Boots under his bed

“…And the people who knocked this down, will hear from all of us soon,” George W. Bush 9/11/01

Hear the voice of a mom, who represents many moms, whose sons and daughters sacrificially protect the freedom of the United States and her people. I am honored to have this guest post from Heidi White.

It is a gift to have Erik on this side of the country after being stationed on the eastern shore for 2 ½ years.

I walk by his room, knowing he is near enough to keep his extra pair of boots under his bed.

I wash his clothes and smell Old Spice, Swagger or is it After Hours scent; all appropriate to linger on his uniforms.

It is a blessing to be able to text him in the same time zone, to enjoy the opportunity to see him on the weekends when he is not on duty.

When he is on watch, doing scary things with letters and numbers like M and 16, wearing helmets , life vests or Kevlar…

…I am not there to keep him safe or remind him to put on sunscreen.

I have decided to focus on the blessing of having him 3000 miles closer and the gift of that. I won’t let my mind go down the unknown road of the future that only God knows.

And I am grateful, for Erik being close enough, to keep his extra pair of boots under his bed.

Proud Mama Heidi with her courageous son Erik

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This inevitable stress

Given the amount of stress in my life, I figure I should be the skinny little thing I was in high school. I’ve been clinging to that philosophy while the pounds cling to my waistline. I finally realized the talk show docs and nutritionists are actually referring to me when they say stress will cause fat to hang on to our bodies! So over the course of a year, I have been examining my lifestyle and this inevitable thing called stress.

You and I can’t avoid stress. It comes in good packages like the holidays, or it comes in dreadful doses of uncontrollable events. We can maintain some degree of stress maintenance with our diet, activity level and time management. But what about managing the stress in our soul?

Are you flying with the turkeys?

There are many wild turkeys that strut around our city (yes-real turkeys). They hang out at the schools and walk around suburban streets. They crack me up! I was driving my son to school one morning when I eyed a few fat turkeys wobbling down the road. Suddenly one turkey decided to take flight.

His big ole body lifted into the air while his wings leisurely flapped. Closer and closer we came toward each other, his body flying low and wings flapping far too slowly. My heart pounded as I saw his face in line with mine through the windshield. This turkey was not gaining height. Just as I imagined this humongous wild bird crashing through my windshield, he managed to skim above the hood of my car…my heart now pounding with relief.

Let stress take flight

I haven’t forgotten my wild encounter with that turkey, and I picture him in sharp contrast to the majestic eagle. The Scriptures tell us those who wait on the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles. I have read when an eagle senses a storm is coming, it flies to a high spot and waits for the wind to come. When the storm hits, it spreads its capable wings and soars above it.

You and I can’t avoid the storms of life: sickness, disappointment, loss, the daily grind. But can we actually rise above it? Isaiah 40:29-31 gives us this promise,

“He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall;
But those who wait for the Lord (who hope in Him, talk with Him, listen to His Words),
shall renew their strength and power (be invigorated);
they shall lift their wings and mount up as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary (they won’t give up),
they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”

It’s God’s desire for us to rise above our trials. Thankfully, He has not purposed us to mount up as turkeys, who carry the load of their body while struggling to gain height. He has provided a way for us to prevail over and even conquer the stress in our lives.

This is my desire as well. When I cling to the stress, it clings to me. Why settle for flying low and slow with the weight of stress on my back? Instead, I’m choosing to cling to the promises and love of God.

Waiting on Him is a deliberate practice of sitting quietly in the presence of God. It requires listening to His Words and choosing to trust the God who made me. He then gives me the perspective and tools to mount up as eagles above the storms and stresses of my life.

Meditate on Isaiah 40:28-31 today. What is God inviting you to do? List the promises He makes for you in return.

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I said I’d never do that

Ever since our first strolls around the neighborhood, I would observe a little yellow school bus pulling up to the same house, picking up a boy with special needs for his school day.  I formed many opinions about this, and made a silent promise to my own baby with special needs, “Never will a little yellow bus come to our home”.  I clung to this “Never” promise over the years, for reasons I may get into another day.

One day I spouted off some other deep conviction, a “Never” to a friend.  She kindly reminded me, “Bonnie, you always said you’d never wear stretch pants, and you’re wearing them today.”   I was a little bewildered by my inconsistency, but continued on through the years with my declarations of “Never”.

My latest, “My kids are never going to that rich hoity- toity high school”.  Countless friends and family members have heard me repeat this over time.  But every day I creep among the new sports cars and pristine SUV’s with our 8-year-old van in the school traffic.

I stop in front of the hoity- toity high school and my son leans over the seat for his blessing, hug and prayer. It turns out; there are great opportunities for him there.  He is happy, challenged, and making great choices as a freshman.

I have been pondering my “Nevers”.  Have they been spoken in pride or even fear?  Have I been making projections into a future I know little about?

Little did I know about the benefits of a little yellow school bus which now comes to our home.  Our son enjoys the independence, the soothing movement of the bus, the shared experience with his friends.  He runs to his seat each morning with a wonderful anticipation.  I give him a hug and a prayer, and with a grateful heart, I wave goodbye.

I am discovering God has blessings waiting for me when I release my “Nevers”.   My presumptions, my lack of trust, my inhibitions stamp a large Never – period.  Now I am allowing God to replace commas for my hasty periods and I am embracing the process with a grateful heart.

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

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