Friday, July 31, 2009

The Gift

You thought I had a talent for babbling? You had no idea. This post goes on forever. If you only have a few moments, please scroll down to the story the title refers to. It's in green text. If you have more time, stay for a while, endure my babbling. It's a rare bit of vulnerability I'm sharing today. Everyday is a gift. In my ripe, fossilized age of 32 years, I'm old enough to realize that now. I know I'm not indestructible. I know my time on earth is finite. Every morning that the sun rises to a new day of smiles from my children and new chances to not repeat the mistakes of yesterday is a blessing. But this evening I was given an extra special gift from God. A moment that I'm still carrying with me and treasuring up in my heart. I'll share it with you in a moment. But first. I am in love with this blog. I have created this cozy space all for myself. It's all mine, and everything in it is special to me. I don't regret one single word typed here, one picture uploaded, and certainly not the new friends made. I haven't made any special effort to keep my posts lighthearted and sanguine, but that has been its natural tendency. That is just the way this blog has bloomed. It has bloomed straight from my heart. It's something that is all my own. Only, I don't want to keep it to myself. I love that you're here! For as long as I can remember, there have been people in my life whose voices have always been larger and louder than mine. Their personalities come across stronger and more robust than mine, and I become a mouse. Somewhere along the line (and probably in several places along the line) I learned that what I said or thought was Stupid. Foolish. Irrelevant. Not As Important. That belief lead my mind to second guess itself in every exchange. Coherent words leave my brain and make their way to my tongue. But by the time they reach my tongue, enough self-doubt squeezes its way in to enact a gag order. I learned a long time ago that it's usually best to keep quiet. But there are times when it really hurts not to be heard. When the people I want to acknowledge and validate me the most just bulldoze over me with their own powerful or dismissive nature. For the most part, though, I have learned to be gracious. Due, in part, to the fact that for the first time in my 32 years, I know that my worth rests in the gentle, capable hands of Christ. I don't need to be heard or exalted in this world because He hears me. Every word uttered, every thought conceived is important to Him. I am a child of God. That is my identity. I find that when I'm surrounded by big, overbearing voices, if I can just settle into quietude, surrender the competition, I can find clarity. I don't drown, as I had feared. Rather, I'm buoyed by God's voice whispering peacefulness into my heart. But despite all that, I have enjoyed such exhilaration from having my voice heard on this blog. Or maybe it's because of learning those lessons that I now have the freedom to enjoy it. My wish to be heard is coming from the right place. I don't need to be amazing. I don't need others to tell me I'm important. I just want to share what I love and have a feeling of connection with others who can relate or who just take cheer in reading what I write. I absolutely relish having this space and having you here makes it a warmer, safer space to do all those things. A blog blossoming with flippant, merry accounts of my life (packaged as some kind of bizarre cooking show?) does not mean that I have a smile on my face every day. There are days when my heart is deflated. There are days when I'd rather stay in bed than greet the day with a fresh perspective. I have trials and worries and misgivings. I have headaches, an intermittent pain in my left knee and bouts of vertigo. I have struggled with anxiety from the time I was old enough to be self-aware. I flirted with depression after my twins were born. I carry shame, that I can not live down, like luggage, everywhere I go. I have genes that I would be devastated to pass on to my children. I have secrets that are dark. For now, I just choose not to air them out here. For now, this blog has developed into a place of joy. Maybe it won't always be like that. But for now. And so, I've been thinking for some time about writing a post about gratitude. Contentment. I told Relyn that I love to wallow in my contentment. I wallow in it because there's a lot of discontent to be waded through each day. But if I can sort through it, I can always find that oasis of contentment, and there I wallow! Even on the worst day, my oasis can be that God is still my savior, my help in times of trouble. Relyn's blog, Come Sit By My Fire, is probably one of the most peaceful places I've ever visited on the internet. I saw she had a category "A Habit of Gratitude" which takes you to a collection of blessings counted. I love that. That, in part, spurred this post. The other part is the story I've been waiting to tell you. The gift.
The twins were in their high chairs. Dee was lovingly drooling on and softly murmuring "dah dah" to a green plastic spoon. Bex was so drowsy that he was in a trance, staring out the kitchen window. I was sitting in a kitchen chair facing the twins and a groggy Bug was in my lap, snuggling in to my chest. I could feel her hot little hands held tightly to my back, sometimes gently patting. I sat there running my fingers through her wispy blond hair that smelled like grapefruit and quietly singing along to a Nichole Nordeman cd playing in the background,
"Not well-traveled, not well-read.
Not well-to-do or well-bred.
Just wanna hear instead
'well done good and faithful one'."
I joke about the chaos that goes on in this house, and while exhausting and sometimes trying, I love it. But this was a rare moment of serenity for us all.
I started to reflect on how blessed I am.
Bexie's face was so tranquil, so fair, so dear to me. My eyes were fixated on him. Something snapped his reverie and his eyes met mine. Recognition flooded his angelic face and his serious expression broke into a smile that unmistakeably conveyed his utter adoration for me. I was literally surrounded by love. Engulfed in it. I thought my heart might burst.
I'm passionately addicted to this life I'm living.
That is a gift from God. The whole thing is a collection of small gifts from God. It was a gift to be holding my daughter in my arms. A gift to watch my twins before me. A gift to be conscious of the moment that was unfolding. A gift to have enough sense to cherish it. A gift to see the bigger picture. That though, yes, my life could improve in some areas, though my life may change next year, tomorrow, next hour, where I am right now, this second, is perfection.
What an oasis to wallow in.


~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you. Maybe we should begin a "grateful day-I'm game.

Miss D is in foal. She is due to have a baby soon! Mares usually foal in the "dark hours". In the wild, they will foal, and within hours, when the sun comes up, the baby is strong enoungh to walk along side it's mother. Hence, being able to escape danger from other animals!
Poor thing. She is just so huge and the weather has been sooo humid!
Have a wonderful day with your beautiful children, Elle Bee!
Blessings, Misha

Flat Creek Farm said...

Most beautiful bunch o' babble I have ever read. Absolutely wonderful. -Tammy

Dandy said...

I love Relyn's site as well, I often log on while I'm at work and let her playlist run thru the day.

And I love your babble. Thank you for sharing your moment, its absolutely beautiful. I learn more about you every day and I feel lucky to have found you here :)

Meghan said...

I, too, feel lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for always being so open and honest with us. I love your posts. Keep 'em comin'. Love you!

Mrs. D said...

Beautiful story, thank you for sharing. Your three angels are such a blessing. I love to see the adoration that they have for you and the love you shower on them.

I like the idea about having a grateful day... it reminds me of the glad game from the movie Pollyanna. I'm glad to have you in my life!

Unknown said...

Wow ... that brought tears to my eyes. That was lovely ... you so perfectly conveyed those rare, beautiful and perfect moments that many of us don't take the time to experience. Thank you for sharing your moment with us!

And may I say how lucky you are ... to have children that purely adore you! You're right ... it's such a gift!

Small Footprints

InWeighOverMyHead said...

What a beautiful wonderful post! I LOVE "listening" to you on your blog. ;)

Unknown said...

You have such a beautiful heart! I felt like I was reading about myself; I too have often felt that what I had to say wasn't important enough for anyone to want to listen, I have often felt like I was sitting on the sidelines of life. How wonderful to know that He is sitting there with us! Thank you for such a moving and honest post, written so beautifully. Your post today was a gift from God to all of us.
Be well ~Andrea~

Jan Holt said...

I just found you and I think your voice and your words are powerful and inspiring. I'm sure I was meant to find you today.

Thank you for my gift today too.



CottageGirl said...

Beautiful, Elle!
I suffer from the same lack of eloquence and understand exactly from where you speak.

Your writing is wonderful and the honesty in your sentiments brings all of us together.

Glad I found you!

Heart2Heart said...

I simple love your blog and your purpose you so simply put into words here. I love your transparency in letting us inside to get to know the real you and your gift you received last night from God, was simply beautiful.

The noticing of the smallest of things lies in the details of our everyday life.

I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart for stopping by today and leaving me the most heartfelt sentiments.

I decided to stop by here which is what I do for people I hear from for the first time and see what they are blogging about.

I am glad I came. I found a fellow Southern Californian and hope in time we can connect with others in our great state and get together! Until that time, I decided to become a follower because I love what you write and I find a common ground in what you have to say!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Genevieve said...

Thank you for you lovely comment on my blog! I love your reference to Nichole Nordeman here- she is one of my favourite singers and "Every Season" is one of my most loved songs.

Sometimes, i sit and imagine myself in the future, with children running around in the late afternoon and Nichole playing in the background. It might sound strange but that vision brings me a lot of peace and i need the peace. I too have struggled with anxiety, and continue to fight it mostly every day. I have been going through Psalm 91 in my mind over and over again and it provides much confort on dark days.

All that being said, I look forward to reading your blog!

Unknown said...

So very beautifully expressed. To be like Tristan, gazing out the window, with a wistful look on his face...that's sheer contentment.

When my daughters were little, I could stare out the window for hours, watching them play. I really believe that that's what is meant when the scripture says that Mary pondered it in her heart (my paraphrase). In other words, she captured, treasured, remembered every moment that she experienced as a mom to Jesus.

Serenity said...

Love this post. Gorgeous.


McVal said...

How sweet! I get that little gift every once in a while too and it's wonderful! I love your blog and wish you lived next door...

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh, dear Elle Bee!! You know just how much I love this. You have made my heart happy to think that I've inspired in part, something as wonderful as this. Thank you. Thank you so much for telling me that. You have made my day.

When I started my blog I prayed that it would be a place of encouragement. Where I could make friends and be heard. But, mostly that I could let people know they are heard. And, to help them feel better because they realize how very much they have been given. So, today, you've shown me that once again my prayer has been answered.

southerninspiration said...

What a wonderful testimony to God's grace and love and favor!!! I am so glad I found your blog today!! Let's be friends!! ;)


cherie said...

such a heart-warming post, so down-to-earth...