If one is to take advantage of all of Word Press’s resources, one will no doubt find the very helpful advice to determine a focus for your blog. Really, y’all. I got nothin’.
I’m finding that I pick up followers here and there after posting, but I’m spread so dad gum thin. And now I’m realizing that this reader might follow because I wrote about teaching. A few others because I recently wrote about running (or my loose facsimile of the sport). I picked up one or two after writing about church planting. Marriage. Loss. Faith. I am a writer with a serious identity crisis, at least in terms of blogging.
A number of friends urged me to start a blog because they said my Facebook posts about my kids were funny. Indeed, once upon a time, I cracked myself up. Every once in a while, I dig through my page to find the post when we first encountered a discipline issue with my younger daughter in preschool–my personal favorite. At least back then, I was funny if to no one else but myself. Those were the days when a status update was limited to a certain number of characters (166?), and I remember sitting at my computer staring at the screen, trying to decide how best to fit the scenario into so few words whilst still being funny. A skill, and not for the faint-hearted writer, let me tell ya.
But, I digress.
Let’s face it. There are plenty of mommy blogs out there written by people doing a fine job of it. A sundry of others tag their writing as humor when it just isn’t–a fact which causes me some consternation as I select tags for my own pieces. Either my kids aren’t offering up any good material or I’m just not as funny anymore. Bummer.
I can’t help it, though. Focus alludes me once more. This one might fall with the mommy blog ilk, but it’s more about motherhood in general than dirty diapers and PTA drama. I just have to write about my momma. My apologies if you followed my blog after I posted about my husband and the vacuum cleaner–which I may or may not have tagged (incorrectly) as humor.
Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself, “Wait, is that in the Bible, or did my mom say that?” Not to say that my mother’s words carry the same authority as scripture, but generally speaking, what she says that I feel compelled to repeat has its roots in Holy Writ.
My mom was different. As a child, I couldn’t decide if it made me uncomfortable or not. Even when very young, I was conscious that other parents probably didn’t pray as often as my mother did. Other kids, more than likely, did not wake up in the morning, stumble downstairs, and find a mother on her knees at the couch with an open bible propped up on the cushions. This I did daily.
Other kids’ parents probably didn’t pray about EVERYTHING the way my mother did. No issue is too small, no venue inappropriate. Speak to God. He listens. “Katherine, people who don’t pray in the car are missing out.” As she says this, I take notice of the fact that she’s wheeling the Caprice Classic into the very front parking spot at some crowded strip mall in West Houston. What she asked from the Lord that day is beyond me, but that parking spot was a blessing, people.
One time, when I was probably ten years old, my brother and his friend Andrew came noisily from a back door through our game room where my mom had gone for some solitude. I guess she had unfinished business with Jesus from their early meeting because she was kneeling at the couch IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. Gasp! I heard her greet them, and then, as I wondered what Andrew must think of us now that he’d seen a display of our fanaticism, they passed through the kitchen where I was sitting.
He asked, quietly and not at all impolitely, “What was your mom doing?”
Travis answered with indifference, “Huh? Oh, she was just praying.”
I’ve always been glad for that little incident, as inconsequential as it seems. My brother quite unintentionally set an example for me, a pattern I would follow through school. I didn’t have to act like it was a big deal. Or I could act like it was the great advantage that I took my childhood to discover.
Um-hmm. That’s right. Nothing to see here. Go about your business. My mom prays. Gotta problem with that??? What? Your momma doesn’t pray for you? Doesn’t she love you???
There are countless other ways in which she deliberately poured her faith into me as I grew up under her roof. When I was a junior in high school, I believe, she began handing me a scripture on an index card as I walked out the door to drive to school in the mornings. I saved a few of them. Actually, I stuck a couple in my car’s ashtray , which was not serving its intended purpose, and then found the cards some months later as I was putting together a senior memories book. Without digging out the book, I can tell you the verses from the two cards I saved:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
And the second, I quote often from memory, because it became one of my favorites:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
A year later, when I was a freshman in the marching band at Texas Tech, my parents came to Lubbock for parents weekend. They were waiting for me in the music building parking lot after the game. The band had marched from the stadium through campus, I had taken a few moments to put up my flag (yep, I was one of those!), and then made my way through the front door of the building where I spotted my folks standing 15 yards or so away. Breaking into a smile, I was about to jog into their arms when someone beat me to it.
Joyce and Shannon, a couple of my high school friends coming out of the side door of the building (having put their flags up–because they were a couple of those!), spotted my momma and ran in for a hug before I could recover from my shock and (mock) indignation. My mom was different and, it would seem, pretty special to people who don’t even belong to her. What a blessed woman I am.
Twenty odd years later, struggling to have the discipline in prayer and bible study that my mother demonstrated, I found that even 5:00 AM was not early enough with my little Emma Kate in the house. She was about two–the same year as the aforementioned Facebook post. It didn’t matter how early I rose to have some time to myself; she invariably–no exaggeration–sensed that someone was UP and she must be UP, too. God bless sweet Eden, who can sleep through hurricanes. I never saw my older girl’s face before 6:30, and then only after dragging her from the covers. EK interrupted every morning devotional I ever attempted. If I tried 4:30 or even 4:00, she still made her way down the stairs and into my lap, making prayer just about impossible. Well, more improbable than impossible. I still managed to complain repeatedly to God that I was unable to pray or meditate or read my bible.
One very early morning as I growled at God that I couldn’t get what I needed, He let this revelation slam on top of me like the anvil from the old Wile E. Coyote cartoons. Emma Kate found me every morning doing the very thing for which I admire my mother so much. At the couch. Bible open. Praying…and very often praying for my girls.
I just said goodbye to my mom this morning after a short visit. She’s had my girls for a week, which no doubt was a week of many challenges! Not only that, she insisted on bringing them to me in Arkansas rather than having me come get them.
We had brief conversation about what’s still ahead for Todd and me. Last year was a long stressful stretch of faith, and there’s more work to be done to get a new church off the ground. Next week, I’m back to work full-time, and I’m terrified of the stress. In my heart, I want to write, but I have, quite literally, stacks of work to do for school. I sobbed as I embraced her, and she said, “I know this is hard.”
Then she said something that I know I must pass along to you. She’s about to leave alone, and even though I’ve had two years to get used to having a widowed mother, it always feels wrong without my dad. The car is packed and she’s already half way down the walk. It might just be a footnote to the two days she’s been in my house, and or it’s an extension of the conversation we’ve been having my whole life.
“God’s plan has no accidents. Lots and lots and lots of surprises. But no accidents.”
God, give me things to say to my children–wise things that they feel compelled to repeat. Make me one of those.