Prejudice, the Absence of Love

To end prejudice, I believe it takes more than teaching our children not to hate.

We really need to teach them to love.

Love, especially those who hate you.

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! – Matthew 5:44

I never taught my children to hate. I never taught them to be prejudice, but they have learned it just the same.

Due to circumstances of a divorce, three of my boys went to an inner city school where they were of the minority who were targets of prejudice. I’ve written about their experience before.

And although my daughter never went to the same school, she too, has similar experiences at another one.

My biggest regret in that whole season of our lives, is I never taught my boys to love; to love those who hate, to love those who are hard to love.

My daughter on the other hand, I taught her to pray for those who teased her and called her names.

After trying to fix the injustice for my boys by talking to their teachers and going to the principal, I learned nothing was going to change. I felt helpless and hopeless. And even though they were getting a great education, I transferred them to a lower performing school so they could feel safe.

But they never did feel safe again. They had already learned fear. They had already learned not everyone supports them. Not everyone cares for them. And in fact, there are those who are out to get them and mean them harm.

All of that has followed them into their new schools even though the threats are gone and have been gone for a long time.

So when I learned of my daughter experiencing something similar, I became heartbroken. I immediately felt helpless and hopeless all over again. I knew there was nothing I was going to be able to do to fix this, to make her feel safe.

I told her we’re going to have to take this to God. We were going to have to pray for those who hurt us, because we know those who hurt, are hurting too.

Since then my daughter has shared stories with me of her classmates; horrible stories. Stories of pain and suffering no child should hear, much less experience. Stories of neglect, and abuse. Stories of children living without a home. Stories of children living without a mom or a dad. Stories of homicide and of suicide.

Stories that I would never allow my child to watch on TV or see in a movie are being lived out in real life by my child’s classmates. These are eight, nine, and ten year olds sweet children of God.

My heart hurts.

These children are hurting. These children are lashing out. These children need to be loved on, not punished. These children need a hope for their future.

Maybe that’s why my boys didn’t receive much sympathy when I tried to address the issue. In light of what other children were experiencing, our concerns were small in comparison. And to resolve our present situation would require the situations of other children to be addressed as well. And for that, they had no answer, no solution.

But in school, there is no hope of a solution because there is no God there.

So I taught my daughter to pray.

If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. – Luke 6:29

One day I was sitting in the principals office talking about a little girl who was threatening to cause my daughter physical harm and two weeks later, as I was driving up to the school to drop her off, she was yelling this little girl’s name out the car window, implying for her to wait for her.

I was surprised. I was confused.

In the matter of two weeks of prayer from my little girl for this little girl, God revealed a story that softened my daughters heart to show love instead of hate, and from that love grew an unlikely friendship.

I’m so proud of my daughter. Her strength amazes me. It is not easy to pray for someone who hurts you, and yet she still does. Every night at prayers, I listen to a long list of names she has asked God to share his grace and mercy with.

I know there is not a lot we can do as individuals, but maybe some little girl or boy who is living a nightmare right now, can see a glimpse of Jesus’ love through the prayer and actions of my little girl. What if through a little girl, who looks different than them, showed them genuine love, like no one who looked like her, ever did before?

What if there were more little boys and girls like her? What if we all showed more love instead of the absence of hate?

Yay Day!

It was three years ago, when my then seven year old daughter informed me she wanted to celebrate Yay Day. She had been watching one of her favorite TV programs.

Having no idea what she was talking about, I agreed to the celebration thinking it was something she was quickly going to forget.

However, a few days later, she brought me a colored poster she had designed that showed July 24th as Yay Day.

I looked at my husband and whispered, “Oh crap! She’s really expecting us to do something on July 24th!”

So, having absolutely no idea what Yay Day was, or what we were going to do, I started with at least requesting that day off from work.

When I asked her how we were suppose to celebrate it, she looked at me as if I was being ridiculous and should have already known, “With our friends!”

Oh great, I thought. Not only am I suppose to figure out how to celebrate Yay Day, I need to somehow convince our friends this is a good idea, and they should too.

So, this is how it started.

And this is what it has become.

Yay Day is an unadulterated holiday that celebrates people not things. There are no fancy gifts to buy or expensive decorations to put up. No retail promotions that quickly turn a nice gesture into a financial burden. Or high expectations to turn its value into hollow meaning.

It comes with hats made out of paper plates, a couple of boxes of cookies and a Yay Day picture frame we make out of foam board.

We then load up our suv with a slew full of kids, a list of friends names and we head out looking to spread cheer and love to our friends, family, and quite frankly, anyone who will let us.

This includes the ladies at Circle K, where we always stop first thing to pick up doughnuts and drinks for breakfast.

But if also includes the staff at whichever fast food joint we swing by for lunch.

Sometimes, we even reach out to total strangers. There have been a time or two, where we’ve run into someone down on their luck at intersections or street corners, where we’ve wanted to share what we have with them; a cookie, a hat and a little Yay! Ok, maybe not the hat, sometimes that gets weird.

But otherwise we hit up our friends, whether they be at home or at work. Work is always fun, because we get to celebrate with other people we weren’t expecting and we leave with them thinking their coworkers are a little bit weirder than they originally thought.

People often ask me why I do this? Quite simply, I want to share my daughter’s love for life. People are important to her. She could care less about things; she is more interested in relationships. We could lose everything we own, and I know she would be fine as long as we had people who love us.

She cares about feelings and attitudes. She cares about touching each other and sharing what we have. She cares. It’s plain and simple.

And it’s about fun. It’s about being silly. It’s about taking a break from this harsh world we live in and just loosen up. For us, it’s the whole day. For most is just 15 minutes.

Let us all stop for just 15 minutes a day to welcome a friendly face, share a cookie together, and take a picture in remembrance of this one moment in time where the world stopped turning, and love was waiting there.

Yay Day is a day of gratitude. It is a day we have set aside to show people we are happy they are in our lives and that their life is important.

They bring us joy and we hope that whatever they are going through in that moment, on that single day of July 24th, that they can pause for a moment with us and celebrate the Yay!

Do you know? Do you know? DO YOU KNOW what our friends do to this momma’s heart every time they invite us to celebrate with them? Whether it be an invite to their house, or work, or a picture of them celebrating Yay Day on their social media because they live in another state; my whole heart SWELLS!

Yay Day for me is the celebration of my daughter,  and when I see people celebrating with her I just feel this explosion of love grow from her and I’m lucky because some of it splashes all over me.

I hope you will consider celebrating Yay Day with us by inviting us to your home, or sending us a picture of how you celebrate the Yay.

In light of everything that is going on in the world around us, I’d say, Yay Day is coming not a moment too soon.

YAY!

Unlearning This Fear

Why am I so afraid?

Even if God wanted to bless me, I wouldn’t make it easy on him.

I always live like everything could be gone tomorrow.

My husband wants to buy a new truck. He needs a new truck. Could we afford it? I don’t know.

I don’t feel we’ve exhausted all of our options.

What does that look like?

We dump all kinds of money into an old beaten down vehicle only to find out there no hope to resuscitate it.

So I, for some reason, believe I have to dig hole before we even know if we have to start digging; a hole that we might not even have had to dig if we had just bought something in the first place.

It’s as if I don’t believe I deserve nice things and if I get them, I should be punished for them, not celebrating it.

This is so not Christ-like.

Christ, does not punish (Romans 8:1). He does no harm (Jeremiah 29:11). He provides for our needs (Philippians 4:19). He showers his children with love and blessings (1 Corinthians 2:19b).

Why is it so hard to accept a gift?

I am acutely aware that everything can suddenly turn south and we could lose everything. I know that everything he gives, he could also take away (Job 1:21).

But I don’t believe this is how he intended me to live. Not in fear.

Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever! – Psalm 111:10

But…

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18

So what this tells me is, yes, everything we have we can lose, but he loves us still so much, that he would continue to provide for us.

This has been a ridiculously difficult post to write. It’s been even much harder to talk to my husband about. How can he possibly understand me?

If it wasn’t for my husband I would be living in rubbish.

He seems to be able to spend money on things that I don’t feel I deserve.

He has replaced our floors, built an additional bedroom to accommodate all our kids, remodeled our kitchen, painted almost every wall inside and out, replaced bathroom fixtures… I could go on and on.

If I was still single I can honestly say none of this would have happened.

My house would be in total shambles, but instead he has turned it into a modest palace.

This weekend has opened my eyes to just how much fear I live in. It is days like this were I feel my faith has been a huge sham. How can there be faith with so much fear?

It saddens me to know my children have been raised in my fear. I know this, because I too, was raised in the same fear.

Everything was just barely hung together. We were not a family of risk takers. If we were, I didn’t see it.

Let’s just play it safe. Don’t get our hopes up to high. If we don’t expect much, we won’t be left disappointed. If things go better than expected, well that’s a bonus.

This is not the ways of the Lord. This is not how he expected me to live. He has much bigger plans in store for his children. I am a daughter of a King!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Psalm 3:5-6

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. – Isaiah 58:11

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. – Psalm 32:8

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, – Ephesians 3:20

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:7-11

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38

You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:9-10

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:10-11

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12

Greater things than Jesus? One cannot do greater things than Jesus and still live in fear.

But this is the kind of life God intended me to live.

Lord, please forgive me for my fear. I know this is not from you and I desire to be released from it. I don’t wish myself or my children to be enslaved by it any longer. Please continue to show me my fear, and help us break this generational chain. May we rise into your glory and show our future generations the kind of life you intend for us to live. Ones that bring you praise. Ones that reflect your Son. Ones that reveal your love. May that be the generational chain that we pass on. In your Son’s name, Amen.

Faith in God, Who Gives Crazy Ideas

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

“So, I got this crazy idea”, is usually how most of my projects have started out. They are usually followed up by, “Oh, you can’t do that Kim. It won’t work.” which then of course, THEY DO!

So this, I’ve learned has become the formula for when God is asking me to do something.

It starts off as an idea I think is absolutely not possible, and not only can’t see how it’s going to work; I don’t want to be the one doing it.

“No. No. No. God, what are you going to make me do? ” He pushes me outside my comfort zone, every. single. time. It sucks.

I do not want to host an ice cream social for the community. I do not want to knock on all my neighbors doors, to invite them to a block party. There is no possible way I can collect enough plastic bags and then make sleeping mats for the homeless, that would be enough to serve in any significant way.

All of which are done in the spirit of loving God and loving others (Mark 12:30-31), being a light to the world (Matthew 5:14), and making disciples (Matthew 28:13).

But it’s all about trust, right? Having faith.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

Oh my gosh, Lord, what are you going to make me do now?

He doesn’t always give me the whole plan of how I’m going to pull it off, but he usually always gives me the excitement that comes with it before, rather than after. I see his vision. And I get so excited!

Then, in my excitement, I announce my crazy idea, and time and time again, it is followed up by people telling me it won’t work, or I can’t pull it off, or I’m crazy.

Oh, I know!

They’re not being mean, or unsupportive, they just know me really well. And they’re right! I can’t do any of these crazy ideas. But with God, I KNOW, I can (Matthew 19:26).

He gave me a vision. I can’t see how I will get there, but I can see what it looks like in the end. And I usually have the best time ever!

So, with that…

I GOT A CRAZY IDEA!

How do I know? Well, I’m terrified, for one, and I’ve already heard, “It’s a great idea, Kim. I just don’t know how it’s gonna work. People aren’t going to want to come. Most will not be ready for it.”

I can’t tell you how I got this idea. I can’t really remember when it started to grow, but I know with all my heart it’s something worthy and honoring to God. I can’t, not try.

When I went back to college to earn my degree in Christian Studies, people asked what I was going to do after I graduated. I told them really I had no idea. I was ok with it, because I knew God had a plan but if he had revealed it to me at the time, it would have completely freak me out.

We’ll guess what? I think this may be it!
We are The Peacemakers.

It’s working with moms who have had a child or children with an ex-partner who remarried, and now has another woman who is involved with her child’s life; the step-mom.

Yes, I’m aware that divorce is not biblical. But it is, however something very prevalent in today’s Christian churches. So why instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, and not talking about this population of parents, as if it is taboo; why not see how we can bring them together in unity, that is God honoring, and show the world the power of Christ’s forgiveness, compassion and love, for the sake of their children?

The goal is to be able to put aside difference, FOR THE CHILDREN. It’s not to become best friends. It’s not to restart a relationship with an ex. But it is to be able to come together to co-parent so their children continue to feel safe, secure and loved by both sets of parents.

Many times, most of the time, probably all of the time, the step mom /ex wife relationship is sabotaged from the beginning because of one thing…the ex.

They may be completely lovely people but already don’t like each other. There is a barrier that immediately goes up. They are the enemy.

They don’t even know each other, and yet they share two very important things that should bring them together, instead of pull them apart; the children, and a relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

They may not go to the same church, but they may go to a church somewhere. So why then, can’t they work through this, if they claim to be followers of Christ?

It is almost an “ok” thing, to not have a relationship or even to have a bad relationship with an ex and ex’ wife. It is understood. It accepted. It is never talked about at church. It is never addressed, but yet ex-wives and step moms go to church every single week.

For whatever reason, a traditional single family unit is no longer a possibility, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try for the next best thing.

Therefore, I propose we come together for the best interest of the children.

The children, who by the way, are God’s children. Why would he not want this?

So with that, I’ve met with my pastor, and I’ve been interviewing friends; some of which who share children, and some who have counseled moms who do. And I’ve been collecting a lot of great ideas as to what THIS could actually look like.

My next step is to hit my Bible. I know, everything I need to know is already in there. My job is to drive in and find it.

I’m the lucky one. I get a double blessing. Not only in the end, I will be brining people closer to Christ, in the process I get to be closer to him as well! How exciting is that!

However, like any of my crazy ideas, I go into it with a lot of fear and hesitation.

After one of my interviews, I walked to my car and thought to myself, “Why are you doing this? It’s not going to work.”

What if both moms are not Christian? What if one or both are too wounded to focus on the children?  What if the step mom is the “other” woman?

But as quickly as my doubts came, I heard a voice inside me say, “They said the same thing about Girls’ Club”.

And like THAT, my fear went away.

This is going to happen. I don’t know how this is  going to happen, I don’t know when this is going to happen, but I know this is  going to happen.

I have faith in a God who gives crazy ideas, so that the rest of the world can watch and wonder, what is that? 

All for his glory, we will show the world.

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. – Acts 2:44

End of Year Expectations

I have struggled with expectations I have put on my kids and their education, their entire lives.

I was a child who never earned straight A’s, but I strive for them like nobody’s business. I graduated at the top 10% of my class, and I received a scholarship to a community college.

Don’t be too impressed. I lost it after my first year and my friends were in the top five and received scholarships and acceptance letters to universities.

Not doing homework, was unheard of. The amount of stress I put on myself led to migraines and breakdowns. Getting good grades was what defined me.

So, to have children who constantly do not turn in their homework, routinely bring home C’s and lower and just do the bare minimum to pass a class, has just about driven me over the edge. I have been disappointed and heartbroken time and time again.

However, things are changing. I have changed. Instead of comparing my children to me and what I was capable of as a child, I am learning to accept them for who they are and what they are truly capable of doing. I am no longer allowing their success or failure define who I am.

We may not have had any kiddos who have received any scholarships, acceptance letters into their favorite University or even applied for community college, this year.

We don’t have anyone with straight A’s or perfect attendance.

But we do have…

A kiddo who stuck it out and graduated, after losing his privilege to live in our house, two months before the end of school. He may not be going college anywhere right yet, but he’s working and paying rent somewhere and has bought his own form of transportation; as unconventional as it may be. It’s his and he’s the one who purchased it!

We have a kiddo, after struggling with his grades all year, and especially his last semester; who looks like he was able to pull a minimum grade up at the very end to avoid summer school!

We have a kiddo who after years of being suspended once a year, has managed to not only keep his nose out of the front office for the whole year, but has also avoided D’s and F’s, for the first time since third grade. And is coming off his IEP in time for him to start high school!

We have a kiddo who has transferred schools last year. Not once this year has he been sent home for fighting, crying or leaving his classroom or campus. He also has not been a target for any bullying and the kicker…made Honor Roll for the first time ever, this last quarter!

Oh I’m not done!

We have a kiddo who struggled all year with D’s and F’s. We were concerned he wasn’t going to pass the fifth grade. Even being grounded from the Internet and video games for over half the school year, didn’t seem to be helping. Although, his last quarter grades may not have been all A’s and B’s, he still got all his F’s up to passing and will be entering the sixth grade next year!

Finally, we have a kiddo who may have never have struggled with any of her grades, ever. But has proven herself once again just how versatile and capable she really is. Last year she transferred schools with her brother to a much smaller classroom. I was actually concerned it would hurt her socially, however she made new friends, both inside and outside her class and has still made Honor Roll three out of the four quarters!

We don’t have any rocket scientists, obviously, when it comes to their education. But I still feel these kids have ROCKED the 2015-2016 school year!

And I don’t feel I have lowered my expectations for any of them at all, but have certainly changed them to match who they are.

It is amazing the amount of love that blooms and heart that swells, with just accepting who my kids are and what they are capable of doing.

I think we’re all looking forward to what next year can bring and to see how much farther they can go!

I’ve Been Robbed

I feel like I’ve been robbed. Not physically, of course, but those kids, they take everything. 🙂

Oh I know it’s not their fault; they’re just kids. It’s all my fault, really. I went into motherhood believing it was a consequence, rather than a blessing.

They are the ones who take, rather than give. They were an obligation, rather than a gift.

Now that I have had a change of heart, I wonder how I could have raised my children differently.

Between the two of us, my husband and I have six kids. Six kids can be expensive, as you might assume. I often feel bad we’re not able to provide them with some of the opportunities that other kids in smaller families have.

People tell me all the time I should put my daughter in dance. I would love to be able to do that, but if I put her in dance, I feel I should put Fun in soccer, and Smart in baseball and, and, well if we put every child in something, we just wouldn’t be able to afford it.

I’ve always felt everyone should have the same. Everyone should be equal. It’s either all or nothing.

But then most of the time it means they get nothing. I hate having to tell them no all the time. But I also feel bad when I let one have something, or get to do something that the others can’t. And they know it, too.

“But that’s not fair!”

Now I know, life is not fair. But I’ve just always felt, in my house it should be. It’s my responsibility to make it be. But you know what? Fair doesn’t always feel right either.

So recently I’ve come across Matthew 20, again. You know, the parable of the vineyard workers? I’ve heard the story a thousand times, but I can’t say I’ve ever applied it to a real life situation.

That is until now.

Recap… A land owner goes into town to hire some workers to work in his vineyard for the day. He promises them a full days wage. Then again, at 3:00 and around 5:00, he goes into town to hire some more. At the end of the day, he pays everyone the same, and the workers who had worked the full day got pretty upset.

Do you know what he told them?

Should you be jealous because I am kind to others? – Matthew 20:15:b

I’ve spent my entire motherhood believing it was wrong to not enforce fairness. It was a sin, really.

Having a blended family has put even more pressure on me, since I would never want Mike to think I’m favoring my kids over his.

But honestly, I now realize I’ve been looking at it all wrong. Instead of judging me, I should have been training them.

I love them all, and I don’t show favorites but it really is OK if an opportunity presents itself for one child, and not for them all.

Should they be jealous because I am kind?

Sometimes one of them can get an extra soda, or go to a movie, or spend the day with grandma, and I don’t need to feel guilty about it.

I do, however, need to teach them to instead of worrying about my behavior, they need to start looking at their own.

Yes, life is not fair. And no matter how hard I try, life is not going to be fair in our house either. And by trying to make it fair, I feel like I’m being robbed of being kind.

Most Undeserving, but Covered in Grace

It was 17 years ago. I was working at Valley Center of the Deaf as a secretary.

Prior to being their secretary, I was a job coach. Daily, I drove to my clients place of employment to address any work issues regarding communication or culture differences, they or their employers, might be experiencing. If I wasn’t doing that, I was working with my clients on job leads, resume building, and interviewing.

It was a lot of work for an introvert. There was just so much human contact and customer service, on a daily basis. I was exhausted.

So when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I knew this was going to be too much for me. I had spoken with my direct supervisor and had asked if I could transfer to a secretarial position that had just opened up.

Everyone thought I was crazy. Why would I go backwards on my career ladder? Honestly, I didn’t realize I was.

But I knew working in an office with a handful of people and a whole lot of paper was going to be less stressful than working with strangers, representing clients, and educating the world of work the meaning of reasonable accommodations.

I needed less stress considering I was entering into a new field of work that I knew nothing about, and quite honestly, growing up had no desire to enter; the ranks of Motherhood.

I had a lot to learn in a relatively short amount of time, considering I had only had a few experiences with babysitting, which all were dreadful and none of which included an actual baby.

Thank you Jesus for that. That would not have ended well.

I had a lot of learning to get caught up on.

I had a friend who took pity on me and one night, invited me over to practice giving her baby a bath. Pathetic, I know and I was.

Afterwards, my friend left me alone with her child for just a minute as I was suppose to put her in her jammies for the night. Upon returning she found her baby in only a diaper and me wrestling with her arms and legs to be still.

“She won’t let me put her feet in.”

“You have to make her put her feet in.”

I then watched her masterfully take hold of each limb and place them in their respective position of the jammie, all within seconds.

My kid is so screwed.

My son’s dad taught me how to maneuver the diapers. The pretties, face away from you and down when placing it under the baby’s bottom.

Mother-in-law taught me to push all the plumbing down into the diaper, after weeks of not understanding why I had to change my son’s clothes and bedding at every nightly feeding.

May I remind you, I was 27 when I had my first child.

I did not deserve a baby.

My babies did not deserve me as their momma.

My son was probably around one. He was already walking and getting into everything. It was a Saturday and his dad had to work. I too, had to go into the office to bring in documents and print the billing that I was able to put together at home.

I remember thinking it was not going to be an easy task considering I had to bring my son in with me.

It was an extremely warm day, as all Arizona days can be. I popped the trunk of my car, as well as propped open the three doors that led to my office in the front of the building.

My son sat quietly in his carseat as he watched his mom walk to and from the car as she carried boxes into the building.

I left the driver’s side door open to let the air circulate and keep the car cool.

Upon grabbing the last box from the trunk, I used the weight of the box to help slam the lid down, I used my right hip to push the driver’s side door close, and kicked the two door stops out of the way to let each door slam behind me as I entered the hall to my office.

In my office, I probably moved some boxes around, turned on my computer and printer, made some room on my desk to work, and as I started to open the billing program, thought to myself, why did I think this was going to be difficult?

… … …

THE BABY!

Now I could say, it was only five minutes, but do you know what could happen to a baby, or anyone, who is left in a car, on a hot day, in Arizona, with the windows up, for only five minutes? And what if it wasn’t just five minutes???

I was the mother who left her baby in the hot car, and nobody knew.

I don’t deserve my babies, and my babies don’t deserve me as their momma.

My heart cries everytime the news reports of another child who has died inside of a car.

My heart cries everytime I hear of family, or a friend, or a friend of a friend, or of a stranger, who has lost their child in their sleep.

My heart cries for the mommies who’s baby’s eyes never opened.

My heart cries everytime a child goes missing, or one runs away.

I cry for those who struggle to become a momma.

I cry for those who can’t.

I don’t understand why my son was saved and others are not. But I know it was not because of me. I am undeserving and there are far more deserving parents out there than me.

I understand to the depth of my soul the amount of Grace; unmerited favor, my Savior showed me that day, 17 years ago.

It is why I take my job as a mother so, so seriously. For whatever reason God felt it necessary to place these babies in my care, regardless of my desires, capabilities, and qualifications and then protects them from me at the same time.

I cannot express the amount of fear, gratitude, self-loathing, change, that took place that day. Rearview mirror face the backseat. Counting kids, in the car and in the house. Checking the backseat after dropping the last kid off, then rechecking and checking again once I’m at work…until my last child was six. Ok, I still do it.

I do not deserve my babies and my babies don’t deserve me as their momma.

I will continue to strive to earn the honor that was placed upon me at their births.

And more importantly I will continue to strive to honor the God who protects my children through all my striving.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your grace and your mercy on all those who are undeserving, undeserving like me.