Mother Warriors (part 2)…

Unwelcome, morning sun peaks through cracks in rusted tin. Eyes red and swollen, Lorena gathers worn blankets…gathers strenth to do what she must. Doubt creeps up, forming a knot in her throat, but she swollows it down. She must! She is a mother! Light now pours through walls that cannot protect, illuminating Jose’s peaceful face…innocence on the precipice of destruction. Yes, she must act now. Death visits daily. The gangrene of neighborhood gangs has crept in, feeding on the flesh of boys, transforming the pure into vile.

But Lorena will not feed this beast, not with the fruit of her womb. Like Jochebed placed Moses among the reeds, entrusting him to the care of others, she will surrender Jose.  He cannot be both home AND safe.  She chooses safe.  She chooses an orphanage. 

Primal excruiciating pain raises in her heart.  Severing her rights feels more like severing joint from marrow.  But she will do it.  She is a mother warrior!

This is why we are going to Guatemala.   No mother should have to make this choice.  Engadi Ministries is not an orphanage.  It will be a home for boys with parents that want to protect them, but aren’t willing to forfeit their relationship.

As I fight for my “Tiggery” son, I can only imagine being a mother in Lorena’s situation.  Her struggle motivates me to join the battle and fight alongside Mother Warriors!

(Lorena’s story is fictional, but based on the lives of many women in the slums of Guatemala)

Mother Warriors… (part one)

I am a mother warrior!  I will strive, love, scrape, bargain, budget, slave, serve, even step aside so that my children can be who they were created to be.  I will embrace their weaknesses, I will cheer their strengths.  I am surrounded by mothers that do the same.

One of my sons is well, quite Tiggery.  Boundless energy drives him from one disaster to the next.  He is a roller coaster of emotions that baffle me.   He is generous with love and passionate with anger.    Although I am most often just plain ol’ worn out with him, I always just attributed his behavior as being a spirited boy.  He just needs more time outdoors.

But recently, he has struggled with self-condemnation and frustration, sharing things that no child of his age should have to feel.  So, I put on my war paint and set off on a mission.

I spoke with his Pediatrician. We travelled to a Neurodevelopmentalist in Texas. I am reading five different books with five different perspectives.  Our entire family is trying a new allergy elimination diet.   I don’t know if I should try to fix him, embrace him, challenge him, correct him, or just let go.  But I will fight for him.  I am a Mother Warrior!

Funny thing about fear…

I want my children to see the Word of God as living and active.  I want my children to really experience God’s word, but most of the time I feel like I am giving them watered down stories and trite moral lessons.   Last night God gave us an opportunity to open up the Bible in a real way with our oldest son, and it was beautiful.  And I am so grateful.

We are participating in a course at a church in town called Perpectives on the World Christian Movement.  It is great, and once every week our boys go to child care from 6:30 to 9:30pm.  They love the teachers, but it is a late night for them.  This week, when we picked them up our almost 7 year old son was visibly disturbed.  As we loaded the boys into the van, he tolded me that he watched a movie with “evil” cats in it.    I asked him to describe the movie,  and he said, “Well it had two dogs and some spaghetti.”  “Oh,” I replied, “Lady and the Tramp.”  And I proceed to sing, “We are Siamese if you please.”  Immediately he started covering his ears and screaming, “Stop, Stop.”  I looked back at him.  He was sitting in the back of the van with his feel pulled up into a fetal position, shaking.

Actually, I started to giggle a little.  I know, I am mean.  But it just struck my funny bone that someone would be terrified and shaking over Lady and the Tramp.  Now, I did fight back the urge to keep singing “We are Siamese” when I saw that he really was terrified.  I started to give a short answer like, “you don’t have to be afraid…it’s just a movie…it’s not real.” but I stopped myself.  I know that feeling.  That throat clenching, paralyzing fear of the “not real.” 

I started to explain, “You know how your little brother is afraid of the people in the cow costume at Chick-Fil-A.  He screams and shakes if they get near.”  “Yes,” he said slowly.  “Well, why aren’t you afraid.”

“Because, I know it’s not real.  It is just a person dressed up.”

“Right,” I explained.  “And, we are telling you that these ‘evil cats’ aren’t real either.”

“But I keep thinking about them.  I wish I could just wash them out of my brain,” he cried.

That’s when the light went on in my head.  Three living and active Scriptures that I have been learning to practice lately came to my mind,

 “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

and “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8

and finally, “take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5

I explained to Josiah, that being afraid is normal, that I sometimes get afraid too.  I am not afraid of stuffed cows or Siamese cats, but I afraid of losing my children, my health, or my husband.  But, God gave us a spirit of power and self-control.  We can decide what we think about.  We need to examine every thought that passes our mind and decide if it is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, excellent or worthy of praise.  If it is not any of these things, then we need to take it captive and throw it out. 

When we got home, we opened the Bible and read those verses.  You could see the light come on in his mind too.  As we said goodnight and he climbed into bed, he said, “Mom, I am not going to think about those cats, I am going to think about my birthday.” 

I am so grateful that our God is near to us, that His Word just makes sense.

In case I sound blue…

Writing is my therapy.  When I feel fine, when everything flows, I don’t feel the need to write.  So, unfortunately if you are reading this, you are getting all of my angst and none of my joy.  I will try to share my joy more often.

God has not promised…

A Beautiful Hymn

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
  Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
  Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

I don’t know

Are you done, or are you going to try for a girl?

Please don’t ask me that.  I don’t know.  That question is so heavy to me.  Heavy with grief.  Heavy with hope.  Heavy with fear.

I want a definite answer.  I want to be able to say, “we are done” or “we want more” but I can’t.  Our hands are full with three wonderfully wild boys.  But my arms ache for my baby.  After my first miscarriage, there wasn’t a question.  We wanted more, and I was pregnant six weeks later.  But not this time. 

I don’t know.  I don’t know if I can go through another first trimester of “all-day” sickness, if I am not guaranteed a baby in the end.  I don’t know if adoption will work with us moving to Guatemala, and I can’t guarantee that someone will choose us.

But, I look at my sweet Noah, and he is growing up so fast.  I didn’t think he was our last, so I didn’t hold on to moments enough.  I don’t know.