Sunday, April 19, 2015

Copy Them

I once heard somewhere that men function best in conversation that does not involve eye contact.  Want to know your husbands heart?  Work shoulder to shoulder with him on a project and then he'll start talking.  Want to know your son's deep thoughts?  Snuggle him at bedtime when the lights are off.  Car rides work well for this, too.

Levi's best conversations happen at bedtime and in the car.  By far.  He's looking out the window and thinking and talking, thinking and talking.  He's making up songs, he's asking 1.5 million questions. (Please tell me, at what age does the constant questioning stop?  I mean, I KNOW this is him forming thoughts in his little brilliant brain, but it makes my brain hurt.)

One of his favorite car activities is rhyming.  Most recently, he started chanting,

"Amen, copy them."

He was so proud of himself for coming up with the rhyme, "Mom, let's end all of our prayers like that."

"Mmmm hmmm, sure."  I said, only half paying attention.

So I should not have been surprised when, at both dinner and bedtime, he ended his prayers, "Amen!  Copy them!"

Herb and I exchanged a look and stifled a giggle.  I shrugged my shoulders and told Herb about the rhyme.

And then copy them didn't go away.  After several more days of of the Amen coda, I finally asked Levi what it meant - because maybe, just maybe, it was more important that a rhyme.

"Mooooom," he said said in three syllables, "you know.  We're copying God and Jesus 'cause they're so kind."

Amen, copy them.  May it be so.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Broken Shells

This weekend we were at a conference within 45 minutes of Rehoboth Beach.  In my world, you can't be that close to the beach and not go, even if the time spent on the beach is equal or less than the amount of time it takes to get to the beach.  Case in point, last summer, we rode the subway for an hour from NYC just to walk on Coney Island for 15 minutes and grab dinner at Nathan's Hot Dogs, because THE BEACH!*

*Coney Island is disgusting, and the hot dogs and carousel were really it's only saving grace.

The beach is an emotional place for me.  Many happy memories are tied there, and some pinnacle game changing moments (I wrote all about that once). Lots of soul searching and reflection can do that to a person, and the beach is great for just that.  But yesterday's beach visit brought a wave of memories tucked away in a dark corner.

The year was half a lifetime ago, and to be honest, the details don't matter.  I was in a destructive and toxic relationship and had surrounded myself with people who weren't necessarily encouraging in the way I needed.  I was "walking with Jesus," but on this beach trip, I was playing with fire.

I have long since forgotten the days and weeks surrounding that trip, but now, looking back, I can point to God's divine protection over my heart, and even my life, in that season.  But, oh, how I ache for that girl.  Not that I regret the choices I made (or seriously considered making), but sad for how broken she was.  Sad that she couldn't see her worth, sad that she didn't realize how much more she was treasured.

I wish I could hold her hand and say, "Run. Get out of here.  You deserve more than this.  You are more than this." So many lies were rooted in my heart - I was not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough.

Oh, but praise Jesus, He is enough, what He has done is enough, He, dwelling in me, makes me enough.

I shared this sadness with a friend last night, "Have you ever just felt like you had to mourn for your younger self?"

"But that's why God is so good," she quickly texted back, "He takes those broken pieces and makes beautiful things."

Just to demonstrate His faithfulness, now, instead of painful memories of this particular plot of sand, I have these:

Sharing an hour at sunset with the love of my life.  The one God called me to.  The one who started as my best friend and remains that today.  The one who encourages and never pressures.  The one who leads with love, not force.  The one who has smelled my terrible morning breath and lived through my PMS.  The one who has shared the journey in to parenthood.

On that beach, he and I watched, with satisfaction, as the one we call "son" squealed with joy, daring to chase the frigid waves, finding broken seashells, building sand castles, and enjoying our company.

God saved me from myself.  I gave Him my brokenness, I begged Him for restoration (in so many more words that were so much less clear).  He gave me security, comfort, redemption.

And then, as an added bonus, He blessed me with two guys who sit at dinner and argue about who loves me more, and trap me in a web of blankets, me getting snuggled from both sides.

I can't go back to that broken Chelle, but I can say it to you.  Girl, run.  You are worth so much more than the mess you're in.   Give God your broken pieces and let Him make something beautiful.  Let Him redeem it; He already has.