Monday, March 26, 2012

Bits On Grace

We traveled to the Bay area of California for 6 days. It was just the 3 of us, it was an interesting, but great trip. Here's why. First of all, it was cold. And I am not much of a complainer but I am talkin, cooooold. And rainy. The thing is is when you have that combo and you are not prepared, it makes it ten times worse. I kept mentally and spiritually having to set my self straight and get an attitude adjustment, and I did for the most part. Although our first night in San Fran we decided to explore after we checked into our hotel. Turns out that wasn't the greatest idea. We walked around in the Mission District for over 2 hours and the last 30 minutes, b/c we couldn't find a cab (on our side of the street, go figure), to bring us to our restaurant, I cried. I honestly did. Although the tears might have been a good thing because they were warm on my wet, cold face.

It's times like this, in the unexpected and inconvenient, that I am reminded of my heart. And how it can go haywire if it's not aligned with God. Even in a cold, rainy, San Francisco night when I am in pain, exhausted, and uncomfortable in drenched Toms.

 So I recall Truths that bring me back to humility. Truths like, this is temporary pain, my best friend is extremely ill and she gives me inspiration to keep going, some people have never gone on vacation, there are some that would trade spots with me on this dreary night....truths like that. And I remember Gods grace is there through it all, through my spoiled brat moments, to love me just the same as if I would have been behaving nicely. His grace doesn't change. That's what's so profound about our God.

Here me and Madz are that very first night in San Fran in the Mission District, on Valencia. Man that area is amazing. It's like my Uptown area in Minneapolis pumped up about 50 notches. It's so rad. I loved it. Even in this bleak evening.

It was also an interesting trip because I noticed that my family is shifting. I've been noticing changes between my daughter and I for the last year or so, but they were prevalent on this trip.

We spent the first few days in the Bay area in Mountain View, San Jose, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale. While Kevin was working at the Google offices, Madz and I explored. I noticed she didn't seem like she was in the best of moods or something, but I kept telling myself, "Just let her be. She's growing up and I don't have to take her moods personal."
But it got to the point where she was disrespectful so I spoke up. She apologized and we carried on. But I can't deny the tension had been thick. Combine that with mine and Kevin's history, (don't get me wrong, we can have a good time, and be on good terms, but emotionally and intimately we struggle), it was doomed for failure. We had a nice few days together, and had a wonderful unexpected experience though at Huddart's Park.
If you ever get to the Bay area I hugely recommend this park, it was such a sweet surprise!

When we drove through Woodside, this super cool old rich ranch town, looked like it was a movie set, and turned the corner for the park, I gasped as I saw my first Redwood! It made me cry. No lie. We then kept driving and were met by a deer. Although he scurried off too quickly so no picture of him. But what a sweet moment to be welcomed by a deer.

If you've never had the opportunity to be in the presence of a Redwood, I will pray that you do, because it's indescribable. So vast. So powerful. So big! Quite overwhelming and a bit spooky.

Because there was no one in the park, and it was raining, we got to interact so to speak with the Redwoods, and what a time we had!

There is no planning in these kind of moments. I will cherish it forever. 

Massive old mossy oaks!

We had a lot of good times, and I'm planning to do a post dedicated to our trip, but for today I wanted to focus on grace.

As I mentioned the tension was rising and I was feeling more defeated and unloved. It's common for me to feel that way with people, but not really with my daughter. So Saturday morning, our first morning in San Fran, is when it went down. I had been crying the night before because I was feeling so unloved and confused about my relationship with my daughter. Somehow it all got brought up and we weren't shouting really, but our voices were raised, and it was more of a plea from me to understand what was going on. My daughter put it gently that she is not me, and she is not like me. 

The reason she said that was because I was wondering why she didn't comfort me when I was crying or when we woke up the next morning, why she hadn't asked how I was feeling. Well, guess what Gina? Madelynn is not your friend, she isn't suppose to coddle me or comfort me in those ways. That is what friends and spouses and sisters are for! But see in a lot of ways I am use to my daughter doing that, because she was there during those rough years with Kevin and I, and she comforted me in ways she never should have had too. That's not her role. And I'm serious, there is a lot in me that still thinks she's a 10 year old girl, because the older she gets, the more our relationship changes, and it's hard on me. I am not changing, she is. And that's a good thing! It's just a hard transition. It's just different. To me, the Mom, she's my little girl, to her, she's almost an adult and is needing to learn how to leave the nest, and that causes friction and tension.

All she meant when she said what she did is that I can't expect her to respond the way I do to things, or act like me all the time. Because in a way, that is what our daughters do for a while, they sort of are our clones. Seriously, it's true. But I don't want that for her, I'm glad she is different than me, yet carries many of the same good qualities that I do! It's a weening process and it's not easy, but because we got it out in the open, we made progress and have a new understanding of the changes our relationship is facing.

So when we were having our last meal in San Francisco,  I asked Kevin and Madelynn what they thought of grace, they said this:

Kevin: "We have been the perfect example on this trip of how we all 3 need grace. This trip taught us new things about one another, and we wouldn't have gotten through it if we hadn't given each other grace."

Madelynn: "Living without grace would be like holding grudges against people our whole lives."

Gina: "God's capacity for mercy, grace and love becomes our capacity for mercy, grace and love."

Grace Laced Mondays


SymbioticLife said...

I don't know if this will offer any comfort or camaraderie but I've been in those moments. Those moments where you're in pain, miserable, and it just seems like there's no end in sight can be so terrible. And you catch yourself. You mentally adjust and recognize that as miserable as you are right then, there are things far worse in the world going on.

One other thing I've learned through life is that it's also alright to let yourself feel overwhelmed, hurt, and tired. I think sometimes we learn to hide our emotions or we're taught that it's not OK to have them. I don't know why. I know that's the truth for me. I also have learned that other people often have a hard time interacting with others when they're feeling emotional. Again, I don't know why. At some point I accepted it's all part of our individual journeys in life and to never judge or have expectations of others in these areas.

One last thing that has helped me when dealing with my teenage daughters has been to pause when I feel myself having a knee jerk reaction. If they do or say something that hurts my feelings or makes me angry. Is what they said really about me or is it more a reflection about something that's going on with them? Honestly, that's helped me the most. Good luck.

Creating Through LIFE said...

So happy that you got to experience the Redwoods!

Mr. Taylor and his Lady said...

okay, seriously, the pictures of the trees are absolutely breathtaking!! nature is incredible!
xo TJ

Ruth@GraceLaced said...

We've had trips that felt like this...where there's tension when you wish there was pure bliss. And yet, we have also had these exact conversations at the end of a trip too...where we reflect on what is the most true and worthy of our hoping in.

tia said...

so beautiful- I love this post. I've never been to California, but I know I would be miserable and unable to find happiness in a cold and rainy trip. you are amazing and the pictures are gorgeous. <3

ginasproudmom said...

What a wonderful special woman you are. I am humbled by your wisdom and grace. I love you

Cindi said...

Gods grace is the most amazing thing. I have needed it so many times, and have received it so many times. He is the most forgiving, loving, caring, amazing, unfailing, indescribable Lord. And you are truly blessed to have an honest relationship with your daughter, so that you can both openly say how you are feeling and whats up.

This was just amazing, Gina. :)))


Mel said...

I love San Francisco, even in the rain! I lived nearby for four years during college and never made it out to the redwoods. I really wish I had!

Mel said...

I love San Francisco, even in the rain! I lived nearby for four years during college and never made it out to the redwoods. I really wish I had!

thetoddlerwhisperer said...

It's the closeness that causes the friction...which is good, right? Like iron sharpening iron. Loved the pictures you posted. :)

Autumn said...

I love the redwoods! We went to visit Devin's Aunt up there and it was absolutely beautiful. I was awe-struck at how small I felt!

chambanachik said...

Gosh, what a powerful post. I love the photos- I've also been to the Redwoods and they are amazing.

It's crazy how much I learn from the things you learn. Really. :)

Ioana-Carmen said...

Lovely post darling! Check my blog and follow me if you want, I`ll follow back :X

melissa said...

"Gods grace is there through it all, through my spoiled brat moments, to love me just the same as if I would have been behaving nicely."

i am thankful for this. as all to often i am the spoiled brat! lovely post!

Dilan Dilir said...

nice post :D

ruthy ann said...

Aren't the redwoods amazing? My first trip here:

I think we can all recall our relationships with our parents as teens...does anyone have great stories from those days? Thank God for grace...and forgiveness.

Desiree said...

i love you oh so much. I'd give anything to stand among the redwoods! its always been a dream of mine.

your relationship with your little one reminds me of my relationship with my mom on some levels. I'm 25. and to her I'll always be the pigtailed 6 year old. We had to learn to grow and change together as I got older. My dad was an alcoholic for the biggest part of my life, and only became sober a couple of years ago. So we've both had to hold eachothers hands through it. I remmeber times being more of a friend than a daughter, but I think it strengthened our relationship as I got older. The older I get, the more I respect who she is as a person, and I see a little bit more of her in me everyday.

Rachel Emma (Daydream Frenzy) said...

Very sweet post. I've never been to the redwoods, but your pics make me wanna go!


Morgan Fairchild said...

What an amazing, difficult, God-glorifying realization you had. I'm so thankful for the love of God. I've struggled with loneliness so much in my life and, even though there were many times I did not feel God, I know He is there comforting and ministering us in exactly the way we want and need it.

PS I didn't know you were in NorCal. You were SO close to me!!

memory said...

You are real. Your family is real. We all have days and weeks like this. This happens in my family too. Thank you for being the brave one to share it all and work on being a more close knit family. :) Beautiful pictures, btw!

Cherry said...

Sorry about the weather, but you're right, anyone, even I, would trade anything just to be there or anywhere in America. You under those red giant trees was quite a moment. Love it!

Julie Marie said...

sweet Gina, i know it is a learning a weening process when you realize you cant control the situation any longer. when you cant force someone to love you the way you wish to be loved and to accept who they are, as they are..especially when originally it was going sort of "your" way...
ive been there. ive learned to say, ok i cant change this, i have to roll with the punches, even if it hurts me...i can cry, pout, feel sorry for myself...and that person will never coddle you the way you think they should, or they way they used to..
its a bit of selfishness on my part i learned. also its a growing experience, when you're used to almost having the "upper hand"...and kinda have to take what comes at you.
you seem to be alot like me. i tend to be needy, and sometimes in the past ive embarrassed myself because of it..
thankfully GOD's grace does sustain us, in all times. in all voids...

Julie Marie said...

p.s. i know this is an older post, but it resonated with me either way, so i wanted to share.. =)