Thursday, August 30, 2007

Life's Disappointments

Last night Colton's ball team was to have his end of season party at the Macon Music game. The boys were supposed to get to go out on the field with the Macon Music players and stand in their position that they had played during the year. We met there early and had a little awards ceremony behind the stands and some kind words from our coach. But then, because of a rain delay the night before and other things, we were told the boys were not going to get to go out on the field after all because it would be probably 10:00 before the second game began and these are 6 and 7 year olds for cryin' out loud! So, the coach broke the news to the boys and they were able to go down by the dugout and get a ball from a representative from the Macon Music team.
Well, my precious Colton (who wears his big ole' heart on his sleeve) was crushed! He burst into tears as we left the ballpark. He sobbed. My heart broke as I couldn't do anything to change the situation (although I thought about just telling him to run out on the field anyway!). As we were leaving the ballfield, I tried to remind him of the night's blessings, he had a great time at the game with his buddies, had gotten a medal, a special MM ball and mini bat, and got to stay up late on a school night! I was thinking to myself, yes, it's painful, but it's a good lesson for him. He has a choice: he can focus on what had happened positive to him or focus on the negative.
As I was pondering the situation last night, God used it as a teachable moment for me. This last year has had several disappointments for my family. I have been hurt more than I ever thought possible. There have been times that I cried out to God and wondered if He saw the injustice. I suddenly realized that yes, He certainly had seen my family hurt, and it had certainly NOT escaped His attention. His eyes are ever on me. The thing that struck me though, was that, unlike Colton's earthly parents, my Heavenly Father could have changed the circumstances, He absolutely could have stopped the pain, He absolutely could have changed the past or the future, but He chose to let me suffer for awhile, and it was extremely painful for Him, just as it was for me. What some intended for evil, God intended for good. And in the same moment, I realized that He has absolutely provided for us in amazing ways this past year and has blessed us in some of the most unexpected ways. It is an incredible journey!
I am indeed blessed! I have an amazing Father who loves me, and could pick me up and take me home at any moment, but He still has work for me to do here (including raising three children to love Him). So, I have a choice to make: will I be bitter or better for the journey over the past year?The cry of my heart is that I will be better. It is my constant plea with God that He protect me from bitterness and restore the true joy that only comes from Him.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Climbing the Walls

Since Colton has started "big" school this year, he has done great at learning to sit still for all that time and paying attention, but he has had more energy than he knows what to do with when he gets home. I cannot stand this heat, so I have not been very good about going outside to play with him. I am not one of these Southern women who "glisten", I'm a Texas gal who sweats and I don't like it! However, one of the things I love the most is swimming with my kids, so yesterday I picked them up from school and we went swimming at a friend's house. It is the place that I act like a total fool and cut loose with my kids. I don't know what happens to me when I get in the water, but I love to jump off the board, play games, do flips, spit water out of a noodle, do silly tricks; my kids love it!
We swam for about two hours and had a great time. We came home and I fixed supper, we did homework, and then Jerry took the kids outside and was playing football with the kids while I cleaned up the kitchen. I was feeling pretty good about our day. We had quality time with the kids, they had to be good and tired by now, surely they would come in and be ready for a good night's sleep.
Then, a few minutes after baths, I was on the computer, and Jerry called out to me, "Jana, do you see your son?" I said, "no, where?"
Colton had climbed up the wall in a doorway to see if he could touch the ceiling! Yikes! So much for my "picture perfect" evening!

Monday, August 20, 2007


This past Saturday was Mamaw's (Mom Dingmore, my mother-in-law) birthday...we won't tell how old she is, but I'll say this, she is very active for her age! This past year, she drove by herself from Longview, Texas to Macon, Georgia in her new Cadillac. She had a great time and fussed because we worried about her! Don't tell her she can't or shouldn't do something. She is amazing. She is always there when anyone needs her. She came to be with us in October last year and stayed until after New Year's. It was great! She (and God) knew that we needed her, so she was there for us. People think I'm crazy when I say that I would let her come live with us, but I would. I would love to know (and for my children as well) half of what she knows about cooking, sewing, abiding in Christ, gardening, raising children to love the Lord...just living.

She is a rare jewel. I'm around alot of beautiful women in Macon, women that wear all the right clothes, have had this lifted, that shrunk and that enhanced, women that take great care of their skin and have beautiful nails. Recently when I was around a group of women that were talking about all that "stuff", I remembered many a conversation with Mamaw when she will look at her wrinkles and her less-than-perfect nails, and she will fuss that she probably should have taken better care of her skin and her nails, but she was always too busy to worry about all that stuff. She would rather be digging in the dirt, pampering her plants and bringing them to life, or sewing something for the grandkids (Mamaw's homemade pajamas are their favorites), or throwing together a poundcake or her famous pies for someone who needed it. I always giggle to myself when she's carrying on about her skin or the shape of her nails.
Oh my, I wish she could see how beautiful I think her hands are. Her hands are what she uses to express her love to others. She loves you with them and serves her God with them. She doesn't always say alot, but her actions speak volumes. She has cooked, sewn, rocked babies, painted, wallpapered, made candles, played games, taught children about Jesus, planted, weeded, cleaned, packed boxes, unpacked boxes, even organized my pantry!
When I look at her face, I see what she has accomplished in her life. She has three children who love the Lord and each are involved in ministry (one fulltime), six of her eight grandchildren are walking with the Lord (two aren't quite old enough), I would call that a successful career!

So, on her birthday, it is my joy to celebrate her. Happy Birthday, Mamaw!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

the journey

It's late and I'm up because I don't sleep well when Jerry's out of town, so I go surfing and catch up on blogs from all of my favorite people. I've caught up with my college roomie and her family, my buddy Beth (Moore, that it is, I feel like I know her, I've read so much of her), John Turner, some of my former students, checked out what's new on amazon, looked at house plans for the millionth time, then I ventured again to my most recent favorite author's website, Erwin McManus. I was reading one of his stories and I wanted to share an excerpt of it with you as I felt God just leaped out of the computer and spoke to me through it tonight.

“I’m afraid,” he confessed, as Maven stood with him in the place where his quest would begin.
“Of what?” Maven asked in his calming voice.
“For this journey, have I learned all I need to know?”
“Ayden,” he replied, “you know all you need to learn.”
“What should I take with me?” Ayden continued.
“Leave all you have and take all you are.”
Ayden persisted, “And the path, is it safe to travel?”
Maven looked at him sternly for the first time he could remember and scolded him, “It is not safe to remain!”
“It is not the place but the Presence that upholds you! This is your only certainty.”
"Go! Walk where no man has walked, yet you find footprints.”

Since God has called us to this journey that has led to the start of PC, I have struggled with really feeling insecurities scream out am I ready? it time? this the place?...there's so much I still need to learn...if only my family were closer?...if Peggy or Danna or Mary or Lucy were closer to help share in this stretch of the journey...if only my children were a little older...if only we were settled in a home...if...when...if...when...if... then God, in His infinite wisdom, led me to this short, simple yet hugely complex story.
I don't know if it's because of my love for literature or my headstrong "I can handle it" attitude, but God often uses Spirit-inspired fiction to pierce my heart and saturate my soul when I am exasperatingly dry and thirsty for a Word from Him. My personality often wrestles to stay where it's comfortable when the Spirit is calling me to move on. I'm loyal, steadfast and like to know what to expect and what's expected of me. That's safe. That's comfort. That leads to mediocrity. That's when He beckons me to move. I'm moving. Sometimes joyfully, sometimes kicking and screaming, but my safety must be in Him alone, not a place, not a position, not anything but Him.

Friday, August 17, 2007

First Day of School

Oh my! Yesterday was the first day of school for Kenzie and Colton. Colton started first grade and Kenzie started third! It is hard to believe how much they are growing up. Each time we start a new "phase" with our children, I am reminded how short our time is with them. Don't get me wrong, there are days that seem to go on forever, but in the scheme of things, our time with them is so short! Something I was reading the other day said that research shows that by the age of 13, a child’s spiritual identity is largely set in place, and by the age of 9, a child’s moral boundaries are set. Kenzie will turn 9 in two months! It drives home to me that what I do in my time with them is urgent, no matter what other things may be screaming at me that they are important!

They both had a great first day! Kenzie has Mrs. Gottlieb for her teacher and she is so excited because they get to do lots of plays. She also has two special buddies in her class, Kaitlyn and a new buddy, Sydney, so she says it's going to be a great year.

Colton has Mrs. Callahan, and when she brought Colton to the car, she commented that she wished she had a room full of Coltons because he was such a sweet boy! He said PE was his favorite and that his hand was tired from writing so much. He was quite proud that he was the only one in his class that knew how to sit properly and that Mrs. Callahan didn't have to get his attention once the whole day.

God is good. We are so blessed to have Covenant Academy. It helps to keep me accountable on Scripture Memory. Asher says he's ready for school. He wants us to make him a "pencil can" today like Bubba's for his school. He misses Bubba and Sissy while they're at school and gave them the biggest bear hug when they got home yesterday!