Train Up a Child

I am a Christian, but I don’t pray every day.  Most of the time I don’t feel like I’m a very good one.  For me, God is an ever-present, guiding beacon in my life and I feel like I talk to Him or try to feel out what His way would be all throughout the day, but I don’t automatically pray when I close my eyes at night.  I don’t know why.  I don’t even know if that’s important.  What I do know, is I want my faith to be as strong as that of my ten year old son’s.

Jace has been sick off and on all week.  It’s been a weird kind of sickness though and some TMI is about to follow.  Sunday afternoon he said his belly was killing him and he crawled in my bed and fell asleep.  He is never a napper.  Never.  This kid is nocturnal.  He could and would stay up all night and sleep half the day, but he never naps during the day.  When he does, he’s sick.  He slept for about an hour and then woke up vomiting.  It was a one time deal, he got back in bed, went back to sleep and had no more episodes.  Monday I kept him home from school to make sure he was over whatever caused the vomiting.  A huge pet peeve of mine is sending kids to school before they are well so then they make all their classmates sick… but I digress.  Monday, no vomit.  He did have a belly ache and nausea, but no vomit.  I fully expected him to go back to school on Tuesday.  Tuesday morning he woke up still with the belly ache and nausea but I told him he was going to school anyway.  He promptly puked.  And not like, ‘oh, I better puke to get out of school’ vomit.  So I kept him home again.  And again, other than a belly ache and nausea, no more vomiting all day.  Wednesday, I sent him to school.  Wednesday night, diarrhea is added to the mix and vomiting again.  What. the. heck??  So I kept him home Thursday and scheduled an appointment for him with the pediatrician.

Considering both the duration and the way the symptoms were coming and going, the pediatrician said that while there was a good chance that it was viral, there was also a chance that it was this weird diagnosis called ‘abdominal migraines’.  This actually wasn’t that weird to me because when Parker was small, we went through around two to three years of testing- EGDs (twice), barium swallows, x-rays, labs, and arguments with numerous specialists that no, my child wasn’t just constipated, before she was finally diagnosed with abdominal migraines.  I had forgotten about that actually because now that she’s older, she has graduated to good old fashioned migraine headaches like her momma.  Turns out that this is how migraines can present in children and the symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.  The more you know.

Anyway.  This blog isn’t about vomit, it’s about faith.  The faith of a child.

Jace is a believer and in the sweetest, most pure way possible.  When I’m having a fibro flare, he will come kiss me on the fivehead and say, “Momma, I’m going to pray that God will help your pain.”

We recently started attending a new church and last night there was a knock at the door.  It was the pastor, just stopping on his way by with a loaf of homemade bread.  When I came back in, Jace asked who was at the door and I told him and explained about the bread.  Now our family loves some carbs.  Especially the Lord’s carbs.  I don’t know if Bro. Brett was out of the driveway before I started cutting that bread with Jace by my side, basically salivating.  As I was cutting it he said, “Momma, I think that God told him to bring that bread, because He knows that I haven’t been feeling well.”  He ate three pieces of that bread before he went to bed last night…

Can you imagine being ten years old and KNOWING that you have a Heavenly Father who loves little ol’ you so very much that He will send one of His messengers with a loaf of bread when you haven’t been feeling well?  I was emotional last night and typing that sentence just made me emotional again.  I hope that Jace always has a faith that is that strong.  That he always feels that close to his Savior.  That he always feels like He is just one servant away.  I hope that all of my children feel that way.

I say that I don’t pray daily but I do pray with Jace nightly.  We say the typical child’s prayer together.  One night I found out that he continues to pray silently afterward.

This child.  His heart is too good for me.  I don’t know what I did to deserve him.

I hope he never loses his closeness with God.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6

All Part of a Plan

I feel like I haven’t blogged in twenty-seven lifetimes.  So, here I am.

I think part of the problem is that I haven’t really known what to talk about.  Do I just jump right back into funny shit my kids do?  Do I pretend like life didn’t go off the rails for a couple weeks there?  I think about blogging a lot.  I love to write and I love to interact with people.  I love it every single time I write something and people tell me that I am speaking their language.  I love to process my own life and my own thoughts by putting words on paper (screen).  In the end, that’s why I’m back today.  This isn’t a marriage blog, a divorce blog, a parenting blog.  I don’t have to define it.  It isn’t going to fit neatly in a box, just like I never will.  This blog is me.  All 987 sides of me.

One thing that I have learned in the last few weeks is the value of self care.  I am changing, I am evolving, I am not becoming someone new- I’m learning to be more true to who I have always been.  I am working on taking care of myself in every way.  Mentally, physically, spiritually.  I’m going to church.  I’m exercising.  I’m working on my diet.  I’m letting go of the shit that doesn’t matter.  I’m learning to worry more about what I think than what someone else thinks.  I’m learning to stop being so judgmental.  The twist is that I’m not really very judgmental at all when it comes to other people, but I’m super judgmental when it comes to myself.  I’m telling that nagging voice to shut. up.

I’m remembering to let the difficult times chip away at all the rough edges.  No grit, no pearl.

there’s freedom in a broken heart

I kind of had an epiphany this morning.

I initially woke up at four.  Buddy likes to wake me up around then.  He cries until I go open the door, then he stands there for a few and decides if he wants to go outside or not.  I’ve decided that he’s got to be a member of the twilight bark and he’s listening for his people.  One time I refused to let him out and he pooped in my bathroom.  He’s basically the size of a Shetland pony so that is something that I never want to experience again.  When he wakes me up crying, we go stand at the door…

My head was killlllllling me.  My sinuses are awful.  I had made plans to try out a new church this morning and I was supposed to meet up with a friend who goes there.  I was so close to cancelling on her.  I never make plans because if it’s not my anxiety that gets in the way, it’s my body or I have a migraine, etc.  It occurred to me in that moment how much I was the biggest obstacle in my life.  If my head was going to hurt, it was going to hurt. It didn’t matter if I was at home or at church.  So I got up, I snorted my Flonase, drank my coffee and stopped letting myself stand in my own way.

When it comes to God, I don’t believe in coincidences.

I met up with LeAnn and we found our seats.  There was an older man stepping into the baptismal tub as we were listening to the band.  “Well that’s weird,” LeAnn said.  “People don’t really get baptized that often, unless it’s Easter or something like that.”  I didn’t really think much of that at the time.  The band played a few songs and then they began to play a video of the story of the man being baptized this morning.  He was a marine.  When he was a young marine, he was deployed and fell ill with malaria one day.  He wasn’t able to do his job the following day and one of his buddies filled in for him.  His buddy was shot and killed that day and this young marine was left with the realization that he not only narrowly escaped death, but his buddy died because he was filling his spot.  That’s when I knew that I was supposed to be right where I was today.

Combat, survivor’s guilt, PTSD, TBI, all of these things have turned all of our lives upside down.  I feel a kinship with anyone who walks this road because I know what a difficult, confusing, lonely, desperate road it can be for both the sufferer and for the people who love them.

In my last blog I talked about Thomas and I separating and my recent confusion and in the last few days he and I have had so many discussions about our relationship going forward.  See, for me, nothing has really changed other than our address.  While Thomas was absolutely, 100% the love of my life, the last couple years of our marriage we weren’t much more than roommates.  So for the last year, I really haven’t felt much differently than I did when we were actually married.  The last few days he and I have had a lot of conversations/arguments over my need to start figuring out my own way but he likes things just the way they are.  I have been truly struggling though.

Guess what today’s topic was?  Both the importance of boundaries and how important it is that you are spending time with people who reflect what you want out of life.  Thomas and I almost never went to church because we could almost never find a church that we were both comfortable in.  When I told him how much I loved church today he asked me if he would like it.  I laughed.  Of course not.  Like, we both love our kids and that’s probably where our commonalities end.  He likes the old school hellfire and brimstone and I don’t respond well at all to raised voices and threats.  Neither of us are wrong.  We just are who we are.  He needs what he needs and I need what I need and when we tried to achieve that together we ended up just giving up because we had to sacrifice too much of ourselves to meet in the middle.  Neither of us reflect what the other wants out of life.

My kids have talked to me off and on the entire time I’ve been writing and I feel completely all over the place with this post. I guess what I’m getting at is I have realized a lot in the last couple days and I am taking baby steps towards getting my life back.  Thomas and I will probably always be close.  I was with him during his darkest, pre-therapy, pre-medication times and we have seen hell together.  We truly have.  You know how old veterans can spot each other in a crowd and instantly connect even if they have never met?  That’s us.  We have bonded through combat.  I’m still reclaiming my life, though.  Just putting up a few guardrails.