A Sixteen Year Old Daughter Teaching Mom Lessons on Vanity and Pride

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A few months ago my oldest daughter, Michaela, expressed her desire to participate in the St. Baldrick’s  fundraiser.  This is an event where the participants raise money for childhood cancer research then have their hair completely shaved off.   My youngest daughter, Cora, and I looked at each other with looks that were mixed with shock, reservation, and uncertainty.   The thoughts and feelings that flooded over me in that moment are embarrassing.  It is amazing who and what God uses to reveal the nasty parts of our human nature.  My first thoughts were “Oh that hair is so beautiful, she has prom, senior pictures, etc…”  Pure selfish prideful thoughts were my initial response.   How nasty and foolish of me.  During her elementary school days it was mom that encouraged her to donate her hair to “Locks of Love” a couple times.  The last time was in fifth grade.    Going to a “Bob” haircut for fast growing hair was apparently reasonable for my  prideful heart.  We later learned that those wigs were charged for and not donated to children with cancer with that organization so I stopped encouraging the drastic haircuts.   In the mean time her thick beautiful locks have grown and grown.

As parents we often don’t realize the impact our conversations and prayers have on our children.   Our lives have been heavily impacted by children with cancer in the area we live.  A year and about four months ago my life long friend since the fourth grade’s son, Collin,  was diagnosed with bone cancer.   He and his family have been in the brutal battle with cancer since the day he was diagnosed.  They have had blow after blow yet continue on taking one day at a time.   They have to continue living life one treatment, test, and surgery at a time.  There is another family with a three year old daughter, Lexi, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer this last year.  I watched Lexi’s mother grow up from the church youth group into a wonderful wife and mother.   Lexi has now completed her treatments and we pray the cancer stays away.  There are many other families impacted by childhood cancer just within our small area.  So as I have talked about and prayed for Collin and Lexi specifically Michaela was listening.

She felt a passion to do this in honor of Collin and Lexi.  Her selfless reason to give her hair made my initial thoughts and emotions that much more embarrassing.  The next thoughts were “It is just hair, she is beautiful with or without hair, SHE DOES NOT HAVE CANCER ANITA!!!”   Dear God please forgive my pride and vanity!!  God there are so many families impacted by childhood cancer and here I am so very very selfish!!!   She is alive and healthy!  Her hair will grow!  Her body is not poisoned by healthy cell devouring cancer.  Her body is not poisoned by the treatments to fight that atrocious disease.  This painfully shy child at age sixteen is willing to have her head shaved in front of her classmates.  This painfully shy child is willing to walk around with no hair for months as it grows back. This child who has no job is giving what she can, her hair, to help someone else.

This humbled momma continues to learn so much and most often through my own children.

The high school she attends does this fundraiser annually.  This year there were 33 students that participated and they raised over $20,000 toward childhood cancer research.  We can learn so much from the ones that are tomorrows future!!

Our children are listening even when we are so far from perfect ourselves we should watch what we do and say.  We are shaping the future of tomorrow.   Sometimes they shape us, in spite of ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Nothing Says “Hey Fatty” Like Your Toilet Seat Snapping in Half While Your Sitting on it!!!

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Some days it seems that every time I turn around something else is breaking.  Today was one of those days as I walked in from church and discovered the turtle tank light burnt out then went to the restroom, sat down, and hear a loud snap!!  It was as if my toilet said “Oh snap here she is again!!”  The entire situation was hilarious to me as well as the rest of our family.   Well God can speak life lessons through broken toilet seats as well.  With the drama of home improvements and the fact that nothing is made to last this broken seat reminded me even more of how fleeting all material things are.  Where am I putting my energy, thoughts, and worth in this life? Where am I putting the burdens of this life?  Am I trying to carry the load myself?  Am I placing my worth in things of this world that truly are not what they are “cracked” up to be?  Where can I truly find “rest”?  Clearly not in the “rest”room today. This experience reminded me that Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I can “rest” in complete confidence in the fact that Jesus will not “crack” or break when I place all my cares, burdens, and sins upon Him. He is the only true “rest” that can be found in life.

Woes of a Coffee Drinker

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This evening after working late there were fifteen minutes to spare before I needed to pick up one of our daughters.  There is a new coffee shop in town that I have been wanting to check out.  After a busy day I had a hankering for cup of Joe to get me through this evening and felt this was the perfect opportunity to check out this local business.   My days of having a sweet treat are over so now I am delighted  to have my warm cup of this energy giving nectar whenever possible.

The coffee shop has the “cool hipster college kid” vibe that I expected.  The shop was complete with college age young adults congregated around a table with their laptop computers.  My coffee orders are simple, dark coffee with some half and half cream.  The young lady with the snazy purple feather earrings directed me to a table off to the side adorned with the coffee, sugars, and creamer.   The table didn’t quite come up to my waste in height.  I filled my coffee cup nearly full then began opening the small packets of liquid half and half creamer.  Half and half is one of my “cheats” to my detox diet that I follow.  The packets are so small I usually add four of them to make the break in the rules worth it.  As I opened the second packet my fingers slipped on the foil as I peeled it back causing me to lose my grip of the packet.  This caused the fingers of my other hand to squeeze the packet as it jerked toward me partially opened.  It was at this moment I was afraid to look around and afraid to look down at my pants.  With a sigh I looked down and yes the creamer had sprayed all over the table, the crotch of my jeans, and onto the floor.  Quickly I wiped my pants, finished doctoring my coffee, put the lid on the cup, wiped the table then wiped the floor.   My parents taught me to clean up after myself.  Had I left the mess I felt that I should never show my face in this newly found community treasure.  If I had not wiped my pants there would have been an even greater reason to never show my face in this public setting.  Thankfully my back was to the college students.  Whether or not I was on a hidden camera now that is the question as everything is videoed these days.

One of my first thoughts was “Man there is actually a lot of creamer in these tiny packets when it is sprayed onto your clothes!!”  It seems to take a few packets working together to make a tasty difference in my coffee.   Then the thought of our influence on the world started crossing my mind.  A negative mess sure seems to scream so loudly.  It takes several positives to really make an impact for good.  The creamer seems so little when poured into the cup of coffee.  In life we can sure cause a heap of heart ache and trouble when we make bad choices just on our own.    When we surround ourselves with positive influences making good choices together we can make a difference in our world for the better together.  This reminds me of what God intended His church to be.  People unified in Jesus Christ working together to spread His light to this dark messy world.

Our influence… are we making the world messier and darker?  Or are we helping to spread light, love, and truth?

God teaching me yet again through my embarrassing moments.

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Romans 15:5-6 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”