Sticky Hands

I Can Almost See Your Baby Fingers

For Brian-

I can almost see your baby fingers.
I can almost taste your baby toes.
Gone in an instant it wasn’t slow.
It went by too fast.
A moment.
A cry.
A blink of an eye.
I wish you were here.
Oh how I wish you were here.
Gone too soon.
Loved so much.
Now
Now you know
How loved you are.
How loved you are.

I Can Almost See Your Baby Fingers - For Brian - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

Life As A Non-Custodial Mom (or Dad)

Life As A Non-Custodial Mom: When Goodbyes Feel Like Sawing Limbs

Two weeks ago today, I put my oldest daughter on a plane to return home to her dad. That morning, I put the following as my Facebook status.

When Tommy was born, he was very sick. When it was time for me to be discharged from the hospital one of my doctors came to see me in the NICU, as I was only in my room when I was not allowed at his bedside. She told me that while I would be back in 3 hours, leaving him would feel like I was cutting my own arm off with a saw and leaving it at the hospital as I returned home.

She was right.

But what I didn’t realize that day was that a few months later my older 2 kids would be moving away against my wishes and that it would be her words that got me through every departure.

Just because it feels like my arm is missing, it is not. Just because my heart aches and my arms are empty, I am still a mother. Even though this hurts so very much and I want to collapse, I have children that need me to go on. God will strengthen me, and I can do the goodbyes and pretending to be strong even when I am not. I will do it again in 3 weeks when the other leaves. I will continue the distracting for the entire family the next 46 weeks and all the many cries from younger siblings to “please just bring them back” when I wish I could.

My arm is still here. I am still their mom. I will (try to) stay strong, and in June these arms and my heart will be full again. But today, I’m crying. A lot.

How we cope.

A week from today, my oldest son will be heading home. (He came down a little later than his sister.) The shock that August is really here already is not settling well in our home. We all feel as though the anticipation for summer was just a few days ago. I keep asking my husband to slow down time or reverse it, as if he had the ability. Time flies when you’re having fun.

I have learned over the last few years just what to expect in the coming weeks: All of us will cry. There will be a lot of prayer and hugging. Some of us will be cranky for a few days. Johnny Ben, my son with severe autism, will walk about the house looking for his brother and sister. He will want to sleep where they slept for a while. (He’s been sleeping in his big sister’s spot since she left.) We will look through photos and videos while we reminisce. Almost immediately we will begin a countdown to next summer.

Life As A Non-Custodial Mom: When Goodbyes Feel Like Sawing Limbs - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

I will distract… and I will distract my family as much as possible. It’s not that we are not coping with our feelings. It is that this is how our life is, and it can be really painful. So to lessen the stinging and gnawing pain, we have to look away for a bit sometimes. Kinda like how someone might look away when getting a shot of antibiotics. We will talk to the kids in another state on the phone and in messages and we will discuss the situation we are in. But staying busy at the end of summer, I have found, has been the answer to rationing the tears. We will dive into a new year of homeschooling, go on a few fun adventures, I will attempt some craft and sewing projects, we’ll have a few long movie nights, science projects, and, hopefully, a lot of laughter.

It still hurts. We still feel a deep emptiness. We talk about our feelings very openly and pray together. But staying busy is better than wallowing in misery and allowing the pain to suck every bit of joy out of our lives. I may be a non-custodial mother to two of my children, but that does not mean that I have to walk around crying every minute of every day.

How it feels.

I don’t expect anyone who has not been in my shoes to understand how this feels. I do know that just as much as homeschooling parents are tired of the “Oh, I could never do that.” comments, I’m tired of hearing about it in reference to not seeing my children every day. I’m not stronger than anyone. I’m not a fragile mess because my kids are not with me either. This is not something that while I held my two oldest babies for the first time that I thought would ever happen. But it did, and I somehow managed to miraculously survive those first few years. I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

Life As A Non-Custodial Mom: When Goodbyes Feel Like Sawing Limbs - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

I do know that I am blessed to still have them at all. How can I complain when mothers on the other side of the planet are burying their children because of famine or faith?

There have been times I have not handled these situations the best way, and I will be the first to admit that. Thankfully, God finally got through my hard head and I realized the best way to deal with my feelings.

How I apply scripture. (God knew exactly what I was going to need before I ever knew it!)

During my Jr. High and High School years, I became fascinated with Philippians 4. I read it over and over. Judye even placed a plaque with Philippians 4:13 over my desk when I was her pupil in High School and it was drilled into my heart. Years later, I understood why. The first time I felt any kind of peace was when I had said to someone that I just didn’t know if I could be strong enough for this. Without even thinking, in the next breath I stated Philippians 4:13, which has been my favorite scripture for many years.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

Whenever I feel like I just can’t do this again, I remember that Christ has me in the palm of His hand and He will give me the strength I need.

I remember that God knows how it feels to have to let go of a child for a time and wait for their return.

There is no one that can relate to my heart like He can. No one.

That is where I find my peace, in Christ.

I take the pain that could do me in and instead of self-destructing I use the creativity God has given me and I recycle the darkness into some, um, interesting creations. Ha! Okay, some of them are pretty good. Others? Well, let’s just say that a good friend and I have a running joke about my attempts at cake pops. I could fill a whole other website with all of my Pinterest fails. But hey, even they bring laughter. 😉 Laughter is good!

Life As A Non-Custodial Mom: When Goodbyes Feel Like Sawing Limbs - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

My son and my dad singing together in church while I play the piano… something we have talked about for years but finally did this summer.

If you are a non-custodial parent reading this, I pray that God would comfort your heart. That He would calm your spirit and help you to cope in a way better than anything else can offer. There are healthy ways to handle the pain, and there are the options that sometimes may just seem easier. Remember that even when your children are not with you, they still need you. They need you to be healthy and whole physically, mentally, and spiritually. When you feel like collapsing, reach out to Jesus and let Him hold you. I have learned that He’s always there and will always catch you if you let Him. Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like us to pray for you.

Christian Living

4 WAYS TO ENSURE GOD HEARS YOU

Is there any way to be certain that God is hearing your hearts cries? Any way to know for sure He is listening? The answer is yes! The Bible actually provides us with 4 simple steps to follow that will guarantee God’s ear. So you want to be heard? Here’s how:

4 Ways To Ensure God Hears You - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

Step 1: Be humble

  • humble- not proud, haughty, arrogant, or assertive; not thinking of yourself as better than others; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission; not costly or luxurious

For a lesson in humility, look no further than Jesus. In the book of John, chapter 13, we find Jesus showing us the perfect example- the Son of God humbled himself to serve each of His disciples by washing their feet.

Step 2: Pray

  • pray- to make a request in a humble manner; to address God with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving

It’s important to have a prayer life. In Matthew 6:5-18, Jesus teaches us the to do’s and not to do’s of prayer and supplies us with a model prayer, telling us to pray in that manner.

Step 3: Be a seeker

  • seek- to search for or go in search of; to try to find; to try to discover; to try to acquire or gain; to ask for or request; to make an attempt

God longs for us to seek His face. Many times our prayer life consists of maybe 10% of thankfulness (if that), and 90% of asking. We rarely set aside time for seeking, although the Bible clearly tells us in numerous places that we are to seek!

Check for yourself- Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13, Psalm 9:10, Proverbs 8:17, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 7:7-8, Colossians 3:1-2, Isaiah 55:6

Step 4: Turn away from wickedness

  • turn- to cause your body/a part of your body/something to face an opposite or different direction
  • wicked- morally bad; having or showing slightly bad thoughts in a way that is funny or not serious; very bad or unpleasant

Isaiah 55:7 encourages the wicked to forsake his way. God cannot hear us if we refuse to turn away from that which is wicked and not of or like God.


 

These 4 steps are so simple that if there is anything blocking us from heaven, it’s because we’re making it too hard. How do I know that these 4 steps will guarantee God’s ear?

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”- 2 Chronicles 7:14

2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us step by step what our part is and when we do our part, we find an amazing promise of results. Not only will God hear us, but He will also forgive and heal!

So you want to be heard? Yes. It’s really that simple.

*All definitions taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary app.

Sticky Hands

Please Pray For The Borrelli Family!

If you follow us on Facebook, you may already know of the tragic loss that struck Danielle’s family last week.

 

Thursday night, Danielle was notified that her son, Brian, had unexpectedly passed away.

 

Please pray for the Borrelli family!

 

I don’t have to explain to you how devastating this has been for Danielle, her husband, and their daughters. Having never lost a child that I have held and nurtured, I cannot even fathom the pain. My siblings are living, so I don’t know the anguish that the girls are tormented with. We do all know that it is a horrible thing to have to experience though, even if we haven’t been there.

 

All of us at Raising Sticky Hands to Heaven consider Danielle a dear friend. She is known for stepping up to help others in time of need. Just a few months ago she rallied others together to donate crafts and activities to a hospital where one of her daughters is receiving treatment. They were running out of supplies for their children’s program because their funds were low. The Borrelli family made sure that it was taken care of though and was able to bless the program with an abundance of items, thanks to many that were able to give.

 

If it were one of us in this situation, we know without a doubt that Danielle would go out of her way to help the one who was hurting. I can’t even count how many times she has reached out to me during hard times, just to let me know I was loved.

 

Please pray for Danielle and her family!

 

More than anything, the Borrelli family needs prayer during this difficult time and the journey ahead. Please please PLEASE, keep them in your prayers.

 

If you feel lead, we have created GoFundMe page to hopefully help offset the burden of the expense that has come up. On top of the cost of arrangements, the family has had to travel and spend time away from work. No gift is too small as anything is a blessing. We do not have a set day to close the page, so if you are unable to help right away the page will still be open. The family is set to be the ones to withdraw the donations, so you don’t have to worry about anyone filtering anything out.

 

I want to emphasize that none of them have asked us for help. This was something that we decided to do behind the scenes. (We did ask her if it was okay first, though.)

 

Again, please only give if you feel lead. We know that many are unable, and that is why I want to highlight, again, to please keep them in your prayers as that is what the Borrelli family needs most right now.

 

We love you, Danielle and Borrelli family!

 

 

Christian Living, Sticky Hands

Are You Using What You Have?

Spring is definitely here. The grass and trees are green (and so is the air – pollen!), and the birds are singing songs of joy with the rest of us that the long, cold days of winter are over. We’re not the only ones who have noticed the increase in activity among the birds. A little cat next door has managed to catch two or three birds in the past thirty-six hours. We’ve been watching out our kitchen window as she engages in this barbaric activity.

But really, she’s just doing what she was made to do. She was created to stalk, catch, and kill prey. It’s a job she does well.

We have two cats. The difference between ours and the little bird-catcher is that ours live inside. They only leave the house to make their annual trip to the vet, and that excursion makes them very unhappy. They chase each other around the house, wrestling, jumping, and running to their hearts’ content, but the only hunting they do involves torturing the occasional spider that makes its way into the house.

Our cats have the same abilities that the little cat next door does, but they don’t use theirs to full potential. They have limited opportunities to use them, that’s true, but they could definitely hone them to the point that the spiders don’t get so far into my house!

Using What You Have - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

God has given me abilities that may not be exactly the same but are definitely as potentially powerful as the ones He has given to the people I admire and want to be like. The question is: Am I using my abilities to their full potential?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. When I start dreaming big, I bring myself down to earth all too quickly with excuses and reasons why I can’t. I forget that God has given me abilities to do whatever He plants in my heart to do—with His help. I just need to follow His plans and use the gifts and talents He has given me. I have the tools I need, but I have to use them, just like my cats could do a better job of using their hunting abilities.

So, mama, my question to you is: Are you using what you have?

I understand that you have dishes to wash, clothes to fold, meals to prepare, diapers to change, homework to help with, and a husband to stay connected to, all while managing the chaos that is your household with children. But God has plans for you, and you have something to offer the world. Use what God has given you to further His kingdom.

Pray about it. God is just waiting for you to ask Him how He wants you to use what you have.