We have a nightly dinner ritual that makes me feel insecure on most days. No one is aware of it, except for me. Because admitting it, that would be embarrassing.
My husband was born with an uncanny ability to remember facts. A plethora of facts on just about any subject. After twenty-two years, I am still in awe of this, acutely aware of the fact that it is a gift, and even more grateful for the money he saves us because of all the things he knows how to do.
Most evenings, while I scoop food on plates, our kids engage him in conversation. Last night my daughter asked him to do a WWII alphabet list. I have to admit that if she would have asked me, I am not even sure I would have made it to letter D.
I’m sure my silence clues my kids in to the reality that their mom doesn’t remember most of what she learned in school after fourth grade. Because when you are in charge of your own life, play the role of parent before you know how to drive a car, food and security take priority over the leadership of Hitler and mathematical equations.
What I remember most about school is how safe I felt in the classroom. That the stiffness of worry I held at home, fell off during those hours seated at a desk among my friends. Truthfully, I didn’t care as much about what the textbook said, as for the assurance of a safe place, just in case I found myself alone or in danger. The fact that I made good grades, that is a grace gift.
And after school, it wasn’t milk and cookies, and doing homework around the kitchen table with some help. I walked home to an empty house, or worse, my mother met me inebriated on the front lawn, to greet my friends.
I can’t remember how to do geometry and I don’t quote facts about history. I would be one of those people we laugh about on Jay Leno, if he met me on the street and asked a random question.
But I can tell you how to hear God in your room at midnight when your house is full of strangers and smells of marijuana and beer. How to hear him when you need to choose which school to attend, whether you should marry the man who asked you, or when you have a decision to move across the country to live in a place you have never seen before – three times.
I can help you to identify that still small voice of the one who created you, knew how your life would turn out even through the hardship. The voice of the one that wants to tell you how much He loves you now.
I can assure you that you most certainly are not your circumstances; that the power of God who raised Christ from the dead lives in you if you asked Him to. And that nothing you face today is too difficult for Him.
And when I listen to the conversations about wars, cars and debates over historical facts, I sit with embarrassment about my lack of contribution . . . with gratitude. Because those three people seated around my kitchen table, they are teaching this mom and wife all the things I missed.
They are the beauty of my redemption.
There is no end of the road, closed door, or circumstance too difficult for redemption to do its work. That fact, I know it well.
Linking with God Bumps and God Incidences, Walk With Him Wednesday, Painting Prose, Word Filled Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursday.
Sending prayer your way. Well done, sister/friend.
Thanks, this one was hard to write but came quickly. Appreciate your prayers Diane. Hope you got my email.
I did get it, and thank you. We are at the beach and I have intermittent internet. I’m very slowly responding to people! It’s the price one pays for sand and surf.
Those things that are most crucial that we know, He makes certain we know them.
(I owe you an email. Coming. 🙂 )
That is what I pray for over my kids every day. That they get just what they need for what He wants them to do. No worries about the email, I know you’re busy.
And, yet, Shelly, at ORU I constantly admired you because you were truly one of the smartest people I knew. You are covered by the Lord in a beauty and confidence that carried you through so many situations in which I would have crumbled. I still admire you today!
Diane, that means a lot to me. You and the girls were like family to me. I never got a visit by my own famliy on campus but ate from your goody boxes and spent breaks in your loving homes. Thank God for good ole common sense and His hand of grace to get you through life! And a bit of studying too.
I’d say you have your priorities seriously straight, lovely friend.
Not every day Michelle, I am a work in progress. I guess we never stop learning do we? At least I hope not.
I do love that it’s never too late to get what we should have had. Yes, it is sad, truly sad!, that not all kids have wonderful and safe and nurturing environments. But thankfully, that doesn’t limit the reach of the Lord!
Yes, it is never too late for God thankfully. When we turn around and look at the road of regrets, he turns our head forward to see hope.
Shelly, my husband shares that gift. And I am like you when it comes to recalling facts, stuff from those school days. Some of those years i would rather forget. I just felt like I never fit in. At home, I had responsibilities and not much time for being with friends. By the time I graduated, it was get a job and no consideration for further schooling.
My husband is wonderful and gracious and he has so much patience as I work on dealing with some of the painful things that still crop up years later. Praise God for our hubbies.
Celeste, it makes me smile knowing that you have a husband like this too. One that loves us not for what we know, but who we are. And they model Christ for us don’t they? God is so faithful.
Thank s for sharing.
oh, I’m almost laughing I can relate so much. My husband just blank stares at me for stuff I don’t remember… yet, I have a memory that is a steal trap. I read people. I tell him he’s in the business of the hands and mind, I’m in the business of the heart and soul….and together, we’ll teach our kids something great. You should feel nothing but joy that you are exactly the way you are…it’s a blessing to many, myself most enthusiastically included.
memory for people/places/moments…not those facts and stuff 😉
Tara, just one more thing we have in common. And we do compliment our husbands, don’t we. I, like you, read people. Used to sit in malls while my mother shopped and watch people. My favorite hobby. And I am an intuitive learner as well. Most of what I know I taught myself, including writing. I’m not sure why, it just happened that way. Thanks for your sweet encouragement. My husband read my post this morning, hugged me, and said you know more important stuff that I do. He truly loves me!
This is just gorgeous, Shelly. My favorite post yet – of course, I’m fairly new here. :>) Thanks for it.
Thank you Diana, what a lovely compliment. It came easy but I have to say I cried through writing most of it. But actually, I cry most days when I write, I get so overcome by His love and faithfulness.
And this life….the gift to sit in redemption’s glow… Is grace. That is what it is. All the doors you walked through to redemption brought you to the table. Still more doors to fly wide open to reveal the stories still to be told. Believing it. 🙂
Yes Dea, it is all grace that led each step to the table. Love that! Thank you for your constant encouragement sweet friend. You are a gift to me truly.
Beautiful. I am going to copy the paragraph about feeling safe in safe and post it on Facebook…for all my teacher friends. I didn’t have any of the distractions you did in school and still, I couldn’t get past B in a WWII alphabet list. Love your perspective.
Laura, I was actually thinking about teachers when I wrote this and wondering if they realize the impact they have on lives every day. Some of the teachers I had were a warm blanket of healing balm to my soul on some days. And they had no clue what I was going through. Honored that you would share this with your teacher friends. And thanks for making me feel better about the WWII thing!
I can’t decide whether to write a comment here or to email you. Here I am typing in this space, so I guess the decision has been made. I can tell you that I can identify with this on several levels, but to explain would take a long time. Too bad we can’t meet for coffee? But, the happy part of this is that I know the sound of God’s voice, too. I may not be able to physically hear much of the world without my hearing aids, but God’s voice comes whether I don the technology or not. Praising Him for that.
Oh Jen, to sit down over coffee with you would be bliss. Thank you for shariing this and if you want to talk more I would love to, we certainly have many ways to do that virtually don’t we? I can imagine you have a heightened state of awareness of His voice that we would all stand in line for Jen. You are a gift.
“Truthfully, I didn’t care as much about what the textbook said, as for the assurance of a safe place . . . ”
That line nearly undid me. Given the choice between knowing the WWII alphabet and the reality of redemption, I’d say you know what matters most. What you know is life giving.
Nancy, I am meeting a girl at the highschool today for the first time. I have been paired with her for a new mentoring program they are starting to help the kids in situations I lived through. He says there are more than 150 of them and we are just barely cracking the surface. Will you pray for me today?
How beautiful…you have much to teach me friend. I would rather remember His voice than the random voice of a high school teacher any day.
Oh my word! This is utterly beautiful- the grace to recognize redemption’s work through those circumstances and how you’re learning now by the way your family learns.
Wow-so powerful, so encouraging, so hopeful. Thank you.
Shelly, your words resonate so deep. I feel like I have “missed out” on so much because of my “upbringing.” And I still struggle sometimes with feeling badly (insert pity party) because my kids don’t have grandparents, and I don’t have parents who can help with me the kids. And I see my friends with parents who do things like — watch their kids overnight once EVERY week! I can’t even imagine having that kind of familial support.
But then I remember … that He is a Father to the fatherless. And He started speaking to me at a rather young age. And He has been with me through so much, guiding me through His Word. I hear His voice. And perhaps, just perhaps, I was able — available — to hear His Voice because I didn’t have any other parental voice to listen to.
So I am thankful. God has filled that gap for me. I know He has. He has more than made up the difference. And I believe He has for you too. 🙂
I know Denise, I have those same feelings of sorrow over my kids not having grandparents that are active in their lives on a regular basis too. We live so far away from any family. But there is a difference you and I see in the way it is natural for other families, this kind of tenderness and care. It isn’t contrived.
But I do remember your heroes post about the couple that have been so wonderully present to your children. I think God sends us people to fill in the vacancy like he did with them. And I often pray that I will see those people when they come and not be blinded by my own thinking regarding what that might look like.
He knows what I need more than I do. Thankful and rejoicing with you that God has been good to us, you and I. And that he brought us together here through our words. You are a gift to me Denise.
So blessed by this post!! I emailed this to my sister in California as we can SO RELATE! So thankful I was adopted out before getting older and experiencing too much damage. Thank you for sharing your heart. What a GIFT you have developed for hearing God…truly He does bring beauty from ashes!
Ginger, I miss seeing you friend. Let me know what your sister thinks of the post. Humbled that you would send it to her actually. So thankful for redemption Ginger, so incredibly thankful.
You learned the best lessons–the ones that count for eternity! Great post, Shelly!
I hope I learn even more of them Beth. Thank you friend, your encouragement means so much.
This really touched me. I have similar academic limitations. Positive childhood memories are few. But I can tell the story of my redemption. Just beautiful. Thank you!
I remember your library post. It stuck with me and gave me a sense that we may have some similarities. Our stories, as you said so beautifully in your post today, they need to be told to let the beauty do its work among those listening.
Wow, Shelly! Thank you so much for starting to write so others get to read! You are so gifted…maybe not in remembering school facts…but something so much greater!!! Thank you for being my friend. Bless you!
Honored to be your friend Boo. You radiate joy. And we need to see each other more often. Thanks for your kind words here – humbled.
Shelly, you do have a gift. Because holding up broken and hopeless and seeing redemption? Not everyone can do that. It’s a gift that’s made you whole and hopeful, and that’s the needful thing you bring to your nightly table. It’s equally as impressive as your husband’s headful of facts, just maybe not to your kids yet.. 😉
Dawn, your comment made me want to cry. Like Jesus speaking right through you. Thank you so much.
I am so amazed how you can pick up the broken pieces of your past and mend them with love and gratitude. You are blessed. Had to laugh though – my hubby too is a wizard at trivia and odd facts. He can pull out of his head song lyrics from songs I never heard of. I bet we want our hubbies on our side when playing trivia pursuit, right?
I guess I never realized it was amazing. You don’t know until people tell you I supppose. But the comments on this post, they have me seeing things differently and I am grateful.
And I can’t stand playing trivial pursuit because I am so bad at it so I always make sure H is on my team because I know we will win!
Inside I am standing up and applauding and saying, “bravo”! The beauty of this writing and your story of His great grace overwhelms me today.
Elizabeth, thank you for standing up and cheering for me. I am doing that on the inside for you too, as you chart new territory to Africa. Remember that!
Wow. I think you and I have quite a bit in common, my friend. This was my blog entry this morning:
So blessed to have happened upon your blog last week. 🙂
I did hop over to your place, and we can relate can’t we? Your story is beautiful, the way God redeemed what could have turned out so differently. So nice to meet you and I am curious how you happened on my blog?
Great post! Thanks for sharing. I myself would rather be able to teach the things that count for eternity. I definitely wouldn’t be able to say anything of importance to Jay Leno on the street! Ha! And I’m certainly not good at Trivia games. I stay my distance. But my love for the Father and to know Him more and share Him with others is my joy! Blessings to you!!
I guess the passage of time reveals this things clearly Mary. I wouldn’t have thought that knowing God was more important than the knowledge I obtained in school while I was growing up. But so thankful He has revealed Himself to me, so that I do know that now.
Your transparency is inspiring. Thank you for taking of the “church mask” so many Christians wear and sharing your heart.
Cristal, that is quite a compliment – thank you. I don’t know how to be anything else than myself.
God does indeed bless us all with amazing gifts and sharing them is always the greatest act of love. When I look back at my life I can see how God was speaking to me, calling me to Him and what a comfort that is. Bless you!
Rejoicing with you Kathleen, that you can see the nearness of God with you all along the way.
This took my breath away.
(P.S. What’s a WWII alphabet list?)
I had never heard of it before either Sandy. It is a project that my son had to do in school this week, naming something from WWII that started with each letter of the alphabet. I helped him cut out his words and glue them on a poster.
I say that what you have learned is most important. I am humbled and in awe that after all these years, your love for Jesus is still as fresh and strong as it was in the beginning! I always felt that my inability to retain academic information was related to my upbringing as well b/c Emily seems to have sharp mind and I believe that it is b/c she grew up in a safe, loving environment.
Thanks for sharing your heart AGAIN! I’d love to sit at your dinner table one night and learn some cool stuff from H and the kids!
And we would love to have you Lisa. I know what you mean about Emily having a sharp mind. I am in awe of the amount of information my kids retain. I could never do that. I attribute it to the unsettled, insecure home environment I lived in but who knows, maybe I just don’t have good retention!
look how many lives have been touched from your honest words!! They definitely blessed me as well. I had many challenges in high school, one of them being a learning disability. Today I feel the same pain and embarrassment you have felt when my kids have questions and I have to tell them “I don’t know, go ask your dad”. Quite humbling to say the least. The cool thing is that God has given everyone unique gifts (obviously one of yours is writing!) and those gifts can be used to bless others and bring glory to Him! Thank you!
Amen to what you say here Carrie. I think we have to be at a place of acceptance for who we are, knowing that we are each used uniquely as part of the body for His purposes. I think it takes a while to grasp that unfortunatley. I would have never known you had a learning disability. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, it means a great deal to me.
This is lovely. I recently wrote about how God has redeemed my pain and this fits right in with the truths that he’s been teaching. Blessings!
I will have to over to your place to check out your post. So nice to meet you!
My sister thinks she’s not smart like that too. But I see her as brilliant in faith simply because of her perseverance in the faith, despite the lies in her head or those spoken over her. This made me think of her.
My bible study today was on perserverance and persistance in prayer, how so many of the passages in scripture, especially the psalms, speak to that. That we are to never give up. And I think about all those people that we learn from in the bible who modeled that for us and how we didn’t know what else they knew. That was most needful.
Shelly, this really touches my heart. That you have eyes to see the beauty of your own redemption. This is so powerful, this testimony of how He gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise…how he turns our lack into plenty… how he gives us wisdom. Just beautiful!
They are His eyes, and I am grateful for the persepctive that is His Debra. But really, your comment just cements this revelation for me about the way I see thing being a bit different from the norm. I didn’t realize that until I started writing. Thank you.
Shally…you’re so blessed…=)