Saturday, August 12, 2017

God won't let us drown

in Mark 4:35 the Bible talks of a storm that comes in the evening. it's a furious squall with the waves breaking over the boat and nearly swamping it. Jesus was on the boat sleeping. the Disciples rushed to wake Him. "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" they ask. Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the waves and then turned to His disciples. "Why are you so afraid?", He asked them. "Do you still have no faith?"

with Jesus right by their side they were still terrified.

and so it is with us.

when the storm comes in the middle of the night we get scared. we see the lightning. we hear the howling wind. we feel the crashing waves. and we focus on the storm.

though Jesus is right next to us we run to Him. we shake Him awake. we ask Him if He sees the storm. we ask Him if He even cares if we drown.

and Jesus responds, "Do you still have no faith?"

if you change the position of one letter in the word get the word sacred. one has you doubting your faith, the other has you trusting it.

God doesn't promise there won't be storms. but He reminds us not to be afraid. because our faith shouldn't be in the storms. our faith should be in the One who never lets us go through them alone.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Prayer for the lost

Dear Lord,

I come to you today with a prayer for all those who are lost.

For all those who have been beaten down by the selfishness of others.

For all those who have seen too much and can't forget the pain.

For all those who have been told they were useless...that their sins were too great...that nobody would...or could ever love them.

For all those who are sinking in the pit of discouragement.

For all those who have been blinded by hatred.

For all those who think their failures are fatal.

For all those who have looked for peace in alcohol, drugs or sex and only found more despair.

For all those who are searching for something...for make them feel like they have value, that they have worth, that they belong in this world.

I bring them all before you today Lord. I ask you to heal their broken hearts. I ask you to clear their cluttered minds. I ask you to remove all evil influences in their lives.

Lord, I pray you become so real to them that they see their wounds are a way to reach others who are lost. I pray your peace gives them a reason to keep pushing past the darkness so that more than one life might be saved from the lies satan has led them to believe.

Lord,  I pray you put just the right people in their path to help them believe they are not alone...that they do have a purpose...that they are loved.

And when today slips into tomorrow Lord, I pray this very prayer again, for all the ones who find themselves among the lost and alone.  

In Jesus Name I pray.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

i never wanted to be a mom

i never wanted to be a mom.


that seems like such a selfish statement, especially when i know women who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive, but my truth never came from selfishness, it came from fear.

when you're 6 years old and your mom dies it changes your perspective.

you see things differently.

you dream different dreams.

you want different things.

and the last thing i wanted to be was a mom.

but if i broke it down, the last thing i really wanted was to be my mom.

the mom that died and left her kids behind.

and so i never allowed myself to wish for it.

i never allowed myself to hope for it.

i never allowed myself  to want it.

when you grow up as a motherless daughter you don't grow up wanting that.

any of it.

because it's too scary.

you don't dream of a forever family when your own forever is ripped away in the middle of the night.

you can't allow yourself to tell a child "i'll always be here for you" when you know it's not true.

it's a promise you know you can't make.

no, when your mother dies and leaves you behind you stop believing in always.

you stop believing in a lot of things.

and you put up a wall with real emotions on one side and what you want people to see on the other.

because that's how you survive.

that's how i survived.

i refused to miss my mom. i refused to be sad. i refused to talk about it.

and i told myself i didn't want something that i really did want.

and one day i became my own worst fear.  

i became a mom.

and my life became a million unspoken "what ifs".

what if i die at 37 like she did?

what if i die when my children are little?

what if i die and never get to say goodbye?

it's an endless recording and it never stops playing.

what if i die? what if i die? what if i die?

when my son adam was born i caught myself holding my breath.

17 years later i find myself still holding it.

and when tommy was born years later i thought to myself "what am i doing?"

i still have moments when i think that.

what am i doing? what am i doing? what the heck am i doing?

and i feel my chest tighten. and feel myself start to panic.

and i feel myself smothering them, and holding them too close.

and i feel like i never should have done this.

any of it.

because every day, in the very back corner of my mind, a thought overtakes me. a thought that at any moment this could be all over.

this wonderful, crazy, beautiful life with my sons, with my family, could all be over.

but i stop myself. i stop myself from thinking that i never wanted to be a mom.

because even in the million moments of crazy panicked uncertainty i see the truth.

i feel the truth.

i know the truth.

and the truth is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in my life

was becoming the very person i said i never wanted to be.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

note to self: i don't have time for my life

i've done it again.

said yes when i should have said no.

added 5 million more things to my list that already had 5 million things on it.

felt like i needed to help everyone.

felt like i needed to live up to everyone.

forgot to pay a bill.

or two.

let's be honest, it's more than two.

missed a meeting.

let the dishes sit in the sink overnight.

and then the whole next day too.

didn't make my bed.

didn't drink my water.

didn't eat lunch.

haven't made dinner.

lost my patience.

lost my motivation.

lost my mind. 

found it.

and then lost it again.

and it's not the first time for any of these things.

and it probably won't be the last.

because i'm a people pleaser.

and an enabler.

and a control freak.

and really bad at saying no.

and really bad at not finding time to do it all.

and really bad at remembering the good i do.

because i still have SO MUCH to do.

and i won't stop until it's done.

and i'll hate that some of it will be late.

and i'll hate that some of it isn't important.

and i'll hate that some of it i shouldn't even be doing.

but i'll still do it.

because i said i would.

because I AM CRAZY.

because sometimes i like to believe i am a superhero. 


and i'm missing out on my life.

and i'm missing out on my boys.

and i'm worrying way too much about things that don't matter.

and not spending nearly enough time on things that do.

note to self: i don't have time for my life

but even worse...what if life finally stops having time for me?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

dear tommy...Santa is real...

and so today i had the "talk" i've been dreading for years. my 9 year old asked me if Santa was real.

my heart sunk. just like when he asked me last year about the tooth fairy. and the Easter bunny before that.

we tell our kids to tell the truth and then we lie to them.

we are not good parents.

but the truth is, we tell these stories because we are good parents. at least we're trying to be. and we want our kids to grow up with a sense of wonder and surprise and joy.

because, let's face it, this world can be cruel. so if we can portray that the world is good through a man in a red suit than so be it. and let's so be it as long as we can.

but as of this morning, i am probably the worst mom in the world. at least it felt that way when i saw his face.

because tommy did not take the news well. and for the next hour he didn't want to talk about it.

but then we read the letter i wrote to him again. this time together. i cried. he cried. and then we hugged.

i'm sad that he has to grow up.

he's sad that he has to grow up.

but we both know that he has to grow up.

and today he did just that.

here's the letter i wrote him right before i broke his heart to answer his question.

i hope Santa doesn't put me on the Naughty List.

Dear Tommy,

I know you want an answer to your question about Santa. You want to know if he is real. If it's really me and Dad who put the presents under the tree. If it was me who wrote Santa's answers last year to the questions you asked in the letter you left for him in the kitchen. You said his writing looked like mine.

And you want to know if we've been lying to you. Because people at school are talking. And some believe in him and some don't and you just want the truth.

Well, the truth is Tommy, is that Santa is real.

But he's not just one person like they portray in all the movies and books about him. Santa is me. And Dad. And the moms and dads of your friends. Santa is in the heart of every boy and girl who ever believed in him and then grew up to become parents of their own.

Sure we say he lives at the North Pole and he has reindeer and he flies all over the world to deliver presents to all the good little boys and girls but that's not the truth. Because the truth is Santa lives in North Carolina. And Nebraska. And Cleveland.

And a thousand other places around the world.

And Santa isn't just one person. He's a hundred people. He's a thousand people. He's a million people.

Because Santa isn't a person...he's a feeling.

He's the hope that you feel when you know Christmas is coming and you keep your fingers crossed that he'll stop at our house. It's the generosity you feel when you leave cookies out for him and food for his reindeer ”because they'll get hungry too.” It's the magic of a story that makes you feel that being good should be rewarded and being bad should not.

And though we tell you that you need to be asleep or Santa won't come, the truth is he can be seen everywhere if you look hard enough.

Santa lives in our neighbors who put up their tree in the window and their stockings on the shelf.

Santa lives in your teachers who make ornaments with you and sing Christmas songs.

Santa lives in good deeds and making sure that what we have is shared.

Believing in Santa makes us all, even for a little while, become better people.

And so Dad and I keep the spirit of Santa alive.

Oh Tommy, I have never looked forward to having this conversation with you. Because part of me doesn't want you to grow up. And believing in Santa, the REAL Santa Claus, is one of the last links you have to being little.

But you're not little anymore. You'll always be my baby, but you're growing up. And so I give you the truth about Santa today with a sad but hopeful heart. Because I hope that knowing the truth won't be disappointing but will open a world of wonder that you have never known.

Because today, you become Santa too.

And it's your job to keep the spirit of Santa alive in those who haven't heard the whole story yet.

So when you see a little boy looking in awe at Santa in the store be sure to smile. When you see a little girl waving at Santa in the parade be sure to wave too. And when you grow up and have children of your own, pass on the tradition. Pass on the magic. Pass on the hope.

And believe in miracles. And believe in the magic.

And never let anyone tell you that Santa isn't real.

Because the spirit of Santa IS real.

It lives in me.

It lives in Dad.

And I hope it will always live in you.

I love you forever Tommy.

And that's the truth.



P.S. Sometimes I still look up at the sky on Christmas Eve to see if I can see Santa. And sometimes, yes sometimes Tommy, I think I really do.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

written down in stone

i was looking through the paper last week and i came across an obituary of a woman the same age as me. i don't read obituaries all the time, especially if i don't know the person, but for some reason i was drawn to this one. and as i read through the words they had written about her, it made me think about my own life and what it would have said if that obituary had been mine. 

maybe it's the fact that i'm getting older. maybe it's seeing yet another tragedy play out with the tornado in Oklahoma. maybe it's just that i have so many things i want to do in my life that i seem to keep putting off. but whatever the reason, the thought of our lives eventually being written down in stone stayed in my head.

written down in stone

i saw it written in the paper,
i saw her face before her name,
and when i read her age it stopped me,
and prayed my life won't be the same.

it said she lived for 44 years,
and she died suddenly at home,
and it went on to tell her lifetime,
now it was written down in stone.

it seemed we both were born the same year,
but her life ended way too soon,
“and who's to know”, I thought to myself,
how much she still had planned to do.

she left behind a loving husband,
family, friends and a small son,
and her lifetime came right down to,
two paragraphs of what she'd done.

as i looked out the kitchen window,
suddenly it seemed so clear,
we don't get to choose our ending,
but get to live while we're still here.

and everyone will have a story,
that will be told when it's the end,
we fill in pages as we're living,
with time we borrow and we spend.

the moments that are set before us,
are only given as a loan,
and so we better get to living...
before they're written down in stone.

crazy how death always makes us think about life isn't it? but it's a good thing. 

because thinking about life usually leads us to living. 

not just existing. not just breathing.

we only get one chance to write our story and though we don't get to choose the ending we do get to decide the chapters. we do get to decide where we're headed.

so let's decide to live. REALLY live. and love. REALLY love.

today. right now. this moment. 

while it's still here.

and while the book of our life is still open.