What?! You’re moving????????

Dear Son/Daughter,

Are you kidding me?????? I have devoted my entire life to raising you, grooming you, encouraging you, and shall we say lecturing you into an amazing person.  Finally, you make it through the rocky river and emerge looking like a shiny diamond.  And…. and….and….YOU’RE MOVING?????!!!

Boy, oh boy, the return on investment in this parenting thing is looking critically low right now! ouch.

However – I haven’t been doing all this for me.  Not by a long shot.  Or I would have parented very differently.  It’s been for you.

And I couldn’t be happier for you!

Do you remember, years ago, when you told me you were moving out?  We talked, and though I knew I’d miss you, I told you that this was the moment we had been aiming our sights towards.  Your becoming a young adult and being confident enough to tackle life on your own.  That was a huge feather in your dad and my caps.  A victory.  Because you did it!  You tackled life and its challenges.  You handled some challenges better than others (that’s the rocky river I was talking about in the first paragraph) and emerged better for it.  And now….

A move.  It’s not Alaska. Thank God. But it’s not local either.  Already my life seems so empty at the thought of not having you near.  On the other hand I am so excited for you and your future.  You have worked hard and been recognized for it.  Seeing an opportunity, you strategically planned and jumped on it.  Now the future is very exciting.  I heard the excitement in your voice yesterday as you described the unknown.  You don’t even care that you don’t know the details!!! It’s adorable! Your excitement is all this momma needs to send her baby off with a heartfelt wish and a prayer as I cheer you on!

I am so, so proud of you.  And as you ride off into the great unknown, we will be here….praying, cheering, and waiting for news of your great adventure.

Go get ’em!!! You have all the tools you need!

With all my love,

Mom

 

 

On Suicide

My Precious Son/Daughter,

You know that logo? “LIFE IS GOOD!”  It’s true on many levels.  But life is also full of trials.  And sometimes those trials get the best of people.  I wish we knew the magic formula on what makes some people fighters and overcomers in situations where others struggle deeply and are overcome.  But we don’t.  And I suspect we never will.

Each of us has our struggles.  And I’m convinced each of us sometimes feels uncomfortable, out of place, useless or odd.  Those are normal feelings.  They aren’t healthy.  But when you understand that these thoughts and feelings are something each of us struggle with, it takes away the toxic nature and poison behind the thoughts.  At one time or another we all question our value and what difference we make in the world.

Suicide is a devastating end result of entertaining those thoughts.  A heart that longed for love, help, and care from others – but couldn’t receive it.  There is a deep hurt that longs for relief.  And as your mom, I hope and pray that you have never contemplated suicide or been affected by one.  Throughout your life I have tried to show you the depths of my love for you and your value in this world.  Without you, without each one of us, the world would be sadly different.  Do you remember that movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life?” Your dad and I watch it each Christmas – Honestly, I think it’s because Dad is so in love with Donna Reed (the main character’s wife), but nonetheless it has a great message – The power of one person’s life on those around him.

Not long ago I saw one of your friends post on Facebook live his thoughts about suicide.  I wondered what prompted him.  Had he considered suicide? His friend? Had he been affected by a suicide? Unfortunately, most people have been.  As I watched his video I was reminded of a powerful scene your dad and I had seen in a Blacklist episode on TV.  The scene involved the main character, Raymond Reddington, and a woman who he had just rescued from a suicide attempt.  Disregarding his concern for her, she was about to throw herself into a crossfire which would lead to her imminent death.  Reddington didn’t know this woman and had no relationship with her – which I think makes his plea even more powerful.  You will want to rid yourself of distractions for the next minute and a half as you listen to this clip.  Reddington’s words are crazy powerful in this clip:

Video Clip: The Aftermath of Suicide

Although he was describing the effect of a suicide bomber, Reddington’s words, “There was almost nothing left to those closest to him,”  is a powerful reminder that the remains of suicide are always widespread devastation.

He goes on to say, “The closer they were to the [victim], the more horrific the effect.” The.  More. Horrific. The. Effect.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this letter to you today.  I’m not entirely sure myself.  But I’d bet by now you know someone who has either talked to you about suicide or been affected by one.

I encourage you to reach out.  Look for the lonely, hurting and sad amongst your “friends.” Be that safe place for them.  And when you’re feeling lonely, hurting or sad – reach out.  Seek out someone that would wish they were there for you if only they knew what you were going through.  We all love to be strong and present a tough exterior.  But sometimes it’s better to be real.

I pray that you know you can always come to me.  I will listen.  And seek to understand.  Or keep quiet and just give you a hug! Life is good, but tough.  Or should I say: life is tough, but good!! Let’s be that safe friend for those we love.

With all my love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

I was so proud!

Dear Son/Daughter,

Last week I saw something in you that blessed my heart – and as I continue to think about it I am so proud of you – and wanted to point it out to you:

Do you remember when you ate that cookie (that you knew you shouldn’t have) and you became really hyper? You were talking a mile a minute and I thought it was cute even though the timing was bad and I couldn’t get your attention…We needed to do schoolwork and it was very difficult. I was trying to teach; you couldn’t stop talking long enough to listen much less concentrate. Then you started acting ugly. You lashed out at your classmate and friend and hurt her feelings again and again. I could tell she was hurt and things were going to get worse if you didn’t stop. So….
I stopped you in your tracks. And forced you to listen to me as I explained that this was the result of eating sugar.

First you get hyper, then you get ugly.
Neither one is what you are naturally.

I explained that the things you were saying to your friend were not things you would normally say – I could tell that you didn’t even really mean them, you were just having a great time talking and it turned ugly. It wasn’t your intention to be hurtful but you couldn’t seem to stop yourself. Meanwhile, you were hurting one of your best friends very badly. As she fought the tears I encouraged her that this wasn’t your heart but just the way you respond and act when you eat sugar.

Then I turned back to you and talked to you about self control. I told you that you were old enough at 11 years old to have self control. And you could be quiet if you couldn’t control those words that were hurting your friend. Then I gave you an example of how a friend’s son would get ugly when he was overtired. As they pointed this out to him, he would realize what he was doing and that he wasn’t acting like he normally would – and before you know it, he was in bed; sleeping it off.

At that point you became very quiet and you wouldn’t talk or even participate in class. When we finished class an hour or so later, I asked you if you were upset or practicing self control. You said you were practicing self control.

If you could have seen my heart it would have beamed like the sunshine I was so proud of you! What a big accomplishment! You went from motor mouth to quiet just so you wouldn’t hurt your friend. That must have been so difficult to fight the urge to talk and talk and talk. You did it!

I am so proud. You are growing up so nicely and this is just one example of how you are maturing and thinking of others and putting them before yourself. Those are the ways that we make our lives fulfilling and meaningful. When we act beyond what may come naturally and do the right thing! I can see God grooming you for the great plan He has for your life and I’m excited to be a part of it!

I’m so proud of your self control and who you are!

It’s fun to watch you grow,

Love,
Mom

About My Nagging….

Dear Son/Daughter,

Nobody likes a nag!  I have to apologize.  I saw the look on your face that told me I had gone too far.  And it wasn’t the first time.

Can I tell you what’s going on inside me? Maybe you can empathize with this role called Motherhood?!

It’s almost like a cruel joke.

Okay! Let’s go back to your birth… Don’t roll your eyes – you’ll see why!

You were born. Oh my, what an amazing baby! You were so sweet, adorable and we were head over heels in love!!!  Dad and I just wanted to hold you all the time.  I remember we’d get in spats: “It’s my turn to hold him.”  “No, it’s my turn!”  And that never got old.  We both loved being with you, being your parents, watching you grow, being a part of every step.  It is an amazing blessing the Lord gives us to be parents!!

I usually gave in and let Dad hold you; because I had the privilege of staying home with you.  So I had more time with you.  And staying home was so much fun as you grew, and learned the amazingly cute things like laughing, clapping, baby words, baby steps, etc.  The joy is immense!

As you grew, your strengths and weaknesses would show – like they do in all of us.

I remember when you were learning to walk, the room was full of people and we were cheering you on.  You would fall (which would normally make you cry) but because there were so many people cheering you… you simply popped back up, tried again and did it!  Applause brought a giant smile on your face.

You loved people’s approval.  To the point that you set aside what was your typical reaction.  Of course, that character trait can be strength- as you work hard and press through difficult situations OR a weakness- as you yield to please someone you shouldn’t.

That’s just one example of how we saw little glimpses into your personality. When I saw them, I packed them away in my treasure chest of clues of what you might become.  There were lots over the years.  It was fun – like doing a puzzle and seeing what the picture might become.

You have grown up so nicely.  There is so much goodness in you.  Through and through.  I know your heart.  Now that you’re not a kid anymore I look at you differently.  I look at you and I see an adult.  I see you in all your potential.  Overcoming (whatever comes against you and your plans), leading (those around you in the right direction), thriving (balancing work and pleasure), successful (in work, school, and healthy relationships), and joyful (with an inner joy- knowing you are doing what you were created to do).

Can you read that last paragraph again? Because as strange as it sounds, that is how I see you.

It’s the power behind my nagging! See? I have so much faith in you and your potential-

And I believe in you so much-

That I want to urge you on!

I have this crazy notion that I, somehow, can urge you to see the same greatness and potential and skip all the steps that help to build that greatness.  And sometimes, if you would just listen to me I could save you so much pain/hardship – but oh well, I have to get it through my thick skull that you will learn your life lessons your way.  And still become all that you can be!!

This is hard for you to understand – because we all love so conditionally- but this is the truth:

I will always see greatness in you.  No matter how many mistakes you make.  I will always believe in you and be cheering and diligently praying for you.

I pray for you often and I pray for you specifically – so that you will not let anything hinder you.

I am sorry that my concern and urging comes off so negative and distasteful.  Please forgive me.  I am trying to let go and just cheer from the sidelines.  Please pray for me.  That’s the cruel part of motherhood – we are so in love and so attached and our final “act” is letting go.  I’m trying.  Please know my heart.

I love you immeasurably; there are not enough words in the English language to express the depth a mother feels! I am so excited to see all that you become as you continue to grow.

I believe in you!!

Your biggest fan,

Mom

About Your Struggle….

Dear Son/Daughter,

I know you’re struggling. I can see it. And because I’m your mom, I know your heart and that you want to overcome. Can I share something with you that God has been showing me lately?

So often when we are dealing with something difficult, we will make a good amount of progress and then we give up because we think “it’s too hard.”

Let’s face it. There are oodles of things in life that are difficult. Starting with getting up when the alarm goes off, meeting new people, going against the flow, working out, eating right, overcoming a bad habit, establishing a new one, etc., etc.,

But is it really too difficult? When the alarm goes off how hard is it for me to get my body out of bed? And when I’ve had one brownie…really? It’s too hard for me not to have another?!

Think about it.

The Lord showed me a scripture in Deuteronomy 30:11 that surprised and encouraged me. It says, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.”

Okay, if God says the things I struggle with are not “too difficult for me or beyond my reach..” is it true?!… then why do I think it is?

In thinking about it, I think it’s because I/we want – instant gratification.

I want that other brownie – NOW!
I don’t want to get out of bed – I’m tired!
I can’t go against my “friends” – I’ll be alone…
I don’t feel like exercising – I’ve had a hard day OR I’ve got a hard day in front of me!

We all hate to be uncomfortable. We avoid it. Did you ever notice that sometimes by trying to avoid pain or being uncomfortable we create more hardship for ourselves?

An example of that:

  • When the alarm goes off and we hit snooze – then we run late and start our day stressed, trying to get somewhere on time, and when we’re late we feel defeated.
  • What about when we try to make friends and join in with others that are exciting – but not quite the kind of people we really want to be close to… after a while we realize we are becoming like them…
  • How about that overeating or choosing not to work out? Then we give up the chance to feel good about ourselves.

It may be difficult to fight the battles that are part of our desire to overcome… but when we do the opposite of what God says is best, we don’t have a peace in our hearts. And things are even harder.

As I watch you struggle, I want to remind you that you’re not alone. Really – God loves you so much He sent the Holy Spirit to walk through this with you. That’s God’s power in you. That’s what sets you apart. Makes you different. You can rely on God’s grace and his power working through you. You know that verse that says that God will not give us more than we can bear? He will provide a way out of every temptation. I know sometimes when I’m tempted I see that way out. Usually it’s a thought that comes to mind, “Hey, don’t do that, do this instead.” Shamefully, I sometimes ignore it. But, God is true to His word – he does provide a way out! Watch and see next time you’re tempted. Perk your ears and eyes to see it and dare to take that “way out”!

Then, our faith will be stronger and we will see…

The enemy is a liar…

IT’S NOT TOO HARD!

And when we’ve overcome the struggle – to face another one down the road – we will see that God sends the Holy Spirit to walk with us, talk with us, listen to us, counsel us and be our friend. He cheers us on and keeps us company when all others have no clue what we’re going through.

We are blessed! To know the Lord. Let’s walk in the joy of that relationship. You and I both know it’s not always easy, but let’s be honest…

It’s really not “too hard” either!

We’re all walking through the same journey. We’re all overcoming day by day! I love you and I love that you are part of my “walk”!

Cheering for you!
Mom

God’s assurance to you:
Deuteronomy 30:11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, ad He will give you another Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby, that He may remain with you forever

I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.