Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Spirit

It's that time of year when kids of all ages start making their lists and checking it twice. And, while I know that I am not supposed to be a fan of the commercialism of Christmas, I am a huge fan of the beauty and excitement and childlike faith that this season can bring.

I grew up believing in Santa Claus but not knowing a whole lot about God. It wasn't until jr. high/high school that I began attending youth group with friends and began my relationship with Him. And you know what, I have never confused the two.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is from a Christmas Eve night many years ago. The house was dark and everyone was asleep when I was awakened by the sound of something in the house. When I peeked around the corner into our living room, there was a fire in the fireplace and Santa was putting a present behind our lighted tree. I didn't want to get caught, so I scurried back to bed and pretended to be asleep. I even heard the bells on Santa's sleigh as he departed for the next house on his list.

There are few things you should know about this story. First of all, my mother would never have left the Christmas tree lights on overnight. I am not even sure the fireplace in our house was functional because I don't remember there ever being a fire in there with the exception of that night, and there was no dad, relative or family friend who would have dressed up to be Santa at our house in the middle of the night. You should also know that the doll that I had asked Santa for was in that exact spot when presents were opened that Christmas morning.

The faith of a child.

I am not a child anymore and there has been more than enough reality in my life to crush the spirit of the little girl who continues to believe that she saw Santa in her living room. My faith is now in a Savior who gave me the greatest gift ever - not a doll that I no longer possess - but His life for mine. A belief that there is more to life than any toy or gift that can be brought in a sleigh, and a promise that one day, instead of hiding from my benefactor, I will run into His open arms.

Jesus really is the reason for the season, but I never want to lose the childlike wonder I had for Christmas when I was a little girl peeking around the corner at the picture perfect Christmas scene unfolding in my living room. And who knows, I might even write a letter to Santa this year. Why? Because it is fun to believe. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011


Have you ever had a day, or week, or month when you have had so many things on your agenda that you can't seem to focus on any one of them? I am in one of those places right now. I have had so many things that I have wanted to post, and yet I either haven't had the time, or I have sat down to write and the words wouldn't come. I have come close to ceasing the blog, but it is still my thoughtful place, and I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Yesterday, I was blessed to attend Catalyst One Day in Chicago with several members of the PCC staff. It was an awesome experience. I fell in love with Catalyst last year when we were able to attend the full-blown conference in Atlanta. Yesterday we were treated to an all day event featuring Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel, with a guest presentation with Bill Hybels of Willow Creek. The focus was on creating a healthy culture, and while I think we did gain a lot as a staff, I gained a lot personally as well.

I was excited about the event because Andy and Craig were my two favorite speakers at Catalyst last year. They have such a down to earth style of teaching and an honesty that is disarming. They shared a lot of great information that I am sure we will process in terms of if and how it applies to Pathway, but I was also challenged to rethink my priorities.

I struggle to disconnect. I don't know if it is the whole women's spaghetti brain thing or my insecurity, but I have trouble leaving work at work. I have been doing much better about leaving the actual work there, but it is hard to reign in my brain and push out all the work stuff to really refresh and be present at home.

That has to stop. There are so many other things that are important to me that are being pushed aside. Moving into the holidays, I want to be able to decorate, bake, shop and not feel like I have to cram it in here and there. With a 25 hour a week schedule, one wouldn't think that would be a problem, but it has been becoming so.

I have also been reminded of the importance of relationships. It's not that I had forgotten, but in the busyness of the everyday, relationships often get taken for granted. And then a friend (or two) is diagnosed with cancer. A family member is hospitalized with a life-threatening condition. A friend moves away. I run into a close friend and realize that I haven't talked with her in months, or I realize I haven't taken the time to visit another close friend who lives far away in years.

I love my job. I love the people with whom I get to serve. I love our church. But...I need to to be making time in my life for my job and lately I have been taking time from my job to live my life. This is not the culture I want to create for my family, or for myself. And the sad part is, I am fully responsible for it. It isn't expected of me. I have just allowed more and more of my thoughts to be taken captive by work than by home.

Yesterday's conference was more than a catalyst in name only. It was the catalyst I needed to realize what I was allowing to happen to make it stop. Are Andy and Craig still my favorites? Absolutely. I think I may owe them my life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sometimes I Forget...

...that I have fibromyalgia. That the constant pain that I feel isn't going to go away, and that it is something that I need to manage.

...that on top of the fibromyalgia I have bone on bone in my neck and in my lower back. That the constant pain affects my moods, but that it can't control them.

...that I have a child with special needs, and although he is fully functional and many aren't aware of all that we go through, it is a difficult road to walk.

...that I am 45. That my mom may not always approve of decisions I make, but that I have to do what is right for me.

...that I struggle with a seasonal affective disorder which sneaks up and drags me down.  That I need to watch for the symptoms and catch it before it gains control.

...that I have amazing family and friends that are standing behind and believe in me even when I struggle with the deep-rooted insecurity and fear. That my value to them in not found in what I do or how I feel, but in who I am...and who I am is ok.


God never forgets. He looks at me through eyes of love, and He wants the very best for me. He wants to carry those burdens that I tend to hold on to - thinking of them as "my cross to bear." Does it hurt Him when He asks to carry those burdens, but I hang on to them? Is He disappointed? Wasn't His cross enough?

The best part is, regardless of how I feel...regardless of the circumstances...regardless of how tight I am holding on, He is right there waiting for me to let go and let Him. And in that, there is freedom to be found. All I have to do is...remember.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Sometimes I have so much going on inside my head that I have no room left for words. - unknown

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Retreat Reflections

One of the advantages of being away from home for any length of time is that it often makes you grateful for what you have.  For instance, although your queen sized-bed may not be the most comfortable one in the world, you might find that you rest better in it than say a double sized vinyl covered piece of foam on a piece of plywood when you only brought twin sheets and a sleeping bag - not that I would speak from experience or anything.

The retreat was a great getaway, although I missed several of my friends who are usually able to be there.  My friend, Betsy, and I had fun chatting, scrapbooking and making friends with the group of ladies seated next to us.  I completed 25 pages which is a little low for me, but there were no "drop-in" pages which tend to run the numbers up.  I would definitely call it a successful weekend.  Michael is now ALMOST a junior in his book (he's a senior in real-life), and I made a little more progress in my Serbia album as well.

I also did a lot of thinking, and I realized a few things about myself.  (Seriously, those of you who know me, don't laugh.)
  1. I feel responsible for EVERYTHING.
  2. I am an pleaser.  (Is that the right word?)  I take responsibility for everyone else's well-being - emotionally and physically - often to the detriment of my own.
  3. Sometimes I just want someone to realize that I have struggles too.
I know that last one might seem a little odd to anyone reading this blog because I have been pretty open here with thoughts and feelings, but in my real life, as opposed to the faceless blogging world, I struggle with standing up for my needs, wants and desires.  I would like to say it is because I have laid down my own desires for those of Christ, but that would not only be a bit nauseating, it would be untrue.  I think it stems more from what I learned about myself this weekend.  Unfortunately, unlike Jesus, I am not omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, and trying to please everyone while not asking for anything in return is exhausting.  Sometimes I slip.

So, off I go into a new week with my new found knowledge of yet another area that God and I need to work through.  It seems as though life is coming at me from all sides right now, which either means I am doing something wrong, or more probably doing something right.  I am just going to keep hanging on to the knowledge that I am not who I was pre-Serbia nor who I was even pre-weekend.  God is doing a little bit each day, and someday this will all be a distant memory.  Until then may I recommend another song for your listening enjoyment.  I believe I heard God's voice through it this weekend, maybe He has something to say to you as well. :)

I Am New by Jason Gray
Here is a little snippet:

Forgiven, Beloved,
Hidden in Christ,
Made in the Image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and Holy
Reborn and Remade
Accepted and Worthy,
this is our new name...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I love order and design.  I think that is why I so quickly fell in love with scrapbooking.  Although I went into it kicking and screaming, there is something about layouts and embellishments that speaks to me.  I wish I could do it more.   It seems like the creative process feeds upon itself, and lately I have only been able to really scrapbook a couple of times a year. When that happens, it takes a little bit to get back into the flow.

This weekend, I am at a camp with a bunch of other women who share my passion for scrapbooking.  I haven’t been terribly creative to this point, but it will come.  At least I hope so.

As I sit here looking around a room full of women, brought together with the goal of recording the stories of their family through scrapbooking, I am a little bit overwhelmed.  I think back over the past year and all that my family has faced, and I wonder what stories are in this room.  Have others faced the same struggles?  Have others been able to take a great vacation to spend time making memories with their family?

I have to admit that I am also a bit overwhelmed by the wealth in the room as well.  I know that most would not consider themselves wealthy, but the amount of money that has been spent on die cut machines alone could feed a host of children in a third world country.  And then, there is the paper and the brads and albums and the scissors and the punches….  We are definitely blessed.

I don’t think I have ever really thought about either of these things before.  These weekends have always been a time for stepping back from the chaos that is my life, and the last year, I came into it “hot.”  The weeks preceding the retreat were crazy busy to the point that I almost didn’t come. Once I was here, I was focused on productivity.  This year is different.  I feel prepared and ready to create.  I am just distracted.

Maybe God wants this retreat to be more than productive this year.  I am kind of excited to see what he has planned.  I do hope to be productive, but I am sensing that He is up to more.  I would love that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Mom's Heart

As I lay here tonight on a cushioned bench in a hospital room while my youngest son is attached to a ton of wires and wearing a gauze turban for a 24 hour EEG, I can't help but reflect a bit on being his mom. Being a mom in general really.

Life with Jaron has always been a bit of a challenge.  Shortly after our first ultrasound, we were told that there was a possibility that Jaron's life would be very short lived.  There were indicators that our baby might be a trisomy 13 baby.  Prior to that point, I had never even heard of that.  It was suggested that we undergo an amniocentesis so that we would know what we were facing. We assured her that whatever the outcome, we would be having our baby.  We agreed to the test as it would affect what medical staff would be ready at the birth.  It was that test that told us that Jaron would be a boy - and that he was NOT trisomy 13.

As much as I had hoped that was the end of our worries and that our beautiful baby boy would be fine, that hasn't exactly been the case. He has struggled with developmental motor skill delays which have affected every aspect of his growth.  He is smaller than many of the boys his age, and struggles with some speech issues, which added to the motor skill has caused him, and his mom, more than a few tears.

And now, with the onset of periodic seizures, it is just one more strike against this sweet, little boy who wants nothing more than to be a normal 5th grader and be included with other boys his age.

I feel responsible.  If I had been more careful during his pregnancy would things be different?  If he hadn't fallen and hit his head on that trip to Canada would he be okay?  If I had spent more time playing with him when he was a baby, would his motor skills be delayed?

I find myself at a very fine line. My faith tells me that Jaron is the unique individual that God designed him to be.  We are blessed to have such a sweet-hearted little one who makes us laugh on a regular basis.  One who causes us to slow down because he truly only knows one speed - Jaron speed - and that he is growing at precisely the right rate for Jaron.

But...there are so many voices that tell me otherwise.  The voice of insecurity that tells me that I am not enough. The voice of condemnation that tells me if I had been a better mom, things would be different. Even the voices of others who seem to know so much more than I do about being a good parent.

I know that in this, as in every aspect of my life, I have a choice as to which voices I listen to.  But if I am honest, this is probably the area that I struggle the most with making the right choice. Because in the quiet moments - moments like tonight - those other voices are so loud, and the evidence seems to be in their favor.  Yet, God continues to speak in that still small voice reminding me that He is always in control, and He is bigger than even this.

I hope His voice wins the battle tonight because this mom's heart is struggling.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Did you know that joyless-ness is a sin?  I never really thought about it that way, but it's true.  We are commanded in the Bible to rejoice and to be joyful in our circumstances, so if we willingly choose to disobey the command...

I have not exactly been joy-full lately. That's mostly why I haven't been posting.  Kind of the..."If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" mentality.  I've been really, really busy with work, and processing a lot of things.  My schedule has been in overdrive too.

John Ortberg refers to my condition as "hurry sickness."  It's like multi-tasking on steroids, and in all honesty, I don't like it.  There has been no down time, and there is a never-ending list of things to do that taunts me all the time. It's not fun. It's not healthy either.

So, this weekend I ran away.  Actually, I went to visit a friend, and although our visit was cut short by responsibilities at church, the time we spent together was good for both of us.  There was a lot of laughing, great shopping, Chick-fil-a and Panda Express.  It's something we should do on a regular basis, but the three hour distance, along with both our busy schedules, prevent it as often as we would like.

In my last post, I mentioned Eric and Tyler's message on community.  One of the questions that came out of that message was "What is my 'here'?"  I have been thinking a lot about that.  If I were to sum it up I would say that my here includes a lot of upside down priorities and hurt feelings.  I have allowed circumstances and unresolved issues to steal my joy. I chose to let my "here" cause me to sin.

The good news is that there is still a "there."  For me, it is the spiritual discipline of slowing.  It involves stepping back from the "hurry" and resting in the knowledge that who I am in Christ is enough.  For me, it's more than resting, it's learning that who I am in Christ is enough.  I cannot do everything that I am being asked to do, and that is okay. Who I am is not dependent on what I do. (That's pretty hard for this perfectionist to get her head around. :)) 

While I have made massive strides in reclaiming my joy this weekend, I know that the road to my "there" is probably going to be a long one.  At least now, I have a map, and the plan is to rekindle my joy and take the scenic route - want to come along? :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I was supposed to be updating my blog, but once again I found myself on Pinterest - my favorite form of distraction. With a simple click of my touchpad, I am whisked away to a world where my friends show me all the things they think are cool, and I can show them the things I think are cool, and if they think they are cool too, they can "repin" them so their friends will see that they think that they are cool, and even perfect strangers might see it and think it is cool which

It's safe little community where I can be me without fear because the worst thing that can happen is that nobody repins my pins. Being who I am in real life isn't quite that simple. There is a lot more at stake than lack of pinning.

The message a PCC today was entitled "Don't Go Alone."  It was a message on the importance of community, and yet again, it made me cry. (Seriously, what is wrong with me?!)  Eric and Tyler did a great job of showing how community takes us from here to there - or from where we are now to the place that God is calling us to be. Their message was simple. Community moves us from:

  • complacency to commitment through accountability.
  • hypocrisy to transparency through authenticity.
  • judgement to understanding through acceptance.
  • vulnerability to security through assurance.
As I have processed this a bit, the word that stands out the most to me is vulnerability. I think it is the hitch-pin to the concept because so many of these facets are beyond our control. We cannot control how or when others hold us accountable. We cannot control whether others will judge us or understand us as we look for their acceptance. We have no assurance that when we are vulnerable, we will be secure.  The only thing that we can be 100% sure of is that we can choose to be transparent through our authenticity.

Don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of community. As the ministry assistant to Adult:Life, it is not only my job but my passion to help others connect in it, but I can also see why so many people choose not to enter in. In Journey Groups, one of the main things we emphasize to our group leaders is to provide a place that is safe for those who attend their groups. But, until people experience what it is like to be in a truly safe community, they will be hesitant.

I learned a lot about community in the last year. I tasted true community with my Serbia team. They accepted me for who I was, assured me that I had a safe place to grow, and held me accountable as I took my first baby steps toward authenticity. It was an amazing experience, and in all honesty, I miss my team a lot.  I see a few of them on a regular basis, but I rarely see others, and I feel like part of my heart is missing.

I have also been reminded this year that with vulnerability sometimes comes hurt, and that people are human, and that transparency when misunderstood can get you into trouble.

God has some amazing plans for PCC. Okay, maybe I haven't actually seen the plan, but I do know that He has blessed our church with some incredible leaders with a heart to not only draw our body into "a  genuine and growing relationship with Jesus Christ" but to also teach us how to be in community with one another. 

So while Pinterest can be a great form of distraction, I don't want to enjoy it too much, because for someone like me, it would be easy to find comfort in my friend lists on social media sites and lose sight of the ultimate goal of community.  I have tasted and seen...and community is good.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you...

Today is a day of remembrance in the US. It is the anniversary of the day that the terror we had heard about in other countries penetrated our border and for many became real.

It was not my intent to write a 9/11 post. In fact, I have tried hard to avoid dwelling on the events of that awful day.  This morning, during the video remembrances at church, I averted my eyes. I have skipped over most of the Facebook posts with video and picture coverage. It's not that I am uncaring or hard hearted. It's quite the opposite.

As I sat in church this morning, I realized that the death toll on that day was basically the size of our congregation. If you come from a small church, or an ultra-mega church or whatever the correct terminology is, it would be hard for you to imagine, but PCC is a mega-church of around 3,000 people. I looked at our crowded sanctuary, one of four weekend services, and the reality of that number was breath taking. We all know 3,000+ is a big number, but big numbers are never really real until you have a concept of how big they really are.

My heart was broken for the people of New York on that day, those at the Pentagon and those on the planes. I have never forgotten, nor will I ever, seeing the images. But every time I allow those images to play in my head and remember the fear, the terrorists win. There is a fine line between reminding those left behind that they are not forgotten and making them relive those terrible events over and over each year.

Before 9/11, America was sheltered and naive. Post 9/11, we are definitely not naive. We experienced a great loss - not only of lives but of innocence.

When I was in Serbia, at one point we drove by what remained a military headquarters which had been bombed. It was eye-opening. Not only because their country has been so heavily affected by war, but because just a few days before I had learned that at least one of my new friends had been in military service for his country. There was face where once there was a concept.

I wanted to share with you some photos taken today by a friend at a memorial held in Grand Rapids, but as I was writing this I realized that the album I wanted to share was on Facebook, and I don't think I can do that.  The memorial is simply called "The Healing Field."  It was one of apparently 16 memorials of it's kind set up across the US. The exhibit consisted of 3200 American flags, one for each person who died in the September 11th attack.  Several of the flags contained tags that told a bit about the person who died - who they were, how old they were, what they did, how many children they left behind. Each tag attached a real person to a concept. 

I will never forget 9/11. The irony of 9/11 or 911 was not lost on me. We were in crisis, and hopefully, we learned to value what is most important.  Not the buildings of steel and glass, but the people, some of whose stories we will never know. 

Hopefully we still hug our kids a little tighter and love on each other a little more because of what happened on 9/11. Hopefully we will be a little safer because of measures put in place, but overall, I hope that the terrorist don't win. 

Today, I am proud to be an American. Although I know that we are spoiled and arrogant and have our faults, I saw what we can do as a country when we come together, and it was pretty amazing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just Stop

Oh how I wish...I wish I could make it all stop - the doctor's appointments, the children's bickering, the constant noise, the mistakes I make over and over again, the chaos that is my life. There are so many times I just want it to stop.


That isn't the way it works. The appointments will continue to come, the children will continue to bicker, there will always be noise, and I will make mistakes. God doesn't always calm the storm, but he wants me to...just stop.

This morning's sermon at PCC made me cry. I went into it not realizing how applicable it would be to my life, but as Pastor Ron wrapped up his sermon series on Sandyland, he hit a homerun to my heart. Today's message was on time - well actually, it was on taking time to rest.
  • Rest to make room for God
  • Rest to embrace my limits
  • Rest to cultivate a deeper trust in God
  • Rest to prioritize what really matters
He made a lot of great points about all of us having limits, and God is God and we are not, but that wasn't what really captured my attention. As he was wrapping up, he made the statement:

"Hurry weakens us to the attacks of the enemy."

The last few weeks have been really crazy. I have been caught up in appointments and meetings and schedules and making mistakes and fixing mistakes, and trying to be everything I need to be for everyone and failing at every step. I am exhausted. I knew I needed to stop, but it was just one thing after another, and I didn't. And...I have been weak when attacked.

I am not really proud of my last post. That doesn't make what I shared any less true, but I have realized that when I allow those feelings to take root, I have added sand to my solid foundation. God is God, and I am not.  I may not be able to see how it all works, but God can work miracles, and I discounted that. I traded hope for despair.

I am not sure what rest will look like for me in the upcoming days and weeks, but I have to just stop. I have to spend time being refreshed by the one who gives me my strength. Probably no surprise, but God has been speaking to me through a song recently.

You must, you must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well forgive me, forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own.

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up, I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me?
Lord, right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, strong enough
For both of us.

Well, maybe, maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
'Cause when I'm finally, finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out


'Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
And you are strong when I am weak

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be strong enough, strong enough
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough, strong enough


Strong Enough - Matthew West

I will be resting in the promise of these words this week.  I KNOW I am not strong enough, and my prayer is that He will be strong enough for both of us.  But, I know that first, I have to stop fighting and let Him be God. Just stop.

Friday, September 2, 2011

On the Outside Looking In

That's a statement that pretty much sums up how I view my life sometimes. I have attachment issues. Those who know me are probably laughing at the moment, but it's true. I tend to stay back in the shadows most of the time.  I am not afraid to be up front, don't get me wrong, but when I am in a group of people, I tend to be pretty quiet and disconnected. It works for me...most of the time.

This week has been really difficult. I have mentioned some eminent changes in past posts, and I haven't handled them well. My comfort zone isn't comfortable anymore, and even though it seems like nothing has changed from the outside, things have changed considerably on the inside. For one thing I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that maybe I haven't grown as much since Serbia as I had hoped. There is still a lot of insecurity in this girl, and that insecurity can get her into a lot of trouble.

I have also come to realize that men scare me. Again, don't get me wrong, I love my husband, and I think men are a great gift from God, but I don't know how to relate to them. I am afraid of overstepping my bounds and not being who they want me to be. I've never had a dad or a big brother, and I carry a pretty deep scar from a previous relationship that often leaves me on unstable ground. The pleaser in me is a nightmare because I always fear that I am never enough - always and never. Two of those words that shouldn't be part of anyone's vocabulary, and yet they are so prevalent in mine.

These are the times when faith is hard is for me. I know that God is big and sovereign and that He loves me no matter what, but when I look at things like growing up without a dad I struggle.  This can't be fixed. I am forever broken. I will never know what it is like to grow up with a dad who is proud of me. My grandfather was great, but he wasn't my dad. I will never know what it is like to have a dad or a big brother who watches out for me. My husband is great, but he's not my dad, and he has a sister.

Scripture tells me that I have a heavenly Father who has never left me, and I am thankful for that, but I am not sure that a heavenly Father can fill the void left by an earthly one. Maybe that's my lack of faith. In all honesty, I didn't know my heavenly Father until I was in high school either. I know He was there, but he wasn't a part of my life. 

This is my biggest struggle. It is the thing that undercuts me every time. It is the thing that so often keeps me on the outside looking in.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Have you ever thought you were doing one thing and then God showed up and did something totally different? That pretty much sums up what happened to me tonight. What started as a parent meeting for my sons' youth group turned into a personal time of devotion for me - and the youth pastor had no idea.

As he was sharing about what he will be teaching the kids over the course of the year, he said in a side note that the word "anxious" comes from two words meaning "divided mind". Those two words - divided mind - nailed where I am right now. And, of course, those ever popular Philippians 4 verses popped into my head: 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:6-7

Do not have a "divided mind." How often have I used the words "I am torn between" or something similar. But God says not to have a divided mind.  He wants us to tell Him about our situation, seek His intervention, thank Him for His love and concern for us, and share our heart.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't believe that God is a cosmic Santa Claus, but I do believe that He wants us to be honest with Him.  He knows what we want anyway. But, I believe the second part of the verse brings an even bigger promise than that.

We will have a peace that we cannot explain that will guard our hearts as long as we allow Him to lead. To guard means "to protect." There is SO much comfort in that! 

I have been a Christian for a long time, and I am certain that I have heard numerous sermons on these verses - and I might have even heard that anxious means "divided mind," but apparently I wasn't listening. I have never understood it as I did tonight in that youth room.

Once again, God showed up and showed off when I least expected it and reminded me that I am not alone.  Love that!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Eighteen year ago, I met a truly amazing individual for the first time…and they let me take him home with me. I didn't know it at the time, but this person would cause me more joy and more heartache than I ever thought possible. With every success and every trip to the emergency room, I was reminded of how much my love and admiration of this individual filled my heart.

While he is no longer that sweet little baby boy that I met in that hospital room eighteen years ago, he is becoming a man a man I am proud to call my son. His “go big or go home” attitude has given him the confidence to try new things and to approach them with a confidence that I can only dream of having. His commitment to his beliefs and his huge heart have helped him to craft who he is becoming, and I can’t wait to see all the good things that God has in store for him.

Happy Birthday, Michael!     Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There seems to be a theme in my life right now - waiting. Waiting for direction. Waiting on transitions. Waiting on test results. Waiting on therapists. Waiting for children. Waiting at stoplights.  I HATE waiting at stoplights, by the way, but, I digress. J All that being said, waiting is just not something I do well – which is probably why God is determined to make me practice.

The last several days, I have had a John Waller song stuck in my head that I first heard during the movie Fireproof.  It played in the background as Caleb went about his day, waiting to see what God will do in his in marriage when it seemed like there was no hope for reconciliation.

I am waiting.
I’m waiting on You Lord and I am hopeful.
I’m waiting on you Lord, though it is painful,
 but patiently I will wait.

And I will move ahead, bold and confident.
Taking every step in obedience.

While I’m waiting I will serve you.
While I’m waiting I will worship.
While I’m waiting I will not faint.
I’ll be running the race even while I wait….

The outcomes of most of my circumstances aren’t as critical as Caleb’s, but it seems that at every turn I am waiting for something. The question is, will I be patient?  Will I be hopeful? More importantly, will I move ahead bold and confident? I hope so.

It all comes down to an issue of control – or more so – who is in control. I can live my life impatient because things aren’t happening on my timeframe, or I can trust that what needs to happen will happen in His. I can struggle in the now, or I can move ahead hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day. It’s all in the perspective.

So for now, I’ll be running the race…even while I wait.

Friday, August 19, 2011

When the words won't come...

There are some days when writing comes naturally. I love those days. I love seeing thoughts come together and watching the flow to see where it leads as I process through words. But there are also other days. Days when there are so many thoughts that it's almost like a bottle neck. There are so many things that I want to say, but nothing seems to want to come out. Those are the frustrating days.

I wish I knew where the problem lay. Sometimes I think it is merely overstimulation. There are so many things coming from so many different directions that I can't stay on track long enough to make a complete sentence. But other times, I fear it is something more. Regression. The fear that what I have to say will be misconstrued or not taken seriously. That I have struggled with something for "too long" in someone's eyes. That my thoughts and opinions aren't important enough. That no one cares.

It is in those moments that I want to protect myself - when past hurts win. Those are the moments that I doubt I will ever move past those hurts and be able to be honest about who I am and what makes Those are the moments I feel truly alone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Talk to my Smurf

I have a new friend. His name is Panicky Smurf. My friend, Lisa, introduced me to him, and I will be forever grateful.

Now when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I can just look at my new friend and smile. He's like my own little assistant who worries about all the little details so that I can focus on the big things.

Of course, there are spiritual parallels we can draw from the above, but I refuse to compare God to a Smurf. God is way bigger than that, and most likely not as blue. And God will be there for me even when Panicky Smurf is ultimately tucked away in a drawer somewhere.

For now though, Panicky and I are buddies. Change? No problem, I have a friend who can panic for me. Website issues? Panicky is on the job. E-mail issues? No problem.

Who knew a little plastic toy could be so helpful? :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Worth It

I love to read. Although I can't say that I am an avid reader like my friends at Two Bibliomaniacs, I love to get lost in a book. Typically though, I am not lost for long because I am also a quick reader. I am not a speed-reader, but it doesn't take me long to read a book...usually.

Do You Think I Am Beautiful, by Angela Thomas, is an exception. At a mere 167 pages on my Nook, it feels as though it is an obstacle that I may never overcome. Don't get me wrong. It is an AMAZING book. She writes with an honesty and openness that makes for an easy read, and the material is really good. I highly recommend it. It just hits a little too close to home.

When we first started going to PCC it seemed that every week Pastor Ron preached on something that I had been dealing specifically with the week before. It was almost like he had been listening in to the happenings of our home. As unnerving as that was, this is worse. It is as if Angela Thomas has been living in my head.

I saw Angela in person a few months ago, before I had read any of her material. Her story captivated me, but nothing like her writing. Her writing made me cry. I never cry when I read.

A couple of days this week, I have used her book as a devotional. Today, there was a passage that stuck out to me that I wanted to share. She was talking about the voices in her (my) head, and she likened them to the Peanuts character, Pigpen.

"Pigpen is surrounded by a cloud of dust everywhere he goes. That's me - just dust. So dusty, in fact, that I take the cloud with me wherever I go. So human. So prone to go forward and then turn around and move backward. I get it some days and then forget it on others. Thank goodness that God remembers I am just dust. His grace covers my inadequacies. His compassion waits patiently." Do You Think I Am Beautiful, Pg. 77

I get it some days...and then forget it on others. This could be the tagline of my life, and it is so frustrating. And to make matters worse, my insecurities scream on the days that I forget. They scream that I am not enough and that I am not "worth it."

There is part of me that wishes I had read this book before I saw Angela in person; but then again, I may never finish it, so I might never have seen her. Anyway…. There is part of me that would like to sit down and talk to her, but a bigger part of me is afraid of what she would see in me that I am not willing to admit.

I am not sure how someone who I have never actually met in person could know me better than I know myself, but I am thankful that God is patient and that He puts people like Angela in my life to remind me that I am not alone and that I am “worth it” to Him.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28

I have read this verse hundreds of times, quoted it, and even thought I understood what it meant, but as I read it today, I have a new appreciation for it as it came to life in a new way.

My husband woke up last night to my youngest son having a seizure. This is only the second one that he has ever had and makes for two too many. We are going to schedule some further testing, but today, he is our happy little boy again, and all is right with his world.

My world, on the other hand, has been shaken once again. This time by something far more important than the struggles of recent weeks. After the initial scare was over, and as I look at everything on my plate, I am tempted to ask God if I needed just one more thing. But, then I remembered that God isn't surprised by any of this. He knows exactly what He is doing and how He is orchestrating the events in my life and how they are working together to draw me into a deeper relationship with Him.

I can't imagine being God. I am the mother of three, and sometimes I don't know which direction anyone is going, and yet God orchestrates the events in every person in the world, and every event in nature, to work a plan of ultimate good. What seems like a crazy detour for us is ultimately part of God's plan. I can't even wrap my arms around how that happens. And yet, I don't have to. I am really not even supposed to.

God promises that He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in Him. (Isaiah 26:3) He doesn't promise that craziness won't come. If there wasn't craziness there would be no need to be steadfast.

It is sometimes hard to claim Old Testament promises, especially in the midst of a storm, because they were typically given to specific people in specific circumstances. But we know that God is God. He is unchanging. That gives us hope as we hold on to promises like, "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The past few weeks, I have been afraid AND discouraged. But today, I am going to trust in the promise that I can go to Him weary and burdened, and He will give me the rest that I so desperately need. That if I allow Him to lead me (take His yoke) and allow Him to teach me through my circumstances, that He will be gentle with me because He loves me and wants me to be okay. I will trust that even though I will still have to maneuver the obstacles before me, my part of the burden will be light because I will be sharing the yoke with the one who already knows the way and is way stronger to face those trials than I am.

I am thankful today for God's promises - old and new, and I am thankful that I can trust Him to always be faithful even when I forget.

My God is amazing.