Monday, December 16, 2013

All I really want for Christmas....


Last night, we managed to read a book before my girl drifted off to sleep. I wish we did it every night. We don't.

I'm an imperfect parent.

And I beat myself up for it a lot....

We finished the sweet story and there were questions printed on the last page. At first, I thought my girl was trying to stall her bed time...(I told you I was an imperfect parent)

One of the questions was: Is there anything you don't like about yourself?

My blue eyed girl stared off into sky and thought for a moment...

"Momma, I don't have a hard time loving me because you love me."

I cried. Hard.

Because I do SO much wrong. I get impatient. I raise my voice. I get irritated. Frustrated. But, buried underneath all my parenting failure is the love that I long to show her every day. I love this kid like crazy.

After her heavy eyes gave into sleep, I stilled my anxious mind and reflected on what had just happened.

She is secure in my love. My imperfect, miscommunicated, messy, mixed up, broken love. She loves herself in a healthy way because she knows how much she is loved by this imperfect momma.

I felt a nudge.

Quietly in my heart...I heard God say...

"If your daughter, can be secure in the love of her imperfect momma, can her momma rest secure in the love of her perfect heavenly Father?"

I think I know what I want for Christmas. And to think, it's been there all along...but, I've been unwilling to live in the beauty of freedom of the gift.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pretending Like Valentine's Day doesn't bother you?

A sheet of paper torn out of spiral notebook…A number two a pencil with the eraser worn… 
And a hope for love.

“Do you love me?”

Check: ___ Yes Or ___No

With every pass of the note, another anxious inhale and exhale. Across the room, opened, marked and then back again.  I would try to predict the answer before it ever reached me. Hoping for the best, but secretly, expecting the worst.


Carefully, as to not be detected by the teacher, I would smooth out the folded paper. With each turn, I was closer to the answer. Until finally, it was revealed. An added box with an x inside.

X  Maybe.

Although, it wasn’t a “no” it still felt like rejection in my second grade heart. There were conditions. Things I needed to change. Before I was worthy of the love of another.

Fast forward 30 years.

The document wasn’t scrawled on notebook paper. It was an official document. There were no blanks for “yes” or “maybe” but the entire document screamed, “You aren’t worthy of this love.” I signed my name and took the title of divorced.

For years now, I’ve tried to pretend that Valentine’s Day didn’t bother me. Like I wasn’t at all upset that I didn’t get flowers or candy…or even a card that let me know that someone cared. Valentine’s Day just felt like the “No” blank was permanently checked.

So, if you are trying to ignore the bright red flowers sitting on a co-workers desk…or the balloons delivered to the neighbor…or the dinner out that no one will treat you to…I know where you are.
This day is hard. I'm not going to try to erase the pain with careless words or clever anecdotes. I know how hard it can be.

But, I also know that the love that left me lonely does not compare to the love that will not let me go.

And I'm praying that you will know that same love today. If you want to send me a private message, I would be honored to pray for you by name. cantcookalick@msn.com

You are loved.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bored-now/2241989981/">bored-now</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stainless Steel Reminder

At impact, a tinge of pain shot from my heel and chased it's way up my leg, stopping at my lungs to take away my breath. It wasn't the first time that it happened, but, it had been awhile.

When I was a kid, I hated shoes. Between the months of June and August I refused to put my feet in anything except water. Unless of course, I had a mission that must be completed with travel courtesy of my Schwinn banana seat bike. Then, I would allow my two toes to enter an agreement with some flimsy flip flops.

My feet were conditioned to master the bottom of a cement pool as well as a gravel driveway. I could have walked over coals, if the opportunity presented itself. Thank goodness it didn't. But, during one of my summer adventures, I supposedly stepped on something stainless steel. On an x-ray, it looks to be a needle or a pin of some sort. I don't remember stepping on anything. But, multiple turned ankles and hard jumps have confirmed it's existence.

I never even think about it. Until, in a electric pulse nerve tingling kind of way, it reminds me that it's there.

My heart is that way.

The unforgiveness...the bitterness...the sin...that I thought was in my past, is only calloused over by days of activity and hours of coping avoidance.  And then, out of the blue, something happens to remind me, it's still there.

I encountered a situation this week that I thought was miles away in my rearview mirror. The emotions that followed proved that the situation that I thought I had 'handled' was only buried deeper in my calloused heart.

Things we don't really deal with God's way, have a strange habit of showing up uninvited.

Maybe I'm the only one that realizes that there is work God still wants to do in "that area."

He's not finished with me yet.



photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27384147@N02/4849189554/">Ano Lobb. @healthyrx</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jump Rope Education

To the ordinary passerby it looked simply like a mom and a daughter enjoying the sunshine, but to me it was so much more.

The skiff of a cloth braided rope on blacktop was the soundtrack of my education today. Little feet pounded the pavement on the downbeat to give the rhythm more personality.

Every day that I live, I learn a little more from this little girl who calls me "Mom".
Seems I should be teaching her; but the greater lessons seem to weave their way into our everyday life, leaving me taking notes as an attentive student.

Today was one of those days.

As I watched her jump rope.

She's just learning...and working so hard. I can't help but grin as short legs land flat footed and then spring again to clear the coming swing of the rope. As they do, I feel God whisper to my heart 3 lessons.

She doesn't quit. Even though she's just learning, she doesn't use that as an excuse to quit when it gets hard. She continues to try...and try...and try. Learning something new with every turn of the handles.

She celebrates even little victories. I'm not talking a win in the schedule celebration. She launches a full undefeated season kind of celebration when she jumps one more time than the time before. Complete with high fives and a victory dance.

She enjoys the process. She starts with a very determined look that turns into a grin about jump number 5. Then bursts with infectious giggles as she approaches the place she's never been before.

I think I am beginning to understand just what Jesus meant when He said:

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matt. 19:14

Lord, let me learn to live like this....




photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbird/1389203435/">thejbird</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deck the Holes…



A perfectly trimmed tree, stockings hung in a row, a dimly lit room with candles strategically placed to cast a hopeful glow over it all. It was a beautiful, perfect, peaceful. But, I wondered if the facebook image was really a reflection of what was going on in her heart.

And in quiet conversations by the coffee pot,  she poured out her heart with a fresh cup of decaf. It was not as perfect and peaceful as it seemed. She apologized for how she was feeling….just as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played happily in the next room.

Some people hang stockings every year, put together the tree and turn on the lights, in hopes that this will be the year that they really feel it down deep in their heart. But, really, they’ve just decorated that huge cavern in their heart that will somehow convince the carolers that ‘all is merry and bright.’

Maybe I’m dead wrong. I sure hope so. I just know it’s how I’ve felt at times.

All the lights in the world won’t fill that empty chair.

All the decorations that you can come up with won’t cover the empty hole in your heart.

All the gifts you can buy, won’t ease the ache of emptiness

So, if today you are putting up Christmas decorations with tears in your eyes…know you are not alone.If you try to smile but inside you feel empty, know that’s completely ok with me. You don’t have to pretend. Because, sometime Christmas hurts. We can deck the halls all we want, but it doesn’t make the holes in our heart go away.

But, as I hang up broken ornaments on a Charlie Brown tree, I remember…

Without darkness, the world wouldn’t have needed a great light.

John 12:46
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Noise of Me


Quietness is the classroom where you learn to hear My Voice. – Jesus Calling

I read the words, and yet, their meaning seem like a foreign language to me.

Quietness…a term I struggle with…because I’m loud, obnoxious, at times.

Probably because I’m afraid of what God will whisper in the quiet.

I already make up my mind that it must be harsh, critical, like the red pen of an unrelenting English professor at the misuse of the term…quiet.

I shuffle my papers and fidget in the cold, wooden desk that surrounds me. I long to carve something in the grains while I wait. Maybe that would relieve my anxiety.

This classroom…the classroom of quietness…is new for me.

But, I’ve spent my life trying to settle in here and study it’s precepts.

It’s awkward at first. Then suddenly, it seems, the stiff wooden seat, gives a bit and forms to hold me, steady me, support me.

And then, I hear it. Barely, at first…but, I lean in. And capture the whisper that I’ve feared so long. It’s the sweetest sound to ever fall on my ears.

I am shocked by what I hear. Not the harsh, critical words that I expected, but the soft, gentle voice of one who seeks for me to know, deep down, the lesson that He is teaching. The One who has been waiting to whisper these quiet truths to my heart…but, couldn’t be heard above the noise of life, the noise of me.

So, I settle in and relax. No longer rushing or distracted by the noise that beckons me to come and play before the bell rings.
I linger. 
I stay. 
My heart longs for more time in this classroom.

I know I can’t stay forever, but, what I learned is enough to make me want to return.
This time, without fear or awkwardness, but, with joy and expectancy...
to hear You speak.

Monday, October 22, 2012

We are all the same...


“I can’t read real good…and people make fun of me.”

A single tear ran down my check as I listened to a sweet lady…grey in her hair, lots on her mind.

“I really never said that to nobody. I figure no one cares. But, for some reason, I felt ok tellin’ you.”

My heart ached as I listened intently, careful not be distracted by all that was going on around me. A gift I take for granted…that she longed for…

We embraced. And she went on her way. My heart stayed right there.

Until…

I found myself seated by a leather coated grandma with a weathered face. She told me about her kids from eyes that had forgotten how to dance.

“Life don’t treat me good, sometimes.”

The deep lines in her face told the story of pain and struggle. Addiction and hopelessness.

Just in front of her, another grandma, who told the story of crack addiction that took her kids and almost claimed her life.

I was charged with speaking to this group of women. A group that had seen things that I had never seen. 

Experienced that which I’d only read about on the front page of the paper.

My knees tried to buckle as I rose for my assignment. I wondered what in the world I would say to these ladies.

And I realized, we are all the same.

In that moment, God showed me that there are women living in mansions that are homeless in their heart. Addicted to buying and having, trying to fill that void that seems to get emptier with every swipe of her credit card.

There are women on the pews of my church who are restless wanderers, longing to know someone cares. Looking to status or activity to finally tell them who they are. That they are loved, valued.

There are people like me, broken and rejected women who need to be bathed in the grace that Christ offers. 

Battered and abused by life, women who need to be held in the arms of a loving God.

We are all hungry. Feeding on the things we think will satisfy.
Or numb.
Or help us cope.
Or help us avoid the aching emptiness that taunts us.

Her face is etched in my mind. 
Her story, written on my heart.
Her faith, a lesson to me.
I know where I will sleep tonight. She doesn’t.
That’s faith.

We are all the same. In desperate need of a Savior.