Monday, September 24, 2012

Thoughts During a Car Crash

It's strange the things that go through your mind in moments of stress.  Saturday we were driving home from the YMCA, it was a beautiful day, the windows were down as we slid into the left-hand turn lane and then...

There was no time to respond because a line of cars waiting at the red light blocked both Andrew and the other driver's view until she pulled out into us.  The airbags deployed and it took a moment for my mind to catch up to what happened. 

I'm not gonna lie, I totally freaked out for a second.  Andrew was laughing later because he said I went into Mom-mode, yelling at him, "Are you OK?  Are you OK?  Are you OK?"  Of course, I wouldn't have had to repeat myself so much if he had just answered yes, instead of sitting there dazed and confused like he had just been in a car accident.  Then I turned and started saying "Are you OK? Are you OK? Are you OK?" to Judah, but my rational brain started catching up and I realized there was no way for a three-year-old who was screaming his terrified little heart out to answer that question.  I thought, he's going to respond to you freaking out, so calm down.  I went for a more reassuring "You're OK! You're OK! You're OK!" 

After my very effective assessment of every one's wellness I thought, you're not supposed to stay in the car if you're in the middle of the street or someone else might hit you, so I swung around and hit the hazards.  I looked for my phone to call the police, but couldn't find it.  Then I remembered a news story where they warned about any free objects in your car becoming projectiles in an accident and how your phone might fly out of your reach if you need to call 911.  If only I had listened to that news story, I thought.  But, Andrew had become mobile by this time and was assessing the damage.  The other driver had already gotten on her phone with the police, so I jumped out to grab my screaming child and head for the sidewalk.  Unfortunately, he had been swimming and we forgot a dry shirt so there I was standing with my half-naked balling child on the side of the road.  As I tried to calm him, the 30 cars stopped at the light were now driving past us, and all I could think was that they were thinking I was a bad Mom because I couldn't even put my child in a shirt!

All of that happened in a surprisingly short amount of time, and given a few minutes we were all able to calm our nerves and find the shirtless boy a zip-up hoodie in the van, that I had gratefully been too lazy to clean out before.  The adrenaline started wearing off and the body aches started setting in, but we were praising God that no one was seriously injured. 

Fellow staff came to wait with us while the officer filed a report and the tow-truck towed our van away.  They then dropped us, a little worse for wear, at home, where we lay most of the rest of the day in adrenaline exhaustion.  It seems so cliche to say, but the rest of the night I just kept thinking about how quickly bad things can happen and how grateful I was that it was just the van that may not make it.

The other driver was very shaken and apologetic and we had talked a little as we waited for everything to get straightened out.  As we parted ways she apologized again and laughing ironically said, "Well, welcome to Wichita!"

Welcome indeed.  And, note to self...always dress your family in clothes you won't be ashamed to be stranded on the side of the road in.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Speaking Wichitan

These Kansans talk funny!  At least this Southern-California-who-spent-her-teens-in-Houston-and-moved-to-St. Louis-girl thinks so! Andrew wouldn't think so, I mean, he's from Kansas and he also says things like "chimiCHAYNga."

And, while I can't quite bring myself to use the native language, here's what I've learned so far:

Need a soda?  (And to get through the day I do!!)  Well, you can't get one here.  You can, however, get a "pop."

Washing hands and dishes and laundry is no more!  Here in Wichita you "warsh!"

You know that thing with two handles that you use to carry things out of a grocery store?  It's not grocery's a "sack."

And, my favorite, people do not eat dinner here in Wichita.  They eat "supper" and they eat it REALLY early!  Like 5 or 5:30 early.  That's more like a second lunch to me! 

So, get the rolls I just bought out of that sack and warsh your hands.  It's 5pm and time for supper!  Do you want pop with your meat, potatoes, and corn?  Or something like that :).

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Heart of a Boy

I just don't get what makes fart jokes ALWAYS funny, how almost anything can be turned into a weapon, and why it is so important to always ferret out "the bad guy" and pretend to fight him.  But, as a mother of a boy (and, let's be real, a wife), this has become my life.

Last week Dr. Don Davis preached a sermon on David and Goliath.  It is well worth a listen.  Something he said has been percolating in my mind all week: A boy has all the intent of a man, with none of the strength to back it up.  What a fragile place to be.  It was a tangential statement of sorts, but the implications are stunning.

Too many men emerge from adolescence confused about their purpose in life, and I think this is one reason why.  Their boyish hearts have been filled to bursting with all the passion and honor and courage God intended for them, but life, or parents, or their own sin have damaged how they see themselves.  God whispered identity and purpose in their hearts early, but their hearts were mishandled and they don't know who they are anymore.

I'm not a mother who worries over nutrition or injuries and such, but I do worry about my son knowing who he is in Christ.  How do you handle a boy's heart held in such a fragile place?  I have seen men, whose mothers never let them try things and whose fathers always berated their achievements.  They emerge from childhood stifled and afraid.  They forget that their power is in the Spirit and their eyes drop in shame from the conquest of the horizon.

But I have also seen men whose mothers told them they could do anything they set their minds to and whose fathers channelled all their misapplied intent into their son's talents.  When life doesn't align with this self-centered worldview, they become disillusioned by failure, or lost in the pursuit of their talents.  They forget that their power is from the Spirit and they see the horizon as their personal conquest.

And some men were never told God's story, that they are part of a mission much bigger than themselves, and they are bored, seeking to fill their warrior-sized intent with self-gratifying distractions.

But David, when he took on Goliath, knew exactly who he was and for what he was made.  Mocked for being nothing, he knew everything he needed was in the Lord.  He neither dropped his eyes in shame, or claimed the battle for himself.  He was on mission for the Lord.

I want to raise a son with the heart of David.  I want to build up the intent that God placed within him, let him fail enough that he knows the battle can't be won on his own, and instill in him the wisdom to know when God is calling him to conquer the horizon in His name.

No pressure, Mom.

I know it takes being parents who have hearts like David...mothers and fathers who are clear about their identity in Christ and who have vision to claim the horizon for Christ's name.  It requires my son to be grounded in the story of God's great plan to bring the world under His rule and reign and to know God wants to use him as part of this plan.  And, it requires his Mama to acknowledge his life as an offering to the Lord, praying not for his safety or success, but for his strong identity in Christ and fearless abandon in the battle of the Lord.

The heart of a boy, if settled in the hands of God, can propel him to conquer giants.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Adoption can be complicated, and, then, sometimes it's not.  Since moving to Wichita, I have been thinking a lot about the implications of our adopted, trans-racial family.  In St. Louis we were familiar with the particular places in which people would stare at us strangely, and the places in which no one even gave us a second glance.  Now I am discovering these places here in Wichita. 

Most days I don't think much about it, but, let's face it, adoption (particularly trans-racial adoption) brings with it delicate issues.  When I give Little Man a haircut, I worry that I haven't done his hair justice, and I wonder, when we get our first negative comment in public, what I will say.  When people ask, "Is that your son?", how do I respond so that he feels secure?

Last night we had a talk with our son about another delicate topic--birth parents.  He has met them both, but was too young to remember.  We have had other little conversations with him over the past year, but with his adoption we received pictures of his birth father and mother.  The pictures aren't the best quality of photos, so I worked hard to doctor them up, trying to make them look as special as they actually are.  Before bedtime, all three of us curled up on the couch to read My New Family (a great children's book about adoption, if you're looking for one), and to show him the pictures of his birth parents for the first time.

I was a little nervous.  I mean, how do you share something so important and complicated with a three-year-old?  We want to be as open as we can with him about his birth parents, help him honor them, and support any of his future questions, but we haven't been through this before, and feel like we're making up the words as we go along.  Gratefully, the book gives a great outline to help tell your family's story.  After we read the book and told his story he excitedly put the photo of his birth parents in a special place.  I felt the weight of the conversation as I looked at their faces.  He smiled and then turned and said, "Can you fix my tent now?"  Such sweet and simple acceptance.

I know that these conversations will get more complicated as he grows older and he will wrestle more with his feelings, but for now, he accepts his history in the context of his simple faith in Mama and Daddy.  And, one day, I pray he accepts the storms of life with a deeper faith that keeps him grounded in the knowledge of His heavenly Father.