I quit wiping the tears and just let them fall as I finished reading “parenting is do-overs times infinity” in Lisa-Jo Baker’s “The Middle Matters.”
My Dad often seemed absent while I was growing up. Not physically, just not always engaged. Sometimes we seemed to come in second to more pressing matters like work or church eldership or lawn care or prep for preaching. When he did get involved it usually meant he was displeased or disappointed enough to speak words he felt were needed for correction.
As we’ve all gotten older, he’s tuned his ear to listen… listen a lot… and listen well. (Maybe he’s been listening all along, and I simply failed to recognize his quiet presence.)
On a recent visit, with my husband away and me wrestling with whether to invest little available funds into a rare opportunity for a reduced-cost session with a writing coach (to feel out whether or not I am crazy to pursue anything beyond my humble blog), it was my dad who commanded my attention from across the kitchen table and stated with conviction and not one ounce of hesitation, “I’ll write the check, schedule the session!”
He’s not flowing with cash either, but he said in the depths of his eyes meeting mine, “I believe in you and what the LORD has placed in your heart to share through your writing. Let me help you be brave and step forward.”
I don’t know where it will all lead. It’s still baby steps into a huge and intimidating world of incredibly gifted writers. BUT. I will never forget that moment at the kitchen table with my Dad.
I’m 51. He’s 82. It’s never too late for a do-over! It’s never too late for deeper understanding and deeper gratefulness.
#whythemiddlematters #listen #dream #doovers #howgraciousisourFather
. . .
If tears fell freely while reading “do-over times infinity,” they flooded in quiet heaves while trying to make it through “sobbing in my mini-van over honor roll” (still in Lisa-Jo Baker’s “The Middle Matters”).
Our son’s challenges haven’t been academically, but socially. For 14 long years, I turned his struggles every which way in my head, desperately trying to make sense of them.
When it all came to a scary head at a family gathering, I sat with him in solemn stillness in the dark, while the voices haunted his heart: “why am I so different? why can’t I just join in? why is it so hard? what’s WRONG with me?”
It had to be GOD’s tender spirit guiding my words that day as I held his defeated eyes in my gaze and said, “listen to me, Bubba, when GOD created you, He didn’t miss something… different isn’t wrong… we just need to ask Him to help us understand the uniquely special person He created you to be and to teach us how to help you navigate the situations that are harder for you because of that wiring. Let’s ask Him to show us, because I truly believe it doesn’t always have to be this hard.”
And GOD was faithful, leading us to a sweet counselor who helped us sort through 14 years of mama-heart observations and questions and the insights that came pouring out of him in a far more articulate manner than I ever dreamed possible. He’d been wrestling in silence for a LONG time. What was baffling fog and frightening mystery to us was known and explained, identified and validated in her kind and capable hands. And all of a sudden SO many things started to make a lot more sense. He found his voice. He stood taller in the person GOD created him to be with the unique and special gifts he brings to this world.
And I sobbed through the realization that all those times I didn’t have a clue, all those prayers for help and wisdom, our gracious Father answered every one. He gave me courage to champion for him when no one else understood his struggles, to bear the weighty, judgmental gaze or well-meaning but not helpful words from others, and braved a calm and encouraging exterior while my insides raged and doubted and panicked, fighting for him to have the freedom to process the world the only way he could. I couldn’t possibly explain how incredibly brave he had been all along! – and I feared that very few people truly cared to know his reality. BUT GOD. He knew. He saw. And He helped this mama show her son that someone in his world would give anything to understand.
And now… every. single. time he has overcome those challenges and stepped out in courage to meet a goal at taekwondo or take that first trombone chair with confidence or decide that yes, he can commit to a grueling, crazy “peopled-out,” demanding marching band program to achieve his next goal… every. single. time … I break out in an ugly cry. I just really can’t help it. GOD is SO good. He blows way past what I don’t even dare to hope for. The victory He works in and through our kids is staggering. The fact that He walks us through the long hard road and welcomes us into a front row seat to see each shining moment in their lives is simply overwhelming!
#theheartofamother #notforthefaintatheart #notashamedtouglycry #Heplansgreatthingsforourkids #fearfullyandwonderfullymade #GODsamazingcreation #trustingJESUS #heldandbeloved #whythemiddlematters
. . .
In the midst of one amazing launch team and a few other book reviews (all SO good!!!, I can’t wait to share more), this was one opportunity I just couldn’t pass up!!! So, I threw caution and a full desk to the wind and bravely applied for a 2nd launch team!
Lisa-Jo Baker is one of my favorite podcasters (with Christie Purifoy on “Out of the Ordinary Podcast”). I love her deeply expressive heart and her passion for the LORD and for people – alllll people, especially her own near and dear people! And I am honored and excited to dive into her new book, “The Middle Matters.”
When my copy of her book arrived, I opened it at the kitchen table, right in the middle of where I do battle for my family and my own weary heart. Where He restores my soul and pursues me again and again. By the window, with my Bible and journal. Many, many tears and prayers and laughs and smiles have happened right here!
At the risk of overloading my sweet friends with my many literary loves, stay tuned for great take-aways from this real and raw and treasured (and sometimes hilarious) look at all things in the middle!
#whythemiddlematters #launchteam #readagoodbook #encouragehearts #Hislovemeetsusinthemiddle