Friday, April 22, 2011

A re-post from last year (April 2010) but one of my favorites and expressing some of my thoughts again this year.

Good Friday from a Mother's Eyes

Since I've had my own children I read the stories of Mary, the mother of Jesus, a little more keenly. I remember being 8 months pregnant with Emily during the Christmas season and thinking of how much Mary's hips must have ached as she made that long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey. I have a little more empathy for Mary since motherhood has given me new eyes.

Today I'm thinking of her again.

3 years ago this month my dear Uncle Bob was dying from pancreatic cancer. Every day he slipped further and further from this world and closer and closer to eternity. Our family circled around him except for one person--Gigi, his mother. Seeing him in such agony had become too physically hard for her own weakened condition and so she said her final goodbye to him 2 weeks before he died as he lingered in his last moments of consciousness.

I try not to think about that goodbye but when I do, tears spring to my eyes and my heart hurts and fear wells up inside of me at the thought of having to say goodbye to my own children. There is something very unnatural, something horribly cruel, about having to bury your children.

Today I'm thinking of Mary. Today I'm thinking about how horribly cruel it must have felt to see her son struggle under the weight of a cross, broken and bleeding, dying for sins He didn't commit.

I see her standing at the foot of the cross, arching her neck to see her son as he labors for breath, moaning from the pain and praying for those who torture him.

Can you see her? Her hair is probably more grey and her skin more wrinkled than the 3 decades earlier. She has become a woman, made a home, raised a family and now she stands just feet away from her dying son. I can imagine that as she stands there watching his clothing being gambled for she remembers his first grin, his first wobbly steps, the way her heart stopped when she first heard him say, "Mama." I imagine that as the blood drips from his torn body she remembers kissing skinned knees and singing lullabies goodnight.

I wonder if Mary bargained with God. I wonder if she silently pleaded, "To hell with all of them, that is my son." I have no doubt that as He gave His life for us she would have done anything to give her life for His.

Mary couldn't see in to the future; she was as bound to this earth as much as we are. We know her faith was strong, the early chapters of Luke leave us no doubt that it was, but at that moment in time, as her firstborn son hung on a cross like a criminal, I wonder if her mother's heart didn't break, beg and bargain for a different ending.

Today I'm thinking of Mary. Before He was ever her Savior He was her son.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Calling All People Who Are the Opposite of Me

You know who you are. Your name may rhyme with Vanessa, Shannon, Kara or Mia. You have a place for everything and you keep your home running with well oiled systems. You meal plan, you use crock pots, you read "Real Simple."

I'm not very good at asking for help. I'm not sure I know anyone who is but I'm going to bite the bullet and ask for help. And I'm going to see if the "help" can't come in one day or two and it be kind of fun because we're all together and making fun of how I ever survived these last 34 (gasp) years.

So who is in?

I'm thinking we (me and everyone who has gifts/talents that I don't and who needs a project) meet at my house and we start with some before pictures. Then you give me some good ideas of how to get organized, you give me ideas for systems and storage. We sit down and you teach me the art of meal planning (not freezer cooking--meal planning) and then we drink some wine. Then you either stay and help me get organized or you go home and wait for me to post pictures online or we drink some more wine. Or mix margaritas. If your name rhymes with Karen or Cary and you need help just as bad as I do then you can come over and mix the drinks and and drink with us and kick yourself because you didn't think of this first.

I'm a genius.

Who is in?

Monday, April 11, 2011


It has been over a month since I last wrote. Do you know how I know that? Because you all keep telling me. Little FB messages, little comments here, little emails in my inbox. And oh how I appreciate them (well except for the one from BlogHer telling me they were suspending my ads) because it made me feel missed and it made me feel loved and oh how I do love validation--just like my book Breaking the Chains of Low Self-Esteem says I do.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging, besides that I just didn't feel like it (you other writers understand this) is that I've been in the process of making a big decision.

Early in March, members of Council were asked to turn in their decisions of whether or not we would be returning in the Fall. For those of you who don't know, for 2 years I have served on a leadership team at my church. It has been an amazing experience that has grown me as a leader, a wife, a mother, a Christ follower, a friend...etc. etc. etc. Serving on Council and doing what I got to do week in and week out felt like the greatest of all sweet spots. I don't know that I have ever felt that I was doing EXACTLY what God created me to do more than when I was doing what I was doing on Council: public speaking, teaching, leading, being a part of an amazing Bible study. So that's why it was so weird when earlier this year I felt God calling me out of it. I felt myself losing joy and losing passion but passed it off as just being tired. Remember I've been going through all this sleep apnea business and chalked up to that. Yet part of me knew that God MAY be calling out of this ministry and I told Hot Jeff that I was going to start praying about it very intentionally but that if God was calling me out and I would have to let go, that it would have claw marks in it.

To make a long story short God showed me in several different ways, on several different occasions that I should resign. Then I asked Him for confirmation. And He graciously gave it to me...that very evening. God is so patient. So eternally patient.

So March came and it was time to give an answer and this is where we come to my blog and me not blogging. I've been a little too busy wrestling with God. Desperately trying to make it work. Desperately trying to misinterpret the things I've heard for what I wanted. Here's the interesting thing though, God sometimes calls us out of good things. Sometimes He just wants obedience and for us to trust Him that there's something else around the corner and we can't be in His Will and we can't experience the richness of of His promises unless we're willing to let go. Even of the good stuff.

Last week I told my sisters in Council that I wouldn't be serving with them in the Fall. And I cried the whole time. And I told them I was sad. And I told them I didn't think I would ever, ever, ever leave Council and so that's how I knew it was God (amongst a lot of other reasons). I'm not exactly sure what this next season of life is going to look like or what God is going to have me do. Sensei Jen Roth has suggested that God may be calling me back into a season of fully pouring myself in to my children and husband. Samuel will start kindergarten next year and if you've met Samuel you know that this will be a huge transition for him. It's huge for any kid but Samuel is ultra sensitive to change and will need my full attention and time. I'm blogging while I sit outside and I'm watching them ride their bikes in our and my neighbor's driveways and my heart feels such contentment and peace knowing that I'm going to be spending, at least the next year, just loving on my kiddos. Just watching them ride bikes. Mixing paint for them. Building legos with them. We go, go, go and going back to work part-time has only magnified that feeling of always being on the go. We are a family of home-bodies and having somewhere to go every morning and almost every night is exhausting us.

So here's what I'm coming away with and going to hold tightly too until I'm told to do something else: margin. Sustainability. Freedom. Rest. That may sound a little cryptic and I may or may not elaborate in a later blog post but the bottom line is that I'm in a good place of knowing that I've made the right choice, despite it breaking my heart.

Finally, for those of you who I've been in Hearts at Home with over the last 4 years and on General Session team with 3 years ago and on Council the last 2 years with--thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. We had been attending Salem Alliance for over a year and I knew about 6 people. Going to Hearts at Home introduced me to countless women (and in turn their families) who changed my life. You know who you are. You gave me community; a true place to belong. You showed me that being a mother and wife is the highest of all callings and that I could honor my Maker by serving my family. You brought tremendous joy and laughter in to my life. You have loved my kids, my husband and me unconditionally and without limit and you have brought us meals and cards and flowers and coloring books when we were sick. You have loved me through seasons, surgery, bad moods, good moods, depression, joy, milestones, craziness and everything else. You have taught me to read my Bible deeper, trust God more wholeheartedly and the true joy of being my authentic self. I am in debt to every single one of you who has smiled at me, remembered my name, hugged me, invited me to sit with you, invited me to serve with you, laughed at my emcee-ing antics and told me that something I said meant something to you.

My cup runneth over. Thank you.