Tag Archives: encouragement

When Mother’s Day is Hard

12 May

It definitely makes one feel vulnerable to share what your heart feels so deeply.  To let your heart bleed on “paper” for all to look at and comment on.  Please know as I write this I’m not looking for comments or fixes or platitudes.  I am simply using my voice to tell my heart’s story in the hopes that it will help ease the pain and loneliness that one may feel in their own story.

Moms are deserving of a day where they receive home-made cards, flowers, lunch made by someone else and extra loves as a “thank you” for all they pour out on others day in and day out.  Everyone in my immediate family is a mom, most of my friends are moms and they are some of the most amazing humans I know, who love big, try hard and do so in countless, selfless ways.  Moms Rock!  So, I don’t write this post to detract from all they deserve but to put voice to what I’m fairly certain is not only a heartache known to me.

There are multiple reasons why someone may not be a mom.  They may have chosen not to be,  they may have tried every means they could and nothing has worked or life just didn’t go the way we thought it would, you thought you were making the right decisions and maybe you were, but you didn’t end up at the destination you thought you were headed for.

When I was young, I would dream often about being a mom.  I would think of things I would want to do with my children, how many I wanted to have, what there names would be, memories I wanted to make, traditions I wanted to establish, becoming a mom was important to me.  Now as I sit here today in my 40’s, I don’t think of those things any more, now I think, “I wonder if I would’ve been a good mom?”, “I wonder if I would’ve made different decisions if I would’ve had a different outcome”, and “I wonder who will care for me when I’m old?”

I have attended Mother’s Day church service’s every Sunday for my entire life, as I’ve gotten older being a single person without a child, gets harder.  A few years ago, I was asked to speak on Mother’s Day Sunday, I talked about how God sees us.  From what I hear from others the talk went great, but after I was done, I was utterly miserable, to have what felt like a “spotlight” placed on me on a day that is tough for me, left me feeling so exposed that I wasn’t sure what to do with myself other than lay down and cry for a bit.

Last year as I stood at church singing during worship and my heart ached, I just couldn’t do it, I didn’t want to do it, so I left and you know what, that was ok.  I didn’t want to face having the mother’s stand while I sat or having someone say “Happy Mother’s Day” until they realize “oops, never mind”.  I just didn’t want to deal with it so I didn’t.

If you find yourself like me where you are torn between adoring the moms in your life and feeling the heart-break of the fact that you’re not one.  I just want to tell you, it’s ok.  It’s ok, to feel the pain, it’s ok, if you can’t keep a brave face on this year.  My prayer is that you find a way to honor those around you on this special day and also honor the fact that it’s a day that reminds you of a lost child or a lost dream.  I don’t know what that perfect balance is but we can try, and if we do it imperfectly, that’s ok too.  Give yourself some grace.

A special thank you to sweet friends who have allowed me to have a seat at their family table, who have bestowed upon me the “Auntie” title, that I hold dear, who have seen value in what a single person without children can offer even if we haven’t walked in your shoes.  Your inclusion and love means more than words can express and it is a joy and honor to be included.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mama’s and a GREAT BIG HUG for all those who will feel a little extra heartache tomorrow in the midst of the celebration.  You are each loved dearly ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessing of Heartache

5 May

I’d much rather write a blog post titled, “the blessing of success”, “the blessing of victory”, “the blessing of discovered dreams”, those all sound pretty sweet! “The Blessing of Heartache” doesn’t really thrill me, but I am learning that there is truth in it.

The situation itself doesn’t matter because hurt is hurt, right?   I don’t know about you but I don’t like feeling hurt, I just want it to go away.  I will attempt to ignore it, numb it, block it out, whatever it takes, to just not feel it!

I was sitting in church a couple Sunday’s ago and feeling some fresh hurt.  I had walked through a few days of tears and heart ache and just wanting the situation to be different and for all the feels I was feeling to go away.  Please tell me you know what I’m talking about?

As I sat in the church pew, I felt God speaking to my heart, so I listened as He reminded me that He gets it.  He knows hurt, He knows what it feels like to be rejected, He knows the feeling of loneliness, He is well acquainted with grief, He knows what its like to feel overwhelmed by what you face tomorrow.  What comfort I felt as He reminded me that He understands my hurt, He understands yours as well and because He loves us, He hurts with us.

At that moment, I felt something that is definitely not my normal response, but I was thankful for the what the heartache I’m walking through reminds me of.  The hurt causes me to realize to a greater degree how much I need God.  How I need His comfort, His wisdom and His strength to make it through.  The hurt causes me to make changes I might not make otherwise.  It’s easy to get comfortable, it’s easy to settle for less than the best and pain can cause me to move and make a change.

For those things I am thankful, and if pain leads me to realize these truths down deep in my soul, then there is blessing in the heartache.  You see, God cares more about our hearts, more about our eternity than our current circumstances.  Sometimes the heartache produces the change we ultimately need and for that we can all give thanks, even when it’s hard and yes, even if it hurts.

Be Encouraged!

 

 

Waking Up From A Dream

4 Mar

Dreams can be funny things and by funny, I guess I mean not so funny.  Last night I dreamed about someone, someone I used to know. I wasn’t thinking of this person as I drifted off to la la land and I don’t spend a great deal of time and energy thinking about this individual on a regular basis, but for whatever reason they made what felt like a very real appearance in my dreams last night.

I found myself waking up in the wee small hours of the morning, with tears on my pillow and an ache in my heart that felt almost unbearable.   In the dream, I was saying good-bye again and as I woke my body was physically feeling the heartache.  I got up to use the restroom and hoped as I laid back down that I would dream a new dream.

The dream and the feelings it left me with have lingered with me today.  A bit of a blanket of sadness and reflection and I am reminded that dreams in our awake life can kinda feel like this as well.

When a dream ends, sometimes, you need to feel the pain.  It’s ok to acknowledge the loss.  To learn that the heartache can hit you like a tidal wave but when it washes over you, to discover you are still standing.  That you can feel the heartbreak and keep breathing.  To realize, you can move forward after loss.   To understand you can mourn what was and what may never be but also look forward to the unending potential of new glorious dreams.

Maybe my dream last night was just to help give me permission to mourn that which feels like a loss but also to remember that there are other dreams to know.  To recognize that I can feel the pain that comes with the loss and still have hope for all that is to come.  Maybe you could use that same reminder today?

Be encouraged my friend!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

11 Feb

I can hear Tina Turner in my head now, “What’s love got to do, got to do with it, what’s love but a second-hand emotion, what’s love got to do, got to do with it, who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”  Good question and she’s got a point!

I have thought often over the years that people are the best and worst part of life!  I know that may sound harsh, but let me explain.  Family and friendship can be so beautiful and sweet.  It is truly one of life’s greatest gifts to have someone who knows you in all your imperfectness and loves you still.  There is also the fact that if we love, we will get hurt and that part isn’t my favorite!  Relationships of all kinds at their best take time, work, attention, compromise and you will walk through times that are just plain hard.  I have just recently walked through this where I felt like I had poured into someone, let them in, only to have them betray me.  It was shocking, it was unexpected, it hurt deeply, it still stings and my immediate reaction is to want to shut down, put walls around my heart and not let anyone else in.

How do you react when someone mishandles the love you have shown?  What do you do when someone throws away the time and memories and you can’t make sense of it?  What do you do with the hurt when there is no “I’m sorry” and no explanation?  You may ask yourself as Ms. Turner did, “who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”  I know that thought has crossed my mind lately.  These feelings are normal and completely understandable but they are not the final word.

1 Corinthians 13 known as the LOVE chapter says this:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

You see my friend, love has EVERYTHING to do with it!  Love is why He came, Love is why He went to the cross, Love is why He is faithful, Love is why He is persistent, Love is why He is so kind, Love is why He keeps on forgiving, Love is why He stays.

And so I have my answer, Love is why I will forgive, Love is why I will keep showing up, Love is why I will humble myself, Love is why I will open my heart again, Love is why and it has EVERYTHING to do with it!

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the GREATEST of these is love ❤

All I Ever Have To Be

21 Oct

On what should have been an hour and a half drive on a weekday afternoon, there was an accident on I-5 that made drive time turn into a 5 hour forced bonding time between myself and a work peer.  To pass the time while sitting there, we talked and after a couple of hours, started trying to entertain one another by playing various games we recalled from childhood family road trips.  My co-worker decided to play a game of “What’s your favorite?”, which led to her knowing much more about me than I would normally divulge to a colleague.  What’s your favorite color?  What’s your favorite movie?  What’s your favorite food?  What’s your favorite song?  I can’t answer that one!  I mean, there are so many, and it depends on what type of music, what mood I’m in, what memory its associated with, how do you pick one child over the other?!  The question actually stressed me out!

So, I say this with great hesitation, but if I had to pick a favorite song (which I’m still not going to commit to), the song “All I Ever Have To Be”, sung by Amy Grant and written by Gary Chapman would have to be on my short list.  This song was released in 1980, when I was still a young girl, however, I can clearly remember listening to the lyrics closely and the beautiful simple melody.  Even at the age of 8, this song resonated with me deeply.  Hard to explain it and I certainly did not realize the degree to which I would need to continue to be reminded of the words of this simple beauty throughout my life.

“All I Ever Have To Be”

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head
And the thoughtful words of help and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I’m still hurting, wondering if I’ll ever be the one
I think I am – I think I amThen you gently re-remind me
That You’ve made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst
And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are
Who You are…And all I ever have to be is what You’ve made me
Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be is what You’ve made me

 

So dear one, if like me, you struggle with meeting the expectations of others or even more difficult, your own,  If you are tired of striving, If you feel more loved for what you do than who you are, then let me remind you as I remind myself.

  1. God made you, uniquely you on purpose, don’t try to be someone else.
  2. Give yourself some grace, we’re all unfinished.
  3. Never doubt for a minute, that even with your imperfections you are mind-blowingly loved.
  4. We don’t have to pull it off alone.  All the good is because of Him and He wants to handle our tough stuff too.
  5. Stop striving.  A good dose of rest in His love and grace, allows us to be who we were made to be.

Ahhhh, I feel better, how about you?

Be encouraged my friend!

 

 

 

 

Fiery & Faithful

7 Oct

As I sit down to write this post, I am struck with the fact that you won’t be reading or commenting on this one.  I could always count on you to take a couple of minutes to read whatever I was sharing, you only gave a compliment when you meant it, so when I got one, it meant a lot because I knew it was completely sincere.  This is just one of the many things I loved and appreciated about you and there is so much more.

You had strong opinions, not a whole lot of gray area with you.  Spunk and internal fortitude were very natural for you and you had a deep sense of right and wrong.

You would stand up for and defend to the death those you believed in and held dear.  You would speak up, pray on their behalf and even tell us if we needed to shape up.

You were fiercely loyal.  People could count on you.  Your word was always rock solid.

Ever since you were alerted to the fact that I didn’t so much care for amphibians, I think you may have dedicated a percentage of your spare time to tracking down frog memes just for my benefit.  I count it a privilege that you loved me enough to mess with me.

You were always there.  To bring a meal, lend a hand, listen, sit with us, pray for us, cry with us.  You were a loyal friend.

You were family, so many birthdays, Easters, 4th of July’s, Christmases and just because’s spent together.  We love Grandma Edna!

You were the best friend my mom could ever ask for.  You couldn’t be more different from one another and you were so good for each other.  Last year, when my mom was so sick, I called you and you came right away.  Even though my mom was incapacitated, you didn’t hesitate to walk right up to her bedside, hold her hand and start visiting with her and telling her what she needed to do to get better.  There could be no truer friend than you.  Thank you for loving my mom so well.

You meant so much to me,  my family and so many others, but yesterday, when I attempted to describe you to someone who didn’t know you in this life, I told her you were fiery and faithful.  I believe that those who know you well would agree and I desire to see in my own life so many of those fiery, faithful attributes I witnessed in watching your life up close over the last 15ish years.

Edna, I am sure you are blissfully busy meeting your savior face to face, catching up with loved ones and taking in all the wonders of heaven, but if you happen to read this, I want you to know that there are a lot of people left behind who will miss you in ways that words can’t express and I personally want you to know that I have a heart full of love, admiration and thankfulness for the most fiery, faithful lady I’ve ever known.  Looking forward to being home with you one day!

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The Joy of Obedience

30 Aug

I like the word joy.  It brings a smile to my face just saying it…go ahead and try …”JOY”…aahhh, sweetness.  Wouldn’t you know it though, obedience doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so smoothly.  I don’t feel like partying when I hear that one!  Who wants more joy in their life?  We all raise our hands.  Who’s interested in becoming more obedient?  Cue the crickets.

When I say obedience, it conjures up the same feelings I tend to get when I hear words like, selflessness, humility, sacrifice or surrender.  No smile appears on my face, rather I often feel a sense of dread, like I need to brace myself, or even fear, wondering what’s this going to cost me?  My self centeredness is showing again.  Anyone out there know what I’m saying?

As a child I had a healthy fear of Dad and I can remember, especially during the summer, he would leave us kids with a fairly lengthy list of chores that needed to be done by the time he got home from work.  Even then, knowing there would be consequences if it wasn’t done, I would delay that obedience until the last hour, when my brother, sister and I would scramble around in a frenzy to do what we had been told and hopefully get it done enough that we avoided punishment.  We got it done, maybe our feet were dragging & it wasn’t our best work but it was just enough to avoid the wrath of dad.  I guess that’s called half-hearted obedience.

Looking back, I can clearly see that although I may have been checking the list by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin, my attitude was missing the mark by a mile.  My heart was in the wrong place, I wanted to do what I wanted to do and only begrudgingly obeyed to avoid discipline.  This may have worked for Dad some days but half-hearted obedience doesn’t work with our Heavenly Father because He cares more about the heart motive than getting the check list complete.

In chronological years, I’ve been an adult for quite a while now and would like to say I have this obedience thing down but truth be told, adult me, still struggles with self centeredness that keeps me from being obedient with the right motivation.

Last weekend, I had a wonderful time at a women’s retreat in beautiful Lake Tahoe, my new sister friend Becky who was attending decided she wanted to follow the Lord in obedience and get baptized.  So awesome!!

For her, this was a brave step and a bit scary, ok, a lot scary!  She didn’t want to be the center of attention, didn’t want people gawking at her, she felt insecure and to be straight up honest, was feeling so anxious that she almost didn’t see her obedience through.

Some prayer and an encouraging friend helped and we waded in to the water. Becky went under the water and I tell you what, she came up out of the water with a mega watt smile brighter than the sun itself.  The joy in her was so evident I thought a heavenly dove was going to descend.  Just looking at her made my heart swell with joy!

There was a whole crowd of ladies on the shore cheering her on and celebrating her public proclamation of faith and we all broke into song and had a great time together praising God.  It was truly a beautiful God moment.  A moment that would not have happened, had Becky let her fear and insecurity speak louder than her desire to please her Heavenly Father by simply obeying.

This is what I am learning but have certainly not mastered.  Obey scared, obey anxious, obey with questions, obey without any assurance of the outcome, but obey.  Obey, because you love Him so.  There may be some pain and discomfort in the obeying, but Becky and I agree there is unspeakable joy on the other side!!

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15

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