When You Need to Kill a Year Before New Year’s Eve

Yesterday I officiated a funeral.  This was not your typical funeral.  For one thing, I was the only one in attendance.  For another thing, I did both the killing and the burying.

Most years come to a gradual end and quietly die of old age on December 31.  People pay their respects through small gestures.  Year in review photo albums, comments on the highs and lows, resolutions in hopes of tweaking some things for the next year…

 I decided that I could not allow 2015 to have its own typical, peaceful end.  So I took it upon myself to kill it.
Deliberately.
Abruptly.

As if a small bit of justice can be served by me killing it early, having the final word.  So, on December 18, I killed 2015.  Burned it and buried it.
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And let me tell you, in case you are ever planning to burn a book that represents a year of your life,

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Pure Strength

I have proven something to myself about being able to be strong.
The circumstances are too fresh to write about specifics, but the past few weeks have been the hardest of my life. I know I have only been strong by the strength God has given me, but I have been strong and not failed in the midst of something that most people never go through. There is a certain amount of peace and letting go of fear in me as a result of that. I haven’t been perfect, but as I look back I can hold my head high and feel good about how I have navigated the past few weeks.

There’s only one time I can think of that I lost sight of true strength, reacted in fear & felt the need to “be strong” on my own. Continue reading

Our Deepest Thirst

I took the day off yesterday.  I wasn’t sick.  My kids weren’t sick.  I just needed a day.  A day to catch up on life – real life – the kind you feel, not the kind you do.

I had a lovely breakfast at my favorite taco spot, but as I left I was at a loss.  Five hours until I pick up kids from school.  How do I spend it?  How do I make this day valuable?  My practical list of tasks begging for my attention is long – clean, sort, organize, purchase…
My body has been asking for rest.  Should I read and nap all day?  Maybe book a massage?
And writing!  How I’ve longed to have a day to devote to writing!

None of these options seem like they will fulfill the purpose of this precious day.  But the clock is ticking.  So I begin to voice my frustration to God, “God, you know what this feeling is much more than I do.  It’s this restlessness.  It’s this not having enough. This not being enough.  It’s this heaviness even when things are good.  What I’m really asking is, how do I make this ache go away?”

And there it was.   Continue reading

Trust changes everything…

When I was 17, I found myself in a place where I was being deeply impacted by other people’s choices.  Specifically, my parents.
They had decided to move out of state.  I had no control over it, and I didn’t like it.

I was old enough to have a very independent life, but not at all in a place to be financially independent.  And that’s a pretty important part of independence!

So, in the middle of anger, deep sadness and frustration, I schemed and planned out every possible way that I could stay behind.  Continue reading

Is Your Clock Broken, Too?

The other day I was late for work. I won’t say how late, but let’s just say it was more than 20 minutes. Well, okay, more than 25 minutes… You get the picture.

Being on time has never come easy for me. In seventh grade I held the record for most tardies…29 in the first semester! My husband and I have a joke that if I die first he is going to start my funeral ten minutes late because everyone in attendance would expect it.

I know. I know what some of you are thinking. How do I know? Because I’m married to a man who, for the first ten years of our marriage, was convinced that my sole goal in life was to make him as late as possible to every event we attended. Convinced that I simply didn’t care.

Apparently, some of you were born with this internal clock that alerts you when time has passed. I have an internal clock, too. But the hands don’t ever move unless I look at a real clock. If I get into the shower at 7:00, my clock keeps chiming 7 until the hot water runs out and I realize I should check an actual clock. It really is pretty much a shock every time! I am an intelligent person, I just have a broken clock… Continue reading

Beautiful Truth

“If we are not waiting for God to approve of me, then why can’t I feel His approval?”
~ The Journal (April 9, 2012)

It’s one thing to make an honest assessment of where you are.  It’s another thing to figure out how to go where you want to be.

What started as an empty notebook where I poured my heart out on paper, turned into a several month long journaling journey.  I handed the notebook to my pastor and he returned it with his written reply.  I wrote again, he replied again.

In the very beginning, I tried to describe where I was on my journey.  I said I had been at the top of a mountain, doing good and connected with God, when I got kicked and fell off the side.  Before I could regain my footing, I got kicked again, and then another time.  Before I knew it, I had tumbled to the bottom of the mountain with the realization that I had no idea how to get back to the top.

The truth that I now see is this: We are only truly on the solid ground of the mountain top when we are trusting and resting in the truth.  No one can push you off the mountain.  You allow them to move you by believing a lie.  If I was so easily kicked off the mountain, I really wasn’t standing on solid ground to start off with.  It was simply an illusion.

This season of  journaling became the part of my journey where I navigated the rocky side of the mountain to climb to solid ground.  At times it was precarious.  There were jagged cliffs that I almost lost my grip trying to climb.  There were times I fell flat on my face tripping over a rock in my path.

There was one “rock” I tripped over so many times that it almost completely stopped my journey.  I so desperately wanted to feel God’s love and have an awareness of His presence.  But no matter how much I tried to find Him, there seemed to be only silence and emptiness in return.  I was plagued by the thought that maybe there wasn’t really a God.  Continue reading

An Honest Declaration

Sometimes I go to a coffee shop for coffee, sometimes I go because I’m drowning in the middle of the waves of life, and a latte with a journal to write in is a life preserver and a breath of fresh air!  Two years ago I was one wave away from going completely under, so I left my screaming toddler and our other kiddos with my husband and drove as fast as I could to the escape of a vanilla latte and some coffee shop jazz.  Since writing is always a good way for me to decompress, I found a notebook in the back seat of my minivan before I went inside.

As I sipped and sat in stillness, my brain gradually quit swirling with thoughts of diaper changes and laundry and phone calls I needed to return… and I began to focus on some thoughts that had been flitting in and out of my mind for a while.  The thoughts seemed a bit jumbled, so I just started to write to make some sense of them.  What I ended up with was the most honest assessment of my heart I had made in a long time. Continue reading

Here is Your Permission to be Honest

In case no one has granted you this freedom, or you have a hard time granting yourself this freedom, here it is:  You can be honest!

And to take it a step further, I will say this: The journey you are traveling in this life will not take you anywhere worth going until you are free to be honest with yourself, with God, and with the people around you.  You need to be honest.

Why does this need to be said so clearly?  Because too many of us have grown up in environments where honesty was not encouraged.  Where questioning the status quo was looked down upon.  Where ignoring our doubts and questions was the “right” thing to do if we wanted to remain in good standing.

The problem is, we are like builders who ignore gaping holes and cracks in our foundation and then continue to build the house.  It shouldn’t be a surprise when the walls start cracking!  In my case, eventually, the walls started to crumble. Continue reading