Sunday, August 29, 2010

how karen does it...

ok. the jig is up. karen is my mom. and i kind of...wait...really like her. a lot. and no, my name is not maren because it rhymes with karen. i leave today to come home after my 2.5 week hiatus and i've been able to spend a lot of that time with my mom. i've said lots of things about her on my blog already {here and here and here and here for starters}, so i'll keep the introduction short. but she's pretty cool. you should know that.

here's how karen {i've never been able to call her that before!} does it...



Next is the Reward for Now...

My mother was a good woman, a hard worker, and a compassionate soul. She grew up the second of nine children on a farm in southern Idaho – before and during the Great Depression. They were poor. Cardboard-placed-to-cover-the-holes-in-her-one-pair-of-shoes poor. A-lump-of-coal-in-her-Christmas-stocking-is-a-good-thing poor. And her name was Elmo. That’s right. No middle name Elmo.

Elmo married and became a stay-at-home mom to five children. She truly lived that fifties kind of Father Knows Best life; cooking, cleaning (in a dress), nurturing children, and serving neighbors in community and church. Elmo would frequently tell us that God gave her a great adult life because He had given her such a hard childhood. My interpretation of this frequent perspective? I was “kitten” (the youngest daughter from Father Knows Best). God gave me a great childhood, therefore it follows that God would give me a difficult adult life. I grew up expecting it.

Trust me. I know this isn’t how God works. But in my twenties and even thirties this God-imposed, life struggle perspective lurked in the back of my mind. In some ways it surprisingly served a helpful purpose. Because I was certain that my trials came from God, I expected that He would have a plan to get me through them. It seems to me now a bit of an odd way to learn that God loves me, not just loves us all, but loves me – personally, and that He really does have a plan for my life. While challenges are and will be part of that plan, I no longer see them as oppressive, foot-slogging struggles.

I’m grateful, truly grateful, for the challenges I’ve faced so far. They have been tailored to knock off my rough corners, to humble me, to create in me a more appreciative and grateful nature. Entering a new challenge with a grateful heart allows God to carry some (a lot) of the burden. And life is more joyful.

When I was twenty and had pretty much figured out how and what my life would be, it didn’t include working 20-hour days to put food on the table, or pretending to understand physiology (my only “B” class in high school) in order to nurse a terminally ill husband. My plan didn’t include raising four kids as a single mom or a second marriage with a blended family. My plan didn’t include breast cancer – twice.

But my plan, at twenty, wasn’t God’s plan.

I have since been more successful at drawing on the powers of heaven by seeking out God’s plan for me rather than imposing my plan on Him. There is gratifying peace in being in the right place at the right time, doing and saying the right thing because I have asked God to know what and where that should be.

The challenges still come – thankfully – because I’m not done yet. There’s more to learn – thankfully. Because if life now is challenging then eternity will be great . . . right?!

10 comments:

ed and kelli said...

aww shucks. we have the best mom ever. this time i'm crying happy tears cause of how great shmoj is!

lmackay32 said...

Your mom is AWESOME! 'nuff said :)

Brad, Debbie, and K squared said...

I've always wished I knew your mom, but this makes me feel like I know her a little better. She is a wonderful woman! :)

Shannon said...

On a beautiful Sunday morning, this was the perfect thing to start my day off. Thank you so much for giving perspective to perspective; thank you for being so brave and so full of faith. Thank you for sharing that your challenges are directing you to where and who you want to be. Thank you for rearing such a wonderful daughter as Maren. You truly are a ray of sunshine.

Baldersons said...

Maren, I have loved this series of writers. All of them have been so inspiring in different ways and have def helped me! And your mum....seriously, amazing

Rach said...

Oh yes! Your mom is definitely inspiring! (Now I know where you get it Mare :))
It is wonderful to have such terrific examples of how I want to be. Thanks for being one of them Karen!

JAZKK Low said...

Amazing!

rachel said...

Thank you for sharing this Karen!

Jenny said...

Beautiful.

Afton said...

That was so beautiful and inspiring and mind-blowing for me to read. What a history you've had and an incredible attitude to match it. I can only hope I'll remember this attitude and perspective when my hardest trials hit. Thank you for sharing! No wonder Maren is so awesome having you as a mom.