Knowing You, Meeting Me

Getting to Know Me

Hello, again. Even though, I found a nifty tool to import my Blogger blog to this WordPress one, I know that my last post wasn’t of the usual introductory kind (my last post having been pre-import) so, here goes. For starters, my name is Monique, and, as I said in my last post, I have a lot of nicknames. The one I go by most frequently is “Mo”. As of next Saturday (February 23) I will have been married to my best friend for ten years (YAY US!). I like to celebrate that fact, because I think marriage is a rarity anymore – at least lasting marriage. Between Hollywood and The Bachelor, I don’t think it’s an institution many take seriously anymore. That, however, is not something I plan on getting into today.

My husband, Lee, and I have four kids – two boys and two girls. They are beautiful, smart, funny, sweet, sensitive amazing kids (you’d think I was a little biased, no?) and we are completely blessed to have them. Our oldest, Kameron, was diagnosed with autism when he was 4. People still offer their sympathies when I say that. The thing is, Kameron is cuddly, ferociously funny, deeply feeling and empathetic and technologically brilliant. YOU may be sorry, but I certainly am not. God gave me my son just the way he is and I wouldn’t change him for anything.

God…yeah…that’s probably the most important thing to know about me (as if it wasn’t obvious from my last post). I love God. Not in that Sunday morning, Christmas, Easter kinda way, but in that, “this is the air I breathe” kinda way. Specifically, I am a Bible-believing Christian who does her very best to be a little bit more loving like Jesus every day. Some days, I’m not so good at it. For a long time, I’d let my many imperfections get the best of me. For a Bible-believing Christian who can quote Scripture pretty well, sometimes it’s easy for me to forget one of the most important verses I need to remember.

Romans 8:1-2   “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

For years, I struggled with fear of abandonment. There are those who don’t like it when I talk about this, because they think it comes from a place of un-forgiveness. I was raised by my mom following my parents’ divorce when I was a baby. I didn’t see my dad again until I was 14. The fact that I’m past that doesn’t change the fact that it affected me. What I “learned” from that experience is that I was expendable. I “learned” that in other ways, too. People I thought loved me would walk in and out of my life at their leisure. So, I became terrified of vulnerability and relationships. For a long time, it was hard not to see God through that same fear.

I tried to be “good”, even though the Bible tells us in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, there is no one righteous, not even one.” That should have been freeing, but it only made me feel worse. No matter how hard I tried, I could never be good enough (Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God).

Here’s the thing I have figured out since then – I was right. No, in my own strength, I will never be good enough. No matter how well I sing on Sunday, how many inspirational blogs I post or books I write or songs I (hope to eventually) record, I will never be good enough. If I could be I wouldn’t need a Savior.

And, I do.

I’ve also learned (ok, well, figured out I have to remember) that as long as I wake up each morning and continue to breathe, there is still time. It’s funny that so many of the verses I memorized as a child – and really didn’t take hold then – mean so much to me now. For example:

Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”

I’m. Not. Done. Yet.

Remember the movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights? One of my favorite parts of that movie is when Robin misses in the archery contest and then flips through the script to proclaim, “Wait a minute! I get another shot!” Well, so do I. I’ve missed the mark. We all have. But, through the grace of our loving God, we get another shot. My goal is to spend every day making it the best shot yet.

And, that, in a (very long) nutshell, is me.



My Daughter’s Nickname

Do you have a nickname? I probably have about 15. A few of my nicknames are just shortened forms of my real name, while others are used only by a select few and typically are based on some inside joke. There is only one person on the planet that calls me Moglifoofoo and we both know exactly why that is. It speaks to who we are. No one who was just a casual acquaintance would dare even call me “MoMo”.  That is a name reserved for the best of the best, my absolute dearest, those close enough to be considered family. I’m sure the same is true for you.

I got to thinking about nicknames last week because of a story told to me about my six year old daughter, Regan, by her Kindergarten teacher. Both my girls go to a WONDERFUL Christian school, my husband’s alma mater. When we met for parent teacher conferences last week, she asked us about Regan’s nicknames as we were wrapping up. “Have you noticed how Regan has been writing REV (pronounced re-vee) instead of Regan on her papers?” We had been wondering about that, as a matter of fact. So, she told us the story of Regan explaining the change.

Susan: Regan, why do you keep writing “Rev” on your paper?
Regan: It’s my nickname!
Susan: Oh, does your middle name begin with a V?
Regan: Nope!
Susan: Do your mommy or daddy call you Rev?
Regan: No
Susan: Then, how is that your nickname?
Regan: It’s what God calls me when He talks to me.

I was dumbfounded. My daughter not only recognizes the Voice of God, but they talk enough to be on a nickname basis. God has given my daughter a nickname. What a relationship they must have! I began to wonder if this is why Recee (which is what we call her) is so content to play by herself. She interacts and plays with her friends and siblings just fine, but she is perfectly happy to enjoy the quiet space in life and – apparently – talk to her Daddy God.

In the first chapter of Jeremiah, God calls the young man to be a prophet. In perhaps one of the most famous passages in the Old Testament, Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah is reassured that his age makes no difference in verse 7: But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

We were told, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions (Joel 2:28). Certainly, this should not be a surprise. The more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’m jealous. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the Voice of God – it’s been not only a guide to me, but has helped me to write the blogs that have been a support to those I care about. But, I can’t say that God has ever given me a nickname!!!

My beautiful baby – opps, I mean big – girl has yet to be jaded by the disapproving murmurs of those who told her what is unlikely or impossible. No one has yet told her she isn’t enough for this or that. All she knows – all she needs to know – is that God loves her enough to talk to her often and give her a nickname.  Oh, that we all had that child-like faith!!! Whenever Regan hears her father call for his Recee, she comes running to his arms; she feels the love of her daddy just from the way he calls her. It doesn’t matter if she was just in time-out, when Daddy calls, Recee knows he loves her. She doesn’t question it or think about it, she just knows.  Apparently, she feels the love of her Daddy God the same way.

That’s my goal for this year. I don’t want to get so caught up with what’s right in front of me, that I forget that my Abba Father takes care of me and loves me and treasures me. I don’t want to get so stressed that I don’t take the time out to spend time with my Daddy God because of everything else that “has to get done”.  I want God to give me a nickname.

Of course, that puts pressure on me. Those friends who get to call me MoMo – I spend time with them. I call them, we hang out. We do things together. We grow as a unit and have a deep relationship because of how much we’ve been through together. They are my family.

How much more does that need to be true of my Savior? Believe me when I say that my friends have done a lot for me. They were there for me when my (now 9) 2 year old son was going through cancer treatments. At the same time as my mom. 600 miles apart. They were with me when my mom later died and through my son’s autism diagnosis. Every battle I’ve had to fight in the past several years, I did with some of the best people on the planet at my side. I honor and treasure every last one of them for who they are.

But, they don’t love me like God does. They didn’t go to Calvary for me. I need to be more passionate about my relationship with my Heavenly Father than about any of the other people in my life. We need to spend more time together. That’s one of the best ways relationships are cultivated.

I want God to give me a nickname. Before Regan turns 7 in September, I want to be able to tell her how she inspired a positive change in my world – and in the world of those around me. If God gives out nicknames, I’m getting in line for mine.

How about you?

Leave a comment »