Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jack Franklin turns NINE?!?!?

9 years ago, at 5 life changed forever...i became a mother. 
9 years ago, at 5 am...God gave us a gift in this sweet baby boy.
9 years ago, at 5 am...i fell in love with Jack Franklin Pinson.

For the first time ever, I gazed into those big beautiful eyes (no really, his eyes were WIDE OPEN...this kid was ready to go!)

For the first time ever, I felt the weight of what God entrusts you with when He gives you a baby...this precious little soul, so fresh from Heaven...and God entrusted him to us? (yes, that is supposed to be a question mark...that was an appropriate question/doubt/fear in our minds at the time)

But, thankfully...for the first time ever that day, and every day since, I also experience(d) the fullness of God's grace...the peace that came in knowing we weren't alone in this...and that we didn't need more time to "be ready" me, you'll never get that elusive place of "being ready"'s a learn as you go type of life pray constantly for guidance and then you pray that they will forgive you, when they are older, for all the things you got wrong

All we needed was to lean into God's grace. First tiny glimpse...the name we had already means "God is gracious"...for his middle name we chose Franklin...a name that means "free", reminding us again that we were not alone, that this gift of God's grace was free...a promise that God's love for him, and ours, came freely, without condition...and a promise that nothing could ever separate us from that grace (a promise that we hope Jack will also cling to). But we really first chose Franklin because it was my own daddy's middle dad...a man who was both the gentlest and strongest man i had ever known...and wow, has that turned out to be the case with my sweet boy...just like my daddy...just like his own daddy...Jack Franklin has such a tender heart...and it is a big part of what makes him strong.

no, he wasn't "planned" in our young, after only 4 months of marriage we were not expecting to see a + sign on that little test...2 days after we decided, no, let's wait on getting a dog because it's such a big responsibility and expensive and we don't really have jobs or a place to live after we graduate college here in a few weeks! as they say...God has a sense of humor.

Jack Franklin Pinson also has a sense of humor...Jack Franklin Pinson can have you in stitches one minute...and he can break your heart in another, because his heart is so very tender.

He loves to read...always has his nose in a book, and i love it...although we have literally had to alert him, a few times, that he should probably put the book down as he's about to cross the street! He is so animated and can tell a story like no one else...sometimes he get so excited that he just goes like a steamroller through every teeny, tiny, minute detail...with all of our faces dumbfounded...not because what he is saying is bad or wrong, but because we can barely understand a single word , he's going SO FAST! (no idea where he got that)

He creates these entire worlds in the stories that he writes...he knows every character intimately and it is rare to find a piece of paper in our house that does not bear some art work of his. On every piece of schoolwork sent home, there is no margin left untouched by his artistic hand...always doodling...always dreaming...and there is a constant stream of paper all over my house full of his little worlds and people and their stories...and I LOVE IT! He says he wants to be an author, illustrator and animator when he grows up...and, if that's what he still wishes to do later in life, I have no doubt he'll do it and he will succeed.

As hard as it is to see him so grown up, it is such a joy to watch him grow. He is the definition of "being a sponge"...ya know, how we all talk about kids, soaking everything up like a sponge...HE IS THE SPONGE...he notices every little thing with detail, he feels everything deeply and he loves fiercely. His little brother adores him...and drives him crazy...exactly as it should be, right?

I asked Jack awhile back, when we were talking about his upcoming birthday...what his favorite birthday ever the best one EVER...and do you know what that precious little angel said to me? He said, without even a second's thought, that it was his 6th birthday...the surprise party. That may sound totally normal to most people...surprise parties are fun. But this one was a little different...this surprise party was in a hospital room, where i had been for over four months...some people helped get some decorations to me and some nurses helped me decorate my room and we surprised that little boy who was turning 6. He came in and made the best little somewhat-overwhelmed-genuinely-surprised face ever...climbed right up in my lap and gave me a big hug and said, "it's a surprise party! thank you so much mommy...IT'S JUST WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED!" There was a room full of family...there were some presents and some cupcakes and some decorating that would be so NOT party games other than the all-time favorite of my boys at the time...the "push all the buttons on mommy's hospital bed game". And, for some reason, THAT was his favorite birthday party ever. At a time in our life, when all we were trying to do was to stay afloat and survive...when we were living in what we call "crisis mode"...when i was in the hospital more than i was home and my sweet Jack Franklin was realizing that all of his friends' mommies were not in the hospital all the time...on a day that i held back the tears as much as i could because i felt so badly that i couldn't give him the birthday i wanted to...and THAT...that night...was this precious boy's favorite birthday ever.

Not too long ago, Jack made a piece of art that had what he told us were his favorite words from scripture on it. They were the words of Proverbs 31:8-9:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.

What a verse for a 9 year old to cling to...Oh Lord I pray that his heart will always break for the things that break your heart...that he will live his life giving voice to the voiceless and comfort to the suffering. These sweet boys of mine are learning, unfortunately, some difficult lessons that they shouldn't have to at such young ages. And, yet, i see evidence every single day that tells me they will grow to be men with a unique sense of empathy, compassion and service...that they will be selfless, steadfast, gentle and strong like their daddy.

I love that Jack's middle name was also his Pappy's middle is precious to me, and to him, that they share that...Jack Franklin Pinson also has quite a presidential ring to it...but, no pressure
I am grateful that Jack still retains some memories of my sweet daddy...I wish they had gotten more time with him. If there is anyone who would love Jack' stories and characters...anyone who would brag on him incessantly...anyone who would laugh hysterically at his crazy would have be his Pappy. I am grateful that both of my kids got to know my daddy. I know that their memories will probably fade...but i am SO VERY GRATEFUL for that time. And I can guarantee that, as the celebration of Jack dies down on his birthday, he will take a balloon, go outside and send it up to Pappy...Pappy is always invited to the party.

was it really nine years ago that i became a mommy? nine years ago that i first knew what it felt like to have my heart living outside of my body...that i first gazed into those big eyes and felt those tiny little fingers clasping mine...that my heart became a mother heart and opened up to totally new love that overwhelmed me...that helped me understand the cross in a whole new way?

9 years...i am forever changed because of this beautiful boy.

happy happy birthday to my sweet, smart, talented, curious, loving, creative, sensitive, kind, hilarious, affectionate, tenderhearted jack franklin

Sunday, June 16, 2013

father's day

I wrote this a few weeks ago when i was really missing my dad. Father's day brings joy in remembering how blessed I was with my earthly father...gratefulness in knowing that God has blessed me so richly with a husband who is the best father to our children...and it brings hope in knowing that my Heavenly Father has promised He will never leave us fatherless. It's also a little bittersweet. Sometimes I miss my dad so much it physically hurts...but I know I will see him again and, for now, I will be grateful for the little things

It's the little things...

watching the daily show and wishing you were here to laugh with me...making your favorite egg salad and wishing you were here to share it with me...seeing my boys so anxious to run outside anytime they get a balloon, so they can send it up to Pappy...teaching Sam your famous "Hi, my name is Chubby" story...listening to Jack tell me about Superfudge and telling him that it was one of many books you read to us as kids...knowing that you would LOVE watching Sam play ball and that you would be so proud of Jack and that great big imagination...that you'd listen to all of his stories and give all of his jokes the biggest laughs...listening to those boys beg for "breakfast for dinner" and knowing you'd be proud of that too...driving around in the same car that you bought new for us, after walking used car lots all day with a VERY pregnant me in June 2004, because you insisted that we be in something be praying for the baby we will adopt, and for the birthmother who will entrust us with that precious gift, and knowing that you and mom helped plant those seeds in my heart long ago as i watched the ways you so selflessly loved and served others...listening to Brad talk and catching a glimpse of him that looks so much like you it takes my breath away (shh, I think it's because his hairline is receding) be recording this album and knowing that you would be driving me crazy, wanting to hear every detail, but only because you were always my biggest be working on an arrangement of "My Jesus, I Love Thee", for that album, and thinking about how those were the words I sang before you walked me down the aisle at my wedding, and those were the same words that you asked me to sing for you the very last time i saw you this side of imagine you rocking your two little grand babies that never made it to this world and to picture you holding them close for Emily and me...knowing that mom has an ache she carries, and that time does not heal all wounds, but that you would be so proud of the way she is stewarding her grief

looking down at my hands and seeing that they are your hands...and knowing that there isn't a single shred of my life that hasn't been touched by those hands...the hands of the gentlest and strongest person I've ever known

that's you, dad, by the way

it's the little things that make me miss you so much

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were big things.”
~Robert Brault

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

everybody knows somebody

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I don't usually post about it when it rolls around each year...but the theme this year is "Everybody Knows Somebody".

15 years ago, I was a couple of months away from being hospitalized, and missing the last couple weeks of my senior year of high school, after collapsing in front of my terrified 13 year old brother. This was because of an eating disorder that had ravaged my body and spirit, leaving me close to 80 pounds and pretty hopeless. I had stopped nourishing the physical systems of my body, so they had begun to fail me. I had stopped nourishing my self-esteem and my knowledge of my worth as a daughter of God, so I had close to none. I was feeling out of control in many areas of my life, so I attempted to have control over something. I was living and believing a lie...that I could somehow manage my worth...forgetting that I had a Father in heaven who had already given me an identity that could never be taken away. 

I read an article today that resonated with me. It was about the abundance of "fakebooking" that we do...the ever present need to make the lives we present on social media look shiny and beautiful, filtered through the unreliable glow of instagram, and not so much rooted in reality. We all struggle to manage our identity, so that what people see is untarnished and "fine". What if we let people see what is really there? And what if we believed who God already says that we are?

So here I am...scars and all...and I will probably always struggle within myself to truly believe who my Heavenly Father says I am because of Him. Don't we all? It may not manifest itself for you as systematically destroying your own body...but we all fight against the holiness that is already present inside of us.

Even now, at a time in my life when I am overweight and struggling to learn to love my body in a different way and to take care of strike a balance of teaching my children how to value and care about what they are putting in their bodies and yet not make that just another idol...I hear a voice in my head that tells me there is an easy solution to this...just don't eat. Those lies are still there...they always will be...but I can choose to hear the truth louder.

The world gives us lie after lie about who we are...and then Jesus says,

"...but you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." ~ 1 Corinthians 6:11

I love the word "WERE" in that passage. It has already been done. It is finished. Our identity in Christ can never be stripped away by the temporary trappings of this fleeting world.

"Everybody knows somebody"...and sometimes you may not even know it. If we're honest, we've all been that somebody. Maybe we haven't all struggled with an eating disorder, but we all know what it is to deny the truth of our identity.

My life does not fit into a neat little box...and, yet, I still try to cram it in.

I choose, so many days, to crop out the ugliness and to filter my life through a haze of what I think I should be living up to as a woman, a wife and a mother...but my Heavenly Father still says, "Come".

I abuse and mistreat this one body, this temple He has given me as a vessel for His love...and He still says, "Come".

I let the lies of this world seep in to my spirit and redefine who I think I am, and who I think I am supposed to be...and yet He tells me, "Come".

And so I come...broken and scarred, I come. I listen again, as He tells me who I am because of Him. And I don't try to hide the scars because even Jesus, perfect and spotless, had scars. And all I want is to look like Him. 

And as I lean into Him...He leans in and whispers to me that, by His grace, I already do.