Monday, February 20, 2012

A Mother's Touch

I kept waking up last night. Over and over and over.

Each time I awoke I would realize I was awake because, for some reason, someone kept setting fire to my throat.

I would suck down some water, which I NEVER keep at my bedside, but for some reason I did last night, and I would close my eyes and try to drift back to dreamland.

I made that trip a *blue-million* times last night, or so it seemed.

I hardly ever get sick. For real.

There have been times when I have allowed myself to become so tired that I would actually think I was sick. But then, with some much needed rest, I would feel as good as new.

I went into work after my alarm didn't go off. And, my alarm didn't go off because I decided to try this new app on my phone which plays these wonderful, life-like sounds to send you careening on the sleepy time bus with the next stop of your journey the beloved dreamland.

What sound did I choose for this journey?

A fan.

I know. Crazy since my ceiling fan was buzzing away. But it did help to drown out some of the other noises I am exposed to each night, which I will not share with the readers at large.

But, unfortunately, for some reason, this app also shut my alarm down.

Which made me late getting up. Which made me late getting started. Which made me late leaving for work.....ok, you get the picture.

I arrived at work, still not feeling right.

By about 3pm I threw in the towel and came home to crawl in bed.

What I am about to say now will probably shock you.

I do realize I am 45 years old. I am well aware of every. single. year.

For whatever reason, whenever I feel the slightest bit under the weather, I still long for my Mama.


I said it.

It's out there.

With the first sign of an ailment I can feel my bottom lip begin to pooch out just as it did when I fell off the swing set at 4 years old and I long for my Mama to kiss me and make everything better.

I had surgery a little while back. I had to go to a meeting a few days after about 2 hours away. By the time I got back home that night I felt horrible. My daughter happened to be at the house with one of her friends.

I related the events of the day.

As soon as we got home from the surgery, my husband contracted what appeared to be a stomach virus.

I was telling one of the ladies about that when she was asking me how I was feeling. And then, out of nowhere I said, "I guess I should go stay with my Mama tonight!"

As soon as the words were out it hit me and I retreated to the bathroom with my lip dragging the ground and fought back the tears that were threatening to embarrass me.

I came in, feeling terrible, and began to tell my daughter. To my dismay, I broke down like a four year old that had just fallen off a swing set and said, "I want my Mama!"

My daughter bundled me up in her arms and drug me to bed, putting me in one of my Mama's silky nightgowns and kissing my forehead.

When she arrived back in the living room, her friend, in her discomfort at having witnessed my tantrum, said, "I should probably go."

My sweet daughter offered her the only reassurance she could.

"It's really OK," she said, "You get used to living with grief."

Next month will be 2 years since my Daddy died. And, in June my Mama will have also been gone 2 years. I can hardly fathom it. It seems so surreal.

So, here I am. Up out of my sick bed, pounding away at the keyboard with my body aches and low grade temp, longing for something that I will never have again.

No one can stroke your brow like Mama, or kiss away your boo-boo's as her lips can.

I am here tonight when I should be snuggled down in my comfy bed longing for the touch of my mother, just one more time.

Sometimes, for a while, I can pretend all is well in my world, and they are out there somewhere, happy and safe.

And I know they are. I know they are.

But, there are times that I (ME- that little girl who was born to 2 people who loved her all those years ago) just become consumed with the missing.

And I do miss them.

To all you Mama's out there. Take some advise from my own Mama. Don't ever stop being a Mama. Yes, they grow up. Yes, they move on. Yes, they have their own lives, their own families.

But, sometimes, just for a minute, they need to have their hair stroked even if there isn't much of it left.

And they need to have their cheeks kissed, even if there is much more of them than there used to be.

And they need to have their back rubbed or lay their head in your lap and have you run your fingers through their hair.

It doesn't matter how old you are, you never stop needing to be mothered.

When we arrived at the funeral home to fix my mother's hair, it wasn't the set of her face that broke me, it wasn't the stillness of her chest.

It was the coldness of her hands. And the knowledge she would never touch me again. Never.

Tonight, as I prepare to lumber back up to bed, I feel the loss of that touch so keenly.

I would that I could tell her how very much her love meant to me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pitching My Tent

It seemed to me that my way was just blessed. Here I was, prospering, doing more that breaking even.

And so, when Abram told me we needed to part ways because our abundance could not be sustained in one area, I naturally chose what looked to me to be the most prosperous way.

I chose those beautiful, green plains. After all, he gave me the choice, right?

I mean, what would you have done in my place?

I headed east with all that I had, my family, my servants, all of my possessions.

I found a place for us to dwell, a place with a great view of city life. That is where I decided we would stay.

And that is where we set up house - we pitched our tent toward the alluring city of Sodom.

I tell you, we were blessed. If you could have seen the abundance we had. It was just overwhelming.

It wasn't long before we had found a place there among those that lived in that great city. I even found that I was someone there, not just the nephew of Abraham (as he is now called), but I was respected, I guess. I even got to sit at the gates to welcome in visitors.

One day we had some visitors show up. I could tell there was something different about them. I knew what kind of wickedness went on in that great city, and I knew these men would not be safe.

I convinced them to come to my house since we had long abandoned our tent outside the city for a nice place within the city walls. And as we arrived home the men of the city surrounded us, demanding I send the men out to them so that they could do wickedness to them. I could not allow that to happen! I even offered the men my daughters if they would just leave the men be!

They would have none of that and tried to take me until the visitors pulled me inside. And all the men became as blind men, yet they still sought those visitors. I could hardly believe it even for the wickedness I already knew them capable of.

The men told me to take my family and flee. They said that the city would be destroyed. I knew they were telling the truth. I tried to plead with my family, but when the next morning came and the men said we must leave, only my wife and my two daughters would go.

We hung around, but the men would have none of it. They grabbed us and drug us out of the city. They told us to run to the mountain, to not look back.

Oh, if my wife would only have listened. But, she did not.

It is hard for me to look back myself, now. I can see things from this distance I could not see before. I know now that I was blessed, not because of who I was, but because of Abraham.

You see, he chose the right path, and that path was where ever the Lord led him.

It is funny to me as I look back how easy it was to allow myself, to allow my family to partake of such wickedness.

In the distance I beheld a beautiful city. I beheld it from afar. Oh, I knew that the things that went on there were not like the things I had learned following in Abraham's shadow.

But after a while, after we had been exposed to them for a time, those things didn't look so bad anymore.

Next thing you know, I am living in the midst of that wickedness, I have my family in the middle of it. And, because it no longer seemed so bad to me I allowed things to happen that, looking back, I cannot even imagine how I did.

But living there among those people, it just didn't seem so wrong anymore.

It just seemed, well, normal.

Imagine that.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Lot. That one verse in Genesis 13 (verse 12) has haunted me for years.

"Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom."

He pitched his tent toward Sodom.

I heard an awesome message today from Bro. Marc Wood. He kind of drew all my wayward thoughts toward Lot together.

I started thinking about what he would say if he could tell his story looking back. What would he have to tell to us?

He had dwelt with the "Father of the Faithful." He had been blessed riding on Abraham's coattails. Abraham walked with God. Lot walked with Abraham, but that didn't mean he walked with God.

This is the part that has always stayed with me. Lot left Abram and he pitched his tent, he step up house looking toward sin.

And, after a time he became desensitized to that sin. He no longer saw it for the sin that it was.

The next thing you know, he is there, raising his family in the middle of Sodom. He is part of that sin-filled community. He is "one of them."

At least he was in his eyes. He was *somebody.*

Those things that years before he would have never imagined, he was partaking of. Oh, maybe not all of it, but by living there, by rubbing elbows with those around him, he was saying, "This is OK by me."

Before you know it, his wife is gone, trapped forever by the allure of sin, he commits incest with his daughters, the very ones he tried to give to the wicked men of Sodom, and he has lost all those riches and possessions he once took for granted.

Sometimes we, as Christians, have to stop and examine our own lives. Have we been too long in the plains of Sodom? Do we find ourselves closer and closer to that city? Maybe, even living inside the gates?

Have we allowed things into our lives that at one time we would have never even allowed to darken our doors?

Lift up your tent flap today. What is your view? Is that Sodom in the distance?

It may be time to relocate. And never look back.

Thanks to Bro. Marc Wood for obeying God. And thanks to my Savior, my precious Friend, my Jesus, for reminding us again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Elephant in the Room

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know there is something going on but since you have no idea how to deal with the thing that is going on you just try to pretend there is nothing going on?

Yea, me neither.

I don't think there is anything more awkward that finding yourself in that situation.

I have walked in on people who were obviously arguing and you could actually sit on the tension in the room like a couch of bricks because it is so apparent. But, everyone is doing their best to pretend it is not there.

Then there have been the situations when you know that something bad is coming, yet everyone is bound and determined to act as if nothing is going on. So, you all laugh and pretend and do your very best not to stumble on the large problem sitting in the middle of the cramped room.

I am reminded of King David after the death of Uriah. Nathan comes to visit David afterward. I am sure that David greeted him warmly. I am sure that there was some small talk.

But, standing in the center of their meeting place was this huge elephant; this large sin that is hard to ignore.

Nathan said, "David, what would you think if there was a rich man who had many flocks, but there was also a poor man who had one little sheep that he had raised up with his family and that he loved. And then, one day, there was a man who came traveling through and the rich man ordered the poor man's little sheep to be killed for the traveler?"

As many of us would have also reacted, David was upset, indignant.

Isn't that the way we do?

We waltz around the sin in our own lives and yet, let us hear about someone ELSE doing something!

We become like a dog with a juicy bone. And we have all of the answers as to how someone else should handle their own sin without looking at our own sin that has us pressed to the wall.

"That man needs to die!"

David quickly offered his opinion to Nathan to which Nathan replied, "Oh, but David, that man is YOU."

I know there is all of this forward thinking today that says we don't need someone in our lives, in our business. I mean, after all, Jesus is our Friend, right? He overlooks our faults, doesn't He?

No matter what the sin it will fill the chambers of your heart causing there to be no room for anything else. Sure, you can ignore it, but elephants get hungry.

And as you continue to feed that elephant, that sin, it will continue to grow.

My prayer today is, Lord, send me a Nathan. Send me a man who won't look at me, look at my sin and pretend all is right in my world. I would much rather have a man that will say to me "Thou art the man."

And, like David, let me recognize myself and my sin. There is no way you can live with an elephant, live with an obvious sin, even one you pretend is not there, and not eventually smell the stench.

Lord, help me to always listen to Your Word and Your man that You send to warn me. I know you are a forgiving God, but first I have to know to ask forgiveness. I realize that we can live in our sins so long that we don't even notice them anymore, at times, even though they are growing larger and larger.

Please, send someone with a word for me. Don't leave me in that room with the elephant of sin. Sooner or later I will get trampled if You do. Help me to listen, and help me to repent, to turn away from that sin. I don't want an elephant standing in the way of seeing Your sweet face.