Some Thoughts on Ferguson, Unity and Small Battles

Scott and I got in a fight this morning.  Like, I was almost yelling before my eyes even opened for the day. I shoved past him in the bathroom. We were barely polite getting the kids ready for school.  I cried on the way home from taking them. I’m not proud of it, but I feel like you need to know it happens.  We’ve all been there–saying things we don’t mean, holding our silences longer than we should.  It’s marriage and we’re people.

The past few days have had some rough spots with the kids too, both individually and amongst them.  It feels like since we got our court date we’ve been fighting fires, one after another.  We get one kid settled and the other decides to do something. That issue is resolved and then two of them go at each other.

We all have crap individually. Yours may not look like mine but I bet something is going on. And then, if that weren’t enough, we’re all feeling this heaviness as a nation because of Ferguson.

It’s overwhelming isn’t it?  There’s no clear path to the truth or to justice or to peace.

But what I find interesting is that in all these cases, we all have this burning desire in us to get to those things.  There’s something innate that’s striving for truth, justice and peace. I happen to believe it’s a God-given desire for Himself.

The Prince of Peace. The Way. The Truth.

And what I remembered today in all of this is we are not each other’s enemies.  I am not Scott’s. My daughter is not my son’s. One race is not the other’s.

Satan is our enemy. He wants us divided–brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, citizens of your city.  Division is what he’s after.  I’m afraid he’s winning in a lot of ways.

I don’t have any sort of control over a lot of it,  but I do have some in my own relationships and in myself.

So I do the hard work of trying to get my kids to get along. Scott and I apologize and we hug. I try to mourn with those the mourn and be slow to anger and slow to speak and find what truth I can and forgive where I need to.

These decisions won’t win the war, but they do win some battles and that’s something.

 If Satan is our enemy and division is his goal, what battles are raging in your life right now and what is God’s path to peace?

 

 

A Call to Deeper Waters

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A new online community was born this week.  Deeper Waters is a sisterhood of women who want to go deeper in their faith, marriage, friendships, creativity and motherhood.

The founder is Denise J. Hughes, a university writing professor. She tells the story of how she prayed to the Lord for his Church to come together.  She has traveled around the country meeting women and has felt led to bring them together in an online space to encourage other women. Deeper Waters is the answer to her prayers.

The hope is that everyone is welcome, everyone is encouraged and everyone grows in their walk with Jesus. It’s just my kind of place. In fact, I’ll be sharing some stories over there in the coming months. If you’re reading this, I think it’s your kind of place too.  Meet you over there?

 

On 5th Grade Graduation

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It’s the night before her 5th grade graduation and I throw myself on her bed, “You’re going to be a middle schooler!”

“Yeah,” she responds as a matter of fact.  She laughs and plops her iPod down on the bed.  “You need to read these, they are so funny.”

“Teenager Posts”, the images are labeled on Pinterest.  I read through a few.

#5410 “Whenever I try cleaning my room I either end up making a bigger mess, or just playing with the things I thought I lost.”

#18599 “Saying, ‘I hate this song!’ then start singing every lyric.”

I laugh, remembering Jen Hatmaker’s words about teens just a few days ago.

“The weird thing is, those tiny sweet precious littles you are raising? The teens are the same people, just bigger. That humor? Same. That personality? Same. Those tendencies and leanings and giftings? Same. Your quirky 6-year-old who loves science and animal husbandry? Same, he just gets bigger with a lower voice.
Stop imagining that aliens will take over your darling preschooler at age 13.”

I think back to how sad I was at preschool graduation. Like, I could barely hold myself together so I wouldn’t bawl at them singing “I am a Promise.”  I remember how much we struggled about whether to send her to private school or public school. We were so worried about putting her in the right environment to flourish. And then, how hard letting her go to Kindergarten was.  I was terrified she wouldn’t have any help opening her milk carton. 

I feel like I should be sad that we’re finishing elementary school and be panicky about middle school, but I can’t be.  Elementary school has been simply a gift. 

Yeah, we struggled through making a penguin, multiplication facts, spelling lists and the unending packing of lunches (kill me now), but the teachers she’s had and the friends she’s made, has been nothing but a joy.  Not every kid has that experience and my heart aches for them, but we have to celebrate where we can and that’s what we’re doing today.

She’s had the best teachers and the best friends and the best education and you know, I’m simply excited for who my little Emma is becoming. She’s the same little Emma she was at 5 when she started, but also a new little Emma we’re watching bloom.

I’ve spent so many years being scared of the next step. I was scared of middle school before she’d even started kindergarten.  If I’ve learned anything these past 6 years it’s that we don’t have to be anxious about 10 steps from now, we just have to be ready to take the next one.  And we are.

Congratulations, my sweet girl.

 

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In Which She Returns

Hi!

I’m back.

It’s been a whole month since I announced I was taking a bit of a blogging break and I’m thrilled to finally be back.  It turned out to be quite a month and I tell you all about it in the video below:

 

 

For those unable to view video, here’s the cliff notes:

I needed the break more than I realized it when I took it.  I did need a social media break, but I think there was a bit more.

First, we ended up spending the entire month, up until Memorial Day weekend installing our new above ground pool.  Our other one died last fall and we decided to replace it ourselves (mistake).  We had so much rain. What really should have taken an afternoon or two took weeks. Scott even got a big gash one Saturday we were working on it and had to get 8 stitches at the emergency room!  It never seemed to end.  But finally, we are done and I have to say it turned out really, really well and I’m super proud of all the work and very, very grateful for great family and neighbors that helped.

Here is one of many moments of Scott shoveling sand.

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Here is my ah-dorable great nephew enjoying it on Memorial Day.

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Second, just a day or two after I announced our break, we got a “lead” on a child to foster and adopt.  Unfortunately, we found out just today that we were not the family chosen for him.  However, we spent the entire month preparing for the possibility we’d have someone with us in mid-June.  Of course we were preparing emotionally, but also we were starting to get the house in order to make the play room into the bedroom.  We also were crossing off punch-list items around the house that had been building up while we were working on the pool.

While we are very disappointed the adoption isn’t moving forward, I trust fully that God has it under control and that we will meet our child one day.

Somewhere in mid-May I had Psalm 91:4 come to mind, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.”  I have no doubts God knew to put us in a little bubble this past month where we could concentrate on the tasks at hand.

So, thank you for letting me take a break and coming back.  And please, if you’re feeling burned out yourself, it’s ok to take a break.  Shut down the laptop and the phone.  Turn off the TV.  Say no to a few people and get some rest.  We are all better mothers, daughter, sisters, friends when we invest in our emotional and mental health by resting.

And ya’ll, I’m glad to be back.

On Not Hurrying

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I read a book last week called Soul Keeping by John Ortberg.  He quotes his friend (and author, philosopher, professor, speaker, Christian—after reading his bio, I’m feeling very left out of knowing much about him) Dallas Willard in the book multiple times speaking to how we take care of our soul saying,

 

“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” 

 

Then I watched this video with over 2 million other people. I was convicted of the time I had begun to spend scrolling through social media.

I love social media and blogging, but there is an inherent “hurry” aspect to it.  There’s always something new and never a way to catch up. I knew these two ideas were connected for me.

And as much as I love writing here, many times I feel hurried and pressured to dole out posts. And then to Facebook and tweet about the post, and then check for likes and comments on the post. And on and on it goes.

So, I’ve been taking a break.  I took social media off my phone.  I’ve been leaving my phone in my purse.  I’ve been reading more and trying to enjoy what I’m presently doing instead of trying to read more about what others are doing. I’m sitting on my back porch and soaking in some Vitamin D. I’m playing school with my daughter. I’m sitting still at red lights.

Like so many things in my life, I have to pare back to nothing to figure out what, if anything, I can add back in.

I have one more review post I’m committed to here this week (ironically, very related to this topic) and after that, I’m not sure.  Maybe I just need this week off or a month off or the summer off.  I’m not sure yet.  I just know social media and blogging are tangled in this hurry and I’m ready to let some of it go.

Email me in the meantime if you want—maybe send me the really funny videos from Facebook I’m missing? amyjbennett AT gmail DOT com