I was dropping Sophie (our 13-year-old) at piano lessons, and one of the toddlers said, “bye-bye Bobbie! I wub you. Dank du!” Another toddler responded, “No! Bebe, you using da wrong WORBS! It’s bye-bye GOGIE! And you don’t say dank you to her. She didn’t gib you nuffin’…”
The wrong words.
I had 126 messages this morning when I woke up. An Open Letter to My Children has gone out into the cyber world and had itself a heck of a run. This morning it had been viewed 500,000 times on Word Press. It was republished on For Every Mom and has been shared over 7,000 times on that site. And while some of you may think that is a crying shame let me use my words to say a few things.
I can’t sing but I can write. And I may not be a Pulitzer author or Jen Hatmaker, but I love words. I love Jesus. I love my husband and my children. I love my parents (Hi! Mom and Daddy!). I have a lot of love. My life can be viewed as a tragedy or a comedy. I choose the comedy. I choose joy. I choose laughter. And I choose my words.
So this morning as I was buzzing about delivering kids to school I found myself in the turning lane on a very busy street. I was about to “gun it” through the last of the green light when my car stalled. In my rearview mirror, I see the Chevy behind me jolt to a stop as he was, evidently, planning on following me through the remnant permissible traffic light. Heart racing, I desperately try to re-start the car – nothing. Another driver, unaware that I am not able to move, swerves to miss me. My life and the lives of the babies flashes before my eyes. Today I die. Braless, in my fuzzy slippers, outside my alma mater. The near miss is so close I can see the spinach omelet still wedged into my would-be killer’s teeth. BTW – dude have you ever heard of a nose hair trimmer? Again, I try frantically to start my car. Nothing. I am right next to the University track, and two students are jogging past. I step out, attempting to shield my uncontained, pajama-clad, boobs from onlookers and yell “Can you please help get me out of the street? I have babies in the car!” Thank God for these two; I was in real trouble. Also, while we are on the subject, honking and cussing does no good people. I am fully aware that my car is in your way.
The girls save our lives, nearly being killed themselves, and I get back into the car and cry. Maybe it was the near-death experience. Maybe it is that this week has been a roller coaster. Or maybe it’s that I realize why my car stalled, and now – I will be killing one of my children. No matter the justification, I am going to jail. So, I cry. Heave sobs. The babies sit, confused by the scenario. I fire off a text to the culprit. “COME GET ME NOW!?!?! I AM OUT OF GAS….”
I sit and cry and process. I want to use the appropriate words when the guilty party arrives to convey the gravity of the situation. I used very precise words the night before when I lent out my car, with gas money, because it was on empty. But then I realize she had pulled up already and saw me crying. There’s no need for words. There’s a subtle mom glare, and a flippant, “Where’s the gas money I gave you?” But otherwise, she’s my daughter, and my friend and we all make mistakes. Heck, I ran out of gas twice this summer, all on my own.
All this to be said, I have a choice of how to use my words. Sometimes I might mess up, sometimes I might hit the nail on the head. I fully relinquish my platform to Jesus. And while many have found offense with my choice of words in “An open letter to my children,” many were blessed, and a few just thought it was funny. But I want my words to matter. I want them to do glory work. I want to start a riot. And you know what? I have gotten 160 emails from women asking why the foster baby was only in our home for the weekend? And I got to say, “It is called respite foster care, and here is how it works…”All of them said, “I AM GOING TO DO THAT!!! And now a possible 160 foster families will have new resources for a much-needed break.
And so I feel those words weren’t the wrong words.
I may not have single-handedly stopped the seat-savers at recitals, and I may have been snarky, but if only one person stopped and thought “Hmmm.” then my words were sufficient. This slays me. So, call me arrogant. Call me self-righteous. Fight amongst yourselves. What is the point of words? To inspire? Infuriate? Motivate? Communicate? I guess I am most struck by the ugliness. I never thought the piece about home births was anything but comic relief? I had no idea that the natural childbirth community would rally against me? But there was one, just one, that emailed and said, “I read your piece on home births, I hated it, but I kept reading. Could you tell me what adoption agency you used in Texas? My husband and I want to do that.”
And so I feel those words weren’t the wrong words.
Start a riot. Start a movement. Follow your calling. We can’t all survive Ebola. But if Kent and Amber Brantly hadn’t stepped out in the calling, what a real tragedy that would be? And if their decision to be missionaries helps others in that calling –SUCCESS! If we all sit back and do nothing, say nothing, how will we ever get the word out about the Lord – my Jesus? By all means talk about it! Say what you mean and mean what you say. I have struggled with the words that have been said about me, and certainly about my family. I will say I cannot monitor other sites, but I can monitor mine. You are wasting precious time sending me an 8,000-word manifesto on why I am going to hell. I am raising babies for the Kingdom, if I am going to take the time to read 8k words, it will be something uplifting. And profanity will not see the light of day on my blog. If you insist on spouting the F-bomb, I recommend you: 1. Look into a good psychiatrist and a prescription mood stabilizer. 2. Start your own blog. Apparently, you have something to say. (Invest in a good thesaurus first.) 3. Stop saving seats with duct tape. It’s against the rules.
I guess if you see that someone is a Christian you expect them to be sugary sweet all the time. Remember Jesus in the boat? The disciples were all crying “WE ARE GOING TO DIE!” I always picture Him rolling His eyes “Are you so dull? I am in the boat?” A snarky and relaxed banter. He calms the sea, gives them a good long stare, rolls over to doze off, and they hear Him whisper, “Idiots.”
Follow me as I embark on my next writing challenge during October: 31 Days Of Stuff I Wish You’d Stop Saying: DAY 1 “When is your baby due?”
May your floors be sticky and your calling be ordained. Jami