Thursday, January 29, 2015

Born this Way

The world is full of negative, nasty, cutting words. Words that injure and wound and hurt. 

Gossip, venom, comparison, judgement. Envy and hatred. All poured of of lips into the ears of others. 

Negativity. Sarcasm. Poisonous ideas about others.

What are we all shielding ourselves from with these things? What are we falsely protecting ourselves from? 

I say we, because I was embroiled in it as well. I gave in to it. It felt good. It was never right, and it never set well with my soul. But I did it. 

And then circumstances and God swept in and cleanly incised away all need for me to ever do it again. 

It hurt. It was painful and it was wrenching. But it was also necessary and good. 

That is not who I am. It's not what I was born to be. It's not what resonates with my soul or makes me whole. 

But it was a helluva lot easier than being vulnerable. And being open. Loving. Holding my heart out. 

That's who I am though. Born to be open and giving. Created to love and to serve. It's what makes my soul sing. It's where I feel the most myself- when I am building up others.

I'm tired of trying to be what I'm not. Of pretending to be tough. I'm not tough. I'm strong, but I'm also soft. And I'm ready to be soft for others- a soft place to fall, a safe place to be. 

I want to be a radical encourager. I want to help and lift and give until I'm empty of the relentless need to do so.

I want to stop biting my tongue and pretending to not feel. 

We all feel. We all need each other. We all need somebody to say "You are doing a good job. You are a great mother. You are wonderful. You are trying so hard." 

So many are scared to be the person to say it to others. It's hard to be that open. But if we don't do it, who will? People are crying to be loved. People are wounded and chipped at, day by day, by other peoples words. 

Why not be the one who heals those wounds? Why not be a light in the dark? 

I'm tired of holding back for fear of the sideways looks or the suspicion that I am not sincere. I'm tired of not saying "I love you." I'm weary of holding back my heart because I'm afraid of it being broken again.

Maybe the best thing I can learn is not that my heart can be broken, but that it can mend and be stronger? That it can keep beating despite the wounds? That the One who created me also created my heart and soul to be just as it is... Sentimental, soft, and open.

I'm afraid, but I'm doing it anyway. I'm chasing joy. And for me, joy comes when I serve others. When I encourage and love and build them up. When something I say lights them up from the inside- that is where I want to be. Right there, in that moment. 

To the other radically joyful encouragers out there: I know it's scary. It's hard to put it all out there and risk being rejected. 

The world needs what you have to give. It needs love and words and light. 

It needs you, and through you, Him. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Rite Aid Counter Realization

It was one of those mornings...

When the boy is sick and there's no sleep and the coffee isn't enough and my heart hurts for reasons I cannot speak about, for fear of the tears falling.

I ache and I need for something I don't even have words for. It's a God shaped void that only God can fill. 

But life beckons. And people depend on me. So I take the girl to school and the boy home. I take the temp and give the meds and put a load of laundry in. 

I take him to the doctor. I get the script and head to the pharmacy.

The total is 77 dollars. It's a shocking amount for one bottle of medicine. 

I cry, right there in the pharmacy. Not because I cannot buy the medicine. I can. I'm able to reach my hand into my purse and pay for this medicine that will make my baby well.

 I cried because as I stood there, my heart connected with all of the women who had stood in my place at that counter, frantically adding up sums and counting pennies in their heads. Subtracting food from the weekly budget. Maybe adding up her own missed meals to counteract the expense of medicine to help her baby get better.

Women just like me. Mothers who want their kids to just be well.

I was standing in the same place hundreds of other moms have stood before. Suddenly I was humbled by my own short sightedness. 

Like tide, God rushed in to fill the void in my heart. 

I've experienced loss, yes. We all have to some degree. We've all been changed by the lives we've lived and the people we've lost.

I've been wronged, and I have wronged others. I've hurt and been hurt. 

My feet have walked paths carved out by others, and wandered on my own through placed untread.

I am the sum of my experiences, but I do not have to be defined by them.

When the wounds rise up in my heart and I'm tempted to sing my own sorrowful song I will remember that I am connected to all others in my world. When I am keeping my head down and watching my own feet, I am not looking for ways to serve others. I am blinded by my own worries... So much so that I miss the chance to carry the burden of somebody else. 

Motherhood is the greatest equalizer I have ever known. It is powerful and beautiful. We belong, each of us, to each other. We were created to serve and to give. We were made to love each other, support each other, and love each other's babies.

That small moment standing at the pharmacy counter was God given. I was meant to stand there at that very time, confusing the clerk with my tears. 

I was meant to say to her, this somewhat gruff woman- "I can afford this medicine. But what about people who CAN'T?" 

And she was meant to look at me with her own tears and say- "I see it everyday, honey."

In that moment we were both just humans, both mothers, and both feeling for others just like us. It was beautiful and terrible all at once. 

We are here in each other's spheres for a reason. I believe that. I know you are reading this not because of me, but because of God. Maybe because you are in the midst of your own sad day.(If so, hello. You are loved.)

Or maybe it's because you had your own counter moment.

Tomorrow I'm going to get my eyes off of my sad song and focus them on the horizon. I'm going to look people in the eyes and be kind. I'm going to be the text message that says "I love you" or the person in front of you paying for your coffee, because coffee is important and essential to un-sad a day. I'm going to be the one meeting your eyes and smiling. 

( You will be suspicious but I promise I'm harmless. Kind of. )

Will you join me? In three acts of kindness for three other moms? Maybe you will create your own counter moment for someone else. 

Radical un-sadness. Creating moments of grace for others.

Lets do this. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Blurry and racing and profoundly happy. That's how these past few weeks with my children and husband have been. The power of togetherness is often astounding to me- how in just a few hours we can be so assured of our place in the world and how much we are needed.

I am needed, here, in this world. In this home. In this family.

I'm needed to kiss the boo boos, to find the missing sock, to look at the lego creations and to scrub little heads at the end of the day.

I'm needed to be a balm to wounded emotions and to rock and hold stillness when their world is chaos and too big, too big. 

I'm needed to be mommy, to be the cook, the maid, the laundress. I'm needed. 

Sometimes I resent this. Let's just be real. Sometimes I greet the relentless calls of "Mommy!" With a less than kind "WHAT?!" Sometimes I grumble as I clean the crumbs and wash the pants and oh my gosh for the thousandth time hang up the jackets and make the beds.

Then there is the upturned face to me. The asking for me to walk them to bed- to brush and make braids. To giggle and to tickle and to rub heads while they glide into sleep- to peaceful dreams in a safe house with a mommy and daddy who love them. 

There is safety in the need. There is a tethering to this earth and to these tiny people who would be lost without me. It's often hard and grinding, but it IS. The need exists for me, just as I am, to exist. To love and to see them. To ask the hard questions and to ask the small ones. To get the breakfast and to dry the tears. 

I am necessary. I am valued. I am loved.

I lost sight of this precious gift. I lost it under the cottony darkness of circumstance and profound hurt. I lost it under problems of my own making and problems made for me. 

I lost sight of the eternal things in the light of passing troubles. 

I sat weighted under the cloud of pain while my children waited for me to stop looking at my storm and realize that the sunshine was RIGHT HERE. Right here. The sun and light was in the outstretched small hand, in the smell of baby lotion, in the school folders and in the morning coffee with a boy snuggled on my lap. The light was in watching the dawn while packing lunches and kissing them goodnight as the sun went down. 

The light was here, in spite of my overlooking it. I was needed, despite my need to turn away to other fleeting, temporary things.

I know one day the clouds will roll in again. Life is peaks and valleys. It's pain and hurt and love and joy and beauty. Life IS. 

But what comfort in knowing that in spite of my half waking life and keeping my eyes averted from what I should have been seeing, they waited. 

They waited for me to return to myself. To see them again, and to move past my internal struggle. They loved me through my sleepwalk, and they loved me in spite of my distraction. 

They loved me. And they needed me. 

They always will. It's a sweet burden, one I will never take for granted again. 

I am needed. And I am grateful to be.