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Archive for the ‘Raising Sons’ Category

One of my sons came home from church awhile back talking about the anti-Christ and End-Time Signs.

I just asked, “Well, son, if you believe it, are you going with the first load(believers raptured) or coming along later (unbelievers remaining who suffer but are given the chance to believe)?”

It is not the end-time signs that are really important. Relationship with the Father is what is important.

“Yeah, I believe in God,” my son said.

And I thought, yes, even the devil believes.

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” (James 2:19)

Does your belief order your actions? The words from your mouth? Are you cognizant of the contract of belief – a contract similar to a knight who has pledged his sword, his life, his loyalty, his riches to his Lord? Is it that kind of belief?

“I promise on my faith that I will in the future be faithful to the lord, never cause him harm and will observe my homage to him completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit.” (Medieval Life and Times Information)

A verbal oathe, was a contract between a vassal and his liege Lord. A binding contract that outlined specific duties between that vassal and his Lord.

“And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman” (2 Chronicles 15: 12-13

This “Liege Fielty” is  “a promise of -absolute- service and obedience to the Crown of his Kingdom, or to an individual person. The Crown, or the individual person, in turn promises to defend that liegeman’s “rights and privleges,” and in general to be an honorable Lord to that vassal. One swears this kind of fealty -once.” (White Bard, The Feudal Contract)

Baptism is  our soul signature to that contract,  more than just confirming we believe. It is the validation of our contract, publicly speaking in a binding way, that we do not just believe that Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead on the 3rd day. We are acknowledging we chose to live our lives in service to our Lord.

Yet, to enter into the service of our Lord is to become an intimate part of the family, rich in inheritance. Becoming a vassal, yet a son or daughter of our Lord at the same time. The word marvel comes to mind when I try to grasp the generosity of our Lord.

“If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived” (1 John 2:4-6)

All my sons believe that Jesus is the Son of God. So, too, does the devil. Belief alone does not make you a child of God. It is what you do with that belief. It can get you thrown out of Heaven or embraced in the Father’s arms as part of His family. I believe, the kind that saves,  is a knightly- kind-of-thing, requiring faithfulness, action and relationship. Do you have it?

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The first week of May always leaves me homesick for my growing-up home.
horse4cYou can take the girl out of Louisville but you cannot take Louisville at of the girl!. It is Derby week – and Derby Week has a double special place in my heart. Yeah – it is about balloon races, boat races, and, of course, horse races. But most important for me is a time of family.

You see, we always celebrated my grandfather’s birthday on Derby Day – which meant a house full of family, lots of laughter and people of all ages spilling out all the doors, from the front porch entrance to the backyard, blooming with grandfather’s white azaleas, white and pink dogwood trees, honeysuckle. He built a make-shift tree house for us in the Rain tree. In the very back of the yard were 3 pine trees he planted. The middle pine tree was my favorite hide-away – I could climb it and read – and no one would bother me.

Derby morning, our house was a hive of activity. I would be sent up the street to cut fresh mint from Aunt Joyce’s yard for the Mint Julips. There would be dips and chips – not something we had often in the routine of regular living. And, there would be a little bowl full of  newspaper cutting slips with the horses names. Put a dollar in and draw a horse name out – I was so excited the year my horse, Majestic Prince, won – and I so wanted to draw his name. It was a lucky day – yes, I will say, it was a lucky day lined with blessing!

When we got older and my grandfather passed away, it was less festive, but still celebrated. One special year, the summer I got married, before my junior year in college, my grandmother invited my friends for dinner after spending a day at the in-field at Churchill Downs. The day was beautiful, until the skies literally poured rain on us as we were leaving. But my grandmother – well, she was amazing. All bedraggled from the rain – about ten of us, were seated at her dining room table, on her needle-point-covered chairs, and served a meal fit for anyone on Million’s Row – Leg of Lamb with her homemade mint sauce and homemade chili sauce plus all the fixin’s. I don’t remember the dessert.  I know there was one – there was always a dessert, Caramel Cake or the Chocolate Celebration Cake, sometimes Charlotte Russe!

The laughter that night was memorable, especially over the lamb. One of my sweet friends loves animals and just couldn’t quite bring herself to take a bite of that used-to-be fluffy little lamb. She made a valiant effort, but every time she tried to take a bit, everyone “baa-ed.” She gracefully gave up.

My grandmother, who in high school wanted me to pick my friends from some other place – and we battled about that – leaned over and whispered, “You have such good friends.”

People come from around the world to watch the Kentucky Derby – and to them it’s just a race. When you have roots in the blue grass, though, the Kentucky Derby is so much more than the big hats, mint juleps and fast horses.

The Four Horses of Maturity

racetrack2cc
There is a race within each of my sons – I call it The Four Horses of Maturity participating in the Race of Life – more specifically, the most important race of an individual’s life. The Four Horses of Maturity are named Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual.

When the gates open, Physical Maturity bolts, a thrilling surge for the lead, over-powering muscle, yet without caution, without strategy to pace, without limit recognition.

After an anxious route to the starting gate, Emotional Maturity gains, passing a spent Physical Maturity, nipping it on the flank as it moves to pass. Emotions raging, uncontrolled, Emotional Maturity behaves erratically. Emotional Maturity explodes forward without reason. Hard to handle, easily spooked, seemingly confused about being ahead, possibly thinking the race won, unsure of what to do. . . .

greyhorseUntil Intellectual Maturity edges up, having executed a fairly smooth trip to move into the lead. Reason reigns, using logic and reason to keep Emotional Maturity and Physical Maturity in check, not allowing them a chance to gain. Intellectual Maturity blocks the advancement of Spiritual Maturity.

Down the stretch they come, Emotional Maturity and Physical Maturity trying to regain, bumping Intellectual maturity in the turn. But Spiritual Maturity, after swerving out a bit toward the first turn, continues along the outside, rallies when sharply roused on the second turn to make a way between Physical and Emotional Maturity. Physical Maturity suddenly lost momentum.

Intellectual Maturity continues along the inside in a brilliant move to take over the lead on the stretch turn, rallies gamely and gives way grudgingly as Spiritual Maturity finds a way, pulling from within amazing feats to find an opening on the inside, slips past, making a stirring dash to the finish line, winning with confidence.

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A Seed Emerging Fragile (Click here)

I confess – I enjoy a front row seat to how these boys communicate to each other in this house of mine. Their tag-team humor, their eye-popping honesty to each other – sometimes it un-nerves me. Other times it humors me beyond measure. At times, I just want to pack up my chair and exit. Every now and then, it just wows me.

My soldier-son, he went to visit my people in Louisville. He admired the girls there. Thought he might find himself a Louisville girl.

“That’s what your dad did,” I quipped. He decided maybe he really shouldn’t find himself a Louisville girl. Those are the one-on-one, light-hearted conversations.

Then there’s the two on one talking. A brother talking about the challenges of working at a camp, a worker spitting on the floor he’s mopping, wondering if leadership realizes all the trees he’s cut down, the grounds he’s mowed and how this son is frustrated with hypocrisy but wanting to live faith.

Moments like those are sometimes the “wind-whipping- moments, when either because of our choices or others choices, we are “tromped, hoof pressed, storm weathered pressed leaf pressed, water pressed, gravity pressed,into soil blackness”

“Get used to it,” said the soldier son. “That’s life.” He paused and a few seconds later added, “Pray about it.”

We looked at him, not sure how serious he was taking this conversation. This son who rolled his eyes every time I said, “Pray about it.” This son who wasn’t sure how to handle the Prayer for a Solder son I sent him last September.

The conversation continued. In the midst of life’s challenges, living faith came in the form of a crying camper whose walking stick was broken by a bullying camper and how this joyful son struggling with challenges that threatened to distract him from what he considered his real mission – showing God’s love to these campers – searched for another stick from the stick pile, crafted it into something awesome and gifted it to the camper or how he carried a camper with a twisted ankle to the nurse and then carried him back to the cabin.

“They say they want to be like me,” he said about these campers.

That is where “the core of itself remembers light and flimsy roots push upward emerging fragile. . . reaching ever light upward.”

That’s life, I thought, the good fruit of life, that is. Where walking faith rises above the challenges like cranberries in the water in the harvest.

Soldier Son says from the kitchen, “Pray about it.”

And we both look at him, “Are you mocking us?”

And he repeats, “Pray about it. I’m serious.”

And I am just overwhelmed at both of them, these seeds emerging fragile, growing faith, using that faith, no matter how imperfectly, despite real or imagined challenges, to live hope in an imperfect world.

They both seemed so fragile to me this weekend, these young men 6 ft 3 and 6 ft 5. God was reminding me that no matter how fragile they seem in the challenges they face. No matter how they are just young men, seedlings and saplings on so many levels, God’s word, that faith seed within them, is more mighty, more strong, more than enough to grow them out of these fragile times until they are to the world what an oak tree is to an acorn –

because God is just that big, that powerful, that faithful to us.

 

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A prayer is a journey released.

I believe

That when you pray for other people, that prayer goes on a journey,

And like all journeys, come back home.

Prayer returned home.

Come back home in the manner it was released – with either faith, hope and love or faithless, hopeless and loveless.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36)

I remember praying healing for someone who had experienced a life-threatening injury

And through the journey of the prayer

Over months and months

That healing prayer came back to heal us of secondary infertility.

“I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

 Over the last few months, our family has been praying

For Annie to return, to come home  (see this post) – praying with faith, hope and love.

While we prayed for Annie, we prayed for a son (see this post), prayed with faith, hope and love – For this son to sell out to Jesus.

This son who couldn’t wait to leave home, busted out of home when he graduated from high school last year, signed up for the reserves and has become a better man, Friday night, he said, “It’s come my time to find God and come home.” He didn’t just say it to me; he said it on Facebook, kind of like he needed to say it to the world.

Prayer sent out on a journey returned home.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 6: 30).

24 hours later, Annie came home, too. We were in our car, returning from a far-away wedding, celebrating a heart-friend’s daughter’s marriage, a marriage beginning God-centered, faith-centered – and I wanted to dance, to celebrate God’s amazing love, His never-give-up-ness with this answered prayer returned home from its journey.

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven”(Psalm 107:28-30).

 Praying is not a stagnant action. A prayer is a journey released, returning home returning home in the manner released. Unasked for. Unexpected.

480) The daily, familiar blessings, like the cardinals, mockingbirds, dove calls
481) Squirrels rummaging through the hay outside my work window
482) Strawberry, Watermelon and lemonade icy smoothy
483) “You have made me glad. I’ll say of the Lord you are my shield, my strength, my portion deliver, My shelter, Strong Tower, My very Present Help in time of need” (Made Me Glad, Hillsong) – a song in my heart whether at my work desk, in my car, my kitchen, or in a hammock under my tree – Releasing that song in my heart – no one else could hear it – but me and God!
484) Boys worn out from swimming, the evidence of sunshine on their cheeks.
485) A date day with my husband, with a heart-friend’s daughter’s wedding.
486) Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory – my favorite Club Sandwich and a cup of coffee.
487) Walking in a real mall, window shopping and some real shopping
488) My husband gifting me with Tocca’s Stella perfume which I have wanted since January.
489) Good haircuts on my boys – I don’t know why but a good haircut makes me feel like everything is on the right track.
490) My littlest guy coming up, wrapping me in a hug, “I love you, Mom.”
491) Laughing with my new senior son! He’s going to be a camp counselor-in-training. No flirting allowed. I tried coaching him to say, “I’m here to serve Jesus. Please respect my decision” when girls hit on him. Instead of repeating after me, he said, “Send me your number. I’ll call you when camp is over” – I couldn’t stop laughing because, while he has great lines, he’s not a smooth, shallow pick-up guy. He is so full of the Joy of the Lord.
492) Wheat fields, swaying in a cool 78 degree breeze
493) My camera through which I have learned to live more fully where I am – we arrived at the South Union Shaker Village wedding site early taking in detail in an intentional way, not a skimmed-over-way.
494) Hugs from dear friends not seen enough
495) new love consecrated in marriage, made one through the Holy Spirit – and the couple inviting God into their union knowingly, whole-heartedly, eyes wide open.
496) My sons jeep pulling into the driveway.
497) Brother’s smiling, not saying but actions speaking loudly, welcoming a brother home.
498) Showing my neighbor’s 4 year old how to draw cats on the sidewalk with the sidewalk chalk and little girls in polka dot dresses.
499) People caring enough to pray, to connect, to have relationship – people caring enough to send their prayers on a journey.
500) Nikki at Simply Striving who read “Bicycling with Ava” to her son and she telling me he asked to hear it again. I’m still smiling!
501) Annie coming home!
502) Understanding that the coming home is just the beginning of another journey.

The Bride Arrived in a Red Car

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The blessing of hands, holding brooms, hoes, planting, emptying bags of dirt, tying knots for a hammock under a tree, slicing lemons, brushing damp hair on a tired head.

“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” (Ecc. 11:6)

“I want to choose,” my littlest said. “I should be able to choose if I want to work.” He said this after being given the chore of washing his dad’s car. One brother was given the chore of cleaning the garage. A third helped with completing the raised garden – that one require much muscle.

The littlest guy, he was voluntarily helping me make desserts and lemonade, having finished washing the car. As he stood at the counter, his still-little-boy hands slicing lemons and oranges we talked of big and little things.

“It’s our job to teach you how to work. Right now you don’t always have choices because we have to prepare you to be fit for usefulness in your future job,” I explained, pulling from Webster’s 1828 definition of Education (1828 Noah Webster Dictionary)

“I think I should have a choice,” he said, pushed the topic cheekily. I sighed. This desire for independence bursts out early in these boys, this desire to be in charge of their destiny.

I mentioned Jonah – and what happened to him when he tried to avoid a job he didn’t like. Jonah didn’t want that job, but God wanted Jonah to do that job.

Somehow, my little lemon slicer grabbed the story line and took off. When I tried to join in, he said, “This is my story, mom.”

We worked together, while he told me about Jonah trying to sneak away from what God wanted him to do, getting thrown into the sea by his sea-faring peers, being swallowed and eventually, when he agreed to do the job God wanted him to do, being thrown up.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones” (Luke 16:10) kept whispering its way through my mind – but how do you persuade a little boy that if he does his chores really well, he will be given bigger chores? When bigger and better do really equate in terms of job size? At least in an 11 year old’s world.

My hands stirring Swiss Chard, Feta Cheese, onions and garlic. My husband’s hands cutting out heart-shaped beignets(French donuts) to deep fry for family brunch.

My hands stirring blackberry sauce, shaping scones. His hands wiping up the kitchen with me – as we prepare for family gathering.

Our hands working together, praying together in the twilight where we stood under the Oak, hands held, praying for doors to open, for revelation, for guidance – we stood there believing for His plan.

“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him” (Proverbs 12:14)

Hands playing with sweet grandbaby girl’s feet, – and came the story, with baby feet bicycling and my hands, a grandmother’s hands playing

“Let’s go on a bicycle trip, you and I
A bicycle trip down a country road,
. . . a story was born.
“And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16)

The blessing of the hands. Simple, everyday living, turning my hands to the work, to the living God has given me. Some days, my hands bless. Some days they fall short.

My hands, though, they don’t reach their potential.

Jesus laid hands on the leper
And he was cleansed (Matt 8:2-4)

Jesus laid hands on an infirm, bowed-over woman
And she was made straight (Luke 13:13)

Jesus laid hands on the blind man,
And the blind man saw (Mark 8:23)

“When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them” (Luke 4:40)
Oh, yes, the work of my hands fall short of what God enabled them to do. They can only do jobs the size of my faith. I pray that my faith grow, that God-in-Me work its way out through my hands to touch lives in the way God made me to touch lives. If he has called the heart of these hands to heal, to cleanse, to make straight, to open eyes for truth – all physically and spiritually, I pray that whatever binds them from being what He empowered them to do is loosened.

For now, the blessing of my hands comes from the cutting of the chard, the playing with baby feet, the tending of my garden, and the laying on of hands in a call to prayer.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” (Ecc. 9:10)

455-465 blessings listed above
466) a 7 a.m. Saturday morning date to watch squirrels
467) orange carrots, fresh chard, tomatoes and delicious-smelling onions at the Farmer’s Market
468) in my hammock, looking up through the trees, looking at all the “Y”s – thanks to Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus, I saw Yahweh everywhere! It makes sense that the trees praise Yahweh when every branch is laden with reminders of Yahweh!
469) spotting my teen in the hammock on a Holiday afternoon
470) The teen, swinging in the hammock now a senior
471) a pontoon ride, on a lake, reminding me, all that water, of the Holy Spirit
472) For sweet friends, breaking bread over lunch.
473) my oldest son, at the family gathering, loving my Swiss Chard dish
474) Empty plates once filled with scones, beignets, chard, asperagus with Hollandaise sauce
475) My raised garden bed, built by my husband filled with plants, seeds, hope and faith
476) babygirl falling asleep in the shawl I knit, that matched her outfit
477) this job that I go to from 8 to 4:30, some days from 6 or 7 a.m. to 4:30 to catch up, that has helped me use my time more richly
478) Hope in the sun creeping through my window sill every morning!
479) Green buddings on our transplanted hydrangea!

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“I’m almost holding my breath in anticipation, reminding myself that a journey is one step at a time”
~Blue Cotton Memory, Journal Notes before son’s military graduation.

As my son prepared for basic training graduation, I prepared my heart for meeting this young man, broken and rebuilt through military training.

How was I to greet this soldier, this young man, this son? How was the mother in me to respond? How did my role need to change? Was I to be released from the hard-core mothering?

As Manager of Small and Large Product Development of Blue Cotton Industries, I have had 5 product development-to-launch responsibilities. One product had already been successfully launched and, as a Blue Cotton insider, took over after-market responsibilities.

This second product had taken considerable team effort. Launch ability test results were about to be discovered – which would determine my future role.

The day-to-day responsibility-for-the-outcome  had included maintenance, operations, and support training, fulfillment of education services, and instructor activities, plus praying, encouraging and loving? Many of these responsibilities would be eliminated or phased out if product launch was successful.

If successful, I would no longer be responsible for collecting and analyzing job performance data against product release requirements. No more comparing individual knowledge and skills with job standards and arranging further training to meet launch requirements.

During this 10 week military training of this Blue Cotton Product, I had received one phone call  and 3 letters; letters with words like “changed man,” “facing my fears,” “going to church” were balm to my worn, cracked heart, worn through prayer, my inner voice murmuring Faith, Hope and Love some days until raw and hoarse. I wonder if my inside prayers ever sound worn and hoarse to God?

“Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on me, you would see the glory of God” (John 11:40)

“Are you here?” he texted from the meeting field from a friend’s phone because he didn’t have one.

“5 more minutes,” I texted back.

I prayed days and weeks before this meeting that God would prepare my heart, inoculate against unrealistic expectations, be the mother I needed to be for this meeting, this unveiling of the new man.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4: 11-13)/

In this reunion, the mother met her son, a man carrying the mantle of his own destiny, fully independent, contentment in his eyes, his soft manner of talking in the stories told of a self-control, a humbleness, a hope for his future. The rebellious boy had been broken down and rebuilt into a responsible man.

In this meeting were welcomed hugs. Photos with something previously rare and almost extinct,  a genuine, freely-given smile – a smile not filtered with ulterior motives. Just the smile of a man who has overcome to become someone he is proud to be.

We went to the PX, a small mall with a food court, where he bought his own work clothes, signed up for his own phone plan, and bought an iphone.

“Are you more confident?” I asked, knowing his achievements – earning a spot on a elite shooting squad, earning a sharpshooter badge, becoming a flag bearer because his Sgt. told his dad, “He’s the most squared soldier in the platoon.”

“Nahhh! Probably less,” he answered, no cocky bravado, no smartest-man-in-the-room attitude. The realization that you do not know it all is the beginning of wisdom.

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us us” (Romans 5: 2b-5).

He wasn’t used to crowds. I guess 10 weeks of isolation does that to you, so we took along a fellow private who didn’t have family that day to pick up Subway and took it to a playground on base. The playground was quiet and allowed the younger brothers to work off energy while we talked.

His friend had become a citizen that day. This only child of a one-child-only Chinese policy wished he’d had siblings. I think he even wished it after spending the day with our crew.

“They called our barracks the Taj Mahal,” our son said. Taj Mahal because they were so clean, so opposite of his bathroom at home. Everybody used ours because they didn’t want to put a toe in his, but in his barracks, he mopped voluntarily to work off frustration – and other times he would mop because he was told to – at 1 a.m., 2 a.m. – even if wake-up call was at 3:30 a.m.

During the quiet talking, the stories of challenges faced – the gas chamber, life saving classes that teach you how to save a battle buddy’s life, 3 weeks of casualty-risk activities, I realized that this Blue Cotton Product, this son, had launched himself successfully. He was battle-ready to take on management of one of my 5 most precious products – himself.

In that moment, I released my son. He was ready. He had successfully taken over after-launch responsibilities.

God was right there beside me, in this letting go, knowing I loved my son so much that I wanted to let go just right.

This soldier-son handed his brother, the second youngest, the rule-monger with whom he’d butted heads for working hard, for his self-control – he pulled from his pocket prayer beads from church. “I thought you’d like these,” he said. I think a lot of the past was forgotten in that moment – a reaching out and receiving time.

Was he running home hard to God? The prodigal returning at a run, to fling his arms around the Father?

God whispered to my heart, “He’s coming. He’s turned. Coming to me is a journey – one-step-at-a-time. You wouldn’t expect a 7th grader to do doctoral-level work. There is saving in the journey – at the beginning and the end and in-between.”

I nodded – I’m still in the journey, one step at a time, I’m working my way there, too.

God meets both of us where we are in the journey – the PVT. Christian(figurative) is just as saved as those further in the journey – the  Sergeant, Colonel or General – all  just as important to God, just as loved, just pursued by God – as the newly enlisted, newly [re-]committed Christian.

“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49: 15).

With God right beside me, rejoicing right with me, I was able “to find sweet contentment in those one steps at a time, to open-heartedly meet him where he is” (Blue Cotton Journal, before graduation).

Someone might say, “Well, he’s 19 – he was already in charge of his life; it didn’t matter if you released him or not.

I don’t think a mother feels her job is complete until her child grown is able to be self-sufficient, making good soul choices, hands solidly on the steering wheel of his future. The letting go of that developmental responsibility, whether it is a mother’s or not, is really what we mother for. There is peace in a job completed, amazing peace in the release – and rejoicing in their readiness.

The time had come to hand over the reigns of leadership and management of one of Blue Cotton’s God-Designed Products – to someone so ready to take the product to places I never could.

Thank you, Father, for being with both of us. Thank you, Father, that you are faithful to the promises you whispered in my heart, wrote in your Word. Thank you that you love my son more than I do.

Thanks to everyone who sent me scriptures that encouraged, blessed and sustained me in this journey! Scriptures used in this post are ones many of my friends in the blogahood sent to encourage me as I prayed and waited in this phase of the journey. They so blessed my heart . I created a scripture collage with them – and each time I turned on my computer (screen saver), opened my fridge – Scriptures of Hope and Faith helped me pray those promises of God. I also created a Prayer for My Soldier Son that I prayed over him. There are places I can no longer go – but my prayers can go anywhere.

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My son’s graduation from basic training left me feeling like a caterpillar in a cocoon, just soaking up the nutrients where I am, not quite ready to emerge from this cocoon that is my family.

The journey to this graduation moment, my son, marching squared, bearing the Bravo Company flag with a sharpshooter badge on his chest – the journey to get here often felt like the memory of crossing my great-grandmother’s swinging bridge.

The journey to this graduation moment reminded me of the time my 6 or 7 year old self  plucked up enough courage to cross  that bridge up high, a swinging bridge with loose rope railing, slated inconsistently.

I made it half-way before a teen cousin preying upon my fear hurtled across, his thumping feet causing that bridge to swing, to bounce raucously.

Crouched down in fear, paralyzed, I stared at the wide empty slots

where the missing slates should be,

not knowing how he would pass

without me falling off.

shaking fear, tears fell

I don’t remember how I made it to the other side, to safety.

All I know is that I didn’t turn back.

I didn’t give up.

Somehow, one-step at a time, I journeyed forward and reached safety, knee-wobbly relief, peace, contentment.

Like that little girl who reached the safety of solid ground ,

today, I can’t figure out if I feel like a caterpillar in a cocoon

or fragrant tea leaves steeping until just right

or an expectant mother nesting before birth

or a narcicuss paperwhite bulb waiting in the cool sun to bloom

or a question waiting for its answer

I just know that right now, I have pulled the blanket

of my family around myself

and burrowed, feet reaching to touch the toes of my children and husband

wanting the warm joy of my Lord to seep down into my soul

and raise up authentic laughter and smiles

that this faith journey, of seeing slates in empty slots,

has led to to the substance of things hoped for

walked out on a parade ground one cool November morning.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)

 

 

 

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