Gentle Whispers

"So, what's your book about?"

"So, what's your book about?"

The past two weeks.

I swear Toddler is suffering through some early form of the common female condition called “PMS.”

I summed it up on Facebook by sharing one of her hundreds of tantrums: “Mommy picked the wrong orange out of the bag of oranges at snack time.” Tantrums came to a climax last Thursday. {a.k.a. “Incorrect Orange Selection Day.”}

Whether it was me finding the wrong YouTube video while we killed hours sitting on the toilet for potty training, telling her that “no, she may not lick that sharp knife,” or that it is totally gross to put her princess dolls inside the used toilet plunger, I was the worst Mommy in the world. And she let me know it.

I debated sending an S.O.S. email to Husband at work: “Your kid is driving me insane. Please put your handsome hiney on that bike of yours right after the final school bell rings and Peddle. The Heck. Home.”

I deleted the draft. And I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life: I would still go to the grocery store as planned, even though Toddler was both a ticking pee bomb and a ticking tantrum bomb.

I practically ran through the grocery store. “Tick tock, tick tock.” I figured out that my condition called “Road Rage” is ten times worse while pushing a cart through crowded aisles at the grocery store.

When we got home, I took a deep breath.

It was time for the triathlon of unloading the groceries from the back of the car to the entry of our apartment building, then hauling both Toddler and our many bags of groceries up two flights of stairs, and then putting the groceries away while Toddler throws tantrums until I can get her a jelly sandwich, no crust, in front of her face for lunch.

My neighbor opened the entry door, and propped it with the rug.

Small talk told me he was headed to his freshman year of college first semester finals. He went outside to start his car. I was still in phase one of Grocery Triathlon when I realized my neighbor left his car running to come back inside the building. He looked at me and asked, “Would you like me to help you carry your groceries up the stairs?”

Instead of the polite, “No, no, I’m fine! You go ahead! Thanks, though!” I said, “OH MY GOODNESS, YES PLEASE!”

Toddler walked her own buns up the stairs, and we got all our groceries to our apartment in one sweep. It was a Christmas miracle. My face muscles were too ragged to show much emotion, but I told my neighbor out loud, “You seriously just made my day. Thank you.

He grinned and headed back downstairs. If I had the money I would have offered to pay the rest of his college tuition right then and there.

See, Daughter? I’m taking care of you. I know you are tired. I know you feel anxious about many things. But I’m keeping My eye on you. I love you.

*****

At 1:00 p.m. I told Toddler the shocking news that she would again be laying down for a nap, just as she has every day for the past 2.5 years of her life.

At 1:15 she was still crying in her bed. I mentally prepared myself to do battle. As in, lay in my bed and cover my face with a pillow for ten minutes while she figured out her life path.

“MOMMY!!! SAY PRAYERS!!!”

That was what I heard through the wall, from beneath my hedge of protection.

“She’s pulling the Jesus card on me. Lord, that’s totally unfair.” I debated. I was a kid once. I remembered all the delay tactics.

Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. {Matthew 19:14}

How could I say “No” to prayers? I couldn’t.

I said my own prayers before entering the Temple of Doom: “Lord, please. Please calm her through prayer time and help her fall asleep after.”

I listened to her pray. The sweetest prayers. She only knows how to pray, “Thank you.” She doesn’t realize how beautiful it sounds to hear her simply praise God with thanks rather than unravel her entire Christmas list of wants.

“Dear Jesus, thank you Mommy, Daddy. Thank you food. Thank you so fun Buzz. Thank you Befany and James. Play toys. Aaaaaamen.”

I leaned down and gave her a kiss. “I’m so glad you remembered to thank God for Buzz Lightyear, Sweetie.”

She turned over on her side and closed her eyes.

*****

Husband finally got home.

I sometimes wonder what it’s like to come home to our apartment after a long day at work to our Box of Chocolates Life. As in, when you open the door, “you never know what you’re gonna get.”

The entire day, while covered with God’s generous “I love you’s,” was exhausting. The kind where it would feel really great to order take-out, put on our pajamas, and veg the rest of the night. The kind where you are afraid you might start crying if you attempt to do anything besides put on your pajamas and veg the rest of the night.

But we were having guests for dinner. A few students from the local college. Some connected to my hometown, and some of their friends.

I remember the families who did this for me when I was in college far away from home. There was nothing like eating a home cooked meal, in a warm house, off campus. {Thank you, Bloms and Schullers.} Thankfully these girls were even eager to eat a meal cooked by KFC, in a warm apartment, off campus.

And these girls we had over for dinner: Full of life. Full of stories. Full of laughter. Full of nerves for their upcoming exams. Full of the kind of energy I remember having what I’m pretty sure was millions of years ago.

It was contagious. It was uplifting. It was encouraging.

See, Daughter? You may know what you want, but I know exactly what you need. See how you blessed these girls, but see how they blessed you even more in return.

*****

I share these stories from last Thursday to demonstrate the answer to the “Big Question”: So, what's your book about?

Sometimes that question stumps me. The book covers so many topics that it’s kind of like a Midwestern Hot Dish Casserole. {A little of this. A little of that. A little of last year’s Christmas ham.}

But last autumn, for 30 days I prayed this prayer: “To maintain the joy of being Wife and Mommy amid the daily grind. To see the world through God’s eyes. To live intentionally. To build relationships and share Christ’s love with our neighbors. To learn what it really means to give. To collide ‘motherhood’ with ‘mission.’”

And for 30 days I wrote down both the ways I heard God’s generous “I love you’s” in my life, and the ways I felt God leading me to be His generous “I love you’s” to other people in my life.

The book is called Gentle Whispers. {Like how God appeared to Elijah not in the great and powerful wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but in a gentle whisper.}

How true is that for our own lives? That God often speaks to us gently, quietly in the most ordinary moments of our lives. And if we aren’t paying attention we easily miss all the ways He says, “I love you” over and over.

Gentle Whispers is scheduled to release February 2017, and I have so many hopes and prayers for this book:

I want to encourage. I want to challenge. I want to share laughter and tears in all the ways I failed and learned through this 30 day challenge. And where my words may fall short, I want God’s truth to prevail. {As it always does.}

So, if you need me, every spare moment I have will be spent staring at my computer until this book is due. {March 15, 2016.}

Sometimes writing. Sometimes getting distracted by the latest Saturday Night Live videos. Sometimes stalking your pictures on social media. Sometimes researching if it’s considered “Parent Abuse” when your toddler throws her plate of Poptart crumbs at you and then screams at the top of her lungs.

You know. The usual.

 

Grace and Peace,
Kendra