Tuesday, October 4, 2016

When the Holy Spirit Speaks

It's been awhile since I posted a random stream of consciousness. I think it's gotten a lot easier for me to hear the Holy Spirit speak to me and examine my own heart. So easy in fact that I argue with Him and then read scriptures that put me back in my place. But last night the Sprit wanted to talk to someone else and I could feel Him pressing me in. So I prayed and said what the hey, we are going to win the lottery and pay for all of our kids lifelong therapy anyway and I stood with my back to the ocean of wise counsel and fell in with total surrender because I am so so bad at advice that my faith that God can do a better job comes easy. I feel a digression coming on. Do not ask me to give a verse to back it up but God has not convicted me for swearing. I know that is probably a big indicator of what an itty bitty baby spoonfed Christian I am but He really hasn't. He has asked me to stop drinking. So I did. Well, He basically forced me. He gave me some kind of extreme alcohol sensitivity or allergy and then he told Jody to say he'd stop drinking if I stopped so then I just moped around whining to myself because let's be honest I have nobody to complain to. My friends just want to find a workaround "maybe you just need vodka" and "we just need to find the one thing you CAN drink" and "you just can't mix liquors" are real things my awesome friends have said. Elizabeth is actually synonymous with the word tipsy (for anyone who didn't know), meaning if I have a teaspoon of wine I'm tipsy and ridiculous and they laugh so hard and I love making them laugh and then I go home and retch and retch or else just tremble... anyway it gets ugly and I'm so sorry everyone, I love to make you laugh but we will just have to try bringing joke books to the pub. So anyway, thanks God. That rocked. You used Long Island two-fers to give us our darling first born, and now it's all over. I open LaCroix and inhale the aroma like a wine connoisseur and then sip and burp sip and burp. Be ready for lots of my heavy hitting philosophies like "wow, bubblegum is just like liquor, the anticipation is so much more fun than the experience." But God DOES still let me use bad language Which I love and use as unapologetically as a seventh grader. I do feel the clock ticking on my exteraneous vocabulary though and... it sucks. I know... sucks is a really bad word until something sucks then it's just necessary. So, anyway...I feel like I need to get back to my Holy Spirit moment. I was going to type that as HS but I figured most people would be like "what high school moment?". After my long prayer which might have involved some f bombs and grouchy shit storm metaphors I went to talk to this young person who I might know very well. And I asked some pretty good questions which I would never have thought of myself which just opened her heart up and she shared how judged she feels by Christian people sometimes. And God talked to her like she was a grown-up. He said "look honey, I know it's really easy to let culture tell you that Judgy Christians are worse than kids who just claim to be bad to the bone because at least the bad kids are honest about it but that's not truth. All of those people are the same to him. And you will need great wisdom to tell whether you're being judged or are being hypersensitive and just attributing a context to someone's words that they never intended. But I'll tell you this, I get the feeling I'm being judged sometimes. The hair stands up on my neck and I have to force myself not to overreact. My parenting style, my time management, my spiritual shallowness, my ill timed story that may or may not have required me to say "fuck" six times at Bible Study. (And she laughed.) As soon as she decided I was being real stories poured out about kids criticizing her tank top or her use of the word crap, things that would roll right off of a grown up but make a kiddo feel angrier and more rebellious. Which is just a crappy way to feel and I told her so. But then I told her some special truth straight from her loving father and I saw her soften. I told her that her path to a close friendship with Jesus will look different than other peoples but to trust the process. That she might wander off and get hurt then come back and then wander again until she learns how much better it is to be close to Him; but that is her journey and her choice and her friends need to let that be. I told her if I ditched my friends when they got judgy or they ditched me when I did there wouldn't be a church and nobody would have surrounded Brandon Reis' family with comfort and cookies and nobody would ask me how I'm doing on my Bible Study and nobody would encourage me with love and truth when marriage is hard or hug me when parenting is hard. And I told her what my life was like with three tiny children and a husband in the hospital for cancer surgery with no family and no church. It was bleak. And I saw the memories flood back because she remembers. And I told her that in that dark moment two Christians I barely knew reached out and babysat for me and made muffins for me and that is what the church is for. I told her I remembered being fourteen and not wanting to go all in for Jesus because I might miss some fun but what I didn't know was walking with Jesus and being close to Him is never really a done deal. It only happens when you reach out to Him and once you've had it, you feel very vulnerable when you wander too far because he becomes irreplaceably familiar and safe. My closing statement was simply that I love being loved by my church family. I love feeling imperfectly valuable to Sarah White. And that I'm going to be there for those people if they get cancer or lose a family member or feel lonely. And that though I'll never be so foolish as to believe I can force my kids to walk with Jesus I know beyond a doubt they will miss out on something far bigger and more valuable than ordinary friendships if they let Satan derail them from seeing the real truth. And then we both felt so much better. That's what the Holy Spirit does when He parents for me. He makes me feel better too. I did have to take a minute afterwards because it hurts every time I have to remind myself that I can't walk my kids straight to the throne room and keep them safe from bad choices or consequences. 

Monday, August 22, 2016


Once upon a time Bart casually offered me a bag full of glittering jewels best known as bedazzle gems. I nonchalantly accepted and brought them home with no purpose. I briefly considered the fact that I was committing a cardinal sin according to "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I can't really even remember where I put them for quite awhile. They first resurfaced on Hazels coloring/tea table. Spilling from the taut little sandwich bag and living a meaningless glueless existence for some time there. Then one day without warning their adventures began. Kait had a sleepover with two darling little crazy 6th graders. They were inspired by the glittering gems, perhaps even hypnotized. It's all speculation. Isn't everything we think we know about kids speculation? The little bag made its way to my living room where it was used in a confetti war with great glee. Unfortunately the aftermath was greeted not by the laid back Elizabeth but by the formidable Jody who announced that Kait must return every last gem into the bag or die. Yes, of course I exaggerate. As I came upon the scene of Kait with a giant broom, dustpan and tiny sandwich bag she exploded into tears and threw the broom and dustpan to the ground, sensibly clinging to the depleted bag. I mercifully helped Kait who was delirious with exhaustion and  insensibly ranting about her unfaithful friends hiding in her bedroom from the wrath of Jody instead of helping recapture the sparkling sea. I didn't think about throwing the gems away nor did I think of a purpose for them, I simply allowed Kait to toss them back on the art table for no particular purpose though I did feel a wave of ambivalence. About three days later I found an atrocious concoction in Hazels tea pot in her room. It appeared to be soapy water with yogurt floating on top in a clump (that's what it LOOKED like... we will never actually know.) and . I carried the nasty slog to the sink shrieking at Hazel about the insufferable water messes in the bedroom. I dumped the teapot into the sink with every expectation of finding water and gunk but without the slightest anticipation of finding a bedazzling array of jewels swirling down the drain at an unstoppable speed.
You may wonder what more there could be for me to say. Well, about a week later I was organizing the office and found something on top of the cabinet that gave me pause.

I texted this picture to Bart saying "look what I found, I really should throw them away shouldn't I?" Well I didn't. And a scant ten minutes later I heard the now very familiar sound of all of the gems spilling from the bag. Then muffled giggles. Then the words "tell her it was an accident." 

I did my best to make this yielding to temptation regrettable by forcing them to clean it up. And it took a whole hour. And I would use my lecture voice and say "pouring these jewels everywhere sure was a bad choice wasn't it?" And they would mutter "bad choice, very bad choice." 
To any practical adult my choice was now clear, I must throw these doomed gems away forever but I just couldn't throw them away after all that work. I sheepishly tucked them in the back of a drawer. 

I'm sure you can imagine life for the next few weeks. When I swept I found bedazzle gems. When I looked up there would be Parker playing with bedazzle gems. When I walked across the room my foot would find a bedazzle gem. You would think I'd get mad but it just made me laugh. Then the other day what should appear before my eyes?