Oh no, not spit up again.

With just a few minutes to spare, I was proud of myself for getting ready on time. I grabbed the sweater that went great with my outfit. The sweater was necessary. It was much too cold to wear just the short-sleeved shirt that perfectly matched one of the blues in the sweater. But as I put one arm through and swung it around my back, I caught a whiff of something. It triggered something in my brain. It wasn’t a recent memory, but a flashback, a 30-year-old memory. I know that smell. It’s the aroma of baby spit up. It must be on my sweater. Oh no, now what? I don’t have time to pick out another outfit.

Don’t panic. I have a lot of blue in my wardrobe. There has to be something I can grab. I’m gonna be late. The shirt with the tiny dot…no, too much denim in one outfit. The flannel…no, I’ve worn that a lot lately. A jacket maybe: too dressy, too summery, too office-y. Tick Tock. Wait, that heather blue cardigan with the long front. Where did I put it?

In my mind I am a 20-something-year-old mom again, rushing around on a Tuesday morning, trying to get to Bible study on time and find something to wear that doesn’t reek of spit up. But the reality is, I’m Mom-mom, the spit-up is compliments of my grandson, and I need to get myself to his house in exactly 25 minutes, so his mom can get to work on time. Out the door I fly, arriving at his house exactly when I’m supposed to be there, which is five minutes after I should be there. I get my instructions and schedule from my daughter-in-law, kiss my granddaughter goodbye, and they are gone. I sit down with Sam, and there’s that smell again.

I haven’t missed that smell. It’s funny that all baby spit up smells the same. Many of you are smelling it right now – either in person or in your memory. I play with Sam for about an hour, then it’s back to mom mode. Pack up the diaper bag, bottle, spit-up diaper, car seat, and my stuff. Drag it all to the car, and off we go. Drag it all into the church and settle down for the next hour and a half, hoping Sam doesn’t need too much attention so I can stay in the room and hear the teaching.

He does great. Sleeps through the first hour. Eats, plays, smiles at the ladies, and then spits up all over my heather blue cardigan, avoiding the area covered by the spit-up diaper with the precision of a trained marksman. I’ll try to remember to throw this one right into the wash when I get home tonight.

This seemed easier 30 years ago. It didn’t hurt my back as much to haul all their gear. I don’t remember grunting and groaning quite so much then. But just like those days came and went in a flash, so will these. They may require a few more chiropractor appointments, but they will be gone too soon nonetheless.

I know that for many young moms I have described their life, every day, not just once or twice a week, but all day, every day. And for them, these days can drag on, especially when you just get one child to be fairly independent and another one comes along, and so on. You may have forgotten what it’s like to simply get dressed without sniffing your clothes and head out the door with just a purse on your shoulder. Between family devotions, memory verses, and bedtime bible stories, you have no time for personal growth. What does God think of your lack of time for him?

I’m going to tell you what I wish someone had told me when I was in that stage of life. You are doing exactly what he designed you to do. That is the definition of glorifying God – doing the thing he designed you to do. The heavens declare the glory of God, not by doing anything outside of what they were designed to do, just by doing what he created them to do. As you go through different stages of life, you may discover new things he has for you to do. But right now, as a mom of young children, all the energy you expend in caring for them is what he has called you to do, so when you do that, you are glorifying him. So, wipe up that spit up, change that diaper, play a few more minutes of peek-a-boo all to the glory of God.

And, ladies, it is OK to pray very short, heartfelt prayers, like: “Father, help.” It’s also a good season of life to develop an attitude of continuous prayer – something I’ll be teaching about tomorrow at Ladies Bible Study. That’s just a coincidence, I’m sure.

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What a weekend!

First, a box of books appeared on my front porch. Not just any books, but my book, the book I’ve been writing forever. It seems like forever. I started and stopped writing it over several years. But finally, March of last year seemed to be the right time to get serious and write full-time. And on Friday night there it was: completed, published, in my hand. It’s so pretty.

DSC03183                  DSC03190

And, as if that wasn’t enough, my Eagles won the Super Bowl. It’s been two days, and it still hasn’t completely sunk in. But I ordered the shirt, so it must be real. Yes, they are my Eagles. They have given me more anguish, late nights, and heart palpitations than my book, but it has all been worth it!

But back to the book. Three years ago, when I was challenged to get the story into book form, I was told the hardest part will be the opening sentence. It’s in those first few words that you have to hook your reader. They have to want to know more, just from a few words. But like a lot of things in my life, the hard part was the easy part for me. I do a lot of things backwards. For years I had known how I would start my book, if I ever wrote one. So here are the opening lines of my book:

 “You misunderstood him. He’s just overly friendly. He’s like that with everyone.” Those words from my mother solidified my deepest fear: he was right. Other adults knew he was sexually abusing me, and they didn’t care. He had been telling me that for close to a decade, since the first time at the community pool when he held me against him.

Are you hooked? Do you want to know more? I hope so. It’s just a snippet, but I promise I’ll show you more over the next few weeks. If you haven’t visited my book page at Amazon, please do. I checked it today and am happy to report that the paperback version is now available for pre-order as well as the kindle version. Here is the link:  https://www.amazon.com/author/lisajradcliff

You can also buy it at my website, https://lisajradcliff.com. Just click on My Books and scroll down to the Buy Now button. Click it, and you will be connected to my BookShop page, where you can read a 10-page excerpt and/or buy the book in either ebook or paperback. I believe it ships immediately, so you could be among the first to have your very own copy. (Almost as exciting as winning the Super Bowl, I’m sure.)

Most of all, please join me in praying that God will use it to help others heal. That is the point in writing it. Believe me, there was a time I asked God to give me a different story to tell, but this is one he gave me. So I trust him to use it, proving once again that God can use anyone, even the least among us, to accomplish his purposes.

 

 

My Tail Fell Off!

Years ago, while on a missions trip after hurricane Andrew in Homestead, FL, I had a noisy encounter with a lizard. We had left some large pots in the sink to dry overnight. Judy and I entered the kitchen to put the pots away and start breakfast for the group. She picked up one of the pots, and a little lizard ran across the sink. Pots flew, we screamed, the lizard scurried. One of the men came running. The lizard was scrambling but couldn’t quite get a good enough grip on the stainless steel sink to make his escape. Joel was trying to scoop it out of the sink while Judy and I continued to scream. The lizard’s tail fell off–more screaming–as Joel finally scooped it out the window.

I imagine the lizard conversation outside the window. “What was that all about?”

“I don’t know. I was asleep in the sink, and then there was all this noise and I didn’t know what to do. I ran but I couldn’t get anywhere. I was so scared my tail fell off. Then I landed here.”

“Don’t worry. You’re safe now. Your tail will grow back. But you might not want to sleep in sinks.”

That was me yesterday, only I did the both screaming and the scurrying/tail dropping, when I went onto Amazon and saw that my book was on pre-sale. I thought I had more time. I wasn’t ready. No Amazon Author Page, No Goodreads account. Thanks to my friend, Hannah, coming by earlier in the day, my website (https://www.lisajradcliff.com) was up, but I still had work to do on it.

I’m feeling much better today. My Amazon Author Page is up (https://www.amazon.com/author/lisajradcliff), my website is up, I have a Goodreads account, and the other things I should have had done are at least started. Most of all, many of you responded quickly and positively to my request to share the link to my book, and I am very thankful for that!

Please continue to visit the Amazon page and send your friends there. Creating a traffic jam is a good thing in this case. I will use this blog to share some excerpts from the book over the next few weeks, leading up to its launch on March 1. Hopefully, that will whet your appetite to share it even more.

Thanks again for all your help. God’s timing is always perfect and often amusing. I can feel my tail growing back already!