Saturday, May 9, 2009

Holy Tension

I think the hardest thing about being a mom is the fear.

Sitting at the neurologists office or the preschool teachers office - there's fear to battle. A call from the principal or the orthodontist - there's fear to battle. A spend the night party there, a birthday party here - a new boyfriend, a new bike, final exams or final warnings - fear stalks mothers. It's fear of the known and fear of the's just ugly fear.

It's so difficult and somewhat unfair in my opinion that God lets us partner with Him in creating life yet we are not able to control it. We can carry these children in our wombs for 9 months, birth them, nurse them and care for them or pursue the dream of motherhood through the trials of adopting a child with the best of intentions. But eventually we realize we've unknowingly given birth to a monster within ourselves - the NEED to control because the fear attached with this love is so great.

We are desperate to protect our kids from pain, from harsh words, or unfair kids, or mistakes that cost, or a bad reputation, or....the list is endless. Our vantage point from a generation ahead gives us the perfect view of all the possible pitfalls - and our kids have to avoid them.

We create a Godly, peaceful home, we create an education plan, we create a moral standard for our kids, we create healthy meals and a soft cuddly bed - and yet we cannot control.

I call this "holy tension".

I'm experiencing it in another area of my life right now also. My mom does indeed have cancer - I'm still processing all of that and she's still waiting on a treatment plan. It's become the source of alot of thinking and pondering.

As a believer in Christ I find myself in the middle of a 3 man duel. There's faith, fear and the facts all jockeying for position in my heart, mind and soul.

If I wanted to I know I could collect a massive volume of books and find a church to support a great "faith" position for this new season. I could dig out all the verses on Jesus healing and performing miracles and stand in faith believing (commanding) God to heal her. I could stand on my plan for mom's life with my hands held high. And that's the way it would be .... at least in my heart.

Or I could run to google and collect enough "facts" to bury myself. I could add the science and research to a good plan and find rest for my weary mind. Just add all the answers to all the questions amd put them together with a lofty opinion on the matter. And that's the way it would least in my mind.

Without much effort at all I could let myself fall off into fear. I could probably find a "Lifetime" movie where a mom dies of cancer right after she's diagnosed and cry and wallow and fret until I die. Fear is ever present, cancer's pretty easy to find - so this one would be an easy place to settle. And that's the way it would be ... at least in my soul.

What I'm really fighting though is the need to box this thing up and control it. To box everything up in my life and call it "known". This is the kind of box I want for my kids. If I cling to the whole "faith" thing - I at least have a box to stand on. If I go with fear or the facts - again I've got something to do. I'm not floating out here aimlessly in the unknown. The unknown is what I really want to avoid after all.

But I believe that the real destination for every area of my life is this oasis of "holy tension".

This place is full of "I don't know" and "could be" and "maybe not" or "just wait". This place is where it all intersects and swims around you. This is where the only place you have to look is up. This place requires real childlike faith and is full of weaknesses that need to be strengthened. This is the place where it's all integrated and your heart, mind and soul are challenged to submit to the steadiness of the unknown balanced with intentional belief in God.

This boat of mine called "Holy Tension" floats in the sea of God's sovereignty and requires that I go where He leads. A slow and steady process where sometimes He does and sometimes He doesnt, sometimes He takes and sometimes He gives, sometimes He moves and other times He's still - but always He is.

That's the sweet spot - "He Is". That's where it all happens. When we let our entire being partake of that there is peace. He is....He is there, He is here, He is enough, He is my children's ultimate parent, He knows more, sees more, loves more, plans better ....

This mothers day I pray that all of my mom friends could breathe in the salt air of the "Sea of God's Sovereignty", take their place in their own boat called "Holy Tension" and rest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Results Business.....

Well, here we go. We've added the word "cancer" to our family venacular. Doesn't really change a whole lot - yet everything seems different.

Is that reality or fear of the unknown? I don't know yet.

Humankind cannot stand very much reality. - T. S. Eliot says. That I believe is true.
Without Jesus, I don't know how we stand any at all.

But here we are. And yet again I'm so thankful for the foundation that God painfully wrought in me long before this tsunami hit.

I don't know when this realization hit me - but I THANK GOD it did. By the grace of God I've determined that I am not in the results business - that's God's department. My job is to plant seeds, be a good steward, fight the good fight, pray, obey and walk one step in front of the other...and let God do what only God can.

I personally believe that women especially live in fear and control because they're focused on the results - crafting an outcome that works for them, or looks good, or makes them look better. But that's about pride and fear and the flesh and ... dead ends.

I used to get so caught up in praying for a result - and then owning the result. I don't do that much anymore. I'm praying for mom's healing and knowing that heaven is coming eventually - sooner or later healing is too. But how/when/where/ why God does what He does with mom is His business. I'm asking Him to help me be a good steward of my relationship with mom, to give me opportunities to love and serve her, to help me pray more effectively even...but beyond that God is in Control.

I think focusing on our desired results can cause us to be conditional believers - "if God....then I'll..." and so it goes and we sit and spin and tell everyone we're standing in faith. Hmmmm.....

My faith is not in me getting what I want - a miraculous healing for mom's newly diagnosed cancer right this minute. I've tried to manipulate God before ... it's really pointless.

My faith is in the God who created the universe doing exactly what's best for my mom; and only allowing in mom's life that which He deems worthy of His plans for her life. I have faith in God to get me thru this strange new process of fear, and fighting and faith and the ugly truth of our own mortality and getting older and watching your parents get older and all of this yuk on this broken, decrepit planet.

I will fix my eyes on things above - pray like my hair is on fire and by the power of God alone walk thru this as a believer - learning to believe a little more every day.

I have a favorite bible verse in Psalms or Proverbs somewhere that talks about being as content and peaceful as a weaned baby against its mothers breast. Having LOVED nursing my boys for a year each – that verse really speaks to me.

I remember once they were each weaned how amazing it was to me that they could be held in the same position as they used to nurse voraciously and now sleep peacefully. The transition was so seamless and effortless – perhaps I thought they had learned to trust me too – who knows.

But I find myself in that space today – I have seen the hand of God walk me/us through amazing and difficult things and I’m not concerned He won’t do the same in this situation as well. He has quieted me in His arms and I’m at peace.

I know He’s already there – where ever “there” is and that’s enough for me.

Here's the deal - I've come back to writing - to stir myself up - to remind myself, to say "out loud" what my head needs to submit to...this is the bunker from which I'll fight for mom - for the salvation of my family, for peace for my dad and for strength for me.....

Thanks for praying...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Knowing in your Knower.....

I'm spending today with every scripture I remember - as I wait on phone calls and updates on biopsy results, and treatment plans and travel arrangements and all that goes on when a loved one becomes ill - I'm scrambling for scriptures. Thank God for the ones He has etched on my heart ....

I need to focus my heart and my mind and remind myself what I "know in my knower".

Interestingly I've spoken at several events lately - and though I can't remember the topics I spoke on at the moment - I remember saying quite often - "know the WORD, so you'll know in your knower when crisis comes".

Yet again, I'm amazed at how God goes before and prepares us as we loiter unaware down here on earth. He is kind and gentle that way - always loving and full of tender mercy and care.

here's what I know - "The Lord will accomplish what concerns my mom - GREAT is His faithfulness, He has a plan for her life - plans to prosper her and give her a future - she has been healed by His stripes and greater is He that is in her than He that's in the world - He will be kind and caring and forever faithful no matter the road this turns out to be. It is not a detour but forever written in the annals of heavenly history because HE is not surprised, He has already been here, He approved this path and He will carry her through it.

For the rest of us - no matter what is coming or the power of whatever words are to be added or subtracted to our family dialog - there is nothing greater than the truth of God. He is faithful and no matter what - I will trust Him for the end and for the process and for this arduous wait.

The best is yet to come - for this I "know in my knower".

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sesame Street is turning 40....

Well we made it - through a crazy fall and busy holiday season and here we are screaming into 2009.

Christmas was exciting - my folks made their way up with short notice to save the day since Jeff was tasked to take a DV(distinguished visitor) to the dessert to see the troops. It was a short trip - but it covered the week of Christmas. We are so thankful for the technology of today - dad sat in Kuwait City and webcammed the whole morning with us. It wasn't the same as having him here - but wow what a cool alternative. The kids would open their presents and then run to the computer to show daddy - I'm going to try and post some pix.

I'm excited about 2009 - I'm sure you've heard by now that someone's turning 40 this month. Yep, it's true Sesame Street hit's the big "4-0" within days... let the parties begin! I've always loved Snuffleupagus myself - and he doesn't look a day over 25 if you ask me....It's hard to imagine Big Bird and the gang at 40. But indeed it's true.
Oh and yes I'm turning 40 soon too....and I couldn't be happier.

Jeff's got me plane tickets to Charleston to leave this Wednesday so I can enjoy a Seacoast Big Wednesday - and then he's letting me stay for the weekend. He's even gotten me a rental car with strict instructions to take my journal to the beach and have a blast!!! (That's certainly not his type of fun - but it's really high on my list).

I've decided for my birthday that I'm going to celebrate scars....scars from pain and trials and challenges of the last 20 years - and the immense gift they've become to me. I'm so excited about this monument of God's sustaining faithfulness. It's almost hard for me to believe - and I haven't missed a minute of this adventure.

You see if you knew the WHOLE story you'd be amazed that I'm alive, that I'm still in love with Jesus, that I still participate in the local church, that I have a solid, exciting marriage and 3 would blow your mind to put the pieces of my life together and come up with this picture. How significant He makes the insignificance of me...who does stuff like that?
If it weren't for Jesus.....

But oh this refuge of peace I find myself in now - the scattered confidence and excitement I see the future with, and the joy of celebrating survival and the miracle of me. Just the sheer audacity of it all is beyond words. Beyond the "why would He bother with me" business is the "wow He bothered with me business" and that's big.
If it weren't for Jesus....

It's going to be a good week - I can't wait to spend some quiet time with the One who has romanced me right through it all - He continues to pursue me even today with this intense longing to be with Him. He continues to amaze me with refreshment and redemption being poured into my marriage. He still moves me with grace and mercy in my role as mommy to do, say and be things I would never imagine possible. He's still bothering with me - that in itself is worthy of a celebration.
If it weren't for Jesus....

For my birthday I'm going to be asking God for some specifics. He and I do that - having a birthday so close to New Years is kind of invigorating that way. I want more of Him, I want a burning desire to pray more and talk less, I want to be more like Him and be "busied" for Him less, I want a continued unquenchable thirst for His word, I want His Holy Spirit to move in power and peace, I want to know in my knower that "I AM" is already there - and it is well.
You have not because you ask not - so I'm asking.
Happy Birthday me....and you too Snuffleupagus.
Happy New Year Friends....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We're all getting pretty excited - only 3 sleeps and a wake up and daddy's home. He has his checkride tomorrow and then starts packing up. He'll actually fly the jet for the first time next Wednesday - yes, they are actually training him to fly the Vice President and First Lady in a simulator for 7 weeks. That doesn't seem like quite enough - but of course I still can't believe actual humans get those big machines off the ground anyway. I'm looking forward to him getting the "real" experience next week.

I'm REALLY excited about a good Dr's report on Michael and a team being put together to help us out with his muscle issues. The neurologist last week was perfect - she really took time and engaged Michael which helped her see thru all of his compensations to the potential of some potential problems. Fortunately she ruled out Cerebral Palsy and some other big stuff, we're waiting on blood work results and the MRI. But her initial assessment was that it may just be the way Michael is made - that I can live with. Michael being in pain I'd like to avoid.

I'm excited about Abby's high school team. I love football, I even like watching the cheerleaders - but when the teams 7 -0 - I really LIKE football. Congrats to Abby's team for making Districts in their cheerleading competition also.

I'm excited about another day of homeschooling tomorrow. Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy it this much. Tomorrow we do swim team, then some school work, then we're going to the McCain/Palin headquarters to check things out and help a bit. THIS is awesome. I love watching Michael unwrap things in front of me - pretty stoked his favorite subject is history too - since mom likes it so much also.

I'm excited about our family taking a White House Tour next week with a friend of Jeffs. The kids are over the moon - Michael is drawing, reading, watching specials...devouring all things White House.

I'm excited about our new Bible Study group this year. What a great group of ladies - it's week 6 and folks are opening up and I hope we're on the road to growing in dependence on the one and only true and righteous "parent' - God. I really enjoyed our class this week - and love these women already.

I'm excited about Matti's next couple of weeks - he's been practicing his songs for the Thanksgiving program and I love it! He's such a joy. Pumpkin patch on Friday ....whooo hooo

I'm excited about web cams - and how Jeff and Abby do homework over them everynight and then we have family prayers and can actually see daddy.

Mostly I'm excited to have come thru this last 7-8 weeks with God as my "husband" - taking such great care of me. I have felt His hand and strength and His endurance thru the 3 cases of walking pneumonia, calendar pages with no white space left, and scary doctors appts and so on and so forth. "I" have been able to do way more than I ever would have imagined I could...surely in my weakness He has shown up BIG.

So thank you God:
for no major emergencies,
no flat tires,
no major storms
no major crises with the kids
no ....

We've done it! Thru Christ alone....yet again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pix for the September 1sts...2008

Michael's first day at the "Ward Academy"...first grade here we come!

Michael's first day of Swim Team... "I didn't know it was going to be dark when we left every morning mom!"

Matti's first day of Pre-K! We love Haymarket Baptist - he's loving Mrs. McNeil's popcorn room!!!!

Abby's first day at Battlefield High School - and first game to cheer with the Varsity Squad....Here we go!

Friday, September 12, 2008

September Firsts.....

I've been waiting to post so I could include pix - but that's going to be awhile.

So let's catch up.
We have almost gotten thru all of our September "firsts":
  • first day of high school
  • first high school football game to cheer for
  • first day of homeschooling a first grader
  • first day of swim team
  • first day of Pre-K school
  • first week without daddy (only 7 weeks to go!)
  • first month with my iphone - a pretty good stand-in for Jeff - but I'll sure be glad when those silly phones can help with the carpooling
  • first facebook connections

Still to come:

  • first homecoming dance (we're all hoping daddy will miraculously be here to hold mommy up)
  • first home football game with Ward family in attendance trying not to embarass our cheerleader (next Friday)
  • first AWANA's of the new year
  • first spanish class for Michael
  • first 2 soccer games of the fall season for the boys
  • first Mad Science class - "mommy, I heard he tries to trick you into drinking lemonade..and it's really pee. Is that science mommy?"
  • first class for this years Mommy Bible Study group that I lead- looks like a good group...should be fun.

So there we are - it's been a wild week. The pictures are going to be good - I'll post them when Jeff sends me my cables back from Seattle.

I have to say I am running fast enough to feel a bit like I'm chasing my shadow - and was a bit worried I could keep up. It's been a long time since we've experienced a long deployment with daddy gone.

But God is strategic in His care and He had been in this week long ago. So way back in the summer before we knew the dates of Jeffs training and I was mapping out some memory verses for the Ward family I decided to start the school year with Philippians 4:13 - " I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength" - I've spent the week hearing 2 little guys and an occasional teenager say that to me over and over again - thank You Lord.

I'm also being blown away by "obedience" and what God's teaching me through it. Homeschooling Michael wasn't really in my 10 year plan - but as God started shifting vision and changing the focus it became obvious that I had to obey. I have to say the best part of my day is when we're in the school room - the blessings of obedience; the freedom; the ease of it all is amazing. It makes me want to re-examine lots of areas - especially the ones I struggle and strive in - perhaps there's an obedience issue. Doesn't Hebrews 3 or 4 talk about that - "the rest of obedience".

So there's lots more to say - this homeschooling thing is providing me with quite the education and this highschool thing is stretching my faith in ways I couldn't imagine. I'm also begging God for the grace to give thanks alot more - I met a lady this past week who's a recent widow homeschooling 5 kids thru grief and exhaustion and yard work. Surely there are heroes among us.

I am blessed.

Cindy & the Wards

Cindy & the Wards
June 2008


The Ward 5....

Abby's finishing her freshman year in high school.

Michael's 7 and we're finishing our first year of homeschooling.

Matti's 4 and spends his time at preschool and on the trampoline knocking out teeth!

Jeff's in the 89th Squadron at Andrews AFB flying 737's and being the Director of Personnel.

I am knee deep in answered prayers, goldfish and calendars!