Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bittersweet Unwanted Mother's Day

Earlier this week, it was an angry day for my son. I therapeutic parented him the best I could before messing up and asking him what was making him angry. He said something like... 

I don't want you to be my mom.

I could have started rambling off all the reasons why he hadn't been a good son over the past two and half years. I could have told him how much those words hurt me. I could have stood there and acted sad. I could have walked away. I could have yelled at him just like he hoped I would. I don't remember my exact words, but it was somewhere along the lines of...

I wish I wasn't your mom. I wish you could have your birth mom. I know you loved and love her so much. I know you miss her. I know you miss your old life. I wish I could give you your first family back because I know that is what you want. I really do want you to be happy. 

I don't know if it was the right thing to say, but I said it. I rested my hand on his shoulder. I looked him in the eyes. Neither one of us knew what else to say so we went back to working on school. 


My Mother's Days have sure changed over the years.

Just turned 18... 9 months married and 6 months pregnant! (2001)
Mom of one 8 month old! (2002)
Mom of an infant and a 2 year old! (2004)
Mom to three daughters ages 5, 3, and 1 month! (2007)
Mom of four. 7, 5, and 2 are girls and the boy is 4 months old! (2009)
First Mother's Day knowing that I wasn't going to ever be pregnant again. (2010)
Committed to becoming a mother again through adoption! (2013)
Mom of daughters 12, 10, and 7 and sons 9, 5, and 5! (2014)
1st really sad Mother's Day mourning my sons' losses. (2015)
Downplaying the day. Waiting for the sad or mad or trauma. Praying. (2016)

I love being a wife and being a mom is a very close second. I have been blessed today. Flowers from Matt. A flower from one son. A specially decorated cup from one daughter. Lots of hugs and sweet words and kind gestures. Prayers and understanding from my church family. Encouragement. Grace. 

Happy isn't a word I would describe what I believe will be our Mother's Day. 
Bittersweet seems to fit the day much better. Bitter for some of my children and sweet for others and so bittersweet for me.

I do not say this for pity. No. I say this because I truly believe that God is with me in this. I believe He is near the brokenhearted. I know that He can heal the wounds. I trust that He will comfort. He is good. He is right. He is trustworthy. He is love.


James and John,

As I am writing this, I can hear you laughing and yelling and having fun on the trampoline through the open window. The two of you made me a mom in a whole new and special way two and a half years ago. I am thankful for that. There is a quote from Jody Landers that states, "Children born to another woman call me 'Mom.' The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." I am so very sorry that you have had such loss. I wish I didn't have to be your mom, but I am thankful that I can step in and do the best I can to finish the job your amazing mother started. Know this... I do not want you to ever feel like you have to celebrate me on Mother's Day, but I will always celebrate being the mother of all six of the children God has placed in my care. You are loved, my sons. Loved more than you yet understand.

Trinity, Emma, Azriel, and Titus,

Thank you for showing me such care on Mother's Day. Thank you for doing it discretely and quietly. Thank you for loving me. You have blessed me today. Your warm and loving hugs have held me together. Your handwritten notes and thoughtful words are more than what I could ask for.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

God sees me.

My mom invited me to go to a Fall Women's Conference at Third Church in Richmond, VA to hear Sara Hagerty speak... my mom is awesome like that... and this post is because of this experience. I'm tempted to tell you each detail from this morning until now, but I'll try to stay focused. You'll have to try and see her in person yourself for the whole experience or read her book!
I'd heard her voice in my head as I read her book "Every Bitter Thing is Sweet." I knew her story. It was like mine, but different. Isn't that how it is with all of our stories? Her words had touched me during a time when I was struggling and today her words touched me again. 
I am not one to highlight in books. I'm more likely to write down a quote for a card or share it on Facebook or my blog than make a mark in a book just for myself. But I did. As I read Sara's book over a few days last October, I clicked on one passage on my kindle and hit the yellow button.
"My mess wouldn't forever be my curse. One day it would be my crown. One day it would tell the story that, yes, He is good... to me."
I looked at those words just before the worship time today. I know those words. Do I believe them? 
Sara's opening question was "How do you think God sees you?" Then, she said try it without Sunday school answers. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if He is even looking my direction anymore even though I know He is. I've had so many struggles and so many times that I've questioned Him and His goodness toward me. I want keep Him at arms length. I don't know if I want Him to see me.
At one point today, Sara told about a day in her life and her mistakes. It seemed like she was standing in my kitchen watching me and now telling my story! We all have those days. One of those bad days. One of those days when you know what you need to be working on to be a better person and you still get it wrong at every step.
Desiree's Day
Missed my quiet time because I slept in. (Great job genius. Can't even start the day right!)
Spoke with a not so nice tone to the kid asking me for help with school because I wanted to finish my workout for once. (Could I be more selfish? That really showed where my priority lies.)
Remembered at noon that I hadn't been to the store to get anything healthy for lunch and fed the kids ramen noodles. (How is it that God thought I could be responsible for the health of six kids?)
I could keep going if anyone needs to feel better about themselves! 

She spoke of heading up to her room for prayer time and to, basically, punish herself mentally for all her mess ups that day. As she crossed the threshold to the room, God's Spirit spoke to her that He had seen the good things.

Desiree's Day through her Father's Eyes
Fixed coffee for Matt and packed his lunch with lots of protein for after his workout. (God sees me doing and says great job being a helpmeet.)
Did Bible time with the six kids and encouraged them to spend their day focusing on thanking God for the small things throughout the day. (God sees me and says thank you for training them to make Me a priority.)
Put a band-aid on a scratch that didn't need it just to help my little one feel better. (God sees me and smiles because He knows that one needed to see that mommy really cares today.)
I could keep going because I am good because He sees me as good.

God... Thank you for seeing the good you have done in me!! Thank you for delighting in me even as I accuse myself.
One of the question on the reflection sheet was "What are the voices - people, circumstances, accolades, or corrections - that are speaking loudest to you about who you are?" My quick response was...
Give me 10 minutes and I can list the thousands of mess ups and missed opportunities and the times I stayed silent when I should have spoken. I am the loudest voice. I am my biggest critic. You call me "Supermom" and I shrink back because I know how many times I lack control with my words with my kids. I hear you say I'm beautiful, but I feel like I'm not where I should be. You tell me how well behaved my kids are and I can only think it is despite of me and not because of me. I'm 32 years old. How can I still be messing it all up so much? How can you not see all my failures?

Do you do this to yourself too? 

My hope is that I can begin to focus on Him. His thoughts about me. His word that He has for me. The joy in His eyes as He looks at me. His compassion. His grace. His love never ending. I'm not good at looking toward Him because if I look at Him He might look back at me and see me ... and that's personal moment when you look at one another. That's a closeness that I want, but that makes me nervous all at the same time. It's going to change me and I'm not real good at change. I'm not good at letting people get near me much less the all powerful God of the universe... But I'm going to try. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

James is Next

I am so proud of this young man. It was his idea to share his story when I asked if he wanted to apply to be one of Under Armour's #TeamNext Athletes. James will be next because he works for it!! #TakeYourSpot buddy!

Thank you Hawkeye Wrestling and Coach Gabe for encouraging him in his journey to reach his goal of helping win a team trophy and an individual medal.