"Open wide your mouth...."

I love words....  But it seems like there are a million of them in rolling around in my head these days, that I can't seem to find a way to make legible enough to put in blog form!  I have forced myself to sit down today and just start typing...  If I don't, I might well explode!

Someone said yesterday (I think it was my hubby) that it is believed that 4th grade is the most pivotal year of our young lives.  Something about it being the first time you actually get out on a playground without supervision and you have to assert "who you are" without an authority figure in earshot...  Hmmmm....  I had to think about that and try to even remember my 4th grade year.  How could it have been so pivotal when I can't remember a thing about it?  So I dug deeper, while everyone else in the room started naming their 4th grade teacher and heartily agreeing with this "life-changing theory".

What is wrong with me???  For the life of me, I can't even remember my 4th grade teacher's name!  I don't remember what she looked like either!  I think she was a tall, attractive, African-American woman in her 50s or so... but I'm not completely sure! I have one- and only one- memory from that entire year!  Hang on to your hats, friends!  Here it is...  my single, solitary 4th grade memory!!!

It was late in the school year.  I remember the classroom and exactly where I was sitting on that day.  I remember that we had a long term substitute teacher because our teacher had become ill and was in the hospital or homebound.  I'm guessing now that she was very, very ill.  Ill enough to send what was very much like a final- parting message to our class.  Whether it was an audio tape or our substitute reading the message- I don't recollect, but extra adults had gathered around our class and emotions seemed very high.  Our little 9 year minds were clueless.  There were tears, a lot of them, at her words.  She had beautiful things to say about many of the students in our class, and waxed on about their wonderful attributes and how she loved them.  I sat anxious to hear what she might have to say to me.  I have a vague recollection that I did not expect it to be anything sappy, as I had never felt any of that coming from her toward me before!  (Obviously- since I don't remember ANYTHING about her!)  A therapist might even claim that my 4th grade year was such a disaster emotionally, that I have completely blocked it from my memory!   I'm wondering if I should be worried!  ;-)

Sorry~  I got off track, didn't I?  Back to my teacher's riveting message and my only memory from 4th grade!...  By the time I heard my own name spoken in the message, almost every single child had heard sweet words of affirmation and encouragement.  Then it came....   "Lori Sondermeyer- you need to stop talking so much!"  A nervous giggle erupted in the room, and I'm sure I joined them, but deep down I didn't think it was funny at all.  I still don't.  Nothing else!  No "you're a smart girl".  No "I'm proud of your good grades".  No "I'm going to miss you next year".  Nothing.  All I heard was that she was tired of the sound of my voice.  Period.

So- there you have it!  The year some believe to have been the most pivotal year of my life, hanging out there for all to see!  But the truth is, that if I could pull out every single report card from my years of elementary school, I would likely not find ONE that didn't have a mark next to "Talks too much".  My parents might have had a heart attack if it hadn't...  and I certainly would have remembered that!  We'll assume together that it NEVER happened!

Why should you care?  Why should I?  Maybe neither of us should....   But when you see a blog that sits silent for over a month, or an unusually quiet Lori walking around, you can be CERTAIN there is something brewing deep beneath the surface.  And, in fact, there has been!

Several months ago, I received a letter from a friend states away.  She had begun reading my blogs and wanted to thank me for being willing to share my journey of faith.  No thanks needed for this lover of words!  I enjoy nothing more than opening my mouth and spewing out the miracles God has wrought in my heart over the years.  (or in this case- talking through the tips of my fingers!)  And according to my 4th grade teacher, it would be completely impossible for me NOT to do it!  But then my friend shared a little bit of her own journey with me,... her struggles, her hurts,... most specifically as an adoptive Mom.  She asked me to pray for her and sought some counsel in how to be a more faith-filled mom in a very difficult relationship.

For maybe the first time in my life, I was speechless.  You're asking the wrong person!  How can I show you the way, when I'm still stumbling around in the darkness myself?  But is it any coincidence that it seemed over the past several months, God had been whispering in my ears about the very things she now sought help with?  I don't think so!  God had been calling me to come closer and have the ears to hear some of the answers that have alluded me for over 7 years now...

God called out to me from the pages of the Psalms...   "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it".  I have a picture much like this one in my bedroom from my years of watching the baby birds beneath my mom's boat dock, and I never read this Bible verse without visualizing it.

Deep down I want to be like those birds....  dependent, waiting, anxious to be fed.  But I know myself too well!  I'm good at opening wide my mouth and speaking, but opening wide my mouth to be filled... not so much!  Yet I am acutely aware that if the words of my mouth come from within myself- they are hollow and empty and not worth hearing.

God's voice echoes the words of my 4th grade teacher... "Lori - you need to stop talking so much!".  But His words are tender and kind- filled with love.  His desire is for me to stop talking long enough so that He can fill my mouth with His thoughts.... His words.  And when He does- I have something immeasurably valuable to say and He is glorified when I open my mouth and say it!!!!

So here I am, after many weeks of silence, FINALLY with something to say!  (Whew!  That was hard! I think even my 4th grade teacher would be proud!)  The words that I have to say are many, though, and won't possibly fit inside one blog post.  I've decided, instead, to do a series of blog posts on the subject of "Our Offering as Mothers" (specifically as it applies to our adopted children, but certainly applicable to our bio children too!)...  How many?  I don't have a clue!  But I feel a burden to answer my friends questions with the beautiful words God has been filling my mouth with over the past many, many months.

It is extremely important to me that every reader know that every single word I have to say on the subject of "mothering" is the very word I need to hear personally and am learning to apply even as I write!  This is not a "been there done that" moment for me...  It's more like a "I don't have a clue what I'm doing" decade or two!  But I am determined to mother the children God has given me in a way that would honor His name!  THIS is my offering to Him and I long to give Him ALL that I have!  This has always been my desire.  But I became a mother at a very young age and so much has changed about me since then, I hardly recognize myself!  I call this second round of kids God has brought to us through adoption, as a precious "do-over".  No- I didn't ruin my children from Phase 1 and I didn't do it all wrong!  But with clearer eyes to see beyond myself, I can see many things that I did that I am grateful to have another try at.  A "do-over" is a sweet gift of grace and one I refuse to squander.  So read along with me, if you'd like, as I write...

 "A Letter to Myself...and other Moms like me"  (coming very soon!)


  1. Lori, you always have a timely word of encouragement - I love to read your posts. Your joy in the Lord is evident and it always makes me smile. :). You keep right on talking, friend!

  2. Love this new faith-guided brainstorm, and can't wait to follow along. I always learn from you:)


  3. Thank you for giving us a peek at your muddle, for opening your heart and mind to Holy Spirit's leading, for inviting us alongside as you follow King Jesus.
    I have missed you, friend.
    Sarah Risley


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