Time Slips Through Fingers...But Stories Remain
|He's the one all grown up now and going to Hungarian School|
It’s Advent. And I love the slowing and remembering. We are ringing around our Jesse Tree, and deepening the tradition a little bit more this year.
We also have a Hungarian Advent calendar. Last night I did my best to read the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. When I finished, JJ translated into English and said, ‘there was no room in the inn.’ He was right. Neither of us would have understood those words so well last year.
He is living brave going to school, immersed in Hungarian for 7, 8 or 9 hours a day. Next year he will possibly be reading and understanding that journey to Bethlehem. For his mama, it is sheer grace, a teeny bit of discipline, a bit more stubborn and some amazing language tutors and partners which have brought me to the place to understand any of this beautiful, complex language.
Our lives and their stories are unfolding, year to year, advent to advent, hope to greater hope. I wonder how JJ will view his now permanent thread of third culture living when he is older.
God writes my kids stories. Not me. I play a big part, but it is His writing. #truth2light #tellHisStory #motherhood
— Abigail Alleman (@abbyalleman) December 10, 2014
I remember the litany he would go through in the confusion of our whirlwind transitions and subsequent waiting. It was at three years and some change. He re-counted where he had been, was and would be related to our ‘Florida house’, ‘road trip to Colorado’, ‘Colorado house’, ‘road trip to Pennsylvania’, several ‘Pennsylvania houses’ and then finally, one day, our new house in ‘Hungary!’
One of the most profound things God showed me at our overseas training during the ‘Colorado house’ phase, is how God is writing my children’s stories. Not me. I play a significant part, but I do not write their stories. God does. How very freeing to see this.
And this is why I am starting a series today, in the middle of Advent about ‘What Story Teaches Us.’ It gives us eyes to see as we remember; as we walk the path of story. As I embraced the truth of God writing my kids’ stories, I thought about my own. There are things my parents would never have chosen for me. Yet, through no deliberate choice of their own, I went through some very hard things during my childhood. But God is the One who writes my story, too, and He promises it is all working together for good as one who loves Him.This is my hope. For my story. For my children’s story. For the story of anyone I love or struggle to love.
This is why I think it is perfect to start writing about the beauty and freedom of story, as we await the celebration of our Savior's birth. Because our stories teach us to see, and that seeing is the doorway to hope. And that hope is what gives us strength to overcome anything. This is all because God became small, frail and grew up perfect and able to rescue; redeem this whole wide world and every story that is a part of it.
(This series will keep running in the new year. As long as it wants to, maybe even till next Advent ;)
I am guest posting at my friend Jo Ann Fore’s place today. She designed and led the Free Your Story workshop I went through a couple of months ago. I am sure I have gained a friend and mentor for life, because that is what happens when we come together around our stories and God's.
In honor of my friend, and Advent, I am giving away a copy of her book, ‘When a Woman Finds Her Voice.’ Enter to win below. It will run through Monday, December 15th. It may just be a way for you to see through to the hope this Christmas, or give someone that same hope.
I sit, head bowed low and back arched forward and down, on the slate gray IKEA patio chair. I stare at the overgrown brush of our garden and hear one word, 'failure.'
My legs feel the rub, a back and forth itch. The fabric--a spectrum splayed amid tiny-tulip-smattering-over-midnight—is that of a journal purchased in the summer of 1994. It lays open before me and the darkened underside moves a touch of rough. It triggers a gnawing pain of wound or scar. I do not know which.
I am in the middle of Jo Ann's 'Free Your Story' workshop. She asks us to harvest our journals. I am not sure I can find any for all the purging before our move overseas. But I do. And in this moment, looking at a visible mess of living-dead, green and brown, I am undone.