Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Last night when you went to sleep everything was the same as usual. You brushed your teeth and even took the time to floss. You set your alarm and plugged in your cell phone to charge. Your pillow was cool against your face and the breeze coming in the window was a relief to your feet. You eased into a dream that was safe and brilliant.
But, what if when morning came you felt some one tickle your face? You brushed away the irritant and tried to call back the strange and lovely dreams you had the night before. Again, the tickle, again the hand to brush it away. When the soft movement came across your face the third time you opened your eyes. A small fly wisps away. Nothing is right in the scene before you.
You wake to find yourself lying on a mat on the dirt floor of a hut. When you sit up, you feel that your body is lighter and looking down you realize that you have small skinny arms of a child. You are dark and your skin is scaly and dry. You are dressed in a shirt, but that is all. You run your hands down your chest and your stomach is extended. For all that your mind can grasp, you are a small, frail black child sitting in a hut. But, you are still you. You are able to recognize almost exactly where you must be, because you are still you in all your thoughts and have retained all of your knowledge of the world.
Fear should have been the commanding thought, but because this is so impossible, you cannot fear, you can only question the validity of it all. You rise to your feet and look around. The hut you are in is small, smaller than your bathroom at home. Outside you hear voices and they speak another language. “Maa” you say to yourself. Somehow, you know that their language is called Maa. And then you realize that you are fully aware of all their customs, even though they are nothing like your own. You are aware of their lifestyle in comparison to your own.
You step to the edge of doorway and peek outside, the men are leaving to herd the cattle and you see the woman who you know is your Mother. She turns and you see a baby on her back. You know immediately that this is your brother. And without delay you realize that you love him as though you have always known him. He is too young for a name; he is only 2 moons old and will not have a name until he is stronger. You are struck by the oddity that you know this. You think of your own family at home that you have somehow left behind. You think of your Father and how you long to see him and have him explain all of this to you.
The woman who is your Mother enters the hut and you speak to her, and the words that come out of your mouth are in the language she knows. She laughs at your sly words and then tells you to move along. As you look around the area that is yours, you find cloth that you will drape and wrap to wear—as is your custom. And while you move though this moment the one thing that never fades is your ability to be completely Maasai and be completely American. You are fully Maasai and are aware of their customs and the challenges that will be coming your way and you are fully American and are aware of the luxuries that are not here for you now.
The ways that you have always known are still in your mind and the longing for those ways will not falter when the day is long and hot and when your stomach is aching. You cannot escape the reality that you know what it is like to live in a place of easy fulfillment where there is too much food and too much self-indulgence. But, you know that there was also good that was happening where you were. You miss your Bible. You miss the fellowship of other believers. Awareness comes over you that life with the Maasai would be different if you were unaware of what you had left. Some of the events that are coming for you will be painful beyond anything you have ever had to bear. In this culture, emorata, or teenage circumcision for both males and females is a part of your future and in the place where you have always lived there is nothing more humiliating. If each day you wake, you continue to wake in this hut with these people as this child, then that is your future.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Obviously, this illustration of what one might experience to “wake up” in someone else’s skin is a far cry from what the Creator of the Universe went through in his humanness. God taking the form of man and leaving Heaven to live with us and as us was not a surprise to him in any way. But, what was it like to have all of the thoughts and the knowledge of God and be confined to a human body? What kind of humility did it take to come and live as we live, when He had spent eternity living as God? He had foreknowledge and he had answers and, yet, He lived among us and taught us slowly, so that we might discover the answers on our own. He chose to teach us in parables that we could understand, because the things of Heaven are too far reaching for our minds.
For 33 years He lived in human form while He had the power of the Universe at His beckoning. I cannot imagine taking the form of child and living a lifetime in an African village with the knowledge of what was coming and what I had left behind, and what Jesus did was so far beyond that. I wonder what the thoughts of Jesus must have been when he watched us struggle with things that have no eternal value. I wonder what God thinks when He watches me struggle each day. I am so grateful that His grace is so big and that it covers me.
Monday, August 9, 2010
In my past I made the choice to have an abortion. In one of my earliest articles on my blogspot titled "Little Butterfly" I shared a little about my story and how as a teenager I had an abortion. The actual date, at least the closest that I can pin-point was April of 1983. I am not going to go into the history of that, as it would be redundant to the other post. It did take many years to overcome the guilt and the grief that was attached to that decision. It was living through an abortion that convinced me that abortion was wrong. Trying to overcome my low self-esteem at times seemed impossible. I viewed myself as unworthy of the simplest blessings and I longed to return to the time and change the decision and the outcome.
I would hear stories of women who couldn't get pregnant after they had had an abortion and even those stories would make me feel guilty. I didn't struggle with an ounce of infertility. I used to make a joke and say that David would sneeze and I would get pregnant. To which David's sweet Grandfather replied one day, "Maybe that's why they keep having babies, maybe they don't know what's causing it!"
Our 3rd pregnancy was the first one that we planned and it came about easily. We breezed along with very little concern. We had baby clothes for a boy or a girl so we weren't overly concerned about bringing home another Sill.
Everything changed in April of 1993 when we got the results from a routine ultrasound that showed that there were significant problems with the baby's brain. Basically, the baby had a disease known as Dandy Walker Malformation and because of that disease she also had hydrocephalus. The doctor advised us to abort the baby. It was a horrible feeling to be lying on the table having the person who is supposed to want to cure your child telling you that she isn't worth the effort. There was no way that I would abort her. And David felt the same way.
The reason I am telling about this moment isn't to exalt myself for not having an abortion. Trust me, there was NOTHING noble about me keeping my baby girl. The reason that I need to tell you about that is because it is such a huge illustration of God's love and trust. Look at the dates of the two incidents. They match. April of 1983 followed 10 years later by April of 1993. God gave me another chance to choose life. He didn't have me travel back in time to make the choice to keep my first baby, but what He did do was allow me to be in a place to choose again. He knew that I would choose love over fear. He trusted me with her life because He had seen my heart and He believed that my repentance was real. She was so important in my understanding God's love for me. He believed in me. After all those years that I had chased after His approval, He smiled on me and showed me very clearly that I had no reason to doubt His love. I didn't have to prove that I was sorry, He knew.
Now, some cynics among you may be thinking, "Well, of course you didn't have an abortion, you're husband was a Youth Pastor!" Well, you are mistaken if you think that the mind is not more clever than that. Deception is a nasty bug that will always find a way into a desperate situation and there is no doubt in my mind that if I had WANTED to have an abortion, I would have found a way. I fully believe that there have been scared Christian women who have gone to a clinic to have an abortion and then later told family members that she had a miscarriage. We are daughters of Eve and we are inclined to sin and cover it up. I was fully aware on the ride home from the hospital that this was an option. Satan always finds a way to lead us off the path if we give way to our fears. And I had fears that were ugly.
I begged God to take my baby because I was so afraid of how she was going to destroy the lives of my daughter and my son. I was fearful that having this baby would mean that I would always have her in my home, that she would grow old with David and I, and we would never have any time together alone. I begged God to allow me to miscarry. For one day. And then I stopped and I named her.
The morning after finding out that I would be giving birth to a baby girl that the doctor's had said, "would never be normal" I stopped at WalMart to pick up a gift for a birthday party. I stood in the line with my two little children and the clerk asked if I wanted to pay $1 to a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital of Orange County. It was the kind of fundraiser where you pay $1 and you get to write your name on the paper shaped like a hot air balloon. Tears filled my eyes as I wrote "Molly Sill". Just like that, she suddenly had a name.
After the party, I went home and told David that I had named our daughter. Her name was Molly.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Linking with A Southern Daydreamer for OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
So, last night my husband left me for a Vegas stripper. It was awful and even though it happened only in my nightmare, when I woke the pain was still there and it was nearly unbearable.
I don’t know why I dreamed that my husband was madly in love with another woman. I wouldn’t ever believe that he isn’t capable of being drawn away from me, but it is not something I obsess about—I rarely think about it at all. Unfortunately, our minds are the place that the enemy likes to send his lions. They lurk in our minds looking for ways to attack and draw us away from the peace that the Father wants us to experience.
I hate that battlefield. It’s not a fair place to fight at all. There is so much stuff in my mind to trip over. There are boxes and boxes of junk, there is old gym equipment—that was never used enough, there are photo albums (unfinished, of course), there is a mirror that changes whenever you look in it, there are report cards and tests, books—still unfinished, and two huge Victorian Victrola phonographs (one plays things that I’ve said and the other plays things that were said to me). Needless to say, while trying to fend off lions, it is easy to fumble over ones feet and land in the middle of unused dental floss or expired vitamins.
The good news is, I knew he was coming. I knew he was lurking. I could feel him trying to find an in and a way to bring me down. I made some declarations recently toward some areas that I wanted to grow. I spoke up and made a commitment to a way that I wanted to serve the Lord. The enemy heard me and made it his goal to discourage me. He knows that the things I am working for will honor my marriage and bring glory to the Lord. He doesn’t want me to grow closer to my husband. He doesn’t want me to help married women grow closer to theirs either. So, he sent a lion to mess with my mind and make me feel insecure around a sexy Vegas stripper.
I have to admit, that it worked for a minute. I was so irritated with my husband that I didn’t allow him the opportunity to bring me coffee in bed. I rolled away instead, and told him,
“I’m mad at you. You hurt me.”
It’s not the first dream, so he knows the drill. I’m sure he rolled his eyes when he responded, “No, I didn’t. Whatever happened, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t there.”
And as I lay there feeling a great deal of frustration towards him, I was acutely aware that the pain would be so much worse, had it not been a dream. And this pain made me more eager to do the things that God is telling me to do.
Awake and moving I am no longer irritated with my husband’s nightmare philandering or the sexy Vegas stripper. Instead, I am excited that the things I have set my mind on and the things I have made goals to accomplish would irritate the one who hates what is good. I am pleased to know that I am fighting so well, while awake, that the time he feels he can attack is when I am sleeping and my defenses are down! He doesn’t care if it isn’t a fair fight, because there is no justice in him. But, I know what the Holy Spirit is leading me to do and lions, dusty mind attics or even sexy strippers, will not deter me!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Funerals are beautiful and happy or beautiful and sad. Yesterday, I got to go to the funeral for my Paternal Grandmother. She was born in 1920 and had raised 5 children. Those children led to 65 Grandchildren, Great-Grandchildren, and Great-Great Grandchildren. This alone made for a funeral that was beautiful and happy. And, as a believer, I know that she is now experiencing completeness and a fulfillment that she had ever known in this life.
As we were getting ready to go to the funeral I started to think about being born and the time when I added myself to her numbers. I was closer to the beginning of what would later be her legacy. I considered the moment of birth for the infant, the mother and the Grandmother. How different the experience is for each one—but my thoughts were more directly the infant and the Grandmother. I thought about my Grandmother’s possible reaction to my birth. I know that she wasn’t present—I was Grandchild number 9, 10 or maybe even 11 (some of us cousins are so close in age, I don’t remember who was here first). There had been babies born before me who had come out not breathing and some with special needs. I wasn’t an important birth—but even so, I am sure that I was newsworthy to her. Her only son now had a daughter. I was pink and sweet and I had fulfilled my only purpose up to this point. I was a girl. My brothers were boys born a year and a half apart and I followed as quickly as I could. In a time before Ultrasounds, my arrival was an unveiling of sorts. Had I been a boy, the entire dynamic of my family—as I now know it—would have been be altered. It was important that I didn’t fail in this first feat set before me.
It occurred to me that as Grandchildren and as Grandmothers we have certain unspoken appointments that we must keep. In a perfect world they happen in the correct order and with decades between them. I am 45 years old and my Grandmother was to be 90 this month. So, when I was born she was just about the same age that I am today. It was her role to acknowledge my birth and to celebrate the beginning of my life. At her funeral it was my role to acknowledge her death and celebrate her life in its entirety. She’s there when I am born and I am there when she dies. That’s the beauty of life.
And then there are the events that we don’t plan on attending. When a Grandmother attends a birth and then attends the funeral for that same person—the rules are broken and it is more difficult to find the beauty. I have heard it said, more times than I can count, “No parent should ever have to bury a child”. Having passed through that shadow of death and felt the sting, I agree with a hearty amen to that and I have decided that I want to have a new rule in my life. If I am there when you are born, then I don’t want to go to your funeral. But, to the fortune of things I cannot fully understand, I don’t make the rules.
Recently, I told my sister-in-law that I would be at her funeral—she could count on it. The only reason I wouldn’t be there would be because she had come to mine. There are several people in my life that I have that unspoken agreement with. Raging waters from a bursting dam won’t be able to keep me away from the funeral of some of the people in my life. Like a salmon returning to his place of birth—I will need to be there in the end to celebrate the time I had with certain people in my life. It won’t be for them, it will be for me.
For most of the next 3 or 4 decades, I hope to avoid funerals as a whole and attend many baby showers and births. That’s the plan, anyway. But, I have to say, that I don’t hate funerals as a whole. I love life too much to hate funerals. There is no other time that we are more aware of our humanity. Funerals are beautiful and happy or beautiful and sad. At least we know that they will always be beautiful, for every life, no matter how long it is lived is abounding with the potential for beauty!