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.

It’s My Birthday!

Nine years ago, today I walked into Celebrate Recovery at a church I had been attending for about a year and a half.

I was there, broken, unable to talk, with hot tears running down my face. I tried to smile as I was greeted outside, but only looked more pathetic.

The older gentlemen, who looked like he had crawled up off the street, with untamed hair, wearing just jeans and a simple t-shirt, smile wildly back at me, “You’re in the right place.”

It was my first day. It would become my birthday.

It was the day I didn’t understand how I had gotten myself so lost but knew I needed to be here.

This day, was the first day of the rest of my life. Nothing was ever going to be the same.

Bill called them weeping tears. He encouraged me to let them to flow.

They were healing tears, he would say.

Oh, I was so tired of the healing tears. They would flow for at least five more years.

He told me my soul was crying out to Jesus and that he would catch every one.

He wasn’t lying.

Step One:
We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 

I was a divorced, single mom, of three small boys and was pregnant with my daughter. I had been in two abusive relationships. My life was out of control.

Step Two:
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 

I realized I was never in control. My life had become a series of reactions. Nothing and no one was guiding me.

Step Three:
We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 

I wanted the chaos to end. I threw myself down at my Lord’s feet. “Make it all stop! I can’t do this anymore.”

Step Four:
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40 

And so I started a list. Things that had happened to me. Things I had seen. Things I had heard. Things I had remembered. Things I had done.

Even unto this day, this list grows.

Step Five:
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16 

My sponsor listened to me. She heard my pain. She saw my shame. And she confided in me, “Me too.”

I am not crazy. I am not alone.

Step Six:
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 

The more and more God heals my wounds, the more and more wounds he reveals. And the more and more wounds he reveals, the more dependant I become on Him.

I will never be completely healed this side of heaven, but I know he does not let me suffer alone. He does not reveal, what he does not intend to heal.

Step Seven:
We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 

I now praise him for my weaknesses, for through my weaknesses, I grow closer to Him.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. ”So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:29

Step Eight:
We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Where many never get past step four, I was stuck at eight.

I did not struggle with asking for forgiveness for the things I had done. I had, however, struggled with the fear of seeing those who I had to extend forgiveness too.

Would I be strong enough? Would I fall prey again? Would I play the victim? Have I learned anything?

I made my list.

Step Nine:
We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

God kept me safe. It was made clear who I would be able to see, and who remained in the distance.

But regardless, I was still released from the chains of guilt and shame that bound me.

Step Ten:
We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12

Remember step four?

Step Eleven:
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.Colossians 3:16

Nine years later, and after weeping for five, I continue to search for knowledge. My thirst has not been quenched. I still drink from living streams.

Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” – John 7:38

Step Twelve:
Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

So I am here! On my ninth birthday, reaching out to you who may be weak, who may be weary, who may be weeping…

I encourage you to take your first day. To make today your birthday. To start living a life that will never be the same.

You are not crazy. You are not alone.

This Little Light of Mine

Unfortunately for me, I’ve always been naive. Well, maybe not unfortunately, but I always thought I was at a disadvantage. I tried to not let it show, but I’m not sure I was ever very successful at it.

I would get disappointed looks, eyes would roll, sighs would be made. Many wouldn’t have patience for me.

As I’ve gotten older, I don’t even try to hide it anymore. This is me…a big part of me.

I don’t get dirty jokes. I don’t get clean ones either. It seems to take me longer to understand something that others are able to pick up rather quickly. I’m oblivious to subtle things, obvious things too.

I’ve always felt other people knew more than me. I didn’t think I was dumb, but I sure felt like I was slow.

I have to say, though, what I lacked in innovation, I made up for in dedication. Once I learned something, I made sure I out preformed everyone. This may be why others never understood my insecurities.

Recently, I was meeting with my pastor to discuss how to reach out to those who are hurting from divorce and how to rise above their woundedness for the sake of their children. We talked about feelings and behaviors that could get in their way or how they could lash out.

But I didn’t understand.

Why would someone act that way? How could someone do that? But that doesn’t make sense?

He paused for a few seconds, carefully selecting the right words; then told me,

“You and I, really are spoiled. We are surrounded by lights.”

Lights, meaning others who let the light of Jesus shine through them. They intentionally try to live a life that honors Christ.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14

I love being surrounded by lights. I finally feel safe. Not only do I not feel someone is going to take advantage of me, but I feel protected. I feel sheltered.

No one is going to make fun of me. Well, they still laugh at me but it’s because they enjoy me. They appreciate me the way I am. I’m not looked down upon. I belong.

I had never thought about it.

What if he’s right? And, what if I’m so out of touch with the darkness, that I can’t show anyone my light?

What if my light, that is in the middle of everybody else’s light, enables me from ever reaching out into the darkness.

I can try to intentionally live a life that honors Christ amongst others who look like me and therefore, continue to live in my Christian bubble.

But I don’t think that honors Christ, and I don’t think he intended everyone to plant themselves on one hill.

I think what he intended, was once you were drawn to a light, and after your own light was lit, you would move to another hill, or back to your own, so that others would be drawn to you, too.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, – Matthew 28:19

I wouldn’t say I’ve been a light for too long. Only the last 10 years or so. Before that I was surrounded by darkness.

I lived in the darkness. Rolled around in it. Covered by it. Breathed it in and exhaled it out. I knew Jesus, but didn’t live a life that honored him.

True, my stories are superficial, in comparison to others. But the point is, I’ve been there. I know what it is like.

I know pain. I know loneliness. I’ve felt powerless, hopeless and being helpless. I’ve been jealous and prideful. I’ve lashed out and I’ve built up walls.

I’ve tried doing my life, my way. I’ve tried to escape from whatever was pulling me down but never getting up.

So please understand my hesitancy, if I don’t want to leave my center of lights and go back there. It’s scary there in the darkness. Who, that has come out of it, would ever want to go back into it?

It’s painful there, not only for the ones living in the darkness, but for everyone who witnesses it too.

What if someone is drawn to me and I can’t help them? What if I can’t ease their pain? What if I don’t have all the answers?

But, then again…

What if I stop thinking this light of mine was about me, and trusted Jesus to spark a light in someone else; like he sparked in me?

What if I allowed my light to overcome me so there is less of me, and more of him?

What if I only came to visit my town on a hill, to feed my flame so that I could light a way that leads father and farther into the darkness?

What if I had faith instead of fear?

What if I stopped thinking I was so special and had faith that what Jesus did for me, he could actually do for someone else?

What if… I… got out of his way?

After all, if I, being as naive as I am got it, imagine what he could do with someone else!

Yes, I am a light living on a hill. I might not be hidden, but I sure can’t be seen.

So I’ve decided I will continue to visit this hill from time to time. But I also need to start venturing out into the darkness.

Perhaps, build another town, on another hill. A place for new lights to shine and for Jesus to be seen.

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

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.

This is the Day!

Today is the day! Although he is graduating Thursday, today is his last day of school!

Oh I’m going to have an emotional week, but today is just such an emotionally charged day filled with so many conflicting feelings, I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t have asked for today off instead of Thursday.

Today is the last day I get the honor of driving my son to school. Eight weeks ago he had lost the privilege of living in my home, but still, Monday through Friday, I was able to see him.

I will miss him more than he knows.

Today is the day I wasn’t sure would come. Not the date, of course, but his last day as a graduating Senior. For the past year I tried to prepare myself for the possibility of him not graduating this spring. I had finally decided in ten years, nobody will care what month or even year he would graduate, only that he did. But two months ago the idea of him not graduating at all became a real possibility in my mind. I had to be ok with that too.

Today I picked him up at 6:45, like I have been. I was a little concerned he was going to tell me he wasn’t going at all today, but he did.

I wanted to decorate the car with balloons and write, YOU DID IT!, on all the windows, but I knew it would upset him, so I didn’t.

But I got a hug.

He sat in the car and grunted and groaned about how he didn’t want to talk to me about why his hand was bandaged up.

He snapped at his sister, who also understood the significance of the day and wanted to come.

He feebly explained he wasn’t a morning person as justification for being a jerk.

In honor of it being his last day, I took him and his friend to McDonald’s and bought them a nutritious and brain fueling breakfast. Ok…it was food…maybe.

After a few more disgruntled quips, and disagreement about a graduation gift, I drove quietly the rest of the way to his school.

He felt bad, I knew it. He reached over to give me his first and last hug before he exited the car.

“Love you”, I heard sounding more like a question he was asking me.

“I love you, too.”

Regardless how you behave, I love you. I always will love you.

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24

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.

Doing Things Different

I remember my dad telling me, while I was in grade school his job was to teach me life lessons. During high school, his job was to let me be more independent and live out those life lessons but when I fell, he’d be there to pick me up. It was his way to prepare me for being an adult.

You know those babies who it seems like they want to skip crawling, and move straight to walking? I honestly don’t even think it’s possible, but there are still kiddos who seem they are in such a stinkin’ hurry to grow up.

Tunes was one of those kids. He was walking at ten months. Anything and everything he had just a little bit interest in, he may not have excelled in, but he sure did pretty well.

I could always see how his brother Justice felt like he was falling short while walking in his brother’s footsteps. Many times it would be enough for him to flat out, not try.

Tunes has never been one to follow the rules. He’s always had to try things his way. He’d have Legos kits, but was never interested in following their plans. He would take his working toys apart and try to invent something new. He’s always thought differently than other people. So why am I so surprised he’d want to enter his adulthood any other way?

Tunes lost his privilege to live in our house. He is now living with a friend and his family, taking two classes at high school and has managed to get his grades up two weeks before graduating, has been working 30 or more hours at a job he’s had for the past 9 months, and has recently obtained a second job that’s located in same parking lot as his first.

He seems to be doing pretty good.

He’s never been a conventional kid, why would he start now? Why didn’t I see this coming?

It’s when I think about all the steps he’s skipped to get here, it’s when I become anxious. I feel I’ve let him down since I haven’t been able to walk him through them. So many things he didn’t get to experience in my house. So many things my dad would qualify as practicing and opportunities; going out with friends, driving a car, falling in love, I don’t know if I get to help with.

I feel there’s such a huge area of life he’s skipping, and I’m struggling to be ok with. I would never want to be one of those people who stand on the sidelines waiting for something to go horribly wrong, just to say, I told you so.

But I will stand here, waiting, watching, and wondering, where I fit in.

Borrowing Voices

I’m not sure I could say I had lost my voice. I never remember having one.

As a small child I remember having to play in a kiddy pool, but wasn’t allowed to have a bathing suit. I had to strip down to only my panties. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was old enough to be completely humiliated.

But we don’t talk it. We act like this is normal. Since it doesn’t feel normal, I feel something must be wrong with me.

Again, sometime as a small child, probably kindergarten, I was molested by a neighbor’s child. And even though we were caught, reprimanded, and I was sent home; it happened again the next day, only this time I was forced to molest her. I don’t know if she ever got in trouble. But I sure felt like I did.

But we don’t talk about this. We act like it never happened. I feel guilt.

My brother and a neighbor kid run across some extremely inappropriate magazines for any child, any adult. He gets in trouble. He thinks it’s funny. I think, those are somebody’s little girls.

But it’s never talked about. I don’t know whatever happened to those girls. I feel shame.

I’m probably twelve. My brother and I have the chickenpox. He is covered head to toe. I have two spots in the middle of my back. He’s only put off by the fact that he’s stuck indoors for the next two weeks during his summer, while I’m laid up on the sofa, not too far from the bathroom for the greater part of those same two weeks, lifting my nightgown to anyone who comes to our house and has already been exposed to the chickenpox, but doesn’t believe that I have them too.

I’m not allowed to disagree. Just do what I’m told. At least I don’t have to face them as they stare at my body. I feel degraded.

I’m in high school and I’ve developed a cyst on my breast, only I don’t know what it is. No one does. People are invited to come over to inspect.

“Show her. She’s a nurse.” Only, I know her as the neighbor. I close my eyes. I feel irrelevant.

On public streets I am grabbed at.

I am frozen in terror as to what just happened. I say nothing. I do nothing. I tell no one. I feel like I’m just a thing.

“She’s only seventeen? She doesn’t look seventeen!”

“She’s eighteen! She doesn’t look old enough to be eighteen! ”

“You have beautiful eyes.”

I look away. I don’t want to be seen anymore. I don’t want to be touched, anymore.

No, I don’t believe I ever had a voice. In fact I believe I was taught I wasn’t allowed one.

Instead, I learned how to shut down. I learned how to disassociate. I learned how to separate my mind from what was going on with my body. I could get “lost” inside my head so I could get through the moment.

It was a gift from God. He taught me how to survive through it when I felt powerless to do anything. It kept me from acting out. It kept me from going insane. It kept me from hurting myself.

But as an adult, I hung onto it. I clung to it, even though I wasn’t powerless anymore. This gift was never meant for me to use forever. I would have to learn I have a voice and how to use it. No longer could I play a victim. I no longer was.

God helped me with that. You see, this gift he gave to free me to be somewhere else, also freed me to be someone else.

I fell into ASL, American Sign Language by God’s divine plan. Having always felt just getting through this moment was my only objective in life, I’d never entertained any ideas of what I would like to actually do in my life.

Never, ever would I have believed I would one day become an interpreter. I was too quiet, too shy, and I didn’t want the attention.

However, I quickly discovered the gift God gave me to be somewhere else, allowed me to be pretty good with being someone else.

Things I couldn’t do as Kim, I was able to do as my client. I was complaining to doctors, and yelling at coworkers. I could ask questions without feeling stupid. I could be bold when something was unjust. And I couldn’t apologize for getting upset, or disagreeing with someone. I was allowed to get angry because my client was angry.

(For the record, they do a whole lot more than bucking the system. I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression. In my opinion, they are expert communicators. They do more than try to be heard, they want to be understood.)

While becoming an interpreter, I found I was borrowing their voice. I had the privilege of being someone else. I was learning what it meant to have a voice and developing my own.

Working with the Deaf has taught me how to stop being a victim. It has shown me that I can exercise my power to say no, and nothing bad is going to happen. I can disagree. I can speak up. I can be…me!

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Deaf. As a community, they have had to fight to be heard. What more appropriate group to teach me something I should have learned a long time ago.

They have taught me, even though they may not speak, they can still be heard.

I am not weird. I do not carry that guilt. I do not feel any shame. I no longer feel degraded. I am relevant. I am me, not a thing.

But still, God had one more gift to give. During a prayer where you go back in time to where you longed to know where Jesus was, I asked him why he wasn’t there for me.

As I was reliving these memories of losing my innocence, I felt as if Jesus himself, had stepped over and around me as if I was encased inside of him. It felt like a warm blanket was wrapped about my shoulders to cover me while he took my place and was choosing to be exposed instead.

Do I believe Jesus was with me during all those childhood times? Absolutely. I believe, because I have been freed from all the false messages I heard. I have a voice now and I want to be seen.

You see, I have a story to tell and it starts and ends with a man name Jesus Christ.

He has redeemed me.

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Day 30 of 30: A Mother’s Prayer

Today is the day. Day 30 of 30. I may stop posting my prayers here, but I will never give up praying for my son.

Lord, thank you for being so faithful. Thank you for carrying me through these first 30 days. I know I can get through them all, now.

His life is just beginning.

May this be the first of the many times you hold us up. Keep us close, Lord. Keep us close to you.

Forever, hear me stand at the door, and yell your name. I still pray for the day he hears me too.

Lord, I thank you that you never sleep. Because even though I grow weary, I know you stand tall. Your love endures forever.

I hope you never grow tired of my Mother’s Prayer.

Please keep him safe. Please help him make wise decisions. Please help him learn and grow wise. May he fear you. May he cry out to you when he’s in trouble. May I one day become safe for him. May he always know he is loved and he has a home. Please build up his self-esteem. May he understand his worth. May he know he is yours.

It is this, Lord, and so much more that I pray, in your son’s holy name, amen.