Monday, May 10, 2010
All but the newest of you friends know the crisis our family has undergone in recent days concerning our oldest, my stepdaughter, Melanie, and our grandson, Heath, who is now 15 months old. Some of you may see PepperLeah and I saying LU-LAH! to each other from time to time in our posts. On the day my stepdaughter was arrested, we had Heath, his dad and grandma with us. Heath had just gotten out of the hospital. It was the first time he resembled his former, precious self in weeks since his multiple head traumas, and we grandmothers were thanking God. Ms. Mary, his other grandma, threw her hands in the air and said praise the Lord! I threw mine in the air and said hallelujah! Little Heath, still so weak and fragile, so traumatized, lifted his little arms, looked me in the eye, smiled, and said LU-LAH!! TOO precious for words. There was enough happy in that room, contained within the hearts of two troubled grandmothers, to fill an ocean.
Yesterday, when we visited Heath at his grandparents' home, I exclaimed over him: Hallelujah!! He raised his little arms in a MUCH more robust manner than in earlier days, and just then, Pawpaw (CaptainCookie) snapped the photo below. For some reason, several of the photos Bill took yesterday were double exposed, such as this one. I think it came out very cool! (God job, PawPaw!)
Here's Heath with both grandmothers and one with his great grandmother.
Even though Heath could not spend Mother's Day with his mom, we did the best we could to fill his day with lots and lots of motherly love. With all the pain and trauma this baby has been through, if he can raise his little hands in praise to God and say his version of Hallelujah, so can I. You can, too.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
I'm a mom. In very large part, it defines who I am, even though I didn't have my oldest until I was 30 and my youngest until I was 38. I was given the gift of my stepkids when I was 44. Over half my life was spent as Missy, me, daughter, sister, sister in law, aunt (at the tender age of six and through the age of 17), friend. I am far more recognizable as so-and-so's mom, though. I've spent far more years as a wife than as a mom, and yet I'm not known as so-and-so's wife nearly as often as I am as someone's mom. I'm okay with that, though. I love what motherhood means to me, both as a daughter and as a mom. I was blessed with a wonderful mom who died some 15 years ago and I miss her very much. She, too, was known as mom and grandma, despite the many others roles she fulfilled in life. Motherhood is not something we do. It's who we are.
This identity is not limited to those who give birth or who have adopted or fostered children. There are magnificent women in my life who've never had children but have been great mother-roles for me. Some were teachers. Some were nuns associated with the Catholic schools I attended. Some were aunts. Some were older sisters of my friends. Some were part of my church family. These are women who mothered me for a season, with all the love and nurturing and sharing of wisdom that entails. I have opened my heart and home to many who were not delivered of my body and for whom I had no guardianship. I have invested love and patience and compassion and practical helps into their lives. This relationship of motherhood is in no way limited to the sharing of DNA or to the legalities of adoption. It's all about love and caring.
For some, this is a very difficult time. For those who desire to become a mother and cannot, it is heartrending. For those who have lost mothers or children to death, it is a nearly unbearable time of grieving. For those who are estranged from their mothers or children, it is crushing. For those who have had abortions or miscarriages that they regret, it is a time of profound sadness. These dear women often bear unspeakable pain. Alone.
For my own stepchildren, this Mother's Day Eve is the ninth anniversary of their mother abandoning them. That was the day my husband's then wife called in the evening at dinner time to say she was not actually at work, about to come home, but that she was in Kentucky, waiting for the man who is now her husband to pick her up, and that she was never coming home. They were my neighbors and dear friends. It threw all of our lives into a tailspin. My stepkids, now 21 and 17, still suffer from the pain of it. My big, strong, brave boy cried for his heart to break again today, as he does every Christmas, because he wants his mother in his life. That this woman is still able to inflict such pain upon him causes all sorts of emotions in me, the mama bear, that I must once again hand over to God. Again, again, again. Forgiveness is funny that way for us, isn't it? Once is just not enough. Choosing to forgive does not come naturally to us. Anger and vengeance come much more easily. It's okay for me to be angry because this is a horrible thing to put one's children through. The key is to be angry and sin not. That's the kicker! With God ALL things are possible. Even this.
As those of you who've walked this journey with me for a while know, our oldest, my stepdaughter, Melanie, is not allowed to see her son, now 15 months old. She has been arrested and charged with harming him, nearly unto death. Thank God, Heath is doing well, better all the time. My heart breaks for our daughter, though. I cannot imagine the pain this weekend brings to her heart, a double whammy of motherhood pain. On this, her second Mother's Day as a mom, she is allowed no contact whatsoever with her son, and justifiably so. I cannot imagine the heart stuff going on there this night. I wish we knew how to contact her, knew where she was, to offer her some measure of love and compassion. My heart is so heavy for her. I continue to pray for her. I know that while I cannot reach her, the arm of God is not short. He is able to reach her, and He will continue to call out to her, to give her opportunities to turn to Him.
As we celebrate this special day to acknowledge mothers, please remember to pray for the many for whom this is a day of pain. Reach out to those within your sphere of influence who may be hurting tomorrow. Extend compassion and grace to them. Hold a hand. Lend your shoulder for someone to lean on if they need it. Allow a friend to cry and have a hankie and a hug at the ready for them.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
You've been so kind to ask about our little grandson, Heath, to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I am so pleased to tell you that he is improving day by day. He's gained back the weight he lost. He's much more secure and far less clingy. His eyes even seem to be less crossed. He dances soon as music is played, claps, and freely gives away kisses, both the spitty, slobbery kind and the blow-me-a-kiss kind. And every one fills this Mawmaw's heart to overflowing. What a joy he is, especially in light of the trauma he has endured. We had the great joy of visiting him at his grandparents' home this afternoon after church, where he lives with his dad. They are wonderful people and we are so thankful for their influence in Heath's life. I wanted to share some updated photos of our little man with you. Again, thank you so much for standing with us in prayer over him. I appreciate you so much!
Here's Heath with Bill, a very happy PawPaw
Somehow, by sleight of hand, Heath wrangled Grandpa's glasses out of his pocket.
Auntie Melly and Uncle Billy were loving some time with their nephew
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Those of you who have walked this journey with me for a while now will remember my blogs from last fall containing mention of a family very dear to my heart. My dear and wonderful friends, Bart and Michelle, were sent to me by God to live just a half mile down the road from our house. I will never be able to thank Him enough for that enormous blessing. Through Bart and Michelle I had the great joy of meeting Bart's brother, Ferlin, who was a missionary to the Philippines, and his two older children, Angel and Jireh. Their mother remained in her homeland of the Philippines, as did their baby sister, Sharon. They were here from September through November of 2009 for Ferlin's diagnosis and treatment of what we learned to be lung cancer. Despite inferior medical treatment, at that time Ferlin decided he and the kids would return to their home and the rest of their family. In the time they were here we came to love them very much. Angel and my youngest, Melanie, became fast and sure friends.
Ferlin's battle with cancer ended earlier this week and he is now in the very presence of the One he served on earth and now worships forevermore. For Ferlin we need not pray. He's with Jesus!! His family, here and overseas, naturally, is heartbroken. They need our prayers. We, too, are sad. We will miss him very much. He was such a delightful man, so full of God's word, so anointed, so dedicated to reaching the lost and encouraging the saints. We will be printing this blog out and sending it to Ferlin's family with our love.
I will post below the blog entries I'd posted last Fall, starting with the one when Angel first came to sing for me. You may have seen them before, but for the sake of those who haven't, I wanted to make them handy.
This started the ball rolling.
This is the kids practicing. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
This is the kids performing the song at the House of Prayer and Praise, where Michelle's mother is pastor. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
This was a powerful mime worship performance that Angel created and performed for our church. If this doesn't cause praise to rise up within your heart, I don't know what will!
Thank you for taking the time to honor the memory of this dear brother in Christ, son, brother, brother-in-law, friend, husband, and father.
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