I tried writing something tremendously thoughtful, artistic – and it was so long, with too much – that I thought, let’s treat this first post radically different! Let’s just celebrate this new thing I’m doing! So I chose flowers – because, well, all celebrations and kitchen tables should have flowers! Today I am starting a new thing, This celebration is all about change; it’s about where I’ve been and where I’m going.
Where have I been? For 11 years, I’ve been at WordPress, writing at a little blog called Blue Cotton Memory: The Faith, Love and Politics of Raising Boys to Men. When it started, it was a totally selfish endeavor – I wanted to write. Yet, I’d given that dream to God in the middle of raising five boys. When I started, I had no idea what this dream would look like one year later, five years later, 11 years later. It’s been a journal of God encouraging me in the challenges – and me fighting to hold on to God in the challenges. Through the last 11 years of blogging:
God taught me to be a better me,
taught me about unconditional love,
how to be a warrior,
forgiveness – how to give it
how to stop asking for the same thing a gazillian times a day, but instead to ask once and trust
to ask Him to just stand with me in the wait,
and how The Wait is the most important part of the prayer sent out,
how He’s not surprised, though I am,
how dreams walk out in His story-line schedule,
how those years of praying for a second child due to secondary infertility were his way of preparing my heart, my determination to never give up on the answered prayers just because it’s challenging,
He’s a loving father who wraps me in His hugs,
and the John Wayne warrior who fights fiercely for me,
He has the most beautiful room set aside for me with a gorgeous view in His house,
He always has the saving plan,
and out of every crucifixion come resurrection,
and so much more – this is just a sampling of what He’s shown me through 11 years of blogging, not just about my sons, but about what this mom needed to raise those God gave me.
Last year, in June, Blue Cotton Memory: The Faith, Love, and Politics of Raising Boys to Men completed its Mission Statement. The youngest graduated from high school(for me that is a total of 28 years of k-12). The pen for writing my son’s story was handed over permanently to him – it was like a bake show host calling “Time” at a cook-off – when all contestants’ hands fly off their workmanship and fly up or they’re disqualified. Whatever the metaphor, my hands-on job was completed. It was time to let go and let God.
Do you know the difference between God and a Mama? Mama’s barge in uninvited to “help” in challenges. God waits to be invited. I needed to change. I needed to wait to be invited, like God does. It’s hard, especially after years and years teaching how to walk, drive a car, use the potty, cook chicken all the way through, count, do laundry, read, pray, negotiate relationships, how to spell their name, ask forgiveness, say, “Yes, Mam,” and “No, Sir” – and, well, pretty much everything, except science – I’m a humanities girl. I have to retrain for a new job description because the old job description no longer applies to what motherhood requires of me.
Someone asked me what Letting Go and Letting God meant. It means not meddling, not lecturing, not telling others how things need to be done (unless asked and sometimes not even then). As my husband says about any of our sons, “He’s a man now. He can make his own decisions.” It’s trusting that I have equipped them to best of my ability – and trained them how to handle that equipment. It’s letting them go down the trail to meet their life without telling them how to do it. It’s life. It’s the test. It’s theirs. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do – to keep my mouth shut. . . . to not put teachable in the moments.
It’s their God-designed story. I cannot make it turn out right by bedtime anymore. They have to learn to do that themselves. Hands Off!
. . . because even more powerful than hands on is hands up in prayer, and trusting God enough to coach my sons through the life-story He has designed. He can do more, achieve more than I ever did or could in my hands-on season.
My boys are raised – and so are my hands. My job now? To encourage, to love unconditional, to be a safe place like a warm blanket for brief respite from a stormy challenge, a cheer leader always, to withhold judgement because I do not know the work God is doing – and it’s not my business to know. It’s my business to trust God. If I cannot trust God, I cannot let go – and that results in meddling, interfering, and possibly making a bigger mess for God to clean up.
Home is still their home. The door will always open, their rooms always ready, the fridge filled. I also know sometimes God might ask me to put my hands back on, and He will let me know – but I am trusting that God is never surprised, though I may be (I cannot say that enough on some days in both good and challenging circumstances).
Life at the Blue Cotton House isn’t empty. Two boys are living at home, attending the local university, wanting me to cook every night (which, you know – training wheels coming off because they need to do some cooking now – living at home can make hands off and hands up more challenging), my grandson spending a couple of days a week at our house while his mom and dad work. There’s no quiet morning with a cup of Wild Apple Ginger Tea watching the sun stretch over the kitchen table. There’s a lot more ink in the pen of my story God’s writing – which means more lessons, more challenges – because I am a work in progress, so I am celebrating. . . and I can because my ideas and solutions are mere shadows compared to God’s ideas, solutions and storylines! Trying to live Grace in a Hands-off and Hands-up, Letting-Go and Letting God Change!
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:. . .
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,” – Ecc 3: 1,6b
***THANK YOU to my WebSite Builders, Heather Mertens and her daughter Em, who created exactly what I wanted, even though I could not visualize it! They were patient with my pace because I’d had spinal fusion surgery in January – and, friends, I isolated for six weeks before the world did, but during that time, God opened doors for me, doors for change, doors for living life and living it abundantly, doors opening for God to show me how to Let Go and Let Him! Heather and Em finished right on schedule – and I absolutely love it!
. . . And Thank You! For coming by, for helping me celebrate this something new!
Linking with these blogs this week:
Trekking Through – http://www.trekkingthru.com/
http://www.richfaithrising.com/ Unite the Bloggosphere
http://purposefulfaith.com/ Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp
http://www.messymarriage.com/ Messy Marriage
Mary Geisen/ TellingHisStoryInspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday