The Road to Peace and Calm

My oldest son enlisted in the army. He leaves tomorrow for basic training. Someone asked me how I felt about that. Proud. Hopeful. Scared. Worried. My list of WHAT IFS are pretty long. In the end, I have to believe that God has his hand on my son. Every once in a while though, I forget. Have a little freak out. Then take a deep breath and believe again. 

I had a birthday this week and I’ve been trying to do a little looking back at the last year. A little looking forward. Reflecting. I’m middish forties now. You know, I really had this belief that as you hit your middle years things would kind of calm down. Not pregnant and changing diapers. Not in the buying-a-home stage any more. My husband’s work and career are stable. I’m fully immersed in raising my children. We’ve been at the same church for years and years and love it. Life should be pretty smooth by now, right? 

Instead I am finding that the role of spectator to my adult children’s lives is a lot more tumultuous than I was anticipating. My husband has learned to ask me, “Do you want me to fix this or just listen?” And I find myself now, as a mom, no longer in the fix-it role for my adult kids, and just in the listen and support role. And so I stand on the sidelines and cheer and pray and try really hard not to worry. (Let me add that they are great kids, making good choices, it’s just really easy to worry.)

I will also add that taking on the role of foster mom has done nothing to make our lives peaceful. Probably the hardest part is, again, the fact that as a foster mom you don’t have a lot of control over the situation. Your job is to love and care for the child, but the child’s future is in the hands of lawyers and judges and bio-families. And you really want to fix-it: I’m going to decide what’s best and that is what we will do. But instead you are only called to support from the sidelines while others make the big decisions. 

Maybe the word I’m looking for here is Control. I think maybe I had this perception that as I got older I would have a lot more control over things. Control means no nasty surprises. It means things go the way you planned.  Calm. Smooth. 

Of course, probably not a lot of personal growth when you control everything. Looking back this past year, I can see a lot of pain. But I also see a lot of change and healing. Growth. I was put in a lot of places I didn’t want to be. As a result, I learned a lot more about forgiveness. Patience. Kindness. Grace. Self Control.

So here I am, middish forties. My son is going off to be a soldier. I have no control over this situation at all. But I’m going to learn a lot more about faith and prayer. Fostering. I can’t control the outcome, but I’m learning a lot more about how to love hurt people. Raising children. You want everything to work out perfectly for them, and it doesn’t. But you learn to trust that God loves them even more than you do and he has a plan. 

I want control because that seems like the path to peace and calm. But really, the path to peace and calm is faith in Jesus. My middle years are full of craziness, but I can also testify that my inner life is a lot more peaceful than when I was in my twenties. My faith is stronger. And I guess that’s the kind of peace and calm that I need. 

Cross Country Race

My son, who is a freshman, joined cross country running this year. He’s never run before. Our highschool does not have many sports teams, just cross country, track, bowling… We don’t have any sports fields. It’s a magnet school with a big academic focus. No loss for our family as we are not particularly athletically minded. But, I am proud of my son for making an effort to try something new and get involved in his new school. His coach told me that he would do great. Our team is usually last place and the focus is for each student to make personal improvements. Perfect. 

I went to my son’s second race this morning. It was at Johnson University. I took two other kids with me. We found the parking, walked across a big field carrying camp chairs. We found a place to set up and I pulled out my book to read while we waited for things to start. My other kids explored the area. The girls ran their race first. After we all watched them take off, I moved our chairs over closer to the finish line so we could see the end and encourage the runners. They had to make three one-mile loops, and the last leg was straight up a big hill. 

I am finding that I really like cross country as a sport for kids. When all the runners took off, you could quickly see who was leading the pack. For both the girls and boys race there was one runner who was far ahead of their peers and you knew they were probably going to win. And every time they passed our part of the track we cheered them on. Super impressive. Wow. But after maybe the first ten runners went by, the shift of the cheering changed. Now we were just cheering each runner that went past because we wanted to see them succeed in this goal they had set, to run three miles. 

There was this one older guy, wearing his school’s colors, leaning over the line, yelling encouragement to all the runners, especially his team. He knew all of them by name and he yelled at each one, COME ON!! KEEP IT UP! YOU CAN DO IT! DON’T LET THEM PASS YOU! PICK IT UP! KEEP GOING!! His tone was kind of rough, someone you would almost expect to be rude or belligerant, but he wasn’t. Everything he said was encouraging. Even when kids, not from his team, lagging far behind the others would pass by, he’d call them out by their team jerseys. COME ON CMA, YOU CAN DO IT! ALMOST THERE!! 

There was one boy there who was running with an older gentleman as his escort. I don’t know what his circumstances were, he came in next to last, but oh, how everybody cheered! He did it! He finished! Whatever his back story was, we had all just witnessed him achieve his goal. 

In the girls race about half the runners had crossed the finish line and this one girl came tearing up the hill, full out sprinting, giving it everything she got. Y’all, I got teary eyed. It was so inspiring. Was she going to win any recognition for crossing the line? Not really. She wasn’t even in the top twenty. But she was doing her best and putting all her effort into it. And that, to me, is just as much or more than any medals or ribbons.

I came away inspired. I’m running my race too. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the top ten or if I get any recognition for what I’m doing. It’s just giving it my best, pacing myself, knowing when to sprint and when to slow down. And knowing that the ultimate finish line is waiting for me one day and I plan on finishing strong. And I’m so thankful for my cheering squad that yells encouragement from the sidelines. And I hope I can be that cheering squad for others too. 

Onion Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

The other day I made blueberry muffins for breakfast. Not really as a treat, but more because I was out of cereal and bagels and I didn’t feel like making oatmeal. I started getting everything out and was almost instantly surrounded by children all wanting to “help”.

Ok.

Fine.

My three youngest hovered around me, fetching milk and eggs, holding the measuring cup while I poured stuff into it. Everyone wanted to stir. An argument broke out on who was going to lick the spoon. Usually, I dump a can of pumpkin into my muffins, but I suddenly remembered that I had a ziploc bag of shredded zucchini in the fridge that would go great in muffins. I grabbed the ziploc bag out of the fridge and started dumping it into the batter. 

There was an instant outcry.

What are you doing??? What is that?? Why are you putting it into the muffins!

And then a cry went out to all the other kids, MOM’S PUTTING WEIRD STUFF IN THE MUFFINS!! And then more kids gathered around to see what on earth mom was doing. 

Relax guys. It’s like zucchini bread. Remember zucchini bread?? It’s good. You like it. You won’t even taste it in the muffins.

Good grief. 

Ok, so that is what was coming out of my mouth. But in my head I was having a freak-out meltdown. Because, as I was dumping that zucchini in the batter I had got a strong whiff of onions. And I suddenly remembered that when I had been grating that zucchini in my food processor, the night before, I had been grating it in order to add it to soup. And I had also been processing onions. And I hadn’t bothered scraping out the food processor in between veggies, cause it was all going into the soup. Except I ended up with too much zucchini, so I just stuck the leftover into a ziploc, all mixed up with onions. And now I had just dumped zucchini/onions into my blueberry muffin batter. And I was now having to defend my choice loudly to my children. 

I always put some cinnamon sugar on top of the muffin batter before I bake it. 

Let me tell you, I heaped on the sugar this time. (Maybe if it’s super sweet, no one will taste onions??). 

I stuck those things in the oven and then went and collapsed in my room. Away from children. Feeling depressed. What a way to start the day. 

Mess up breakfast. 

Cause let me tell you, these kids were already feeling suspicious about the zucchini. They were already on hard-alert, ready to find anything wrong that they could. And now there was actually something wrong to find. 

The timer finally went off and I pulled my beautiful onion zucchini blueberry muffins out of the oven. They looked delicious. I sent off a heartfelt prayer. Lord, you are a miracle worker and your miracles don’t have to be big and extravagant. Could you please, just let these muffins taste fine and not taste like onions??? 

And prayers were answered. They tasted great. The kids loved them. They went back for thirds. 

And now you are probably feeling very hesitant to eat anything I make. And all I can say about that is, you’re probably right to be cautious. 

Follow me for more creative ways to mess up when cooking. 

The Sufferings of Christ

It’s been a long, painful week. Stuff happened. As it seems want to do. 

I live in my imagination a lot, and what I imagined at the beginning of the week was myself, a gunshot wound to my chest, bleeding all over, entering into the throne room of God and just collapsing on the floor in front of him. No words to say. Just, here I am. Here’s what shape I’m in.  And while I was laying there imagining this, the phrase that came to my mind was, “Enter into the sufferings of Christ”. 

I’ve been thinking about that phrase all week. My imaginary hole in my chest has been bound, wrapped up in bandages. Healing medicine poured over it. I’m still walking slowly and carefully, feeling very fragile, but I’m whole. And I keep circling back. What does that mean? Why do I have to enter into the sufferings of Christ? What is the point? 

My prayer over the years has been, make me more like you Jesus. More of you, less of me. I admit, when I say that, what I mean is, I want to be more loving, more patient, more kind, more selfless, etc. I was not thinking of these verses from Isaiah 53, verse 3 and 4:

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

Familiar with pain. Took up our pain. Bore our suffering. 

No, I was definitely not thinking about that when I said I wanted to be more like Jesus. 

My husband and I have done some soul searching this week. Questioning some of our choices. If a choice leads to pain and suffering then it has to be wrong, right? But I keep coming back to the fact that we made these choices because we felt it was an obedience to God and what the Bible teaches. And it still led to suffering. And that kind of hurts the brain.  

Enter into the sufferings of Christ. In doing this, does this mean that I am becoming more like Jesus? Not only sharing in his joy and love but in his pain and suffering?

When I hit my crisis it wasn’t long before I turned to one of my friends for help and comfort. And yes, she’s a close friend so I would have turned to her first anyway, but it was so much more meaningful because I knew she had been in a similar situation to mine. She could empathize and give good counsel. She had already suffered through this and could meet me exactly where I was at. And she was kind of a physical Jesus to me in my sufferings. Only possible because she had suffered herself. Does suffering make us more able to be the hands and feet of Jesus? 

Through all of this, I can testify. God is faithful. He heals the brokenhearted. He breathes hope on my soul. When I am at my lowest, I find his presence the strongest. The Holy Spirit has been faithful to whisper scripture in my ear that has kept me from falling into anger or judgement. 

Funnily enough, God was gracious enough to allow me to get Covid this week. Yeah, who needs covid? But, because of that I have been able to cancel a multitude of appointments, completely clear my schedule and just have time to rest and process. I’m still getting better, but my husband only had to take one day off to take care of the kids and household before I had enough energy to cover the basics again. 

Enter into the sufferings of Christ. I’m still figuring out what this means, but what I do know is that it is a journey that makes me more like Him. And that is what I want. 

I’m Back!

Hi Everyone. I’m back. I think. I ended up taking an unplanned break from writing. I think the easiest explanation is that my writing is all about telling you what is going on in my life and how I’m dealing with it and this summer the things I was dealing with were not shareable. They were too tangled up with other people’s lives for me to freely tell you what was going on. But, I can testify that God is faithful. I went through a season of healing and forgiveness and I also went through a David and Goliath type trial where God, as always, proved greater than the giant facing me. 

To catch you up a bit on our family news, all of my kids have moved to new schools. That was a miracle in itself as God opened doors for each one of my kids to be able to go to a better situation. It’s been pretty hectic as we’ve been trying to learn new schedules and routines, but I think we are finally over the hump and the kids all feel settled and are very happy in their new schools. 

This is the first year that all of my kids are at school for the whole school day. I’m not homeschooling anyone. My oldest daughter at home is taking college classes so her schedule is a little more loose and I see her occasionally throughout the day, but I’m not actively taking care of anyone at the house. I’ve had a lot of people say, “What are you going to do with yourself?” I am getting more and more excited as I ponder this question. 

Let’s see. I’m going to actually have time to take care of my home. Maybe I’ll do some meal planning and actually start cooking more difficult meals that take longer than 30 minutes to prepare. Maybe I’ll actually dust my house. Organize some spaces that are out of control. Maybe I’ll do some knitting and sew some curtains. Maybe I can take time to take a walk every day again. Maybe I can work through a Bible Study. Maybe I can get some rest so that when I’m with my kids I’m not a stressed out wreck. Maybe I can start meeting my husband for lunch and we can get some couple-time again. Maybe I’ll have time to actually take an interest in what’s happening in my yard and I could actually do a little landscaping. Who knows. 

Yesterday I went to the zoo and took a long walk. We have a family zoo pass and the zoo is within walking distance of my house. I found myself grinning as I walked. I had time to stop and enjoy seeing the animals and all the beautiful plants and landscaping the zoo has. Usually when I’m at the zoo it’s a full-on marathon as I try to keep my eyes on all the kids and keep everyone happy and safe. As I was walking I felt like I had just been dragged out of the ocean where I had been barely keeping my head above water and now I was on land and just sitting taking in large gulps of air. It felt like I was getting my margins back. I’ve been living full-tilt, giving everything I’ve got for so long. It feels surprising and wonderful to suddenly have some time to myself where I can just be. Where I can do something I enjoy and not have to focus on making sure everyone else is enjoying themselves. 

This does not mean I’m sitting around eating bon bons and watching soap operas. I do have ten people in my home that I’m still taking care of and three adult kids I’m keeping tabs on. It just feels like, instead of having three full-time jobs, now I just have two. Or two and half. 

I’m about to get up and clean my house and wash dishes and fold laundry. But I’m going to put on a podcast that I want to listen to. Maybe blast some Mozart. Play the piano a bit. And I’m going to breathe deep breaths and bask in silence. And just be thankful. 

Morning Glories

My daughter wrote a story about someone who sinks into deep depression and then slowly, slowly, pulls out of it. And the story uses the Morning Glory flower as a symbol of hope. When I read the story I found myself sobbing, recognizing myself in the main character. Finally acknowledging the numbness that had taken over my life, which I had grimly tried to ignore as I pushed through each day, determined to not let my family down. And I was filled with a tiny spark of hope. Yes, you can pull yourself through. Depression does go away. Life returns. 

Since I’ve read that story I have been seeing Morning Glories everywhere. As I was driving down the road to take my kids to school, there, look, Morning Glories covering a fence. Hope. As I took a walk, there, look, Morning Glories in the neighbor’s yard. Hope. And yesterday when I found myself actually having the motivation to get out into my yard with my kids, play with them, plant some things, I found Morning Glories in the very back corner of the yard, a place I usually don’t go. And I laughed and took a picture and I knew that it was no longer a spark, but a full blown flame. Hope. 

I went on a retreat several weeks ago. During the retreat I dealt with some old wounds. Or at least, started dealing. And I found myself feeling emotions again. Sure, it was anger and pain, but I was feeling again. I read somewhere that in order to feel joy and happiness we have to allow ourselves to feel anger and pain. When we stuff the bad emotions we end up in a place where all our emotions are flat. We can’t have the good without letting ourselves feel the bad too. As I have allowed myself to process the hard emotions, I have found the lighter ones returning. 

After the retreat I felt myself going silent. I needed a break from words, from thoughts, from interacting with people. I needed to just sit and feel and mourn and heal. And that’s why there haven’t been any new blogs in a while. I didn’t let it bother me. I knew the words would come back when I was ready. And this morning I felt the familiar itch to put my thoughts down where I could see them. And it’s good to be writing again. 

We’ve had a lot going on in the family the last couple months. Made some big decisions about our kids’ schooling. My third child graduated high school. We got to have a mini family reunion as I had all my kids in one place for the graduation. And now summer is going full force as I try to keep track of everyone’s summer plans with kids going in all directions. I am living one day at a time. Welcoming joy back into my life. Keeping an eye out for Morning Glories. And, as always, resting in the fact that God is good. 

Failing? Still Loved.

Last night I had one of my music major nightmares, leftover from many years past. In the dream here was a big concert hall, full of people. A large stage, all lit up. A grand piano sitting empty, waiting. And my music teacher from college was standing in the wings, ushering me forward to go and perform my piece. Except I couldn’t remember what piece I was supposed to play and even when I looked at the program and saw the name, I had no memory of ever learning this piece. I was going to be made to perform and I was going to fail. 

This seems to be a theme that haunts me all the time. 

I have really been struggling with depression. All motivation seems to be gone. I do the necessary things that have to be done, but nothing extra. This weekend was really hard. I hit Saturday and just getting myself to eat some breakfast and get dressed felt like a major ordeal. I texted my husband to tell him that my ability to accomplish any tasks seemed to have left me. He suggested I take the day off and just not do anything. Which sounded great. Except it was Easter weekend and I had to get everything ready. Does everyone have an outfit to wear? Easter goodies. Easter dinner. Get the house cleaned up, family are coming. Try to get everyone’s schedules lined up. 

Just a lot to do. 

I ended up going to the store with three children in tow and I managed to get everything on the list, but the trip was really stressful. One kid wandered off and I spent ten minutes looking for him. Another kid was being impossible to please. I went through the self checkout  and then in the middle of all that had my blood sugar bottom out on me, which hasn’t happened in a long time. So I was quickly trying to finish checking out and pay so I could rip open some of the food packages that I had bought and eat something and get my blood sugar back under control. By the time I got home I felt like a failure. Bad attitude. Disorganized. The whole trip felt like a disaster. And my brain was just repeating that word over and over again. Failure. Failure. 

I’m not usually that mean to myself and so I made an effort to fight back. You know what, I went to the store. I didn’t want to go. I just wanted to sit in my chair and do nothing. But I went. And it was really hard, but I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. 

Not a failure. 

And telling myself that I’m not a failure feels like a victory in itself. Yay self-esteem! Yay positive thinking!  But I had an interesting thing happen last week that felt like it took this lesson a little deeper. 

I mentioned in my last blog that Child Services showed up to my house last week. I had done nothing wrong. The Social worker said I did nothing wrong. Case closed. She left. I was shaking, I was so upset. Self-righteous anger running through me. Praying out loud. Jesus, you know I’ve done nothing wrong. And it was true. In this scenario I was innocent. But suddenly I had a flashback of other times I’ve really blown it as a parent. My oldest kids saw me make a lot of mistakes. Not so innocent. And I felt like I heard Jesus whispering, even if you were guilty of anything and everything, I still love you the same. My love doesn’t change based on what you do. 

And that’s the lesson I am trying to grasp. Failure. Not a failure. It doesn’t matter. I am still loved. 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. I hope that you have had a wonderful day celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection. 

I woke up early this morning so I could lay out our traditional Easter Breakfast before the kids came downstairs. We don’t do Easter baskets, but I usually buy a little treat and some Easter candy and put it by everyone’s plates to find when they come down for breakfast. 

We had the normal whirlwind of making sure each child was dressed, had their shoes on, had brushed their hair. And then serving a special breakfast and getting everyone to the table at the same time. Finally everyone was sitting and I handed my husband the Bible so he could read the accounting of Jesus rising up from the dead. I make him read because I get all choked up every time and can’t finish. 

He is Risen. Just like he said. Death is conquered. We have been rescued. 

I looked around the table at my children while my husband read. Some of them were listening. The youngest were barely listening. If they were listening at all. Some were focused on what was being said and others looked like they were tuned out a bit. I wasn’t too worried about that. They are young. I am discovering that each year Easter means more to me than the year before. You stack that up over a lifetime and of course my kids aren’t going to react to this story the same way their 40s mom is going to react. But I find that encouraging. It makes me wonder how Easter will affect me even farther down the road. It is a wonderful thing to be in a relationship with Jesus that simply grows deeper and deeper every year. 

This past week was really rough. Children’s Services showed up on my doorstep because someone had called in a complaint about me. The social worker was apologetic. The claim was frivolous and did not merit any attention, but they had to do their job and investigate. They spoke to the child in question and found a happy child who had no complaints. They said I had done nothing wrong, apologized for having to bother me. This was all tied up with our foster child and was over and done with very quickly. Small hiccup. Except that the whole encounter left me shaking for several hours and emotionally numb for several days. Some emails and texts were exchanged with the person who initiated all this and we ended the week on peaceful terms once again. Though I’m still feeling bruised and battered by the whole thing. 

Life is hard. This feels like a cliche and I tell it to my kids all the time. And they shrug and ignore it. But it really is hard. Really Really Hard. And I don’t want to convey to them just how true that saying is because I don’t want to scare them or overwhelm them. I want them to feel hopeful and excited about the future. But it’s hard. 

And what I really need them to know is this life is downright impossible or maybe just pointless without Jesus. I cannot fathom trying to handle everything that has come my way without Jesus by my side giving me strength, peace, wisdom, safety, hope, joy. Without a future with him to look forward to, I would be bogged down with despair. He is a daily, constant presence in my life. My confidante. My best friend who understands everything I go through and knows how to correct and encourage as needed. 

Easter is the best day of the year. The day we celebrate not only Jesus coming back to life, but opening the door to bring us back to life as well. 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! Ephesians 2:4-5

Jesus took the punishment for all our sins and made a way for us to be with him forever. And today we celebrate that. 

My prayer is that each year this day will mean a little bit more to my children as they go farther and farther on this journey called life with Jesus by their side. And they learn for themselves about his faithfulness and great love for them. 

Happy Easter everybody! 

Sometimes Perseverance isn’t Best

Have you ever found yourself in a sticky situation where you can either just stop and start all over again, or keep pushing on and see if you can fix it? 

So today I set out to make bread. I’ve been making our bread for the past couple months. It’s cheaper, homemade bread tastes better, I’ve been in the mood to bake. Win win. 

When I bake I do a large double recipe that takes almost an entire five pound bag of flour, maybe a fourth of a cup left in the bag when I’m done. I don’t measure the flour. Just dump it in until the dough is at the right consistency. 

I was just about to start dumping flour in when I remembered that my daughter had made muffins the night before and used four cups of flour. I paused for a second. I didn’t have any other flour in the house that I knew of, but I was only four cups short. All my wet ingredients were already mixed together. I could just add some oatmeal. That should take care of it. 

I dumped in all the flour, let it mix for a while and saw that my dough wasn’t even close to forming a ball. I dumped in some quick oats, let it mix for a while. Still wasn’t forming a ball. Hmm. What should I do? I searched all the cupboards and found some potato flakes. Well, I’d seen a bread recipe that used potato flakes, why not? So I dumped them in. Walked away from my mixer a while then came back when I heard loud noises. What I came back to was dough that was way too thick and way too dry and way too heavy for my mixer to handle. Hmm. Ok. I’ll knead it by hand and add some oil and water. I dumped it on my table and made an attempt at adding a bit more water. It instantly got slimy and gross. Yuck. So then I decided to divide the dough in half and just put half back in the mixer. Do it in smaller batches!

The dough refused to get any softer or malleable. By now my mixer was starting to treat this substance with disdain.

I ended up kneading the two halves by hand and then dumped them in a bowl to rise. Now what?  Should I just throw it away or keep trying? 

Not one to give up, I stuck it in the oven, warmed it up a bit and left it to rise. 

I let it rise for four hours. It didn’t double or anything, but it did get a little puffier. I could not picture any of my family eating this. I knew, from past mistakes and experiments, that this bread was going to be very dense, very dry, and very unpopular. 

So then I got another brilliant idea. I won’t bake the bread, I’ll cook it like it’s an English muffin and fry it on a skillet. Everyone likes English muffins, right? 

Me and the five year old rolled out all the dough like I was making biscuits and used a biscuit cutter and cut out a million circles (two and half large trays worth). Then I put them back in the slightly warm oven to rise again.  I let them rise for another two hours then got out the skillet and started frying. 

And the whole time I’m thinking, why am I doing this? No one is going to eat these. 

I am now the proud owner of three large ziploc bags full of my hockey puck bread creations. As I told my husband, they’re not bad…They’re not amazing…But they’re not bad. Will any of my children eat these? I’m going to guess that one or two might try one, but that’s it. My husband will be loyal and eat one or two, assuring me that it tastes great. But he won’t go back for more. I will eat a couple out of stubbornness. (They remind me of the elven bread in Tolkien’s books). And the rest will sit there on the counter for probably a week or two until I finally give up and throw the silly things away. 

I’m sure this reveals something about my character. Not sure if I want to know what it is though.

Sometimes I’m an awesome cook. And sometimes, I’m not. And usually, when I’m not, it’s cause I was trying to fix something that went wrong.  

Lost Puppy Blog

We have lost our puppy. She went missing on Tuesday afternoon from our yard. She is actually my oldest son’s puppy and I watch her every day at our house while he is at work. Which means, I lost my son’s puppy. A case of too many people, each one thinking someone else was in charge of the puppy at that moment in time. 

I feel like I was standing there, battle-weary from all that life has been throwing at me, and then a giant warrior just ran up to me and kicked me in the stomach. And I’m still laying on the ground, gasping for breath. I wake up in the night, heart pounding, knowing something is wrong, and then I think, the puppy, we’ve got to find the puppy. And that has been the constant state of my nerves, just a frantic feeling of needing to do something to fix this and make it right.

My biggest struggle has been to keep my heart right. When bad things happen, it feels like punishment. It feels like a lack of love. It feels like maybe God isn’t good. The line from the song has been going through my head, “You’re a good, good Father, that’s who you are, that’s who you are, and I am loved by you, that’s who I am, that’s who I am…” And I admit there has been a battle in my mind. God you said in your parable, what father gives his son a snake when he asks for a fish? If human fathers know how to give good gifts, how much more so does God give good gifts?? And I sit here saying, please, we need our puppy back. And I think, surely a good Father would make this happen? 

And I am determined to not sin with my thoughts. God, you are sovereign. You know more than me. I will trust you. And I am clinging to that. I will trust God. And I am reminded that the presence or absence of this puppy does not equal “loved” or “not loved”. That question was already decided on the cross.  I believe this. But, Lord, I need this horrible feeling of desperation to go away. My heart is breaking for ourselves and for my son, and for this little puppy that we all love so much. 

We have checked with the shelter and will continue to do so. We have put her picture out on all kinds of community groups and Facebook groups. We’ve made flyers and walked around the area, leaving them in key places and talking to people who are out walking. The mailman is on the lookout. There is a homeless lady who owns a cat who I see often in the park. I gave her a flyer and she said she’d be looking. There’s a man I see every morning walking his dog all around the area. I stopped him and asked him to keep an eye out. Actually, I’ve asked several different dog walkers who I see regularly. I keep driving the area where she was last seen Tuesday night. Petco has a database for lost pets that I’ve been checking. I don’t know what else to do. 

I know several of my readers live in the same area as me, so I’m going to put a picture on here. Please keep us in your prayers.