Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Archive for the tag “Children”

Children: A “reward” of the womb, not a an “award” from a judge

“Only a fool vents his full spirit.”

That’s from proverbs. 29:11

I have a tendency to vent my full spirit and I’m struck by this verse and wondering how to do this right?

For 15 years I didn’t vent my full spirit. I didn’t even recognize my full spirit.

Coulter and Emma Claire’s dad has parenting time for all of June and July. Otherwise known as visitation.

Oh, he must live out of town, you say? He must not see them during the school year?


Regular visitation during the school year too.

And see how well I’m doing? I haven’t even written about it for a full month!

But yesterday was ugly.


After a 12 day vacation, I asked, quite simply if they could stay the night.

With me.

The mom.

And I’m not going to vent my full spirit about it. I’m just going to tell you.

My readers.


And I lay (laid?) in bed—awake—for a full three hours this morning before I had the courage to face the day and then I got hungry, but now I’m back in bed and it’s this word that’s tossing in my head and it’s tossing in my spirit and it’s just this word.


He reminded me, so thoughtfully, so kindly that he had been “awarded” June and July.

It wasn’t an award.

It was a conciliation.

There are no awards handed out for parents who can’t keep their promises.

It’s pretty simple, really.

Saying “I do” to your spouse means saying “I don’t” to, ya know, everyone else.

So instead of venting my full spirit, I thought I would write a letter.

But then I was afraid that writing a letter would sound a whole lot like venting my full spirit so I scratched the letter (which wasn’t hard because WordPress changed their format and for the life of me I can’t figure out how to save a draft or proof a draft and so whatever, the letter is gone.)

Next I decided to google “statistics of children of divorce.”

Then I wanted to burn my computer.

One statistic said that children of divorce have more emotional and psychological damage than children who have lost a parent to death.

No way, you might say.

Yes way. I read the study.

Well, skimmed.

But what it is? What is it that makes divorce harder on a child than death.

And you can’t really compare one loss to another and one grief to another but why?

Ugly hearts.

Mean hearts.

Broken into tiny little pieces, hearts.

OK, so instead of a letter, how bout this? How ’bout a few reminders for divorced parents.

And just to be safe—just to ensure that I don’t spew and vent and get all crazy-momma bear on you, how about I just go to the Word.

His Word.


How bout this?

Children are a gift from the Lord. Not an “award” from a judge.

Children are precious in His sight. Not a pawn for your fight.

Children are a heritage from the Lord. Not a tool for hate.

In first Samuel, I read: “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

When I think about the hours that I have spent in prayer over my children and when I think about the even more countless hours that my prayer warriors have spent in prayer and when I stop to remember God’s faithfulness and his provision and his goodness and his answer that Coulter and Emma Claire were knit together in my womb by God Almighty and the fruit of my womb is a RE-ward not an A-ward and when I stop long enough to listen and remember and I continue reading Proverbs 29:11, I read that a wise man quietly holds it back.

And so I hold.

I mean, it’s kinda like holding one one of those cheap bouncy balls that you get at the pizza place and it slips out of your hands and bounces behind the refrigerator and you can never find it again. I mean, it’s a little bit like that; it’s slippery and fidgety and I struggle and maybe today I’ve already failed,(think I’ll skip the word count so far) but I want to be wise.

And it dawns on me, it doesn’t say anything about being right.

I guess God doesn’t so much get caught up in those stupid games.

And besides. You know what else I read today? And I just love it when the Lord gives me a clear answer, but would love it even more if it was an answer I liked, but for today.

Just this.

Exodus 14:14

“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Hold us, Lord and fight.

The 10 Little Milligrams that Changed My Life

Snuggling in bed after a whole “I’m telling Dad on you”—“Fine. Tell Dad on me. I don’t care.”—kind of evening, Emma Claire finally settled and apologized.

And so did I.

My big offense?

I let them stay up late watching a movie.

Which was super fun until I broke the news that it was  too late for books.

Anyway, I should’ve just read the dang books because for the next hour Emma Claire asked question after question—



I have promised two things. To myself and to my children.

I will always tell the truth.

And I will not spend a lifetime telling them they are too young to understand.

Even though quite frankly, I’m still too young to understand.

I recalled a moment getting into my van. Emma Claire was on the verge of  3. I had just handed off my resume and was brushed off without a second glance.

And I had used such nice paper.

And it went straight to the shredder.

So I drove off.


Emma Claire said to me, “Mommy why are you always crying?”

A couple of weeks later I and a doctor’s appointment.

Yearly exam and my first in Nebraska.

I sat in a waiting room and I am telling you that everyone woman in that place was glowing, bellies full except for me.

The nurse calls my name.

She’s 12. Maybe 13.

I start crying from the minute I step onto the scale.

“Any issues for you today? Anything that you’d like to discuss with the Doctor?”

“No, ” I squeak through sobs.

“Uhm, OK. Well, is there some… are you… uhm, OK.”

She leaves.

The Doctor walks in.

She’s 15. At what point did people start going to med school in their teens. These people are not old enough to babysit my children. How can they be old enough to take care of me?

She’s very kind and very gentle but I am super annoyed.

“The nurse mentioned you were  upset. Do you want to talk about it?”

“Uhm. OK, sure. Well, I think I hate my husband.

No, I don’t hate him.

I love him, but  I think he hates me and so yeah, I’m pretty sure I hate being married.

And I hate Fremont.

And I can’t find a job.

And I didn’t date a whole lot before I got married so I’m not entirely sure, but I’m pretty sure that my life is not normal and everyone gets on my nerves.



The only people I actually like right now are my children.”

She talks for a while and finally says, “Do  you think you might be depressed.”

Ha. I laugh. No, I’m not depressed. I cry all the time, yes.

But I’m a Christian.

Good grief, No!

Christian’s do not get depressed.

“OK. Yes. I understand. You are not depressed. But maybe, just for a season, you might consider a low-dose— SUPER low-dose–anti-depressant to see if it might help. Ya known, with your non-depression.

I asked her if I would gain weight. Because this fog that I’m in, crying everyday, all-the-time, yes it’s not too much fun, but let’s prioritize. Gaining weight, well that would actually really depress me.

I mentioned it to my mother on the way home. I told her I would not fill the script.

She thought perhaps I should consider it.

I was afraid that my husband would try to use it against me if we divorced.

Spoiler alert: I’m a pretty smart chick.

I mentioned it to my husband. I told him I would not fill the script.

He thought perhaps I should consider it.

I get a call. The lump I felt? Needs to com out. Appointments were made, surgery was scheduled and I decided what the HALE.

I will fill the script.

10 mg.

2 weeks.

And then, bam! One morning I woke up and I can’t explain it but it was a type of clarity. Like if you have a smudge on your glasses and they clean them for you at the eye doctor and then it’s awesome how clearly you can see.


I don’t know if it was un-diagnosed postpartum.

I don’t know if it was simply circumstantial.

I don’t know and I don’t care. 10 precious milligrams and I started to wake-up.

Yes. Out of a fog. And my life was un-recognizable.

To myself.

And the lump came out and it was not cancer.

And after my surgery, my neighbor down the street, Tina brought me a meal. My husband didn’t eat it.

My children didn’t eat it.

But I ate it and I loved it and more than that, I loved that I had a neighbor who would bring me food.

And I quickly went off the pain mediation because it made me forgetful and irritable.

But I continued to take the 10 mg. And the fog continued to lift.

As my friends and family can so easily attest, the 10 mg. doesn’t solve all your problems and I didn’t stop crying and it’s not a quick fix and it’s not a failure of faith.

It’s an imbalance.

My doctor described it like this. There are these little balls, bouncing around in your head and when there’s an imbalance, the balls don’t bounce as high as they should and no, it’s not a failure of faith.

It’s a failure of chemicals.

And flat little balls that have lost their bounce.

I’m still taking my ball-bouncing medicine.

I’ve tried twice to go off it.

Last time, I went cold turkey because I forgot to fill it.

Three days in, I called my handsome friend (let’s call him Mike. Ya know, the one that was in my Easter pictures where it looked like I wasn’t wearing a shirt, but I was wearing a shirt, anyway, we’ll call him Mike because that is actually his name, so I called him. Wait maybe I texted. See? The fog?

Anyway, I can’t even tell the story because I was ranting and raving about stuff that I shouldn’t have been ranting and raving about and by the end of the night, lying in bed I had decided that I needed to leave my church.

My church!!!

My family!!!

That I love!!!

My covenant family; those that have walked beside me and held me and loved me and prayed for me and been a husband to the widow and a father to the father-less and Praise the Lord, that’s when I remembered.

My 10 little mg. Although, for truth and credibility I should clarity that it’s now 20 mg.

Stupid bounce-less balls.



A year later, I was back in the doctor’s office.

The nurse looked a little older. The doctor a little more qualified and I did notice a few 40+ women in the mammogram room. At second glance it appeared that I wasn’t the only one who had said goodbye to her baby years.

The doctor walked in and I had to hold myself back from just hugging the breath out of her.

She did not deliver my babies. She did not watch me go through miscarriage and fertility drugs and here is a woman I did not know and still barely know and yet she changed my life.

And in a way and by the Lord’s provision, she actually saved it.

I know there are more late-night conversations coming about why and how and it’s-not-fair. But I also know there is always, always, always—


For the moment.

Turns out, I actually know why we got divorced. That’s a question I can answer.

And it’s a much easier question, than 3-year-old Emma Claire’s asking her Mother why she cried.




“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b



Walking the Planks

So today was flu shot day. I would tell you that I had completely forgotten about flu shots, but that would obviously make me a terrible mother, so I will tell you assuredly, I did not forget about flu shots. Like any devoted mom, I delayed them as long as possible for the sake of my children.

And so we went. And I don’t do the trick thing. I say we are doing this. And it’s gonna hurt.

But only for a second.

We arrive at the clinic and several other devoted moms were there lining children, one by one; completing forms, two by two; and we are reassuring and we are loving and we are—


Bysounds horrific and loud and full of panic and they were the sounds of a child.


It was a movie. For five long minutes. Surreal. I looked at my children; at all of the children. Waiting, faces, ghost-white and frightened and I look at them lovingly, showing concern for their hearts beating fast and I—

Burst out laughing. Giggling, shaking, laughing, like I can. not. stop. The other moms look at me with horror. The nurses glance and I am telling you.

I could not quit laughing.

It was like a year-long release of tension and fear and anger and anxiety and maybe I wanted to be that kid, yelling at the top of his lungs, but grown-ups can’t yell. At least not in a clinic. At least not in a room full of children.

And so we laugh.

And all of a sudden, there were other nurses, different nurses, other screams, yes different ones and I was back in the maternity wing  and we were being ushered around by our “how to have a baby” teacher and I’m remembering how huge I was and remembering how people would say, “Oh you are so cute. You are just carrying that baby all up front” and how they were lying, sweet, precious liars because I am remembering and I am seeing pictures and I know I carried that baby everywhere. He was in my face and my hips and my tush and, oh thank heavens for all the sweet little liars, but we are walking and yes there are screams. You could hear the sounds of total agony echoing from the newly remodeled rooms and I looked at my husband and I thought—

“Well, that’s that. This baby’s stayin’ in”‘

Well first, I thought, why in the heck-o-la did they bring us here? Such not a good idea.

And then I thought, yep, baby’s stayin’ put because I am not. doing. that. That, you know, whatever that is that is causing the screaming.

But the baby came out. Two of them, in fact and without drugs. I’m not some crazy no-drug person, I’m just some crazy-don’t like the idea of someone sticking a foot-long needle into my spine person.

So anyway, I was laughing and yes I had this moment right there in the middle of a flu shot clinic and these moments are important and they make up our lives and they are the ones that remind us of  the better; they remind us of the joy and in this really messed up way, the poor kid screaming, wrestling, fighting, kicking made me happy.

Ann Voskamp says, “We can walk the planks of trust from known to unknown and know. He holds.”

And so here in this clinic, here today, I remember. I remember the better. I remember that He is faithful and that He held me during labor and He held my parents as they waited word on their baby,  and He held them when they were refused information and refused welcome and yes, I can list the ways of His faithfulness and I can walk the planks and it’s good to remember and it’s good to laugh and there is grace in flu shots and frightened children.

And frighened Mommies.

My children were brave. Stickers in hand, we head out for ice cream. And once upon a time, I remember that their Mommy was brave (and very fat and thankful for liars), and it’s a both-and.

Being brave doesn’t mean we’re not scared. It means we face the fear.

We walk the planks.

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