It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Bit Disappointing...

One of my dearest friends, one of my oldest friends lives in Texas. She wasn't born or raised there but she has lived there so long that I feel like she belongs there. I love Texas. My favorite state I've never lived in. Thankfully not only does she live there but some of Michael's family does as well. I don't get to go as much as I'd like but when I can, I jump on the opportunity.

A couple years ago, when my friend was living in The Woodlands, I was visiting. Her oldest son was a senior and he punted for the public high school football team (forgive me if he was a kicker, I know the difference I just can't remember which exactly he was). He wasn't the starter and that was a sore subject all around. There were many reasons the starter shouldn't have been the starter, one of them was talent but for several reasons that caused the word "unfair" to raise it's ugly head, the starter was who he was. I remember watching her son practice one day and marveled at the fact that he actually looked like a ballet dancer. His body and foot had a specific position and when he kicked/punted the ball he leaped into the air beautifully. I was amazed. I couldn't imagine someone performing better than he did. His mom, my friend, was so upset and he was so disappointed. I, was shocked.

Shocked because it didn't seem like her to be that emotional over a teenager's disappointment. After all, this is one of those things that will build his character and make him a better person and a better athlete. She knew that but still, she was so sad for him. They tried different things to help him improve or spoke to different people to help them see his talent. She told me how she would pray and pray for God to allow something to happen on that field that would build his confidence and enable him to see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. But to no avail. Things really never changed for him on the football field.

Tonight, I was sitting in a very hot bath. Oh, it is one of the best times of day for me when I can sink deep in the tub and let the cares of the day float into the air with the steam. My relaxation was interrupted by my husband returning from a praise team practice with my second son. He plays drums for the youth and has come a long way just in the last several months. We are all proud of him for his perseverance and they are happy to have a drummer. Tonight he was practicing for a retreat and although, over all, the practice went well, he was a little shy about the team leader who is a guest and not familiar with everyone. This guy was a great guy but he was honest with Sam about how he was rushing the beat. Over and over, Sam was rushing. When Sam tried to slow down, he wasn't loud enough. Eventually, Sam got so discouraged that by the time he came home he went into the bathroom and cried. As Michael told me of these events I had an instant flashback to sitting on the bleachers with my Texas friend watching her son kick a football like a star only to realize he wasn't the star. Regardless of what we saw, the coach didn't see a star.

Sam doesn't have that competition, his disappointment and frustration is different. And he has a lot going on in his life besides drumming that are pushing him to the limit. But what caught me off guard was the immediate desire... no need... to rid his little mind of the negative feelings that he had. Even while writing this he came in and laid down on the bed with me and just wanted me to hold him. That scenario is different these days since he's now 1/2" under 6 ft and 180 lbs. But he wanted consoling none-the-less. And we sat there together and I watched - the tears streaming down his cheeks. Intellectually I know that this is a good thing. They all, we all, need times of trial to build our character. But as the mom, even a mom like me who can see these things as good things that God can move in and mold in, I cringe at that pain that accompanies the pruning. The words I wanted to utter, the battle between my heart and my mind was so severe that I wasn't sure which would win. In the end, my mind won. But my heart won too. Even now, minutes after a good cry and his mom loving on him for awhile. Sam doesn't seem so sad. He's more resigned than enthusiastic but that's OK. God can use that and work with that and as usual, I believe he'll come back from his retreat feeling much more encouraged than he thought was possible.

This, in the end, will be a good thing for both of us. It's just hard to be in the middle of it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Curse?

I wondered if this would happen. When I started this blog, I felt only hours after my first post, that this was going to be a curse. My mind was racing with thoughts and ideas. Topics were whizzing by me like a Nascar race and I spent several evenings deeper in thought than conscience. Today, nothing. It's not that nothing happened, plenty happened. I managed to get through my Precept study on Romans feeling like I contributed something worthwhile. I discovered that Romans 7 isn't my favorite chapter. After all, when Chapters 8 and 9 are waiting for my total consumption, Romans 7 just seems to me like Paul trying to bang his head against a wall convincing regenerate Jews that the Law isn't going to save them. But then again, he doesn't think they should totally dismiss it either, he was very clear about that. Romans 7 seemed to me to be the pesky wait I have to endure after ordering my food. Now 8, that is an appetizer and 9 well, for me, that is going to be my medium-cooked steak straight from Ruth's Chris!

Then I raced to the elementary school library to help shelve books. I love doing that. I am not quite sure why. One reason may be because Mrs. Wilson, the librarian has the gift of encouragement. So do I. Problem is, I rarely find the ability to encourage myself, thus, Mrs. Wilson is vital to my ego. Thanks to her, I leave, every Wednesday, feeling like I did something so important that the school will go on another day just because I was there. Another reason I think I like it so much is that it's quiet - very quiet. And I like being able to do something that frankly, I can't screw up!

Then I left for my dentist appointment. I love the dentist. Well, I did until today. I am realizing that my teeth are aging as much as I am. My teeth are very important to me. I will never have dentures - I refuse. If I ever have to have my teeth pulled out they will replace each tooth with individual teeth shoved up in my gums that don't come out and look real. I don't care if it costs me my retirement account (well, Michael's retirement account, but then, I don't think he really wants me to have the ability to remove my teeth in front of him- it sort of takes the romance out of the relationship. Knowing him, he'll happily live in a car until we die if I keep my teeth in). But today, I about came out of my seat. I have sensitive teeth. AND I love iced tea. Sound like the two don't mix? Well let me assure you that I know of no greater pain than the intense scraping that goes on behind my lower front teeth to get the stains off. I had a short, very short, moment of insanity and almost verbalized my thought at that moment. "I promise to give up tea if you promise you will never scrape my teeth like that again!" But never fear (and I must emphasize this to my friend Pam) I quickly came to my senses and never let the words escape my very parched lips. My teeth are now beautifully cleaned and white. And my lips didn't stay parched very long as I had a Route 44 unsweet tea with extra ice waiting in the car for me when my appointment was over.

From there I went home ready to face the brood of vipers, er, I mean children waiting for me to arrive and vomit their list of demands, er, I mean loving inquiries of me before I whisked them off to church for Wednesday evening activities. As usual, the evening went uphill from there because for me, there are few places I'd rather be than at church. I had a wonderful evening, got home in time to get those two little ones off to bed and sit down with the two big ones and watch a few gory, TV shows about horrible people that do nasty things to other people and the detectives that catch them and put them away forever.

All-in-all, a perfectly wonderful day. The downside was that Michael got stuck in Chicago and didn't fly out in time to catch his connection in Charlotte. He's sleeping as we speak in an airport hotel with no clean clothes and some disposable hotel toothbrush. At least when I see him tomorrow, his breath with be minty fresh.... Oh, the silver lining... I knew I could find one!

Hmmm, I guess I really don't have writer's block!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love Notes

I wrote a love note to a teenage boy tonight. It wasn't even to one of MY teenagers. It was to my son Sam's best friend. I know what you are thinking, that you are a little concerned. Don't be. It was totally appropriate. It was a scary thing to do though. After all, as a mom of teen boys, I don't want to appear to be as involved in their lives as I really am. If only they knew. But barring them reading this blog (and it's not been on their priority list) they have no idea how much I really know. I plan on keeping it that way as long as possible. Or at least until they move out and except for occasional background checks, (dad is an FBI agent) they are out of my sight!

My love note was appropriate and necessary. Sam's bff is having as rough a time as anyone could. None of it is his doing and none of it, from the world's perspective, is going to end well. Apart from a miraculous intervention from God (and of course He can choose to do that if He wants) it will appear to him that nothing good could possibly come from all the suffering that his family is experiencing. Right now, he doubts everyone and everything. And, he should - from the perspective of a 15 year old young man. But he needs someone who loves him almost as much as his dad does to remind him of unconditional love. And that he's got people committed to him for life regardless of how he feels right now. He needs to understand that no one is watching him with a note pad recording what he says and does and qualifying his behavior in order to report what a good or bad boy he is and whether he's worthy of my love or the love of anyone else around him.

It was scary though. Scary because I was brutally honest. I was pushing for him to be the same. I wanted him to know exactly how I felt about him and there's a real chance he wouldn't "get it" and just think I was incredibly uncool. That is not a label I'm striving for at all! Not that I'll be cool at any cost but for Sam's sake, I'd like to remain under the "cool" column! I wanted him to know that he could tell me anything about how he felt, what his worries were, and especially his view of what he felt God was doing or not doing in his life. I knew that because I wasn't a family member he might feel more freedom knowing that he wasn't adding any stress to my life by sharing his thoughts.

The ball is totally in his court now and if he doesn't do anything with it, that is perfectly OK. He knows now how much our family loves him and that we will always love him. He is part of us and that won't change. That's the love note I was trying to write. I hope I succeeded.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Major Distractions...

I am sitting at the computer and listening to my kids in the other room play the Wii. I usually really enjoy listening to them play together especially since their ages range from 6 - 18. This evening I'm a bit distraught at the conversation and I've already, twice, had to tell them to watch how they speak to each other. Suddenly an idea for a blog entry flew into my head. Generally, I stop whatever I'm doing in order to write it down. Being at the computer, I decided to log in and start typing.

Only one problem... on the way to enter a new blog entry, I totally forgot the premise for my post. UGH!!!! I lose thoughts a lot. Usually it's leaving one room for another to get something and forget what I went into that room for. Meaningless stuff like that. But this was nuts, after all, it took me all of 30 seconds to sign in. I guess I just have too much noise distracting me and too many things on my mind tonight.

This thought leads me back to the movie with Jim Carrey in it called "Bruce Almighty". I'd actually NOT recommend it. I know plenty of dear Christian friends who loved this movie but it just went too far - anything that makes God into OUR image just doesn't sit right with me. However, one scene that may have been totally worth watching the movie for was the scene when Jim Carrey received emails like he was God receiving prayer requests. It was an incredibly overwhelming sight. At first it was funny but it soon became very clear that a human cannot accomplish what God does with ease. I was thankful for that insight at least.

So here I am, forgetting what I thought was a great thought because there was so much to distract me. However, I know for a fact that God is handling, with ease, a friend who's marriage is falling apart, another friend who is begging for wisdom and understanding in her marriage, another friend who is trying to decide what job to take, another friend who is delivering a baby as I write and so many more that I don't have time to list. And I know this for sure: He is not being distracted. He is not losing His train of thought or His focus. And although I may THINK my ideas are good (you'll be the judge of that) His ideas ARE good... no, they are GREAT - every time they are tried!

I love that in spite of my failings, my precious Father always has my back. I love that I never have to wonder if He's thinking about me, or hearing me, or understanding me, or loving me. He's told me that much!