Rumble, tumble, Tonka on the double! My littlest buddy Gabe is racing across the yard pushing his big Tonka dump truck as fast as his little legs can carry him. He nearly always runs as fast as he can so as he rounds a tight corner to the left on those little three-year-old legs, he and his truck both take a tumble to the left also. The roll itself probably would have been fine for him, but he didn’t let go of his prize possession that special truck. As he rolled fully over the truck went up into the air and fell back down onto his little face and chest. Poor little guy! He came running toward where I was sitting doing paperwork on the deck. I weighed down my papers quick and ran down to meet him in the yard and walk him up to sit with me. I pulled him up onto my lap and held my precious little child on my lap while the tears fell and the sobs came and went. I told him I was so sorry he fell down, that I loved watching him play and have fun. I told him I was sorry that he was hurting. I held his head and hands and rubbed his back. He didn’t need any band aids, real nor imagined to feel better. I sang to him songs that soothe him. I rocked him and just held him until he was ready to face his little play world again. He stayed near me on the deck for a while afterward, then reached up for a hug and kiss and ran for his Tonka truck again. Racing like the wind is in Gabe’s name after all. His time on my lap had healed what needed healed. He was safe to face his grassy world again.
I need to talk to you Mom, says Daniel one day after school. He was distraught. It was the beginning of the covid crisis time. School was soon beginning at home and teachers had just informed students of the world issues and changes being made. Apparently he’d made a comment that had been taken out of proportion and completely distorted by another person. The comment was then passed onto authority figures who hadn’t asked this 11-year-old boy if he had said it and had given a long lecture and made accusations instead. The comment suggested that Daniel hoped that many people would die from this illness perhaps giving a longer time out of school and the authority figure suggested that Daniel needed help. Much more was said that my son couldn’t relay in his frustration and distress of being so misunderstood. When my Daniel finally got to me he begged to be held. I knew 100% my child was in agony. I turned off the vehicle and climbed in the back by him and held him while he talked. He poured out his story. His final question, “Why would someone like me who just lost his Daddy less that two years ago ever wish for someone else to die? Don’t they know I know how much this hurts? I could never wish anyone’s mom or dad or brother or sister and friend to die. I wish people would ask questions and listen before they accuse people of doing things. Thank you for holding me I feel a lot better. Thank you for hearing me when I talk.”
There is nothing like the snuggle chair after a long, long day of work. I often rise at 2 am on Thursdays to press bread, cinnamon rolls, scones and buns out the bakery door fresh to one of our markets. I’ve done lots of prep the day before to make it possible to deliver this load by 10am. This is vital because during the 10am delivery I’ll also have roused my youngest of 5 sons dressed them and prepped them for delivery to daycare. I drop them and our first bakery off then race back to back the remainder of the day. I have until 6pm daycare pickup time to prep usually 100+ loaves of bread, scones, cookies, cupcakes, muffins…for tomorrow’s market day. I’m never finished at 6pm, though I do my best to have the oven shut down before I make my daycare pickup. This is where 9 year old champion Sam comes in. (The oldest 3 rotate turns helping with little guys.) He can usually be cheeseburger or ice cream coaxed to have an evening of fun with his littlest brothers. I’ll race to town to pick up little guys and grab some incentive goodies and they will go to the deck for supper and the yard to play afterwards. I’m always available to them. But, I can lock the bakery door and complete my mission of frosting cupcakes and packing fresh made bakery as fast as my tiring Mamma hands can fly. When I finish, I prep some warm milk and sleepy time tea to put children in the same mood I am in and I woo them to my big recliner. The littlest guy on my lap and 4 year old and 9 year old at each of my sides. It’s a weeble-wobbly-topsy-turvy way to sit with three little boys let me tell you, but we’ve nearly perfected it. These children are my treasures and I love my time with them. I want to sit with them, to be still, (ha ha) to listen, I will never tire of holding them. They cannot outgrow my love and can always come back for more. I love to be in their presence, they are each one of a kind and so incredibly special to me. They sink down in and relax into consuming their warm tea or milk and watch a little media on a tablet or something. My arms and chest and lap is loaded down with sons and my heart is over flowing with love I can hardly contain my tears sometimes at the gratitude I feel for being here to experience this right now in this very moment! Thank you God for letting these little guys be all mine to love and hold and treasure. I am so delighted…
Ben begged not to see his counselor this the last time he had an appointment. It was an hour drive and we were only 20 minutes away now. Kind of late to adjust in the moment. I was surprised. Did I miss something, I thought he loved going to see him and found it helpful? Then he revealed that the counselor was sort of pushing labels or disorders at him that Ben did not feel like he struggled with. My son was growing more and more distressed with how the sessions were being approached and did not want to continue. He had told me a little of this on a different day, but never this much detail and with this much distress. It became clear that I needed to act on behalf of my child. He needs me to be his advocate and speak for him when he cannot. I will fight this battle for him, he will not have to even show his distress to his counselor. We have had incredible ups and downs since the loss of Daddy in the house, how could we not? My children agreed with me however in a resistance to long term disorders. We have struggled, we are not ruined forever! We thank God for this daily. Ben put his hand out and I held it a minute until he pulled away. I told him he would need to go into his appointment because it was to late to cancel at this last minute. Since the counselor had only 2 hours ago adjusted our appointment by an hour, I chose to send Ben in with a note that said he was only available for a ½ hour. My son was happy with this. He could handle general chatting for that long and know this could be his last session perhaps til the fall school season or forever if that’s what my son chose, we’d discuss more later. He felt heard by me and held in my embrace even while driving. He knew my love was solid and endless in my defense for him. I am his advocate and I will fight his battles for him even when he does not know there’s a battle to fight.
The horrendous screams coming from the backyard trampoline would have made any visitor question something truly gruesome going on. Even I was pretty concerned at this moment since I knew it was Samuel’s absolute panic cry. It was the sounds he made when he thought he was gonna die. Screeching, shrieking, endlessly. I raced out to find him loosely rolled up burrito style in a blanket on the trampoline while his four brothers jumped around him. I cannot even count how many times this exact event has happened. My commanding voice stilled all the other jumpers though not the shrieking one. I climbed up to reach Sam and with one little flick pulled the blanket away from him. I took his hand and asked him to stand and walk with me to the house. He continued sobbing and told me how he thought he was being smothered and they wouldn’t let him up etc. He told me that he had brought the blanket to the trampoline and even loved jumping wrapped in the blanket it feels like a cape flying behind him. Then when he started doing tricks up and down from his knees he didn’t come back up once and the blanket went over his head. He believed his brothers to be keeping him down and even keeping the blanket on his head. He thought he was going to die like Daddy. His panic rushed in and he could no longer even think about getting up all he could think is about dying or I can’t see or I can’t roll over or I can’t get up. He felt disabled to help himself. His brothers don’t understand yet to stop and help him because they know he is not physically disabled. It takes a lot of work to teach boys to have empathy for emotional distress. Most often at least a brother will come find me if I cannot hear the situation. These things happen off an on with Sam in any kind of situation. He recovers quickly as soon as he is rescued. I make him look for a tree to describe details if outside or a doorknob if inside, tell him to count the teeth on the top left side of his mouth and turn both eyes to see the tip of his nose. I ask him what day of the week it is, usually as a nine year old he doesn’t have a clue and that’s ok the only point is to get him to focus on anything but the situation in his poor little mind. My parent mind understands PTSD side effects all to well…consequently I’ve coached myself through grounding for years from my own traumas. Singing, grounding techniques, quoting scripture or favorite sayings and physical touch with either objects or people have pulled us back to earth more times than I can count currently. Within a few minutes Sam is ready for a quick hug and he’s off to play a video game or dig another hole in the yard. Heard, loved, understood and very cared for. Never, never alone!
On the day that my husband was killed in domestic violence homicide in front of two of our children, I returned to the bakery building where it happened. I stood for hours in the back waiting for the police to do their work. A few friends stood nearby, we had prayed and there was nothing to say really only to stand or sit and do the waiting. I stood and stood and stared at the wall. I could picture our shop and my husband. I’d already seen the images, the security camera was synced to my phone for this very reason. I’d just never dreamed I’d ever need it for this very reason. God what in the world is the reason? Why? How? WHAT? That’s my beloved in there! How can this be happening? Dear God I just do not understand this kind of thing. How do I do this? I cannot do this. God the man who did this, who killed my husband he has to answer to you…woe to him. I don’t even care what the earthy courts do with him just keep him away from my family forever now. You deal with him. I don’t ever want to think of him again. I take that off my shoulders and out of my heart and I give him to you, he is not my problem he is yours. Woe to him now, to deal with the God of the universe. But God my babies, my precious precious babies. Daddy is dead and gone forever how will my babies face this. Oh, God. I cannot think, I cannot fathom how they will hurt. Late into the evening when I finally was home with all 5 of my little guys gathered around me in my arms and very close by, we held and wept for hours. I held my babies and, in my spirit, I reached my arms up to God and begged Him to hold me. I climbed onto His lap with my babies on my lap and rested there in our agony and puddles of grief. God wrapped us up on His strong and loving arms and held us so close to Him. Sometimes I felt like nothing could touch us, as if He had a shield around us that was impenetrable. I felt set apart solely dedicated to the purpose and task of helping my boys grieve, feel, heal and begin to be alive again and then regaining my own footing. We hurt, we travailed, we were in agony. It was dark, a long seemingly endless dark valley. I have talked with God all along the way. I have felt loved and cared for and nurtured and protected. Finally, after 2 years I asked God why is this valley so very dark? Why does it seem so endless? During one of my morning devotions times as I set up a stool for me and one for Him, He asked me if I needed more light? I said yes it feels so dark so much. He told me to step outside and showed me one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. From that day forward I began to see the dawn very frequently. It is not that I hadn’t known it was light outside, it was more that I was oblivious to these special things…days passed me by. My world was consumed by grief and sorrow or by my hurting children. Trying to make a living for a family of 6 while you are hurting so badly is tough. I didn’t really see a lot of my world every day, I avoided most people and their distractions and focused strongly on my childrens’ needs. I talked with God every day. Knee to knee as it were, I turned my stool in my bakery kitchen to face His at my little table. He talks I listen and write. Sometimes He tells me where to read in the Bible and then explains what I need to receive out of it. I am so thankful for this. It was not until my husband died that I met God as my Father, but oh, what a kind Father He is! My earthly father left me wounded and hurting after years of abuse and finally death by suicide and God the Father is healing all of that too.
I recently decided to go on a 40 day prayer journey. Not that a woman in my circumstances doesn’t pray every day…I surely do. However, I just wanted a bit more intensity to it and so I launched this with some very specific desires in mind between God and I. I knew that it was God honoring because anything that is for my good and His glory will always be fruitful and a blessing in the end. As usual like every prayer journey does I began to change. I also began to get little life revelations that I needed, wisdom to carry along the way. Business things, family things and very, very special personal things. One thing that was revealed to me likely transformed my life and my view of my Father God forever! Remember how I said that on the day my husband was killed I reached my arms up to God and climbed onto His lap and asked Him to hold me? Here I am almost 2 ½ years later walking along, a little frustrated that it’s kind of dark in here. Looking for a little more light, feeling so very loved and blessed and treasured by the relationship I have with God and my very special sons. So I turn to God and say, “Expand my vision, show me more! Spread the light, I’m ready to serve and not just to be served. Thank you for loving me so very much” He said, ”Daughter, I love you and cherish you. You are my treasure and I love being in your presence. It is an honor to hold you so close and commune with you every day.” I saw the vision in that moment of My heavenly Father God with me on His lap holding me close, all 5 of my sons tucked in close on His lap with me. His head was tucked down close against mine just like I do with my children when I comfort and love them, and spread from back to front and top to bottom around and covering everything were His huge and beautiful wings. The wings were amazing. As He lifted His head He began to lift His wings and the light began to flood in. I was amazed at it. It was beautiful and heavenly. His wings lifted and revealed His arms underneath wrapped all around holding us close. I had no idea that the ‘darkness’ I’d felt on the journey was actually a protective barrier to the world around me. How very precious and beautiful. The ‘darkness’ that I’d walked through this last 2 1/2 years never felt like a bad kind like evil, it was the heavy kind like the valley of the shadow of death kind the weeping kind. The it’s darkest before dawn kind. I was in absolute awe! I didn’t know I was still on God’s lap! That explains so many things! Well of course I was. I don’t put my kids down while they are still hurting either. I don’t put them down when they are wounded and bleeding and broken! I hold them close until I know they feel ready to go on on their own. I even carry them on my hip awhile as needed while I work so they can rest while they cry. Of course I do, I love them so much. God never put me down for 2 1/2 years He held me and sheltered me and my children. With His arms wrapped all around us holding us close for comfort and His wings covering us sheltering us from all the storms of the world. His head tucked down close resting on mine in Fatherly love whispering words of loving comfort and understanding and guidance along the way! Oh, how this makes me sob even as I type. The love I feel as I see my image of God holding my boys and I. Cause you know what? We have been through a really big thing! A homicide where one father takes the life of another father while two children are present? You know what though, our Father God is bigger than all of it! He’s got us! I already knew He did…I just didn’t have a visual picture of how much He did. I didn’t get off God’s lap yet, I still need to be here. I just asked for a little more light. If the going gets to tough sometimes maybe I’ll ask Him to pull down His wings a little so I can rest better now that I understand more. We rest in the shelter of His wings. There are lots of scripture verses that talk about His wings and being held…I’ve never applied them to me much. I’ve needed to heal in how I receive love. God is meeting me in my need in such tender ways. He knows how very compassionate I am with my little ones and how much empathy and kindness I have for their injuries…He is showing me that as a Father He cares for me the same way. I need this so much. A wounded hearted widow desperately craves to be held. Her heart hurts so much…to know that my great almighty God holds me gives me so much comfort. Yes, even 2 1/2 years later when the world thinks we should sort of be over the loss…our hurting hearts desperately need to be held and comforted along the way.
He’s been asking me to write this for more than a week, so somebody out there needs to read it. I delayed, which is not my normal obedience. I guess I felt it was really special and maybe I wondered what others think of my child like thoughts at times. So I approached Him and He lovingly reminded me it’s not my message, it’s His and while He lovingly helped me begin writing He told me:
My lap is big! Bring others! I am not alone as an orphan! Maybe you are one to? Maybe you’ve been hurt, wounded, laughed at, spit upon or tripped over by the world…if you need a Daddy’s hug today, if you have lost your daddy and we just passed Father’s day and you miss him…go sit on Daddy God’s lap. If you are hurting, passing through a trauma or are in some agony of your own, no matter your situation little or big, He loves you and wants to hold you. I don’t care if you are angry and you need a chest to beat on…His is mighty He can handle it. Go beat. He created your emotions, He will listen to anything you have to say or feel. Just go reach your arms up and say hold me God, Daddy, Papa, Heavenly Father, Abba….call out, He’s there waiting! The God who holds the universe in His hands has plenty of room in His lap…but you will feel held like you are the only one – His love is so great for you His precious child. You can visit the cross later if you need to, just run to His loving arms now! I beg you my friend….be loved…..be held!