Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hard Love, Sweet Love

Where to begin?  I could write volumes about how awesome my sweet God is!!  How intimate, how close, how beautiful He is.  How perfect are His ways!  I adore You, sweet, merciful Father!  This week was one of those weeks where my God came near to me.  He stooped to bend low to whisper sweetness into my ears with the gentleness and tenderness that I have come to recognize and cherish above all else.

It began on my 36th birthday, Tuesday, October 25th.  I woke ready for a good day.  I wore make up, eye shadow ~ even!!  I never wear eye shadow unless I am going on a really hot date with my dollbaby!  I put on a new sweater in one of my favorite colors ~ oatmeal!  (I know I am seriously boring.  My bridesmaids wore this color.  I love it!)  I poured a cup of coffee, got my ducks in a row, and began a slow ease into our school day.  I adore my mornings with my boys.  We have a calm, nice morning of school.  I sip coffee and teach, and it makes me happy.  So, we began, coffee in hand.

Then, I heard it....

The sound of loud trucks and machinery.  Our friend was back with more equipment to cut down more trees to make more room for my beloved husband's gym.  Yes, my love wants nothing more than to build a gym for our boys.  Yes, a large metal building with two goals at opposite ends of the building.  It will be primative at best, but he assures me that they will use it and love it.  My husband grew up on the campus of a seminary.  His favorite part of growing up on campus was having a gym right down the street that he could use day or night.  And, he wants to give this to his boys.  It is a dream he has had for several years now.  We've saved up, and he is ready to make it happen.  But, unfortunately, it requires the sacrifice of some of my favorite things ~ beautiful trees.  Ohhh.... the pain.

So, on the anniversary of the day of my birth, our friend, Greg, destroyed my property at my husband's request.  I cried.  All. Day. Long.  I began crying around 10:00, and I couldn't stop.  Friends called to tell me happy birthday, and I let voicemail pick up the calls.  I didn't want to talk to anyone.  Deana B wanted to bring me a happy.  I text her and asked her to please save it for another day.  Joshua begged me, "Don't look outside again, Mommy.  I don't like to see you cry."  Elijah said, "You can't cry! It's your birthday!" To which JCT replied quickly, "It is her birthday!  She can do whatever she wants! If she wants to cry, she can cry!"  He's never heard that song, so that statement actually made me smile!

Beautiful fall trees with lives cut short!  Mercy, I was so upset.  And, in their place dirt lay open bare.  Desolate.  Lonely. Empty.  Ugly.  These words ran around and around in my head all day.  I was hurt.  I was angry.  I was bitter. But, mostly, I was sad.

Erik and I had a fundraising dinner to attend that evening.  He got an earful all the way there and all the way home, and unfortunately for him, the dinner was in a town 20 minutes away.  He, as per his usual, took it like a man.  He was quiet.  He listened.  I think at one point he teared up a little.  He loves me so much more than I deserve, and he hates to see me upset.  And, for me to be this upset about anything is rare.  At one point I looked at him with eyes brimming full and asked him to please ask Greg to put them all back!!!  Neither of us slept much at all that night.  Hard.

I woke up the next morning just as sick at my stomach about the whole thing as I was the day before.  I looked out my kitchen window to the right and saw the wide open dirt filled space where woods used to be and literally held myself back from losing my breakfast right then and there.  My eyes instantly filled with tears again, and Joshua begged me, "Mama, please don't start crying again.  Please!  I hate to see you cry."  But, I couldn't help it.  Joshua's favorite climbing tree ~ gone.  The boys favorite woods to play indians and explorers in ~ gone.  My heart was broken.  So, I did what any girl in this situation would do...

I called my mom.

I complained.  I cried.  I poured out my heart over the phone.

And, she did what she always does.  She listened.  And, then after I had finished my tirade, she gave me tough, hard love.  The first thing she said to me was something like this...

"I understand why you are upset.  I understand, and I would feel the same way.  Give yourself a little bit of time to mourn, but then do not set up shop there.  Satan would like nothing more than to allow this to cause a rift between you and Erik.  Do. not. let. it.  It is not that important.  I know Erik is hurting right now because you are so upset.  You need to let this go.  Move on.  God will be glorified through even this."

So, I got off the phone with her and joined my boys in the school room.  I made the choice.  I was moving forward, looking heavenward, eyes off myself.  A little bit later I sent Erik a text that said simply this... "I love you more than trees."

I finally forced myself to walk outside and look at the irreparable damage.  I walked Rain to the mailbox and got the mail, something I had been afraid to do because it required my looking at the wide open empty space where our woods used to be.

And, guess what was in the mailbox?  A present from my sweet friend, Sara.  I opened it as I walked back toward our house.  And, this is what was in the package...

Alli Roger's new CD ~ Why We Sing

Tears immediately filled my eyes because I knew God had sent this to me through Sara's hands.  He knew when I needed it most.  He sent it on the very day!  I glanced at the clear blue sky and praised Him!!  I couldn't get inside the house to play it fast enough!!  I held Jack, rocking him, and listened to every song one time, soaking in the words, soaking in His ever close loving presence.  He poured His love over me right there in the kitchen dancing with Jack, dancing for Him alone, while boys played wildly behind me.  I worshipped right there in the midst of the chaos.  No one else was in the room ~ or so it seemed, anyway.

And, here I sit one day later my cup still overflowing.  His goodness, His faithfulness overwhelms me!  As I type my sons are outside on the trampoline watching the dump trucks go in and out of our yard.  I hear the slamming closed of the back of the truck after a load of dirt has been emptied.  I hear the beep beeping of the trucks backing up and backing out.  But, there is peace, overwhelming, amazing peace.  I can look out at the dirt and not feel sick.  It is what it is.  My prayer is only that He would be somehow glorified through all of this.

It was a simple reminder for me that His ways are best.  Even when I can justify my reasons, my anger, my hurt.  Laying it down as an offering, as a sacrifice, it is the way to peace.  And, how faithful He is to meet us there, to come near, to stoop to our level, to love us, to walk through our issues with us no matter how big or how small they are.  Sweet Emmanuel, thank You for walking this life journey with me.  There is no greater joy on this silly spinning planet than to relate to You, O great Creator and Lord!


Toni said...

Oh my goodness, how I love this post. Why? Because I have "a little trouble" (uh hem) admitting my REAL struggles. This was real. At the risk of how others might perceive your struggle, you kept it real. And because of that, you were able to share the wonderful lessons you learned. And you gotta love the "on the outside looking in" wisdom of a mom counseling her hurting dd too.
I empathised with your feelings. We lived on 3½ acres in OH. I seriously (serious!) considered watching farmers harvest their crops with those amazing combines to be a form (preferred form) of relaxation. Nothing but farming fields in front and behind our property. A forced move (job related) landed me in suburbia in IN. In a housing development. :( I will always miss my country home. I'm trying hard (and it's a struggle at times) to bloom where I am currently planted.
Toni (found you through Sara's blog)

Liz Ferguson said...

You have a beautiful heart Erin. Your words have encouraged me. God is so good and so faithful. It amazes me how He meets us right where we are at and He loves us still. Thank you for sharing, your blog always encourages me.

From a busy mom of many little people.


Judy said...

Erin, I have read your blog for years as an anonymous reader. I love coming here & reading about your sweet days. Days overflowing with blessings & boys. You encourage me deeply. I love this post about your trees. As I read it, I couldn't help but think about how incredibly blessed you are to have a husband that dreams for his sons. And how blessed are your sons, to have a Daddy that wants to share one of his growing up joys with them. A gym! I know you are so sad over the trees, & the memories that went with them, but focus on the new memories that the gym will bring with it. The favorite woods & the favorite trees? Your boys will outgrow them & move on. Trust me on this, because mine did. But a gym? A place where they will play together & with their Daddy - making memories that will carry them through their lives. And I will bet, your husband has dreamed of the things they will do together there, & he will joy in the bonding & memories of this gym time together. I have no doubt, that before you know it, you will peer out your kitchen window, see that gym, & you will smile & thank God for the sweet memories of your boy's days in there, burning off that boy energy, & making wonderful father/son memories together. They are blessed! Now when you look out, you may not see those growing trees, but you will see growing boys in their gym. You are blessed!

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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