Tuesday, October 23, 2012

worthy of being loved

I am feeling under the weather today.  And it is quite the weather to feel under.

Outside, buckets of rain and thunder and lightning ricochet around, while I, with tissue box and tea in hand, sit on my chair.  I am reading my latest issue of People on my Nook, when I decide to delve into a story about Demi Moore.

I'm not sure if you are as savvy as I and keep up with all the juiciest gossip ( insert thick layer of sarcasm here...) but you have been buried under a rock if you haven't heard that Moore and her husband, Ashton Kutcher are no longer.  Well, this article squeezed some lemon into that wound as it talked about Kutcher's newest romance, leaving Demi in the dust, so to speak.

Why am I writing a blog about Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher?  It's because of a quote I read in the article referring to something Demi had said to Harper's Bazaar in a past interview about her biggest fear:  "it's that I'm going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I'm really not lovable, that I'm not worthy of being loved."

I have to set my reader down and let that comment soak in.  I am thankful for this beautiful movie star's candid openness, but I'm broken-hearted at the lie she is afraid of!

We are ALL worthy of love, if we are talking about the kind of love that is worth it all.

There are many forms of love--in the Greek language, there are 3 that I can define:   "Eros" or, romantic, passionate love; "Philia" or, friendly, brotherly love; and "Agape", love that is selfless and totally committed.

Eros + Philia = trouble, pain,  confusion, undetermined expectation and comparison, selfishness

Eros + Philia +Agape = complete acceptance, complete devotion, and complete satisfaction.

If you don't know Agape love--the kind that is selfless and committed, that covers the ugly we all have in us--you will never know TRUE love.

I think of my children, and I think of how they see the world around them.  It is my passion to teach them the right equation for love, because it was the most difficult, the most challenging, and most eternally exhilarating lesson I've learned in my life (and continue to learn daily!)

Isaac always tells me, "I love you, Mom."  I am confident in his hugs and his affection, not because I'm worthy--but because I'm exactly the opposite.  I'm confident in my unworthiness, knowing that with the love of Jesus--Agape love--I am free and forgiven, no matter what stains may mare my past, no matter how much devastation has swept through my soul. It's because of this love, this mercy, I am lovable.

I can take a deep breath and close my eyes and know this love...
"Never fails, never gives up, never runs out..."

And that's worth it all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

out of clay

I wake up to a rainy, dark morning.  Isaac is in bed with me, snuggled between Dan and I...humming and announcing each minute change on the digital clock.  "It's....6:12....13!" As I get out of bed, I am reminded that today is my first day of free art therapy at Julie Billiart.  I am looking forward to meeting other moms and hearing their hearts (and maybe making something crafty too...)

I pick up our carpool buddies (Sandy, the mom, and her 3rd grader at JB, Sean) and we head over to the school.  After we high-five the boys good-bye, Sandy and I make our way into the school, signing in with pens topped with plastic sunflowers.  (These flowers are the school's symbol:  "Look to God as a sunflower looks to the sun for life")  

Making our way to the art therapy room, we are surrounded by organized drawers labeled with supplies, weaving looms and paintings, framed pieces of childrens' art work.  My heart does a little leap with excitement:  free time to make something?  Yes please!

As we find our seats, take of our jackets and sip on our coffee, other moms begin coming in.  I am introduced to everyone--most moms have been coming here for years, and obviously, get something much needed from the time.  I smile at them.  They do their best to smile back.  

As we begin, our facilitator (who is also Isaac's art teacher) reads a meditation from a book.  We start with piles of clay on some fabric.  As she reads, and soothing, instrumental music plays in the background, she tells us to close our eyes.  

I use this time to pray. I'm not sure what the others do, or even if this what what we were instructed to do...but in my experience, when I have quiet time, I use it to talk to God.  Plain and simple.  It's the best use of the moment.  

I begin to make something from the clay, but we are encouraged to keep our eyes closed.  Using our hands only, we shape the cold, moist ball into something...anything...

At the end of the session, we open our eyes to see what we've made.  Some of us have abstract, tree-like vertical creations.  Some have flat, pancake-like stepping stones.  Mine?  A bowl, with a spout on the side.  

We talk about what it's like being moms.  Not just moms, but moms with children who have special needs.  I listen more than talk, because honestly, my problems seems small in comparison to the hurt, the frustration, and the pain that these women brought into the art room this morning.  One mom, Kelly, rubs her teary eyes while sitting in her sweat pants and hair in a bandana..."It just couldn't be a worse time for a divorce...Grayson is in 6th grade and needs a dad...how can I do this alone?"  Another mom, Anne Marie..."We had to tell our son he had Aspergers years ago when he was suicidal, he was so young...I wanted him to understand why he is the way he is..." I am flabbergasted. I am humbled, and I'm looking at my clay bowl on the table in front of me.  

I was reminded of the scripture verse, from Isaiah 64:8:  "But now, Oh Lord, we are the clay, and you are our potter.  We are all the work of your hand."

When the potter works the clay, he wets it down, forms it gently, and never takes His hands from his creation.  Sometimes, if he isn't satisfied with the work, he will fold it up and start again.  This isn't easy, and it isn't quick.  It applies to us as moms, and to our children.  They were made by the potter's hand, and so were we.  He never takes his hand from us.  

As I shared this thought with the other moms, I felt vulnerable...like I had said something weak or irrelevant.  But in response, there were muffled sniffs, tissues wiping eyes, and I could feel hearts soaking in the reminder:  We aren't alone as long as we remember the potter.  

I decided to have my sad little bowl that I made with my eyes closed fired.  It's not pretty, and it's not perfect, but isn't that the point?  We are made perfect through the fire...and when I see that little bowl when the times are frustrating, or when I feel like I can't make it through the day, I will remember...

I'm still just made out of clay.