Monthly Archives: August 2013

When a Foreign Country Leads You Home


I want to be loved. But I don’t just want to be loved. I want to be loved by the person that I love the most in this world. But I don’t just want to be loved by the person that I love most in this world. I want to be loved by the person that I love most in this world all the time. I want to be loved with a fierce, pursuing love that cannot be compared to any other brand of love in the entire world. I want to be loved whether I weigh 300 pounds or have miraculously captured my high school weight. I want to be loved when everything about me is unlovable. . . when I’m ugly, hateful, sick, smelly, dirty, annoying, abrasive, and in all ways detestable.

I want to be loved with a pretty woman kind of ” i don’t care if you are a prostitute, i am going to climb this fire escape and build a lifetime of happiness with you” kind of love. I want to be loved with the protective, territorial love of a rebel dance teacher who says ” nobody puts baby in the corner.” I want to be loved in a way that makes a man roam through his neighborhood singing my name like Tony’s cries for Maria in West Side Story. I want to be loved with a Ross stands outside in the rain and he would be willing to do so forever because he loves Rachel kind of unlock the multiple locks on the door so I can kiss you now and forever kind of love. I want to be loved with a Jacob works 14 years to capture the heart of Rachel but it seems like just a few because he loves her so much kind of love.

And I want that kind of love . . . from the person that I love most in this world. . . all the time. . .

I understand unconditional love. . . I crave it. . . I want it. . . I need it. . I’ve dreamed about it. . .
and it makes sense to me that my sweet farmboy would love me UNCONDITIONALLY. . .

but what does he need, love, crave, want? what makes him feel complete and comfortable in his place in this world? I love him no matter what forever. . . but that doesn’t mean that much to him. It’s not what he wants most in this world. . . nope.. . . that crazy guy wants RESPECT. . .

But he doesn’t just want respect. He wants respect from the person that means this most to him. And he doesn’t just want respect from the person that means the most to him. He wants respect from the person that means the most to him all the time. And he doesn’t just want respect from the person that means the most to him all the time. He wants respect from the person that means the most to him all the time – – even when he may not be all that respectful. He wants an admirable, faithful, dependable respect that he can’t get from any other source in this universe. He wants respect when he’s tired, grouchy, sick, angry, weary, downhearted, distracted, and when he’s told me he doesn’t have time to do what’s most important to ME on my to-do list.

He wants a William Wallace brave heart kind of respect that comes when you look at a man and know that he would gladly die for you. He wants a Russell Crowe in Gladiator kind of respect that flows from the heart of a woman who knows he will never give up. He wants the kind of respect that Liam Neison demands in Taken with his “very particular set of skills” used to rescue his family. He wants the kind of respect that flows out of our hearts as we watch “The Passion of the Christ.” He wants an unyielding, freely flowing source of continuous and unconditional respect. And he wants ME to provide it – – to be the source of an eternal flame of respect.

I come from the land of unconditional love. This new planet of unconditional respect is strange and foreign to me. I am stumbling here because I am not familiar with the terrain. I am a little uncomfortable here because I have not yet learned to trust it. But I love the way my husband looks at me here. . . . the way he opens up and talks. . . the subtle little balloons that float out of his heart and say. . .

I love you. But I don’t just love you. I love you all the time. But I don’t just love you all the time. I love you all the time – – -even when you are unlovable.

The ground is a little firmer here. The sun is a little brighter. The grass is so green, and yet it doesn’t rain very much here. Maybe the land of unconditional respect actually leads to the land of unconditional love. And the more time I spend here giving respect – – -the more I enjoy that unconditional love I long for. Wouldn’t that be something?



Dear Nursing Students Everywhere


Dear Nursing Student,

I see you there with your tower of overwhelming books and your regulation, closed-toe, water-resistant ( among other things) shoes. I see your stethoscope that will never be cleaner or shinier than it is right now. Scrubs feel like a crisp shield of armor over your young skin. You delight in putting them on – – even if a fairly unattractive patch must shine a light on the infancy of your practice.

I see that mountain behind you . . . the one you just climbed to get a chance to climb this – – – an even greater and bigger mountain. Your head is dizzy from spinning in a sea of learning objectives, syllabi, and a whole new world of terminology that is as exciting as it is terrifying.

You will encounter. . . . early mornings that feel like night, nights that go into early mornings, post-conferences that feel like forever, pre-conferences that end far too quickly, people who think they know it all, people who know they do not know enough, smells that make you question your career choice, doctors that make you question their career choice, the worst grade you have ever had, the best day you’ve ever had, more frustration and disappointment than you were expecting, more accomplishment than you can describe, and the kind of friendships that only times of war can create.

You will question yourself and doubt your abilities. You will question God and His calling you to this place. You will cry every kind of tears that your body can make. . ..
and you will be broken down. . . .

And then you will be built back up – – – with each clinical completed, each case study revealed, with every thank you from yet another patient, with every skill you add to your list. Every time your soul whispers I can’t do this just before your body does the task perfectly – – you are being rebuilt.

And in a couple of years what seemed like forever will be over so very quickly. . .
those friends you couldn’t live one day without . . . will drift away to their assigned stations. . .
those five letter you dreaded (NCLEX) will be funny story you will tell for the rest of your days. .. .

and the nursing student you are today will be a ghost. . . just a thin, fragile preview of the journey you will take. . . as you are granted the greatest privilege of one of the most valuable professions God created. . . . YOU WILL BE A NURSE.

So stay strong my precious, little baby nurse – – – it is not easy to grow so much in such a short time. . . but. . .
it is worth it. . . . Oh Yes, it is worth it.

Love from the Sisterhood of Nursing School Survivors,

AKA The Professional Nurses who Love You


I Knew This Day Was Coming


I remember when you couldn’t lift your head. . . when those blue eyes would dance but the rest of you remained limp. Time seemed to stand still as we began to desperately climb after those developmental milestones. . . we filled that time with joint compression six times a day, infant massage three times a day, lots of exercises, and long, hard fought meals and snacks to feed your brain and to make people say “I thought he was supposed to be failure to thrive?” with puzzled looks on their faces. . . . we painted our lips with bright red lipstick an drove six hours twice a month for specialized speech therapy. . . we prayed . . . we begged others to pray. . .

it felt like you would never crawl or walk or jump or climb. It felt like we might never hear your stories or your thoughts. . .

And today you jumped out of bed, got dressed, and spiked up that white blond hair – – you put your backpack on, ran out to the bus and said, “Good Morning, Coach Henry – – I’m a kindergartner now!” . . . . . .

And twenty feet behind you stood a woman. . .
whose pride and love for you cannot be measured. . .
whose every breath and hope is for God’s greatness to be revealed in your life. . .
and she thought to herself. . .

where has the time gone?

And she reminded herself. . .

You knew this day was coming

And she said to her God and her son. . . .

But I also knew you have been coming for this day. . .

J – – -You are my hero, my heart’s passion , and the delight of my soul. . .
Go Get ‘Em!


“. . . because they saw that he was an extraordinary child, and they were not afraid. . . ” Hebrews 11:23

The Worker and The Wisher


I believe there are two kinds of people in this world: WISHERS and WORKERS. Wishers sit around and they wish that there situation would change, that things would get better, that something better is coming. They wish they hadn’t done this or wish they could accomplish that. The word “wish” sounds like an active verb but it is so painfully passive.

Workers on the other hand get their heads down and their bums up. . . and they work. They toil. They labor. They persist and they push. They pull and tug. They will push a peanut with their nose for a mile if that is what it takes to get it done. They don’t quit. They don’t question. They are not caught sitting around and wishing because they are busy going about the important work they are called to. . . They don’t stop to look around very often but when they do – – they have covered a lot of ground. They have grown. God has taken their effort and He has brought it to the pinnacle of what’s possible.

I consider myself to be a worker. God and I have been working on my character for a long time. We have a long way to go, but I am doing my best and He is sure to do his. Today I had some work to do. I needed to go to J’s school and meet with the kitchen staff. I needed to make sure that they know how important they are in our journey. I had a message to deliver and gifts to bestow and communication plans to make. But as I neared the school, a lump began to grow in my throat and tears began to pool in my eyes. . . my face was tense and every facial muscle I have began working hard at controlling these unexpected developments. My heart began to ache and my soul became unsettled as it started to look for a way out.

You see, there is wishing well in the weakest part of my spirit. . . and some wishes started to float out of that dark place. I wish I didn’t have to have this meeting – – I wish we didn’t have to count calories – – I wish that J had every single part of every single chromosome – – I wish I didn’t have to work at this- – I wish it wasn’t so hard to tell people that he is just like every other child in this world and that he is not like any child in this world at the same time. The worker in me was able to silence these wishes because she was focused on her agenda and the “big picture.”

But when I was done working, I was tired and the weaker parts of me felt strong. And they released those wishes as tears that I don’t need. . . . and I took a deep breath of the Holy Spirit. My shoulders relaxed and I knew that all this work was actually my calling – a calling that I am honored to try to be worthy of ( Ephesians 4:1). As the enemy told me that I do not deserve this rocky road – – I stood in the truth that my God loves me too much to ever allow me to experience what I deserve.

It is good to be a worker. . . it is OK to occasionally get tired. . as long as I rest in what is truly refreshing and comforting and faithful. . . as long as I count my blessings. . . and recognize my Heavenly Father in every difficult step. . . as long as I put my trust in prayers that soar upward and not on wishes that land in the bottom of a well with an empty thud. Yes, it is good to be a worker.


An Open Letter to Geneticists Everywhere. . .



Dear Geneticist,

I want to thank you for your “synopsis of our prognosis.” I appreciate your honesty in telling us how horrible our lives were going to be living with this monster of a child we created. . . this genetic “mistake” that would alter our lives. . . mostly for the worse.
You had a lot of power as you held your imaginary crystal ball. But today I write on behalf of someone with more power than you. . . a Master Geneticist who makes no mistakes in the science of His creation. You see – – – you failed to mention a few things to us in your comprehensive description of our future.
I wish you had told me that this floppy baby was gonna run/walk a one mile color run at age 5. . . that he would jump on a trampoline and climb a tractor . . . or walk around Worlds of Fun for a whole day or pass Level 1 swimming lessons. . .
You told us about the horrible fits and tantrums. Yes, we have seen more than a few of those. But I’m proud to say they have happened while learning to play soccer with his genetically typical peers or because he is told “No” to something that any child would find disappointing.
How I wish you had mentioned that his flare for drama and storytelling would delight us for hours. This falls right in line with the rest of his “genetics” by the way. Yes, there is a tiny part of a chromosome missing but the other forty-five are perfect. They stamp him with a natural kindness and interest in caring for others. . . with intelligence ( I know you said he wouldn’t be smart, but he is). . . with humor and gifts like acting and a love for literature and visual arts. . .
You told me he wouldn’t do well in school but you didn’t tell me he would LOVE school. . . or that his teachers would LOVE him. You told me that our food would be severely restricted, but not how healthy and strong we would feel as we navigate that road. You told me that he would be severely delayed with developmental milestones, but not about the exhilarating joy we would feel when he reached them.
I felt powerless and hopeless and weak. I didn’t know the diagnosis you delivered would bring me my greatest strengths as well. I didn’t feel qualified to be the mother of a special needs child. But I didn’t know that was Step 1 of God turning me into a warrior.
So the next time you deliver a devastating speech to a heartbroken family and paint their future using only black paint – – – Call me and I will bring a few more colors. . . and a video. . . . .
of my son. . . reading a pre-K reader. . . .before he goes to T-ball practice.

J’s Momma