Friday, September 19, 2014

the misfits.

i woke up late this morning because of a rough night with the baby. i knew it was the school fundraiser, where parents are invited to walk a mile with their kids, but figured i would have to miss it. like all the things i've been missing lately. all the late pickups from school. all the missed soccer games. all the forgotten tennis shoes for gym day. the unwashed shorts he wanted to wear today. the unprinted picture day form. the frantic email to the teachers...can you print that for me?

i was going on a walk anyway. i needed to get out and maybe the baby would fall asleep finally in the stroller.
i would do my regular course towards the school.
i would pass by the pathway going directly to the school and try to ignore it. no, it makes me nervous...i don't know anyone. people will judge me for my jankety stroller with the weird wheel. everyone has all the newest and best here. 
 but i would stop and turn around. i would decide that maybe i could catch lila's class on the track. a moment of bravery that was unlike me. and at best, not of me.

i saw lila's teacher coming up the trail off the track, colliding serendipitously with mine as i walked up the hill. i couldn't see lila in the crowd of children and parents and began to feel a bit of panic reach my cheeks. where is she. and why am i the only parent that didn't show up?

and then whatever angst was in my cheeks sank deep into my heart when i saw her at the very end of the group. there she was, hidden behind a mother and father  holding their little girl's hand, as she teetered between them. those three towering like a visible gate. you don't belong here. 

i wanted to burst into tears. the sleepless nights. all the changes. the inability to do anything right or on time--it had all softened me to an embarrassing level.
mom! skipping and with a smile, she saw me.

hi, baby. how was your walk?

fun. i walk. fun!

my head was spinning. i was thinking of how we don't fit in here. i saw the crowd of kids and parents ahead of us on the hill with balloons and music and celebration. except i was at a funeral of all the things we lost when we moved from her safe preschool where everyone was different and our safe church where we knew everyone and our safe neighborhood in the city where we belonged.

we walked up on the hill of people and no one talked to us. mom's grouped together in circles like cages.
ignored, we chatted with ourselves. and my voice wavering a little i said, lila. i love you.
i luh you, mom.
the teacher gathered some girls to take a picture. lila, come over!
and lila was stuck in the middle of the group without the fundraising tshirt on that everyone had on. and sandals. and purple pants.
 of course. of course! if ever i needed a visual picture of my life, there it is. we don't fit in...got it.



when they were done, i talked with the little girls. hell, if none of the adults would talk to me, i'll talk to the children. i tried to explain to them that lila didn't have a lot of words but that she still loves friends. she's different. it's ok to notice that about her.

and then the teacher hollered for the kids and they all left.
ok, go with them, lila. when all i really wanted to do was gather her up and go home where it was safe.
she ran to meet the group and i turned around to walk home. a mom i had seen in the pick up line passed me.

and the words, HEY! i don't think i've met you yet, flew out of my mouth as if by accident. i immediately wanted them back. what am i doing?
her accent was different and thick. we exchanged names, talked about our kids for a good while. i told her about lila. she doesn't really fit in, everythings new for all of us. 
and she lunged at me with a hug. i'm so sorry. that is very hard. i came here with no english. i know this feeling.
we exchanged a few stories of not belonging and moving to a new place...a few snippets about our lives and then we exchanged phone numbers.

it was the colliding of two misfits and it was beautiful and redeeming.
i walked away in a blur of the strange and painful morning that was laced with beauty. i thought of lila in the back of the line and could feel the wind hit my wet eyes.
i thought of how she didn't seem to notice that she was an outcast and i pictured Jesus holding her hand in the back of the line, laughing and looking down at her.

later as i stood washing dishes at the sink feeling sad again, i smelled that woman's perfume lingering on me from our hug. the fragrance of acceptance swirled around me and i remembered lila and Jesus at the back of the line together.

that.
for her and for me. he is holding us both.
that friendship is all i need to know. let me smell that fragrance every day.

i thought about how He knows how it feels to be an outcast, even in his own town. like me. i grew up in these very suburbs, and now i have no place here.
i thought about how He sympathized with her and me because he was rejected to the highest degree possible so that we would not be rejected before God. He knows because he lived it.
he had already walked a mile in lila's shoes that day and mine too, when he went to the cross all those years ago.

and so from his bravery, i will face this year. resting on all of his courage and none of mine.

67 comments:

  1. Every time you write about Lila, I could insert mine & my Morgan's names in the story. I'm so glad that you & I have the Redeeming love of Christ to share with our sweet girls & to find shelter under. I don't think this road would be something I could navigate without Him. I love the thought of Jesus holding Lila's (& Morgan's) hand in the back of those lines. I pray each day for friendship in Morgan's life- & for her to realize the very real relationship she has in Jesus. I don't know you other than the internet (that always sounds ridiculously creepy to me) but I sure do love your heart. Please keep sharing it- blessing others. ((Big hugs))

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    1. i'm so glad i'm not alone in this. we'll do this together. insert fist emoji. xoxo.

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  2. This. THIS! Is so beautiful & heart wrenching & just plain powerful. My own story could very much be this someday. And I thank you for being vulnerable & listening to His prodding to share your heart with all of us strangers. You'll probably never understand the impact you have on the ladies who visit your blog each day, Jami! But if it's the only thing I accomplish today amongst the dirty dishes & piles of laundry & messy diapers, let it be giving you a virtual hug of appreciation! Now go snuggle that sweet baby Pruett :)

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    1. your words are so encouraging. thank you so much.

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  3. Tears. I have been there with several of my children. It is so painful. But it makes us run faster and harder into the arms of Jesus! I eventually brought my little blessings home and now homeschool them. Sheltering? Maybe. I prefer to think of it as covering them with their mama's love until they are old enough to realize that their differences are a blessing and that God made them that way for a specific purpose(we dealt with a lot of bullying). Great post!

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    1. I've thought about homeschooling lila but can not offer her what i need to at this time. insert tax dollars. LOL

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  4. Jami thank you for sharing this. So beautiful. I love your heart, your honesty, and your courage. It touched my heart in more ways than one this morning, thank you! Praying that you get to know this new friend in a deeper way:)

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  5. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel everyday. So honest and real. It brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for inspiring us all with your own vulnerability.

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  6. I cried reading this. My children don't have any special needs but my heart for them to love and be loved, to know and be known is the same. Thank you for sharing your heart. I have felt that "not fitting in" feeling so much since my kids started school last year.

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    1. thank you for empathizing with us! we're all misfits i guess. :)

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  7. Beautiful story, powerful message. We're all misfits but we're all Daughters of God. I'm trying to march through life waving that flag in front of me. When I see misery in the eyes of another, I want to be the woman who breaks up that ice of misery so that my "perfume" warms her.

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  8. Such truth. So hard. Its not easy being a misfit, but neither is carrying the cross daily. Thanks for making me cry. I need to do that more. Keeps my heart soft.

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    1. yes. i have a tendency to get a hard heart too. just keep running to the cross, right? agh. so hard.

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  9. Many years ago, I decided that my very special Lori would go where I went and I would not be ashamed but hold her up proudly and celebrate her every day. I looked to God to show me the why, the reason, the use. I won't say it was always easy but as time went by, it got easier and easier. I saw Lori show love, give love and bring joy to many. I saw her melt hearts and soften hard hearts. I saw that she was God's angel on earth. I saw real love. As time went by, we were less misfits but looked for and accepted. Lori has become a rock star in our community, know by most, looked out for by most and loved by most. I have used this acceptance to do work with others and we have swung this community into one that is accpting, loving and caring for our special needs loved ones. I know you both were created wonderfully perfect. The feeling of being a misfit is simply that, a feeling. Continue to step outside your box, reach out to the other parents and children. Of course, there will always be some that don't get it, but simply pray for their enlightenment, heart and growth. Encourage and assist Lila to be all she can be, to make firends and experience the wonders that surround us. When you are too tired to participate, watch with joy and a peace in your heart that passes all understanding. God lifts us up but the enemy takes advantage of us when we are tired and not feeling well to plant those thoughts. Stand tall, be proud of the special gift God has given you and don't worry about the laundry. My dirty dishes have never run away in escape. They always wait for me. Above all, please know that you are loved and we do understand. Many of us have felt your kind of pain. It took me a long time to come to acceptance that God chose me to care for Lori and that makes all the difference. Praying blessings upon your family and for sleep for you.

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  10. your heart heals mine.
    we have our own different misfit set: low income in a nice neighborhood, rich kids coming over to play in our yard full of hand-me-down toys, broken things, mess. I have no hair in the Revlon world of church women, not even have eyelashes, to say nothing of make-up. I can barely afford goodwill clothes. we homeschool. we eat weird. it seems every day the huz & I tick off another how-we-don't-fit.
    it's exhausting.
    but Jesus never told us to be the same.
    so i'll try to keep my chin up when the pretty women in the neighborhood come over to fetch their name-brand children. i'll offer them some kombucha (or maybe that would be too far), & i'll try to remember that weird, misfit-ish is beautiful to Jesus.
    He gets it.
    He gets it because He is it.
    telling your heart binds up a bit of my brokenness.
    thank you for telling your heart.

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  11. This meant the world to me. I was emotional reading it. Embarrassed to say that in my town, sometimes I am the misfit, and sometimes I am the mom in the tight closed circle. Grateful that Jesus is holding my hand anyways. Much love to you and your Lila.

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    1. sometimes i'm the closed off mom. we all need softer hearts towards each other! we are all each other in some way. xoxo

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  12. All I can say is thankyou. This post is what I needed at this exact moment. I feel exactly what you wrote and so very broken because of it. This post and the way it brought it back to Jesus saved today in a way I cannot even explain to you. Thankyou for that.

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    1. love to you. so sorry its difficult right now.

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  13. Thank you for being so transparent! I cried reading this because it resonated with a lot of feelings I have had regarding myself both as a parent, and my kids. It has been especially difficult to self-analyze over the past 2 years of crazy pregnancy, crazy baby, crazy homeschool, and new community. The Gospel has been ever clearer to me in these times as I struggle to find "my place" and deal with the loneliness involved in starting over yet again with a new church, new friends, etc... Loved hearing the testimony of His goodness in the simplicity of a hug from a stranger. May you continue to find encouragement in your day!

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    1. welllll at least we're doing it together. email me and give me an update on where you guys are at and what you're doing!

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  14. crying. love you both, friend.

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    1. i'm crying that you're not in KC. come live in my maroon basement.

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  15. Jami
    Hey there! Fellow southern JoCo suburb resident...151st and Switzer (I am just assuming you live out my way based on your post...). Actually, I went to nursing school with your husband and actually saw him in the OR a couple of times when he worked at Truman! I have a little boy who is 7.5 months old, and while my life feels like a constant crazy mess, I am always looking for more friends! If you are out in my neck of the woods, we should try to meet up sometime! You are not alone! Yes, "ladies" out here can be a completely different breed from those in Midtown, but we aren't all bad! You just have to look a little deeper! Let me know what you think, and hang in there! I promise your new place will feel like a new home in no time!
    Kelly

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  16. Geez lady! What are you trying to do to me! Im 38 weeks pegnant with my 3rd under 3! My hormones cant handle this! In all seriousness, my heart was breaking for you at the start of this post. Such a great reminder of the Lords acceptance. I love your writing. Its always so real and timely for me :) thanks for sharing your life with strangers like me :)

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    1. thank you for empathizing with us. it means a lot.

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  17. It seems like I keep entering season after season of being a misfit. But holy spirit keeps nudging me to fit him into my life and to let the rest fall into place. The loneliness can be overwhelming, but sometimes there's just a calm. And I rest in it. And then when there is a breath of fresh air, like the one you experienced here, it is rejuvenating and life-giving. Thank you for sharing your glimmer of hope.

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    1. yes, lots of repenting going on here where i desire human approval instead of his. lord help me!

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  18. Okay, you're probably going to go all "get behind me Satan" on me for saying this, but....if they only knew it was JAMI NATO in their midst! I'm just kidding. Kind of. I know I'm totally missing the point here, but wow...they know not whom they shun. And speaking of the point, it was beautiful. My heart ached for you (and sweet Lila) throughout this post. But, of course, you bring it all back around to God's amazing grace...and how it's so incredibly sufficient. Even in our hurt and pain. Especially in our hurt and pain. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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    1. I want to say the same thing about Lila. They don't know what they're missing! One of the things I pray for Faith is that there would be people in her life who have a special affection for her. May our Good Lord put a special affection for Lila in the heart of a few sweet children - that they would bless and be blessed by friendship with her.

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    2. That is my exact prayer!! Thanks for your sweet words

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  19. love you so much. i can't even write these words out for myself yet. glad to read your heart and the truth. that jesus knows, and we can walk in his strength and courage. xoxo

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  20. Wow! Amazing and beautifully written! Thank you for sharing your hard day. We all need perspective in our lives, and I need it in mine. "Resting on HIS courage and not mine." I recently (3 weeks ago) moved to Togo, West Africa to teach missionary kids and Africa is hard! So while, I am dealing with a different kind of change and feeling out of place, we rest in the same God. He goes before us!

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    1. we all have our struggles. lila is my africa! i have no idea what i'm doing there. :)

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    2. Praying for you Megan. I think I know your charges and you are an answer to our prayers on their behalf.

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  21. Oh my. So painfully beautiful. I had that tear ball in my throat as I was reading this. Thank you for writing this.

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  22. Wow. Girl, this is beautiful. heart-wrenching and real, and leaves me in a place where the words are few, but my heart and mind are searching and seeking all the ways I have felt this or caused others to feel this way before. I love you because you challenge me to think about bigger things than myself. Praise Jesus for that.

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    1. yes, i'm the closed off mom too. we all are. we all need help seeking out others!

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  23. You are such a beautiful mommy, I pray for you and Lila often, your sweet Lila makes my heart smile. :)

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    1. thanks so much for your prayers. means a lot.

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  24. Of course this made me cry. My daughter is only 13 months old, not old enough yet to be on the fringes, no groups yet. Just babbling babies. But I can hardly think of a more painful thing than to think of her in that place. I know your heart aches for Lila. How beautifully you have put it. I LOVE that our Savior is one who went to the weak and sick and broken, and He snuggled babes on His lap and didn't send them away. And He walks with you too through this year that makes little sense from the outset. Much love to you, Jami. You are loved deeply from your blogging buds.

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    1. those kiddos really drive us to the cross. thanks so much for your sweet words.

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  25. Jami, so glad you shared this story, needed this morning:) I think of you guys often, I will pray for Lila this morning, as Jesus loves through her at school. So love that that sweet woman hugged you!

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  26. Thank you so much for sharing this. It gives me perspective as her teacher. Lila has had a special place in my heart from the first day I met her. I made it my mission to ensure her welcome feeling in our classroom and she enters happy each day, although curious about where Layne is going? :)
    Thank you for sharing your sweet Lila with me.

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    1. you are seriously a treasure. i feel so lucky to have you as her teacher. i almost also cried when you brought her the bunny grahams on that day too! Layne is there too with mrs. Bourk. :) he was at academie lafayette, a french immersion school in the city.

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  27. You should know I'm blubbering. I get it. So very much. I was the mom with the van whose breaks shrieked with every creep forward in the pickup line and the boys with chewed collars and overlong hair due to sensory issues. I'm the mom who gets called into school because her son is licking the other students ankles and barking during spelling. I stood apart from the groups at pickup and school functions. Never seeming to get my ducks in a row, always lost.
    I'm so glad you reached out. I let fear keep me from reaching out so often. I joke and call myself a hermit. I blame it on being introverted, a home body. The truth is, it's fear. Thank you for the nudge towards Jesus.

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  28. Oh, the hug, the reaching out just brings tears. You reached out with your comment to her and she in turn was feeling as if she didn't fit either and she reached out to you. And Jesus - he always knows...

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  29. I don't know what would happen if I ever met you. I would want to crack up laughing and burst into tears all at the same time! I'm sure that would be...SCARY?!?! lol And the babbling I would be doing would just add to the overall "effect" I am sure! Remind me never to skip you for awhile and read 2 posts in one night ~ UNDONE. Christ uses your words to SLAY me. I am adding you to the list of the neighbors I pray will be mine in Heaven. xxoo

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    1. you are too kind. thanks for your sweet words. can't wait for heaven....hahaha.

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  30. geez, your posts are always oozing of brokenness and sadness but then you wrap them so perfectly in a big bow of Gospel truth. i don't read blogs much, instagram has totally won my heart, but i got on here today to stalk you and your words are just so helpful and healing. you always make me cry and laugh, both of which is an accomplishment. kudos to you. you should write a book. i would definitely buy it and start reading it and maybe even finish reading it, cause i'm notorious for not finishing books. i imagine yours would be a funny and emotional page turner. although, i guess your blog is like a book. so, never mind. well, all that rambling to say i truly truly truly cherish and gather all your beautiful words into my arms and my heart. we have this six week course thing we go through at our church and it's called Gospel Care Training. and can i just say, you are phenomenal at Gospel Care. always tying life into the Gospel and Jesus' life and story. It's spot on, mrs nato. Well, I'll end it there. Good day to you and your lovely bunch. Thanks for your honesty and your heart for Christ and his Kingdom.

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    1. gah. you are incredibly kind and encouraging. it really means a lot. the gospel has changed everything and i'm glad to put it in writing. i am sorta working on a book. like at an annoyingly slow pace. publishers love that.

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    2. i can talk to them, the publishers, if you want. tell them that slow and steady wins the race (and sells the most books). they would listen to me cause i'm a fantastic mix of winsome and intimidating.

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  31. This was so beautiful. I've stumbled on your blog before, but I've never really dug in. So glad I'm digging in! I often feel like I never really belong in this mommy blogging thing, but this post makes me feel welcome. Thank you!

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  32. This made me cry, in a totally good way. I think my favorite part was the grace and love in Lila's excitement to see you. I've been having a rough time with my toddler lately and feel like I screw up 20 times a day. But every night I am the first person she gives thanks to God for. Our little kids are the best portrait of the gospel, aren't they? They just LOVE. And we think we've done big and important things to earn it, but if we're honest we screw up just as much as we help, and they love us anyway. Thank you for sharing this story. The viewpoint He has given you is special and I appreciate you being willing to share it with us. Your blog is one of my favorites. Enough gushing, it's embarrassing, but thanks again.

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  33. this reminds me of what i read this morning in Matthew 5:14-16...referring to being salt and light. if you can, read it in the message version..it'll encourage you. that lady that hugged you was a beautiful light of God's grace to you...
    she opened up herself to you and God touched that place in your heart that needed it. i love that.

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