Sunday, February 9, 2014

Missing James Desperately

19 years ago (an hour ago to be exact only based on Oklahoma time), James was born.  Tonight he sleeps soundly in Haiti, and I am teary-eyed here in California!  What a privilege it is to be his mother and to watch God work in his life.  I knew it would be a new adventure to be a parent to an adult.  It's incredibly amazing and incredibly difficult.  I'm so thankful he is following Jesus with all of his heart, mind, and soul.

Some of my favorite memories of James:

1.  The super cute little things he would say when he was little.  He always had something comical coming out of his mouth.

2.  His raspy voice.  He sounded like he was a chronic smoker.

3.  The fact that he would stump me with questions from scripture.  By the time he was in first or second grade, I was frequently having to ask Brent to help answer things James was asking about because I had no idea how to answer him.

4.  The way he related to adults.  We used to have to remind him that he was a kid.  I remember one time a family friend of Brent's family who also attended our church and is 20+ years older than Brent and I and who Brent called "Drill Sergeant" because he scared everyone and seemed like he was a drill sergeant, sat down beside us at dinner and teasingly said to James, "You want a piece of me?"  James looked right back at him and said, "No, but do you want a piece of me?" and held up his fist.  I was mortified at that moment, but it was pretty funny once it was over.  James treated this man, who lots of adults feared, like he was just one of his buddies from school.  We often had to remind James of what it looked like to respect adults.  He wasn't trying to be disrespectful.  He just didn't see adults differently than himself, at least when he was little.

5.  His black and white, right and wrong, sense of things, which with maturity, has changed.  He was often embarrassing us and needing correction for this, but it was still pretty incredible.  I remember pulling up to a stop sign one time, and there were some people smoking by the corner, he was about 5 or 6 and yelled out the window that they were going to die of lung cancer.  The car couldn't move fast enough, but as soon as we were out of sight, Brent pulled the car over and had a good talk with him again about what respect looked like.

6.  His ability to initiate conversations with anyone.  One time we were serving at a homeless park here.  Brent was asked to preach at a different church that Gone for Good morning, so the boys and I met other church people at the park to serve lunch.  When we go to the park, we take tables and chairs and sit down and eat with these friends, but this was probably only the third time we did it, so we didn't know them like we do now, and there are always people there who were not there before.  I was not sure how the boys were going to do.  As soon as we arrived, I watched as James and Jason walked right over to the people who were under the tree, reached out their hands, shook hands with them, then sat down and started talking.  I think James was in 9th grade, and Jason was in 6th.  I could not have done that, and I am (and was) an adult.

7.  The way he welcomes others.  He has Brent's gift of hospitality . . . so does Jason.  They are just quick to greet and welcome people, to our home, at church, at the park, wherever.  We have had people tell us that they were the first people they ever met when visiting our church and that they are a huge part of the reason that they returned.

8.  James has a strong work ethic.  Brent took him to Mexico when he was in 7th or 8th grade to help build houses, and Brent could not believe how hard he worked.  When he began working at Hoggz, they called him the Robot because he just came in a did whatever he was told, working the whole time he was there, rarely taking a break.

9.  His love for his great grandparents.  James had this incredible opportunity that most children don't have.  When he was born, all of his great grandparents were still living, and I have pictures of him with all of them.  He had a very special relationship with both of Brent's grandpas.  We could go see Granddad Bob and know that James would brighten his day.  Granddad died when James was just shy of two, and when he was in the nursing home, we would take James to see him and James would sit on his bed with his book and "read" it to Granddad.  Granddad would hold him and smile.  He also had a deep love for Grandpa Colaw.  It was so hard for him when Grandpa died.  When he was in elementary school, he wrote a paper on Grandpa's life and had a great amount of respect for the legacy Grandpa left and for the sacrifices he made for his family.

10.  Most importantly, his desire to love and serve God and others.  This has been evident in his life for so long.  When we first discussed him taking a gap year, he expressed a desire to go to Costa Rica.  We looked into that but it became clear to us that he really just wanted to go have fun for a year in Costa Rica.  He's a normal teenager, and I get it, but he was going to raise money to serve others, so he needed to be really serving.  We had this conversation with him.  A couple weeks later our friend Bill spoke at church about Haiti.  It was about this time last year, as a matter of fact.  James immediately decided Haiti was where he wanted to go.  It has been a great experience for him.  It has been hard, but he has done it with an incredible attitude, and he really loves it there, and he loves what God is doing in his life.

There is so much more I could say about James, so many more memories/character qualities, but these are some of my favorite.

I miss him, and I hope he has an incredible day with blessings beyond what he can imagine.  I will be thinking of him and thanking God for the privilege I have had to raise him.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

If You Say Go . . .

If You say "go" we will go
If You say "wait" we will wait
If You say "step out on the water"
And they say it can't be done
We'll fix our eyes on You and we will come

Your ways are higher than our ways
And the plans that You have laid
Are good and true
If You call us to the fire
You will not withdraw Your hand
We'll gaze into the flames and look for You

We sing this song during worship, and I absolutely LOVE it!  Sometimes God asks us to do hard things . . . but He never asks us to do them alone.  He is there for us; we need to focus on Him.

Funny Conversation

Yesterday we went to a beautiful wedding for an amazing friend of ours.  It was such a fabulous celebration and such an incredible time spent with friends who we don't get to see nearly enough.  But I was miserably uncomfortable the whole time . . .

I bought a new dress for the wedding that had spaghetti straps, so I needed to wear a strapless bra.  I LOATHE strapless bras, so I decided to try those clear straps you can add that are supposed to not show.  First of all, they still show.  Secondly they dig into your skin and cause serious pain.  I could not wait to get home and take that thing off.  Clearly it was a priority because just after we got home and I changed into more comfortable clothing, I walked into the dining room where Jason had left some things.  I hollered at him, "Jason come get your homework and your bra off the table."  Needless to say he was a little embarrassed.  We enjoyed a hard laugh at the whole situation while Jason took his tie into his bedroom.