Fancy chewing

I was in a rush looking for a shirt for Hope to wear in a pile of Rhema-hand-me-downs. All of the shirts were… how shall I say it?… well-worn. I grabbed one and gave it to Hope. She put it on with exaggerated flair. As if she’d been shopping on Rodeo Drive, she said, “Oh! I just love the fancy chewing on this top!”

I watched as she fingered the chewed collar and holey sleeves. Then we burst into laughter. Holding our sides, tears in our eyes laughter.

Rhema goes through shirt-chewing/eating/ripping phases. By the time she’s done, most of her tops are un-wearable – they are either thrown out or used as rags. The shirts that remain become brittle around the collar after washing.

An old Rhema-shirt

An old Rhema-shirt

“Hold on, babe. I’ll find you something else.”

“No. I want this one!”

She twirled and giggled.

“Hope? Don’t ever change, ok?”

On New Year’s Day we were talking on the phone to Brandon (in Kuwait). I told him about Hope and how she’s proud to wear Rhema’s old shirts.

Brandon said, “Hope, remind us. When Mommy and Daddy start complaining and when we’re not thankful, remind us of fancy chewing.”

This past week ranks right up there at the top as one of the hardest for Rhema and me. There’s something really troubling my girl and its manifested itself in endless days of screaming, hair-pulling, hair-eating, body-twitching, non-compliance, crying jags, property destruction. (Whatever you can imagine from that description, it’s worse.) And I have been digging, clawing for the secret of contentment. Fighting not to drown in despair, loneliness, hysteria and 15 bags of blue cotton candy.

I’ve been battling not to protest the shirt I’ve been given.

To see the fancy chewing.

(I see it. I do. It’s rich and intricate and beautiful.)

To wear it proudly because it humbles me.

To be thankful.

14 thoughts on “Fancy chewing

  1. May you feel the love of this community as you hold tightly to the shirt….May you know that we are with you….beside you….through the hair pulling, crying, body-twitching, and property destruction. We do not leave your side….in the hours that are most dark we reach out and touch the frayed ends of that shirt….we wear it with you…..we share it…we wipe the tears with it…..we wrap your family in it…..and you are held…..never alone….we are with you…..holding the sleeve of that shirt we are here.

  2. Praying for you and Brandon and Hope and Rhema as I have been throughout this holiday season. Thank you for honesty and transparency, for allowing us to see God and reminding me/us that He sees us and loves us.

  3. How humbling and needed of a reminder that is. What an amazing spirit that little Hope has. So precious! I will pray a special prayer of peace for our dear Rhema, that the Lord will quiet her soul and ease her frustration and pain. God knows….

  4. This writing will help me on days when holey shirts need to also be holy shirts. May I be granted the mercy of that perspective. Thank you, J.

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