Dec 162009
 



Before I get started with today’s post – I’d like to review what happened here yesterday.

Yesterday, our Monkee sister, Heather, was feeling a bit overserved with blessings. Heather had just found out that she was pregnant with twins and that her husband needed the family to move real quick to Australia. This is a big day, folks. Heather was feeling overwhelmed and afraid, and she was brave enough to share those feelings with you all on Momastery. Your outpouring of support and love and Bon Jovi lyrics meant so much to Heather that she wrote your comments on 3×5 cards and scattered them around her house. And she went to bed last night feeling much more hopeful than she did yesterday morning. Because of you.

THAT IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, MONKEES.

I’m thrilled and delighted. Yaaaay for us. How you doin’ today, Heather?

Now on to the business of the day.


Today I’d like to offer you a tour of the Melton Christmas Picture Gallery.

Most of the pictures I present here seem to show a well adjusted, peaceful and joyful family.

Pictures can be deceiving, thank God.

I am NOT a fan of picture day. Family picture day brings out the absolute worst in me. My kids know how desperate I am for just one good picture, to show the world what a happy dang family we are…so they sabotage the shoot. When I accuse them of being saboteurs, Craig calls me melodramatic but I KNOW they ruin the pictures on purpose. So whenever you see me smiling in a family picture, please know that behind the smile I am either bribing or threatening. That is all picture day is, one long day of alternating bribes and threats. And lots of sweating, also. My sweet husband, who is the calmest person I know, shakes noticeably before family photo shoots and begs, begs, BEGS me to stay calm. After photo shoots he drinks a lot of beer.

So now that you have the background, I present:

2005

Chase

2006

Tish, Chase and family

2007

Tish and Chase



2008

I decided to keep it real for the 2008 family photo shoot. I told Craig that I had a great idea for a card, and this idea meant that our kids could be as cranky as they wanted to be during our shoot. The crankier, the better. We could all just be ourselves. No bribing, threatening, or sweating. And so of course, for the first time ever, they all smiled like cherubs.

Like I said, they are MASTER SABATUERS. Clearly, this picture wasn’t going to work for me. I had a VISION and I needed cranky kids to bring that vision to fruition. So after this photo was taken… I went to the kitchen, found three lollipops, and gave them to the children. After they had taken a couple good licks, I snatched the lollipops away and yelled “SHOOT” to the photographer, who glared at me with shock and horror. Yes, I did. And it was worth it, because we got this:


Perfect. I sent this out to our friends and family with the caption: “ALL IS CALM…ALL IS BRIGHT.Peace and Joy, The Meltons

Tomorrow:

2009.



Dec 182009
 


I’ve been thinking about Heather M. since she shared her fears about the huge changes on their way into her life. I like Heather. I’ve never met her, but I like her. I think she’s brave and humble and honest. I bet you guys do, too. Maybe God does too, and that’s why he keeps “blessing” the bejezus out of her.

I was rereading some letters from Bubba last night, and I came across this one. It’s a letter about hope that Bubba wrote to me after our family’s hardest year. He wrote it the Christmas after Sister’s divorce.

Heather, today this letter is for you.


Christmas 2007

Dear Glennon,

The leaves are gone. Mother Nature acted up a little. I don’t know where they went. It blew so hard for two days that they were just driven into the wooded areas or scattered so high into the sky that they haven’t had time to float back down again. It blew so hard that birds and little animals clung to the ground or braced themselves behind anything they could find. It toppled heavy swings and chairs and tore hanging things like birdhouses and feeders from their lines. It drove our boats almost, but not quite, onto the docks. And then it slowed and things stopped tumbling and when it finally ended it turned out that there was no lasting damage from it. It looked for awhile like the very water was out of control and would blow away. But that’s not how it really was, that’s just how it felt. Nothing was ruined or wrecked. The wind just carried a message that there is really nothing at all in our control except our reactions and decisions in the face of adversity. In the end it was just a hard blow. Just a lot of stuff scattered around that needed picking up, some adjusting and simple repair and then putting back in place. But then stuff isn’t people.

Last year at this time we were in a very hard blow. The family’s sky was dark and what had appeared to be solidly rooted in the ground and lashed down was torn and flying around us in a personal hurricane wind. The things of our lives flew around like twigs and dust. That storm promised to destroy many things that we hold dear. People were injured and strained to points of breaking. When it appeared to be reaching a crescendo it just intensified and intensified more. It shook the foundations of our very courage and threatened to break our faith. It went on for what seemed like a lifetime. Then, when it looked like it would go on forever and some may not survive, the wind began to slacken, feelings came to the ground. Some hit hard and some floated down but most remained intact. There was damage and it left everyone with a sense that life can not be trusted but in the end everyone was there. In the end there was one more there.

As the chaos began, Tish was born. She came as if to say, “this storm will blow and it will blow over, I’m here to stay. And I’m here to remind you of what is most important and what is possible. I’m proof that when life is most frightening and when life is most unsure that is what life is and life is still well worth it. I’m proof.” And now there is another one coming. Amanda. I can’t imagine how she will change my life, what she will bring me and what she will teach me. I can’t imagine wondering how I ever got by with just Chase and Tish but I know I will. I can’t remember when I wasn’t looking forward to and waiting for another grandchild. I can’t remember what I did before Chase (BC). Not too much I guess. Children always put things into perspective. When you can’t remember what you did before them it’s because what you did before takes a distant second as quick as a baby’s smile.

That’s why I made Tish’s Christmas gift this year. I want her to know, long after I’m gone, what she’s done for me and how much she’s come to mean to me, not to mention to her grandmother. She will soon become the “middle child” with all that comes with that role. So I want her to always have a reminder of her impact and her power to create love and happiness. I want her to have something to look at that tells her that her grandfather found her so special and so inspiring that he felt the need to make for her a symbol of their bond. So that’s what I did this year. I’m still working on it and have been since early November. I’ll have it finished in a day or two. You and Craig will be the custodians of it until she leaves home for her own place or until she marries. If I’m around, I’ll hang it for her. If not, Tisha will hand it to her. If neither of us makes it to that day, there is a letter to her that comes with it.

Storms and adversity come and take stuff and shake our courage and make us afraid of life; kids come and make us wonder why it was we felt so shaken and why we lost courage and they cause us to fear nothing. Thanks for bringing all this courage and joy into our lives.

Merry Christmas,

I love you,

Bubba


Fear nothing, Heather. We can do hard things. Bubba promises.





Dec 212009
 



Come, they told me… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Our Newborn King to see… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Our finest gifts we bring… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Today before the King… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum,

So to honor Him… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

When we come.


Baby Jesus, Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

I am a poor boy too… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

I have no gift to bring, Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Shall I play for you… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

On my drum.


Mary nodded… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

The ox and lamb kept time… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum,

I played my best for Him… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum, , Rum Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum Pum,

Then He smiled at me… Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum


Me and my drum…


Amanda and I sat on the kitchen floor last Friday and listened to The Little Drummer Boy again and again and I cried and cried. Amanda snuggled deep into my lap and she kept turning around, cupping my chin in her hands, tilting her little head and saying, “Are okay?” Are okay?” I nodded, held her tight, inhaled her neck and used all of my senses to take her in. I marveled at how she could offer me so little, how she could, in truth, be such an incredible drain, and how I could still adore her so completely. How I could cry just thinking of her. How I’ve memorized every roll on her thighs, every red streak in her hair, the feel of her velvety cheek, and every expression her face has ever made. How there is nothing she could ever do to make me love her any more or any less. How she is already everything she needs to be for me. How she is a reflection of all that is true and good in me, because I made her.

When she started rubbing her eyes, I put her inside her crib and watched her fall asleep. I love her most at the moment she decides to trust me to keep her safe, and so her eyelids close and she falls away and just breathes. And when she awakens and I walk into her room, she turns her face toward me, throws her arms in the air and says Mama, and it’s enough to drive me to my knees in gratitude and awe and never get back up.


God gave me my little girl so that I might understand how he feels about His little girl.


I know, with my whole body, mind, and soul, that the way I love my baby girl is the same way God loves me. He has memorized every hair on my head and he watches me sleep and wake and when I cry He pets my hair and says “Are okay?” He has never, ever let go of my hand. When I run, He follows, and He never grows tired or weary. His plans for me are more beautiful than I can dream and He wants me to come to him like a child because that’s the way He loves me most. Empty handed. Utterly dependent, with no gifts to bring. He looks at my face and my outstretched, empty hands and He sees his little baby girl. The little girl He created. I don’t have to be a grown up with Him. I don’t have to be a wife or a mother or a friend or a teacher or a writer or a woman in his presence. He created me solely because He wanted someone to love. So that’s all I have to be, someone to love. He wants me to rest in the truth that there is nothing I can do to make Him love me any more or any less. He already knows about the choices I made yesterday – no need to be ashamed, and he already knows what will happen tomorrow – no need to be afraid. He doesn’t want me or need me to be anything more than the needy bundle of tears and love that I was the day I was born and that I am today, on the kitchen floor. He just wants me to sit still and accept His gift, which today is the sensation that my heart might explode as His love and adoration flow from Him through me, His baby girl, and into my baby girl.

This is when Jesus smiles at me, I think. When I offer him my broken, overflowing heart. When I play for him with whatever I have, which is nothing. He doesn’t want me to wait to play for him until I am better or different, or until I have something more worthy to offer. He was a poor boy, too, he understands. He was rejected and afraid and exhausted but he played his song for me anyway. And all he wants is to hear my song in return. He wants my song, the one only I can play, today. Not tomorrow.

And if it seems too good to be true that I’d have a song worthy of Him while I’m still broken and naked and crying, I need only to remember that the most beautiful song the world has ever heard was sung by our Jesus when he was all of those things, hanging on a cross.

That man who died for me, Jesus, my God, wants me to play for Him. And Mary nods her agreement, so I play, without fear of how I might sound. And here’s why I’m not afraid to play my song in the face of God. You have asked how I can share my heart so openly, why am I not afraid to disarm myself and tell you my truth, even when it’s ugly or scary.


It’s because there is no need for weapons or armor when one is already standing inside a mighty fortress.


It’s because while I want you to say that you like me, to tell me I’m okay, to say that we are the same, you and I… I don’t need you to say those things. If no one ever likes or loves me again and I am left with only God, I will still have too much acceptance and love to handle well, or respond to appropriately, or endure gracefully. I can tell you the truth of my heart because when you handle my heart imperfectly, it’s okay, I forgive you already. You don’t have to love me perfectly. I don’t depend on you for that. You can be human, and you can make mistakes with my heart. Because if you hurt me, if you accidentally ignore me, if you love me imperfectly, I still have perfect love to turn to, to remember, to feel. And so I feel safe with you. And you can feel safe with me too, because I will never expect you to be someone you’re not. We don’t need to be afraid of each other. Perfect love casts out fear.

And when I tell you about Bubba and Sister and Husband and Tisha and you say that you wish you had a perfect family, too, please understand that my family is not perfect. Lord, no. None of us loves each other perfectly. But I don’t need them to love me perfectly because I already have perfect love. We are all wired to need perfect love but none of us is wired to offer it. Because we are meant to find it only in God. So I don’t ask my family for perfection. I forgive them their humanness, and search for their divinity, knowing that we usually find exactly what we we’re looking for. And when I catch glimpses of their divinity, I notice and share it. Just like my family and Jesus do for me.


I’d like to begin this Christmas week by saying Happy Birthday and Thank You to Our Jesus. He guided these words, and they are meant for you. It’s not an accident that you are reading them. He wants you to know that He loves you like you are the only little girl in the world. You don’t have to be a grown up for Him. You don’t need to bring Him gifts. Just play. He’ll listen and smile. And we’ll dance.