Tag Archives: faith

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!

 

 

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 ❤

He Gets It

9 Apr

Do you ever feel like no one understands what you are going through?  I do!  Like your friends or even your family just don’t get it?  Me, again!

The other morning heading to work I was feeling a little weary, a little hurt, a little angry a little a lot of things, I guess.  I was thinking about someone who I am frustrated with.  I guess I felt let down by this individual and I felt justified in my feelings.  The fact that this individual had not met what I feel are reasonable expectations left me feeling, hurt and a bit rejected during an already difficult period.  I was struggling in that moment to let it go, to forgive, especially absent an apology or acknowledgment of any wrong doing, which I wasn’t holding my breath for.

When I am feeling this way, whatever the circumstances may be, it is my desire to be understood, for my feelings to be heard, for someone to get it!  You know, acknowledge the issue and the fact that my feelings are understandable?!  However, as with many things in life, I often don’t get my way.  Sometimes, the situation isn’t appropriate to share with another so that I can feel validated.  Sometimes, the other person because of their own issues isn’t willing or capable to have the conversation that needs to be had. Sometimes, we don’t get what we want.

In that moment, driving down I-5, feeling un-understood, my mind focused on someone who does understand me and I was reminded of this truth, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”  – Hebrews 4:15.

When you don’t get the apology you deserve.  When you need help and no one is around. When you feel alone.  When there is conflict.  When people have more important priorities.  When no one wants to listen.  When people say false things about you.  When people hurt you.  When a friend turns their back on you.  When you struggle.  When life is hard.  When you are in pain.  When you are overwhelmed.  When you have been let down.  When you don’t seem to fit in.  When you are tempted.  When you are tired. When no one else gets it.  God gets it!  He knows how it feels, He felt it.

He gets it and you know what His response was and is?  To love anyway. To humble himself anyway.  To forgive anyway.  To lay down His life anyway.

His example challenges me.  I am so far most days from responding the way He does.  It is my desire to grow in the grace He lavishes on me.  I want grace, but how freely am I giving it away to others?

His example convicts me.  How can I withhold from others, what I so desperately need from Him?

His example comforts me.  It is certainly a wonderful feeling to be understood by our friends and family and I am thankful when that is a reality.  But when it’s not, I serve a God who understands me.  He understands my ways, my feelings and He loves me as I am.

So thankful for a God, who gets it!  He gets you too!

 

 

Turtle Like Tendencies

7 Jan

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I get the heart of this message and agree with it, truly this world does not need another voice joining the chorus of negativity, whining, complaining or insult throwing.  Beyond that, I try to be a person that if I am speaking I am hoping it is to add to the equation and not subtract. 

A couple of months of dealing with serious family health struggles left me physically and emotionally tired, dealing with my own feelings of shame for failing at making desired progress in my life, for not being able to do everything well, add in my own physical crisis and all the issues that can make one consider left me in a place that I’d been before, back in my shell.  It’s dark and lonely there and deceptively “safe”.

What happens when life overwhelms and you’re trying to survive and feel a bit like an empty shell hoping that if you keep hanging on, the winds will shift and you’ll be able to sail again?  I can tell you what happens to me.  I don’t want to but I will.  I follow my inclination to become turtle like, I tuck inside my shell.  Radio silence. 

I mean, what is there to say?  What do I have to offer at this juncture?  Nothing you probably want.  So I go with my propensity for solitary confinement.  There’s nothing cute to talk about and I’m out of wise tips and quips so I’m quiet.  No need to meet up for coffee, I’m not good company these days.  I even stop writing so I don’t have to deal with my own internal conversations.  It’s rough when you annoy yourself!

Maybe, I’m the only one that follows this custom, but I kinda doubt it.  It seems there is likely to be a few who will read this and admit at least to themselves that they go with the train of thought that “I’ll get through this on my own”, “No one’s knocking down my door anyway”, “If they really knew what was going on with me, I’d be even more alone”, “I don’t want to be a pain or a drain”….on and on, it’s easy to believe lies when you’ve pushed anyone away who could speak truth.

My shell-like tendencies that I have often struggled with have not served me or others well.  They ensure that I stay in the pain and shame.  They cut me off from life and whisper the same old sad song. 

I want to be the kind of person who can listen to others when it’s not convenient or fun.  I want to be a person who talks with Jesus even when I don’t feel like He is answering because I hold tightly to the truth that He is for me even when my faith is faltering.  I want to be vulnerable enough to say something when it’s not cute or clever.  I want to be humble enough to admit my need and accept help.  I want to be brave enough to speak, even if it makes me feel weak and needy, because truth be told I am.  Truth is we all are. 

I’m peeking out from the shell and don’t want to retreat any longer.  If I cling to my turtle like tendencies I am fighting against the very way God intended me to operate.  He created you and I to share life, to do life together.  Sorry, but I need you and you need me!  I have recently placed some on purpose accountability in my life in different areas.  I have asked people to check in with me and check up on me.  To knock on the shell and drag me out if necessary. 

I pray that anyone reading this who may also struggle with turtle like tendencies will also choose to stick their neck out and invite others to walk this journey with them.  I’ll admit it, it’s a little scary coming out from under that shell but what is scarier is not living the lives we were meant to live because we are too busy hunkered down trying to survive. 

Be encouraged my friend!

Do You REALLY Want To Be Well?

28 Jul

True Story – Sick for 38 years, laying by a pool every single day, waiting for healing and he is asked the question, “Do you want to be well?” (see John 5:1-9)  Duh!  The answer seems obvious to me and the question slightly insulting.  Of course, the poor man wants to be well!  He’s laying by the pool again, waiting to be well.

Next, Jesus says to this man, get up, take up your mat and start walking.  What?!  If he could’ve done that, why would he have spent the last 38 years laying by the pool?  Cause, it wasn’t to get a sun tan!  However, as I ponder this story, I am struck, like right upside the head struck, with how much I have in common with this man and with the fact that I feel God Himself has asked me this same question.

Now, the majority of those who are reading this are probably not a paralytic, but the question may very likely still apply.

  • Are you stuck?
  • Sick and tired of being sick and tired?
  • Do you need a circumstance to change?
  • Do you need to change?

I think we probably have anywhere from one to many things in mind as we ask ourselves these questions.  I know for myself, for years (told you I could identify with this man), I would long for change, I would cry for it, I would pray for it, I would scream about it, I would devise plans.  The problem is, I wanted change my way and I can tell you that my way involved as little pain and effort on my part as possible!

  • How about this thought?  Could it be possible that I became so comfortable in my circumstances that although I said with my mouth I wanted change, the change itself scared me to near death?
  • Or what about this?  I wanted life to change if it was convenient but not if it was gonna be uncomfortable or hard.  No effort required on my part, God.  And, I waited for Him to get on board with my plan.
  • Maybe, the parts of my life I hated the most had become so closely attached to me that my very identity was wrapped up in everything I despised about myself and my life?

WOW!!  The question doesn’t seem so strange now.  A matter of fact it seems pretty right on!  You see, Jesus Himself was getting to the heart of the matter, something He specializes in, time and time again.  I see Him, getting down to the nitty-gritty,

You say you want to be well, but being well, is according to my plan and my ways not yours.  So, I’m checking in with you here…do you REALLY want to be well?  Cause, guess what?  It just may require your active participation.

In the case of this paralytic man, it required a physical action, he was required to GET UP, PICK UP & WALK.  I can tell you that the changes in my life over the past year, have required my action.  That doesn’t mean I have accomplished these things on my own, but it does mean that my ways and my plans had to be released and I had to say, “O.K. God, I’m willing to do things your way.  What’s the plan?”

He has required and continues to require that I be an active participant in my healing.  He has and continues to require that I take steps that challenge my understanding and are beyond my own capabilities.

Are you going to continue to lie on your mat waiting or do you REALLY want to be well? The answer may not come in the way you want or in the time you would choose, but I can tell you from experience that walking while your waiting is a much better life than lying around waiting for impending doom.

It’s true, lying out by the pool day after day, year after year, may be safe and certainly predictable, status quo usually is.  But, if you really, I mean REALLY want to be well, status quo won’t do.  Your comfort and safety will have to be discarded and exchanged for the infinite possibilities that faith in action holds for someone who really wants to be well.  Scary, Yes!  Hard, Yes! Worth It, YES!!!

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

Home For Christmas

14 Dec

I woke up this morning and turned on the news to hear of the senseless and tragic event of the school shooting in Connecticut where conservatively more than 20 precious lives were taken.  While I listen, I think of how scared the children and school staff must have been, the terror that many experienced.  I think of the absolute frantic fear and helplessness that the parents of these little ones were surely feeling.  I think of the chaos of the first responders scrambling to assist and wondering what they will face.  I think of the evil, the devastation, the selfishness, the pain that would cause someone to commit such atrocities.  As I think on these things, my heart feels heavy, life feels a bit overwhelming and ultimately I feel a longing in my heart for Home.

Not home meaning the roof and walls that I sleep under, but Heaven my eternal home.  The pain of this world, causes me to yearn for a day when there will be no more sorrow, where loved ones won’t leave us to soon, where sickness and heartache are no more, where evil is obliterated and love wins!

In just a little over a week we will gather together with loved ones to celebrate Christmas and all the birth of our Savior means.  As we do, let  us be mindful of the greatest gift that has ever be given, the fact that God loved us so much that He made a way and sent His one and only son, born on that Christmas night long ago, so that even though we must endure the pain and trials of this world, if we believe in Him then our time here now, sweet as it may be some days and as painful as it may be to endure on others, we’re just passing through.

Jesus did not promise that we would not have troubles in this life, a matter of fact, it’s a guarantee we will.  He did however promise that He has overcome the trials in this life.  In the end He wins and so do we if we believe in Him and in the meantime while we are here in our temporary home, He is with us.  He is Emmanuel – God With Us.  He is Emmanuel, the God who is with those suffering from the tragedy today and He is Emmanuel, with You.

Some of these precious little ones will be Home for Christmas this year and there will be hearts aching here on earth, but there’s more to the story and this life isn’t where it ends if you believe, someday we’ll all be home for Christmas.  What a celebration that will be!!

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33

Temporary Home