Letter to Brandt

Just lately you’ve been talking about God a lot. Questions that I didn’t ask until I was WAY older than you are. So when we talk about this stuff, I wanted to tell you what a rollercoaster you put my heart on. When I answer you, I am all too aware that maybe and probably I am getting it wrong. So I answer, and send up little prayers the whole time “God help me not to mess him up too bad. Help me not to mess him up too bad”.

Why was there a flood if God is love? Really? This from a person who still sucks his thumb? I think I would rather talk about women in leadership, or about eschatology. I believe my answer included: Mumble mumble erm…hmm. Wicked people..Oh buddy, sorry I have to go pee.

Once you even started to cry, and worried about “How do you know if you’re following Jesus, IF YOU CAN’T HEAR THE SPIRIT?” (bold part yelled in frustration)

I told you to tell God you want to follow Jesus, and then not worry about it. He’ll help you do the rest. So you laid down on the couch all stiff like, and buried your head in a pillow, and then you said, “I did it without talking” and then you said in all seriousness “Now I will follow Jesus into the kitchen”. I laughed.

So your faith journey is beginning, and you are so sensitive and so literal. I know that later, the questions will be harder and will shake my core.

What also shakes me is that you are being molded by a mish-mash of things I control or don’t control. Bible story books with little details that you insist are true, Sunday School, Casting Crowns, and how your Dad and I live our lives.

I want to hold you like putty in my hand and force you into the mold that I have in mind for you. The other day, I told you that God will never force you to do good, you will always have a choice. I wished I wouldn’t have, because you got a little glint in your eyes and said “We can still do bad things?”. I said “Yes, you’re never forced to do good things”. And in my heart I’m praying “God make him choose good; make him choose good.” Ironic huh?

When you went to bed the other night, you gave a happy sigh and said “It’s so fun to talk about Jesus and stuff right?” My heart literally seized up.

I love talking about Jesus and stuff with you.

Scenes of Motherhood

We are sitting at Cracker Barrel deciding what to order.  I decide on a dinner instead of pancakes because I want to eat some of the yummy biscuits that come with the dinner.  Elena wants mac & cheese, and a grilled cheese sandwich, but I say “No, Elena, you can’t have both, it’s too much cheese.
The food comes, and the biscuits are set down and before I can say anything, the children yes, All Three Of Them grab the three biscuits and leave me with the dry corn muffin.
And I am annoyed.  And I am even more annoyed that this annoys me.   I am reminded of that story about the mom who never got a piece of pie, and she was an awesome mom, so I need to do that too.
So I choke down my corn muffin while the children stuff their mouths with my biscuits, and crumbs fall on the table and I look at the crumbs longingly but decide it’s too desperate to eat them.  So I tough up and forget about it.  Then Elena gloats because our server made a mistake and brought her a grilled cheese sandwich and mac & cheese.  I guess it’s her lucky day.


We have some wild cats at our place, and one day Brandt leaves the door open, and a wild kitty streaks into the house.  It hides immediately and we can’t find it all day long.  The children are sure that it’s going to starve to death while in hiding, but we assure them “No no, it won’t die”.  At 3:00 AM the kitty starts mewing. 
Gene & I are out of bed chasing this thing all around the house, trying to get him out the door.  We cornered him close to the open door.   Gene moves a heavy trunk; the kitty changes direction while Gene is moving the trunk, and what do you know?  The trunk gets the kitty right in the neck and he clunks over dead.
So the next morning we’re like: “Children, can we talk about that kitty?  Yes well, um, Daddy didn’t do it on purpose, but yes the kitty is dead”.
And tears and crying and sniffles that follow when the children realize that there is a cat-killer in the house, and it is their father.

This summer my kids are on a snacking binge that is driving me crazy.  It seems that they are constantly hungry and asking for cereal, cheese sticks, bagels, and granola bars.  It certainly isn’t their fault if they are, in fact hungry.  So why does it bother me so much?  It bothers me significantly when they ask for a snack, so I sometimes chant this scripture to myself:  “What father if his son asks for bread would he give him a stone?” 
Because yes, I feel like giving them gravel sometimes.
 I wasn’t sure why it was such a big deal for me until I went to bed tonight, and ended up thinking about the famine crisis in Africa, and it clicked in my head.  It’s not about the food or that they are eating too much.  It’s about their attitude of entitlement and complete lack of composure if I deny them a snack.  They cry and beg like they will die. 
So it really is my own issue, about being a torn rich person who can fill up sippy cups with milk all day long, while there are children dying of starvation in the Horn of Africa.
And I want to declare “famine day” in our household where we will not eat at all but instead pray for the children in Africa, but I know that would do nothing but make my family irreparably grouchy with me.   I would cave by noon time, and we would spend the rest of the day munching Cheetos.
What I really want is for my children to snuggle up to me and say:  “Oh Mama, I appreciate how hard you work to give us good food. Thank you for drizzling honey on my Cheerios perfectly every morning.  I will always smack my lips with delight at your delicious suppertime meals.  And now I am going to donate all that money I saved to buy that pony to World Vision.” 
Is that too much to ask for?