Tuesday, November 20, 2012


When you live over seas for an extended period of time, it isn't so much the large things that get you, like being a thousand miles from your family.  You prep for those kinds of things and adjust your life.  It's the little things, like the clerk not helping you bag your groceries or not getting ice in your water at a restaurant - the little things you don't prepare for mentally, that somehow have the power to spontaneously and completely unhinge you.

Being a widow and a single mom is somewhat similar.  You expect holidays to be difficult.  You plan ahead and put on your game face.  It is almost surprising how easy they are because of the hustle and bustle.  But changing the light bulbs... Now there's a task that can completely unhinge me.  Shortly after Emmett died, I was wondering why all my rooms were so dim, and I realized that about half my lightbulbs were burnt out.  I'm not sure I changed a lightbulb for the entire time Emmett and I were married.  It's just something he did.  He noticed poor lighting and changed the bulbs.  I noticed dirty bathrooms and cleaned them.  It wasn't exactly equal division of labor, but it worked.  So when I went to change the lightbulbs, I wasn't even entirely sure where we kept them.  And wouldn't you know that nearly every single light fixture in my house requires a different size and shape of bulb.  So when a light goes out, it's another trip to the store for a special bulb.  So when my shower light went out again this week, I sure did want to cuss.  I'm still showering in the semi-dark with the sensor light in the rest of the bathroom turning off every five minutes.  Because I'm awesome.  And lazy.  Mostly lazy, I guess.

Quinn came home from school yesterday, and when I asked him how the day went, he suddenly got very confessional.  "Mom," he said, "I'm sorry. We had to write down what we were thankful for, but I only had room for three things, and you didn't make it on the list, but I really am thankful for you."  I chuckled and asked him what made it on the list.  He looked me straight in the eye with the biggest grin on his face and said, "ME! And the world and God because I love the world he made."

Recently Quinn has been bringing up the world and how God made it and how much he loves it.  On Sunday we talked about what it meant to be a new creation and how God was making all things new.  Last night as we read the last chapter in his Jesus Storybook Bible, which is amazing, by the way.  The chapter is about the letter of Revelations, and it is such a beautiful picture of heaven and God making all things new and right.  At the very end, after this chapter, is a little part about saying yes to Jesus and being made new.  Quinn likes to read that, as I've always assumed to stretch out bedtime a little longer.  He's seen baptisms, and when he brings it up we talk about that passage and how one day he can make a choice to follow Jesus.  Usually we go on about our business and he forgets about it, but last night he was adamant that he wanted to say yes to Jesus right then.

Now having come to faith as a young adult, I have a hearty skepticism that borders on a sinful disdain of people who say they accepted Jesus as a child.  Now I know it can happen, but I sure was surprised to find Quinn so adamant and myself so hesitant.  I caught myself wanting to say he couldn't pray right then because there's no way he was old enough to really choose.  And then I thought, "but that's not the gospel!"  So being the good mom I am, I threw out a caveat knowing how much he doesn't like to pray out loud.  I said "okay, but you have to pray for yourself because no one else can do this for you."  He looked at me without flinching and agreed, though he asked me to help him know how to pray. I also said he'd have to talk with our pastor and let him know how he felt about Jesus, to which he also very surprisingly agreed.  And then totally out of the blue he said, "but I'm only going to get baptized if I can wear goggles."  I'm sure Jesus got a chuckle out of that one.

After praying and finishing bedtime I hopped on the treadmill for a long run to help me process the day and the upcoming holidays.  On the one hand, I was overflowing with joy at Quinn's heart, but on the other hand, I thought, "well, crap, now he's got a big target on his forehead."  I found myself thankful, but mostly terrified about how to shepherd this child without Emmett.  How in the world will I do that when I can't even manage to change the lightbulb in my shower?


  1. "Mom," he said, "I'm sorry. We had to write down what we were thankful for, but I only had room for three things, and you didn't make it on the list, but I really am thankful for you."

    This is killing me. People are giving me looks because I am laughing so hard. I hope you and Quinn have an awesome Thanksgiving!

  2. Wendy, this is awesome...Quinn, his prayer, his thankfulness :), and you. I am thankful for you. You are an amazing Mom, and I love to watch how you walk through life prayerfully adapting to the changes each step brings. Praying alongside as you shepherd that sweet boy.

  3. Thanks Wendy.. I plan to look at every lamp, lamp fixture, and light bulb differently... and if I am connected (in spite of the lactic acid from the turkey... ) i plan to remember to pray for you and Quinn. This is all tough. You are so articulate about how grief is an ambush..Totally..it just sideswipes you at the intersection that you thought was pretty tame. But then, Joy and weird Peace have the same damn habits! Thanks for giving words and voice to how hard and complex life is.

  4. Wendy, Every time I read one of your posts it impacts me in such a personal way. I feel like God is somehow weaving bits of our stories overtop of one another even though we've never met. My 5 year old daughter Maggie finished reading the Jesus Storybook Bible a few months ago. She also prays for the world God mad all the time - it is her primary prayer. At times I've thought thats so simple and so general. But she means it VERY specifically. She loves the world. And I am learning the beauty and depth of that prayer. She also prayed a while ago to accept Christ, but as another who accepted at an older age I originally balked at her "faith" thinking she was too young (and my husband is a preacher!). Yet she never waivered. She still hasnt been baptized but she persists in wanting those waters and we are ready to let her go into them because we now see it is her desperate desire to do so. And that is so, so beautiful. I will be praying for Quinn and for you as you prepare to talk to your preacher over his confession. And I will also continue to pray that one day He will allow our paths to cross. Because I really want to know you. ~Dayna

  5. I, too, have never met you. But I absolutely think you're awesome (not lazy ;-)! Quinn too. Never doubt the beauty (even in adversity), encouragement and hope you share with every post. This Thanksgiving Day I am very thankful for the Light you and Quinn allow to shine through you in the darkness...and for my ability to "see" it even though I live hundreds of miles away.

  6. Wendy, what good news that the Lord has already answered many people's (including my own!) prayers for Quinn. The Lord is giving you strength and grace to change your lightbulbs, or to answer Quinn's tough questions. To quote Paul from Philippians 1:3-6, "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I really appreciate your writings and they challenge me to go deeper in my faith. Thank you.

  7. Hi Wendy, If the sensor light in your bathroom is going out it might mean that insulation is covering it up in an attic area. If you can locate the light and brush away the insulation off the top it will probably not cut out anymore. I'd be happy to look at it and fix it if I am able. Tim