Twenty-Seven Boxes

“Where’s your bathroom?  I’m sick and I shouldn’t even be here.”

This was how the man in charge of our moving crew greeted me when I answered the door.  This was the person who made sure things were done properly.  The boss. 

I balanced my one-year old daughter on my hip and just pointed down the hall, not sure how to respond to this announcement. 

I was handling this move on my own since George was away at a military school.  By away, I mean across the street.  I could see his building from our front yard, but we were not supposed to see him at all for most of the six months our family was at Fort Benning. 

The packers got started while the boss man went to bed in his truck.  I only saw him periodically when he came in to be sick in my bathroom.  I was trying to keep track of the workers who were spread out in various rooms of the house while dealing with an active little girl amid the craziness.

The next day was no better.  They showed up with a truck half packed with another family’s goods. While this is common practice, we told them not to do this in our case.  We had moved enough to know our stuff took up most of the truck.  

They started loading our shipment.  It didn’t fit.  Then they started putting things in the small truck that carries their boxes and other supplies.  It still didn’t fit.  Next thing we knew, random boxes were being put in the cars the workers had arrived in. The whole experience was a mess, but at that point it was what it was.

We arrived in Colorado and settled into the hotel. We were excited for our household goods to arrive so we could get things in order before George had to leave.  He was due at another military class in Missouri in about a week.

Thanksgiving fell in the middle of our move and I was determined to cook for my family.  We ate off paper plates standing around the small island in our empty kitchen.  It was nice to be out of the hotel, so we were perfectly happy with our makeshift holiday. 

In the middle of our festivities, the number for the transportation office on Fort Carson appeared on George’s phone screen.  We exchanged a worried look as he answered the phone. A call on a holiday didn’t bode well. 

The good news was our household goods had arrived on Fort Carson!  The bad news was they found roaches coming from the other family’s boxes on our truck.  Everything had to go through the process of chemical treatment to be sure they weren’t delivering roaches along with our things. This would take a few extra days. Fantastic.

Early the next week, we checked out of the hotel and were ready to set up our new home. As the Colorado based crew began to unload our belongings, they realized most of our boxes weren’t taped properly by the packers in Georgia, so the chemicals used to treat the roach issue were also on our personal items inside the boxes.  This was especially concerning with our son’s allergy issues and our baby’s tendency to put everything in her mouth. 

The moving company decided to provide extra workers so we could unpack each box in the garage and wipe everything down before moving it into the house.  It was a complete unorganized mess because items were not packed in any sensible order.  Kitchen things were coming out of the same box as bathroom and bedroom things.  Everyone was working hard and making the best of a chaotic situation. 

As that was being handled, we had another problem to deal with.  Item after item was coming off the truck broken or damaged. 

As each item came off the truck, the movers would call out a number and I would check it off the inventory list, making note of damaged items as we went.  All was going smoothly when somebody announced the last box had been unloaded.  I still had quite a lot of unchecked items on my list.  We had no idea where the rest of our belongings were.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, our things trickled back to us as they surfaced in various locations around the country. When all was said and done, we were still missing twenty-seven boxes

We began the very stressful and tedious process of filling out claim forms and handling repairs for damaged furniture. George was handling the paperwork and phone calls from his temporary home in Missouri. 

I was busy unpacking.  The weather had taken a turn on moving day so a lot of our boxes were stored in the garage until I could get to unpacking and wiping the chemicals off on my own.

Some days were more overwhelming than others. Sentimental things were missing or broke and the haphazard way things were thrown in boxes was plain disrespectful.   I practically choked on my anger when I found my baby girl’s piggy bank with the bottom popped off and all her money gone. 

Once all the boxes were empty, we could start listing the items that were missing.  This was not an easy feat.  It was hard to think of what was missing until we wanted to use it and it wasn’t there.  Many items held sentimental value, but no real monetary value.  We lost special mementos and photos from childhood.  Many of the oddities and gifts we had accumulated at our various duty stations and travels were gone forever. Most of these things weren’t expensive, but they were irreplaceable.

We had a choice to make.  We could sit in the anger and let bitterness take root.  No one would blame us.  Or we could choose to be grateful for what we had instead of being angry about what we had lost.

I toggled between my choices for a hot minute.  I lamented to God that this wasn’t fair.  He didn’t argue the point with me.  I told him I had every right to be angry.  He didn’t argue that either.  I felt like he just let me do my thing and get it all out.  After I prayed (or whined, whatever), I had this peace I can’t fully explain.  I lost my gumption to stay angry.  I was reminded that God promises to work all things for our good.

We were healthy and safe.  The kids were making friends and so was I. Within a few months, George came home from Missouri.  We had gotten through a year of a lot of time apart and a lot of changes and some loss, but we were somehow stronger and closer for it all.  We fell in love with Colorado and enjoyed family time exploring the mountains and towns around us.

The things we lost didn’t matter in the bigger picture.  They were only things.  Our lives didn’t change dramatically with or without them. 

When I come to the end of myself and hand over all my emotions and frustrations to him, everything changes.  He empties me out of all the negative and fills me with his goodness and peace.  My circumstances don’t always change, but my ability to see the blessings all around me brings a whole new light to my life.

 I am so grateful for a God who lets me run the gamut of my emotions and then patiently wipes my tears and puts it all right.  I love knowing I can trust him with all of my stuff, but especially with the important things that have nothing to do with material possessions. 

Do not become angry or upset! It will only bring trouble for you.

But people who trust in the Lord for help will live safely in the land God has given them.

Psalm 37:8, 9b

Perfectly Imperfect

I’ve been restless this week.  Nothing is going on to make me feel this way; at least not in an outward sense.  Yet, here I am, wrestling with this unrest in my soul that wakes me for hours each night and nags that place in the back of my brain throughout the day.  It sits like a rock in the pit of my stomach.

I like to pretend that I don’t know where this is coming from.  For a while, I believe myself.  It just feels easier to bury the truths flirting with my conscience thought.  The chatter of this world is happy to help me stick my head in the sand. I would rather scroll mindlessly thorough Facebook than deal with the tugging of my soul.

I know God is challenging me to do some things he put in my heart literally years ago.  I have spent the last ten plus of those years explaining to him why I am definitely not the girl for the job. There are many reasons why I have so easily procrastinated and discounted his voice, but they all come down to not feeling good enough.  Putting myself in a vulnerable position seems so foolish.  Why would I open myself up to the possibility- the absolute likelihood- of failing in a very big and very public way? Bad idea. 

If someone wants to find fault they will not even break a nail digging for dirt.  Actually, I am one of those people seemingly born without a filter.  I think it, I say it.  I end up telling on myself before anyone has a chance to figure out I am a hot mess on their own.  I am impulsive.  I’m emotionally driven.  I sin in my anger with biting words.  I have absolutely lost my cool at times; like Exorcist crazy person lost it.  I have been lazy, selfish, and judgmental. 

The worst part about all of this is that I can justify bad behavior-sin- with the best of them.  Lost my cool? My husband pushed my buttons.  Gossiped?  Everyone needs to vent!  Potty mouth? I can’t help it because I am around it so it just comes out.  The list goes on. 

On top of all of my shortcomings, I am a quirky girl.  I see the world through my own set of glasses, it seems.  I am too loud, too transparent, just altogether too much!  I can remember being aware of this way back in kindergarten.  I felt weird and unlovable.  That view of myself took root in my earliest memories.  I was too much, yet never enough.

How can this girl be the same girl God wants to use?  There must be a mistake.  Doesn’t all of this discount my credibility?  Maybe if I no longer struggled with these things, then I could rise above the very human, not good enough self I wake up to each day.  My testimony would be stellar!  But as things stand, I tend to need daily do-overs in my Christian walk. 

But then again, maybe that’s the point.  My struggles and failures and my absolute need for God’s grace are the story.  If it is about me trying to get it right all on my own while navigating this crazy, upside down world, my life is doomed to be a vicious cycle with no real purpose. 

What if my story is the hot mess girl who is also a beautiful work in progress being shaped day by day by the very one who created her?  What if all those failures and quirks serve a purpose?  What if other girls secretly -or not so secretly- struggle with the same things?  What if those girls can see the love and light of a God who loves me in spite of me? 

Feeling completely naked and vulnerable is hard.  It’s scary.  But I don’t have to figure it all out at once.  I just have to do a little and then a little more, trusting that God will finish what he has started.  I do not come with credentials, advanced education, or connections.  I do come with a promise to be real and transparent and to do my best to share what God wants me to share.  My hope is that you will also share your thoughts, feelings, struggles, and encouragements as God nudges you.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

The Struggle is Real

When I started See Through Sister, it was with the promise that I would be transparent.  I said I would share the good, the bad, the funny, and the ugly.  I said from the start that real life is seldom all good or all bad.  I am good with that.  What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to figure out how to articulate what that actually looks like.

The last few weeks have been amazing! We have made some progress on some renovations on our fixer upper, we got to  spend our anniversary weekend with other couples from our church on a marriage retreat, we had a special birthday dinner for our son in Atlantic City, we spent a weekend in NYC seeing a show and exploring some of our favorite places, we saw our niece shine in her very first high school musical, I saw my “nephew” rock a starring role in his musical, and I have gotten to have a  turn teaching kids on Sunday morning at church.  All things that make my heart happy. 

So why is my soul in turmoil? My anxiety is an ever-present elephant on my chest.  I am struggling with depression.  What’s difficult to deal with is that it doesn’t all stem from one thing.  Does it for anyone? 

Let’s start with my own hang ups.  While I have come a long way, I still have to remind myself of my worth regularly.  My inner dialogue is not always user friendly. God has gently corrected me on this often.  Just his presence and the reminder that it was the Creator himself who knitted me together are humbling truths that feed my soul.  This doesn’t stop the voices that surround me from affecting my thought life. I constantly have to feed myself truth to shut out the lies. And thankfully, God’s truth is more powerful than the lies.

 Rejection is an old foe I have conquered repeatedly.  I have fought countless battles with this enemy of my soul, but he keeps coming back to take me on again and again.  It’s exhausting. 

Right now, I am in a season of rejection that is kicking my butt. 

 I recently took a big blow from someone that has left me still searching for solid ground.  Because of the role this person plays in my life, they cut in ways that scar.  I know all the things I am supposed to do with this.  Forgive.  Move on.  I can only control my own behaviors and my own reactions to other people’s choices.  I have prayed. I have journaled.  I have talked about it, trying to make sense of the situation.  But at the end of the day, I am still hurt, and I am affected more than I want to admit.  I know this person isn’t out to get me.  They aren’t trying to hurt me, scar me.  I know they have their own scars that affect how they relate to me.  But their rejection still hurts and salts wounds, both past and present

In the middle of processing this, my husband and I are having some struggles of our own.

My husband is my very best friend. He loves God and he loves me.  He is a good man who has given all he has to provide for our family.  He has served his country with honor.  He quietly gives to those who have a need when he can.  He loves to treat and surprise those he loves.  I know how blessed I am to have a man like him beside me in this life.  I know that God put us together and nothing will ever separate our love from him or each other. 

But my husband, like most of us, is also very broken in a lot of ways.  His resilience to survive all that he has lived through in his almost fifty years is inspiring. 

In George’s case, survival mode looks a lot like checking out.  Like many men, he stuffs the realities of his pain into little compartments in his brain.  He has been storing these boxes for most of his life.  There’s a box for his mother’s murder when he was only a child and a box for his father’s sudden death. There are boxes for rejection, war, perceived failure, and guilt.  There are boxes for physical pain and a box for the effects of the Traumatic Brain Injury he suffered in Iraq.  Some of those compartments are locked so tight, that not even George himself has access to all the keys.  But God does, so hope is never lost.

Unfortunately, that understanding does not curb the loneliness I live with when he is locked up inside of himself.  We have seasons when he is in a good place and we have seasons when he is struggling.  Usually we live somewhere in between. 

Right now, we are in a place that has been staying closer to struggle for months now.

 I am tired. I am lonely.  That old enemy called rejection is trying to exercise squatter’s rights in my head.  I know that he is a liar.  I know he uses my emotions, which are also big fat liars, against me.  But knowing and feeling have a way of crashing into each other and leaving shards of confusion and sadness in a pile at my feet.

I want to be strong.  My role as an Army wife has always called me to hold the family together.  Retirement hasn’t changed that.  Actually, retirement has added new challenges.  I am learning how to stay in one place after all the years of the constant moving of military life. I am no longer a part of the subculture of military life.  That’s not a bad thing.  It’s just different.   Kids are growing up.  George’s career has changed.  Some days I feel like I am just going through the motions, not sure of who I am or what I am supposed to be doing next.  I hate that even my prayer time feels empty.  My worship feels like it’s just echoing off the walls. 

What I am sure of is that my faith is the one stable and steady thing that I can rely on.  I know with every part of my soul, that this season will not only pass, but will be worked out for my good somehow.  I will learn.  I will grow.  I will find my purpose.  My marriage will thrive again.  I will reconnect.  Rejection will get kicked to the curb.  I will heal.  My soul will awaken again.

I am a firm believer that most things are a process.  I don’t always love this, but I know it’s value.  The process is where life happens.  My challenge to myself is to keep going when I just want to pull the covers over my head and get to the happy ending.  Don’t let me fool you.  Some days, I pretty much do just that.  But the goal is to get up, get dressed and do what needs doing. I worship even when I don’t feel like it.  I remind myself of who God is and that when he promises to never leave me, I can count on that truth.  I try to choose to be joyful in all circumstances.  I am trying to take things day by day and remember that I have no control over most of my struggles.  I can only control my responses.  If I need to cry, I cry.  But then I rely on my faith and the hope that only God can bring, and I keep going. 

Gratefulness plays a big part in my process.  It would be easy to get stuck on the negative.  Things are hard right now.  But things are also good right now.  I know I have a good life.  I have a wonderful husband.  I am seeing growth in my kids.  I love making our home our own.  We have a healthy and thriving church family.  We are financially stable after many years of hard work.  Life really is good.  How foolish it would be to miss my blessings because I forgot to be grateful! 

As I wait on God’s timing for some things to turn around, I leave you with this encouragement:  God is good.  This too shall pass.  The process is worth what’s waiting on the other side. 

Whatever your personal struggles are, I hope you are able to let your light shine as you walk through your process.  Hang in there.  Don’t give up!  Your rainbow is coming!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Look Around

When my second son was about eighteen months old, I took him to the doctor for a check-up. While we were there, I brought up some concerns I was having about his speech development.  My gut told me something was off.  It seemed like he should be “talking to us” more.  I understood he wasn’t very behind on actual words, per se.  He just seemed too quiet; too uninterested in working on getting the words.

The doctor firmly disagreed.  She said he was completely fine.  Her refusal to truly listen to my concerns gave me an urgent sense of panic. I couldn’t walk out of there without pushing the issue.  She finally rolled her eyes at me and sighed in annoyance.  She handed me a consult to see Early Intervention for an evaluation “to show me how ridiculous I was being”.  I didn’t care what she thought. I happily took the consult and got out of there before she changed her mind.

My husband and I weren’t sure what to expect on the day of the evaluation.  After talking with us, they took Kevin into a room with a two-way mirror so we could watch them interact with him.  One of the therapists came to talk to us after they had made their assessments.  My mama’s instinct was spot on.  There was something going on with his speech and language development.  They enrolled him in their program immediately. 

The speech pathologist came to our home to work with him in his own environment.  After a few weeks, we were approached with an opportunity.  They felt we were candidates for something called The Hanen Program- More than Words.  The premise of the program was to empower us, as parents, by giving us the tools to draw out the words. 

George and I would attend classes with other parents who have been selected as a good fit for the program.  The speech pathologist would continue to come and work with Kevin at our home as we implemented the techniques we learned in class. 

The Hanen Program very quickly became a part of our family dynamic in every day life.   And it worked!  We saw great progress in a short time.

Then the ear infections started.  We finally had things on track to get Kevin to want to talk to us, and his hearing was now affecting his speech. 

After many appointments involving more pushy mom moments, we were granted a consult for the ENT clinic.  Soon after, he got tubes in his ears and we were able to get the hearing issue taken care of.  But now we had more work to do with his speech issues.

 Early Intervention on Fort Benning continued to be excellent.  He was two years old at this point, so in addition to home visits he now qualified for a special preschool program that was held in the elementary school.

  They wanted me to send my two year old to school?  Without me? My husband and I had chosen the stay at home mom route. My baby had not so much as stepped foot in a daycare, let alone school.  Did I mention he was only two?  They required him to ride the school bus.  Excuse me?  They wanted me to put him on a bus?  Without me?  My soul wrestled with this decision.  I trusted these people.  They had been so good to us thus far.  I knew they were offering the help he needed.  I just wished it was on my terms.

 In the end, I waved goodbye as he grinned at me from his car seat on the little yellow bus.  He loved every bit of it from the bus ride to the time with the other kids.  It was only a few hours three days a week. I was fine with it.  Really, I was.  Okay, I may have followed the bus to school and hid behind pillars like a crazy person so he wouldn’t see me, but that was only for the first few weeks. 

About halfway through the school year, we got orders to move to Fort Bragg, NC.  This would be the first of many school changes for both of our boys.  It was hard for a lot of reasons. 

One major difference was the Early Intervention Program on Fort Bragg compared to Fort Benning.  We went from people who cared about him and our family to basically nothing.  The school program was not in place because there was no post housing available for us.  There was a Speech Pathologist we were eligible to see once a week for a half hour.  We spent most of that half hour waiting for our turn in the hallway.

 Just a few months after moving to Fort Bragg, we got unexpected orders for Germany.  This ended up being a huge blessing for Kevin’s speech journey.  He was immediately put back into a fantastic program.  We loved his Speech Pathologist and his teachers.  I was particularly thrilled to find out that I could volunteer in his class as much as my heart desired.  I did.  A lot.

 One morning in May, I stayed for circle time and the morning routine.  The teacher asked if I wanted to stay for craft time.  You bet I did! 

We were just getting started when my now three year old son leans in close to my face.  “Momma”.  My heart melted.  “Yes, Buddy”.  “Yook awound” (look around).  I scanned the room looking for something special. Not seeing what he meant, I turned back to him and he stared me straight in the eye, “Do you see any udder mommies hewe ?”  Oof!  No.  I did not see any other mommies there.  And just like that, my baby didn’t need me anymore.

 After I licked my wounds of rejection, I realized that this is exactly what we had all been working so hard for.  This season of our whole family being uber focused on helping Kevin to grow past his struggles was never meant to be forever.God gave us the resources and the determination to walk through this for the purpose of helping Kevin to be independent and confident.

It is so humbling to look back at that season and be able to so clearly see God’s hand every step of the way.  From my “gut instinct”, which I know was God’s voice at that very first appointment to all of the amazing people who invested in my son, he provided what we needed when we needed it.

Letting go and letting God handle things goes against our very human nature.  I got a taste of that when I was asked to put him on that school bus at two years old.  But when we really let go and trust him, the blessings are bigger than we could ever have planned on our own. 

 I can see him in the dry spell when we were between programs.  God did not leave us in that limbo.  He moved us to the exact place with the exact people Kevin needed. That’s how God works.  He has a plan.  We just need to trust him. He knew help was on the way when all I could see was the moment. 

 I love the other side of seasons like this where we can look back and see the whole picture.  Look around, Momma.  Right in front of me sat a secure and happy little boy.  This was the prayer from the very beginning. 

Three year old Kevin brought things into perspective with two little words. Look Around.

There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven… Ecclesiastes 1:3 (AMP)

About Hanen (copied from their website)

Founded more than 35 years ago, The Hanen Centre is a Canadian charitable organization with a global reach.Our mission is to enable parents and professionals to transform their daily intreactions with children to best possible lifelong social, language and literacy skills. This includes children with or at risk for language delays and those with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.For more information on this life changing oragization go to

Search & Rescue

I had always wanted to go to a piano bar.  My friend and I heard about a quiet little place in downtown Colorado Springs, so we decided to check it out.  I had visions of feeling classy while sipping a martini by the piano.  Think old Hollywood glam. 

After an early sushi dinner, we wandered over to the piano bar and realized that we were hours too early.  Apparently, people who enjoy the night life don’t come out until it’s actually night.  Not willing to give up the vision, we decided to go next door to wait.  We wandered up the stairs and ended up at the grand opening of a rooftop bar.   The entire wall was a big firepit overlooking a beautiful view of the city.  And it was completely empty.

 We sat by the fire to have just one martini as we chatted.  It was our first time trying a martini and we were feeling pretty fancy.  They had the cutest names like Lemon Drop and Farrah Fawcett.  The waiter brought us these tiny little drinks rimmed with sugar.  We decided to try just one more.

Hours later, we realize that the bar had filled up while we were by the firepit gazing at the city, just talking and laughing.  We got up to head to our classy evening at the piano.  I instantly realized I was in trouble.  I have never been a get drunk kind of girl.  Not even in my younger years.  

I picked up my phone to call my husband and I see that I have missed a bunch of calls from him.  I tried to call him back and I couldn’t do it.  I mean, I physically couldn’t get my body to do what my brain was begging it to do.  My husband kept calling me and I couldn’t even answer him.  I was scared and I was mad at myself and I just wanted to go home.  I eventually ended up on a bench out front.  So much for classy.

I am not sure how long I was there when I felt a presence standing in front of me.  I opened my eyes and there was my husband just standing there with his hand out to me.  That precious man drove around the city for almost two hours looking for me and what he found was an awful and ashamed mess.  Yet there he stood with no condemnation and no anger or disgust.  He was just there to rescue me. 

I kept apologizing and he kept telling me to stop.  He was just happy to have me safe with him.  I was worried that his peers had seen me and I had embarrassed him, but he didn’t care about them.  He cared about me.  He was not even willing to consider letting me sit in my shame. 

This is just a small picture of the kind of love God has for us.  He doesn’t care that we made a mess of things.  He doesn’t care that we are sitting in a big pile of muck.  He loves us.  He doesn’t want us to sit in our shame.  He goes to the farthest lengths to find us and reach out his hand.  He isn’t looking to hit us with condemnation, and he forgives completely.  He finds us where we are and pulls us out of the muck. 

But we have to choose to take his hand.

 I shudder to think how different this story would have been if I had refused to take my husband’s hand that cold Colorado night.  It’s the same with God.  If we don’t take the rescue he is offering freely, we get a much different story than the one He offers.

The truth is that I deserved any harsh response my husband could’ve given me that night.  I was irresponsible and I put myself in a potentially dangerous situation.  He had every right to be angry.  But instead he chose grace.  His compassion led to mercy.

In the same way, God has every right to hold us accountable for our sin.  But he chooses to give us every possible chance to take his hand and accept the grace and mercy we do not deserve.  Beauty for ashes.  Healing for pain.  Life for death. 

His love searches to the ends of the earth and I for one, want to be found again and again. 

But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit.

Psalm 86:15 MSG

Broken Button

When my boys were four and eight years old, my husband got orders for Germany.  We had just moved to North Carolina a few months before, so as you can imagine, the news was not a happy surprise. 

Normally, orders for overseas come months in advance, but we were only given about six weeks notice.  We had to do the countless things that need to be done before a regular move, plus we had the added stress of getting passports and attending briefings for overseas duty stations.  The timeline also needed to include a visit to New Jersey to say goodbye to family before heading out of the country. 

I was already struggling with depression and I was particularly lonely since leaving Fort Benning, Georgia where I had an amazing circle of friends and a strong church family. 

I wish I could tell you that I put my big girl panties on and was a rock for my family.  Just thinking about myself during that time makes me cringe.   I was overly emotional about everything.  I had no desire to live out of the country.  I have issues with hearing loss so I was fearful of the language barrier on top of everything else.  It wasn’t my shining moment as a military wife.

Six weeks flew by and the next thing I knew, we touched down in Germany. We arrived to the news that there was a problem with our orders.  We had to wait while they figured out the issue.  We ended up stuck in a very crowded and hot room, with two exhausted kids, for hours. There was nothing to do but wait until they figured out where we were going to live.

We eventually settled in and things were pretty good.  George liked the command he was working for, the kids had fantastic teachers at school, and I became heavily involved in the Parent Teacher Organization.  I’m not sure why we were fighting so much.

We were blessed to get to travel to so many amazing places we would never have gotten to see if we didn’t move to Germany.  We drove to Paris, Italy, Denmark, and Amsterdam. We saw museums and beautiful countrysides.  We laughed and sang and joked on the road trips all around Europe.  I’m not sure why we were fighting so much.

We had the privilege of sharing our European adventures with our twelve year old nephew that summer.  The boys loved bonding and hanging out with their cousin.  I’m not sure why we were fighting so much. 

December rolled around and the PTO hosted a Christmas Around the World at the school.  The kids got to go to different tables to make a holiday craft. My eight year old, Josh, came running up to show me what he had just made for me.  He was bursting with excitement and pride.

He handed me the sweetest little pipe cleaner wreath made with wooden and plastic beads.  He gingerly pointed to each one and told me why he chose that particular embellishment.

I noticed there was a chunk missing from the blue button at the top of the wreath.  My son’s smile lit his whole face as he explained that he had picked the broken button on purpose.  He told me the wreath is a circle like our family.  It goes on forever and all the beads are together.  The broken button means that even though sometimes we fight and are broken, it’s ok because we are still a family and we love each other. Nobody is perfect.

I was blown away with the insight of my sweet boy.  And I was instantly humbled. 

I figured out why we were fighting.  We were trying to deal with all the changes and all the stress on our own accord. We forgot that the head of our family is Christ.  He was right there the whole time, ready for us to just let go and trust him so he could usher in his peace and his unity.  Leave it to Jesus to use a little one to set me straight!

It’s like that in God’s family, too.  Sometimes we hurt each other.  We fight, we are careless, we are selfish. We offend and we get offended. We forget that God is in charge. But we are still part of the family circle, broken buttons and all. Nobody is perfect. 

That was almost 20 years ago and that little wreath still hangs on a peg in my dining room.  When I see it, I go right back to that school cafeteria in Germany where my little boy spoke God’s grace straight into his Momma’s heart.

And a little child shall lead them

Isaiah 11:6b