Saturday, December 31, 2011

the relief in failure

"For many, the deepest growth in humble, joyful reliance on God will be in the context of the most bloody battles, which appear to be tragic losses, and not glorious victories.”
- Dan Allender, Bold Love

And that right there, my friend, pretty much sums up the final six weeks, or so, of my 2011.

Bloody battles in my heart and mind that are downright overwhelming.
Battles of my expectations that constantly vie to snuff out the warm glow of grace.
Expectations of life. Expectations of God.
Discontentment emerging from unmet expectations of what I think God should do for me – rather than reveling in the wonder of who He is.

Battles against the temptation to be self absorbed. Usually lost.
Battles with feelings of entitlement that leave trails of relational destruction.
The steady assault of self-centered thoughts.

In my estimation, tragic losses for sure.
And in most battles, the enemy is me.

I haven’t even been able to figure out the right strategy for combat . . . Do I need to adjust my thinking? Or simply receive God’s comfort amidst the challenges? How do I overcome my feelings with healthy perspective? And how do I walk by faith – when I feel like I can’t conjure it?

Amidst the chaos on the battleground and the noise of clanking armor on this awkward soldier, there is a still, small voice.

Bring it to Me. Bring it ALL to Me.

Your confusion.
Your chaos.
Your sorrow.
Your defeats.

Because you can’t win these battles.

But I already have.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

just one more time

even though i've been slowly regaining strengh from my health adventure that began last fall, i still struggle hard to see the forest through the trees many days. especially when it comes to missing out on opportunities with my husband or son because of my limitations.

but the other night, God, in His mercy, enabled me to see the captivating forest that surrounds me amidst the trees of my desires.

i was dropping off my first-grade son at a weekly church program. and after we entered the gym together, we exchanged a hug and a kiss before he ran off to dive into the night’s activities. but after he began to run, he paused.

and he looked back at me.

and smiled.

as if to say good-bye and i love you — just one more time.

at that moment in time, the Lord blessed us with yet another relational gift when our eyes and our smiles confirmed our deep love and appreciation for the other. a very simple and ordinary moment in time – that became extraordinary.

because i beheld it.

in God’s tender mercy as my Father, He enabled my mommy heart to recognize that i was receiving a precious treasure in that moment. a gift not to be taken for granted.

admittedly, my heart bled a little (okay, a lot!) at the thought that there will likely come a time when my son doesn’t stop to pause and look back at mommy like that. but i also can’t help but think that if that’s how my heart felt in that moment, how much more must it bless our Father’s heart when we pause?
and look into His tender eyes.

and amidst our running from here to there,
express to Him that we love Him.

just one more time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

because pride cometh before the fender bender

I used my GPS for the first time the other day. Well, I had semi-used it once before when I was stuck in traffic and knew how to press the button with the home icon calculated an alternate route. But this was the first time I actually keyed in a destination. And I was figuring it out fine, except for the view. Its default was to show me only the next turn, and I knew that wasn’t going to work because I pride myself in being a responsible driver I’d have to constantly take my eyes off the road. But I didn’t have time to fuss with it or else I’d be responsible no longer (gasp!) late. So off I drove.

And minutes later, I became a statistic.

Because less than a mile from home, I got into an accident. I was so focused on confirming my right turn with the GPS that I forgot to look up (and left, in particular).

Fortunately, the other car swerved, so the damage was minor and everyone was okay. But in my heart and mind, that wasn't the point there was something that still troubled me. And I am not one to get fired up, but I was angry. No, I was furious. But, um, I didn’t know why.

And before I disclose my insecurities go any further, let me be clear that I still regret take full responsibility for choosing to use the stinkin' GPS, for taking my eyes off the road, and for hitting the other car. Yes, I always have a choice.
(That public service announcement brought to you by my head.)

But as for my heart, I felt wronged. Even betrayed.
(Yes, folks, I realize that I was experiencing intense emotions toward an inanimate object, but just humor me for a few minutes, mmkay?)

So after praying about it and toggling between tears and rage talking to my husband about it, I realized that because I am still trying to blame the GPS didn’t have time to figure out how to change the view (or go inside to print directions from mapquest), I felt like I didn’t have much choice but to use the GPS “as is” three. measly. yards. at a time. Like I was forced to do something that I knew was irresponsible. And then to add salt to the wound, I ended up the bad guy!
The irresponsible one . . .

We need to stop right there, friends. Because that is one big ouch, with a capital O.
I was irresponsible? . . .
And THAT, my friends, is where my pride cries out like a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum draws the line.

Because far be it from me that I ever appear fallible irresponsible. And even farther be it from me that I ever actually AM human irresponsible. I make smart choices, not foolish choices. I use my turn signals. I follow the rules. That’s where I've wrongly placed my safety and security who I am! And according to that (false) premise, the GPS clearly violated my identity. The accident, a direct blow to my perceived value.

Fortunately, God is greater than my tantrums pride. And He reminded me that life’s not about doing the right things.


Did I just say what I think I just said?

I need to say that one again.
The goal in life isn't doing the right things.
That is not why we are here.
(Excuse me, but did that thought just rock your world like it did mine??)

This is about a relationship, friends. A relationship with God Almighty.
The One who rejoices over you with singing.
The One who has never stopped loving you since the beginning of time.
The One who knows your weaknesses, and loves you anyway.
The One who offers safety amidst life’s storms.
The One with whom you can entrust your whole soul – and know that it is always protected.

The One who can heal your broken heart.

As I’ve shared before, responsibility isn’t bad; it’s good. Very good! But ultimately, life is not about being responsible, friends. It’s about God.

I am valued not because of any responsibility that comes out of me, but because of the glory that was placed IN me the moment I was created in God’s image.

In Christ, God doesn’t see me as responsible or irresponsible. When God looks at me, all He sees is Christ. In all of His righteousness. All of His spotlessness. Only when I remember that my identity is safe and secure in Christ is my soul at rest. For He is the only identity that cannot be shaken.

Lord, help me to not be so preoccupied with doing the right things turns in life that I forget to look up, that I forget to keep my eyes on what really matters. May I be forever preoccupied with You.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Fixer-Upper Marriage

I had a unique opportunity the other day. An opportunity to see current pictures of the first home that my husband and I lived in – 15 years ago. (Talk about a throw back in time!) It was vacant, had just been renovated, and it looked fantastic!

The contrast between that home’s condition “then” and “now” was so apparent that I got fixated on it took me a little while to move past the first picture. And as I envied gazed into the sight of newly-refinished hardwoods, chocolate-glazed kitchen cabinets, and a fresh coat of paint, I thought, “That’s nicer than where we live now – 15 years later!” We've digressed. There’s something wrong with this whole picture . . . (I know, such a thankful spirit, huh?)

The reality? The materials now featured in that home are nicer than that of our current home. And materials aside, there was no denying how foreign it appeared clean it was.
No clutter.
No marks on the hardwoods.
No scuffs on the paint.
(Did I mention no clutter??)

Since this happened so nostalgically just days before our 15th wedding anniversary, I couldn’t help but take a retrospective look at the couple that occupied those two homes.
Same people. Two very different points in time.

In the one home, a young (sigh) newlywed couple with pretty much all of life ahead of them. And in the other home, a couple who has struggled walked through 15 years of life together. And you know what I concluded? The way those two homes look: Pretty much the same as the marriage.

Because since we’ve been married, we’ve certainly had seasons that have looked much like the newly-renovated house. Incredibly bright days of joy that energized like rays of the sun. Times beautifully painted with vivid colors of laughter. Memories woven together in rich fabric of personal and relational growth.

But we’ve also had times when the leaves have changed their colors, and we’ve found our home in the middle of harsh, cold winters. Times when the supporting beams of life seemed to be collapsing around us. Crises that left us in survival mode – long term.
Times that changed us. And the way we look at the world.

And if our collective walls could speak, they would also attest to the interior realities:
Scuffs of impatience.
Stains of selfish choices.
Dings of disappointment.
Cracks from responses lacking grace.
The constant clutter of my expectations.

Original structure unchanged. But the risk of damage clearly revealed.
Vulnerabilities ruthlessly exposed.

The newlywed home looks altogether appealing and intact. But this marriage home often looks worn.
And then I remember. That home is vacant.
It is only spotless because nobody lives there yet.

So yes, our marriage often looks weathered, messy, and needing repairs. But those marks are evidence of our humanity. Evidence of life.
Every scuff testifies to a life lived – together.

Every crack a reminder that we desperately need God
to pull the whole thing off.

So has our marriage has been wedded bliss? Nope! It hasn't.
It’s been better.

It's been a construction site for our hearts.
A journey of surrendering our wants for God’s best.
A place where we are reminded that God is more interested in our holiness, than our happiness.
Sacred ground where we abide, grow, protect, trust, hope, and persevere.

I'm not afraid of the mess, anymore!
I'm honored to live out this truth in marriage with my husband – stains, leaks, storms, & all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

a brutal four-letter word

Every once in a while, there's a particular word that comes out of my mouth that I have a real problem with. I genuinely try to avoid it with a passion, but there are simply times when it's called for. During those times, I take a deep breath, and reluctantly let it out. At which point I can count on fear and trepidation to settle in quite well.

And the word, my friends?


A seemingly innocent four-letter word, don’t you think?
But frankly, I don't like it. One. Bit.

I’ve had to contend with that word a lot, especially over the past year as I’ve walked through a health crisis that literally swept me off my feet. And my aversion to admitting my needs was, once again, in my face when my husband recently cancelled an important business trip because I wasn’t feeling well. {Mind you, I’m still working on getting totally back on my feet, so when I say that I wasn’t feeling well, I’m unfortunately not referring to a cold.}

While I was definitely relieved with his decision, I was more disheartened that he had to miss out on something important – on my account. It was clearly a sacrificial gift of love that made such a statement about my importance to him, but admittedly, it was very hard to receive.  (There’s that
receive word again . . . )

I know I’m not the only one who finds it difficult to receive, so why IS that? And why is doing the unthinkable asking for help one of the most humbling experiences in life? I
shared recently that coming to terms with my needs is painful because it requires me to set aside my pride and admit that I’m not actually, wait for it, super-human! . . . (Gasp!)
My needs are a humbling reminder of my humanity.

Whether physical, emotional, or spiritual needs.

Then add to my pride the messages that surround us every day . . .

We’re told that we always have to be strong.

But God tells us that it is in our weakness, not our strength, that His power is made perfect.

(Not superb. Perfect! )

We're taught that needy is a bad word with strong connotations, so we learn to be independent and self-sufficient.

But God says that without Him, we can do – nothing.

We think
what matters is what we do.
God says that what matters is who He is.

So after hearing messages our entire lives about needing to be strong and self-sufficient, how is anybody supposed to know that it’s okay to be anything less than super-human, let alone have the courage to ask for help? Or to know that it’s okay to be fallible?

And this, my friends, is precisely where I’d like to turn the social norms upside down.

Truth: Needs are a powerful opportunity
to experience God first-hand.

So guess what! That means they’re not actually BAD! (Double Gasp!!)

Because what makes all the difference is where we primarily direct our needs. When we first and foremost entrust God with our needs, He begins to build on the beautiful story that He’s been writing in our lives all along. But this time, He adds this exciting twist:
When we lose, we actually gain.

You see, when we are willing to lose our pride, we gain immense freedom:

Freedom from the pressure to have it all together
Freedom to accept that we have needs
Freedom to make mistakes
Freedom to trust Him
And freedom to receive grace. Lots of it.

We gain the thrill of experiencing the fullness of God’s glory and love as we allow Him to meet our needs. And THAT, my friends, is why the Bible says that we can actually embrace and celebrate our needs and weaknesses.

So call me crazy, but with that being the case, might we even dare to consider that our needs, our short-comings, our longings, even our unmet dreams – are actually good? . . .

I know first-hand how difficult it is to have needs. But I want you to hear this:

In Christ, you are fully loved and accepted just as you are – including all of your needs.

And hurts.
And disappointments.
And struggles.

We can trust God with all those things, and know that He is for us.
Don’t ever let your heart or mind tell you otherwise.

So when I focus on God instead of what I have or don’t have, He will meet my needs. No, He will exceed them.

So here’s my radical proposal:
Rather than being afraid of our needs, why not embrace them as precious opportunities to experience the supernatural?
Why not take the risk to share a struggle with a friend?
Why not take off the pretty “I have it all together” masks that we hide behind, and instead be an inspiration for others as to how to cling to God in the middle of life’s hurts, disappointments, and sheer mess?

When we’re unguarded, we give also give others a precious gift. The gift of our trust. And the same “permission” to be human. Because the best of friendships are based on truth, not pretense, and offer a safe place to be real and vulnerable.

However, as you boldly take steps toward authenticity, do not forget this, friends:
Whether others handle our vulnerability with the care it deserves or not, we are not defined by how others respond to us in life. Our identity must be anchored in Christ alone or else this whole transparency thing becomes one big threat.

Mother Teresa once said,
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.
Be honest and transparent anyway.

So what do you say, friends? Will you take the risk with me to be open about our needs, our hurts, our struggles in this journey called life? And unlock the doors to greater freedom and healing?

Who’s in??

And how about sharing this freedom-filled post with others? 
Share it on Facebook, Tweet it, Pin it -- whatever will remind others that being human and making mistakes doesn't mean that they aren't deeply loved!
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

i am the older brother

Recently at church, our teacher taught on the story of the prodigal son. At the end of the lesson, he said that the following Sunday, we'd discuss the prodigal son’s older brother. I immediately knew I was in trouble I'd get a lot out of it.

While the Bible doesn’t say a whole lot about the older brother, what it says speaks volumes to me – because I can all too easily see myself in him. The older brother was the responsible one. The dependable one. The goody two shoes. He likely did what he was told, and never caused his father any trouble. What parent wouldn’t be proud, right?

But the Bible tells us that while people size us up by our actions, God looks at our hearts. (Gulp.) And that, my friends, is what turns the whole story (of life!) upside down for me.

Because I don’t know about you, but I tend to view life through lenses of doing, rather than being. Every day, my nature vies to prioritize tasks over people. Check lists over community. Running, rather than resting. Tangible accomplishments over the unseen and the eternal. Doing things for God, rather than fostering a relationship with God.

Responsibility, over relationship . . .

Pursuing good, while missing out on best.

So what’s the matter with being a responsible individual and accomplishing things? Absolutely nothing.

However, when I allow those accomplishments to be what drive me in life, what thrills me most, I miss out on something greater. I miss out on experiencing the eternal, the immeasurable. And all the while my identity and security and perceived acceptance can subtly slip into being dangerously defined by the things that I do, rather than who I am. Or more accurately, who Christ is, in me.

Just this past year, God allowed me to go through a long period when I literally couldn’t do. A sudden health crisis left me bed-ridden and unable to take care of myself at all for more than six months. And now, more than a year later, I’m still limited in what I can and can’t do. And let me tell ya, friends – Have I ever wanted to DO! But do you know what God has wanted for me during this time? He’s simply wanted me to BE. To rest and revel in His presence.

It’s hard to rest, isn’t it? Because at the same time that we struggle to prioritize being over doing, our culture shouts lies like these about value:

Resting is a waste of time . . . Productivity is always priority . . . Sacrifice relational sensitivity for the sake of efficiency . . . And your value is determined by your contribution to society.

In our do-more society, we’re practically obsessed by doing.

Take a moment to consider the following:
Think about the myriad of things that you do in your life. Everything you do each day at work, at home, with family, friends. All of it. If you were to put it all in list form, it would be a lot, wouldn’t it?

Now I want you to imagine not doing any of those things. None.

And what are you left with?

That is one difficult question, friends. But thinking through it helps me remember who I am apart from what I do. Because if I am not able to recognize my personal value without any association of doing something, then I am at risk of elevating responsibility to an unhealthy level – and missing out on the extraordinary in life.

Again, doing is good. And so is responsibility. They're important! But what ultimately matters is why we do what we do. And therein lies what we truly believe about ourselves, and God.

So here’s the truth that God is ever so patiently establishing in my head and heart, friends: Because I am made in His image, I have immense value whether or not I ever accomplish or achieve anything. There isn’t anything that I can do to add to it (or take away from it).

So the question is – Will I have the guts to rest while everyone around me sprints? To prioritize relationship over responsibility? Or will I settle for merely being responsible and accomplishing great things?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dismissing a Miracle -- as a Mistake

A couple of years ago, I sat with some test results in my hands that were downright scary. Off-the-charts results in territory so dangerous that doctors’ offices across the country have been compelled to post visible warnings about this threat to one’s health.

Those disturbing results have haunted me the past two years, not knowing what type of internal damage was occurring, or what long-term ramifications could result. Or even short term! Not really knowing much of anything except that this was a serious threat. All the while wishing that somebody could just tell me what in the world I could do to fix it.

But they couldn’t. Even after enduring two full years of this silent danger, I have yet to hear any clear solutions for how to treat it. Maybe because it’s a rare problem. Or maybe because there aren’t any solutions.
I honestly don’t know.

This summer, the test was repeated to have a current snapshot. I tried to be realistic and not expect any change, but my longing for healing vied for hope, despite the reality. I unsuccessfully tried to shift my focus to the other areas being tested. But of course, when I received the results, my eyes instinctively went straight to the danger zone.

Let me pause right here. Because I don’t think it’s any coincidence that a week or two before, my son started a wonderful habit of reminding my husband and I conveniently, after we say no to something, that all things are possible . . .

Friends, the threat was completely GONE.
Not a lower risk than before. Not even low-risk numbers.

I was dumbfounded. Confused, really.
So did I jump for joy? Cry tears of relief? Or pause to thank God right away? No, I actually didn’t do any of those things. You want to know my ongoing first response?
I questioned it.

{How in the world can this be accurate? I didn’t do anything to cause this change. What if the lab made a mistake? . . . }

God was handing me a gift, and I was having a hard time receiving it.
I was holding a miracle.
But considering it a mistake.

It’s hard to receive, isn’t it? Because when we receive, we make that painful choice to set aside our pride by admitting that we’re human and have needs. (And that’s certainly another post for another time because this post is about 3 words away from crossing the line from blog to book.)

As I was pondering my response, it occurred to me that my choice as to how to respond to this gift mirrors the most important choice that each person has to make in her lifetime. It, too, is a choice of receiving.

Let me explain . . .
The Bible says that we are all “sick” with a nature that is prone to sin, which severs our ability to be in the presence of a holy God. If you read the Bible, you’ll notice that it also says that there is absolutely nothing that we can do about that nature.
All of the striving to do incredible things in and for this world doesn’t even change it. We simply cannot fix the bond that’s been broken between us and God.
But God has.

Compelled by His limitless love for us, and His desire to be in a relationship with us, God reached out and gave us a gift. An unsurpassed gift. He made a way to restore the relational bond that was broken.

When He sent Jesus to earth, He sent Him with the sole mission of reconciliation. Because when Jesus died, He procured our pardon from sin. And because our sin nature was crucified with Christ, the cross is where we find our deliverance from the power and domination of that sin nature.
Life, from death.
And when Jesus rose from the dead, He secured our new life of freedom as forever with Him for all eternity.

And after this miraculous display of God’s power of life over death, itself, the Bible says, “many did not believe” . . .

The choice is always ours, friends:
Attempt to sort out the mysteries of life rationally.
Or embrace the miracles for what they are, and set aside our pride to receive them.

Admittedly, I’m still struggling with the embracing part of this recent miracle, but my heart is set on walking by faith and not by sight.

So how about you, friend? Ever try to rationalize the supernatural? Or written off a miracle as an outright mistake?

Even though this story has a happy ending, it is still tender territory for me. As such, I would be wise to not answer the obvious “what WAS it?” question, because unfortunately, that takes my mind down trains of thought that can easily lead to lies, instead of truth. Thank you for understanding, and letting me be vulnerable with you about that.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tripping over Treasures {while Praying for a Penny}

The day after I shared the story about being challenged by my son's response to the marbles spilling all over, I had my own marbles tossed again. Nothing serious, but an emotional mack truck, nonetheless, that struck a deep chord.
Of course, completely unexpected.

To set the stage, one thing I discovered on my recent health adventure was a surprisingly long list of food allergies, and so I've been on an incredibly limited diet ever since. (We're talkin', I can pretty much count on both hands what I can eat.) And since my strength has been slow to be restored, it's been a long time since I've shared a meal with anybody aside from my husband and son (or my parents who lived with us for several months in the heat of the crisis).
Until the other night.

We sat down at the table with some family, and I didn't think much of the fact that I was unusually quiet throughout the meal because it was preceded by a tremendously rigorous day, and so I was spent! But as soon as we were home and I walked in the door, the flood gates of tears completely broke open. Seemingly out of nowhere. And all of a sudden, I realized how painfully my loss of dietary freedom was impacting me.

I was (again) feeling precicely how my son had felt the day before when he simply wanted the sense of order that had been lost to "be like it was before" . . . It was hard to not have a freedom I've always known -- the freedom to be able to eat whatever I want without any thought whatsoever. And even though I'm not one to wear my heart on my sleeve, apparently it showed all over my face when a plate of mouth-watering bruchetta was passed around, because somebody commented on my longing eyes.

It was awkward, too -- to join (or rather, not join) a typical meal setting. Not because of anything anybody said or did. Simply because I was different, which sadly, I avoid with a passion doesn't tend to be my comfort zone. And so this time, I was the one curled up in my Heavenly Father's lap, and husband's arms, crying out for something that I couldn't have.

I am grateful that I embraced the freedom to hurt and let it all out. And the freedom to say, "This is hard, Lord." And while I made it a point to thank Him for a couple of specific things from that evening, it felt contrived. It seemed near impossible to be genuinely thankful in that moment. I was struggling hard to keep perspective, and I desperately needed His help to pull it off.

I then acknowledged Him as the lifter of my head, and asked Him to please lift my eyes off of my circumstances and onto Him.

And He did.

Because then, He prompted me with this thought:

Instead of praying for restoration of something that I used to have,
why not pray that I would gain something that I've never had before?

In Him.

Truth in weakness, friends.
I'm ever grateful for it.

And please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that God doesn't want us to bring our hearts' desires to Him. He absolutely does. Big and little! But, what if in our limited perspective, we pray for what we think would be best, while missing out on something far better? . . .

Do you ever do that kind of thing? Focus on praying for something, while likely missing treasures along the way? It's hard to see the treasures (or potential treasures) when life gets intense, isn't it? Or maybe you've walked that kind of road, and had the experience of your eyes being opened to a treasure along the way -- or after the fact. Either way, I'd sure love to hear.

Will you join me in seeking to walk by faith and not sight by asking God to open our eyes to treasures that He has that far surpass anything that we could ever ask for? . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marbles, Curve Balls, & Life's Disappointments

This afternoon, I was playing Chinese Checkers with my son. And in the middle of the game, the checkers board was suddenly bumped, and all of the marbles went flying. In every direction.
Not a single marble left on the board.

My son started to cry, so I had him crawl onto my lap so I could comfort him. And while I was holding him, he said things like, "I don't want to start all over" and "I want it to be like it was before."

I'm not proud to admit it, but typically in moments like these, I would encourage him to get over it not make a mountain out of a mole hill. (Oh yes, he's well acquainted with that phrase.)
But this time was different.
Very different.
Because as I held him crying, I could relate to him like never before.
Because I, too, recently had my own life marbles get completely tossed in every direction. Without a warning.

A year ago (almost to the date), I landed in a health crisis that I am still recovering from. Completely unexpected, I began a health decline one day in September, 2010 that started with a trip to the ER, included several more, and then hospital admission. In short, I had lost my strength so much so that my husband had to carry me to the bathroom, and at times, feed me. I didn't understand what was happening (and still really don't), but all I knew was that like my son today, I just wanted things to be like they were before.

So as my son was curled on my lap today crying, I told him that I truly understood how he was feeling. And God brought to mind something that He has been trying to get through my thick skull shown me over the past year, so I shared it with him. That is, that God wants me to focus on the things I still have, instead of all I have lost.

That has often been an incredibly difficult exercise for me, one in which I haven’t always succeeded. At the time this health journey began, my son had just started Kindergarten, and I had already enthusiastically filled out all the volunteer forms to be actively involved in his momentous year. I had also started a Bible study that I was excited about. And I had been asking God how else He wanted me to spend my time while my son was at school (all day). So many exciting opportunities! But never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that the answer would include being immobile for months on end while I watched my husband carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.

After my son calmed down this afternoon, I had to step away to take a brief phone call. When I returned to my son, he was there at the game board trying to put the marbles back where they had been. But he couldn’t remember where they went, so he kept asking me if I remembered, which was a hopeless cause I didn’t. And a little while later, he asked me if I wanted to play a different game instead. And so together, we picked up all of the marbles, put them back in the box, and got out another game. As we started it, he said, “I’m not sad, anymore, Mommy.” And when I asked him why he thought that was, he said that he was happy about playing Battleship.

You know, I’m so challenged by the way that my son handled his disappointment today because it’s a much-needed reminder of how God lovingly invites me to handle my own disappointments in life.

My Heavenly Father wants me to experience the freedom to crawl up into His lap so that He can comfort me when I need a good cry.

He wants me to know that it's okay to be disappointed.

He also wants me to not lose sight of what I have, even amidst great loss.

But the thing that struck me most about my son’s response this afternoon was that at some point, he stopped trying to pick up the pieces marbles . . .
He stopped trying to get everything back to the way it once was.

And it was then that his heart was able to find rest amidst his disappointment.

~ ~ ~
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Linking up with Ann Voskamp's The Practice of Suffering Series

Friday, September 16, 2011


Let's just get this right out in the open. I have thought about blogging for two or three YEARS a while. And I kept coming up with "what ifs" . . .

  • What if I get so perfectionistic about my posts that I take all day to write them? (I may or may not have tweaked this inaugural post 38 a few times -- after it was finished. . .)

  • What if I'm not witty like my one blogger friend, or don't find a natural blogging voice like my other blogger friends? (Forget voice. I don't even know blogging lingo!)

  • What if I put too much importance on the feedback? (My people-pleasing tendancies have been knockin' on my door my whole life, so I'd much rather keep that door closed and not feed that monster, thank you very much.)

  • What if what I say isn't profound? (Heaven forbid I utter words that are -- ordinary!)

What if. What if. What if.

In other words, what if I'm not, wait for it, perfect?? (gasp!)
And thus begins my introduction. My name is Tanya, and I am a recovering perfectionist. (Recovered? Not at all. But recover-ing? Absolutely!) And as I thought about blogging for the 12,738th time again this morning, I was having a conversation with God about it. I sensed Him asking me if I wanted to have a voice (of impact). To which I replied, "Yes, I just don't know what to do with it!" At which point I sensed Him saying, "I'll show you what to do with it." (gulp.)

So I think it's time to pull back those curtains and open up the window, friends! Even though what's inside often isn't as pretty as the flowers in that window box. (Yikes!) All right, people. Here's where you remind me that I don't have to be a super-human blogger. But how about you? Have you ever felt like you needed to have the whole plan figured out before you dared to take that first step? And very possibly missed out on something quite good, as a result?
(Please say yes. Please say yes.)
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