Thursday, March 22, 2012


I have a picture in my head.  It's of my four-year-old son clinging to my leg in one of those "mommy, don't go!" moments.  We don't have them often anymore, but they do still happen.  He wraps his entire body around me, and I absolutely can...not...move until I disentangle myself.

[You should know something at this point: he's not little.  He weighs 52 pounds and is 45" tall.  (Yes, he just turned four in February!)  He has some heft, and he is very, very strong (future linebacker, anyone?).  So, when he wraps himself around me like a car around a lightpole, it's really quite a thing.  I have to brace myself not to fall over right there on the spot.]

And if he's feeling scared or insecure in any way...well, you can forget about it.  I usually just find a way to get to the ground without sitting on his head and let him curl up in my arms for a minute.  (He is definitely a "physical touch" love language kind of dude...if he needs comfort, it's all about holding him.)  This can get tricky if I'm holding a bag of groceries, but, well, the things we do for love, right?

And that's what this is all about.  I might be in a hurry, embarrassed, annoyed, impatient, or whatever, when my little guy decides he just...plain...needs me, but the only response is love.  If I can get past the fruit (the whiny, clingy, needy behavior), I can get to the root: he needs me to love him in that moment.  He needs me to speak to his heart.

Once I see that, I can fill him up. 

But that's not why I've been walking around with this picture in my head.  Nope, that would be too easy.

It would be too easy to stop at the part that is all about him.  It would be too easy to stop just short of reflecting on how I could stand to learn from his behavior.

So I've been thinking.  And seeing.  And pondering. 

Do I cling enough?

Do I cry out to God, giving him all the mixed-up, coming-out-sideways emotions in whatever way they choose to come out in the moment, not really caring about how He's going to respond because all I know is I need Him?

Do I throw myself at His feet and hold on for dear life, especially when I feel insecure about what's happening around me?

Do I put myself under His shadow, letting His tall frame cover over me?

In short, when I most need to, do I cling?

Life has been a little challenging lately.  A few weeks ago my husband and I felt like we got a glimpse of the promised land - that God was taking us out of a really challenging season and releasing us into a place flowing with milk and honey.

But then all of a sudden we couldn't see it anymore.  Everything fell apart.  Everything got hard.  We began to doubt.  Had we heard God at all?  What were we doing?  Why is this suddenly so hard - does that mean we're doing the wrong thing? 

The world was spinning, and I began to spin right along with it.  To my shame, I reacted the way the Israelites did in the desert: with grumbling and outright yelling at God.  I did not react with the faith of Joshua when I saw the giants before me (see Numbers).  Unfortunately, I got bitter.

And then my four-year-old teaches me a lesson.  He gives me a picture of clinging. 

I want to get better at it.  I want to run to God, not because of what He has or has not promised, has or has not delivered on.  I want to run to God because there's absolutely nowhere else for me to run.  I want to cling to Him because there is no one I trust more. 

I want to believe that He is my greatest source of safety, comfort, love, and act like it by clinging to Him instead of waving my fist in the air, blaming Him for whatever's happening or not happening in the moment.

I'm so thankful for my children (for all children, really, but I am partial to my own, I admit!).  They teach me such invaluable lessons.

The next time one of yours has your leg in a wrestling hold and all you want to do is die of embarrassment, remember the picture they're giving you.  Receive it as a gift.  Use it to examine your own level of clinginess.  Are you there yet, in that unembarrassed, full-flung, completely out-of-control place that is reserved especially for parents?  Do you treat your Heavenly Father that way?

I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it, lowering my fist and opening my arms for a good, firm cling.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


So, if you know me, or if you've read me for a while, you know that I like to swim.  It's actually the only form of exercise I can do at the moment that doesn't completely send me into the toilet energy-wise.  I can crank a little bit and feel stronger, rather than trashed, when I'm in the pool.  This, I like-y.

Obviously, today's post was born in the pool.  Swimming always gives me perspective.  I get my head on straight in there.  For my best friend, Jen, this happens while running (often, not always).  For my husband, this happens when he gets to do something fun.  For me, I need the pool, watching the lane line pass by, listening to my breathing as I blow it out, stretching the stroke and feeling my muscles expand, contract, reach, pull, expand, contract.  I love it.

Last week - in the, ahem, pool - I had this thought:

"I'm so much stronger than I used to be."

Then came my second thought:

"Wow, I could have totally looked at that differently."

Then came my third thought:

"It's all about perspective, isn't it?"

Here's the basic gist of how that comes together.  In May 2010 I became very, very sick.  So sick that by November 2010 I was barely functional.  Sleep-walking, I would call it.  I had absolutely no energy.  I took long, "she's totally passed out" naps during the day.  I would sit on the couch and watch my toddlers play, helpless to join in the fun.  I couldn't cook, clean, work.  I could barely lift my arms, much less think straight or remember things.  I fell asleep every night by 8 and would wake up feeling like I hadn't slept.  And through it all, the weird symptom that's been going on since 2007 kept rearing its ugly head.  In other words, I kept fainting.

By January 2011 my PCP figured out that my body produces (basically) no cortisol, a hormone that's essential for all life functions.  By March 2011, thanks to a team that included my primary doctor, my naturopathic doctor, and my endocrinologist, I had a plan as to how to get better.  As most of you know, that plan included everything from drugs to diet changes to lifestyle changes (no stressors allowed!).

I started feeling better.  I would have good days and bad days but, slowly, I got stronger.  The change was minimal, however, and kind of depressing, especially since I kept fainting.

It wasn't until this past Christmas that things seemed to shift significantly.  For whatever reason (I believe it's because I removed a major psychological stressor from my life), I suddenly started to feel significantly better.  I no longer needed afternoon naps.  In fact, when I would lay down to take one, I actually couldn't fall asleep.  Overall I felt less fatigued and had more energy, more mental clarity, more memory recall. 

Occasionally I found myself running - yes, I did say running - with my four- and two-year-old, chasing them through the house or around the backyard. 

I kept fainting.  I'm still fainting.  But, it's been six weeks now, and I'm much, much better in all other respects.  So, when I was swimming, and I cranked through a workout that would have left me utterly ravished only three months earlier, I noticed.

I took note of the change and thanked God for it.

I did not think: "dang, I still can't _____ (insert goal here)" or "geez, I wish I could _____ (insert dream here)."

I chose a different perspective.  One of thanksgiving.  And in the moment, I was even thankful for that choice.  Because that's all it is, friends, a choice.

Today, my friend Jen texted me with Numbers 13-14:9.  She said she thought I was supposed to read it.  I did and smiled to myself.  There are many things in that passage that are relevant to where I'm at, but the one phrase that rang through my mind - again - was this:

"It's all about perspective, isn't it?"

So, I invite you to choose to see well this day.  I know you will be thankful for it.

Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria today.  Be sure to check out all these other awesome ladies.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Raising Godly Friends

Last Sunday I was catching up on old blog posts when I came across a post on friendship, written by a dear friend of mine.  It stirred up so many "to be processed later when I have more time" places in me that I thought I would share it with my friends for the Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday linkup.

Here's a teaser with a link to her site...enjoy!


I used to love hanging out with my friends. Elementary school, Junior High, High School, College are years filled with fun moments of riding bikes, watching movies, sharing pizza, and lots of time sitting in a den or park just sharing our hearts. How I love my friends.

In those same years, I can remember the feelings of insecurity, competitiveness, petty disagreements, and pretty small sighted values, including, the newest band, the clothes du jour, and the way to get around the tethers of our families.

Friends can meet a deep need to feel connected to another soul. There can be laughter, hope, encouragement, acceptance, and a sense of knowing and being known.

They can likewise, create a lowest common denominator experience, where fun withers into friction or worse, unfavorable foci's. Where group think removes conscience or at least lulls participants into homogeneous agreement to not make waves.

For more, click here.

And don't forget to stop by the link-up...Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Working it Out

Transition is a tricky thing.  I feel off-balance, which makes me annoyed.  Very annoyed, actually, and kind of a pill to be around.

I asked my husband if he needed my help this morning (you know, trying to pack our house with his arm in a sling might be a little challenging).  His response?

"I need you to go do whatever you need to do in order to recharge" (my paraphrase).

In other words, get the grumpies out.

I'm trying.  I promise, I'm trying.  But they don't seem to want to go away.  It's been weeks now.  At first, I blamed it on stress, then sickness, then fatigue.  I'm running out of places to look, so, this morning, I looked inward.

Am I in sin? I asked God.  Why can I not find a place of peace or joy?

Sometimes (I know this from experience) He will answer that first question with a 'yes', pointing out the sin and giving an opportunity for repentance.  I was hoping for that, in a way.  It would have been easier than this weird no-man's land I'm wandering through.  But instead, I heard one word: "attack."

I think this transition is important.  I think God is reordering some things (see Upside Down and Inside Out).  And I think, somebody doesn't like it.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; ...."  John 10:10, NIV

So, the question becomes, how do I respond? 

In my youth I would have taken on the enemy head-on, focusing a lot of myself on the battle.  Now, I don't, I simply don't have the energy for that.  There's something very liberating about that realization/admission.

It's not about me, my understanding of truth, my ability to fight it out.

It's about Him.  Who He is and how He is and what place He holds in my life.

The second part of that verse in John holds the key: "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

My life is because He has come.  My life will be full (of joy, of peace) because of His presence in it.  So, instead of focusing on the enemy, on the battle, I'm focusing on Him.  Gritting my teeth and grinding it out by reading Scripture and praying and taking thoughts captive, turning my eyes from one view of the world to another as the storm passes overhead, hunkering down in the darkness while waiting for the light.

As I do, I thank God that none of this depends on my strength.  Sometimes He calls us to stand beside Him and engage in the fight.  But other times (more times, I think), He waits for us to lay down in submission and let Him. So, I submit, I bow down, I wait.  As a friend pointed out this morning, Psalm 130 is the order of the day during this transition.  Amen, come Lord Jesus.

Upside Down and Inside Out

I like order.  And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  God created order out of chaos, right?  I like for things to go in their proper place, space, time, order.  So, I structure my life that way.  I shop at the same places every week, I write at the same times on the same days, I even straighten books at my local Barnes & Noble when I’m not on duty.  (I know, it’s a little obsessive…..)

So, I found it strange last week when, suddenly, everything was most definitely out of order.

Normally, on my days off (when the kids are at preschool), I swing by Barnes & Noble for my morning mocha, go upstairs to “my” overstuffed chair, curl up with my laptop for an hour of writing, and then head to the gym for a swim before it’s time to pick the kids up again.

Not this past Thursday.  After I dropped off the kids I randomly felt like going straight to the gym.  When I hopped in the pool (which was, blissfully, empty), I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to mix things up a bit. 

You see – usually – I warm up with freestyle, work my way into breaststroke, crank out some backstroke, and then warm down with free.  Instead, I warmed up with breast stroke, swam far more back stroke than normal, and finished up strong with several laps of freestyle, including my usual warm down.

The result?  I felt stronger, and went farther, than I ever do.

Conclusion?  Sometimes you have to switch things up to get where you want to be.

My husband and I are moving.  We’re uprooting the whole family and changing cities, schools, jobs, everything.  Along the way I’ve found myself coming across a lot of “should’s”.  When buying a house, one should do this….  When starting a business, one should do that….

The truth?  There are no “should’s” when you follow Jesus, save one: when following the Lord, one should seek Him.

Every time I start to get scared – thinking we’re doing things the wrong way and it will never work out…or, worse yet, thinking “what will so-and-so think of me when I tell him/her what we do know versus what we don’t know?  Will he/she think we’re stupid?”…every time I start to go there, the Lord reminds me of that day in the pool.  He reminds me: He’s the One who created all order, and He knows the correct path for this particular journey.

So, we’re a little upside down and inside out right now, and yet, I know we’re exactly where we are supposed to be.

What about you?  Do you find it hard to follow in faith when the path doesn’t seem to make sense?