I’ve had many readers email me and ask where the heck I’ve been for the last month or so, wondering if I’m ill or simply missing in action. As a blogger who’s guilty of being both discouraged and overwhelmed, I’ve often wondered if anyone would even miss my personal musings at all. But alas, many kind followers have sent messages in the most appropriate of times. I'm convinced God must have appointed angels to whisper into my ear when I needed it most. Regardless of the cause, please know I appreciate it greatly when you share my blog or send me an email.Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
A lot has been going on in the last month or so, to the point I often feel I'm literally gasping for air. Some of it I can speak of and some will have to wait until the appropriate time reveals itself. There have been occurrences on planes that have caused me to shake my head in disbelief, wondering just what God is up to. There have been opportunities presented which have led me to question WHY God would even dangle such a thing before my eyes and dare get my hopes up. After all, I am the world’s greatest skeptic. Don’t believe me? Just ask my tribe of friends. They know how I roll. Sometimes when we women experience so many gut punches or derailments in life, we sort of get used to walking bent over or having to sort out a more arduous route than the easiest or most traveled. For sure, many of us have mastered the art of preparing for plans B, C or D.
When my youngest daughter began planning her wedding this past year, I’ll confess I had trouble showing enthusiasm. Forget the jubilation I should have experienced in hearing her plan to marry the smartest and kindest man she’s ever known. Oh, my heart stupidly ignored that beautiful blessing. All that my hyper-focused brain wanted to dwell on was the ginormous To-Do list waiting to be compiled. There were i’s to be dotted, t’s to be crossed, and the very distinct possibility that robbing a bank may be in my immediate future. (I’ll send you my address later, for where to send the bail money. Kidding…I hope.)
Just as my friends and experienced mothers-of-brides warned me, time would fly and it would be crucial I compile a notebook of every task needing to be completed before the big day. How on earth it would all would get accomplished, I simply had no clue. Aside from the duties of which I'd assumed were mine, my daughter needed to find a venue for the wedding, choose a color theme, flowers, cake, and most importantly, say yes to the dress. Have mercy. And naturally, a wedding shower had to be planned as well. Although my daughter is up to her neck in grad school studies, she lovingly convinced me that all was doable.
I didn't listen. I forgot that my Heavenly Father had blessed me with two daughters who are super organized and determined. I can still remember the bedroom walls of the bride-to-be when she was ten years old. One wall was always decked out with post-it notes. Reminders of homework due, tasks to complete and goals to accomplish were color coded and written on those small squares of yellow paper. I was positive she must have been switched at birth. Surely, in some other home there was a freckle-faced kid with my DNA who could barely pass Geometry, had a smart mouth, and hardly ever completed science fair projects on time. Yeah, that sounded more like my kid. But God’s grace reminded me repeatedly that these daughters were definitely mine and who, I suppose, learned more from me about what NOT to do. I suppose that counts for something.
In the 18 years my daughters lived under our roof, I can honestly say I never had to set an alarm clock or remind them to get up for school. Furthermore, most of the time they beat their mother to the car, as I was always frantically grabbing my computer, boxing up pharmaceuticals for the trunk of my car, and making sure I actually had on two shoes that matched. (don’t ask about the time I left the house wearing one flat shoe and one heel. It was one of those days.) My daughters would put post-it notes on my steering wheel, remind me when they needed picked up from school and if specific materials were needed for class projects. They often patiently waited to be picked up at 5:00 PM, understanding that my job covered a large territory which required me to drive long distances.
I often collapsed into bed asking God for one more heaping dose of grace. I questioned why He chose me to be the mother of two girls who seemed to have it more together than the woman who pushed them into the world. I rarely saw their grades dip below an A, to the point that their headmaster thought I was nuts when I became angry after seeing a report card of near perfect scores. As a parent who'd also been a former teacher, my only comment to him was, “it looks like my daughters need to be challenged a bit more.” No wonder he shook his head at me.
Friends, let me be clear: in no way am I boasting about having daughters who seemed perfect. Trust me. They were not. They were messy, picky, stubborn and were occasionally skilled at playing one divorced parent off of the other. Yeah, there’s that side to my little angels as well. But do I thank God every single day for giving two daughters to a woman who deserved nothing? You better believe it. I’ll thank Him every day He gives me breath.
So to those that desire an explanation as to where I’ve been these last few weeks, the answer is simple: I’ve been busy with life. I’ve been playing nurse to a husband who’s had the worst case of the flu I’ve ever seen. (and we all know that men are the worst patients, ever. Sorry guys. I only speak truth.) I’ve been busy as a jewelry designer, preparing for a big launch with LOTS of exciting changes. (more on that later, as I can’t announce just yet! ) I’ve been focusing on a wedding shower for my daughter and future son-in-law. I've been gathering materials for a trip to Nairobi, as we prepare for a summer dental mission trip with our oldest daughter.
In fact, as I type these words, I’m sitting on a plane that's headed back to New Mexico. I’ve been in Kentucky for the last six days, reconnecting with family and friends and attending Channing and Logan’s wedding shower. The food was delicious, (thanks to all that helped), the cake was beautiful, and the happy couple received wonderful gifts that were bestowed out of immense love. Oh, God how you have blessed me so.
So why did I fail to get excited last year when my daughter announced that a wedding was to be planned? It's time to come clean and fess up: I didn’t trust my daughter's abilities to juggle all of her responsibilities; I wondered if my family and friends could remember all the specifics that must be carried out; and even more sadly, I didn’t trust my Heavenly Father. All my feelings were just that: feelings of uncertainty instead of ones of faith. That's dangerous water to tread in, my friends. Trust me, it's exhausting. Have you ever been swept up in wanting to control every aspect of your environment instead of trusting God to handle it? Sweet one, I can hear you whispering, "yes." It's okay, you're amongst friends.
When it came to planning a shower and wedding, I should have remembered the blue-eyed girl with the post-it notes on her wall. I should have remembered daughters waiting in the car every morning, often carrying my coffee when I’d forgotten it. I should have relied on what I KNEW, not on what I FEARED. God instilled these qualities in my children for a reason. It was my job to foster those traits, not to mention learn a few lessons from them myself.
My daughters, family and tribe of friends were not going to let me drown in a sea of uncertainty. They even encouraged me to do the things in which they knew I'd enjoy the most. (I love decorating, so I took great pleasure in doing so). My friends and family had me all along. My memory simply needed jogging. Instead of having an anxiety-laden meltdown, hoping the food would be perfect, the decorations look nice, or if friends would even attend the shower, I should have recalled the countless times they were there for me. Their visits and phone calls years ago, when I had a kidney removed and was seriously ill; when family and friends brought dinners after the births of my daughters; when co-workers covered my territory as I recuperated from yet another surgery. They had me. God provided.
As I’m flying home to New Mexico, reflecting on the beauty and love shown at the shower, God and I have been having some serious conversations.
I’ve asked for forgiveness in doubting those that I love and who love me in return. I’ve promised to show more gratitude to others instead of trying to control things for the sake of looking like I did it all. (I told ya ladies, I promised to be raw and real. We gotta own it.) And most importantly, I’m determined to make a concentrated effort to plan ahead and then put my trust in God. If we can adhere to this simple formula, we'll be able to relax and enjoy life's big moments with those we love.
My mother always says, “If it is to be, it’s up to me!” Perhaps my self-reliant mother has only a part of that correct. We’ve always got an advocate in Christ Jesus if we simply have faith in the fact that He can do all things. It will always be as He planned it and for our benefit. It might not seem so at the time, or even on this earth, however we must trust that on this side of Heaven or the other, He will make it known.
My daughter’s wedding in now only a few months away. It will be held in a beautiful forest in Pennsylvania, where she now lives and attends graduate school to obtain her PhD in cognitive neuropsychology, doing research on memory and cognition. I hope to never be used in one of her research projects, for this momma is getting her act together. I’ve learned a critical lesson this week and filing it away in my brain's hippocampus: when my fears arise and try to take over, I must do my share of the responsibility and then lay it all down at the cross. God wants us to walk AWAY from the worry and be JOYFUL over the blessings He’s placed before us.
I’m not getting any younger and neither are you. Rather than being M.I.A, or Missing in Action when life events occur, let’s be present and relish in every heart-warming minute. Go ahead, buy some post it-notes and remind yourself. I know a mom in New Mexico that just purchased them in bulk.
Brightest of Blessings to You,