Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm sorry

I think I need a t-shirt that says,
"I'm sorry for the things I say. I have no idea what I'm talking about."

How many times do I make statements about issues that are completely unfamiliar to me?
How often do I speak with authority about things I know nothing about?
Is it my arrogance or my naivete? Probably both.
How many times must I have had said hurtful comments to people without even realizing the impact of my words?

Some things seem so black and white.
Until you are living through them.

The heart that aches cannot be quantified.
It cannot be soothed by the mental knowledge of one who hasn't walked it's path.

How can a woman with a house of children understand the woman waiting for a child.
How can the newly wed understand the struggle of staying married through the years.
How can a young mom understand the pain of an older mom with an estranged child.
How can someone with no addiction understand the slavery of one with the addiction.
How can one talk of infidelity without first living through it.
How can one speak all-knowing about the effects of abortion without having had one.
How can one without money speak of what they would do with money.
How can one with money speak of the plights of the poor.
How can one talk of abuse without having been abused.

We know the answers to such hurtful things.
In our minds.
It's different to live the answers.
It's different to live the answers.

We speak our opinions and they are most often scripturally based.
We share our thoughts all the time.
I share my thoughts all the time.
I speak of things I don't know.
I even dare speak confidently and boldly of these things that I do not know.
Who am I?
How many people have I hurt?

My heart was squeezed last night.
A comment made...truthful in it's statement...personal to me.
I knew this particular sin. I've lived this particular sin. It's not as clear as everyone thinks
It's worse. It's more painful. It's more destructive. It takes more energy to walk through it than I thought possible. It can't be summed up in a single statement.

"You don't know!" I wanted to say.
"You don't know!"

And then a second later I was making a comment.
On something I knew nothing about.
I'd read about it. Watched it from afar.
So different than living it.
Who did I pierce with my words?

"Even in laughter the heart may ache." Proverbs 14:13
How often have I smiled when I wanted to weep.
How often have I done this to someone else.
How often have the words I said unleashed the pain in someone's heart.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
I speak of things I do not know.

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share it's joy." Prov. 14:10

Only God knows the burdens we carry.
He knows.
He weeps with us.
He heals.
He redeems.

Lord, teach me to bridle my tongue.
And soothe the hearts of those who have received my ignorant words.

And someone buy me a shirt that says,
"Beware. This girl speaks of things she doesn't know."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Too many hats

I'm wearing too many hats.

I'm the math teacher, the English teacher, the history teacher, the science teacher.

I'm the Bible teacher, the spelling teacher, the handwriting expert, the geography teacher.

I'm the discipliner. I'm not consistent.

I'm trying to train. I can't even train myself.

I'm a counselor. I don't listen well.

I'm the cook. I don't like food messes.

I'm the housekeeper. I haven't done my floors in a month.

I'm the laundromat. I never do only whites.

I'm nursing a baby. I'm talking to a pre-teen about puberty.

I'm driving to football, soccer, ballet, gymnastics, piano, guitar, and church.

I need to buy groceries, mail a package, pay some bills, and return some calls.

I'm a daughter, a wife, a mom, a sister, a granddaughter, an aunt, a niece, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law, a friend, maybe a foe.

I'm tired. Maybe I'm wearing too many hats.
Maybe that's why there's so many devotionals for moms.
Too bad we're too exhausted to read them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slow down, Time

Slow down, Time.
Slow down.

I have a 7th grader.
A child in Jr. High.
A son that will only be in my home for 6 more years.
I can still picture his little chubby fingers playing football guys.
"Pway with me, Mama. Pway with me."
I don't want him to grow up.
I don't want him hardened by this world
How can I let him go?
I haven't even trained him very well yet.
I need more time.

Slow down, Time.
Slow down.

Show me how to do this, Lord.
I don't know how to let a child grow up.
I don't know how to do this.

How did you let your Son go?
Show me how.

One Other Time

I was thinking today that we've had relatively few close calls as a military family.
Maybe it's because we're Air Force.
Maybe because my husband flies and is not on the ground.
He's been able to call and email on deployments.
We've never gone days without knowing he was safe.
That must be rare these days for military families.
I do remember one other day that rocked our world as a military family.

It started early one evening in 2002 with a simple call from my husband.
He sounded flustered.
"They're bringing me back. My jet's broken in Gila Bend. Can you come get me?
"Yeah, I can come get you. What happened?" I said.
"It was a mess. My wingman bailed. The jet's broken. Can you come get me?"
"Okay. When?" Weird.
"Two hours."
Enough time to put the boys in the bath.

As I was drying the naked bodies of my 12 month old and 3 year old, I got another call.
This one was from Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.
"All Dragon pilots are accounted for."
"Okay. Thanks." I said. I sat there a bit confused for a minute. I hadn't
been through this drill in a while.
"All Dragon pilots are accounted for." It took a minute for me to remember what exactly that meant. It meant that something had happened and the squadron was calling families to reassure them that their pilot is safe.
I turned on the news.

"Two A-10's have collided from Davis Monthan Air Force Base and one pilot has been rescued. The other pilot has not yet been found."

Lord Jesus, No.

I knew Preston was safe. I talked to him. What about the other pilot? Where was he? I remembered his phone call.
"My wingman bailed."
"My wingman bailed."
What did that mean?
I sat on the couch completely paralyzed as my little naked boys ran around the room.
I always assumed that in tragedy, I would lean into the Lord.
I couldn't even pray.
I was terrified of what this meant for my husband.
Had it been his fault? Oh, I hoped not.
Who was missing? We were friends with everyone in the Dragons squadron. My husband was flying with some of his best friends. The wives were my closest confidants. Who was waiting for a phone call that hadn't come?
What if the pilot didn't live? Would my husband forever more carry this burden on his back that no one could lift?

I had received a phone call that said, "All Dragon pilots are accounted for." How could that be if one pilot was missing? Was Preston flying with another squadron? We had three A-10 squadrons on Davis Monthan and they didn't usually fly together.
I didn't even want to call the squadron back to clarify. I really didn't want to know. Information would come eventually and I didn't have the strength at that moment to face it.
So much for handling tragedy well. I wanted to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head. How was my husband going to survive this? He was safe. Someone was missing.
I kept watching the news waiting to hear about the other pilot.
Find him. Find him. Find him.
Search and rescue was still looking.

It was time to load the boys to go get my husband. I had no idea his state of mind.
The phone rang just as I reached for my keys. Davis Monthan AFB.
"Michelle, it's Beau." One of our best friends. So good to hear his voice. He wasn't missing. I tried not to cry.
"I just thought that maybe you hadn't heard from Preston and I wanted you to know that it's not him. He's safe."
"I know, Beau. I talked to him. Who is it? What happened?"
"It's the other squadron, Michelle. No Dragons were involved."
I'm confused.
"What happened with Preston then? He told me his wingman bailed. I have to go get him. Isn't he the pilot they found?"
"No. His wingman broke on the flight line and bailed out of the flight. His wingman didn't fly. Preston's jet had a maintenance issue as he was flying and he had to land at Gila Bend. He probably doesn't even know that someone's missing."
Thank you, Jesus. But someone was still missing.
"Do you know who it is, Beau?"
"You know I can't say."
"Thanks for calling. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it."
I drove to get my husband listening to the news. They were still looking for the pilot.
By the time, I picked him up, he had heard about the crash. He assured me that he would have picked different words to use had he known what had happened.
I was so thankful he wasn't involved.
Who was waiting to hear? Who's daddy was missing?"

Later, we heard the news. The pilot hadn't survived. He had a wife and two small children. Their lives would never be the same.
All I could do was think about his wife over the next few weeks. How did she tell her kids that their daddy had died? I couldn't imagine.

I know that more people have lived through that moment than I wish. Many a spouse has received a knock on the door. Many children have been told that Daddy or Mommy isn't coming home.
Freedom's not free. Not for those families. Not even for my family. We all have made some sort of a sacrifice.
I'm so thankful for these men and women that are fighting for our freedom every day.
I love hearing the jets flying overhead.
Jet noise...the sound of freedom.
I hope we never become numb to the sound of someone else defending our freedom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wake-Up Call

I don't trust my premonitions. They are never right.
I knew that my first baby was a girl. Knew it.
I had a boy.
This went on for four more babies and each time I had a deep, gut-feeling.
Some call it a mother's intuition---knowing the baby they are carrying.
I was wrong every time.
So last night when my husband didn't call after his flight, I didn't panic.
He's a great fighter pilot. A Weapons School grad. A leader in the squadron.
He's too good of a flyer for anything to happen.
I didn't panic for the first hour.
Somehow in the midst of my exhaustion, my hormones, and my fears, I had a deep, gut-wrenching premonition.
Something had happened to him. There's been an accident.
And then he didn't answer any of his three phones.
And I knew...
He was flying at night. I always worry more when they are flying at night.
He was super tired.
And we had had a great day.
What does that equal?
I'll tell you.
My thoughts seemed logical last night.
Night-flying. Tired. Great day. It's obvious.
That equals disaster.
I thought back to the day.
We had surprised the kids and taken them to see Pirates of the Caribbean.
Fun memory.
We had taken them to lunch.
Lots of laughter.
The kids had kissed him over and over and over before he left.
I kissed him once.
I didn't think any more about it until I couldn't get a hold of my husband.
And then I thought in the midst of my panic that God had given us the perfect last day.
I googled Whiteman AFB to see if they had the news yet of the plane crash.
I watched out front for my notification team to show up on my door.
What is wrong with me? Seriously, what's wrong with me?
For an hour, I lay in bed imagining my life without him.
And I felt so empty.
We've not had an easy marriage the last 8 years.
We've had to work harder than most to stay married.
Sometimes, I thought it would be easier if one of us died...I probably shouldn't admit that.
Apparently, we are both stubborn enough (notice I didn't say Godly enough---I really mean stubborn enough) to not get a divorce.
Last night, I truly envisioned my life without him.
Lord, one more chance. Please let me be wrong and give me one more chance.
An hour later, the sweetest cell phone with his name.
I couldn't even be mad that he had forgotten to call.
It was a gift to me that he lived through his own death.
It reminded me to be thankful for my precious husband.
I'm so thankful for my husband. I'm thankful that I married him. I'm thankful for our children that are part me, part him. I'm thankful that I stayed married to him.
To heck with my premonitions...
I guess I don't have the gift of prophecy.
Thank goodness.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Life/New Sin

If you have a new relationship with Christ
do you also have a new relationship with sin?

I had to think about that for a while.
I guess I get it.
When we come to know Christ, we see our sin in a new light.
Our selfishness becomes that much more evident.
As we look at Christ, our own unworthiness and sin seem so much darker.
The closer I've gotten to the Lord...the less I'm impressed with myself.

Usually when I start to feel pretty good about me, I'm not looking at the Lord.
The times I feel that I'm pretty darn great are the times that I'm not in awe of
God's perfection.
When I look to Him, I grow strangely dim.

If only I didn't struggle so much to keep my eyes on Him...

Growing Older

Gerald Wheatley, an elderly man at our church, spoke for our church service yesterday and he made me excited to grow old. He's wise, he's soft-hearted, he's excited to be so close to meeting the Lord. Some older people have made me dread the later years in life. Complaints, bitterness, anger. Gerald exudes none of that. The trials of this life have not hardened him. The pain of his body makes him long for heaven. The losses he has faced remind him how fragile life is and that this is not our home. His experiences have granted him wisdom. His long life has left him humble.

I want to be Gerald Wheatley when I grow up.

Friday, May 20, 2011

For Me

I guess I succombed to the pressure.
I don't have a facebook account. I don't want to be found.
I don't have a smart phone. I get too distracted.
I wouldn't dream of tweeting. I don't like birds.
But...I do like to write.
I have dozens of journals lined up in my closet that are like long lost friends.
The green one from 1992 talks about my first date.
The blue one from 1995 talks about college and my upcoming wedding.
The pink one from 1998 reveals my fear as a first time mom.
And then I lost some of my innocence.
I suppose everyone learns at some point that in real life 2 + 2 doesn't always equal 4.
Life didn't turn out the way I planned. AND I WAS MAD!
The yellow one from 2003 is tear-stained...every page.
And the next year.
And the next.
The brown one from's almost too painful for me to read.
I didn't know I could cuss like that.
I didn't know how much hatred I had.
I did know that I wasn't sure who this God was that I had pledged my life too, but if HE wasn't who HIS WORD said HE WAS...then I was in trouble.
God graciously picked up broken pieces of my life and began to show me who He is.
Not who I wanted Him to be. But who He is...
What a gift.'s fitting that journal was green.
Growth. New life.
A reminder that nothing stays the same.
That God's mercies are new every morning and even the darkest of nights will pass.
I love writing.
I love the Lord more.
This blog is for me.
This is so I can look back and remember that I was a slave and the Lord has set me free.
And maybe my kids won't have to journey the same road that I have...
But if they do...maybe they'll find encouragement...