100 Honest Words

vbs moreconverse

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

A question I’ve asked since scraped knees and greasy pony.
Sleek and polished professional the same question buzzes in my blood.
Yoga pants, messy bun cliche, kids running underfoot, the question sings like a lullaby in the early morning beneath cries and snuggles.
These days self realization looks a lot like self promotion— self devotion.
But amid the accumulation, and forward motion, stuffed emotion, I wonder if that question is an ironic statement that lingers to tease us, teasing out the loose threads of our unraveling certainty.

Who am I?

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Loved over Perfect

fullsizeoutput_126b

I want to walk the fine line of perfection.
I want to be one way- until I lean too far in one direction, and then I overcorrect, leaving me dizzy with indecision and insecurity.

They call it happy medium, like there’s a measurement that amounts to that, but I’m realizing that its a constant balancing act. The moment I think I’ve got it down, my illusions comes crashing down as I face my false reality.

I think this is a dance we do as parents, as spouses, as kids, and at work, with our friends and even with people we don’t really like. Pretty much, as humans, we can try to walk life’s fine lines.

As I look at the scattered pieces of false realities and loose ends, I’m challenged to look at the fragmented beauty right in front of me.

Shakespeare writes in As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” He asserts with bold certainty that life is scripted and predictable, as we continue to go through the same lines and choreographed movements like a carefully directed play.

But God gave us free will. He gave us the ability to move and speak and choose as we wish. When we choose the right thing purely, its beautiful and organic, and right. When the right thing is forced it rings false,
like a dripping sweet compliment or a forced apology. And that is why God made us people that are freed by his love, that freely choose to love.

Love isn’t a carefully marked path, but a stumbling journey of trying, and failing, and keeping on moving, even if you don’t know if you’re going in the right direction. The life that God calls us to isn’t a pin straight line of truth, but blind steps of trust and obedience. Never as a mere pawn or player in a prewritten play, but gentle steps that unfold our own stories.

These stories aren’t measured by their perfection or our performance. No, these aren’t stories reviewed by critics or competing to be on a bestseller list. Each story is God’s love story to us. As we fall, and get back up, as we doubt, and trust, and hide and seek, and find, our stories unravel into a picture of forgiveness, of redemption, and of imperfect progress.

I will never walk the tight rope of perfection as a mom, as a wife, a friend, or any person. So instead of training my steps to fall in perfect line with who I think I should be, I land in the soft place of grace, where I am restored and reshaped. Instead of placing impossible expectations on myself, I can live loved. Loved by God, loving myself, so I can pour love into the world around me. Because when I’m loved, being perfect doesn’t seem so important.

“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love”

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

How to Be Content

BE

“Dove,” she crooned in her sweet baby voice.

“What? Dove? No, what did you say?”

“Dove, dove, dove,” she insisted, pointing at the mantel above the fireplace.

I thought my 18 month old daughter was pointing to the small wooden bird standing there beside the carved books, shaped in the letters “B,” and “E,” for each of my daughters. But, was it possible? I don’t remember even showing her a picture of a dove, and for goodness sake, wouldn’t she just say bird?

She was getting frustrated now, gesturing wildly, and saying the word again and again, gaining more and more confidence, “Dove, mommy. Mommy! Dove!” 

I stood and picked her up, carting over to the direction her chubby finger pointed. I left some distance from the bird, to see if she chose it herself. She lunged with open hands toward it, and so I plucked it from the shelf and handed it to her. She cradled it and gazed at it lovingly “:Dove.”

I could have missed it. This gorgeous moment with my daughter as she dazzled me with who God is creating her to be. I could haver hushed my baby’s persistent babbles, and swept her up to rush her to bed, and misplaced this moment like a doll’s lost shoe. For some reason, tonight, I lingered, and witnessed a fragile miracle.

Earlier as I sprayed and wiped my counters as my girls busied themselves with preparing a meal in their play kitchen, I prayed out loud, “God show me where you want me to be. There are so many things I love and long to do, but I want to be present with what you’re asking me to do right now. If its being the best mother and wife I can be, then help me to find joy and fulfillment in that.”

You see friends, I’ve been falling into the trap of gazing at other people’s grass. I want to do something impactful with my life. You know, something with a flash and a bang. Lately I’ve been thinking if I didn’t have the responsibilities before me, then I would have time to do something, more significant. Cringe. It sounds worse on a page before me, but sometimes I need to face my ugly truths to be delivered from them.

We all long for significance. To be known. And often in our culture of mega blogs, self publishing, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, we think the way to prove our worth is to be known by a thousand of our closest friends. We have platforms, and events, we want more likes, and shares, and followers. Church ministries count the number of heads to measure impact. We want to be fabulous, popular, right, knowledgable, and valued instead of simple, humble, open, seeking, and small. But when we look to be known in the way our world packages it, we can miss being known by the person right in front of us.

Life on life, hand in hand, sip by sip, we find that the heart of what we really crave is in the sweet moments wrapped in friendship, and motherhood, lost in moments we rush by looking for the next best thing.

This afternoon I met a friend for coffee and told her secrets. We watched our kids dig in the dirt and plant imaginary seeds.

I came home and danced with my girls. Watching Elyse learn to move again is a tiny wonder. Bree copied my goofy dance moves and helped me make waffles for dinner. 

And each moment was significant. It was beautiful, and small, real, and meaningful.

I long to be known, but then, time and time again I hear the dull thump of a hollow dream as God reminds me that nothing else but Him will fill me. 

The dove is in the story of Noah’s ark. It returns to Noah with an olive branch to show him that there is dry land. The dove represents peace to show God’s reconciliation with man after the flood. The dove is also the form the Holy Spirit takes over Jesus during his baptism in the Jordan. A dove could be another bird, but in the Christian faith, it isn’t. Its because of faith, that we see something more- we believe in more.

Elyse could have seen a bird but she didn’t. In a simple wooden bird, she saw a dove. I could chalk this up to a weird coincidence, but I don’t. I see my baby girl reminding me that I am already known, and I see God using a simple moment, to remind me that He is in our midst- among clumsy ballerinas, golden brown waffles, and a carved blue and red dove- perched beside the word “BE.”

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Chasing the Sun

ales-krivec-14570-2
In the dark tomb of fear,
Waiting for light of day,
The dark chill whispers; waiting
For mercy to appear.

Sing me a night song
Until it is daylight,
Hum to me hope
This night is so long.

Faith never waning,
For you I will wait,
Redemption in the mourning,
Roll the rock away.

Black fades to grey
A tapestry of dawn
The glow of sun is coming
Night turns to day.

Night flees without a trace
The sun rises boldly
Trickling water to a river
It tastes like Grace.

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

A New Reality

 


Elysecloseup

 

Its not often that I’m without words, but recently I have felt quiet and contemplative. The two words that have been on my lips most, are a diagnosis I struggle to pronounce, let alone understand: Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM).

These last few days since we’ve been home have felt like I’m underwater holding my breath. The same house, the same rituals and to do’s, the same family, but a very different reality.

I’m preparing myself to emerge back into the world with Elyse. It almost feels like when we introduced her to the world as a newborn, watching her every move with careful optimism, wanting to keep her within arms reach.

When you see her it might seem like you’re meeting any 18 month old toddler, her belly pooched out as she marches with a proud waddle. She makes one word declarations, wearing the world on her face with exaggerated expressions. When you see her, she’ll probably say “Hi” three times with her wide smile. You’ll notice her face is fuller and less blotchy,  her big wide eyes reflecting her enthusiasm, the shadows beneath them hint at tiredness . She might make wide circles around you, gaining momentum and confidence with each step as she clucks and coos with glee.

In these moments we get to celebrate life with her as it should be, an energetic baby enjoying and exploring the world around her.

hospital

At home we also deal with another, new reality.

Each morning and evening we give her Prednisone, a steroid with undesirable side effects such as insomnia, weight gain, aggression, blood sugar changes, osteoporosis, and stomach upset. To counteract unwanted effects we give her Calcium, Vitamin D and Zantac. Prednisone suppresses her immune system so we have to protect her from being exposed to unwanted cooties- meaning avoiding crowded enclosed places or large groups of children. 

Because the sun can worsen the effects of JDM we need to avoid the sun during peak hours, and be vigilant about protection. E is embracing the hat as her new accessory.

Elysehat

Once a week, we give her a shot that is a chemotherapy drug called Methotrexate. We have to wear gloves to avoid contact with the very liquid that we inject into our baby’s skin. This is designed to work with the cortisteroid to quiet the overactive immune response that is attacking her skin and muscles .

The needle is tiny and the dose is very small.  Though difficult, we agree these are the steps we need to take right now. After 30 minutes of practicing on fake plastic skin, Nate played the brave daddy and gave her the first injection (I played the pregnant for 9 months card).

nateandehospital

Once a month we will go to the hospital for Elyse to receive a 6 hour IV drip of Intravenous Immune Globin (IVIG) which is a lot like a blood transfusion, but IVIG is made up of the plasma of up to 15,000 blood donors. Our nurse calls it liquid gold. I keep telling Elyse that it makes her sparkle.

E gets to play with a Physical Therapist twice a week until she rebuilds muscle strength and mobility, She thinks its pretty cool to have a personal trainer that gives her undivided attention, and beach balls.

E will have good moments, and moments when she is uncomfortable and fatigued. We hope the good days will be more and more. 

We’re still taking time to absorb our new reality; to figure out how our lives will be the same and very different.

Right now the words Juvenile Dermatomyositis taste bitter and unnatural. The doctor confirmed she’s the youngest child he’s seen with JDM, as the average age of onset is 7 years old.  I know that God lets us taste the hard things in life to help us appreciate the good. As we learn about suffering, we learn more about love. There is no turning back from this road that we’re on, and so we will trust God through this journey. We will celebrate God’s goodness; we will taste His fullness as you feed us; His faithfulness as you pray for us and walk beside us;  we will grow to understand how wide and how deep, how long and how high His love is, as we love our daughter, knowing somehow He loves her even more.

John9:1to3

 

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Simply Love

 

simply love 

Love is complicated,

Tangling us in knots of fear and uncertaity,
Nervous knots of joy and anticipation,
Love changes answers, challenges reason.

It is small like a dimple, it is big like a swollen belly,
Bitter like coffee, salty like tears
Sweet as syrupy pancakes.

It afflicts the strong, it comforts the weak
It breaks us, it makes us whole,
Love empowers us, changes us, humbles us.

Love is at the edge of our fingers,
 Its the next right thing, the hardest choice.

Love is brave,
Love is simple,
Love is life.

 

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Learning to Fly

 

bird
This is what I know.
I know my heart aches to watch my daughter crumple to the ground, her legs too weak to skip, or twirl, or run till she can’t catch her breath.
I know a mother shouldn’t have to sing lullabies to calm her baby as she twists and wrestles to be free, tears pooling in the corners of her eyes as she’s poked again and again.
I know the mom in the crowded waiting room of the ER, with her head bowed over the sleeping pile of a sick child, belongs at home with her feet propped on a table, her son tucked in his Thomas Train comforter in his bed.
I know I’m not alone in suffering. I know we can only drink life in as bittersweet cocktail of overflowing joy and aching emptiness.

But I know so much more.

I know I am blessed more than my words can ever express.
I know a daddy that pushes his baby around the hospital floors for hours on end, who wears an ash cross on his forehead, his eyes filled with tears, but his heart full of unwavering loyalty and trust. A husband that stays all night on one half of a twin cot because he knows his wife needs him.
I know a doctor run ragged with slumped shoulders, walking home, used up and tired, who’s hands have healed more lives than faces he can remember,
I know the warm blanket of peace wrapped around me amid the chorus of children’s cries and the dull ache of fear and uncertainty.
I know more food than my belly can hold, more prayers whispered than I can imagine, more kindness than I can repay
I know that when we’re broken, the love that binds us back together, makes us more complicated, and more beautiful.
I know a little girl who can’t walk, but believes she can “fly” through the trees in a blue plastic swing.
I know a girl who will walk, and skip, and run again, with a life story that sings like a love song,
I know a God that gives me the eyes to see His grace tucked in this corner of a hospital room lulled to sleep by the hum of IV monitors and the snores of my little bird.

fly

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

The Baptism of Lucy Love & Ruby Grace

 

baptism

Love was afraid,
but Grace led her by the hand,
and said, “Perfect Love casts out fear,”

Love humbly bowed her head as the water kissed her braided crown,
and Hope captured her heart.

It was time for Grace
She faltered, crying out in pain,
But as the water trickled in a song down her cheek, 
She felt the warm gift that Faith gave her,
And Amazing Grace hummed with Joy,

We smiled as Love and Grace stood before us like sisters,
Held up in trusting arms, carried by the Grace & Love of their Father,

Baptized at last!

 

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

Just This Once

justthisonce

Just this once,

We’ll lie here nose to nose,
Until thoughts give way to dreams,
And your rhythmic purr hums like a lullaby.

Just this once,
We’ll ignore the light that peeps through the cracked curtain,
Our bodies curved in a sleepy smile,
As daytime waits for us to stretch and yawn.

Just this once,
We’ll trade our plans for thick batter and crackling eggs,
Your bare tiptoe feet pattering against the tiled floor like clumsy ballerinas,
As dirty dishes pile contentedly beside the growing stack of hot pancakes.

Just this once,
We’ll wear our messy hair and crumpled pajamas,
Dressed perfectly for the warm glow of dusk,

As day succumbs to night for another lazy slumber,
When long days pass quickly through tiny childlike fingers.

Just this once,
You’ll be this small,
So we’ll treasure these small moments,
before they slip away.

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

A Prayer for the Lost & Found

momelyseprofile

We convince ourselves we have all the answers,
And then you remind us we don’t,
Control wrapped around our white knuckles,
As we tug an imaginary rope.
Help us relax our grip,

Help us to find your face in the dark formless places,
When we sit in the dark, on the hill of a question mark,
Eyes burning, head hurting, life blurring,
At the end of our rope we feel like we’re falling,
But then we’re found,
In You.

 

share the love
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest