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Showing posts from June, 2018

V I C T O R Y - Hello July!

In ten minutes, the clock will strike midnight and I will have been carried through another June. I can check it off the 2018 box and thank God He's made a way again. This time, He revealed a little more of the picture, a little more of the purpose behind the pain. He sprinkled the days with joy and simple pleasures. My birthday was so sweet and filled with all my favorite things and people. The healthy little boy I never dreamed we would have blew out a number three candle the morning of his birthday and then loved his birthday party with precious friends a few days later.

I caught a glimpse of what this ministry life is going to look like and fell a little harder in love with Jesus. Miller Grace days were just what my heart needed them to be: slow and gentle with a few pink balloons and sprinkles thrown in. When I needed to see hope the most, I did and it brought me to tears. On the hardest day, my tiny boy seemed to be programmed to stop whatever he was doing periodically throu…

Everybody's a Wreck

That line still cracks me up, but could it be more true?

In the midst of teen angst when I was trying to be oh-so-perfect, a friend's mom said to that to me one day and I have never forgotten it. We live in this time of cropped pictures and filtered images where we have more access to each other's lives than ever before, but have never had a less accurate view. You get to see what I want you to see and I get to see what you want me to see, but neither of us can see the full picture. In the game of comparison, I measure my reality against your highlight reel and end up frustrated. We beat ourselves up for never quite getting it right, never measuring up, never reaching that peak of perfection we long for. Not only can we not reach it, our children can't reach it either. We were never meant to. And yet, we continue to wake up each day and set those expectations for ourselves and for them.

As a result, we are a discontented people. If we are pleased with our weight, we are no…

Sorry He Ever Messed with Us

I laughed out loud in the dark as I had to pull over on the on-ramp to turn on the headlights in my little black rental car. It could have been sleep deprivation or it could have been sheer glee over how ridiculous it was that I was traveling alone for the first time in forever. The flight, the long walk through the airport, the process to get the rental car - every mundane detail felt a little like an adventure to me. I adore children and have devoted most of my adult life thus far to them, but there is something to be said about some time away every once in a great while.
This was no vacation though. I was attending a weekend conference for women in their twenties and thirties who felt called to write, teach, or speak. It was Beth Moore's brain child and she called it LIT. The prerequisite had been to complete a study called Entrusted, wherein she used the story of Paul and Timothy to encourage us to guard what God had entrusted to us, further the Kingdom by sharing Christ, and…

Love Brings Strength

They say a picture says a thousand words. If that is true, this one must say a million.

This is June 26 to me.

My girl lived her whole lifetime in less than a week, but the Lord allowed us to have absolute peace at the end of her time here and looking back, it has always felt a bit like those days must have been concentrated somehow, holding all the life they did. As a result, these long, hot, end-of-June days are written on our hearts. I believe my heart will recognize these days when they come long after I forget everything else. These slow-paced, laidback days when kids have no schedules, families are going on vacations, churches are inevitably holding VBS programs like the one her sisters attended that week, fireflies in the sky are fewer, and lighting cracks the sky more often. These are her days. These are the days the Lord reigned supreme and we saw Him more clearly than we ever had.

We remember not to dwell in the past, but to praise Him for what He showed us is to come.

In re…

It's Simple

I have an incredible knack for complicating the very simple. Anyone who has known me for five seconds could confirm that. Beth Moore often says she is "blonder than she pays to be" and I cannot count the number of times that could have been said of me, too. I'm sure I have looked like an absolute fool in the simplest situations because of the way I analyze things. Taking something at face value is so hard for me to do. I'll never forget in my first year of teaching, as I was working toward a Master's Degree, doubting myself every time I tried to help students with third grade math. I would be smiling on the outside, speaking so calmly, while panicking on the inside. "Surely, I didn't remember that correctly. Do you measure from the end of the ruler or from the first mark on the ruler?"

I didn't even know who I was some days I questioned myself so much and so often. I want to know what I know with absolute confidence. Furthermore, I want to be in…

Dance Like He's Watching

My little girl loves to twirl and dance. She loves anything that involves a stage, microphone, or mirror. A certainly spunky little twinkle shines in her eyes as she tilts her head to one side and grins ear to ear at the mere mention of having an audience. She confided in one of her sisters that she really does not like going to ballet class because she has to follow all the rules, but we all know nothing makes her soul soar like recital time. It's all over her. It's who she is. She shines on that stage and comes to life. That is not to say she is an expert dancer. She's only just finished pre-ballet, after all.

What I am saying is that dancing is in her bones. God alone gave that passion and confidence to her and God alone will be ever able to take it away.
I have not always - or ever - known what to do with this particular trait of my girl. It came from none of us. On an exceptionally free day in an exceptionally empty house or car, I might bust a move or two in my kitc…

Bravery, Balloons, and an Invitation

"Someone asked me what I would write if I only had six words for my autobiography. Here's what I came up with: What if we weren't afraid anymore?"  - Bob Goff #everybodyalways
When I first started pouring my life out in written form all those years ago, I was too wounded to worry about it much. At that point, I did not feel I had much to lose. Standing where I was standing, I couldn't see how the world could have any more to gain than they would find in Jesus. I paid no mind to how crazy I must have seemed, never gave the critics a second thought, and did what I needed to do to find peace enough for the day. My time with Jesus was at the keyboard with an open Bible. Praise music loud in my ears, drowning out every other thought, healing came. One blog entry at a time, it seemed, healing came.
I realize that's a weird way to have a quiet time with Jesus and an even weirder way to process loss.
I am weird, so it made perfect sense to me.
Somewhere along the line…

June 23

We sweated it out on a hayride for my little boy last weekend. His wish was to go to the dairy barn and have an ice cream party with his friends, so that's exactly what he got. It made no difference that it was five thousand degrees that day. It was his party and we would sweat if he wanted to. A couple girls in my house are incessantly counting down until it is their turn. Mermaids, Toy Story, swimming party, oh my. They are dreaming and I am trying to keep up. Whatever the opposite of a party planner extraordinaire is - that's exactly who I am. Details, decorations, and hosting crowds stress me out like no other, but at least a handful of times a year, that's exactly what we do. We celebrate the lives of our kids in whatever way makes their little hearts sing. It's never perfect, but they are always thrilled.

Google calendar keeps popping up on my computer screen, telling me how many minutes are left until Miller Grace's birthday. As if I don't know. As if my…

Keep Knocking

The older I get, the more I value my village. In my earlier years of motherhood, I was too prideful to admit I needed a village. Determined from birth to do things "all by myself" I brought my first baby into this world with that same mindset. Nobody was going to come and walk the floors with that baby at night but me. I chose to breastfeed because it was best, but also because it allowed me absolute control over that little person. Or so I thought.

A ten second summary of my story lets me know the truth. These children belong to Him - always have, always will.
When I could not find the answers I was seeking in books or on web sites and when my bratty self would not give our own mothers the satisfaction of admitting I did not know all the things, God provided dear friends just a few steps ahead of me in distant cities I could quietly cry out to. If I could not do it "all by myself" I at least wanted to to maintain the front of doing so.
I heard it said recently tha…

The Light of Men

I fell in love with a city over 7,600 miles from home some years ago. I have basically no sense of direction, so I am absolutely confident I could not have found my way home from that place by myself if I had tried. I was quite certain my friends and family back home could not find me if they needed to either.  Although I was not free to share why I was truly there, there was only one Message so powerful I would travel all that way to share it. A wife and mother of four small children at the time, the youngest of whom was just over a year old, I would have never chosen a mission field so far or so foreign. In that season, going to dinner alone with a friend was a feat, but my Father had made a way for me to go so His children could know.

The terminals of Nashville airport are familiar to me. I don't travel often enough to know them by heart, but it all comes back to me when I walk on that wildly patterned carpet. I remember clearly how that journey to the other side of the world f…

A Common Cry

This is an incredible time to be alive. I think back often to how life just got better and better throughout my childhood. It began with hideous floral sofas, Walkmans, a big console TV (the remote being nothing more than a far-off fantasy), and phones that kept us on short leashes. By the time I reached adulthood, solids and stripes had replaced ruffles and flowers, tiny iPods magically played music with no tape or disc at all, televisions could be carried under one arm (remotes included), and cordless telephones were quickly being surpassed by pocket-size Nokia wonders. We caught fireflies at dusk, slept over at each other's houses whether our parents had ever met or not, and found incredible joy in Happy Meals with no fear of what was to come.

It would be impossible for me to distinguish how much of the changes I remember as fact pertained to actual progress in the world and how much correlated with my own change in perspective as I grew from child to adult.  All I know is that…