I am from Wranglers,
from jeans and boots.
I am from a safe place
and living with my grandparents.
I am from grass and dirt
where my play dump trucks were.
I am from jeans and boots.
From Knowles and Bolinger.
I am from watching the starting OU game at my Me-Me and Pa-Pa's,
and raising cattle,
and from screaming at refs.
From watching OU games with my dad.
I am from feeding cows with my dad.
I am from PaPa Rog and PaPa Russ,
from potato soup and chilli,
from my papa almost going to the Dallas Cowboys,
and from him almost going to the Seahawks.
From me wanting to be a rancher.
I am from those moments of Wranglers.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
I am from Wranglers,
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
It is one of my worst memories. It commemorates one of my lowest points in parenting. I'm standing in front of my four year old daughter and her anger and hurt feel ten feet taller than me. It feels like it will devour me and spit me back out. "I hate you!!" she screams and the words sear my heart. I know she doesn't hate me. My brain chants it to my heart like a mantra - remember, this isn't about you. But what's left of my tired, worn heart feels like it might disintegrate right there. "I don't want you to be my mom anymore!!"
I remember I didn't yell back. She was four. Her heart was broken and she was angry and I know she thought I should have been able to fix it. In her little world I was her safe place and I was the one she could lash out at. Usually I handled it okay - I stayed calm, I held her, I talked her through her feelings, and I gave her outlets. My God, I gave her everything I had. But, on this day, I must not have had much left. When she told me she wanted her Me-Me to be her Mom, I told her, "Fine! Go live with her then!" I opened the front door and asked if she wanted me to call Me-Me.
I immediately regretted it. I was flooded with so much guilt from that reaction. I shut the door and did the only thing I had the energy to do. I went back to my room, covered my head with my comforter, and bawled. You know those times when you're praying but not with words? Because you can't find words? Just the guttural sounds the sobs in your throat can muster in the moment? Maybe you don't know those prayers; I hope you don't, actually!
That day I ended up with a sweet little girl and boy sitting on my bed with that little voice that had just been screaming at me asking, "Mommy, are you okay?" What could I do but hold them both and cry and tell them I'm sorry while silently sending the same prayers up I sent all the time, "God, please just let us all be okay."
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
You know what? It's 11 years later and we are more than okay. That little angry girl is now a teenager who is an absolute joy to be around! She's happy, funny, well adjusted, and driven. She's not even a typical teen! Our broken little family is now whole and full of love. It hurt to break and the piecing back together was even more excruciating! But, for all our heartache, for everything Satan stole from me over a decade ago, God has replaced it with something bigger and better. Just like He promised!
For those of you who feel like you're sitting in a pile of ashes right now, have faith. Those ashes you hate right now will be soon molded in to something more beautiful than you can imagine! Trust me. I look at my beautiful daughter every day and I'm reminded that God is faithful to fight our battles for us. We just have to be patient and have faith.
He is doing a new thing.
Friday, April 1, 2016
I'm from Oklahoma. No stranger whatsoever to a thunderstorm or tornadic (is that only a word in OK?) winds. Maybe that's part of why the storm analogy resonates so much with me. Or maybe because some of my life's biggest storms happened so very early on for me. Either way, if we can get past the fear a storm elicits, there's unique beauty in it.
It's springtime and that's, my favorite! The green is coming back and blooms are everywhere. The sun is finally uncaged to save us from the grey/brown Winter months where everything lies dormant and fruitless. And on the Plains (or rolling hills if you're from the East) of Oklahoma you could literally be gazing at a beautiful, serene sunset one minute only to be alerted with a lighting bolt the next. It sometimes seems like the winds can shift in a heartbeat and here come those black clouds rolling in with all their spring storm fury. Time to take cover!
Isn't that just the most accurate analogy for life? And, when a storm hits, our instincts kick in. Time to turn on the news, try to track the wild beast of wind and rain, watch the screen for circulations, hide the vehicles from hail (hail in April? Absolutely. Sometimes even June!), and hide out in the cellar, safe room, or inner-most-windowless room of your home. Either that, or sit on the porch and watch.
By nature, I'm a hider. I'm a safeguarder. I'm a "button down the hatches and get to safety" kind of person. I'm mentally evaluating the damages before they happen and I focus in tightly to the "what ifs." But, you know what I wish? I wish I was more of a sit on the porch and watch it roll by kind of person. Storms are really pretty beautiful and magnificent if you think about it. They're scary and can wreak havoc, of course, but still an absolute wonder. Explain the science of lighting and tornados to me a million times, it's still going to be part magic to me!
Today I had a bad day. Today was a stormy day. And, at the end of it I wanted to cry and I wanted to throw in the towel and I wanted to hide in the inner-most-windowless part of myself until I got the "all clear." But, today, I tried a new thing. God put a verse on my heart: 1 Thessalonians 5:18. "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." So, I started thanking Him. I took every bad situation from the day and I forced myself to find one reason for gratitude within each. Know what? It works!
My whole perspective changed. Today has been, in most respects, just a crappy day. But, somehow, it has also been such a huge blessing to me! Life's storms are hard and there's no way to hide from them. But the worst storms, like the Springtime storms in Oklahoma, come right about the time God is birthing a new thing in our lives. The storms bring our blooms. Sure, they may tear things down and it is so easy to focus on the loss and damage. The hard part is holding fast to God as the wind blows us off center. The beauty of that is we can then deepen our faith and further solidify the truth that we can't be our own center - it has to be God. The storm is God's way of preparing us to reveal that next level of Himself to us. But, we'll never see it if we're hiding in the cellar, preparing for disaster. We've got to get on the porch of gratitude and praise Him while we watch the storm roll by!