Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When I get there

We are working with Ellery on giving up her pacifier. I know, I know, it's long overdue. Maybe because she's the baby of the family, or maybe because she's so darn stubborn, I have put this off for far too long. I gave her the big speech the other day on the way to Costco. I don't know what I was thinking. I do not generally recommend this. It went like this:

E: Mama, I want my pat and fluffy. (her paci and lovey blanket)

C: Oh Ellery, you don't need that paci any more. We'll have a nice churro at Costco and you can leave your paci in the car.

E: Mama, I want my pat and fluffy! (more frantic)

C: Ellery, when you fell on your tooth it made it all wiggly and so the paci is not good for your tooth. You can just have your fluffy and leave your paci in the car.

E: No, Mama. I want my pat and fluffy! (wigging out now)

C: (with visions of a Costco meltdown in my mind) Ellery, you are a big girl now, you will be just fine.

E: No, Mama. I am not a big girl, I am just a baby!

Well, to my surprise, the conversation about the paci has been the worst part of it. Can you believe it? She has not used her paci during the day since we had our talk. We still let her use it in bed, but the minute she gets up, she tosses it in the crib and that is that.

It made me think about myself and how I approach things that I don't want to do. Things like cancer. The thinking about it and anticipating it is so much worse than the doing it.

Before Reese got his diagnosis -- when cancer was something that only happened to other people, rather than something that was happening to us -- I couldn't even fathom what was ahead. I remember hearing the garage door open about an hour after his appointment with the urologist. My heart sank. If everything had gone well, he would have called me on his cell phone en route to the office, right? He would say, "Oh, I just need some antibiotics" or "It's just a cyst that will go away." But if there was bad news, he would come back home to break it to me in person, and that's what was happening. He sat on the bed and said that it was a tumor (there must be a mistake!) and that it was almost certainly cancer (there must be some other explanation!).

I remember thinking, "Oh, I hope he doesn't need to have surgery", which turned into, "Oh, I hope it's not really cancerous", which turned into "Oh, I hope he doesn't have to have chemotherapy! I don't think I could handle that." The list goes on and on, and there are still fears about the future.

The one thing that is true and constant is that I have not faced any one of those fears and found Christ lacking. I may be thinking "Oh, I could never do that," and in my own strength that's pretty accurate. I can't do that, but He can. When I obey and trust, he gives me the grace to handle whatever fear I'm facing when I get there. The thinking about it and anticipating it is so much worse than the doing it, because His power is unleashed not in the worrying, but in the doing.

Ellery, Mama has not figured it all out. I want to avoid painful things and go back to what's comfortable. There are times when I want to be a baby and not a big girl. Fortunately, God loves me and He is big enough for me even when I feel small...especially when I feel small.

Isn't it amazing that a three year-old paci toting, tantrum throwing, tutu wearing baby girl can teach her Mama about obedience and grace in such a powerful way? This post has been rattling around in my head for about a week, but I finally put my thoughts together in order to chime in on Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting at the Sky. For more thoughts about finding everyday inspiration, go have a look at Emily's wonderful blog. It's one of my favorites.


  1. What a beautiful post, we'll be praying for your family... and just so you know I commiserate on the paci deal! :)


  2. That was very poignant and beautiful.

    This past year held a lot of "that only happens to other people but now it is happening to me," but God has remained faithful throughout it all. I am so eternally thankful.

    Ellery is simply adorable, by the way. :)

  3. "The thinking about it and anticipating it is so much worse than the doing it." Thank you for the reminder. Really, this post is beautiful.

  4. Yeha -thank you Jesus - we don't have to worry about where the girl threw her pasi:)
    I think my devotion this morning is rather appra pro - we need to face the fact that we are nothing without Jesus and trying to do things on our own just will not work - the story went like this:
    Palm Monday Donkey
    The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride. He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. "I’ll show myself to them" he thought. But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind. "Throw your garments down," he said crossly. "Don’t you know who I am?" They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move. "Miserable heathens!" he muttered to himself. "I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me." But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place. "The palm branches! Where are the palm branches!" he shouted. "Yesterday, you threw palm branches!" Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother. "Foolish child," she said gently. "Don’t you realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?"

  5. Thank you for sharing a tender 'real life moment' with us today. . .Life is a series of tests and thank goodness we have someone to share these burdens with and give us strength to get through them!!! Thanks for sharing. . .

  6. thanks for sharing pain and love

  7. Cara,
    You are wearing His grace and His strength. It is draped on you like a beautiful gown and I have seen it. You look lovely in it.
    I love you,

  8. That was a beautiful post. Made me tear up. I am continually amazed at how God humbles, teaches, and sanctifies us through our children.

    We had to make our firstborn stop sucking her thumb because of trauma to her front teeth too. Oddly enough, all we had to do was tell her she had to stop or her teeth would fall out.

  9. blessings on you and your family!!!!

  10. Love Ellery and love this post. Thanks for writing down what was rattling around! Love you all.

  11. Cara - what a great post. I'm a practicing Catholic but I've been having what they call a "crisis of faith" of late. I found what you said in the third to last paragraph very helpful.

    On the issue of the pacifier, with my daughter we did the same thing; the crib only rule. When we wanted to get past that, and completely eliminate it, we cut off the nipple and left her with just the handle. (It had been ripping anyway, and we feared a choking hazard.) Of course it was useless in that state and in a day or so she realized it on her own and even threw it away herself.

  12. oh! OHOHOHOH! Cara I can't tell you how happy and thankful I am that you have linked up to Tuesdays Unwrapped. This post is perfect. Relevant. And so true. His power is unleashed not in the worrying, but in the doing. How true that is.

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts and fears and victories. A blessing indeed.

    And my son things his "taci and wuvey" are a duo as well. One that cannot be separated. We are slowly weaning him off...but I think a clean break may be a better idea.

    I hope to see you again on a Tuesday :) Or any other day, for that matter. Love your writing.