Monday, August 14, 2017

How Do You Let Your Child Go?

How do you let your child go? The one who you gave up everything in life for – for the past 18 years?

It’s 4 days before I make the long drive to take my baby to college. My BABY. The one I asked God for. The one I looked down on, knowing she was a magical gift. A miracle.

The one I worried about every time she was sick, or got hurt. The one I saw blossom before my very eyes into a beautiful young woman. Outside yes – but increasingly on the inside, as well.

How do you handle not knowing where exactly, your child is?  Not knowing how well they are eating and sleeping? Not knowing if they are dressing warmly enough, or if they walk back into their room in a bad mood, because they didn’t have a great day?

How do you handle knowing how tired over the years you were – from driving your child to and fro, from picking up last minute supplies for school projects, or taking them to a friend’s house….only to have a quieter home? One that is void of that laughter and sound?

How do you disguise the tears that want to fall from your eyes – FOUR days before you leave to say goodbye?  Or the fact that your heart is simultaneously breaking, while being proud and excited at the same time?

It’s all so much.

I want my daughters to be independent. I want them to purse their own identity in life. I never want them to HAVE to call mom, text mom, or do something for mom. But I sooo want them to want to!

I want them to miss me. I want them to run home in anticipation of sharing a story with me. I want them to see that my life goes on too… just like theirs. And that I have interests, friendships, and commitments. But they will always be my priority. My deepest loves.

I know their world will grow bigger. And my role will be smaller. How do you successfully manage that? How do you transition with grace into that role?

Four days. Four days where I can ponder my own feelings. Navigate them.

Four days until I say goodbye to one of my very best friends in the whole wide world.

I’m not ready. But I’m willing.

This is my job. My role. To set my little bird free, and watch her fly.

Heaven, help me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's Time To Focus Our Attention On What Lives In That Head Of Ours

It seems to me, that in the first half of our lives, we collect, collect, collect things. And in the second half of our lives, our focus turns more towards getting rid of, getting rid of, getting rid of.

We didn’t really need to have all of those things.

And in this day and age, a lot of attention is given to “spring cleaning,” “simplifying,” “organizing,” and “downsizing.” 

We want our houses clean and not cluttered.

But what about our hearts and our heads?  A clean house doesn’t really make an impact on our lives, if our hearts and our minds are too full of “stuff.” We forget that we need to “spring clean,” “simplify”, and “organize” what is going on inside of us, as well.

There are things we keep carrying in our minds and in our soul that we should have long since let go of.

Our minds are too full of “stuff.” Stuff that is hindering our life, our growth, and our emotional well-being.  When was the last time you went inside of yourself and said to a certain thought or emotion… “Hey. It’s time for you to go?”

We need to do more of that!

Our lives simply cannot be healthy with just a clean home, closet, or car. They can only be healthy with a clean mind.

We need to declutter, and sweep some things out.

Overthinking? Time for you to go.

Discouraging self-talk? Out the door.

Holding onto past hurts? Their time is through.

Clinging to needing to “achieve?” Shave those thoughts away.

Our minds are SO powerful. We can “think” ourselves into being lonely, sick, unappreciated, or misunderstood.  But if we are intentional, we can also “think” ourselves into being courageous, blessed, inspired, and content.

It may take practice. You may have to try a few times before you truly get rid of some of those guests hanging around in your heart, mind, and soul. But it CAN be done.

If we find our homes so worthy of our attention and detail, shouldn’t we find our own bodies and lives even more worthy?

It’s time to focus our attention on what lives up in that head of ours. It’s time to blossom and find freedom from the cobwebs that need to be cleaned out. They’ve done their time.

It’s time for them to go. It’s time for YOU to grow.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

When I Live Without God As Part of the Equation

I am a Christian. I love the Lord with all of my heart. Yet, life gets busy. I get busy.

It can be so easy for me, to go weeks without picking up my Bible, or reading God’s Word… unless I’m forced to, because I’m currently in a Bible Study group.

It can be so easy for me to go days, without praying or speaking to the God I love. I mean, I’m busy, right?

I can get tired, and want to skip church on the weekends. I only have two days to catch up on rest, get things done around the house, and regroup before the week begins again. So I choose Sunday, to be that “catch-up” day.

Are you like me? Are you a Christian living without God as part of the equation in your days?

How do we do it? Not very well, in my opinion. It shows up in all we do.

We are tired, stressed, irritable, anxious, confused, and we wonder why. We wonder when the churn of life will spit us out, and we can slow down. Calm down. Regroup.

The thing is, when I live without God as part of the equation, I’m saying that everything else in my life is more important than Him. I’m saying that I, am more important than Him.

Oh, how convicted my soul! How ashamed I am!

Not only that, but God shouldn’t be PART of the equation in our lives. He should be the whole dang goal. He should be our focus. Our priority.

We shouldn’t just read the Bible because we have to, we should dwell on it. Ponder its words. Soak it in. Let it permeate our very souls.

We shouldn’t just pray to God when we have a need, but we should speak to Him in thanks, and in a posture of listening. He has things He wants to say to us, too!

We shouldn’t just go to church because we have to. We should go to church because we thirst for MORE. We quench for healing, learning, growing, and fellowship.

Yes, I love the Lord with all of my heart. But I don’t always show it. I shove Him aside, because I can. Because my favorite TV show, my work online, folding the laundry, and chaperoning my kids in my car, is so much more important.

What if I took Him with me? What if I spoke to Him through it? What if I consulted Him before each thing, and whispered to Him in my heart as I went about each thing?

Oh, Lord. Please forgive us. Forgive us for letting Satan distract us from YOU. We say we believe, we say we love you, and yet where are you? We go about our lives without you.

I am so sorry, Lord. Give us the desire, the thirst, the habits and discipline we need to once again place you on the throne of our lives, where you belong. It is only then, that we will find what we are seeking. It is only then, that we will feel peace, calm, rest, and clarity.

You are more than anything I could chase here on earth. Show me as I seek your face.

Oh, how I love you Lord. Thank you for your grace and mercy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

All This Talk About Leaving Your Comfort Zone

There is a lot of talk about going outside of your comfort zone. I hear people say that you can only truly experience God, when you go outside of your comfort zone. That good things usually happen, outside of your comfort zone. Why going outside of your comfort zone, is so important… and more. Lots more.

I get the quotes on my facebook page, and the comments on my twitter feed. And something inside of me usually revolts, and shouts, “no!”

Because I disagree.

Although, I do think it’s very important to shake things up in our lives sometimes, so that we don’t get stuck in a rut, and so that we can continue to feel excitement for things – I don’t necessarily agree that you have to go outside of your comfort zone to do that.

I’ll tell you why.

God made us as we are. He made us with our unique personalities, our “bents,” and our giftings. For a reason.

The Bible says to, “Come as you are.” It doesn’t say, to come as someone else. And if you have to go outside of your comfort zone to do something, maybe that’s not what you should be doing!

I do think there are times where God stirs something in our souls, and convicts us to move in a way that maybe we wouldn’t have 5 or 10 years ago. To me, that’s different. We also change. We change with what we go through in life, and how things affect us. So that change, may influence us to do something that maybe would have been outside of our comfort zone previously. BUT, and it’s a big “BUT” for me…. I think those are the exceptions.

For me, I feel like I truly flourish and grow when I’m working WITHIN my comfort zone. When I’m doing something I’m truly gifted at, something I love. That’s when I feel true joy and happiness. I can push myself to be better without having to stress about it, because it’s something I know I want to improve at, or an area I want to grow in. And it’s all IN my comfort zone.

An introvert will never be an extrovert. They weren’t made that way.

A smart technological geek will never be a sports athlete. 

We have our giftings for a reason. And we should seek to grow, learn, improve, and stretch ourselves inside of those areas of giftings. WITHOUT FEELING GUILT about it.

I see the heart of those who try to push us outside of our comfort zones. We all desire to see people reach for more in life, instead of sitting in the “afraid” and “alone at home” zone. But, to me, there are just some flaws in this way of thinking. Unless you are convicted, and truly stirred to move in a certain way for your life, the puzzle pieces just won’t fit. Everything will feel wrong, and the attempt at doing something that is not you, will be a disaster.

So, learn what your comfort zone is. It’s probably a bigger circle than you think. Explore the things that bring you joy, and the things that you are good at; and work on expanding them little by little. And I think you will find that your comfort zone expands in the process.

In the meantime, just enjoy being YOU. You are a gift. And you were created as you are for a reason. Don’t let anyone talk you into being someone else; someone that THEY think you should be.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Leave me a comment below, and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

You Can't Outrun It

Not all of us have had storybook childhoods. For those of us who did, we can count ourselves blessed and so very, very fortunate.  But even then, some of us entered into adulthood, and were slammed with something that shook our world.

Childhood abuse.  Bullying. An onslaught of people who didn’t love us the way they should have. Being labeled unfairly. Feeling forgotten.  Whatever it was, whether it was in your childhood, early adulthood, or something you’ve dealt with fairly recently…. It sticks with you.

You don’t just forget.

Words and actions can hurt us more than any illness ever could. They are personal. Wounding. And life-long.

We carry them with us. Whether we move from city to city, job to job, or relationship to relationship.

You can’t outrun them. You can’t hide them. They are stuck inside, like glue.

We can try to turn our back on the pain of yesterday. We can try to ignore what happened to us.

It’s all, futile.

The only way to overcome unfairness, and pain from the past – is to face it.

We need to face the fact that a portion of our life was deeply unfair. We need to acknowledge that we may have been robbed of something.

It was wrong. It hurt. But it happened. And it happened to us.

That doesn’t mean that we deserved it. In fact, we most probably did not.

It doesn’t mean we are worthless. In fact, we are priceless and unique.

Stop your running. You won’t be able to outrun the words that echo in your mind and heart. You won’t be able to outrun the past.

Stop. Turn around and face it. Summon up the courage to let the past know that you won’t be labeled or identified that way, anymore.

It’s time to say, “no more.”

Cry. It’s SOOO okay to cry!  Yell at the unfairness of it all. Grieve the loss of your childhood, or of relationships that should have been special. Grieve.


Then, instead of running, start to walk. Move forward one foot at a time. Walk. Walk with a new identity; one of knowing that something in life didn’t defeat you. It didn’t win.

You survived. You survived and you refused to let it make you bitter, angry, isolated, insecure, or defeated.

Maybe once – but not anymore.

You are now victorious. A warrior. An overcomer.  This is your new label, your new identity!  Wear it proudly. Wear it with love. And use it to help someone else who may be stuck in the pit – trying to outrun the hurts of the past.

This is the cycle of life. The cycle of love.

Life needs you. But it needs you whole.

No more running.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Choose To Surrender, Or Choose To Fight?

Each of our lives is a story. And like all stories, our lives are full of tragedies as well as triumphs.

I’ve always wondered how some people seem to overcome things in life, while others fall victim to their circumstances. I’ve wondered how some of us find the stamina to change what is happening to us, instead of letting what is happening to us, change US.

I’ve laid in bed crying time and time again, over things weighing on my heart. I’ve pondered them, turned them inside-out and upside-down.

I’ve grieved over them.

And then, I’ve gotten back up. Mustered what little courage I had in that moment, and moved onward.

Because it always seems to me that we have two choices when faced with challenges. We can either choose to surrender, or we can choose to fight.

And I choose to fight.

Sometimes, fighting is simply not waking up feeling defeated. Sometimes, it’s rejecting a label that someone has placed on you. Sometimes, it’s in refusing to accept a situation altogether and doing something about it. Whatever it is, it’s never to surrender.

Some of us surrender. That’s why we don’t become what we dreamed of becoming. It’s why we don’t have the relationships we desire to have. It’s why we feel like a victim all of the time.

Bad things happen to everyone. I mean it. EVERYONE.  The reason why we feel like we have a stacked deck against us, and they don’t? They choose not to dwell on it. So we don’t really know, that they have even dealt with “bad,” at all. They have chosen to fight, by choosing to overcome.

There is no “secret sauce” in overcoming, you know. We all have it in us. We can all make that choice. Even if we can’t change a circumstance, we can choose our attitude. Even if we can’t change our surroundings, we can choose our priorities.

You are more powerful than you know. You’ve had it all along – that “control” of what you will choose in your life. 

What will your choice be? Surrender? Or to fight?

Monday, July 3, 2017

When We Silence Those We Love

We need to let others’ speak into our lives.

Say, you have a friend. And they come to you in full love and gentleness with something on their heart. Maybe it’s a concern for you, or wisdom based on something they personally have experienced, and they want to caution you from heading down the same painful road.

And you don’t accept their words. You reject them. Maybe in anger. Maybe in bitterness. Maybe in disbelief that they can’t wholeheartedly understand your stance in the moment.

It’s easy to reject someone else’s words. Easier, for some people, to not even consider what was offered in love, but to put a hand up in a “stop” pose, and let them know you won’t hear any more.

Sometimes when we do this, we think we might have convinced someone that if they still want to be our friend, they must think and act like us. But all we’ve really done is silenced them.

We’ve put a wedge in an otherwise open relationship, and let it hang there in the balance between us. Always.

It exists whether we address it or not.

The beauty that exists in people is the differences. The unique mindset that each person has, and the way they approach life. We each have had our own experiences, lessons, and heartache. And so, each one of us offers something unique to the other.

If we reject that, we reject the person.

No one is entitled to only hear what they want to hear. No relationship that has true love and respect, will ignore kindness offered in the way of caution or inquiry. In fact, we should value it. For true friends hold us in check when we need it the most.

To have the kind of relationships you really want, you have to allow those who love you and want the best for you – to not agree with you. For they will not agree, but still offer love. They will have concern, but still stand by.

That is true love and authenticity.

Will you allow it when the time comes? Will you appreciate the character and devotion that God has brought into your life by the way of others?

Or will you embrace the “wedge” of silence? The one that says, “Our relationship was based on a need? And I no longer have that need for your input in my life, because its different than what I want?”

Hard questions. Deep questions.

Questions that could save relationships.

We are so blessed and lucky to have ANYONE who loves us enough to speak openly with gentle love into our hearts and lives.  Let them speak.

And listen with the same heart of love in return.

Monday, June 26, 2017

10 Things That Make You Uniquely Beautiful

10 Things That Make You Uniquely Beautiful

1.     Your smile. No one has a smile quite like yours and it makes your whole face light up and shine.

2.     Your eyes. The eyes are an opening into the heart and soul. So much is said in someone’s eyes. How much they’ve been hurt, the sparkle of joy and happiness; love…. Your eyes speak for you. And what they have to say is a beautiful part of your story.

3.     Your mind. No one can think quite like you do. Those things your mind comes up with – the way you can create a beautiful piece of artwork, or write an encouraging note – or even the way you figure out how to fix something that is broken – that is a gift. Not everyone has it. Not everyone can use his or her mind in the way that you do.

4.     Your touch. Do you pat someone on the back when you hug? Do you rub their arm in support and love? Do your hands help a child up when they’ve fallen? Your touch shows your heart. And it’s a loving, beautiful heart.

5.     Your sense of style. Do you like elegant clothes, or hippie chick? Do you live in jeans or love long skirts?  Your sense of style makes you beautiful, because it’s unique to you. It says a lot about your attitude and outlook on life. It helps you stand out instead of blending in.

6.     Your laugh. One of the most beautiful things on a person is to see joy and happiness in their heart spill out. Whether your laugh is high-pitched, loud, or full of repetitions – it’s  a reflection of all that is good and merry and right.

7.     Your heart. Oh – yes, your heart makes you beautiful. The heart that is sensitive to injustice and cutting remarks. The heart that desires to please or wants to change the world. The heart that can’t stop dreaming, giving, or loving. The heart that has been wounded and hides. It’s the core of who you are.  It’s so tender in there. So authentic. Beautiful.

8.    You are beautiful in your natural state. Hair undone. No makeup on. That is how God created you. Your authentic self is beautiful. Authenticity is ALWAYS beautiful.

9.     Your personality. That sweetness, diligence, tenacity, patient and forgiving heart….that bubbly outlook on life, that inquisitive nature  - those are beautiful. God wants to use those in you – let them flourish.

10. Your flaws. What are those things that you feel like are flaws? Is it your hair color? Freckles?  Short legs? Big feet? Are you going through something right now that has changed you? Maybe cancer treatment that has cost you your hair completely or an accident that’s left a scar? God has scars. On both hands. And to me those hands are beautiful. Just as you are – you are valuable, worthy, and wanted.

You ARE beautiful because you are unique. God made you just the way you are. Go out and be all that you can be today; knowing that there is beauty woven in every fiber of your being.

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Only a Name

Names are very powerful. In Bible times, people’s names truly meant something to them. Maybe without realizing it, they lived up to the meaning of their names. So it was life-changing (literally) when Jesus chose to change someone’s name to a name – and a role – that HE saw in them.

I don’t think things have changed that much. Today, names still matter. If your name means “mighty one” you carry that knowledge internally with you, and you tend to live up to that thought and image. Yet, if you were named a name that came with a meaning such as, “forgotten one,” that can be a meaning that can ingrain itself into your heart without you even realizing it, as well.

There are other names that hold negative connotation to them; mother-in-law for example. I don’t know who the woman was, who first gave this name a bad rap, but it’s forever the butt of jokes. And how about “step mom?” It’s very hard to overcome the bad publicity on that name.

A mother-in-law gets a bad rap because I think, in the history of mother-in-laws, the reputation is that she just has to intrude a little.  She just can’t hold her tongue. It’s the way of the woman.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

I know many wonderful mother-in-laws who are an asset not a detriment to their families. I also know of people who claim to have had the most caring stepmothers ever, enter into their lives. These women are cherished. So, holding a certain title or name doesn’t have to label you for life.

You can put a new meaning and connotation onto the name, or the title that you were given – and you should.

Don’t let a history that comes with a name, change who you are or who you can be. The true way to win the battle of a bad name, is to change what the name means by living out the testimony.  It’s only a name after all, and we certainly don’t have to live up to bad press just because it simply exists! Defy the odds and prove you are different just by simply living it out. After all, a name doesn’t make you who you are – you do.

So, whatever name you were given – change the meaning to a positive one. Defy the odds and make your role, your name, and your life – a positive one. You can be blessed, and BE a blessing – WITH the meaning of a name you were given, or in spite of it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Exactly Who You Are, Is Just Enough

When the world says you don’t have what it takes, do you know that you are enough?

We have all gone through those times where we felt like we just didn’t measure up. Those times make us feel so small, and so alone.

The world can tell us we don’t have what it takes. It can tell us that we don’t have the right image. The right talents. The right personality.  It can take every last ounce of our efforts from us….leading us on, only to reject us and spit us out in the end. And that leaves us feeling so low and so unworthy, doesn’t it?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt rejected and “spit out” at some point. I promise you. But you know something?  I’m here to tell you that the world is wrong. Those “others” in your life? They are wrong.

Don’t listen to those voices. Don’t give room in your heart to the lies that make you feel like you are alone.

Because you aren’t. There is a WORLD full of people just like you. People who have felt what you are feeling. People who have tried, what you have tried. People who want to be loved and accepted – just – like – you.

You ARE beautiful. You ARE worthy. You ARE loveable and you DO have what it takes. You were made to be exactly who you are.

Sure, maybe you can improve on certain areas – but your core identity – that’s YOU. That’s who you are supposed to be. You have something to add. Something to give. Something to share. Your opinion DOES matter.  You DO have a place in this world.

And there will be people who will discover those truths and love you just as you are.

Because, you know what?

Exactly who you are is just enough.


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