Scream louder

I love being screamed at.

Especially while driving.

Thankfully, it was just me and him. This time, his siblings were spared the peripheral damage.

For no real reason. That’s often how it is. There’s no inciting incident, just some bottled up rage that had to come out full force and full volume on the way home from karate.

  • Maybe because he came in 3rd place out of 4 losing to lower belts during sparring practice?
  • Or because he was up past his bedtime last night?
  • Or because he refused to eat the string cheese–I knew he was hungry and so did he!
  • Or because I just could NOT understand or correctly answer the absolutely off the wall question he was repeatedly asking me over and over…and louder and louder…
  • Or, most devastatingly, for no reason at all.

Because something inside him said, “you’re angry, let ‘er rip”. No matter that it’s your wonderful, sweet, loving, patient, takes so much crap from you and keeps coming back in for a hug mom.

I’m learning how important self-care and hope is in this season. I end up the brunt of misplaced and unprovoked anger, frustration and unkindness. And later when I’m still trying to just breathe and he doesn’t even remember doing it…or just won’t admit it. Dear Jesus, please take the wheel! I’ll be curled up in the trunk hiding from the monster…

Looking forward to some more specific answers beyond four letters in the near future. ADHD. It’s so much bigger than its little acronym lets on…

We’ve recruited an entire team to help us from every angle. All the people! All the things!

Yet, this alone space…it’s so loud and complex here.

So until we figure out how to connect and support each other, carry on beleaguered warriors. I have to believe the fight for this one is worth the bruises.

Survival mode

I’m stuck.

And I don’t really know how to talk about it.

We’ve been working for years to try to get to the bottom of it–to find a cause. Which would indicate that somewhere out there is a solution.

But the reality is that when it comes to the brain, there is still so much unknown and a whole lot of nasty stigma that is forcing us to wander a land between called “survival mode”. We know too much to go back, and have come to far to want to. But there isn’t yet a way forward. So it’s one day at a time, one step at a time.

We need a term like special needs. But I don’t think most of humanity thinks ADHD and all of it’s complexities is special.

I wish others could understand that we’re dealing as best we can with an unseen, under-understood and as of yet, un-treated ghost that daily haunts our child. Or not, because somedays it doesn’t. And on those days, we’re cautiously optimistic, but stumped when it returns again full force or more. For no reason at all. How do you study something that seems to have a mind of its own?

I wish we had a term that doesn’t shame or mis-identify, but lets others know when someone is deregulated in the moment. Where we wouldn’t have to explain that if we knew how to fix it we would, but we don’t, and this is his “normal” and we’re all gonna be ok someday.

At least that’s what we keep telling ourselves as we continue to jump through all the hoops, appointments and tests. And dream of that elusive “someday” that gives us just enough hope to press the button for survival mode one. more. day.

Dear Gomer,

imgresI don’t think I had ever read your story before, but it only took a few sentences for me to be totally sucked in.

My heart soared with excitement for you as I read in your love story that you had been specially chosen to become a preacher’s wife. And not only how this marriage rescued you from the sex trade, but how you were actually chosen to be Hosea’s wife because of your “profession”. Did that not just blow your mind? It did mine when I read it!

Your story reminds me a little bit of a movie called “Pretty Woman” that was made many years after your life. It was about a well-to-do businessman who fell in love with a prostitue he had hired and after just one night together decided he wanted to have her all to himself and not have to share her with other men. It was a sad and compelling and shocking yet wildly popular movie. I’m surprised your story doesn’t get more attention since it’s very much in the same vein.

Anyway, as I was reading your story, I couldn’t help but think that you must have felt so lucky when Hosea proposed to you. That because this man of God chose you to be his mate, you were handed a new, fresh start. That doesn’t happen all that often, you know.

Then I read that you left your beautiful new life to return to the streets. Not only did you leave your husband behind, but 3 children as well.

When I got to that part of your story, I scrunched my eyes shut and tried to imagine what in the world could have been so horrible in your new life that it had driven you away from it and back to the streets. Did your husband not really pay any attention to you? Were you bored? Was momming too much for you? Was your spouse more married to his job than he was to you?

Although not very many would be brave enough to admit it, I think a lot of women can identify with you and that’s why your story was chosen to be included in one of top-selling books of all times. Marriages grow stale and boring. Parenting is really, really hard. Changing locations, stations in life, even a change in occupation can wreck you. Not to mention all the hormones after childbirth and lack of sleep ever after.

I don’t know what drove you to run away from what seemed like a fairytale life, but you did.

What’s the most interesting part of your saga, besides the “sacred raisin cakes” mentioned in chapter 3 (man, I’d love the recipe for those…), is the fact that your husband didn’t let you go.

You were loved, despite leaving. You were wanted despite not wanting to be there. You were pursued, relentlessly. Brought back. Bought back. Fought for. Gomer, do you have any idea how many women wish to be loved that fiercely?

I’ll bet there are a whole lot of women who feel invisible and want to act out to get some attention. Was that your story too, Gomer? Did you feel unnecessary? Unexciting? Unappreciated? Unwanted? I can imagine that even today there are some lonely, swept aside women who feel like if they ran away no one would come looking for them, or even worse no one would even notice that they were gone.

But not you, Gomer. You were something special. You have so much in common with all of womankind, many of which would probably rather die than claim to have anything in common with a hooker.

gomer

I’ll come out and say it: I’m enamored with your story. Maybe because it’s almost Valentine’s Day. But Hosea’s relentless love tugs at something deep inside of me and forces me sit up and take notice. To close my eyes and wonder about you. To wish for every woman to feel as loved and wanted and pursued and redeemed as you were. To know that for each and every one of us, despite our past or our present, there is hope. 

Click HERE to read Gomer’s story

rain

rain_room07It’s been raining since Sunday. Having gone to college in Ohio and lived more than a decade in Michigan, I am used to a lot of rain a lot of days in a row. But being spoiled by the southern, sunny weather in my 1.5 years living in GA, this week has felt gloomy in comparison.

For some reason, the grey and rain has not dampened my spirits this week. Maybe it’s because:

  • I got an e-mail from a friend saying, “I need you”…and I felt affirmed
  • Doing Joshua 1:8 with motions with my kids is entertaining and connective…and I felt like an Orange Parent
  • I crossed a lot of things off my list…and I felt effective and worthwhile
  • I prayed for Africa to be blessed with the rain we have been fortunate to enjoy this week…and I felt gratitude for my situation
  • I got a text from a friend saying “I need your help…will call in 15 min”…and I laughed like the old days
  • I got croissants from the grocery store’s bakery–fresh from the cooling rack…and I felt lucky to live the life that I do
  • I said a kind word and got a big smile in response…and I felt like I was living like Jesus wanted me to
  • I put an invitation out there with fear and trepidation, and people took me up on it…and I didn’t feel as unwanted as I usually do
  • I celebrated an honor at school with my daughter…and I felt pride in the child I’ve worked hard to raise and the gift that she is
  • I walked into a cleanish house that smells like an amazing pot of chili…and I know I’ll be nourished and don’t take it for granted
  • I found a package of ping-pong balls at the thrift store for 99 cents…and I knew the joy it would bring my kids to finally be able to try out a homemade version of the “Junk in the Trunk” Minute to Win it Game
  • The county sent a reminder of the “inclement weather and school cancellation policy”…and I felt a surge of hope that I might get an unexpected day home with my favorite people in the whole wide world

And because of the rain, I’ve been focusing on practicing thankfulness. And in that practice, I am finding that I have so much hope.

Bloom where you’re planted

When I was in kindergarten, we did a fall “program” showcasing what we had learned about apples, Thanksgiving and such.

I sang a special number called “Bloom Where you’re Planted” with two other girls. I still totally remember the lyrics, or at least most of them, I think?

Only God can count the apples in a single seed
Only he knows just how many there will be.
All the possibilities
Are the person that he sees
When he looks inside of ME.

Bloom where you’re planted
Show what you’re worth
God plants His flowers all over the earth.
Bloom where you’re planted
And if you’re sincere,
You can go anywhere on earth from here. 

I remember having the great idea for me and my fellow singers to wear bonnets to sing this song. I have no idea why. I told them to smuggle a bonnet to the show, not to tell their parents, and that we’d put them on as a surprise before we went on stage to sing. I think everyone WAS surprised to see their little girls standing on stage in their Sunday best dresses with Little House on the Prairie-esque bonnets tied around our heads.

The lyrics to this little song have popped into my head often since our move to the south. I don’t think I had any clue as a Kindergartener what these words meant, but they sure do mean a lot to me as an adult.

I’m attempting to find a new context in which to bloom. Trying to sit down and decide “what are the good things I could be doing” as opposed to “what are the BEST things I could possibly do with my time and talents?”

I’m trying to be patient with God, as I tend to be the “I wanted this to be all figured out and done YESTERDAY” kind of person. I’m starting to see the rest of my family figure out their contexts, make friends, and begin to put down their roots. I’m setting down my roots too, but I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to notice that I’m even here.

I’ve been using this “down time” to really dig into God’s word. To soak it in and work on my spiritual disciplines so that whenever “it” comes along, I’m ready.

And until then, I’ll just keep on resting in the fact that God knows why I’m here. And like a proud parent, he’s just bursting with pride, excitement and anticipation for “that day”.

The day when I sit down over a mug of steaming cocoa and reflect on how I ended up in this life,  and it all becomes clear why I am right here right now.

Choosing to see

I was struck by a thought the other day as I was driving white-knuckled, shushing the kids so I could hear the GPS guide this directionally-challenged newbie through town to the safety and familiarity of Target. I’ve been mulling this thought over for more than a week, and it finally makes some sense to me. But let’s begin at the beginning…

It started out when my eldest (and mainly vegetarian) son pointed out a large truck full of somber-looking chickens being driven into the Tyson plant. He asked me if they were going to get eggs out of the chickens. I paused a moment as I thought about how to answer and decided the truth was best. Quietly I said, “no, bud, they’re going to make them into the chicken we buy at grocery stores”. All of a sudden I could easily hear the GPS commanding me to “keep to the right” as I continued around the town circle.

If that wasn’t enough of a downer, I had just sat myself up a little straighter, regripped the steering wheel and thought to myself, “that didn’t go so badly” when I glanced to the right and realized that we were now driving past the county jail. I was assailed by another wave of sadness as I fought back tears realizing that in my new life every time I drove through town I would be driving by the Tyson plant and feeling sad about chickens being murdered so I could eat them for dinner and then neck-breakingly flung into deep thoughts about the depravity of man as I drove by the county jail. Great. Just great.

I continued on around the Georgia version of a roundabout and what to my already weary eyes did appear but a graveyard! It just couldn’t get any worse. De. Pressing.

The only redeeming factor to this triple threat to my emotional well-being was that across the street from the cemetery stands a little farmer’s market. Something growing, local, organic, green, crunchy. A tiny puff of life after driving through what feels like the wheel of death.

On the drive back through town as you take the roundabout the opposite way of the first, you see a beautiful new town hall and a (non-working?) gas station that is reminiscent of the Disney Cars movie. Someone painstakingly restored this quaint little station and it looks clean enough to eat off the floors while the shiny green and white paint is so striking you can’t help but stare at it whilst driving by. Scattered amongst the empty storefronts on the main drag is a tiny eatery called “City Bistro” that’s doing its best to make a go of it and revive our little town center with a clean and decorated front window and a sign from…well…at least it’s from the last century as opposed to the gold rush era.

No matter which direction I’m going through town, there’s a mix of sadness and hope, signs of failure and sparks signaling the possibility of future growth and success.

I think the same could be said of my new life here. I can wallow in how it’s not what I’m used to, how I miss this and that, and how I wish things were different. But really, it’s up to me to revel in the good stuff–having a home and the effervescent people that fill it up, the lush greenness of our area, and a fridge that spits out ice and water.

And like the gas station in town that stands out by how shiny and great it looks because someone put some effort into it, even if it’s not being used for its originally intended purpose, you can tell that someone put effort into repurposing it. Right now it’s just sitting there, but when the time comes for it to be a functioning museum, cafe or donut shop it’s ready to go.

I want to be that gas station. The thing that makes people smile, gives them a glimmer of hope, makes them think or wonder. I want to be someone who is primed and ready to burst forth with whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. Not sitting around decaying or boo-hooing, not content with just getting by in this here town.

And suddenly, some things made sense to me in a way they never had before and the thought that had struck me on the gloomy side of town fell into context. Like Jeremiah 18:1-4:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.