Sunday, April 06, 2014

Love Returned

I am a mother-in-law at 40 years old.  No, I didn't have a baby at  14 years of age.  I did, however, marry an older (ahem, much older) man who had a 9 year old son. A son who's birth mother was gone. A son who was perfectly happy to be a father-son duo with no desire for a nosy, know-it-all Betty Buttinsky. That's me by the way. Ol' Betty Buttinksy. Their life before me was full of guy time - bowling, darts, late movie nights and fried food.  They had a routine that fit for school and work and sports. It was a sweet picture of a devoted father and adoring son. Like bread and jam.

Then, in walks horseradish. Again, me.  Horseradish and jam aren't the most scrumptious combination ever invented. Completely in love with the dad in the equation and thoroughly unaware of brewing discord. I disrupt the smooth operation with the best of intentions. No chore chart before? Oh, well let's get one laminated and on the fridge.  No set bedtime? My word! Curfew begins now. Dessert at any time of day? At least one fruit and veggie at every meal. Now that that's all straightened out....

As you can imagine, my gangbuster attitude did not go over well.  My new husband was stretched in all directions trying to comfort his frustrated, and probably grieving, son while keeping me romanced and allowing me to wear my rose-colored glasses awhile longer. He became an expert Stretch Armstrong trying to please us both. All the while, my new son and I became frustrated and distant and angry.

Now skipping lots of details and some teary heartache, the God Who Sees began to make evident His work in the shaky trio of us. My head and pride got out of the way and my heart began to de-ice.  A little. His need for a momma increased when girls entered the picture.  Fast forward 4 brothers and sisters later, skipped school days, challenged parental authority (certainly more in check by this time), and gargantuan spiritual growth on my part. My name is now "mom" to five children, four by birth and one through heart adoption. The hugs come more easily. The somewhat wise counsel accepted occasionally.

Skip forward to last weekend. My son binds his heart with his bride. I see my Army veteran son in a new light watching him tenderly gaze at her, gently holding her hand. I had that moment you read about...seeing him at my wedding, in his football uniform, at prom, sending him off to Afghanistan. I held it together. Until...

Walking through the airport in a rare moment with just he and I. "Was it kinda weird not having your mom at your wedding?" I asked. "She was there" he replied.  Me. He meant me.  "It woulda been weird if you hadn't been there. You're my momma". Can you guess? I didn't hold it together. Tears streaming, flowing, walking down the moving sidewalk in the Phoenix airport. Years of prayer, commitment, frustration, and love all returned to me in one moment.

See, all along husband and I couldn't see the beautiful side of the masterpiece the Lord was weaving through us. In us. We saw the mess and mistakes and sometimes regrets. We could only see our own hands in the weaving, nursing our callouses. Recently, He has made known a portion of all He has orchestrated and created. He has given us a glimpse of the man He is forming in my son and in the husband he will be. He has given us the gift of a new daughter who loves Him.

My sweet Lord has given me the gift of love returned.

Are you waiting for some sort of love to be returned? Take heart in our Faithful and Good God. His ways and thoughts are greater than our own. His purpose bigger and more amazing than our imaginations.God is good all the time.All the time, God is Good.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

God is alive! Amen?

I have a sweet friend struggling with all types of cancer.  Over the last two years that I have come to love her, she has lost her hair, weight, ability to drive, and control of bodily functions.  During these long months of suffering, I have seen the amazing strength and hope that comes from the Holy Spirit.  Beauty and joy that can only come from His indwelling.  It is a life-changing situation to witness and be a part of.

This summer, she was told she was nearing her end.  Her body could take no more and she was ready, mentally.  It was so hard to believe I wouldn't see her at Bible study on Thursdays, or hear her witty comebacks or enjoy her horse stories.  Her circle of friends was devastated.

She mustered the strength to join us at Bible study albeit sporadically.  Just her presence is a calming balm. Are you ready for the "wow"?  That lady, my dying friend, is now in remission. She is in the curative stage of treatment and has medical hope for a little more time on this earth.  Her immediate earthly future has been prolonged.  God is alive and has chosen to demonstrate it in her. Amen!

Obviously, my conversations with God were about her progress and health, thanking Him for His faithful provision.  Expressing my gratefulness for His miracle.  His miracle that is a pinky-lift for Him but is bigger than the weight of the world for my friend.  Even this very morning while still in bed and before the noise of the day, I was talking to my Lord about her and Him and His story in her.

My specific prayer for her this morning was that she, in her new-found health, will be an amazing testimony for Him. Everywhere she goes will be an opportunity for His glory to shine through.  She's been restored and let all the world hear about it!

"I wish the same thing for you, child o'mine" said the Lord.

To me. In the middle of my prayer for a sweet friend He began to talk to me. He reminded me in a gentle way that I too, am restored.  I too, am healed from the inside out.  And I too, can be a testimony for Him. And lastly, I too, can be an opportunity for His glory to shine through.

No, I don't have a deadly disease like cancer.  But I once had the deadly disease of self; me over He. I once was dragged down mentally and physically by sin.  I once was wallowing in decline but with no hope.  Unlike my friend who exudes hope, I had none.

However, just as He has chosen to heal her physically, He chose to pull me out of the muck and mire.  He chose to save me from impending doom and give me the hope and promise of life eternal.  With Him.  I can be a living testimony for Him everywhere I go and to everyone I meet.

God IS alive. Amen!