All Things Maddie


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Waiting for Rebecca

As I sat in the hospital room, waiting for my 4th grand-love to make her early, but grand entrance into our hearts,  I could feel the anticipation rising.  Anticipation of meeting her for the first time.  The deep longing and constant dripping from my emotional well for the past 26 years, has been to be a grand mother.  Someone once asked me what my biggest dream was. There was not on bit of hesitancy in my response.  ” Why, to be a grand mother, of course!”  You sIMG_4388ee, all of my children and  grand-loves are my dream come true.

I will be honest though.  When my son asked me to be in the delivery room with them, hiding the look of terror that I felt crawling from my chest onto my face was difficult.  I was not sure that I could handle being in the room.  It was not because I didn’t want to be in the room with them.  On the contrary.  Being present meant experiencing first hand one of my dreams coming true. The problem was that I wasn’t sure I could keep my act together while my daughter-in-love was in pain.  So, I did what any normal person would do.  I sent my sisters a text message, convincing myself that I could infact  do it.  One of my sisters encouraged me to look at the birth of my grand-love as an opportunity to bring healing to my heart.  What I had not realized was that 32 years ago, on May 25th, I allowed a goofy, compassionate and skinny  5  year old boy to capture  my heart and be my first dream come true.  John Mark became a Stafford on that day.  Since I did not actually give physical birth to John, my sister encouraged me to allow this to be my birth experience with him… Those words rang true.  All of a sudden I  knew  that I could do it.   We were going to experience a birth together. A birth that would change our hearts and lives, just as his adoption changed my heart forever.   


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Look into HIS eyes

_MG_8006 cali 1I can see myself slumped over in a heap of tears. My shoulders gently shaking as I cry. The darkness of grief seems to be all around me. Even though my eyes are closed, there is still the sense of a dim, circular light around the perimeter of the room.

As I sit, I see my King, emerging from the light and slowly walking toward me. He bends down and gently helps me to my feet. I am shaking, and weak. Grief has taken a toll on my emotional being. Placing His hands under my chin, he gently lifts my head, until we see eye to eye. His smile pierces my being. I immediately look away and quietly say, “Lord, it is so hard to look at you when all I can see and feel is the pain from this grief.” “Then do not look at the pain and grief, Madelaine, look at ME!”

I have said it to many of my friends. Grief is grief.  Grief is loss. The loss of a marriage. The loss of a loved one. The loss as a result of making a terrible decision. No matter what the circumstances are, grief affects us all in the same way. It can be paralyzing and relentless if we allow it to be. The grief that tries to engulf me comes from the loss of a marriage. Most days are well-lit with time spent with family. Other days are lit with work and everyday activities. Some days it is obvious when the darkness of grief slips under the door frame like smoke. Other days there is no warning and all of a sudden, the lights go out and I am ensnared by the instantaneous darkness of grief. What I have learned is that I have to make a choice to look into the eyes of the one who came to conquer grief, instead of groping in the dark, unforgiving depths of grief.

Today, I looked into the eyes of my Savior, who took away the pain of my loss, and made it HIS loss, so I can be free .


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Singing His Praises

There were 10  adults sitting on the porch this afternoon.  We had gone to church, eaten a wonderfully prepared meal, and now were visiting. The weather was great and the fellowship was even better. We all heard something at the same time.  I turned around to see my 2 1/2 year old grand -daughter, Andy-Grayce._MG_6573 katie 1  She was carrying a small un-lit votive candle and singing.  She had captured the attention of every person sitting on the front porch.  We listened intently as she sang.

“Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Andy-Grayce, happy birthday to you!”  And then she blew out the candle.  We all clapped, laughed and enjoyed her song.  It was spontaneous, genuine and from her heart.

 

Today, after a difficult afternoon, I came home to an empty house.  Dishes needed to be done, dogs to be fed, and laundry to be folded.  As I was going about my mundane activities, I just felt like singing.  Singing to the Lord.  Singing of his goodness, faithfulness and grace.  As I stood in my kitchen, with my eyes closed, singing to my heavenly Father, I knew he had stopped what he was doing, to listen to me.  Just as my grand daughter’s singing captured our hearts and attention, when we sing and praise the Lord, it captures his heart.  So, in the midst of my pain, I choose to sing.  In grief, I sing.  In remembering His resurrection life, I sing.  When times are good, I sing.  When times are bad, I sing.

Psalm 18: 3

“I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved.” The Message

 

Andy-Grayce felt safe to sing, so she did.  If we dwell in the secret place of the most high, and hide under the shadow of His wing, safety is not an issue and we can sing…..


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Singing His praises

There were 10  adults sitting on the porch this afternoon.  We had gone to church, eaten a wonderfully prepared meal, and now were visiting. The weather was great and the fellowship was even better. All of a sudden, the adults all heard something at the same exact time.  I turned around to see my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter, Andy-Grayce.  _MG_6573 katie 1She was carrying a small un-lit votive candle and singing.  She had captured the attention of every person sitting on the front porch.  We listened intently as she sang.

“Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Andy-Grayce, happy birthday to you!”  And then she blew out the candle.  We all clapped, laughed and enjoyed her song.  It was spontaneous, genuine and from her heart.

Today, after a difficult afternoon, I came home to an empty house.  Dishes needed to be done, dogs too be fed, and laundry to be folded.  As I was going about my mundane activities, I just felt like singing.  Singing to the Lord.  Singing of his goodness, faithfulness and grace.  As I stood in my kitchen, with my eyes closed, singing to my heavenly Father, I knew he had stopped what he was doing, to listen to me.  Just as my grand daughter’s singing captured our hearts and attention, when we sing and praise the Lord, captures his heart.  So, in the midst of my pain, I choose to sing.  In grief, I sing.  In remembering His resurrection life, I sing.  When times are good, I sing.  When times are bad, I sing.

Psalm 18: 3

“I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved.” The Message

Andy-Grayce felt safe to sing, so she did.  If we dwell in the secret place of the most high, and hide under the shadow of His wing, safety does not become an issue and we can sing…..


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Pinch And Then Pull

I was sitting in my recliner watching a favorite television show.  My dog, Nala photo blogwas sitting in my lap as usual.  I reached up to rub her ear and she yelped.  I knew something was wrong.  After careful inspection, she had some sort of abscess in the lobe of her ear the size of a golf ball.  The next morning I made the dreadful trip (for me, because she loved going ) to the Vet.  Diagnosis?  A hematoma.  Prognosis?  It would require surgery.   Upon making the arrangements to bring her back for the surgery, I told the office manager that she might need
to have a box of tissue for me when I dropped her off.  It was at that point that I knew this was going to be difficult for me.    You see, the last time one of our dogs had been drooped off at the Vet, he died during the night. He was much sicker than the Vet had anticipated  It was so unexpected. It left what felt like a hole in my heart.  As I left the Veterinary Clinic, I could feel the anxiety welling up in my heart.  I knew in my head that this was totally different situation, but in my heart, I still felt very anxious and fearful.  I was afraid that I would drop off Nala and never see her again.  Each passing day before I took her, the fear and anxiety increased.

Today, I decided I would work in the yard and weed the flowerbed.  Weeding is not something that I have done a lot of, but now that I live by myself, if I do not do it, it will not get done.  I had donned some gloves and  knee pads for protection. As I was weeding, I found that the roots of the weeds were very short and shallow.  The root systems had not grown deep into the soil. Therefore they were very easy to pull.  All I had to do was use 2 fingers, pinch and then pull.  It was amazing how easily they came up.  While I was weeding, the Lord started talking to me about the garden of my heart.  Just like in the flower bed, all it takes is a little bit of consistency in weeding out the  FEAR, ANGER, ANXIETY, SHAME…..The list goes on.  One thing I did notice in the flower bed, is that the weeds that had been there since last spring were taller than the actual bushes and shrubs that had been deliberately planted.  The weeds were the first thing you noticed when you looked in the flower bed.  Not because they were pretty, but because they were taller than all of the other plants.  But, the root systems on those, were just as shallow as the others I had pulled.  Once I had worked for an hour, I had a wagon full of weeds.  _MG_9295 blogMy flower beds looked great!    Then my eyes were drawn to the beautiful iris’ that had bloomed earlier this week.  They were visible before, but even more so now.  As I was admiring their beauty, I noticed a large weed I had over looked.  I reached to pull it out and realized for the first time, that they had small stickers on them.  I forgot that I had taken off my gloves.  I felt the Lord tell me that weeding required proper protection.  I had gloves and knee pads for my flower bed.  The protection I needed for the flower bed of my heart, was the word of God, Faith, Righteousness, Truth and Salvation.

What I did not tell you earlier is that even though I had not spent a lot of time weeding physical flower beds in the past, I have spent quite a bit of time in the past 8 months weeding in the garden of my heart.  I have been pinching and pulling out Fear.  Fear of being alone.  Weeding out Shame.  You know, that feeling in your gut that says, “You are not lovable. Because if you were, your husband would not have left you. ”  Weeding out Anger.  Feeling so much anger, that praying for the person who hurt me so much was just about impossible.  But, all of those weeds were in the garden of my heart.   God provided me the protection I needed to pull those weeds.  The wonderful thing is, the root systems are not as deeply rooted as the enemy would like for us to believe.  The other thing I did not tell you, is that once I realized that the fear of loosing Nala was growing bigger than my faith, I knew I needed to get rid of it.  And, get rid of it I did.  I was able to drop her off at the Veterinary Clinic without any anxiety, or fear of not seeing her again.  I had uprooted the fear that the enemy had planted in my heart 8 years previously when we lost our other dog.  I was successful in focusing on the joy of having a dog, instead of the fear of loosing one.  _MG_9301blogSo, my daily activity is to consistently pinch and pull weeds.  Whether they are in the garden of my heart, or my flower bed.  It gives me the opportunity to gaze at the beauty of what has been planted by either my own hand, or , the hand of God.

 

 

 


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Waves of grace

_MG_8103“Lord, I don’t want to live in pain, I just want to be fulfilled.”  That is what I told the Lord yesterday.  I had been praying and anticipating how I was going to feel today, February 27,.  You see, today had the potential to be a very difficult day.  It is the day , 32 years ago that I married the love of my life.  But, the difficult part is , as of December 2013,  I am not married anymore.  Today is the first anniversary date I have experienced since the divorce.

In the past year, my marriage took a turn that I had never planned.  All of a sudden I found myself single.  Not by a choice that I made, or even wanted, but none the less, it is still where I found myself.

The emotions that are experienced from a divorce are intense.  They are like waves that knock you off of your feet.  And, just about the time you regain your composure, and have the strength to stand up, another one comes.  Eventually, the big waves are not as  frequent, but occasionally one crashes on you unexpectedly.

I felt the Lord Telling me last night to take communion.  The communion set had been given to me as a wedding gift, but had never been used.  I knew this was to be a time of reflection.  After all, that is what communion is for.  We are told in  Luke 22:19 “Taking the bread, He blessed it, broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘ This is my body, given for you, eat it in my memory.‘ “       The Message

I was to reflect on all of the things the Lord has done for me, since the divorce.  As I sat at my kitchen table, with the bread and juice, I closed my eyes.  I immediately saw the Lord come and sit at the table with me.  He didn’t say anything.  He just sat down.  Then he turned and looked at me.  He was crying.  I knew he was crying, because the pain I had suffered hurt him also.  He still didn’t say anything.  I thanked him for carrying me when I felt like I couldn’t walk.  For holding me at night, when I couldn’t sleep.  For giving me family, friends and co-workers who have been so very supportive.

Then, he spoke and said, “ You can be fulfilled IN me.  Allow my waves of grace to cover you, instead of the waves of grief, confusion and disbelief”

Let my waves of grace cover you.  Is it possible to have a wave cover you when standing on the shore in your own strength? Yes, occasional waves will crash close by and the water of God’s grace will cover your feet.  But, if you choose to walk farther away from your own strength, and rely on God’s strength, you will be totally submerged in the water of God’s grace, depending on Him and His grace to lift you up and cause you to float.  Every part of your being will be covered, not just your ankles and an occasional soaking from a big wave.

Luke 22:20 says:  “ This is the cup of the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.”

Today, I choose to enter into God’s new covenant and fulfillment.