Tuesday, October 18, 2011

worth a thousand words

As I was pulling out the contents of Isaac's backpack today, I found an art project.

Two large, simple pieces of baby blue colored construction paper, stapled at the top...a square had been cut out of the middle with the phrases on either side of a sketched face of Isaac (made by himself):  I thought I would draw a picture of me, but then I got lonely, you see...

I flipped it open at the stapled hinges, and found this:
A Family Portrait....by Booder
It was perfect.  It had humor:  Dan's glasses and big smile ("Mom, I made Daddy's glasses on, and a BIG mouth!") It had some interesting placement:  Note, Ethan in the top corner...maybe in a time out?  And I had to notice how small my head was compared to everyone else.  Also, my hair.  Oh dear...this must be why I keep it short.  It gets a bit crazy now and then, and Isaac captured it at its "morning look."

Interpreting the world through the family is something I forget my children need to do, and it is so important to provide that environment to allow them to thrive.  We don't always smile, we don't always have perfect hair...but that's what gives us reason to be glad.  We have one another to go through those rough spots with. I love, love, LOVE that Isaac gets this...

And reminded me that his pictures are worth more than his words sometimes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Surprise endings

This morning I needed a little inspiration.

Years ago, when Dan and I were freshly married, immersed in finding out our roles in the church body, and learning about how we better ourselves as one and not just two; we attended a conference.  A speaker, teacher, and author (one of my all time favorites) Dr. Dan Allender led a session on Character vs. Character. In other words, how has your past and present contributed to the person God created you to be in that story of day to day.   It was life changing.  I still listen to the recording of the session every now and again to get fresh eyes.  

I tuned my I-Pod onto the recording from 2003.  I was taken back to the auditorium, the words smashing into my brain with fervency--yes, tragedy, emergency, beauty, joy, it has all added up to a part of who I am, and what story I was created to tell.  Little did I know then, that at that conference, 9 months later our story would change--our first son, Ethan was born. 

Of course, Isaac's chapter started 3 years later, and my storybook was flowing smoothly...

But then the difficult news came.  My little boy wasn't like everyone else. 

I pause the I-Pod for a minute...remembering that day of testing and analysis.  Remembering all the moments that led up to that point where I knew the story wasn't going to be anything like what I had expected or hoped...

And then...I press play, and listen to Dr. Allender:

"God is our author...He is our authority...and he is writing your life today.  You're not a finished story.  You are a character in God's story because He is authoring you.  As a character, as a face, as a name, you are distinct from all others.  All before you and all after you.  There is no one, no one, NO ONE, ever to be like you in the whole history of humanity...You were created to reveal something about God that no one on the face of the earth will do the way YOU were meant to do." 

I wonder if that conference I attended years before Isaac was even imagined, was truly meant for him.  

I trust in a God who does not make mistakes, and whose timeline is perfect, even if it doesn't seem like it to me.  I have a story that tells about His faithfulness and His purpose for me.  Isaac was one of those wonderful surprise endings to a chapter that seemed hopeless.  

But the story goes on, and life continues.  I am purposing to seek out more of God today, taking comfort in His perfect story for Isaac...for Ethan...for my husband, Dan...and for myself.  I pray you do the same. 

The plot thickens...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I believe in justice.

Isaac makes it easy for me to determine how to deliver that justice.  He is one of the most honest children I know.  Perhaps I am biased, since I was quite the manipulative and creative storyteller when it came time to answer the question, "what happened here?"  When Isaac gets asked this question, he takes a moment, searches my eyes with his steely blue ones and leaves me with the challenge of determining a punishment for the crime.  Usually, his truthful answer lessens the blow.

Like the other morning, as I was coming down stairs...I hear a drawer close and feet scrambling into the dining room.  With a serious look (trying not to smirk) I looked at Isaac's face...
I ask:  "What happened here?" motioning at the kitchen drawer and cookie crumbs on the counter.  Isaac lifts his blondish-brown eyebrows, gives me his best stymied "Little Rascals" face and answers.  "I ate a cookie, Mommy."

I never would have guessed.

In those moments, justice is swift.  It is sure and definite.  There was a crime and it is fit for a punishment.  There was a lengthy time out, and no more cookies or treats that day.  He was totally bummed.

As for other moments of guilt...the one who needs to learn the lesson is not as definite...

Such as the time the other day when I discovered, somehow, my little Mr. Technology had managed to charge $100 to Mommy's Facebook account by buying coins for online games.  Yes.  One hundred dollars, folks.

Those aren't just cookie crumbs.

As I struggled in that moment in realization...I found myself asking no one in particular..."What happened here?"  And I stammered and stuttered for an answer. There were no set rules as to what buttons could be pressed.  Isaac didn't know what he was doing, and I had no idea what he was capable of accomplishing.  In this case, I believe the one to receive the guilt would be me. I sat down with Isaac and set some rules about the computer.  He accepted them.  Now, we have rules where once there were none. 

Responsibility means being truthful with yourself, and the truth is, we ALL need grace.  Grace is an easy thing to come by when we have the wisdom to say, "I need it as much as the next person does."  In the end, being just oftentimes means letting grace override our desire to see someone punished for the very same crime we ourselves commit.

Isaac's chocolatey-smile reminds me that innocent mistakes happen, and when we are honest with the situation and demonstrate grace and forgiveness to ourselves and those who may have caused it, we can know better for next time.

Justice served.