Friday, September 22, 2017


These words were typed out several days ago, maybe even over a week ago. I can't remember. As I often do, I hesitated to post and spent a few days asking myself if I'm being too vulnerable for public content. I'm not sure I can ever fully resolve my quandary; maybe I am hopelessly introspective and far too concerned about how I will be perceived. I settled on posting because this is me being me, humanly flawed and affected by difficulty, with crooks and crannies of my heart that are tender and untidy.

I could be wrong, but I think at the core women are more similar than not. Maybe my daughter will be able to find a connection with her mom someday that she cannot just yet. Maybe you can relate. Then again, maybe not.

As for me, I'd rather live in a way that leans towards vulnerability than artificial sterility...


I won't lie. The last few weeks have been tough. It's so much nicer to come here and remember happy events, but I'm committed to representing myself authentically. That commitment is not so much about what I choose to write publicly (every aspect of life is not meant to be public), but I can't sit here tonight and communicate as if life is all rosy. Pretending life is perfect is an empty, exhausting pursuit. I would know. I read somewhere that perfectionists lack the courage to be imperfect. In other words, they lack the courage to be themselves. It's okay to not always be okay. I'm not always okay, obviously, but take it or leave it. This is me, not always doing okay.

I am a crier. I always hoped I'd grow out of it, or that I would learn how to hold back tears more effectively. I hoped to learn how to cover up, to pretend. I have wanted to feel less deeply, to feel less of me, even less of what I imagine others feel.

One time when I was little, maybe 7 or 8, my brother kept little tally marks on the corner of a chalk board in our house of all the times I had cried in one day. I guess he must have been feeling pretty exasperated by me. It had been a particularly bad day, and after I had cried over something once more   he showed me the collection of tally marks. I cried again, proving his point.

I'm a tiny bit better at holding tears back now. But not always. I hold back till I just can't anymore, and the tears come as a collective flow, every tear that had been repressed breaking free.

And so it has been. Tears in the shower, standing over the sink, driving in the car, my face against my husband's neck... all those repressed tears breaking free. There's something therapeutic in a good old fashion cry, because some things are worth crying about. Maybe there wouldn't be much to cry about if we didn't let ourselves love deeply.

I have thought on occasion that I still need to be mothered. A friend who has a few years on me validated this for me. There are times when adults still need to be mothered. 'Nurtured' may be a better word.

I went for a run in a quiet, unfamiliar neighborhood last week. I picked this area because it seemed safer for a night run in the area of town I was in (waiting for one of my kids). The streets were steep hills, the sidewalks were lit by a soft glow of newly built homes. The burdens and difficulties of my life weighed heavy, my thoughts running faster than my feet, my heart pumping, my head pounding. I ran uphill, looped through some side streets, down the back side of the hill, around the base and up again. And again and again.

Just like a good old fashion cry, running is therapeutic. But when the heart beats from the burden of emotion more than it does from the burden of running, and when the tears turn into sobs, and the lungs can no longer accommodate the simultaneous demands of both running and sobbing, then neither running or crying is therapeutic anymore.

There has been so much going on in my personal life. There's much going on in the world around us. Much disconcert, darkness, depravity. Whether I want it or not, I get a glimpse into the personal lives of many people because of my husband's work, and the things I don't want to see are unsettling. I stood reading from Psalms 46 one morning, comforted by the familiar words, "Be still and know that I am God" and the following, more frequently omitted words, "I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Behind me on the kitchen island lay the morning paper with headlines of devastation from hurricanes, and influential, crazy words from powerful and deranged men on both sides of the globe.

"Be still and know that I am God." Yes. That is what I want; they are words spoken directly to me. All nature, all nations will exalt Him. He's got this.

But the pain of trials is still very real. There is suffering and anguish. Our hearts long for others to be reconciled to God, our hearts break at their rejection. We are personally rejected, and that hurts real bad too. We still live and feel and cause real pain.

In the pain, though, He tells me to be still, to know that He is God. I am like a child, pained by something real, but being comforted and nurtured by a trustworthy parent. More than that, though, He is God.

Parenting. Let me just say that is not always an easy walk in the park. It's a grueling uphill run that sometimes leads to a sobbing parent who can't breathe. I have learned, though, that every single trial is an opportunity for me to be either tempted to despair or for my faith to be refined. I may teeter on the edge of despair, but by grace I choose to tighten my grip on faith still more. If a trial leads me to stronger and more resolute faith, then the trial is a kindness from God.

Here's what I've learned in the difficulty of parenting: The Lord parents me through it. My sin is exposed, my dependence on self and lack of faith is brought to light, my idolatry is revealed. I have experienced His promise to work all things together for good to be true, that trial is for the benefit of my sanctification. So just as I pray for my children and attempt to show them their need to turn to God in complete dependence and faith, God is calling out my very same need. He parents me. He nurtures my faith through trial.

This is a grace.

"Be still and know that I am God." In all situations, in every place, He is exalted on His throne. And He cares about these legs that run away and this heart that beats in pain and the sobs that keep air from filling my lungs. He is a personal, nurturing God that has perfect power. Yes, I can learn to be still even in the midst of this imperfect, painful life. His love is steady, secure, and unfailing. There is no safer place to rest or to hold on to in faith.


When I scrolled through pictures on my computer, these stood out because I see my boys nurturing things that are small and fragile. I realize they were not doing this intentionally, but rather they were driven by interest and curiosity. Still, I see boys skillful in one small aspect of nurturing.

The first set (above) were orphaned ducklings found in our pool one morning; the butterflies all came from caterpillars found, fed, and observed as they morphed; the lizards came from eggs which were found and secretly kept hidden in a bedroom till they hatched (hoping they would be snakes); and Jacob frequently brings me the creatures he finds and talks to me through the screen as I work in the kitchen.


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