THIS~ HELPLESS, OUT OF CONTROL, MOM OF ADULTS~ PHASE.
Lately It seems as if I see more and more articles about the mom life and how hard it is.
How fast it goes.
I’ve read encouragement about everything from babies to teenagers and even advice as they leave for college or their happily ever after with the love of their lives.
There are so many tough transitions through all these phases, but I rarely read about this new phase.
This helpless, out of control, mom of adults phase.
I thought crying babies who wouldn’t sleep was hard. I thought their first day of school and kindergarten graduation was hard. I thought their first crush, their first heartbreak, their college prep, senior trip and last summer at home was hard.
When they went to college I cried my eyes out. When they got married I wasn’t quite ready.
But once they leave~
really leave and are on their own~
no one tells you how incredibly hard that is.
It’s hard because you feel like you no longer have any control whatsoever.
They don’t live under your roof.
You can’t protect them.
And just as it was so very hard when they were little and sick and crying, this is even harder. I’m sure all of you moms have faced one of these situations.
Suddenly they’re no longer tucked in upstairs, they’re hundreds of miles from home.
They don’t have a cough or a tummy ache, they have cancer.
They aren’t having a bad dream, they’re living a bad dream.
They didn’t have an adolescent boy break their heart. They had a husband break their marriage.
They didn’t lose their favorite baby doll. They lost a child.
There are no band aids and kisses that can heal that pain. Mama rocking them to sleep doesn’t make all the bad go away.
And this~ this is agonizing.
It’s in our mom DNA to make that pain go away. To make everything better. To whisper words of comfort. To hold them and sing lullabies. To fix every boo boo and dry every tear.
That’s what we’re supposed to do~
but we can’t.
No one ever warned me what a mother’s heart goes through.
Sleepless nights that don’t go away, no matter their age. They’re still your baby, and if they’re crying you are crying and your heart is shattered.
So what then? What does a mama do when all seems so hopeless. When all control is lost and we can’t do what a mama is supposed to do?
We realize that it was never really us to begin with.
It was God in us.
God in the touch of a mother’s hand. God in the whispers of her heart. God in the softness of her arms. God in the reassurance of her words.
God has never left them and He never will. He is the one who will be there now. Continuing to do all these things that we no longer can.
He will hold them. He will comfort them. He will whisper to their hearts. He will sing lullabies to their souls. They will never be alone. He will watch over them and wrap His loving arms around them. Trust Him that he will continue to do what He has been doing through you all along mama.
It isn’t easy. It’s very, very hard. We as mothers would take that pain and heart ache for our children a thousand times over if we could. But we can’t.
So now it’s time to give that pain and all the shattered pieces to Jesus.
Place that child in His tender, loving arms and watch Him do miracles that mamas do, but no longer can.
You know in your mama heart how deep your love for your children is. Hold on to that knowledge
His love is infinitely deeper than ours could ever be.
YOUR ‘NO’ MIGHT BE GOD’S ‘YES’
2 minute read
I can remember sitting in Cobo arena with my parents.
Thousands of people were there to hear one man speak. I was probably only in 7th or 8th grade but I can vividly remember looking at that crowd and thinking how amazingly beautiful it would be if I were in that man’s shoes, reaching and encouraging thousands for the Lord. I prayed that someday, somehow I could glorify Jesus that way.
I finished high school with a longing in my heart to be a teacher. I enrolled in college with a major in elementary education. I loved teaching and I loved children. I just knew God placed that desire within me and I prayed that someday that desire would be fulfilled.
I got married and we started a family. Since grade school I had dreamt of becoming an author and publishing a book. I started with a course on children’s writing. I had so many thoughts in my head that I wanted my pen to tell. I prayed that someday, when my children were grown and my life was less busy God would allow me that dream.
In each instance I asked God~
Would You allow this for me? Could You? But as the years went by~
I thought His answer to each of these was no.
I have never gotten to reach or encourage thousands of people in an arena.
I never was an elementary school teacher. I never wrote or published a book.
I married a pastor and eventually we moved to a small town in the thumb of MI. No huge crowds. No large arenas. A pastor’s wife at a tiny church of less than 100.
The years went by. I raised my children and watched and prayed as each left our little home and then one day...
as I sat and listened to the broken heart of a woman seeking counsel, God whispered to my own heart to begin something new.
That was this.
The beginning of Holding Hope.
And so, yesterday as I thanked Him for this beautiful privilege He has allowed me~
He showed me.
and He did.
40 years after the quiet prayer of a shy girl in the midst of thousands, He answered.
He didn’t answer in the way I expected.
No, I don’t get up in an arena and talk to thousands. From my very small town in the Midwest, God chose to use social media as His platform instead. Holding Hope.
No, I never taught in a school. God brought me to a church where, for a long time I was the only teacher for the children there. For 25 years He has allowed me to fulfill that dream and today I teach along side my own children in that very same church. And no, I have never published or even written a book, but every week God allows this pen to write the stories He puts in my heart.
Don’t give up. Wherever you might be right now, whatever your prayer, whatever your dream~ God has your answer. It might not come tomorrow or next week or next year. It might take 40 years, but He will answer.
Hold on to that hope.
You might be a student, sitting in a classroom wondering if God could ever use you to reach and encourage others.
You might be a mama, sitting in the middle of babies and bottles and diapers with a “someday” dream tucked away in your heart.
You might be a grandmother who hasn’t even realized that God has already answered your prayers.
He has always been faithful, even in my unfaithfulness.
My no was His yes.
Search your heart for His yes and when you find it, you will find so many more answers to the prayers you have whispered through the years.
Prayers you may have forgotten~
but He never did,
and He never will.
Don't ever let Him become just a nonessential habit.
A check list.
Let His love break you to the point that nothing in this world compares.
Determine that each day you will not talk to others until you talk to Him.
When you speak to Him in public, or in private, may you never forget that you are speaking to the King of Kings~ your Almighty Father.
Focus on that thought every single time you hear the words "let's pray".
That every thought, every word, every action and every reaction is all abandoned to Him and His glory.
Let His love be blinding in its brilliance as it shines from your heart.
Let Him be so real to you that you can hear His voice in every decision, that you can feel His presence no matter where you are that you can feel His peace no matter what you are going through.
Be addicted to Him and Him only.
Let thoughts of the cross and His love for you bring you to your knees.
Worship Him incessantly.
Praise Him endlessly.
Pray to Him continually.
Don't ever take His grace for granted.
Let His mercy move you and His Word always awe you.
Be so consumed with Christ that thankfulness is always in your thoughts and on your lips.
Always have the selfless heart of the Servant your Savior was.
See the world through the eyes of your Savior as He suffered on the cross for your sins and mine.
Don't ever get used to it.
Let it be renewed in your heart every minute of every day.
What does Love require?
It required everything.
And that’s exactly what He gave.
Make Him your Everything.
HOW TO HOLD ON TO HOPE
December 2019 did not end the way I had anticipated.
My heart was tremendously heavy for loved ones, neighbors and even people on social media that I have never met. People going through horrible heartache and trials. I couldn’t shake the sadness I felt for each of them. Prayers were spoken continually for what seemed like hopeless situations.
And with the sadness, I looked to a season for happiness instead of my Savior.
I wrapped presents.
I made cookies.
I went to parties.
I ate too much junk food.
I stayed up too late.
I struggled with perfectionism.
I watched too many Hallmark movies while I neglected much needed time with God.
And yet, at the stroke of midnight a new decade was ushered in, whether Charisse was ready for it or not.
In the quietness of my bedroom as these words pour out of me, God begins whispering His words into my heart.
New Years resolutions?
My flesh has already failed my resolve, but praise God He tells me that my flesh does not have to prevail~
as long as He is my hope. Psalm 73:26
He is telling me that I don’t have to be ready. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to have my life in order as I step into this new decade, because~
CHRIST IS MY PERFECTION.
And that’s what Holding Hope is all about.
No matter what you feel, no matter what you are going through at this very moment~
the very first week of this new decade~
You can hold onto hope.
If your heart is screaming right now~ “How?... How do I hold on to hope?”
The only answer I have for you is this~
Call out to Him.
Read His words of hope, written just for you.
Ask others to go to Him on your behalf.
Even if you mess up every single day or your future looks grim~ keep calling out to Him.
Even if your heart has been deeply wounded by others,
or maybe wounded over the heartache of others~
Keep calling out to Him.
He assures us that His mercies are new EVERY morning and so is His faithfulness.
His faithfulness is not contingent on our faithfulness.
His comfort, peace and joy are not contingent on our worthiness.
His love is not contingent on our love and His forgiveness, grace and mercy are not contingent on our perfection.
Today I whisper His name.
Over and over and over I whisper it.
I whisper it for others.
I whisper it for myself.
I whisper it for you.
And my heart rests in knowing that 2020 will be perfect.
Not because of anything Charisse has done, but because of EVERYTHING Christ has done for me~
and for you.
There are no hopeless situations because He is my God of all Hope~
And I will forever hold on to that.
1 Corinthians 2:9
STEP THROUGH THAT DOOR
I want to linger here a little longer.
Perhaps it’s because I realize
each year seems to pass more quickly than the last.
Time is fleeting.
I want to linger in the Christmas magic.
I don’t want it to be over already.
I want to linger in the childlike wonder of my grandchildren. I want to linger in the sounds of their tiny little voices as they tell me all about their moments and their days. I want to linger as they hand me Christmas pictures they drew. I want to linger in their snuggles, before they are too old to want to snuggle anymore.
Just like I wanted to linger when my own children were that age.
Yes, I want to linger, but I know I can’t.
Where did the year go?
No, I don’t want 2019 to end.
But I hold out my hand, I ask God to take it and I step through the door of 2020.
This is Gods plan.
Not to look back.
Not to hold on to the past, but to look forward to the future.
As hard as it was at times to watch my children grow up and out of the childlike wonder Christmas held for them, I look at them now, and the glow of Christmas still lights up their eyes. The smile on their faces on Christmas morning still takes me back and the pride I have for the adults they’ve become still brings tears.
And I can see it. I can see all of the same things in my grand babies eyes~
and it’s magical.
I can see a future wrapped up in Jesus. And that brings tears.
They were being naughty the other day.
I was trying to get them to calm down and behave, so I turned on a Christmas movie.
It didn’t have the desired effect I was hoping for.
Naughtiness still ensued.
Jumping on the couch. Doing somersaults on the floor. Asking a thousand times how many more days until they could open their presents.
So I asked the one who was misbehaving most~“Clara, are you paying attention to the movie?”
She looked at me and nodded, so I asked~“Then what’s the best way to spread Christmas cheer?”
(If you’ve seen the movie you know the answer- ‘singing loud for all to hear’.)
Suddenly the room got very quiet. The other grandchildren were sure she would get it wrong.
In the softest, sweetest voice she answered~
And she meant it.
No questions. No hesitating.
It’s a future of moments like this that I can’t wait to unwrap.
It’s hard to let go of the past. It’s hard to see our babies become adults. But the sweetness the years bring when those years are wrapped up in Jesus is a future that’s filled with hope and love. Joy and excitement. Peace. Philippians 4:7
Yes I will step through the door of 2020 and spread that Christmas cheer. I may want to linger still, but I will look ahead to a future wrapped up in the excitement and joy that only Jesus can bring.
Clara got it so right.
The door of new beginnings.
The door of possibilities.
The door of joy and peace.
The door that only Jesus can open.
Look ahead. Take His hand and step through that door with me.
Happy New Year dear friends!