Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tender Intuitions

If you've know me for any length of time you know I LOVE reading. And, if you look on my bookshelves, it will take you ALL of 2 seconds to find out who are my favorite authors. I've posted about my favorites before, and I'm sure I'll do it again in the future, so bare with me as I talk about my favorite author of all times AGAIN.

Growing up, my parents would take small trips and bring us back something---a little treat--and my siblings and I loved it. On one such trip my parents brought me a book. On the front cover were three girls in cheerleading outfits. At that moment, before opening the book I was hooked. I read it. And read it. And reread it. And then read it again. She was a "new to me" author. On my 16th time reading the book, I turned it over and on the back it said, "BOOK FOUR." Why I had not noticed that before I'll never know!?! I then set out to find more books by this author. Every Christian Bookstore I entered, I'd hunt until I found the books. Weeks would go by and I'd save all my money to go buy another book. The Christy Miller Series became my favorite series. I'd pass them out to friends, reread them, and talk about them at the lunch table with my bff's like Christy and the gang attended out school.

As I became a teen and in my early 20's I found out this author wrote MORE than just Christy Miller. Once again, I'd run to the local bookstore and buy each new book that came out--share them with friends--reread them and dream of "my Todd" coming into my life. (Seriously. Go READ Christy Miller RIGHT now if you haven't---and buy a copy for your daughter.)

If I was an author I'd write just like Robin Jones Gunn. She takes a story and pours her heart into it. Then, starts another series and as you read them you realize that strands of the 1st series jump into the 2nd series. Only, if you hadn't read the 1st series you would never know it. Full circle moments. We all have them. And so do her stories.

Now, I'm in my 30's. I'm raising 2 boys and have married "my Todd." (Seriously, almost bought the I HEART Todd tshirt she sells but my husband's name is Wil.) Anyway, Robin (Yes, I'd like to think we are on a 1st name basis) has been my forever friend for years. We have soul ties, yet we have never met. She speaks to me with her words, wisdom, and writings. She has become like a 2nd mother to me--and since she DOES have a daughter named Rachel (yes, I may stalk her a bit too much) I feel she knows my heart even if she doesn't know I exist. (She once sent me a postcard in college.)

I pick up her books and I feel like I'm home. Right where I belong.

Yesterday, I wasn't feeling well. Tired. Sad. And just needed a lift. Nothing really had happened that morning. I just was down and discouraged. Do you ever have those days? My house was messy. The floors had food stuck to them. The clothes needed folded and put away. And my boys were still in their pj's at 11am. I wanted to cry but didn't know if I was overwhelmed. Tired. Confused. Lonely. Or just sad. My baby wasn't napping and cried and cried all morning--which made me want to cry all the harder. I found myself needing a friend, but not wanting to call anyone to come over due to the state of my house.  In those moments, I started to question everything. Why did I think I could handle being a wife and a mom? Maybe other people could raise my kids better. My house is so messy why on earth is my husband not demanding me to clean it---and why am I not demanding I clean it myself? And can we just have fast food for lunch and supper cause I don't want to do anything!

Ever have days like that?

And then, I found it.
A book. Robin wrote. That I have never read. The book was called Mothering By Heart. And I grabbed it and found a quiet place (once the kids finally napped) and healing was brought to my soul.

She writes about her children growing up. Little stories and insights that let you hear her heart. I laughed. I cried. And I kept chasing my husband around the house saying, "Listen to this one!" "HA! Listen to this!" "Another great one!"

The one I want to share with you was just what I needed to hear at that moment. In fact, I read it 3 times yesterday. Every time I was feeling discouraged.

And so, I'd like to introduce you to Robin---words she wrote to her 1st born Ross after he was born:

I hold you in my arms, young prince. You sleep in sweet, heavenly peace. Yet I wonder if you'd be so calm if you knew the truth: I am your mother. And I don't have the slightest idea what I'm doing. You are my 1st baby, my only son. I was just getting used to being pregnant, and now here you are! And you are so very, very real.

I've been preparing for your arrival for months. I've read the books. Well, some of them. A few pages. I've listened to my friends, who give me endless advice. They're all experienced, you know, because they have their own babies. But you're different. You're my baby. And they don't know a thing about you. 

I do. I know all about the way you kick and wiggle. I've already memorized the way you smell, like a fresh-from-the-earth daffodil. I know about the way your lower lip quivers when you're about to cry. I know that your wispy hair is the most luxuriously soft thing that has ever touched my cheek.

Yet I admit that there's much I don't know. In the hospital I had to be instructed how to nurse you. Yesterday my mother showed me how to bathe you in the sink. I don't have clue how to clear up diaper rash. I get queasy at the sight of blood. I don't sew. I'm not good at salt dough maps. My math skills are atrocious. And you might as well know right up front that wiggly teeth give me the heebie-jeebies.

However, I am very good at baking cookies. I know how to make indoor tents on rainy days. And I have my father's wonderful sense of humor, so I know how to laugh and how to make you laugh. I'll sing you sweet songs in the night. I'll pray for you every day. I'll let you keep any animal you catch, as long as you feed it. I'll call all your imaginary friends by their names. I'll put love notes in your lunch box and I'll swim with you in the ocean, even when I'm old. Perhaps the best thing about being your mother is that I get to share these privileges with the most incredible man in the world-your father.

Any credentials I have to offer can't be earned over coffee with friends...they can't be taught by a book. To me they are tender intuitions, whispers from God, eternal insights only a mother can know when her baby is cradled in her arms as you are in mine. This is where the Lord will teach me how to mother you by heart. 

See? Isn't she special? Reading that passage, my heart was healed. My house was still a mess. Food was still on the floor. And my kids were still in their pj's. But, my heart was different. And even if I don't have it all together-even if I don't know what I'm doing most days--even if we eat fast food for the rest of our lives every meal (which we won't, I promise) I am Easton and Lincoln's mama. And with that, God has given me wisdom JUST FOR ME on how to raise them. He has given me a wonderful husband that together we can raise them for Christ. SO, even when there are days like yesterday...and I'm feeling that all the titles of who I am (wife, mother, friend, housekeeper) I've ruined...I know that my God will lead me. Just like he did yesterday, with tender intuitions of His grace.


Chelsea Leigh said...

This is so sweet, Rae! I think you are a wonderful mother! And have always admired your heart and the way you go about things. You are unique & I truly TRULY adore that about you! :) And yes... The Christy Miler Series was just about the best thing in my childhood! So glad you introduced everyone to it! I now own the whole series! Love you, friend!!

Lib at Truly His said...

Rach, that is a great post. I love how God uses people we love over and over again. Robin to you is probably like Amy to me and it is amazing whenever I am down, Amy speaks. :) I know that relationship and know that maybe we won't know them personally this side of heaven, we will in the next life. I believe it. :)

alignaCristina from SomekindofParadise said...

Rachel i'm crying!!! I really needed to hear/read this tonight. I was such a late bloomer when it came to the christian fiction series out there but when i got started it changed my life:))
Thank you so much for sharing this!! I love you:)

alignaCristina from SomekindofParadise said...

Rachel i'm crying right now!! I really needed to read this tonight:) I can so relate even though i was so late to the christian fiction books out there but when i did it changed me life! I love you friend thanks for sharing:))

jessica m said...

She is SUCH a special writer! It made me cry because those are ffeelings I have had and yet she pens them so perfectly! Thanks for sharing....I will e needing to read her books :) Thanks!!

Jamie Willow said...

Perfect timing for me to read this...thanks for sharing!