Today as I drove to work lost in my thoughts, only half listening to the Christian music station playing in the background, some of the words interrupted my thoughts, “You are not alone….”. I immediately thought of the scripture I had read on Saturday as I prepared my lesson for my Bible Study class I teach on Sunday mornings. “O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know! I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.” Psalm 139:1-12. I am blown away by these verses! Aren’t you? Just think about this revelation for a moment. The God of the universe, the creator of EVERYTHING, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God is attentive to you…to me! There is no place we can go, that He is not there with us! Even into that pit I sometimes take myself, thinking I am destined to live out my life falling in and out of the darkness…NOPE!….He’s there. When I’m walking through life, and everything seems chaotic, NOPE!…He’s there! When I’m laying in my bed at night, darkness surrounding me, only the sound of my husband’s breathing can be heard and I replay the day, trying to figure out how to make ends meet….NOPE! He’s there too! When I am alone and disappointed over something or someone….NOPE! He’s right there too! Recently I listened as someone prayed in church service asking God to reveal His presence….I was thinking, “Silly man, He’s already here!” The truth is this….we don’t acknowledge the truth that He is ALWAYS with us! We ignore His presence, run from His presence, look somewhere else for His presence, but according to these verses, His presence is already with us! We want fireworks, rushing wind or a pillar of smoke…not just His presence. He will not slap us in the back of the head and say “I’m right here stupid!” He waits for us to acknowledge He is there….I truly believe that. It’s in those moments that we stop, breathe in the truth that He is right there with us, that we “feel” His blanket-like presence wrap around us. I love that He is not chasing us around trying to get our attention like a little kid who won’t quit saying “mama”, but He’s there, always there. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He’s looking ahead, checking out our path that He has prepared for us, He knows the words that are about to come from our mouths – even when they may not be pleasing to Him or glorify Him – He still knows. The idea that He would still place His hand upon our heads in blessing is just too big to comprehend! That is unconditional love, people! He knows my thoughts. That is just frightening! I know what goes on inside my head, no one would want to be there! But He knows… He is there to lift my head when I am weary, He is there to comfort me when I am heartbroken, He is there to hold me when I am afraid, He is there to push me forward when I need encouragement to go on, He is there when I find something funny, there is absolutely no place I can hide from or be lost from Him. We just have to acknowledge He is there to benefit from being in His presence… So, today, sitting there looking at this computer screen, reading my silly blog (which I appreciate, by the way!), close your eyes for a moment, and just breathe. Acknowledge that He is with you! Allow His presence to fill you and wrap around you like a warm blanket. I promise, you will feel it and you will be overwhelmed by Him.
These 3 beautiful girls surrounding me are mine, well mine and their Daddy’s, but they’re my baby girls. Yes, they all tower over me. But I’m still the Mama! I have struggled as if riding some winding, hill climbing, free falling roller coaster with the overwhelming responsibility of raising godly, stable, grounded, loving, kind, strong, unwavering, God loving daughters that can change the world. You see why I am often overwhelmed….the bar has been set high! And not having conquered all of these desirable traits myself, I am not sure I am equipped to raise them in a way that they are set apart for the Lord. I wrestle with the expectations that our home should be a place of peace and tranquility, and because of our love for each other and the Lord, there is no fussing, no disregard, no lack of respect, no inconsideration, and NO YELLING. Yes, I know, what alternative universe am I thinking we live in!! The reality is the dynamics of 2 teenage and 1 young adult (+ the mama) hormonal females living in close quarters, sharing 1 bathroom, going to school, work, social functions and knowingly and unknowingly sharing clothes causes a constant state of, well, friction! There is lots of loving, yelling, laughing, crying, dramatics, and even some times physical battles that occur on a minute by minute basis in our home. These beautiful girls are all strong….you just have no idea! All fighting for their own way, their own will while still trying to figure out this faith walk. This week has been filled with extreme moments that I am quite sure are contributing to graying hair I see in the mirror every morning.
Our youngest was in a week long try out for volleyball with daily cuts. She lasted till the second cut. The word devastated doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere that permeated her bedroom and demeanor. The world had ended. Life was over. I tried to encourage and make things better, only to be sliced into little pieces for my effort. That happens sometimes when you’re a Mom… A day and a half later, all is better and she is recovering and moving on. I have put my pieces back together again and have also moved on!
But the point of this blog “Just when I think I’m a loser Mom…”, and there is a point if you were beginning to wonder, is this. My oldest just applied to nursing school, for the 2nd time. She has worked so diligently the last 2 semesters, harder than I’ve ever seen her work. She has juggled A&P 1 and A&PII at the same time, along with working at a clinic and dating all at the same time. To get in to the program you have to achieve points thru a standardized test, then high grades in the pre-req classes. In the end we were confident that she would have “B’s” in both A&P courses, as well as the “B” she got in Microbiology. (As a side note, the names and idea of these courses both impress and terrify me! I don’t know how she does and likes it!). Anyway. It’s finals week. She studied a ridiculous amount of hours. She looked online on Tuesday and she saw a posted grade for A&P1….it was a “C”. She was heartbroken. I was heartbroken. Her Dad was heartbroken. This child has pushed harder, worked harded and perservered harder than I would have. She has been determined to be a nurse. She called me, and I could hear the quiver in her voice. She began talking about a Plan B. My heart sunk. I told her to email the professor and ask how she got a “C” when she had an 83/B the week before. She just had to know. No answer on Wednesday. The application had been submitted a week ago. The decision whether she gets in or not will be in June. On Wednesday, she called me again, this time she was in her car and she was crying. “Mom, I just heard this song on KLOVE, the words Mom, the words, I think they were from God for me. “I will trust in you, you’ve never let me down before”. Mom, I just have to trust.” She was still crying, but she had had one of those moments we all know about….that moment when you are struggling so deeply with something, and at the perfect moment God steps in and orchestrates a message, verbally, whether thru music or someone else, that changes you somehow. It allows you breathe and cry in wonder that the omnipotent God above heard you, saw you, and cared to let you know He’s got this. She was at peace, not matter what happens. So yesterday, she calls me, not crying this time, but shaky and joyful and ecstatic. The teacher had responded with an apology for making a mistake on her grade. My baby had made a 91 on her final (I’m impressed because I cannot even pronounce most of what she has me call out to her from her index cards!). Her posted grade for the semester in A&PI should have been a “B”. She called the school to let the nursing advisor know that the grade change was coming. When the advisor pulled her application, someone had already put down the “C”. She made notes and changed it to a “B”. So now we wait. But we wait knowning that no matter which way it goes, we experienced God’s intervention and that He has a plan for her life and she will trust Him in it.
My middle daughter is transferring colleges…again. There has also been some struggles between us over her current relationship. It’s been one of the most difficult things we have had to deal with. But, we are all growing from it. She is learning that she has to deal with our honest opinion and we are learning that she is growing up and may not always listen to us. Finding a place we can all live in peace over this has it’s challenges.
Last night I found myself sitting on my middle daughters bed having a long talk over the situation, then the oldest and the baby were there and we sat in a little “sharing circle” as the baby called it and we talked about a plethora of things, laughing and chatting. But I listened to them say things that made my heart swell with pride, for they are strong young women, trying to figure out this faith walk, speaking confidently, desiring to be in God’s will while trying to figure how to know that will.
I share this to say, I, at 52, am learning that no stinking family is perfect, there are no guarantees and loud chatter, dramatic hormonal episodes and such is normal in a family (with 3 girls anyway!). I can look in their faces, forget about the clothes scatter all over their rooms, the wet towels left on the bathroom floor, the make-up & hair paraphanalia that covers the counters, cups and glasses left in the living room, the dirty clothes piled in the laundry room, the late nights, the disagreements about relationships and expectations and see that they are amazing young women who are becoming beautiful, godly young women who will change the world!