Heather and Henry are engaged to be married and it makes me realize how quickly my first child has grown up. She's 23 years old, but it seems like yesterday that I held her in my arms and she magically filled my lonely days as I lived in a foreign country as a military wife --- not living on base. At the time Heather was born, we were living in Germany and my husband served in the Air Force. We were very young.
As my husband spent a lot of time either working on base or hanging out at the American Legion or playing basketball, bowling or hanging out on the golf course, I mostly stayed home (we only had one car) and I was able to spend precious one-on-one time with my little Heather, soaking up her endless smiles. I don't think any other mother could have been more fulfilled by a baby than I had been with Heather.
|Heather and her cousin, Shaye.|
But, in that foreign country where I didn't even speak the language, she filled the empty spaces of my heart with a love-power I'd never experienced. The American Legion might have held my husband's attention, but my attention remained firmly rooted at home, on family, and on raising my daughter.
Thank God for motherhood! When I had Heather come into my life, it was as if God gave me a hearty kiss upon my cheek as he showed his delight by blessing me!
And when I gave birth to Stefanie, my second daughter, I knew that God was now looking upon my face AGAIN and kissing my other cheek with His sweet blessing. Two blessings!
But, this Thanksgiving, the thing that touched me the most is that I am BEYOND blessed that my two daughters see me as a loving mom who is always eager to be soft-spoken as my first nature...if I'm not soft spoken, my daughters KNOW that something has seriously gone wrong; it is my first nature to do anything but speak kindly and calmly. And, oh yes, I've had some pretty out-spoken moments with a couple of people in my life and had some raised voices with some sailor lingo here and there, but I often realize that these people do not have the capacity to bring out the best in me, so it's best to just stay away from them. Roarrr!
I can tell you one thing, you sure as heck don't want the same things at 40 years of age that you wanted at 20 years of age. Wisdom can be painful, but beautiful.
This Thanksgiving season make me ponder some things...If I ever feel the need to be angry or to raise my voice, I ask myself, "What toxin in my life is making me feel as if I need to go against my nature? Is it the person who cut around me to take the parking space I'd been waiting to get with my blinker on for the past several minutes worth my moment of losing myself? Is it the family member to whom I've been loyal and stood by through thick and thin, yet I am still forsaken in their eyes worth losing myself over? Is that moment of feeling like yelling at two Great Danes as they break yet another board at the fence worth losing my cool over? Well, maybe.
But, the good news is, for me, I am very flexible, very adaptable, very accepting of a challenge, not afraid of change, and I am always open to embracing the beauty in life that God brings my way. And He does bring it. Even if it doesn't come in the manner in which it is supposed to arrive, God will bring it. I'm not a Holy-Roly person, but this Thanksgiving has made me pull out mushy appreciation that I have for God's great sense of humor and His way of taking care of us that is sometimes unexpected.
He will bring you love, tenderness, kind-hearted words, a soft touch with a smile, and He will put someone in your path who can appreciate you for who you are...your faithfulness will be rewarded, maybe not in the way you expected, but it will be rewarded. God is cool like that. I have deep Thanksgiving for that kind of love and devotion.
I Thank God for showing me the true face of loyalty, protection and love.
For those of you out there during this holiday season who are surrounded by a few toxic people you cannot get away from so easily, have faith that God will take care of you. He will. Sometimes, you must find your joy in other things, different people and new places. The joy in your heart cannot be stolen, it can be altered for a bit, then you can give Thanks for all that you do have and realize that your future is full of good moments that cannot be corrupted by another.
It's funny that Thanksgiving is the time when we also have time to appreciate our friends. Sometimes, we look at certain family members, and it's terrible, but we KNOW that we're only together out of obligation, the connection is so shallow and meaningless...but true friends are there by choice and care about you as a person as you care about them. True friends see the best in you. They actually hurt when you hurt and are ready to listen to you as much as you listen to them. It's awesome.
In my moment of Thanksgiving, I realized that enjoying my peaceful moments and to be around those who love me most is the BIGGEST blessing I can enjoy. Anything outside of that is to be limited. I've been through too many huge hurdles in life to let some toxin rot my heart inside out. If you have a family member who simply isn't in a "loving" relationship with you, don't feel bad about it. Let it be. Enjoy the shallowness of it and don't mourn to have more...accept it for what it is and move on...learn to be thankful that there are other people out there with whom you can connect on a meaningful level and direct your energies to them, they might be ready to soak it up, they may really need it. You'll be happier for the change.
I've hit the over-40 stage and have realized that there are some people who you can never please; who will never feel as if you have given "enough" to them even though you've given them everything you have to offer; and there are some people who don't appreciate what they have until it is lost forever and there's not enough time left on this earth to get it back; and there are some people who must reap what they have sown while you cannot help them...don't go down with them.
Having family with the same name sitting across the room from you does not always mean there must be a connection. If it isn't there, it isn't there. Let it go. Don't have false expectations of people who can't give you what you'd like, especially if they are unwilling or incapable because there are people out there who will, eagerly. Learn to discern the difference so you won't waste precious time in this life.
I've learned that it is not selfish to take care of your heart, physically AND emotionally.
Anyway, I woke up early this morning with my oldest daughter on my mind...sad that she had to leave last night to go back to her own home. I had been so relieved to get her text message after 1:30am to say she and Henry were safe at home, hours away. Then, I felt a double blessing at knowing that she is both a family member and a friend to me. She's so gentle with me and so precious; yes, we've moved FAR beyond those teenage years! Ha!
The glorious part of our connection is that I see the best side of her and she always sees the best side of me. That kind of love is what makes the world go round in a more beautiful way.
She makes me feel good about myself as she knows that my heart has goodness in it and that I have love ready to be given freely and in abundance to those who are closest to me. I treasure her and appreciate her loving perspective of me. It makes me want to always be the best mommy in the world that I can be to her, even if she reaches 50 years of age one day, I will rise to the occasion.
So, thank you my first-born baby for being such a blessing. For reaching out and giving me the tenderness that life sometimes forgets to show and for the connection we share that cannot be diminished by miles of Texas terrain.
These days, my future looks different to me than I had expected. Isn't that the way of life? A curve ball, a hidden path, a treasure map discovered in your most bleak moment...but, I'm finding that each new moment is pretty exciting.
And, I know God is directing my steps, so I will end up in the PERFECT spot, surrounded by love and tenderness.