Looking Back to Move Forward

by | Aug 15, 2012 | Uncategorized

It was the protein powder. He put my sunflower seeds and blue corn chips in the brown paper bag with handles when he mentions protein powder. It made me think about how I used to make Trader Joes protein shakes with vitamin swirls for Murielle when we lived in Phoenix.

He told me he’s a chef. Asks me if I like to cook.

I said I do. I like to cook. But I don’t like to clean it up afterward, so I find myself making things based on how many pans get dirty. He cooks and cleans up too because they have a two year old at home.

“And he’s a lot of work for my wife,” he says holding dark chocolate, waiting for my empathy. So what age was she when you started making those protein drinks,” he asks.

She was two.

I load frozen cartons into freezer bags in the back of my mini-van like a gypsy shuffling her wares. The chicken nuggets she nimbled watching Blue Clues lay on the top. She still craves them at sixteen.

Louise pulls up beside me. We drive together across the parking lot, share birthday tacos in clothes from the back of our closets. Conversation waves about hormones, her pregnancy after forty and ambivalence about cutting the curls from his golden crown of a year.

Murielle was two the first time I cut her hair, I tell her. Those thin wisps with stray curls hanging past her shoulders, my friend Claire cut them off the first time. Her little frame sat atop phone books, draped in a towel under the orange tree.

Louise excuses herself from the half empty water glasses. I text Murielle, ask her what she’s doing.

A few hours later, I sit next to her, swivel in the black vinyl with my Kindle and reading glasses. We discuss the color in the mirror while Julie watches. I ask my first born if she’s nervous. She smiles and says no. Her toes wiggle in the sandals I convinced her to buy at Macy’s. I’m trying to read the truth under that plastic cape.

When Julie pulls the paddle brush through a tangle in the long shiny, I tell her that Murielle went through a year of combing through matted clumps after long days of swimming when she was in the fourth grade.

“I still get them Mom,” she says.

I didn’t know that.

I spread out the pizza dough I bought from the chef at Trader Joes, paint it with pesto. Harrison pulls himself up on the island across from me, talks to H about his computer. His teenage legs stretch out longer than mine now.

We touch noses, eyes press together blurry when I tell him I like it when he sits here. Remind him that he used to sit in my lap, hunched over in my hands. He giggles.

“Mom, you’re having a day of remembering things about us,” Murielle says as she pours Coke over ice next to him on the island.

I didn’t notice it until she said it. How I prayed for my kids this morning and God answered in the retrieval of childhood snapshots like sitting on the couch lapped with memory books.

Because sometimes we hold dreams so tight they have to be let go in remembering, one clump of moments at a time flying free.

What are you holding tight that needs letting go?

Linking with God Bumps & God Incidences, WLWW, Walk With Him Wednesday, Life in Bloom.


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    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad Eileen, sometimes I wonder if what I write will resonate with anyone to tell you the truth. It gives me a big sigh of relief to hear you say that.

  1. Jillie

    Hi Shelly…”What am I holding on to that needs letting go?” That’s an easy one for me today. I’m feeling very sad. There has come a BIG glitch in my son & daughter-in-law’s adoption process, due to a possible serious health issue for her. Awaiting tests and results. The adoption has been put ‘on hold’ for now. They were hoping for a child before year’s end. They sooo want to be ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mommy’ to a little one. It breaks my heart to see their hearts hurting this way. Of course, we do not understand. We ‘say’ we know God has a plan…but holding on to that is hard.
    Yet, we must ‘let go’ and trust.
    (I love your remembering of the memories. When I do that with my ‘kids’, (ages 33 and 26), they think I’m STILL trying to keep them ‘as children’ in my mind. But I can’t help myself…they were so darn cute! I try not to do it too often, precious as those memories are to me.)
    Your words have blessed me (again) today.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh my, that kind of disappointment is painful. And like most things in life, hard to understand. He’s showing me through all kinds of difficult, painful circumstances that we must trust Him in the midst of what we do not know or understand. That there are some things we just don’t need to know but we trust that He has our best in mind. I said a prayer for them and for you today, that His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart. Love to you Jillie.

      • Jillie

        Thank you so much, Shelly. I knew you would pray for us. I will hold on to that truth…that “we trust that He has our best in mind”. He sees down this long road…we do not. Bless you, Shelly.

  2. Paula

    Yes, and I remember putting Murielle on a bar chair when she was about four and trimming her hair while you explained that I had once given you a Dorothy Hammil haircut. I, for one, don’t ever want to let go of those special memories. And, of course, I can visualize Harrison over the kitchen bar, nose to nose with his loving mom (but still soooo visualize him in your lap in the den in PHX). Your words give way to some very strong images. Sounds like its time for back-to-school haircuts. I took the memory journey with you this morning. Your words have touched me once again.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It’s funny, how I didn’t even know I was holding some anxiety about them, thinking about the future. It came out in the stories of their childhood, which are sweet to the soul.

  3. Sharon O

    I love your ‘remembering’ day… isn’t it good for us to remember where we came from and what that was like so we can pray deeper for what’s ahead? just love it.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It’s good to remember to see the way God’s been with me (and you) through every single day. Thanks Sharon.

  4. Ells....ro elliott

    We are neighbors today:) #4 is getting ready to launch out into the world…I too journey into the past…seeing God’s faithfulness…therefore looking into the future with sweet memories in my heart. blessings~

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It goes by so fast doesn’t it? Makes me melancholy thinking about it.

  5. Robin

    Sitting alone in my house this morning reading your words. I am struck by the fact that in 24 days our last child will be married and the sounds in my house will change. I will miss her messy room (a little), hearing her voice from the craft room calling, “hey mom!”, watching NCIS reruns together, and so much more. Memories are a wonderful gift from God. Thanks for sharing yours.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m starting to brace myself for that. Just two summers away. And as I pray for her about college and friendships and faith I think I was hiding some anxiety in my heart that came out in the remembering.

  6. Stefanie

    How you connect everyday to biblical principle is magical! Yes, there are many things I wish to hold on to ~ memories, notes, drawn pictures, articles of clothing ~ to name a few. However, there are feelings and emotions in which I wish to let go. The Lord is working diligently with me on forgiveness. Letting go of hurts and forgiving, truly forgiving. I’m a melancholy temperament and we tend to hold on to both the good and the bad. Trusting him to help me release what I’ve had difficulty letting go.

    Lovely post, my friend!

    Have a blessed day…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think its one of the biggest hurdles we face as pastor’s wives – forgiveness. It’s hard to let things go that stare us in the face at least once a week. Thanks for being here Stefanie, love connecting with you.

      • Stefanie

        I couldn’t agree more…
        I love being here, receiving encouragement and inspiration from you:))
        I, too, am glad we connected:))

  7. Lynn Morrissey

    God tells us to remember, and it’s a good thing to do–times of pain and joy, times when we know He is always there. He is faithful. He has been there for you and your children, Shelly, as He has been for me. Reading about brushing out tangled hair reminded me of a frightening time in 2000 when my husband almost died from a heart attack and needed *immediate* sextuple bypass surgery. Mercifully, Michael survived. Sheridan, then seven, who witnessed the attack was traumatized. I needed to be with him constantly, so I took her to stay with good friends for several days. The eldest daughter became creative in “styling” Sheridan’s long tresses, and she came home with the most matted Brillo-pad fine-blonde hair that I have ever seen in my life. It literally needed to be cut off at the scalp. But my dear stylist,worked patiently with it for hours, and finally just had to nearly rip through it to disentangle it. Sheridan sat there, so bravely and silently, her face beet-red, stained by a continous gush of molten tears streaming down her face. Had her waist-length hair all been cut off at a time when her heart was being cut in two, not understanding why her Daddy was so sick, it would have traumatized her even further. Just now, it has been good for me to remember how gracious God was to our little girl that day. Thank you for prompting this gift. And I thank you, too, Shelly, for your faithfulness *keep* picking up your pen to write. You are God’s gracious gift to so many. You share wisdom and you help us often to remember God’s faithfulness not just in your life, but ours. God bless you for all you give!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad you recalled that sweet memory and shared it here Lynn. My, with every post I learn a bit more about you. I can’t imagine going through something like that with my husband, especially when my kids were young. God is faithful.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        God is indeed so faithful. It was a trying time, but He preserved my husband, and he is one of the dearest, most supportive, godliest men I know. Sheridan and I are so blessed. At this time, my dear aunts died (6 mos. apart) and I had had foot surgery which I thought at the time would have prevented me from normal walking. But God faithfully healed both Michael and me physically……and our hearts over the loss of our dear loved ones. Bless you for your sweet words, Shelly!

  8. Kris Camealy (@AlwaysAlleluia)

    It’s as if I’m sitting on the couch with you, thumbing through an old photo album… such tender beauty here, in and between these momma words…. lovely, Shelly. 😉

    • Redemption's Beauty

      That would be fun Kris, sitting down to look at scrapbooks together.

  9. Jody Lee Collins

    oh, Shelly, this line, “Because sometimes we hold dreams so tight they have to be let go in remembering, one clump of moments at a time flying free.”

    the dandelion is a perfect image.

    loved this snapshot of your life.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aw, thanks Jody. Appreciate your kind words.

  10. Christina

    Such sweet memories! I treasure mine as well and enjoy accumulating new ones everyday. Thanks for sharing!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You’ve had a quite a summer of memories to document Christina. Now back to real life huh?

  11. Sandra Heska King

    That was some potent protein powder to stimulate all that remembering.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You made me laugh. But yes, it did open a whole world of memories for me for some reason.

  12. Jennifer Johnson Camp

    Shelly, it doesn’t matter what age our kids are, I wonder, to let our hearts be opened to the precious gifts of moments recalled. I am letting go of this summer, as I may hold on to the significance of times with my kids too tightly — worried that I am actually holding the moments with them too loosely, taking it all for granted . .. They start up school again on Tuesday. For some reason {and I will pray about this} the transition into the new year brings hope and sadness — the excitement of a beginning and the anxiety of loss, as, each day, each year, they become more independent, and, bit by bit, pull away. And I am so thankful for your tender words here, as it brings me into gentle community, these mothers’ hearts stretched out, vulnerable, raw, for Him.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jennifer, you described exactly the way I feel too. Worried I’ve taken all these comfortable moments of being together for granted and then the realization that my girl will only be with me for two more summers before she goes off to college. It keeps me humble and on my knees most days as I pray for them.

  13. Ms. Kathleen

    Beautiful memories and stories… Wonderful post so full of love!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Kathleen, its good to see you here, I’ve missed seeing you in the comments.

  14. bluecottonmemory

    I have remembering days – sometimes they comfort me as my sons adjust to their growing up and growing away, trying to figure out how I fit in to their grown up lives. Your remembering warmed my heart – and you did it beautifully, gracefully! Memories like those are sometimes like warm blankets we need to wrap ourselves in!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m doing that too, trying to figure out how I fit into their grown up lives. Praying a lot these days about that actually.

  15. simplystriving

    I read this earlier and still don’t know what to say. other than I don’t wanna let go… ; )
    Thank you for taking me there and inviting me to blow what’s in my hands into the winds of grace…what a blessing you are to me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It’s a gradual letting go. I see more clearly the divine orchestration in the stages of their lives how the heart lets go gradually, like a piece of perforated paper tearing neatly instead of chopped off. You have a lot of years before you even have to think about it Nikki.

  16. Susan

    What a precious day of memories, Shelley. My kids are in college now, so I have a LOT of those.
    I find I hold on to different things at different times. Every day I have to evaluate what’s going on that’s keeping me from being fully His. I can’t always pinpoint it, but I feel a certain release in taking a minute to pause and confess that I need a sense of His presence in that moment.

    Sweet blessings to you today!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m two years away from one going off to college. My identity isn’t in being a mother so I’m not worried about that kind of emptiness. I just know how much I’ll miss her presence and I don’t want to have any regrets or wishes about what I should have done.

  17. LuAnn

    “Letting go in remembering”…I needed that today. This is Steph’s last week before returning to school for her last year in college. She will probably move from there to where she starts her new job. I’m excited for her as I thank the Lord for her and the blessing of being her mother through every season of her life.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      And I remember her standing at the bookstore counter in her bowed hair and dress barely able to see the top. You’ve done a wonderful job of parenting her LuAnn, you should be proud. I know I’m proud of you and the woman she has become.

  18. laura

    Oh, this bit of sweetness brought tears. But you always seem to tickle my tender places, Shelly :). The four of us, here, all bumping together on this little vacation…remembering is so sweet.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You do the same for me Laura. I think we are kindred spirits. Hope you’re having some good laughs and lots of rest.

  19. Jennifer@GDWJ

    I’ve been doing a lot of remembering, too. I think that the start of the school year also does this. The sweet and the bitter memories. I’m doing a lot of replaying, too…. Teary here, too.

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