Every circumstance around the birth of Andrea was pretty miserable. It was July and the heat was unusually high. There was no air conditioning in our tiny apartment and I can remember the sweat just dripping down my huge stomach. I kept telling everyone that I couldn't wait to go into labor just so I could be in air conditioning. When I was finally wheeled into labor and delivery, I thought the hospital felt extremely warm. Even stifling. The nurses broke the news to me that their air conditioning was broke and it wouldn't be fixed for days. Of course, Andrea didn't know about my circumstances at the time, she just wanted to be born. Soon after our precious baby came into this world, I began hemorrhaging, passed out and was rushed to surgery. Healing was slow and days later, Mike's mom came to stay with us to help out. In the heat. So we sat on the couch, miserable and drenched, passing Andrea back and forth. I was hot and hormonal. But it didn't end there. We were suddenly taken over with fleas from the upstairs apartment and they wouldn't stop chewing on us. (Not a good thing when your mother in law is over for a visit) Our feet and ankles looked like a dot to dot coloring book. Despite all this, baby Andrea didn't have a clue. She didn't know how hot I was or exhausted from loss of blood and sleepless nights. She didn't know fleas were having a feast on my feet and ankles. All she knew was that she needed me and wanted to be loved and when I looked down at her, my heart was over flowing with it. We all have bad days or even weeks, but if we get stuck on our bad circumstances we will miss out on opportunities to love someone in need. Someone that might not have a clue that you don't have air conditioning and you're hot or that you have flea issues 😉 We have a bad day and get irritable and grumpy. Picking the kids up at school, traffic, running to the store or dry cleaners. Our jobs. Everything adds to our irritability. We never notice others around us. The cashier whose heart is broken or the other mom at school who just needs a friend. We miss seeing others who desperately want to be loved. Whose need is far greater than our trivial circumstances. Someone who might have just lost a loved one or whose marriage is falling apart. Someone who needs hope. Someone who needs you. We miss out on opportunities to tell them about the new life they can have in Christ or show them the love that comes from being His child. Having the heart of a mother made it easy to love Andrea with my everything, despite my circumstances, just as having the heart of Christ will make it easy to have over flowing love for others. So despite our circumstances, let's pray that as we look up at the Father, He gives us the heart of His Son. Then let's love with our everything.
Amy was my best friend. Not just my sister in law, my best friend. Back when we didn't have cell phones and couldn't afford long distance phone calls, we emailed each other daily. Every night after the kids were asleep~the laundry and dishes all done and the house quiet, my thoughts to myself~I would get on our huge computer with dial up Internet and read Amy's email. It was our way of talking and sharing. Laughing and crying. Loving, and holding on to memories. The first night returning home from her funeral, after the kids were asleep and the house was quiet, I looked at that big, old, dial up computer and just cried. I cried and cried and cried. Even though Mike was there, a part of me felt all alone. I miss talking to Amy every single day. For some reason the other night~after the house was quiet and my thoughts were again my own~God showed me how busy my life had been and how I hadn't spent much time talking with Him, my best friend, like I should. He reminded my heart of how it felt when I could no longer talk to Amy and how much I missed it. And I realized how much He missed me. How can we get so caught up in our day to day activities that we miss out on talking to our best friend? But we do. We don't read His words. We don't talk or share. We don't laugh or cry or love. We just get busier and trudge on until pretty soon we feel all alone. Would I set my alarm at 5:30am just to have the chance to talk to Amy again? You better believe it. So why can't I with God? There is no reason. And the crazy thing is, when I do spend time talking to Him it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted and His joy and peace are always present. I can't talk to Amy anymore, but God has given me an amazing gift. Amy's son Tyler moved in with us this past year and I get to talk to him every day. He's so much a part of Amy. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of how proud she must be of him, and I'm so thankful. And I'm so thankful to God, my best friend, for giving me the gift of His Son, who died for me so that I can have that relationship with Him. He's always there to talk to. WE GET TO TALK TO GOD'S SON. Can we just wrap our minds around that? Once we do, our lives will change and we won't ever feel alone again.
The day the school called Mike and I to talk about our son's hearing was a bit of a shock. Little 7 yr. old Michael had failed his hearing test at school. The next step was to go see a specialist. After several tests, it was determined that Michael had some major hearing loss in his right ear. The loss was a result of a seizure, caused by a spiked fever from an infection. At a certain decibel, he couldn't hear a thing. My voice was that exact decibel. No joke. Most women's voices were. Michael could be walking right in front of me and I would say-"Michael....Michael....Michael!"~
nothing. Then his dad would say~"Michael" and he would hear him immediately. Michael loved his daddy so much that he wanted to be just like him, and as long as he wasn't in trouble when his daddy called, he was thrilled. I was not thrilled. It wasn't that he didn't love me, I knew he did. He just couldn't hear me. Most times he would have to get very close to me to hear what I was saying. Needless to say, it was frustrating. There were times I had to repeat myself over and over. I can't help but think how often I am that way with God. At times we let this world infect our hearts and we don't hear our Savior when He's trying to get our attention. We miss a few days spending time with Him in prayer and Bible reading, and wonder why we aren't happy. But we turn on the TV, or scroll through our phones instead and when He calls to us, we can't hear Him. We fight with our spouse and go to bed angry, knowing we should apologize. But we don't. We lay in bed miserable and when He calls to us, we can't hear Him. We talk about others in a negative way, justifying our reasons~ when there is no righteous reason for gossip~ and when the preacher hits on it in his message, again, we can't hear God calling out. And then one day we wake up and all we want to do is cry, our joy is gone and we don't know why until suddenly, the Holy Spirit's voice calls out to our deepest souls. And we hear Him. We hear God. I am so thankful that He doesn't get frustrated with me like I did with Michael. I'm so thankful that He will continue to call out to me and never give up, no matter how many times I cannot hear His calling. Don't let the this world deafen God's calls to your infected heart. Love your heavenly daddy so much, that when He calls out to you, you hear Him and you are thrilled to be in His presence. Michael's hearing never got better, but ours can. Even if we have to ask God to repeat what He has spoken to us over and over. Because He loves us so much, He will never get frustrated. The closer we get to our Savior, the easier it will be to hear Him until one day His presence will be so near that His voice drowns out the noise of life, and we will never miss His calling.
I'm an insecure person. Maybe because I'm shy. Or, maybe I'm shy because I'm insecure 😂😂 I don't know. I'm super critical of myself and when I look in the mirror, I don't always like what I see. I would never fit in with this selfie generation. If you look at my kid's Facebook pages, you would think they didn't have a mom 😂 I avoid cameras like the plague. Why is it that even when I'm 51, I can still remember snide remarks made about my looks while I was growing up? I was feeling so sassy in the sixth grade with my new Dorothy Hamill haircut, until I got this comment~ "between your body and that haircut, you look just like a boy". I know so many women that have moments of insecurity just like I do, and yet when I see each one of you, I don't find any flaws, only beauty all around me. In all of you. What are the qualities in each of you that I find so beautiful? A sweet remark. A genuine smile. A warm hug. A shoulder to cry on. An "I'm praying for you" or "you are loved". All of you have a glow. A beauty that shines from deep within. Beauty that is there when the makeup is gone and the hair isn't fixed just right. Beauty that's there even when mascara is smeared over tears that were shed. The other day, as I was writing a friend, I was thinking about why we as women struggle with insecurities. It was a clear, sunny day and as I wrote, I looked outside and commented to her~ "the sun is shining and makes the snow look so beautiful". And God smiled. He said to my heart~ "Charisse, as long as the Son is shining, you are beautiful". God's Son is our source of beauty. When our Savior shines from us, and He is our everything~ that's what makes us beautiful. Those days when I haven't spent time with Him, when I'm grumbling and complaining about everything and everyone, my countenance can look like a thunder storm and when I see my reflection, I see ugly. But on those days where I lay at His feet and soak up His presence, His joy bursts from me and can't be contained. Just as the sun makes the snow sparkle with beauty, once He is invited into our hearts, they become white as snow and God's Son shining from within makes each of us sparkle as well. Spend time with Him today, soak up His presence. Shine with His beauty and the next time you look in the mirror, smile, sparkle and tell the devil he's gonna need some Son glasses.