A few days ago I stood with a group of homeschool parents and explained that my little part time job was really just to pay for the extras in our budget–things like the chiropractor and the once-a-quarter pedicure I get (which I haven’t done since September) so my toenails don’t get ingrown and painful. I had been saving the money from my job to pay for new tires and brakes on the car, but as I related in my last post (so many ages ago!) a sweet friend offered to take care of the brakes for us. When we got the car back, he had done the brakes, put on new tires and filled the tank full of gas. They simply said, “John 13:35.” How does one respond to kindness like that? With gratitude.
So my little bit of earnings could be put to a different use…or so I thought. We received a letter Saturday that the unemployment has ended. The Handy Man’s benefits are exhausted. We received our last benefit last week. This morning we worshiped at home as we knew that we did not have the cash to fill the van back up after making the long trek to church this week. As much as we love our church, it was not to be this morning.
It is sort of a shock to think you have a certain amount of money–however small it may be–upon which you can depend only to find out that you suddenly….don’t. We know God will take care of our needs; He has done a fabulous job of that over the past 21 months. It is just discouraging to not know the next step. Which jobs does the Handy Man spend the time to apply for? Which ones does he have a chance at getting? We may have to relocate. Is that a reality we really want to face? The reality is that these are the things we have been doing for months now, but this week they seem even more urgent and real. It would be easy to try to escape reality, to in essence, NOT stay in the moments of uncertainty and trial.
In my Wounded Heart class, our facilitator talks a lot about staying in the moment–feeling a feeling in the moment and not fleeing it. Usually, that refers to the bad things, like feeling helpless (does anyone enjoy true helplessness?) or feeling responsible (even when you are not) or having feelings that are very strong but which you cannot name or identify. But sometimes, staying in the moment is about good things–about the capacity to love and enjoy and have fun in that moment.
Tonight was such a time. My children and I sat at the table after a late dinner and played games. Curious George had been bundled off to bed, but Lil’ Adventurer and Little Princess were given leave to stay up way past bedtime in order to play with us. Star Child decided to add background music via Spotify, and she asked for artists to add to the playlist. Gladys Mae called out “Ingrid Michaelson” and Little Princess called out “The Killers”! We all found that hilarious. Then Star Child played some Imagine Dragons (and we thought the groups in my day had funny names!) She decided to teach Lil’ Adventurer how to dance. He had it all going–playing the air guitar, swinging his hips, bopping his head. It was hilarious and precious. And then, when the music stopped, his little body didn’t, so he grabbed his little behind and said, “I had to make it stop!” We laughed until we cried.
Next, it was Little Princess getting some dance lessons–to another Imagine Dragons song (“Cha-Ching Till We Grow Older”)–with some pretty impressive moves. It was such a heart-warming in-the-moment thing. My heart sang. My soul rejoiced. My spirit gave thanks to the Lord. It was sweet and innocent and FUN. And all the while, we kept playing Dizzios and cracking ourselves up and enjoying each other’s company.
I don’t have a lot of fun memories from my childhood. I lived in a fog from the age of ten to the age of about 16, and while I know there were good times before then, there was a lot of sadness and poverty, too. I am not yet to the point in my healing where I can look and just see the good–and perhaps that will never happen. What I do know is that my children are far more carefree than I ever was. I look at how freely Star Child taught her little siblings how to dance, and I know that I was NEVER that free in myself. I watched as Star Child and Gladys Mae played guitar during this morning’s home worship service, and I know that I never felt the freedom to use the talents God gave me the way they do. I listened as Dee joined in singing with her sisters and how they made the most amazing harmonies, and I remembered how I yearned for that kind of closeness with my family. There were a few times in my later teens–usually when we had holiday parties–that people would gather around my parents’ piano and my mother or Hank (friend and church organist) would play and all of us would sing hymns in harmony. Hearing my daughters this morning brought back that time for me–and it was a reminder that God had me then, He had me when I was molested, and He has me now. I may never have been as free to share my talents as my daughters, and I may never have been as open to the moment as they often are, but God is redeeming my past with my now. Because this morning and this evening I stayed in and enjoyed the moment. He does restore the years the locusts have eaten.
Each moment is precious. Each is a gift from God. What we do with it is up to us. We can escape it (denial) or we can live in it. I choose to live in it, as difficult as that sometimes can be. My children are teaching me great things–lessons I am free to learn because God is healing my soul. And I rejoice because, although they will have battles of their own to face, they will do so from healthier places. And that is God’s grace.
And here a few pictures of some moments of the past few weeks:
Curious George had his first ER visit: three stitches to the chin after a fall at the playground. The Handy Man had to handle it all alone as it happened 20 minutes before I had to be at work.
Our friend Kristy, along with her two daughters, came to build gingerbread houses with us. We didn’t get to it before Christmas–a combination of full schedules and revolving sickness kept us putting it off–but we finally got together for a fun afternoon! Here is her younger daughter, whom Little Princess adores.
Here, Kristy’s older daughter has made friends with Curious George (he is quite the little flirt!) ….Dee is next to George.
Star Child and Little Princess diligently at work….
Waldo The Handy Man? Lil’ Adventurer has his eyes on the prize…in this case, the candy.
Creative use of ice-cream cones and M-n-M’s on the graham cracker house. (I also loved the mini-wheat roof!)
Gladys Mae was not a willing photographic subject, but we did get ONE of her face.
Our finished house….amid “construction debris”…the back
And the front
A hug says it all