Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dreamer

When I was a kid, I loved to daydream.

 I can remember taking a book out into the yard and laying in the grass under my favorite tree, and after a while my eyes would hurt from squinting to read in the bright sun, so I would lay down my book and just let my mind wander. I could have laid like that all day, if not for the cursed South Carolina fire ants. They always drove me inside long before my daydreams had played themselves out.

In my childhood fantasies, there were visions of kitchens with curtains blowing in the breeze. There was apple pie in the oven, there were giggling children playing happily, there was a dining room table set to perfection, there were lovely trees, and lots of flowers, and a man who loved me, and who I adored.

And all those dreams have come true.

Well...sort of. The curtains are more likely blowing in the air conditioning than in the breeze, and I would really prefer they don't blow at all, because then DUST will start to blow off of them. There is occasionally apple pie in the over, but more often its frozen pizza or ready-to-bake cookies. The children do giggle and play happily, but usually only for short periods of time before the arguing or crying starts...and then the discipline starts, and the apple pie/frozen pizza burns. As far as the dining room table goes, it depends on how you look at it. We almost never eat in there, so that means its either always set to perfection (meaning empty) or it never is. (I'm in a glass half full mood today, so we'll go with always) There are trees in my yard, and they are lovely. There are lots of flowers. And there is a man who loves me. And I really do adore him, even on the days he has to work late, or snores loudly and wakes me up, or singlehandedly fills the laundry basket with clothes I have to wash, or forgets to check his shoes and tracks mud into the house.

Ah, the rosy daydreams of childhood. They had all the things my life has now, but with a lot less noise, and exhaustion, and chaos, and tears, and mildew, and dust.

Today I took five minutes to indulge in a good old fashioned daydream.

In this perfect moment of fantasy, there was a quiet lunch with girlfriends at a restaurant, followed by pedicures, then an afternoon giggling and talking with my sisters. My hair was perfectly styled, I didn't have a single blemish or wrinkle, no love handles or broken veins or stretch marks dared make an appearance, I had brushed my teeth, and I was wearing clean jeans. After the lovely afternoon, I came home and thanked the babysitter-but didn't have to pay her. My house was perfectly clean, thanks to my free babysitter, and my children were sitting at the table enjoying a lively, educational board game. All of their clothing items were on their bodies, and they were happy to see me. I cooked a wonderful supper without burning or slicing any of my fingers, and my husband arrived home on time to eat it.

(Insert unladylike and altogether unacceptable snort here) (now insert an eye roll) (and finally a raised brow which says "what have you been smoking?")

Daydreams don't ever come true exactly the way we dream them.

I also used to dream about being a famous singer. But, I am pretty sure my largest and most captive audience was a herd of cattle. (don't ask)

Then there's this other dream of mine. You know what I'm talking about. Its the one that we all have, that isn't really a daydream of fantastic perfection, but a serious wish, a secret longing. Its the one that you dare to hope will someday come true, and you don't say it out loud because maybe that will jinx it, or at the very least give voice to the terrifying, tiny little fluttering of desire in your heart. And with the voice comes the possibility of the fledgling wish being crushed.

I read A LOT, and almost every time I pick up a book, I stare at the name of the author for a second, and I wonder about them,  and if they always wanted to write a book, and how long did it take them, and are they happy with their work?

Yes, I have always thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to be an author.

And I guess this secret isn't really a secret anymore, so I'll follow it with another anticlimactic sharing of another secret that is already known: I am becoming an author. (my friends would say, "no, you ARE an author" but to me its not really valid until I see the name on the book in my hands) I will have my very first book published before I turn 33 years old.

Its a dream come true.

And, at the same time, its terribly sad.

Because my book is about my sister, about her life and about her death.

And not a day goes by that I don't wish to have her back, and I would gladly daydream away this world that she is no longer in, even if it means I have to lose my dream of being an author.

Because having my dream of being an author come true...that only happens in the real world where she is no longer living...and that makes my heart HURT.

And I wonder why the Lord did it this way? Why did He give me the desire to be an author, knowing (because He knows ALL) that my dream come true would be wrapped up in the worst pain of my life? Why did He give Joy HER dream come true (to impact the world) by means of her death?

Why, Lord? Why this way?

But when we were babies, our parents dedicated us to the Lord. And when we were young, we gave our hearts to Him, and every night our Dad prayed over us that we would "Serve Him with our whole hearts for our whole lives."

We don't want our dreams on our terms...not really. We really want His dreams FOR us walked out THROUGH us, however that looks.

I really do choose His will, whatever it is, and so did Joy.

And my heart still hurts.

And our family is still sad.

But Joy's dreams came true.

And soon I will be an author.

The dreams never come true quite how we expect them to. But if they did we wouldn't have to rely so much on His spirit. We could dust off our hands and say "I did it."

But Joy didn't impact the world. God did...using her willingness to serve Him.

And I didn't write a book. God did. He just used my fingers, because every day I sat down and begged Him to write for me, to talk through me, because I couldn't do it.

HE is my dream come true.

And, by the way, my dining room table is still perfectly set, and my children are currently playing happily, and the daffodils are poking up their heads, and my husband loves me, and I adore him.

And I am taking today to ignore the fact that my hair is a mess, and my makeup is smeared, and the loft is a Lego minefield, and the bookshelves are dusty, and the laundry is backed up, and my love handles are not magically disappearing by the sheer force of my will, and the wrinkles deepen around my eyes every day...yep, ignoring it all.

Because today I got to take a first peek at what my book will look like when its actually a book.

I'm celebrating my dream, and Joy's dream, coming true.

His way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In which the hypocrite ingests truth serum

Today my kids were doing their Bible study lessons, and one of the words they were supposed to define was the word 'hypocrisy.' It got me thinking, and the thinking has turned to blogging.

If someone is a hypocrite, they are pretending to be something they aren't. Or they are pretending NOT to be something that they actually are.

Warning: the following is a shocking discourse of brutal honesty.

Basically my whole life I have been a hypocrite in one way or another.

When I get up in the morning and put on makeup, the first thing I do is apply concealer. By the time I am done with my makeup, I am giving the distinct impression that I am NOT tired, and I Don't have stress or chocolate induced zits on my chin.

Hypocrite.

When I do my hair, after I have blow dried it and straightened it, I am giving the distinct impression that I have straight hair.

Hypocrite.

When I put on a shirt that fits in my midsection, I spend the entire day sucking in my stomach in order to give the impression that its flat.

Hypocrite.

When I write a blog, I always click the handy little "spell check" button before I post it, giving the distinct impression that I am a flawless speller.

Hypocrite.

These are the silly things, the shallow things, NOT the things that really matter. But, I'm not done.

When people are coming over to the house, the kids and I spend time cleaning it up (and by that I mean, we toss things into closets and drawers and cabinets) in order to give the impression that we are neat and organized people.

Hypocrite.

On our way to...everywhere we go...I give the kids my standard lecture about how I expect them to behave in public, and what behavior is not allowed. That way, anyone who takes a second to look our way will see 4 quiet, polite, well-mannered children standing beside their mother obediently.

HYPOCRITE.

Most Sunday mornings are hectic at our house. We have to be at church at 8 a.m. By the time we walk out the door, I am usually furious with my husband for how long he spent brushing his teeth, or shaving, or eating breakfast, or how late he slept in...but when we get to church...there is a smile firmly plastered to my face, and I only speak kind words.

Holy Hellish Hypocrite, Batman.

Because I grew up in a Christian home, I have a pretty good handle on how to 'talk' Christian. I could have spent the entire day mentally (and sometimes not mentally) cursing at my filthy house, or choosing to watch television instead of reading my Bible, or talking on the phone to someone about how much my life sucks, but still be able to switch into "Christian Mode" the moment someone asks for prayer, or advice, or encouragement.

I. Am. A. Hypocrite.

Aren't we all? Don't we all put our best foot forward? Don't we all answer the question "How are you?" with some form of "Fine" even if we aren't?? Don't we smile when we are really so stressed, or sad, or angry, that we want to throw something or punch someone or break down and cry? Don't we look for ways to act like we are a certain way in an attempt to mask the way we actually are?

Don't be a hypocrite. Admit that you do it too.

Isn't anyone else getting tired of it? What if we all showed up to church on Sunday without makeup, without Spanks, without being fake nice to our husbands or kids who we were just yelling at 5 minutes ago, without the pat response of "I'm great" or "I'll be praying for you" ready to jump off our tongues whenever its needed???

We would all look like a bunch of chubby, exhausted, frazzled, compassion-less jerks.

But sometimes we are. And why do we think that putting our best foot forward, or never having an argument with our spouse, or always feeling "great," or never forgetting to do a sit up, makes us better Christians?

Aren't we just amping up the pressure for the people we are trying to influence? Aren't we just saying "This is how you're supposed to look, be, act, feel, talk, respond and if you don't...you better start faking it until you are, because thats what we expect from good Christians."

Yes, I do realize that sometimes people say "How are you" in passing, and they don't actually want an honest answer. Its their attempt to PRETEND to connect. What if, just once, you answered a person's passing "How are you?" with the truth...even if the truth isn't pretty, or quick, or socially correct.

"How am I? I'm doing pretty dang crappy, as a matter of fact. These shoes are too small and they're giving me a blister, but they keep my feet from looking as big as they actually are. I can't breathe because my girdle is cutting off my ability to inhale, but I needed it to pull things in and push things up. My husband overslept today, so I had to get the kids ready all by myself, and I made all of them cry by yelling at them to hurry up. I haven't read my Bible in over a month, I haven't spoken to my sister in over 3 months, and all I really want to be doing right now is laying in bed watching Brad Pitt movies."

Either that person will run away from you immediately, or they will blink and reply that they will pray for you, or they will wise up and NEVER ASK YOU THAT QUESTION AGAIN.

I've decided I'm going to quit asking the question "How are you?" on Sunday mornings, because I never have enough time to stop and actually wait for an honest answer, and I don't want anyone to be compelled to give me the "fine" response if they aren't actually fine.

Instead, I'm going to say "Good morning. Its good to see you." And if someone asks me how I am...I'm going to be honest, or at least try to.

Because I'm way too tired to be a hypocrite all the time. Its too much stinking work. Its way harder to pretend to be one way than it is to be who I actually am.

I'm not saying be the whole, honest, ugly truth of who you are to every single stranger you meet. I'm just saying...take a look, a good, long, honest look at the people around you. Do you really think they like you better with your stomach flat, and your complexion smooth, and your children perfectly behaved, and your marriage operating flawlessly, and you smile always ready, and your days always going 'great?'

I usually, secretly, want to stick my tongue out at those people.

What I really want is everyone around me to admit that life is a crap shoot, and we are all just struggling to keep moving, and none of us get it right-not even most of the time.

I think, if we are those people, and we are willing to admit our struggles, and failures, and pain, and weaknesses, then we become even better vessels for shining who HE IS.

Because, seriously, if He can use me...He can use anyone. And if He still loves and accepts me without makeup, or Spanks, or a good attitude firmly in place, then there is hope for everybody.

Plus, hearing how bad your day is going will make me feel better about how bad mine is going.

Here is a reminder for me, and its a relief. I hope it is to you too.

"He forever made PERFECT those who are BEING made holy." Hebrews 10:14

He sees us as perfect. We can't get any better than perfect, no matter how hard we fake it.

He is making us holy. Its a process. None of us have arrived.

If we act like we have it all together, we are hypocrites.

If we reveal our failings, and admit our faults, we are giving to those around us the freedom to do the same.

I am perfect...and I'm a mess. I can handle it. Can you?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Anniversary Nothings

Today is the one year anniversary of "A Thousand Little Nothings."

Can a blog have anniversaries?
Why in the world do I know that?
Who cares?

These are the questions in my head, so if they are in yours as well...I don't mind. And the answers to the questions in my head and yours are:

I don't know if a blog can have anniversaries or not. I don't care. I am a rebel.

I know its the one year anniversary because I remember thinking, on this day last year, that it was a goofy day to start a blog-the day BEFORE Valentine's Day.

Probably no one cares. I don't even care that much, except all day I've been thinking I need to sit down and blog, but I have nothing interesting to say today...and that got me thinking about the fact that, most of the time, I don't really have anything interesting to say, but I keep writing anyway.

Because I'm a rebel, remember?

If I'm honest, I have been waiting for one of my kids to do something outrageous and/or horrifying today that I could make into a funny blog post. But they have been surprisingly normal. Something is obviously wrong with them.

And so, on this day of celebrating one full year of NOTHINGS, I will just say a few of the things on my mind that aren't long enough to make blog posts on their own.

Maybe this post should be titled, "A Dozen Little Nothings."

~We didn't do school today. I needed to run to the store (and by need, I mean the new 007 movie came out yesterday and I hadn't purchased it yet) so we read some books and did some Bible study lessons, and then after we got home we cleaned house. I'm calling it "Home Ec. Day."

~I have recently decided that I'm no longer going to feed my children. They are growing way too fast. Faith needs new undergarments, Clay needs new tennis shoes, Nate needs jeans, and Gabe...well, Gabe just needs spankings all the time. Maybe if I quit feeding them they will quit growing, and I will have money to go to Starbucks and buy movies about James Bond.

~I have so many wonderful friends in my life these days that I don't even have time to keep up with all of them. After several years of ZERO friends, you would think I would be thrilled. And I am...I'm just out of touch more than I like to be with my friends. I'm currently considering ways to offend a few of them so I can cut down my group to a more manageable size.

~People who laugh at things you say are the most fun people to hang out with, aren't they? I've decided that's why everyone loves my sister, Sarah. She laughs in all the right places. So does my friend Beth Ann, and my friend Jamilla, and my friend Brandy, and my best friend Sarah. In fact...I am pretty sure I have strategically surrounded myself with people who laugh at the things I say when I'm trying to be funny. That possibly reveals something about me needing the validation of others...

~I have the most wonderful parents. In. The. World. Nuf said.

~The other night Nate was laying on my bed with me, during evening snuggle time, and he gave me a big wet kiss. Then he looked at Heath and said with a smirk, "I just kissed your wife on the lips."

~The bathroom that my three boys share always, always smells slightly like pee. One day I almost passed out from sniffing every single surface trying to find the source of the smell. Its nowhere. Its everywhere. Its freaking ridiculous.

~It makes me a little bit sad that my daughter, Faith, will never have any sisters. I guess its because I am so, so, so close to my own sisters. But, she and her brothers are really good friends (they are currently holed up in her room playing legos), and I'm sure they will be again once they get through the years of her having a crush on a boy and them making her life miserable because of it. Besides, one very wonderful perk of her being the only other girl in the house is: she and I are really good friends.

~I have recently been informed that cake is a ministry, and I have decided that I am a believer.

~My favorite book in the Bible is James.

~A month ago I adopted the word "stupid" to say in place of a different 'S' word that sometimes wants to jump off my tongue. Stupid is a word I don't let my kids say, so it almost-almost- feels like I am saying the other word. Except it doesn't always work in conversation, and there aren't any other tenses of the word stupid...so it sounds like I have a stupid-y vocabulary.

~I am having my book published. Soon. I'm in the end stages of editing, and then the publisher says we will start working on designing the cover. Holy Stupid. I'm freaking out a little bit.

Alright, I did it! That was one dozen totally random and useless things. You're probably wishing you hadn't read all that, huh? If it makes you feel any better, my husband will undoubtedly wish I hadn't written all of it, and he will make his yelling face at me.

Happy Anniversary to my blog. Thank you to all of you who read it and laugh in all the right places. And thank you to all of you who read it, judge me, and choose NOT to tell me about it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The teacher and the student.

I had a panic attack this morning.

It wasn't the kind that had me gasping for breath and clutching my stomach- although I've had those too. This was the heart racing, vision blurring, jaw clenching moment of overwhelmed FREAKING OUT.

It happened when my almost 6-year-old was attempting to read the sentence "Jan fed the hens." to me. He had successfully navigated through the sounds of 'J' and 'a' ...and it all fell apart. He started spitting out sounds that aren't even part of the alphabet, and then guessing at words that aren't part of the English language...and after a few moments of patiently pointing to the letter 'n' and asking him what sound that letter alone made...it all went fuzzy.

HOW IN THE HOLY @#$% will I ever teach this kid to read? And I still have another boy to teach after him! Not to mention the 2nd grade boy who is still a challenge every day. THREE BOYS!!!

Seriously?

I suddenly felt like I was in the middle of someone's cruel joke.

I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't DO IT.

Before you judge me too harshly, it wasn't just the sudden departure of the 5-year-old's brain function. The 2 year old has the croup, which made for a night of very little sleep. The 8-year-old was crying and moaning at his desk because he couldn't remember what 11 minus 7 equalled, and the 10 year old was staring out the window instead of working on her language page. The 2-year-old coughing CRAB was standing outside the door to the school room (where he had been forcibly removed to by his mother...whoever that is) knocking on the locked door, crying.

"Mommy!!! Guess what?" he yelled after a minute.

"What?" I asked.

"You're mean!" he responded.

At that exact same moment my clogged sinuses decided to let in some of the smells surrounding me, and I got a whiff of the 5-year-old's hands.

"NATE!!! Your hands smell like poop! Did you forget to wash them?"

He laughed.

Clay laughed.

Faith laughed.

Even Gabe paused in his door beating, screaming tirade to giggle.

And I saw gray around the edges of my vision.

This is my life. My two-year old tells me I'm mean, and while I should certainly punish him for that...he's probably justified in his feelings, since I LOCKED him out of a room. My five-year-old forgets to wash his hands and comes to the school room smelling like butt, and then can't remember anything I've been busting my butt to teach him for the last several months. My eight-year-old CANNOT recall that 11 and 7 and 4 go together in addition and subtraction facts, no matter how many times we review it. My 10 year old sneaks video games into her room at night and stays up till midnight beating levels of Angry Birds, so she's too tired to retain her language concepts.

And my toilets are dirty, and my floor has crumbs on it and smells vaguely of vomit (because the baby gagged himself coughing yesterday and who the heck has time to wash the rug in the kitchen that caught most of the puke?) and we don't have any food to eat for lunch, because the store brings out the worst in my kids and sucks the patience out of me, and my love handles are growing rapidly, but if I choose to workout I won't have time to brush my teeth or put on clothes...

Are you feeling sorry for me yet? If not, its okay. I am feeling sorry for myself enough for everyone in the county.

After the panic subsided, I released the 5-year-old from his reading prison, and the 8 year old from his math prison, and the 2 year old from his hallway prison, and the 10-year-old from her language prison..and I ate two cupcakes while giving my love handles the metaphorical finger.

And now I am attempting to regain perspective on my life.

Blah.

The problem isn't with my life, if I'm honest. I love my life. I am crazy over my blonde headed wild bunch. I really love being a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher.

The problem...well, its just been one of those mornings. We all have them. We will all have more of them. And every single uplifting, spiritually encouraging thing I could say right now would make me throw up in my mouth (and that would be adding insult to injury, since the presence of vomit aroma is already established) I'm just too grumpy and overwhelmed to hear any of the truths that I know.

But the Lord doesn't give up on me.

Thank goodness. It may be tomorrow before I am able to refocus on Him, and the truth, and enjoy the moments of my crazy life, and work out, and brush my teeth, and teach a school lesson without more than one person ending up in tears, and eat a salad instead of a cupcake...but He never loses patience.

He is the teacher. I am the student who is spitting out sounds that are nothing close to the Word I am supposed to be saying...and my hands smell like crap, and I am throwing a fit, and I have forgotten something I have learned a million times, and I can't focus on accomplishing the task set before me...

And He is still patient. And if He's having a panic attack and considering hitting me over the head with a ruler...He's hiding it well.

He's saying to me "Relax. We'll work on that tomorrow. For now, come sit in my lap. Let's play a game, or watch a movie, or read a book. Let's spend time together, little girl. Just me and you."

And so, I am going to learn from my Teacher. I'm going to go read a book with my kids, and maybe watch a movie, and definitely snuggle with them and give them kisses and hugs and tell them I love them.

We will work on the word "Jan" and the problem 11-7=4, and the respectful way to speak to one's mother, and the appropriate time of night for kids to stop playing Angry Birds, tomorrow.

Today we're spending time together. We're focusing on loving each other.

My two year old just came into the room and said "Mommy, guess what? I love you."

And the panic is replaced with peace. And the Teacher says "Class dismissed."

Thank you, Teacher.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ready. Set. Jump.

It’s funny how the simplest things, the most ordinary moments, can be a vessel for the voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s even funnier that all the chaos and noise in my house can sometimes embody the whisper of the Lord. Maybe it’s more often than sometimes, but I’m not always able to hear Him over the roaring of lions, revving of car engines, and death-matches of ninjas taking place within the walls of the Martin house EVERY day. 

I heard Him three nights ago, though, in the most innocent moment, in the most unlikely action, in the loudest excitement. I was getting my two-year-old ready for bed. Help him brush his teeth. Change his diaper. Put on his socks, and t-shirt, and fuzzy warm pajamas. Hunt for his blanket. Make him a cup of water. Toss him on my bed for kisses and tickle time. You know…the usual.

He stood up on my bed after a few minutes of squealing and giggling, and said to me “I want to jump, Mommy.” And I dutifully stood up beside the bed, held out my arms, and said, “Okay, buddy, jump!” And, as he always does, he scooted as close to the edge of my king size bed as he could get, reached out his arms, and waited. I held my arms out a little further. He leaned out slightly, until his hands were nearly touching mine…and he allowed his body weight to fall forward. And as always, I caught him.

But he hadn’t jumped at all. He cautiously waited until he basically had contact with my open arms…and then he fell into them. We had been playing this ‘jumping’ game for as long as he could stand on my bed and say ‘jump’ and it had always gone exactly the same way. But three nights ago, for some reason that I can’t trace back to a source, I decided this was no longer acceptable.

“Nate!” I yelled down the hall. “Come here for a second. I need your help.”

And Nate (my almost 6-year-old) came careening down the hall.

“Yes, Mom?”

“Will you show Gabe how to jump off the bed into my arms?” I asked.

You would have thought I had asked him to see how fast he could eat an entire bowl of ice cream. His face lit up, and he clamored onto my bed. Gabe stood back, as all good little brothers should, while Nate prepared to give a jumping lesson.

I backed up a few steps, held out my arms, and said “Okay, Nate, jump!”

That kid is one enthusiastic jumper, let me tell you. And he’s HEAVY! He was laughing AS he jumped, and I caught him, and I laughed too, because he nearly knocked me over. And Gabe laughed too, and jumped up and down on the bed, and said “MY TURN!”

“Just a second Gabe,” Nate responded as I set him down. “Let me show you one more time.” (pretty sure that wasn’t a nice brother moment, but an ‘I want another turn’ moment)

And so he did. And I was nearly bowled over a second time, and there was more laughter and squealing.

Then it was Gabe’s turn. Nate stayed to watch, and as Gabe inched to the edge of the bed, he said “Okay, Gabe, now you have to jump really far, and Mommy will catch you.”

 Only slightly nervous, I backed up a couple steps and held out my arms. Gabe held out his arms…and then he realized his couldn’t touch mine. He paused. I waited.

Nate said “Jump high, Gabe! You can do it!”

I said “I promise I’ll catch you, buddy. BIG jump!”

It was only a second…and then he did exactly as his brother had done. He used his legs, and he actually JUMPED toward me. And I caught him, and we both laughed, and I praised him for being so brave, and he said he wanted to do it again, and Nate said he wanted another turn…and we had a late bedtime that night, because I was catching flying monkeys as they were hurling themselves off my bed.

And all the while, in the midst of the squealing, and catching, and laughing, and jumping…all the while the Lord was talking to my spirit.

Somehow this game wasn’t about my boys anymore; it was about me and Him. He was standing back from the edge of the bed, holding out His arms, and telling me to jump. And I was inching as close as I could to the edge, and stretching my arms toward Him, and waiting until there was no chance I might not be caught, and then I was falling forward.

But when Gabe did that to me…he wasn’t really trusting me to catch him. He was guaranteeing that he wasn’t going to hit the floor instead. He was using caution, and a little bit of fear, as his guides.

Don’t I do that too? Don’t I wait until I can see most of the path before I am willing to commit to it? Don’t we do that all the time? We pray about something, and we say we’re trusting God for the answer, for the next step…but we wait for a few more steps to be evident before we actually start taking them.

Nate didn’t do that. He LAUNCHED himself into my waiting arms. Why?? Because he’d done it before! And I always caught him! I’d never dropped him on his face, I’d never lowered my arms at the last minute, I’d never glanced away and forgotten about him. When I said “I will catch you, I promise” Nate knew he could believe me. He trusted my arms. He believed in my love for him, and he knew that love assured his being caught.

Why can’t I be more like Nate?

I have certainly had occasion in my life to feel like I was falling…and to be caught by His arms. I have been afraid, I have been unsure, I have been cautious…and He still caught me when I fell forward.

But, here’s the rub: If I trust His arms, if I believe in His love, if I am confident in His undivided attention…why am I not HURLING myself toward Him? Why am I cautious? Why am I a little bit afraid?

Has He ever forgotten me? Has His love ever been too busy for me? Has He ever said “I promise I will catch you,” and then failed to do so? Have His arms ever been too weak to hold my weight? (not that I would blame Him for that one…there is a lot of weight to hold!)

Hasn’t He always been faithful? Haven’t I always been caught, held, cradled, and loved?

Yes. I have.

Now that Gabe knows I will catch him when he jumps…now he wants to JUMP all the time. He asks to play the game every night. He trusts my arms. He knows my love won’t allow me to let him fall. He hurls himself into my arms, and I catch him.

And this isn’t about me and Gabe anymore, and its not about me and Nate anymore.

Its about me and HIM.

Its about Him calling me to throw caution to the wind. It’s about Him reminding me of all the times He has proven His great love for me. It’s about Him reaching out his nail scarred hands, and saying “I will always catch you.”

And when I can’t remember, and when I am too afraid, and when I sort of fall into His arms…He still catches me. He still loves me. His arms are still faithful, even more than I could ever deserve.

But the look on Gabe’s face when he fell was completely different from the look when he jumped. The sheer joy, the excitement, the accomplishment he felt…

That’s the look I want on my face. Not the relief that He was in fact there when I fell toward Him. Not the barely discernable adrenaline of leaning until my hands touched his.

I want the sheer bliss mixed with the crazy terrified joy, of LAUNCHING myself at His arms, and believing the whole time that He will catch me. The relief and happiness I feel when I land in His arms is magnified, and my heart is racing much faster, and the giggling can’t be contained or stopped…because I trusted Him when I couldn’t even touch His arms…and His arms didn’t let me down. They caught me.

They catch me every time.

It isn’t about His arms. It’s about my legs.

Am I falling? Or am I jumping?