Saturday, October 27, 2012

Little Flower

Like almost every girl I know, I'm prone to getting sucked into the vortex of "not enough" now and then, especially when it comes to parenting. I wake up tired and feel bad that I'm not a morning person. I pour cereal and feel bad that every day isn't waffle day. We run behind and don't have time to walk to school, so I drive. In my socks. Feeling bad that I'm the mom waving to the principal with bedhead.

My house gets cluttered. I'm lazy about the dishes and the floors. I don't enjoy playing pretend like I did thirty years ago. I don't struggle with cooking, I struggle with worrying that I spend too much time cooking.

I get frustrated at naptime, frustrated at homework time, frustrated at bedtime.

Then house falls quiet and I stew about every failure, vowing to do better, then failing again.

Across town lives my friend with four boys under the age of 4. All three of her baby daddies are incarcerated. She doesn't "live" anywhere, she just stays. (I've learned to phrase it that way, "Where does he stay? Who does she stay with? They all just stay.)

She doesn't drive, so they're just home, wherever home happens to be that week. They watch the big screen and no one sounds real happy about any of it, but she's keeping them fed, keeping them clothed.  

She doesn't work because she doesn't have a sitter, but she keeps forgetting this detail. She calls to tell me that so-and-so is hiring "really bad" and I want to take her to fill out the application, but what about those boys? There's no reliable help around her. We both know it.

She is the reason I can't stay home every day and tend to my own shorties. God made us belong to each other. Living worlds apart can't cut it anymore. I look at her and know that she really is everywhere, and so are her boys. "She", whoever she is, doesn't have a fraction of what I have, but she's charged with the very same tasks. She wakes up at odd intervals to mix bottles. She potty trains. She does what she can. It's so overwhelming that I'm tempted to let myself off the hook.

I'm not sure how she feels when the house is quiet, if she feels like she's not enough.  I suppose she's got bigger fish to fry. She's worried about her little brother who was just hauled off to jail. She knows it's getting colder and the gas still isn't on. She's worried about paternity, complicated paperwork, and the fact that most people treat her like trash.

Her way might look different, but she loves her children just you and I do. She tries in all the ways she was taught.

Still, their ground is shaky while mine is firm. I'll never understand a world that puts her there and me here. It isn't fair. It seems like I got lucky and she got screwed.

But in the mixed-up ways of Christ, maybe I've got it backwards. 

"Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all their achievements." - James 1:9-11
I have so much to learn.  



  1. amazing thoughts. i am you. and that girl across town happens to be in my very own family.

    i have it backwards too, most of the time. thankful He knows how to straighten us out.

  2. Oh heavens, I love this - as usual. And I love to think about someone else living a crazy life so similar to mine, just in another place :-) but for realz girl, it's crazy how similar :-)

  3. my shorties and i
    are working hard
    to memorize the book of James
    this year

    and we just learned that bit
    this past week

    if we can just
    live it too


  4. tonight my husband has been playing card games (crazy made-up ones that mess up the living room) and I've been hiding away because I just can't pretend I think fart noises are funny tonight (or whatever.) and I feel guilty and bad about it. I always feel guilty for something. You bring so much perspective...always. It's just one of the reasons I love you so.

  5. i have a friend. her church just called her before the board because she filed divorce because her husband beat her and her children. and they still think SHE is in the wrong. sometimes us christians get it screwed upper than the rest of the world...and here i sit...

  6. Is it bad that I want to see a photo of your friend? I feel like it's kin to gossip, that somehow I am being nosy. But really I just have a hard time visualizing a situation when one of the people has a blank face. Even praying for someone is easier for me if I know what they look like. Not anticipating a photo, just sharing my thoughts. Loving this series.

  7. Often times, well every time ... You leave me with few words. You wreck me in such a deep way I can't articulate it. I was that little girl at the park you spoke of months ago, my mom is homeless drug addicted lost in the street somewhere and I pray she finds someone half as amazing as you to love on her, to make her know for just one minute she was made for so much more. Thankyou friend, I love you and your heart from the bottom of my soul.

    1. Your comment hit my heart. I am praying for you and your mom right now. God recently crossed my path with a homeless drug addicted woman and we are doing everything we can to care for her basic needs and show her that life has meaning. She is someone's daughter and the mother of 3 grown children....what we are trying to do makes a difference to them. Praying God will cross your mom's path with someone!

      To quote Andy Stanley: "Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone!"

  8. Thank heavens that she has a friend in you. You must be her little ray of sunshine to help her through these very trying days.
    I bet her children love her very much and I pray that one day soon things will be wonderfully happy for her. everybody on this planet should have food and exceptions.

  9. You challenge me. Your posts stick with me for days, they even enter my dreams. There is something about what you are writing that is stirring me and scaring me at the same time. Thank you for that.

  10. Wow. You always make me think about life and laughter, kids, work, cleaning, cooking, nurturing, EVERYTHING. And rethink it over and over all day. I wish you were an arm's reach away to think it all through out loud with me. Then maybe, just maybe, when the house is quiet, we would actually lay our heads to sleep, instead of trying to figure it all out. I do think you are an angel here on Earth.

  11. I have much to learn, too.
    I think we all mull over our shortcomings at the end of the day--it's a reminder of our need for Him.
    But I am moved by your consistent obedience to go. You don't go once a year, or month, and then pat yourself on the back for dong a good deed. No, you are living it and teaching your children how to live it.
    And it is inspiring. I have much to learn from you. Thank you!

  12. Love you girl for all you are and all you hope to be. All you see and all your open to finding.

  13. I'll keep saying it-I'm super encouraged with this whole series. It's a lot of what I need to hear right now. Thanks for being open. Thank you Jesus for all you are teaching Shannan and others through this.

  14. I have lived that life as a child. While I love my mother dearly, it was a very difficult life to live as a child. Her choices became my issues. I was shunned by others not as kind as you, I'm so grateful that little family has you. I can't help but wish your friend had considered adoption, I have my own three darlings that would've lived that life or worse. To say I treasure their mothers and their brave, selfless choice is the understatement of the century.

  15. Tell me, Shannan, how not to live in guilt for what I have and how I deal with the tricky days, and anxiety for what I might lose. Please tell me how to live in joy in the moment and yet with my eye on eternity. Feeling short on answers right now, but kind of reassured that we all kind of struggle to live straight and true with our hearts in the right place. It is a strange and messy journey isn't it, but at least with hope which is everything? On the flip of a coin, I wonder if we all just think too much most of the time, and then panic I don't think enough. Thank you for sharing your harder moments as well as the good ones. Bx

  16. so beautifully said - thanks for sharing your heart!

  17. Thanks for your words, your honesty, being so transparent with us. You encourage and challenge us all with your words and your journey. More to think about over here.... :)

  18. Wonderful and encouraging, eye opening - words to describe your post. Very meaningful for a Christian that struggles with her faith on a daily basis. Hard to admit because I'd love to be that same "waffle fixing, shoe wearing, morning loving" mama too...

  19. Powerful. And yes we all have so much to learn.

  20. After reading this blog, I was inspired. Thanks for that.

  21. You are truely amamzing in everyway! I LOVE reading your blog and you inspire me to no end. I think you are an awesome mom, friend, wife and i would love to be more like you<3