Moms, it is time…..

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As moms, we need each other.

We need each other when our kids are sitting quietly eating their ice cream while we talk to the insurance company for the 20th time in a day. We also need each other when our kids are running the aisles at Marshall’s farting and burping, calling each other butt faces. Either way….we need each other.

Today I watched a phenomenon….a mom giving birth to kittens. A feral mom we picked up last night and delivered her litter this morning. Hmmmm…..talk about not being ready for the delivery. I hadn’t even named her and she had now blessed my favorite blanket with afterbirth. That experience will bond a human and a cat very quickly. I have witnessed my share of kitty births but today’s was a huge awakening for me.

The mama kitty ( who my 5th grade vet techs named Amber)  had her first baby under my bed while I was in the other room drinking my morning coffee this morning. She did not pick the cozy nest I had made for her and she certainly was not deterred by the wads of dust bunnies in her newly made birthing center. As I dragged her out from under the bed with placentas and umbilical cords still hanging on, there was a kitten in a sack that she had not opened.  The kitten was struggling to breathe on his own but Amber was not tending to him. I broke open the sack, called my fellow doula, Kim, and rubbed it vigorously to try to revive him. Meanwhile, Amber was not eating the placentas or licking the other babies the way I know she was supposed to. My other new found doula friend, Mary Lucia, proceeded to suction one of the babies’ mouths because Amber was not able to keep up with the eating, nursing, licking, and birthing. No judgement here- I just pushed mine out and it did not require I eat something that looks like someone’s liver….and do it 4 times. Ewwwww…..

In my panic, I was frustrated with Amber that she was not doing what “all the other kitty moms were doing.” Didn’t she take childbirth classes? Didn’t she know it’s unacceptable to give birth under a dusty bed? Didn’t she know that neglecting the sick baby and not give it a chance was inexcusable?

Well, Amber came from a home of cat hoarders and lived outside in a neighborhood for a long time before a sweet lady decided to feed her and care for her until she found a home. Amber did not have a place to relax until 5:00 yesterday. She probably was plain tired of running from coyotes and male cats trying to hit her up and giving birth to these babies just felt like one more exhausting task. So after she had them all she curled up on the bookshelf and fell asleep. She needed a nap and she needed me to put them on her to nurse because she wasn’t ready for that part quite yet.

And in the 24 hours we have had her, she screeched all last night when she could not see me so I slept on the floor beside her so she felt safe. Since the babies have been born, when I reach out to pet her she puts her paw on top of my hand and falls asleep- she can rest knowing someone is there. She has needy moments of wanting her belly rubbed and head scratched, while my other cats were all too busy being moms to want attention for themselves. She still wants to be held and loved so she knows it is going to be ok.

How many moms do you know like Amber? Maybe they don’t have it “all together” and they yell too much or they aren’t “pulling their weight with the PTO”. Maybe they bring their kids to school in the same uniform shirt 3 days in a row and never make it to parent nights with all you “good mommies.”

Well, maybe just maybe those moms you were just judging need someone to show them. Someone to model parenting for them. Someone to be compassionate and understanding.

We take for granted that we have cars. Most moms don’t and the bus stops running at 5:15. No bus to go to the open house.

We take for granted that we have washing machines. Without cars, most moms have to load up the kids and the laundry and get on the bus. Oh that’s right….the bus does not run after 5:15 so she will walk to the laundromat.

We take for granted that our parents did not introduce us to drugs as children. Most addicts I know were giving drugs BY THEIR PARENTS.  Usually starting at the age of 12. If you don’t believe me, I have many women who can tell you their stories.

We take for granted that we can get jobs. When a mom gives a kid a joint at 12, grades probably start to slip so by high school they are dropouts. Ever tried to get a job with a 9th grade education?

When a child gets into her mom’s cocaine supply at 14 because they are dealers and it is all over the house, she will probably be a full blown addict by 15 and start to steal to support the habit. Ever tried to get a house or apartment to rent with drug charges?

Many moms, like my cat Amber, are children themselves. Desperate for attention and acceptance. They want someone to share their victories with  (first place of their own, first legitimate driver’s license, first month clean). And to share their heartbreaks (bad news at court, relationship problems, not getting to see their children).

Why is it our nature to judge and reject? Because to have compassion might require something of us. It might make us tender and make us feel….and God will call us to rise up and be THE CHURCH.

A little girl explained to me recently that she worries that her mommy won’t have enough money to take care of them and they will go to foster care. Her eyes widened as I explained to her the early church  in the book of Acts. They sold all their possessions to give to those in need. In that moment, I think she got it. My dining room table could be gone next week to help them pay their rent.

But when are WE going to get it? That our lives are not our own and that there is a desperately dying world out there crying out for help? You might not hear their cries because they are not chatting in the carline (because they don’t have a car) or sitting next to you at Outback (most of them have never eaten at a restaurant where the menu is not on the wall).  Or darkening the door of your churches (they have been led to believe that your sin is much cleaner than theirs and they would not be welcome in your pew or your gym). Or at the gym  or Target (no explanation needed).

We can’t do it all but we can do something. At any season of life and at any level of our own maturity we can make a meal, listen to a discouraged mom, or drive a mom to an appointment so she can get to work on time. We can all do that.

We fear what we don’t know….and we don’t know because we don’t want to.

If we are really honest, we want to shy away from poverty, brokenness, addicition, and prostitution because it is ugly and it messes up our day. It requires us to take our eyes off our dirty clothes piles and our need for order in our lives and forces us to go deep. Who wakes up one day and wishes that upon themselves? Well, if I am reading Jesus the right way….we all should.

So many moms out there never had a mom and if they did she sucked really bad. We are a generation of moms who have something to offer and it was not intended to be only poured out on our own offspring. We were given this nurturing ability to share it.  To pass it on. To break the cycle of abuse and neglect.

The day we decide to invest our lives in someone else’s  two lives will change and I promise that the first one to change will be yours.

I want to be brave…..

Whirlwind of emotions. That is what the past three hours have
been. My iPhone calendar told me it was a day void of appointments,
distractions, or to-dos (except for buying Jordan almonds and crackers for an
upcoming trip). Sounded simple to me.
Backing up a bit…..I spent the day yesterday with my
adorable 14 year old eating wings (blek!), shopping for socks, and getting him a
much needed haircut. Before we hit the mall, I ran into the Christian bookstore
to find a good book for my trip. I, of course, got sucked into the rows of
catchy titles and tag lines that hook me at first breath. Should I go with a
light fiction, an old favorite? Then I saw it….the title the hardest peace by Kara
Tippetts. It was the one- never heard of her or seen the book but the back
described a mom battling cancer. Since I lost a close friend to cancer 2 1/2
years ago, I always seek out reading more about walking through cancer with
other people I know who are sick. I picked it up and walked out, joined my son
who was sitting in my running car blaring the air conditioner and classical
guitar. We were off on the sock hunt.
I did not think much about the book- the afternoon got busy
and there were 20 inch trout to be seen in the cooler after a boy’s fishing
excursion that day and later to be enjoyed at the dinner table. There were
friends to come by bearing gifts for my precious children in Haiti, and
just-like-daughters to be hugged and encouraged. Just a normal Sunday
afternoon.
After everyone went to bed and the house was eerily still, I
picked up the book to look it over. I was ready to dig in and hear how she had
kicked cancer’s butt and was now encouraging everyone around her to fight the
good fight. That was the story line that fit in my little, limited box of
perfect reading. The box- tied with a big burlap bow and a little vintage bird
ornament attached. That was my box. And God and this book and the rest of my
life needed to all fit in that well adorned package. Period. 
After about 10 minutes of skimming, I put down the book and
suddenly out of what seemed to be NOWHERE, this burning, yet cold sensation
spread all over my body and I started to panic- I am going to die one day. And worse, my kids are
going to die. I birthed
them for LIFE and one day they will die. I prayed I was never around to see
them leave this earth. Then I was enveloped in another round of gut-wrenching
fear…I thought if my husband died, I would be ALONE, missing the absolute
love of my life, getting parenting all wrong, and not even know where he kept
my passport or how to book tickets to go to Haiti. OK- THAT did not fit into my
box. YUCK. SUPER YUCK.
As the panic subsided, I drifted off to sleep. Then this
morning I awoke, listened to the same fish stories again that never get old,
and sat with my cup of coffee and the local news show. Last night’s experience
was not fresh in my mind because I was only on coffee cup #1 1/2 and no clear
thoughts come until after coffee cup #2 is indulged. I then open my Facebook
and there in front of me is: HOMECOMING…Kara Tippets dies on March 22, 2015.
WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? The day I buy the book, skim it, have this extreme
fear of dying experience? I am undone. The story was not supposed to end like
this. I am crushed to lose someone I only “knew” for 12 hours.
So I spent part of the morning chatting on the couch with a
sweet friend, Lynn, and told her about buying the book, seeing the post, etc.
She started reading the blog aloud- I had only made it past the fact that she
had died. One excerpt said:
“As the cancer spread, Kara courageously embraced
her situation, trusting in a Sovereign God. She believed that cancer was not
the point, but Jesus was; how she responded and trusted Christ in the midst of
this hard was where she would find Grace.”
She sounded just like
my friend, Kristen, who lost her fight to cancer- courageous and brave. Lynn,
Kristen’s mom,and I had a moment of silence, reminded that we miss
Kristen, who lived courageously and died courageously. Then Lynn left so I could get
at least a few clothes put away and bags packed. I plugged in my new speaker
and hooked up my iPhone. I started to play my new playlist and the first song is
“You Make Me Brave.” I was busying myself with the laundry and the
morning’s sticky counters and I suddenly just fell into a heap on my bed…..again undone.
The fear of dying episode from last night finally came flooding back to me.  I screamed in my head, “GOD!
I am not brave! I am not brave like Kara or Kristen! I am scared and frail and
a big mess!” I weeped and cried for a few minutes. I then picked up my limp body with red, blotchy eyes and smudged glasses, and walked to my computer with a mission and started writing this
blog. I like to write before I have a clue what something means. It helps me and I hope it helps you know you are not alone with the world of ANSWER VOID…..and still with no answers. 
I love Jesus…..like REALLY love Him. I pray. I
read. I serve. I love (the best I know how). And I am still not brave. WHY?
What is wrong with me? I love life- I don’t want to leave. 
I know that eternity
is perfect, beautiful and forever. But what about….and I start listing off
all the names of people who I am convinced NEED me. 
So what do I do now?
Pray Scripture to wipe away the fear? Done that. I feel like crap that somehow Scripture did not fix me. What does that say about my faith? Self condemnation starts to heap itself on my shoulders. I am a Jesus following failure. Everyone else gets it but me. Shame. Guilt. I try to put the brakes on that train that is headed nowhere very quickly. I decide 3 things that are all I know right now:
God will honor
honesty- we fear talking about death and we fear worse that we are Christians who fear death in the first place.
God will grow me- and
if I stay connected to Him I will get a little braver as time goes on.
God will love me through my
brokenness- He loves when we are desperate and we will turn to Him instead of hiding in distractions. Busyness is the biggest killer of maintaining relationships,
dreaming big dreams, and creating a life of purpose. 
There is no cool
ending to this blog. Nothing in a cute little box with a burlap bow and vintage
bird ornament on top. But I know that I WANT to be brave….and I think that is
a great place to start.