Reminders of Dedication

27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they<sup data-fn="#fen-NLT-7217a" class="footnote" data-link="[<a href="#fen-NLT-7217a" title="See footnote a">a worshiped the Lord there.” I Samuel 1:27-28 (NLT)

Having children was a deep desire in Dale’s and my life. The doctors disagreed, nodding their heads and saying it might not be possible. I knew that God was greater than anything that “might not be possible”.

I can remember reading the book of Samuel and praying for this experience. We dedicated our daughters to the Lord. We brought them to our pastors before they were a year old and we gave their lives to God, knowing that He is indeed capable of leading and guiding them.

There is a quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson that says, “God gives us Love, something to love, God lends us.”

I have carried this quote in my heart most of my adult life. We are only here for what could be a burp in eternity. Same with those we love. Life is a precious commodity.

The same is true with our children. We only have our children for a brief while. Then they do what we have both prayed for and dreaded, they go out and live their lives. They marry, they have children, they have their own set of joys and fears and problems.

As a parent we are proud of the accomplishments of our children. I personally know that I did not do much, but kept giving them to the Lord. Sometimes, I confess, I wanted to send them to the Lord, during sleepless nights of ear infections and teething. Sometimes when it was chaos to experience them navigating through middle school, and high school. By time college came, my prayers changed, I daily gave them to the Lord, reminding Him that they were His and problems that I may have noticed, I couldn’t take control of and fix.

Fix is what we do as parents when our children are young. They depend on it. We are fixers of toys, of ripped pieces of little paper, of skinned knees. We kiss away their tears, we bandage boo-boo’s, and we put heads back onto baby dolls. Fix is what we attempt when life starts to affect them. They still depend on it, although they begin to repair things on their own. We dry tears over rough days at high school, we dry tears over a break-up with a boyfriend, we comfort over a test that didn’t go well. By this point, we fix by spending a day of playing hooky from school, drinking cups of tea together, by going shopping. It doesn’t cure anything, but it re-centers them.

Both of our daughters are grown. They are in the ‘fixing’ business now. There are times, though, when a phone call comes and you know in your mother’s heart, there is a need. No longer do I need to ‘fix’ something, but I need to listen.These are the most trying times. These are the times when I go back to the Lord, and remember the time that I handed our daughters to our pastors and they prayed over them (and us) a prayer of dedication to our Lord. These are the times when, I remember the day of dedication for our oldest. It was Sunday, April 1st, and as I opened my eyes in the morning, I smiled as I thought of the day. It was the day our oldest was going to be dedicated. I heard in my heart, “Are you truly going to give her to Me, or is this an April Fool’s joke?” I answered and said to the Lord, out loud, “She is Yours’ “.

There are times when I have to be reminded that these beautiful women are the Lord’s. That is when, instead of hugging and wiping away tears and fears, I pray and ask the Lord to be there for them, giving them strength, courage, and wisdom.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Little Man Lesson #2

(Original post from September 2013, on dearanonymousfriend, my other blog)

Today my dear daughter started back to teaching pre-school.  She was as organized as much as she could be.  We got up, and she got ready to head out the door.

I even managed to keep our dear little man distracted so he did not see his Momma head off to work.  It was a quiet transition and I was so pleased.   I know it made his Momma a bit relieved that there were no tears or drama at the door.

As we started our morning, my phone rang.  It was my daughter… all organized but, wrong set of keys in hand.  Plus I had the fob to enter the building where they live.  She was outside the apartment building and needed the other set of keys.  So, grabbing our little man, I retrieved the correct keys and headed outside.

Jubilation at seeing his Momma is an understatement.  After all, it had been 20 minutes since the last time he had seen her.  We switched the keys and then she did the unspeakable.  She got back in the car and drove off.  She left little man and me standing beside the parking lot.

No, this did not go well.  Not at all.  Little man expressed his displeasure.  He cried like there was not going to be any happiness ever again on the face of this earth.  My heart broke with him.

We walked back into the apartment, all the time I tried to comfort him.  He was not willing to be consoled.

Once inside I looked at him and said, ‘Do you want to read a book?’   The tears dried and off he toddled to pick out a book to share.  He has many good books to share.

What I learned is this.  Yes, I can be broken-hearted.  I can feel like consolation is nowhere to be found.  I can cry.  It’s alright to do all of this.  But, then I can go and read a Book that is wonderful to share.  I can open this Book and sit with One who loves me and cares for me in my broken state.  My tears will be dried and I will be comforted as I sit in my Creator’s lap reading the words He has spoken.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.  Psalm 34:17-18 (NLT)

Tears

In the hours and days following my Mother passing, I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts and fears my Dad had. He was in his early forties with three daughters. Our ages were 15, 11 and 9. It was 1966. Women were still considered the ones to be in charge of raising children, keeping house and if working, working in traditional jobs. For a man to be thrust into the job of raising girls was most likely more than my Dad bargained for. It is only recently that I have thought of the hardships my Dad faced.

My older sister was inserted as a surrogate mom to my younger sister and myself. Now I see how unfair that was for a young girl on the brink of being an adult. Often I have thought she was cheated out of the ability to be a teenager without all the responsibility of taking care of younger siblings.

In the mental and emotional chaos coming the days following her death and her funeral I remember my Dad saying to me, “If you feel like you have to cry, blow your nose or chew gum.” I don’t know if I was the obnoxious one who was crying incessantly or if I was loud. But, I blew my nose and I chewed gum.

Unfortunately, that became a rule in my life whenever I cried. As the years passed tears came only when I was furious, or if a movie was sad. At those times, I had a pile of used kleenex beside me. You can imagine, this was not healthy. I held myself under tight emotional control.

In my thirties I was in counseling for several things in my life. Dale at that time was in an isolated duty station, which meant I was the only adult in the house.

Tears were an issue that was discussed often in my sessions. I guess being a woman and not being emotional was a curiosity. I prayed about it. I asked the Lord to show me how to cry.

When Dale was away, my treat for the evening was always oreo cookies and milk. One evening after the girls were in bed, I went to the kitchen for my treat. As I reached for the package of cookies, tears hit me.

Initially, I wondered what they were. I slumped to the floor in my kitchen. I sat in a heap of tears. I could not move. I sobbed, I cried, I could not stop. I don’t know how long I sat there, but it was long enough that I was stiff when I finally stopped. During that time a peaceful presence was with me. I felt the Lord beside me, holding me up and urging me to let it all out. Years of pent up emotion was released that night. Anxiety, hurt, fear, and anger left me. After I had stopped, I heard, “Now go blow your nose. Cry when you have to cry.”

Since that time I am a crier. Commercial from hallmark? Tears. Seeing a child walking for the first time? Tears. Running out of oreos? Tears. You get the idea.

My heart grew hard trying not to cry. I could rationalize most things. I would allow myself tenderness in prayer and worship with the Lord, but closed myself off from tenderness or emotion in all other areas of my life. Hardness of hearts is a slow process. You don’t feel it happening, and you don’t recognize it. But, unattended, a heart will grow crusty and cold. I daily pray that my heart be a heart after my Lord. I don’t want to return to the coldness that a hard heart is.

 Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” Hebrews 3:15 (NLT)

Psalm 118:13

I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall, when God grabbed and held me. Psalms 118:13 (MSG)

This verse appears right under the name of my blog. I chose it as it has applied to my life many times and in plenty circumstances.

I have wanted to write about the incidents where I was grabbed and held by the Lord. There are specific times and I remember each clearly. These are the times when you know that you know you are being held by the One who formed you. You can feel His arms wrapped tightly around you and tears flow without hesitation.

I falter when it comes to writing specifically about these situations since they are deeply ingrained in me. I do not want to sound like I am longing for sympathy or recognition but I do desire to be open and honest in my writing. My motive is to allow people to see in my words what I have experienced and how present our Lord has been in each situation.

Psalm 118:14-16 says ” God’s my strength, he’s also my song, and now he’s my salvation. Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs in the camp of the saved? “The hand of God has turned the tide! The hand of God is raised in victory! The hand of God has turned the tide!” (MSG)

Every event in my life God has been there. He was there growing up, He was beside me as I mourned my Mother, and then years later, my Father. He has been there in sickness, struggle and good days. I will attempt in my future posts to start to talk about how much the Lord has turned the tide in my life. Today, look, remember and realize how the Lord has been victorious in your life.