Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

Category: Heart Mama (page 1 of 12)

Heart Mama Archives

For My Heart Warrior Son on Hard Days

For my dear, struggling, heart warrior-son:

Sometimes I don’t know how to help you but to put words down. God seems to talk to me through my fingers, charting a map through my fears, showing me the way home through this blog-tangle of words.

Did this start at your last doctor’s appointment? Or did it start several weeks into full-day school?

Your little mind, still sponge and light and weave of you and us, can’t quite tell yet. But somewhere, something finally sunk in, didn’t it? Somehow you finally saw the difference between you and the other kids. You realized in a long recess that there was no way to keep up. Or maybe you just found out, for the first time, that they invite you into games you cannot play.
I can’t tell most of the time when you’re being a stinker or if you just don’t know yet how to say “I can’t.” Or maybe you’re just a control freak who only plays what you want to play. But maybe that’s because you play what you CAN play for more than a burst of energy’s time. Either way, we’ve got to figure this out, son. Either way, we need to make sure you can play well with others.

I fight back tears and grip the steering wheel as I watch you play alone. I know something about myself that you might not know yet: Your mama is not good at “I can’t.”

She’s much better at “I’ll try harder.”

She’s much better at pushing harder. She’s still here because of that push. And you’re here because of it, too.

And the irony is that in disbelieving the “you can’ts” and “he won’ts”, trusting in the One who saves the “I’m too far gones” and raises the “dead-for-three-days,” I’ve come to know that He Can. And He Will.

But maybe He Can when I’ve come to the end of mine. Maybe He Reaches down when my push falls flat across the floor.

Maybe this Mama needs to stop willing, forging, fighting.

Maybe I, too, need a new way.

Your doctors say you’re an old soul. Most heart kids don’t start to wrestle limits for a couple more years. Most kids can’t even see what you’re now swallowing whole. But that doesn’t surprise any of us. You’ve always been Warrior. You kicked first, long before the trouble came.

Maybe we need new words, Son. Maybe we both need to voice our limits.

Maybe you can teach me when to stop before I’m chin-deep in cardiac arrest.

Maybe you can teach me your running-away trick, that fall-down-on-the-mat trick. Maybe you can show me how to get more oxygen when no one is listening. Maybe you can share some of that defiance when we’re both drowning just a bit.

You’re loud and you’re savage, and so often right.

But before you’re wild, you’re needy. And that’s where I want to meet you.
I don’t know how to meet you yet, but your dad and I are trying.

We’re praying, and we’re trusting in this God who makes you breathe ten hundred times a day.

We’re believing that this Father God of all who made you so special is going to fill your anger with understanding.

You, Warrior-son, Kicker, Defyer: you have purpose we won’t give up on.

You breathe meaning on that cold playground, and in the midst of this pain, I know: God foresaw all of this.

Where He sees, He provides.

. . . if I’m grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again. I fearlessly cross the next bridge.
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

 I will sit in my car, welling up this pain for you. And I will pray “Thank You.”

I will believe in this mighty God, and I will say thank you for the provision already coming to us.

We will cross this bridge, just like all the others.

And when I have crossed yet another, I will try to teach you how to follow me across.

I love you, Son.

Your pushy mama


How to Know when God is on the Move

Do feel trapped in a hopeless situation? Do you feel like there’s no way out, and God’s forgotten you? Do you wonder if there is any hope for your broken marriage, your upside down finances, your stalled career, your dissolved dreams? Well, come join me at the table, friend, and let’s reevaluate your position. From where I’m sitting, your story’s just starting to get good. Continue reading

What No One Tells You At Your Baby Shower

Motherhood keeps surprising me. I just relaxed into the routine of summer with kids home full-time lolly gaggin’ around the house and whining bored. I just settled into morning snuggles and afternoon swims, grilled dinners on paper plates after the sun sets to our backs. Now it’s over. And this turning of the seasons from green grass to golden leaves always stings me just a bit. Why? It’s more than just summer being ended or school beginning; a whole season has packed up and left me. We’ve phased in seasons from summer to fall, but as a family, from babies to big boys. And this mama stares change in the face again, to find her way into a new season, to swim the current of motherhood’s phasing. Continue reading

Upon Our Heart Warrior Going to Kindergarten

Dear Samuel,

You turned five a few short weeks ago. Presenting yourself in my doorway wearing only your Monsters’ University tighty-whities and throwing your hands up in the doorway, you proclaimed, “It’s my berfday!” And, then, you put your hands on your hips and asked, very seriously, “It is my berfday, isn’t it, Mama?” I told you–finally–yes, it was your birthday, after at least 52 days of having to tell you it wasn’t. And I asked you to come crawl in my bed and pretend you were still sleeping, because you’d woken up before I had a chance to make up your customary birthday tray of doughnuts sparkling with birthday candles, a Star Wars birthday balloon, and a pile of tiny packages wrapped up in tiffany blue paper (because I ran out of birthday wrapping paper). You would have to wait patiently in my bed for your birthday breakfast. As I left you, tucked into my bed watching cartoons, and walked down the stairs to arrange your birthday breakfast, I wondered, with tears in my eyes, how we arrived at five years old. Continue reading

Sharing this Promised Land Life with You

When life has been hard for a long time, it gets more and more difficult to believe that it can be better. But, we at Red Vine refuse to give into that notion. We believe in the God who brings us through the wilderness, providing all the way, into the Promised Land. We believe we serve a good Father, a Father who works all things together for our good. Our hope for a Promised Land life will not be in vain, and We will behold our Lord in the land of the living, yielding fruit for our labor and rest for our spirits. Continue reading

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