Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: Mom (Page 1 of 2)

Old while Young

I felt old as a teenager and ancient in my early twenties. My memories of pain-free days as a young mom are few and far between. Now in my forties, I feel younger than I did two decades ago. While it strikes me as strange sometimes, it shouldn’t surprise me. Until my early thirties I struggled with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Every day began with the same mantra, “I can do this. I can make it through another day.”

All that changed with a simple, faith-filled prayer late one night. There had been many simple, faith-filled prayers before that one, but that night God answered in a miraculous way. Things changed. I woke the next morning with energy and a new hope for the day. I’ve been sick, I’ve been discouraged, I’ve been weary since then, but neither the chronic fatigue nor the fibromyalgia has returned. It’s an undeserved blessing, one for which I am grateful every day.

I would hate to return to the fatigue of those years, and yet I would hate to live these years without those experiences. There are so many things I learned in that time that I need every day. God used sickness in a powerful way to dispel my independence and to teach me about prayer. I began to learn about empathy as I lay exhausted on the couch, trying to pay attention to my two-year-old. I had to say “no” more times than I can count, and yet it’s a skill that still comes hard to me. Sickness taught me to value the temple that our bodies are and to take care of myself and others in ways that have proved valuable.

Chronic illness was a school that taught me things I would have otherwise have had no interest in learning. It pushed me into places that I would not have chosen to go. It changed my perception of myself and of others. In some ways, I experienced age before my time and am now given the opportunity to live my real age.

What has caught my attention lately is how common this is. Maybe not the exact circumstances, but the reality that we experience things for a purpose. Today’s trials have every opportunity to be tomorrow’s joys. Today’s hardship is training for tomorrow’s joy, and for tomorrow’s challenges. What we do with today matters, not only for how well we’ll sleep tonight but also for how well equipped we will be for tomorrow and the days, weeks and months that follow.

Risk and Danger

I woke up last night in a cold sweat, heart pounding. I had been cornered. I was caught. And I had no clue what would happen next. Thankfully, the next thing that happened was waking up in my own bed, safety beneath my warm blanket.

It got me thinking. I’ve lived with danger. I’ve done risky things. Some of the most dangerous things didn’t feel dangerous, and some of the least dangerous felt very risky. I’ve been scared in perfectly safe darkness and felt safe in a spot that proved risky. When Garry talks about risk management there are two key factors– the probability that something will go wrong and how serious the effects of a failure would be.

There is a cobra in Paraguay, for instance, that is one of the most deadly but least dangerous snakes in the world. A bite is usually fatal, but they seldom bite. I think it was one of these snakes that five children under the age of nine encountered in our back yard. I persuaded them that neither playing with nor attacking snakes was a good idea at their ages and maturity levels. They came inside. The snake left. End of story.

It was scary, at least to me. My son, on the other hand, complained to my husband that I never let him do anything. I considered never letting the boys outside. I thought I should watch them more. I wondered what I would do if something happened to them. In the end, I realized that keeping boys in the house can be more dangerous than letting them play outside. You see, boys need fresh air, space, exercise, and adventures. Andrew Petersen catches the wonder in this song, Little Boy Heart Alive.

In a culture that is often averse to risk, dependent on insurance, and in love with comfort, the thought of a life overseas can be scary. Missionary life seems risky. Mission aviation feels dangerous. The unknown is scary. The truth is, boys need to leave the house and sometimes we need to venture into the unknown. Faith needs the unknown to grow. We need challenges to get stronger. From this vantage point, the most dangerous thing I can think of is not going where you’re led, not following God’s direction for today, or not embarking on journeys you are meant to take.

Not only do we need to grow, we need to see God. When there are no other options, we see God at work. When we cannot control things, we realize that God has a plan. After all, there’s difference between watching the storm through the picture window in the living room and standing outside in the midst of it. Vicariously adventuring with the latest reality TV show is not the same as going yourself. And there’s nothing like adventure to change us and grow our faith.

My People

Since I went to a ladies conference a few weeks ago I’ve been thinking a lot about “my people”. Not the people who are like me, but the ones God has put in my life as a community. I’ve been challenged to invest with these people, these primary opportunities. To focus my energy and attention on the few and let the few repeat the process with their few. And the “my people” has become “our people” as I realize how much we enjoy serving and interacting as a family.

One of the questions we’ve had is, “Who are our people?” Our small family, the 4 of us, is an obvious beginning.  I have a “coffee and chat” friend that I meet with weekly, and she is definitely one of my people. There’s a group of 4 older students that come for dinner and to chat every so often, and they seem to fit squarely in our circle. Kaleb’s good friend Dylan and his family have walked their way into our hearts and lives, becoming part of our circle.
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Beyond this, it is not so clear. Garry has a group of people at Moody, but are they our people or his people? If we say the Moody aviation community, what does that look like– staff, students, or both? There is a Moody ladies group starting, is this somewhere I should invest, are these my people that I need to connect with? There are opportunities at church, but are they my opportunities, my people?
When I try to figure it out, it’s hard to figure. When I trust God to do His work, it seems easier. People come into our lives, and some of them take up residence. And maybe this is how people become our people, as if by accident rather than by choice. Maybe in some ways we do not choose this group, but they choose us. Maybe this is a place where faith is bigger than intentionality.
Your thoughts?

New

Last weekend I went downhill skiing for the first time ever. I’m a wife and mom, and I’m over 40. It was awesome! But, the road to getting there was a little less fun. In fact, it wasn’t much fun at all. And the experience came just as my son was also starting some new things, and I was reminded how easy it is to be logical and reasonable when you’re watching a situation, and how hard logic can be in the middle of the situation.

I went skiing just because i wanted to. It sounded fun. I didn’t have to, and nobody talked me into it. Still, a few friends told me I was going to fall. I heard a couple of horror stories of crying on the slopes. And before I knew it, downhill skiing no longer sounded fun. Although I am normally somewhat confident, I started feeling insecure. I wondered if I could do this. I worried that I would look stupid. I wondered how it would go, I asked people if I had the right equipment and stressed about how I’d get my lift ticket.

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And as I stomped through the door into the unknown, I suddenly realized how common this is for my kids, and probably for yours too. After all, when possible we take our kids to do things that we enjoy, commonly to places we’ve been before, and we often walk them through situations where we are already somewhat comfortable. But for them, it may be all new. Standing beside them, hearing their worries, it all seems rather silly. After all, we have a pretty good idea how it will turn out, what is expected, and what they should do. And from our perspective, most of their fears are unfounded.

Regardless of the logic of it, it’s good to be reminded that beyond logic, we are all human, and change is hard. If you haven’t done something totally new and foreign for a while, try it. If possible, go with someone who knows what they’re doing and thinks it’s all “easy”. And be reminded of the courage your kids show when you take them into similar situation.

I’m going skiing again tomorrow, simply because I can. And it turned out to be fun last time. Besides that, it’s good for me to do this. (BTW, it isn’t that I’ve never done a new thing, it’s just been a while since I chose to do one that was supposed to be “just for fun”!) Try it, you might like it!

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