked for wisdom. Asked for faith.

And this is what he said.

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READ. PRAY. TRUST. WALK.

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My adult daughter with disabilities tells me she’s frustrated this morning. And most mornings.

In all fairness, life isn’t working out for her the way she’d hoped. And with her paralyzed way of thinking – a mix of realism with an inflexible planning mechanism – she can’t see how it could ever get better. She’s about to graduate from college with honors, but knows her lack of social skills will probably land her in menial labor.

Continue reading “READ. PRAY. TRUST. WALK.”

WHEN I DON’T MAKE THE GRADE

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For all the flak I’ve given modern education over the years, I have to admit, they’ve got something. My children attend a Christian school where the academic content is traditional, but the methods are shaped by “best practices” and a gentle respect for human development. And I’m so glad.

I went to my fifth grade daughter’s parent-teacher conference yesterday, and her teacher’s approach to educating was so refreshing, I had to pinch myself.

Her teacher shows me her most recent math test. There are lots of marks on the page, but I know what a struggle math is for my daughter, and I know she’s making progress….

But he quickly tells me not to worry, saying, “She actually made the same mistake over and over, and so I’m going to reteach the concept to her and let her redo it. But you’ll see she did a lot right.” Earlier this year he told me that a bad test result was not a mark against the student, but was information for the teacher. It showed the teacher where he needed to explain more or better.

Really? Since when? When I was growing up, a test was the final evaluation. A strike on the paper was a strike against the student. It shouted out, This is who you are. Too bad.

Continue reading “WHEN I DON’T MAKE THE GRADE”

WHEN THE LAST THING I WANT IS WISDOM

WHEN THE LAST THING I WANT IS WISDOM

Talking to a friend, and processing a situation in her life. Tough one. Lots of nuances of desire.

“Let’s pray for wisdom,” I suggest.

“Not sure I want it,” she replies cautiously, in a moment of raw honesty.

And in that reply I see the history of my own heart.

Kind of knowing what is right in my gut, but not really liking the implications. When I say I want wisdom, I usually mean I want to know the future. I want specific information that will lead to my own settled happiness. But God’s version of wisdom is not as neat.

If the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the aversion to acquiring it is certainly the beginning of something else.

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THE NEW STRONG

img_1040I’ve been thinking about the future. It’s that time of year. Looking ahead.

This year I’m especially thinking about My future…what I should do with the Time.

Since I am no longer the sole educator of my children, I’m wondering what might be next. Maybe nothing… but maybe Something. Who knows.

I was talking to my daughter about an Idea. Playing with a vision. Processing. You know….

What do you think? Can you see it?

She’s quiet.

Do you think I could do it?

She tilts her head. I think you’d be good at it…while you’re weak. But if you ever get strong, you’d be awful. You don’t do Arrogant well.

Well, that’s why God gives us daughters. They’re the only ones who can say such things and get away with it.

Probably right.

But I can’t stay sad forever,  I tell her.

She smiles. Sadness is your strength. You’re at your best when you weak. Unsure of yourself. You give the best advice when you’re There.

Well, that explains a lot.

Like this past Christmas Day.

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THE SEASON OF HOPE – LESS

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I heard on the radio that the first week of Advent is about “Hope.” But Hope deferred makes the heart sick, so maybe Advent is really about Heart Sickness.

Every year we sit around our dinner table and light the candles and sing that perennial Advent song.

O, come, o come, Emmanuel, and ransom Captive Israel,

That mourns in lowly exile here, Until the Son of God appears….

Kind of mournful. Makes me quiet.

And we open our Advent book that starts in the Garden. And quickly leaves the Garden in pieces.

That pretty much sums it up. That’s where we live. Outside the Garden. Outside the way things were supposed to be.

This year our Advent began in darkness. As it usually does. Kids bickering. Parents struggling. Stress building. Hopes flagging.

Outside the Garden.

But lucky for me, Christmas came early this year. Back in September God gave me a precious Gift. A Word. Best kind of Gift.

Continue reading “THE SEASON OF HOPE – LESS”