To Read on the Journey

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Go back to what you know for sure

It's been almost a year since I blogged here on Victory Rd. I sat down today ready to begin again. If you're a blogger than you know when you make your way to that blank page to hammer out words, all the pages you've written before will be there staring at you. The many posts you've clicked "publish" on, and the many more you didn't. I was gonna write today, I really was. But then I started looking through posts I'd never published. And I found this one, below, from last February. 

(And ... I can't afford it, but it's mine)   
And this mama needs to be enveloped in this gift today, to press "publish" on these words of blessing about me before I begin again... in fact, maybe that's the best way to begin.

Before you read the following paper written by Emilie for an essay class you should know: 

I learned from the two generation of mothers and daughters before me how to be downright nasty to each other. I was the daughter who rolled her eyes at her mother, spoke like a sailor about her, and gave her a certain finger gesture when she wasn't looking. Until a handful of years ago I still felt deep hostility toward her.  

As a result, I was terrified to have daughters. I was certain they'd grow to hate me.
Emilie was born seven weeks early. And I wonder if God allowed her to be a preemie so I wouldn't feel threatened by her.  Because she was so early there were some concerns. Concerns which caused me to forget my fear, and plead with God, "Please let me keep her!" Sometimes I think the LORD purposely authored it all that way, to reveal to me how desperately and how truly I wanted my daughter

Two years later I was pregnant, and afraid to have another girl. After the ultrasound tech announced, "Emilie is going to have a playmate!" I went home and cried for three days, and sobbed to Michael, "Great! Now there will be two girls to hate me."  

After the third day of crying I had a dream: The setting was Easter dinner at an aunt's house. Three women were seated close together at the dinner table. An older woman was tucked in the middle of two lovely younger ladies. The three women were smiling and laughing. At that point in the dream I asked God who these women were? "That's you and your girls. They're your best friends."  He paused. "And you are theirs."

 From then on when the lie that my girls were going to hate me surfaced- and let me tell you, it surfaced a lot for a lot of years- I'd remember something an old pastor's wife said to me once, "Go back to what you know for sure." That image of my girls and I at that Easter table- that promise, that we'd be close and happy and laughing and would grow to be best friends, that's the "for sure" I'd go back to.  

And a beautiful thing happened as a result of leaning into that truth instead of the nasty lie- I started to believe it.  

Also, It was years later that it finally occurred to me that the setting for that dream was Easter. I'm thinking God purposely authored it that way too. After all, He is well known for allowing a thing to die and then resurrecting it to new life.  I know, because He's doing it in me all the time.
Anyway, I thought you should know all that before you read Em's essay. Because you ought to have a glimpse of the incredible mess I was, so you can see what a miracle and gift her words are to me.

“And I Can’t Afford it, but it’s Mine”

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praises her”-Proverbs 31: 25-28

 “And I can’t afford it but it’s mine,” whispers my mommy when my dad  kisses her on her rounded cheek.  “And I can’t afford it but it’s mine,” she utters when her children proclaim their jubilation in Jesus to her.  “And I can’t afford it but it’s mine” she triumphs when she reads about her Savior dying on the cross for her sins.  My mom says this phrase meaning that she feels humbled to have what she doesn’t deserve.  Mommy is my “and I can’t afford it but it’s mine.”  I don’t deserve her, but she’s mine!  She is my role model. With her outgoing personality, she shines Jesus’ light to others through her actions and conversations.  She passionately studies and teaches the Word.  I am blessed by the impact she is making in my life to follow Jesus and pursue a relationship with Him.

My mom, wearing a patterned blouse, dark jeans, and tan boots, strides over to the check out line in Target, I bring the rear, pushing the red shopping cart.  As we wait in line, my mom makes friends out of the strangers surrounding us.  Her cupids bow lips spread into a wide grin and her straight white teeth show as she tells a story to a mother holding her baby, causing the mother to laugh.  Momentarily, it is our turn for us to place our items on the conveyor belt.  I hear high pitched beeping sounds as the cashier scans our goods and determines the amount due.  My mom clutches her black purse with her petite hands, her curly hair which curves like ripples in the sea, swishes as she searches for her money and collects the charge.  As she reaches out to hand the cash to the cashier, she takes notice of his name tag.  Her round shaped face illuminates as she enthusiastically asks, “John, did you know that the meaning of your name is “Yahweh is gracious?”.”  The cashier, sporting a red polo shirt and khakis, shakes his head side to side and beams.  While John bags our purchased items, she proceeds to ask John what his middle name is, if he has any siblings, and what his parents names are.  Her voice is a joyful tone as she reveals the significance of his family’s names and intentionally shares glimpses of Jesus to him.  Then my mom and I grab the bagged items.  I take her free hand, which is soft against mine, and hold it as we walk out of the store to the parking lot where our car is parked.  I notice a bounce in her step as we stroll to our car.

One Saturday morning, my mom ebulliently exclaims that she discovered the gospel being testified in Genesis 5 through the lineage of Adam.  The two of us are in our jammies and curled up on our living room couch. Her leather Bible, which she passionately consumes everyday, lies on her fuzzy robed lap.  Her chestnut hair that was swept behind her ear falls out of place as she clutches her polka dot cased phone, intently researching the internet for the Hebrew meanings of Adam’s name though Noah’s.  She fervently reads her found treasure, "This is God’s message of salvation in the meaning of the names of the lineage of Adam!  Man, possessed, mortal, sorrow, the blessed God, shall come down, to train up, disciple, teach, His death shall bring, the despairing, rest.”  My mom’s milk chocolate eyes open wide as she explains how creative it is of God to reveal the Gospel simply through the meaning of names.  While she talks I ponder how my mommy is not only fascinated with the significance of people’s names and to have their names be known, but she has an intensity for God’s sovereign name to be known and glorified. 
Several years ago, my mom discovered that her maiden name “Teodosio” means God-giver.  As a mommy, she lives out the meaning of that name and speaks truth into her children’s lives.  Every weekday morning, before my brother and I depart to go to school, my siblings and I sit down on our living room couch and my mom reads the Bible to us.  I walk over to sit by her and her face lights up.  I nestle in next to her, resting my head against her shoulder.  As I burrow close, a blanket of security envelops me.  I feel like a hatching protected by its mother's wings.  She tenderly opens the Bible and thoughtfully voices the scripture aloud.  The promising words dance off her tongue into our hearts, preparing us for the joys and tribulations of the future.  After reading we bow our heads and my mom fights for us in prayer, my heart is sustained by her words.  
During the day, her fingertips prance across a keyboard and words are produced that fill a screen.  Her face glows from the luminous computer screen.  She records memories and her journey with God on her blog, knowing that her children and generation’s after will have the ability to view this virtual journal.  She prays over them as she types, craving that they will know and serve the Lord.  
When I was small my mom would enter my bedroom at night.  She tenderly caressed my face with her hands, softly singing hymns as I drifted off to sleep.  When she worshiped, her lips extolled God.  I saw glimpses of God’s beauty as she praised him.  This memory is a reminder of how faithful my mom is as a mother and a follower of Christ.  She fears the Lord and exemplifies the adventure of following him. I don’t deserve her love, and I don’t deserve God’s immeasurable love.   “And I can’t afford it but it’s mine.”

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”-Proverbs 31: 30-31

 Live in Peace,


Simply Sara said...

First- I've missed your written heart. I hope this means that you will be back more. Pretty please!
Second- Emilie, you have such a sweet heart and gift for words. Your essay was soooooo beautiful. I can't wait to read more of what you write, because I KNOW you will write more!!
And third.... God used you both to bless this weary mama. On a day when I was feeling like, can I really do this? Am I enough? Reading this today reminded me that God uses Mamas. He uses the everyday. He uses our passion for Him. And he uses our messy mess to bring Him glory!
Love you both!!

Linda Z said...

I love that you blogged!! I have missed reading your wonderful thoughts! I'm so glad that God has wrote such a beautiful story of redemption through the relationship that you have with your daughters. What a special gift. Emilie's writing reminds me so much of yours. I'm so glad she allowed you to share her sweet thoughts. You both affirm the good in others! I love that!

Chrissy said...

This is so truly beautiful. There aren't many more words to say about it than that. It's just all so beautiful. And I love that you love name meanings....when you emailed me about Kaylie and Jeffrey's meanings it was so special. Love you