Divorce · Marriage · Parenting · Uncategorized

Ridiculous Grace

I was thinking last night, as we sat around the dinner table, that sometimes it’s not so much what you teach your children that matters, but what they don’t know.

You see, we sat there in the restaurant, myself, my hubby, our three younger boys, and their bonus mom. Our oldest was at youth group. I watched them as they naturally interacted with her, as we all did, and I thought what an amazing thing that they don’t know any different.

They have no idea how rare such a thing is, to them it’s natural, comfortable.

They don’t think it’s odd when they get off the bus and she’s here hanging out with me doing a craft. They don’t think it’s odd that we took them on a date to their mother son bash, TOGETHER. They don’t think anything of asking her to join us for dinner on a Wednesday.

They don’t think it’s weird that we talk during the week, or that we have them over to celebrate life together.

None of that seems unusual to them.

I’m so aware of what I teach them. So intentional about making sure they learn how to fully depend on God, to see others as He sees them and to embrace and appreciate every difference with genuine love.

But last night, as I watched them, fully realizing they have no idea how rare their family is, I was most proud of what we haven’t taught them.

They don’t think that because your parents aren’t still married they can’t be friends. They don’t think that your mama and your bonus mom can’t get along. In fact, they think that they’re very close and sometimes talk more than you wish and prevent you from getting away with anything.

They don’t think it’s odd for their entire family to sit together on the front row at church. Both moms and both dads.

They don’t think that because you’re no longer married it means you have to disrespect each other.

They never question their loyalty because they know they will have four parents present anytime they find themselves peering out from the stage.

I often think about all that I want to teach them. All that I want to instill in their little hearts. All the ways I want to prepare them to be men that change the world for Him. To raise them after His heart.

Last night, as I sat there watching them laugh, listening to the conversation around the table, I realized, I’m so very proud of all the things we haven’t taught them.

They have learned compassion in the absence of disrespect. They have learned love in the absence of hate. They have learned joy in the absence of negativity.

What we haven’t taught them, may in fact have given them the greatest capacity to fully see what is possible. To embrace love.

They have learned that a family can be WHOLE no matter how many homes it consists of.

We have many choices as parents. Moment by moment choices. We shape our children’s world with our words and and our actions. Being a parent is a huge responsibility. But maybe, maybe it’s so much more about what we choose not to do.

Maybe it’s about choosing love when we don’t feel like it, or choosing compassion in the moments of frustration.

Maybe it’s the moments when we make the choices that seem backwards to the world, that we are exercising our greatest power to change our children’s world.

Maybe we teach them more about God by what we don’t do.

To be honest, yes, we’ve done so much of this for them, and have not done so many things for their sake. But they aren’t the only ones that have received the blessings.

We have.

We have the rewards of friendship in the spaces where many experience pain. We have the gift of sharing the journey and parenting together. And parenting is hard, having a team is a good thing.

None of it is easy. We’re all human.

We make choices to teach our kids how to love people. And that includes everyone.

Especially the people that matter to them.

We can’t say, “Jesus wants to us love everyone”, if that everyone doesn’t include everyone in their world.

They see our actions as well as our gaps. And sometimes it’s the things they don’t see us do that have the greatest impact.

Have we made these choices for them? Sure, their little hearts matter. Is it hard sometimes? Yep, but so incredibly worth it.

They have been so blessed to not even question how unusual their life is. But they’re not the only ones receiving the blessings. So are we.

What you pour out comes back like a flood.

Man, sometimes, it just feels like such RIDICULOUS GRACE.

Divorce · Marriage · Parenting · Uncategorized

Legacy

I’ve though a lot the past few months about what a legacy actually is. The way you weave it into being by the way you live your life.

Often, I think we relate to the idea of a legacy as if it’s some unattainable abstract for the “regular folk” that we are. As though, if you don’t have millions of dollars and aren’t a household name somehow your legacy is small, maybe even insignificant.

What if your legacy isn’t so much about what you own, but WHO you are? What if it’s about a child you raise?

A man or a woman, who’s heart you tended when it was small. When the world wasn’t so scary and big. When the hard things were more about who really left that towel on the floor and letting them walk through the consequences of their choices.

A lot of this heart-research I’ve been doing, no doubt, stems from the reality of growing a fifth baby inside. To be honest, it was a sore spot between God and I for a year. A place where I felt Him leaning on my heart to surrender and embrace the idea. But my little heart was too wrapped up in the “can’ts” and the “buts” and the “I’m doing something else for You”.

I’ve learned, digging into the deepest places of His heart, that often what seems like the very thing I don’t feel qualified for is the space where my greatest calling meets His strength.

I’d like to tell you that I’ve got this faith thing figured out and that trusting His leading is easy. But it’s not.

Simple. But not at all easy.

There is the greatest glory in the places where I am smallest.

The legacy I leave will not be one that writes my name across stones and leaves people talking of me long after I’m gone.

The legacy I leave will change the world. It will be a legacy of hearts that beat after His. Five of them.

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The one thing I’m qualified to do. The ONE thing, is to be His. Fully surrendered to His heart and His way. An offering to His purposes.

My legacy is His legacy. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’ve lived a lot of my life searching for purpose, direction. My calling. What I have found is that it’s less about defining my identity and so much more about simply listening to who He says I am.

The world would tell me that simply being a wife and a mother isn’t really enough. That my potential and impact are wasted. The world will tell me that this “job” I have doesn’t produce income and so therefore doesn’t have great value to my family. The world will say that five kids is really a lot, and place us in some overachiever category with the rest of the crazy people who drive large vehicles because they don’t have other options.

I’ll remind the world that the only place I want to be is smack in the center of His will. Regardless of how crazy it seems, or much it stretches my little human heart.

I’ll remind them that I’m raising the pastors, missionaries, and worship leaders of tomorrow. That’s doesn’t even mean that’s the title they will carry on their business card. Those will be the titles He and I, together, carved on their hearts. After all, in the end that’s who we all are.

I will be His pen.

Will you? Will you write His story on the pages of time? The words He lays on your heart. The depth of the love story that He presses into your hands. Will it be the song that plays long after your gone?

Maybe it’s the opposite for you. Maybe He is asking you to live a life without children, or maybe without a spouse. Maybe it’s choosing to love someone who’s own wounds have scraped your heart raw. Maybe it’s loving children who weren’t born from your body, ones He birthed instead from your heart.

What will your legacy say about you? Will it be one that you intentionally wrote by choosing Him over and over again? Or will it read of choices made by excuse and the path that seemed easy at the time?

My prayer for you, and for me, is that the legacy we leave will speak to the immeasurable love of the only One who was ever worthy of being remembered. Whose heart was crushed for us, body broken that we might breathe again. And again.

My prayer for you, and for me, is that what they remember of us is Him.

That the people we love and the children we raise are a beacon in the darkness. A message to the world not that we lived, but that He does.

He is the only legacy I want to leave.

Divorce · Uncategorized

Three Letters – part 3

An open letter to my boy’s other mother…

You and I began long before we ever met. I knew you from the moment I was a single-mama. Not in the way you know someone’s face or even their voice. The way you know their heart.

I began a constant prayer for you and about you. Digging deep into my own heart and growing a love for you. Telling my boys that someday you would come, some day daddy will love someone else and when he does, go ahead and love her too.
Continue reading “Three Letters – part 3”

Marriage

three Letters – part 2

An open letter to the only man in my universe…

You and I are a story that was written long before either of us was ever born into the light gasping for air. He had a plan. I know it for certain, like the way I know my need for oxygen.

When I was a mama, alone with three boys, I began a prayer. A prayer that would last for a very long time, a prayer that He would answer the same way every time. The answer was you.

I learned to love you in the very deepest depths of His heart.

Continue reading “three Letters – part 2”

Divorce · Uncategorized

three Letters – part 1

When you begin a story, you have to start at the beginning. The place where the journey is born and walk forward, as though the listener is traveling with you.

As I thought of the starting point of our story, three letters began to write themselves. The spelling out of gratitude and the nailing down of truth.

This is the first one.

An open letter to the man I once married…

You and I were children then. Broken, messy children. Both looking for the place that could be home, the place where the heart could belong. We were good friends. I always tell people that. We were very good friends, and maybe that’s all we were meant to be. But I’d never question it now for the glory of those three little faces that would not have been.

We created a life together. One that I worked so hard to make perfect for us all. One that to you, I’m sure, felt like putting a man’s suit on a toddler. We were children trying make a marriage work, and our wounds scraped the raw places of each other’s heart. And we kept trying.

Continue reading “three Letters – part 1”

Divorce

the elephant in the room

I’m not one to ignore anything. I tend to just go right ahead and bring it up.

So as we’re starting out here, I felt like we need to just introduce the elephant in the room and make him feel at home.

There’s a tendency to just let him sit there on the couch while we act like he’s not even there. But I think, when we do that, we allow him to grow bigger until he fills the room and makes us all uncomfortable.

Let me introduce to you to, Divorce.

Continue reading “the elephant in the room”