When Mother Mode Isn’t Enough
On a break from holiday decorating, I clicked on news headlines. In Connecticut children died this morning in their classroom. A mother was shot as was her son, the shooter. An Administrator was gunned down while giving announcements. In a school. On a Friday. 11 days before Christmas.
Between tears all I could breathe was, “Dear Jesus help them.”
My last post was called Mother Mode . It dealt with being able to jump in, save the day and overcome all sorts of adversity. A tragedy such as what is unfolding before us in CT can never be overcome. Mother Mode and the highest safety standards for public schools wasn’t enough.
Sometimes in the face of inexplicable evil we are not enough. It’s a fact we seldom consider and never discuss. This frailty of our human condition. This life which is governed by autonomic responses (read: automatic with no real explanation why) to even breathe. This fleeting existence which, in the span of time to pull a trigger, can be ended.
It should humble us and cause us to recognize our need for a supernatural outpouring. For the families and community in CT an outpouring of grace, strength and peace. For those seeking answers and justice an outpouring of wisdom. For us an outpouring for loving abundantly in every precious moment those we love and who have been given to us to love.
Though I am hundreds of miles away, I want to jump in my car and speed to my little Christian school in the field. I want to embrace my sons and fold them into myself so that nothing and no one could ever harm them. I can’t.
Instead, I’ll pray for a supernatural outpouring. I’ll pray to be more the mother I was created to be and less the mother I think I should be. I’ll pray they get to live a long and messy and happy life full of adventures. I’ll pray to set aside the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ and make time to play. I’ll pray for the other mothers, who will not get to rush to the bus and hug their babies as I will today.
When Mother Mode isn’t enough. God has to be. He simply does.
The tinkly, brittle crash of glass. In my retail store, where I work part-time, that spells trouble. Crash accompanied by a crying child spells disaster.
I ran over a few customers to get there. A ginormous bell-jar had toppled and splintered all over the middle of the store when a child reached into it. Thankfully the little girl, all gussied up in her “Go to Santa” photo clothes, was spared any injury. Only seconds later I was not and ended up dripping blood all over my growing pile of glass.
My co-worker, an amazing Speech Pathology graduate student, said, “You went straight into Mommy-Mode.” It made me stop picking up shards for a minute to think.
Mommy-Mode = action. I had to clean up the mess and secure the child. I didn’t think twice about grabbing jagged daggers of glass to keep the children and other customers from doing so.
Mommy-Mode= comfort. Days before this incident I found myself wrapped around my 5-year-old. We were standing in front of the toilet and he was enduring his first bout of stomach flu. I didn’t hesitate to hug his heaving frame to my chest. I cheered him on when he was calm. I changed my shirt and cuddled next to his fevered body the rest of the night.
Mommy-Mode = attention. While my son slept after being sick in the bathroom, I did not. I stayed awake for hours. I watched him sleep. I kissed his forehead. I listened to his breathing. I tucked him again and again.
I can’t help thinking about “Mommy Mode” being a weaker version of what the “Father Mode” is from Heaven. I forget how often He has chosen to remove the jagged shards of broken soul or shattered dream from my heart. Too quickly I believe it was I who avoided that accident or screw up at work or other problem which miraculously worked itself out. My head becomes wearied from holding it up rather than resting it upon the chest of the One whose heartbeat keeps mine going.
Tonight, I’ll ask for Him to go into Father Mode. And I’ll wait until I feel arms around me and a kiss on my forehead. Tonight I pray you do too.
I have over 12,000 words to get out in the next two weeks.
I am hosting Thanksgiving and I swear the carpet stains are conspiring to rise up and eat the dog.
I work a part time job in a store in the midst of the busy holiday season.
I am a full time Mom whose husband works 60+ hours a week.
To say there is much going on would be an understatement.
I needed to put in a couple hours this morning on a contract due in three days. It’s a complicated federal proposal. I am working with a group of about 10 practitioners in a field I have never worked in. I woke up hardly able to breathe.
Of course, it would be THIS morning, my oldest would forget how to move forward, listen and problem solve how to get dressed/brush teeth/tie shoes.
It would also be THIS morning I would have to run out of coffee.
This blog explores eating less, praying more and loving abundantly. This morning, I nearly ate the entire box of donuts, rendering my mouth incapable of praying around the fatty sugary goodness. Loving a smart-aleck, sleepy and slow-as-molasses 9 year old, was a tad less than abundant.
As I returned from speeding to the school and back, my five year old asked me to play “Frosty Basketball” in the driveway. In my head reverberated the scream, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”. Out of my mouth came, “Sure!” I set a timer and made clear when it rang, we would be done.
We played one-on-a half (my son is only 3 feet tall) for 20 minutes until the cold made our fingers too painful to play. I thought, as I sat down to finally work, I would be in pain for not having spent the previous hour nose attached to the screen. Instead, I found my head to be clear and my heart light.
I’m behind on the work a bit, however, I know I’ll catch up. I feel stronger and ready to tackle the challenge.
There’s something about taking a pause to play which thaws our often frozen hearts. I will never forget my son’s giggles as I used the ‘tickle defense’. I can still feel his little arms around my waist as he celebrated making the shot.
How will you pause to play today? Is there a frosty basketball hoop which could use your attention? Your heart sure could.
Don’t Tell Mom
I came home the other night. The curtains in the livingroom were askew. I waited for the story.
My husband told me they accidentally were torn down. He imitated my youngest, voice and all, “Daddy, I’m sorry! Pleeeeeease don’t tell Moooooommmmyyy!” We had a good laugh and then went on with our evening.
That statement, however, has stuck with me. I know, logically, my dear 5 year old was simply avoiding punishment for whatever behavior led to the curtains crashing. What kid wants to get in trouble when he can avoid it? My heart, however illogical, was a bit hurt by this.
Why wouldn’t he want me to know? Is he afraid of me? I once thought it was better to be feared then loved. I would joke about my kids being afraid of me. Now I am not so sure.
Not telling me is a way to avoid accountability. Therefore, they must not see accountability in a good way. Or I have been too harsh and the accountability I provide is too tough. Either way, it is a withdrawing from relationship.
Lately, I have been practicing a “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy with God. If I don’t ask Him anything then He won’t tell me where I need to grow. The curtains of my spiritual life are hanging crooked in some corners. I have, for a long time, pretended He wouldn’t notice.
The thing is, just as I saw the unevenness as soon as I walked in the room, so too God sees the unevenness of my faith and devotion. Rather than hide from me or withdraw, as my children have done with me, He comes running closer.
Take the parable of the Prodigal Son. The Father runs across the field and meets his son with open arms. The son doesn’t even have to confess to his sins before the Father is placing the ring of authority on his hand and wrapping his wearied shoulders in a new robe.
Technically, I don’t have to tell Father God anything. He already knows everything because of that omniscient gift of His. I don’t have to tell, but that doesn’t mean He stops asking.
In fact, He keeps asking. He keeps reaching out, in small and large ways. He tries to get my attention and runs towards me when I am only able to do halting baby steps. He stands ready, at anytime, at every time, to embrace me and place a new robe upon my wearied shoulders.
I straightened those curtains. I also had a conversation with my sons about loving them even when they make a mistake or a bad decision.
I started to ask and to tell Father God all the things in my heart. My curtains aren’t straight yet, however, I can feel His hand reaching to tuck them back into place.