I don't know about you, but I sometimes get caught up in labels. Special names. Especially when describing who I am.
Daughter. I am part of an amazing family! We have our ups and downs and our fair share of crazy, but we love each other and it shows. My parents have dropped everything to be at my side more times than I can count. Their voices were heard above the crowd at every volleyball game and they were in attendance for every theatre performance. They paid for most of my college, let me live in their house after college, and being with them still feels like home.
Daughter-in-law. My in-laws are kind, and caring, always go the extra mile when needed. I text more than talk on the phone, and I know they wish that was the other way around, but they still put up with it and accept me as one of their own. They have from day one. What a blessing!
Sister. Even better, I am the middle sister. I bet those of you who know me are totally shocked by that (read that with sarcasm!) I borrowed clothes, jewelry, hair products, and who knows what else from both of them. Probably without asking. I once locked them outside the house with an angry swarm of bees chasing them. I am sure I drive both of them crazy with my lack of decision making skills and constant need to people please. But, they love me, I love them, and there's nothing we wouldn't do for each other. They have proven that over and over again in the last week.
Sister-in-law. On my side of the family, it's to two Mikes. Who would both give you the shirt off their back. And anything else you needed. They are both loyal, loving, and hard working. I am blessed to be in their family (now, if we can just get Big Mike to get on a boat and cruise with us....) On Kevin's side I have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law (Kevin's brother and sister) who are twins. They both have big, loving hearts. They always want to make things right and do the best they can at everything. I also have another sister-in-law (Chris' wife) who is also sweet, kind, and always doing what she can to help. I am blessed to call them family.
Mom. I have two beautiful, sweet, wild, crazy children who have my heart. I love their laughter, their crazy stories, and how consistently they try to get out of school work. They bring joy (and some frustration) to each day. They were both a surprise, but the best kind of surprise. I pray every day that they will hear God call them to salvation and they will submit to Him, making Him Lord and Master, and be adopted into His family. I pray that He teaches them to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength so they can pour their lives out serving Him and others in His name.
Friend. Not a great one, but I am a friend. I tend to suffer from "out of sight out of mind", which wouldn't be so bad if half of my friends hadn't moved away from Hannibal! But, man, I have the best friends anyone could ask for. They love me despite my lack of ability to be a good friend. This last week has shown me how well these ladies love God and love others in His name. No mountain is too high, no morning is too early, no night is too late, no request is too silly. They are simply the best hands and feet of Jesus I have ever known.
I got two new titles this week:
Widow. This one hurts. I want it to be wife. I like the sound, feel, and meaning of that one much better. Both are proven true in just a matter of moments. The night before Kevin passed away the kids and I were at Family Quest with our Afterschool friend, J. We were reading James 1:27 together ("True religion is this: taking care of the orphans and widows.") J looked at me and asked, "What is a widow?" I said, " It's a woman whose husband has died." I had no idea that just a few hours later that word would be a new label, a new name for me. It's hard. It's ugly. It sucks. BUT GOD can take even that label and make it the ugly beautiful. He specializes in making beauty from ashes.
Single mom. This one scares me most. I know in my heart of hearts I was not built for this. I need someone to balance out my melodramatic, can't find a balance, crazy. My children will desperately need therapy (which I am already looking into.) I am going to mess up. A lot. I barely know anything about raising a girl (bras, periods, hormones, oh my!), but I know even less about raising a boy (adolescence, hormones, the sex talk...I want to puke just thinking about it!) BUT GOD never leaves us. He walks beside us, in the good and the bad. I am 100% confident that any mistake I make, God can redeem. I am glad it's Him I trust and not myself!
But even better.....one day I will have a new name. My true name. The name Christ has for me and only He knows. I can barely fathom it. I can't even imagine hearing Him say it. I think I will feel a bit like Mary Magdalene when Jesus finally said her name in the garden after His resurrection. Stopped in my tracks. His tone and that name the most amazing things I will ever hear. I would be lying if I said I am ready now to say, "Jesus, come quickly." My kids aren't saved and my heart yearns for Him to tarry until they are. But, oh, the thought of hearing Him speak my true name brings JOY, tears, relief, and wonder.