The Makeup Bag Moment

Saturday rolled around and it was time to go pick up hubby. I was thrilled and I wanted to look nice. I’m down 9 pounds, and thought I’d do something other than the no makeup/messy bun/leggings look that I’ve been rocking for months. I’d try to look cute for him. So I got my jeans on, and a cute t-shirt, flipped my hair up out of the way and yanked open my makeup drawer.

It’s not actually an entire drawer of makeup, for those of you wondering. It’s just the drawer that held the few makeup items I had.

Had.

My precious, wild three year old had opened every tube of LipSense color, remover, gloss, poured out what she could, let the rest dry out. Okay, no lips. I’ll just do my powder and my eyes.

Mascara? Open, dried out. Eyeshadow? Covered in dried LipSense. Powder? Same as the eyeshadow. Even my eyeliner was broken to nothing.

Now, it’s been three years since I bought any makeup, and it’s been MONTHS since I wore any of it, but it was mine. In my drawer. In my bathroom. I thought the couple times she ran out with a little color smeared on her face was just nothing. I cleaned her up, and the closed drawer made me feel like all was right inside the drawer.

I completely lost it. I was crying, and chunking things in the trash, and I called my hubby and he seemed confused, a little like he couldn’t hear me, and a little like it didn’t matter anyway. But he pointed out I should have left already. More tears as I hung up the phone, now mad that he couldn’t see my problem for the problem it was.

I stormed around, angry and crying. My 6-year-old tried to comfort me, and even told me she would try to buy me new makeup. I turned to look at her and it hit me. I hit my knees and pulled my three littles close. I lost my peace over some makeup because of a million other things weighing on my heart. I kissed each of their sweet faces, helped the girls with their hair, and we went to get my husband.

I don’t care about makeup. While I can’t replace 15 tubes of LipSense, or even the other things I have right now, losing my peace over that moment was silly. It wasn’t the real issue brewing under the surface. I was forced to admit that the tears and ache had nothing to do with makeup.

It has to do with working out how robbed I feel of the dreams I had for the next few years with my two boys. Good things can also be hard things. As much as the peace of God has overwhelmed me through all of this, I still have so much processing that I’m working on.

It looks a little like this:

Did you know I am a curriculum nerd? I was so excited for the curriculum I was going to use with the boys this year. I thought it was going to be a great year.

Did you know I am getting to stay home for our school year? I had so many activities planned for the boys.

Our activities, places we would go, things we would see. It all sits in a basket in my mind, full of things that were going to be that never got to be.

It’s my least favorite brain basket. Sure, I have plans with the other kids and those haven’t changed, but they aren’t the plans I had with the boys.

So I lost my peace over a bag of makeup. I’m thankful I didn’t unpack and live there – not over the makeup, not the with the basket of undone things. I returned to God and asked Him to remind me why we are doing this, to remind me what He is doing, and why He calls us to surrender the hardest of things and let Him have the wheel.

Friend, what are you losing your peace over? Is it the real problem, or just an outlet for something else you need to deal with?

 

God’s Not Been Surprised

Here we are, 5 days past the boys leaving home. Through a series of events, I was persuaded to offer my 13-year-old the choice to go live at his dad’s. As I suspected, he jumped on the opportunity with an immediate and unwavering, “YES!”

My 12-year-old son wanted the same choice and while I was reluctant at first, I finally caved and gave him the choice. Without hesitation, he said, “YES!”

My thoughts battled back and forth over letting the boys choose, it was one of the hardest things I’ve faced. I submitted my thoughts to God in prayer, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am that we serve an involved God. He whispered to my heart so many precious things.

He walked me down memory lane – to a moment with a much younger me. I sat on the side of my bed, scared that I hadn’t gotten pregnant in a year, listening to the man I was married to remind me that we prayed we wouldn’t have a baby until we were ready and God had faithfully answered that prayer.

“Well I’m ready, I want to have a baby.” I declared.

So we prayed together to have a baby, and 6 weeks later I got a positive pregnancy test, and some months later, my firstborn son rested in my arms, content, round, and perfect.

The gentle voice of the Holy Spirit as we walked this path of memories reminded me that God has not been surprised by a single thing from the moment I held that pregnancy test, until today. Not the things in my life, my ex’s life, or our son’s life. None of it has surprised him.

Better still, as I questioned, as I wrestled, God knew all that was coming and He picked us to be the parents of two amazing young men. I was starting to see more clearly, but I can’t say I didn’t still want to argue. Yet the more I prayed, the more questions I asked, the more clarity I begged for, the more God pointed me toward this choice.

So Wednesday arrived in a rush, and the boys left on an airplane, and I teetered on the edge of peace that exceeds all understanding, and the abyss of human emotion and lost dreams.

Wednesday was also our first night back to Switch for the school year. I was enjoying the kids and other leaders and really not sure if I would keep volunteering on Wednesday night now that the boys were so far away and not in Switch anymore. Then worship happened. And as the band began to play, I felt the void at my side where my 12-year-old would stand and worship with me. It was our thing, every week. He would leave his friends and come worship with me. The tears started there and lasted through the end of the set.

Despite the flood of emotion, our good God was still whispering to me. Reminding me that we often see God first through our earthly father. Whether we get a great representation of who God is through our earthly father or a terrible one. God uses that to reconcile us to Him and to help us see Him. The boys experienced years of absence following some yucky choices their dad made. That time was excruciating for them. If God can use the reparation of their connection with their earthly father to reconcile them to Him, then I surrender my control. We don’t see God through our mom the same way we do through our dad.

I started to wrestle with this again and I wanted to start reminding God of everything that has occurred in the last 13 years, He asked me if I thought He couldn’t use all of it? Well no, that’s the case. I know He can. God often redeems our greatest pain for His greatest glory. May it be so in the lives of my children.

So here we are, 5 days in. So long as I take all of my concerns to the cross, I am met with a peace that I cannot describe. While several people have raised their eyebrows and I’ve been tempted to turn in His peace for my control, I’ve also been met with a great deal of encouragement. I’ve heard over and over how boys their ages need their dad during the next couple of years. I’m praying God uses this to grow and shape them into men who serve Him boldly, faithfully, and for their entire lives.

Until next time,
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Identity

Over the last year, I have found myself feeling like I really know who I am. And also whose I am. It is humbling and empowering to know the God of our universe had me in mind, created me on purpose, and has a plan for me.

I have come to a point where I am comfortable and able to kindly say I like this, I don’t like that, I want this, I need this. Instead of reflecting on time spent with friends feeling like I mirrored their sentiments, I am true to my own thoughts, opinions, and feelings.1561896982909_verse_image.jpg

Last October one of my sons tried to take his own life. While my heart broke and the pain I feel over all of it is deep, I have reflected often on the fact that I didn’t feel overwhelmingly distraught or desolate in the scariest moments of the ordeal, or the days that followed.

I did not feel as desperate as I thought I should. I found myself thinking a few times that I should be more distraught, more something. At one point I remember thinking, I should feel like the walls are crashing in on me right now. And then I wondered exactly who says I should feel that way and what good it would do? And then the clear picture of Jesus beside me, surrounding my son, and I was able to be thankful for so many hard things in my life that taught me that Jesus is the rock on which to build my life. Guilt likes to wiggle in and tell me I’m messing up or missing something by not being properly devastated. But the Word tells us that God will give us peace that surpasses understanding. I have dwelt in that peace more in the last 8 months than ever before in my life.

This peace comes as an answer to prayer – but not always my own prayer. Sometimes I don’t have the words to speak. But I have people standing boldly in the gap, praying for my son and for our family. We talk about community in church a lot, and it’s said that life is better together. Those first days, and the following weeks, really showed me how necessary it is to have people who love Jesus loving on our family in hard times.

I also realized that while I believe we were created for community and God didn’t intend for us to do life alone, He also didn’t intend for us to find our identity anywhere other than through Him. I think oftentimes we get the “we should feel/think/say/do” thoughts from finding our identity in our friend group, social media, parents, spouses, kids, work, you name it. Something other than identity in Jesus will leave our footing on shifting sand, “they said I should”, and being blown about with every shift in the wind.

Now for the hardest line to admit aloud – and I think this is hard to admit aloud because I don’t want it to be taken wrong. I don’t want to be judged. Here it goes…

1561897199618_verse_image.jpgWhile my son is absolutely important to me and I know he is a blessing from God Himself, my children don’t define who I am. Jesus does. My son’s choices are his own. I hurt when he hurts, from a place of empathy. I want his anguish to be relieved and I will do absolutely everything in my power to be sure he is getting the help he needs and that we as a family are also getting the help we need.

This isn’t about abandoning someone I love in the midst of their pain, or even boundaries, or rising above energy that doesn’t serve me. This is about wrapping my arms around him, praying for him, seeking the necessary therapy, and resting in the love and peace of Jesus as I do what is wise and necessary for my boy.

I’m doing my part. Not perfectly. Not without a learning curve and mistakes. I’ve had to ask for forgiveness. I’ve had to give forgiveness. And I’ll have to keep learning, every single moment of every day. And I’m going to keep resting in Jesus. It’s not that I’m confident about what the future holds on earth, but I have hope because of Christ, and for that, I am humbled and deeply grateful.

Until next time,

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If you or a loved one are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and need help, please reach out the the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 – they are available 24/7 to help you and have been a help to our family several times.