Thursday, July 25, 2013

Memories Of The Heart

She says I ruined her childhood with
"Kelly Kids" clolthes
I was cleaning Bailey's room recently, preparing for overnight guests, when I opened her closet door. I've written before about my empty nest and how I've dealt with that so I was not expecting the tears. As I stood there in the midst of her belongings a flood of memories washed over me...her childhood stared back at me from floor to ceiling.

There were her cheerleading outfits...middle school and high school...a little white blouse hung on the rack, size 6, with "Bailey" embroidered on its' Peter Pan collar. (Warning: never put your child's name on clothing in a visible location). Hanging in all their splendor...long forgotten prom and cotillion one time the center of our lives as we sought the "perfect", rarely noticed except by this momma. (ebay and I should become friends.)
The Closet of Memories
There were books and puzzles and shoes to go with aforementioned dresses and various other things left behind when she moved out. As I stood there thinking about her childhood, and the wonderful young woman she's become, I realized my tears were different than last year, I'm different. So...I gently shut the door and wiped away my tears.

My all time favorite prom dress
That's what God can do with our brokenness, our hurt, our pain. If we give it to Him, He can transform us, heal us and change us. He can take our memories and turn them into cause for joy.

I've tried to bury mine for so long and now that I've cleaned out the closet of my own personal memories,  I can finally begin to heal.

 A new blogger friend wrote a post recently about how God had transformed satanic tattoos into something He could redeem for His glory. It's beautifully written and reminds us how God wants to bind up the hurts of the broken, the bruised and the battered. Here is the link,  go to Tattoo Renewal-Revisited or June 17, 2013. It is an amazing story! I get to meet the author of the blog this weekend, along with several other amazing women with stories of how God has changed their lives at She Speaks in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He wants to heal us and give us new memories...change us and transform the way we view ourselves, but more importantly, the way we see Him. He wants us to see Him as the way to life, real life, abundant life. It will change the way we do everything.

So, what does this mean for me? I'm slowly, but surely beginning to gently close the door on old memories.

I waited patiently for the Lord; 
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord. 
Psalm 40:1-3

Peace and blessings,

P.S. She Speaks is a Writers/Speakers Conference for Women hosted annually by Proverbs 31 Ministries in Charlotte, NC.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ain't No Mountain High Enough...

Is there a mountain in your life you want to climb and you haven't figured a way to get to the top? I'm speaking figuratively, of course, but let me tell you a story.

When I couldn't have babies, after several years of marriage, my husband and I decided to choose adoption. We were still young and naive and so defeated with infertility that adoption seemed to be God's answer and take us in a positive direction...a direction that would yield a baby to fill our empty home.

Andy-The day after we came home from Guatemala
We were living in South Carolina by this time, attending a wonderful church, when missionaries came to visit. While the missionary was speaking in our Sunday School class, my thoughts were drifting miles away to the country he was serving. I was thinking, "I wonder if there are any babies who need a mommy and daddy?" So...after class, we posed this question to our missionary who delightedly said, "why yes, I know of a home for children, run by Larry and Claire Boggs. Let me give you their address." I took that piece of paper in my hand and couldn't get home fast enough and wrote the most important letter of my entire life...and waited.

Six weeks later, a thick envelope with the return address stamped from Guatemala appeared in my mailbox. With trembling hands, I tore into the most important letter I've ever received and began to read...and read...and read. Several pages of typed instructions later, I was overwhelmed.

After my meltdown, as I was lamenting, "how will we ever do all that needs to be done?" calm husband, took both my shoulders, turned me to face him and said, "Cindy, we'll do #1 and when we finish #1 we'll move on to #2 and when we finish that, we'll move on to #3. I think you get the picture. Almost nine months to the day of the missionaries' visit to our church, my little Andy was born in Guatemala and made me a momma for the first time. Less than two short years later, we were blessed with bundle number two.

Bailey at two years of age
What is your mountain? I've had many since that one, but I always return to that moment in my mind and my husband's words to me.

Andy and Beau-2013
              Do you have a dream in your life...something you want to do and you can't get started? Don't be like me and be defeated before you ever begin. Recently, I wanted to have a blog and just about let fear stand in the way. I took a baby step, thanks to a wonderful friend who invited me to a writers' conference. The mountain crumbled before my eyes.

God is the giver of all good gifts. I'm so thankful He taught me that lesson all those years ago and my gift was a baby boy, and eventually a baby girl.  Ironically though, we had to go to the top of a mountain to get him, but he was worth the climb. Sometimes, the climb makes the gift sweeter.

Whatever mountain you face, you don't have to face it alone. There is One that goes before you and walks with you on your journey. He said He will never leave you or forsake you. That's always been comforting for me...I hope it is for you.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Friday, July 12, 2013

Laughter In A Rainy Season

We went to Greenville for dinner last night with some dear friends. As is our custom, we were deciding on a restaurant on the drive up there, mingled in with conversation, and before you knew it we were cruising down Main Street...a very busy Main Street. Everyone decided to get out and enjoy the beautiful, balmy night with nary a drop of rain.

We finally decided on a lovely restaurant on the water, made a quick reservation while we were walking and casually strolled in to be seated. We requested outdoor seating since it was so nice outside and were taken to our table by the hostess. She placed large black menus on the white linen tablecloths, our first and second indications of things to come.

We were giddy with excitement...until we opened our menus and looked at the prices. All of a sudden, as our eyes popped open, it wasn't as fun anymore. Someone, who shall remain nameless, said, "y'all wanna leave?" Well, I hate getting up and leaving, but I sure didn't want to pay those prices either...I am rather frugal. So...we politely lay our big, black menus back down on the white linen tablecloths and walked out.

Mother's Day
This makes me laugh
Then my friend and I ran...yes, we ran out of sight. We looked like two teenagers who'd just egged a house or car on Halloween...and then we laughed and laughed. Our husbands casually strolled along because, you know, men are macho. I hope you're picturing this with me because it was hilarious. We finally found a restaurant and had money left over for coffee...the cure for whatever ails you!

The Bible says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22 NASB

I was in dire need of some of that kind of medicine. My spirit has been feeling a little broken lately and laughter is just what it needed. It was the kind of real, belly laughter that I've needed. I've also met some new friends through writing that have given me encouragement lately. God always seems to meet our need right where we are, when we need it. I hope you can find someone to laugh with this weekend. People are hurting everywhere...laughter is cheap medicine but it can do a world of good.

I'll remember last night for many years to come as a night of letting go and having fun. In the midst of a dark world, God has given laughter and joy as medicine. Go spread some joy this weekend.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Friday, July 5, 2013

Things My Mother Taught Me

There are times in your life when you take stock of yourself...where you've been and where you're going. This is one of those times for me. I've been on a long journey. It's taken me 38 years to get to this point and I'm finally getting to a peaceful place. The road before me hasn't straightened yet but then, I'm not sure I want it to be straightened completely.

Me, Mom, my little brother, Dougie
Circa 1966
I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and the curves are a little more exciting than straight, boring roads of interstate all the time.

I was blessed with only fifteen years with my mother but she taught me some valuable things. I would like to share some of them with you. Maybe you'll see some things of your own experience with your mother.

1. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

2. She taught me how to make a proper bed, and then we practiced...every day. ;)

3. She taught me how to keep going when you don't feel like it.

4. She taught me how to iron. I learned on my dad's handkerchiefs and pillowcases.

5. She gave me a love for music...she sang alto, just like me.

6. She instilled in me a love for family.

7. She taught me how to properly fold towels and sheets.

8. She and I "Spring Cleaned" together.

9. When life is darkest...plant flowers.

10. She showed me, by example, how to be faithful to God and His Church.

11. She taught me how to journal the important things, like my children's sayings and their birth records.

12. She taught me how to respect my husband even when I don't agree with him.

13. She taught me how to love your children sacrificially.

14. She taught me that painting your toenails makes you feel better, even if it's just for a little while.

15. She taught me how to die with dignity, with prayer on your lips and praise for your Savior.

Her words are still teaching me today. I found something she wrote in my baby book that I hadn't read in years. She reminded me that God's love is unfailing. Those words are never truer to me than they are at this point in my life. I wrote a post recently about the power of words and how they can heal. Little did I know God would use my mother's words in my own healing.

My mother taught me many things, not only how to take care of myself, my home and my family, but the most important to love God with all my heart. If your mother has taught you anything, and I know she has, never miss an opportunity to let her know you appreciate her. It's the little things in life that mean the most.

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5 NIV

Blessings from My Little Corner,