Posted in Life Lessons, Word

Startled – What is This?

What is This?

You’re sitting there, tears falling over freshly dried tears, wondering how on earth you got to this place. Whatever your this is, it feels like hell. It feels like nothing is ever going to be right again. Maybe you’ve done everything right. Maybe you’ve done everything wrong. I’ve been on both sides of the right or the wrong of the “this.”

Whatever happened, this was nowhere in the original plan. Whatever happened, you’ve been finally, fully startled awake.

My THIS List:

Here is my lifetime “this” list (so far):

  • Divorce
  • Sexual assault
  • Financial ruin
  • Being cheated on
  • Being deceived
  • Deceiving others
  • Facing Cancer
  • Losing a job
  • Losing family members
  • Almost losing a child to suicide
  • Losing a ministry
  • Being in an abusive relationship

That’s the short list.

Moving Forward

I was talking with a friend recently and he gave me some amazing advice that I want to pass along.

  • People change only when there are no more options.
  • Start forgiving right now so you can start to heal. Don’t wait.
  • Move on.

My Dad always taught me that I need to:

  • “face reality squarely,” (Job 38)
  • “live a life that pleases God,” (Colossians 1:10), and
  • “separate the precious from the worthless.” (Jeremiah 15:19)

So I’m suggesting that right this minute you should begin to sift through the rubble, call it what it is – rubble, own your part in what happened, retrieve the precious, and walk away from the worthless.

I’ve learned by experience (mostly by falling on my face) that the Lord really does work all things for my good because he has called me according to his purpose and I’ve tried to live my life with a “yes, Lord” posture. (Romans 8:28)

Sift. Separate. Own your part. Pray. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Do it quickly. Ask God “what’s next?”. Move forward.

This, too, really shall pass. But you’ve got to get up out of the rubble.

And if you need to talk, my ears are always open and I’m always up for some good conversation over a skinny vanilla latte.

Posted in Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting, Poetry, Uncategorized, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Playing Hide-and-Seek (my life story)

I was out shopping with the most beautiful girl in the world. She was 3 years old – with gorgeous red curls and bright, happy green eyes. We were at a major department store looking for a size 3T Easter dress – with extra frills, ruffle-butt tights, and those fold-down socks with the lace that look beautiful in patent leather Mary-Janes.

She kept running off – looking at the tiny purses and teddy bears. I was afraid I would lose her. So I did what any good mom would do to teach an object-lesson: I let her get lost.

hide_and_seek

This was the perfect moment – no one else was in this section. I got really quiet and just let her wander from rack to rack. Books. Toys. Purses. I didn’t let her see me. I kept hiding until I watched panic slowly set in – all over her tiny little body. Her eyes got wide. Her feet starting running. Her eyes darted all around looking for safety. Her little voice began calling out – “Mommy. Mommy? MOMMY!”

I let that go on for about 30 seconds before I scooped her up in my arms and said, “It’s okay, Baby Doll. You’re safe. Mommy’s gotcha.” And she looked up at me with her big green eyes and said, “I lost you, Mommy. I thought you were gone.”

She didn’t lose me. She only thought she did. I was right there all the time.

I’ve felt this level of panic set in before. Have you?

The first time I felt something like this I was 7. My 2 brothers and sister were all playing together behind the apartment building and I wasn’t allowed to play. They had formed a “no-Melissas allowed” club. I ran around the building to try to play anyway. They circled up. I just couldn’t believe it. Panic set in as I realized that I was alone – and left out. Big tears formed in the depths of my universe. Something shattered. I remember this being the first time I found solace in making up a story in my mind as a form of self-comfort. This was the beginning of writing for me. My parents figured out what was going on and they formed a “let’s-walk-to-7-11-to-get-a-Slurpee-club” that my siblings weren’t invited to. I learned from this to run to my authority figures for comfort. As an adult, I remember this incident when I feel left out and it reminds me to turn to God. I’m always welcome in his club.

The next time I felt like this, I was in high school. At age 16, a boy I liked from school took an interest in me. I was over-the-moon excited. I had “his-initials-plus-my-initials” written all over my school notebooks. One afternoon, when I was home alone after school, he came to my house. I was so excited that I ignored the rule about not having friends over when my parents were gone. I let him in – only to find out that he had come with 5 grown men. They made me go to my room and would not let me out. One-by-one they came in and took turns doing awful things to me. The boy who I thought liked me left me humiliated, ashamed, and feeling very alone. They warned me they would hurt my family if I told. I never told. Not anyone. This may actually be the first time my family is reading about this.

In the middle of the whole thing, one of the guys told me he loved me. This shattered my heart. If that was love – and love was what I was so desperately longing for – I didn’t really want to be loved anymore. I wasn’t sure I really even wanted to live anymore. It was at this point when I made an attempt on my own life.

I looked around and couldn’t find anyone there to rescue me. The shame, embarrassment, and guilt led me to keep this a secret – even from God. Through counseling years later I was able to open this horrible memory up and see that God was there in the room with me that day. He was screaming at those men – STOP. THIS IS MY DAUGHTER. YOU SHOULDN’T BE DOING THIS.

But His voice was drowned out by the voices of Lust, Desire, Control, and Greed simultaneously screaming – DO WHAT YOU WANT, TAKE WHAT YOU WANT, SHE’S JUST THERE FOR YOU TO USE.

God showed me that He was there that night to comfort me. He was my pink teddy bear and the blanket I slept with over my head. He was there then and on so many other nights when I cried myself to sleep and felt alone in my shame. I didn’t lose him – he was right there all along.

These incidents plus the fact that my bio-dad left before I was born caused me to have a decades-long thought pattern that said – “You’re not good enough. You’re not worthy of real love. You’re just an after-thought, a second choice. You’re not wanted. Get lost – no one wants you around here anyway. If you want love, you’ll have to do something to earn it.”

Lies. All lies.

I had a fairy-tale wedding right out of high school that resulted in two beautiful redheaded daughters.

One day my husband came home and was acting strangely. We’d had a great first 7 years. We had our moments, but it wasn’t anything major. But I’d noticed that he had become violent with his words and sometimes with his hands. I confronted him and he said he did not love me anymore. His porn habit had turned into real affairs over the last 3 years of our marriage – resulting in his latest girlfriend becoming pregnant. I didn’t know. I guess I didn’t want to know. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe what I was feeling. Some words I have for the next months after that are numb, lifeless, severely depressed, and hopeless. Once again the voices crept back into my thought-space.

I was angry. Very angry. I was angry at my husband for hurting me in this way, angry at myself for not having seen this coming, angry at God for knowing this was coming and not letting me know for 3 years, and angry at life in general. I had to move out of my home and back in with my parents while he moved his pregnant girlfriend into my home. It was humiliating.

So how does youth minister/housewife cope with this kind of tragedy? In my case – I did not cope very well. I began a secret life of binge drinking on weekends when my kids were gone to their father’s house. They say bitterness is a poison you give yourself – hoping the other person will suffer. My drinking and lifestyle of masking my pain through any means necessary was a poison. I felt unlovable. I was taking out all of my frustrations alright – but all that I was doing was only hurting ME.

The lowest point for me was in the middle of the divorce. I was at a party one night at an apartment when everyone all went home at once – everyone but me and the guy who lived there. He kept pouring and I had kept drinking, but that last drink after everyone left must have had something in it – because the room began to wobble and I only remember bits and pieces of a torturous, sick, violent rape that must have lasted a couple of hours – and I was powerless to stop it. I woke up in an upstairs room – alone. I stumbled around, found my keys, and left – still full of liquor, or whatever it was I’d been given. I honestly think an angel rode in the passenger seat while I drove home that night – because how I got myself and my car home in one piece is a mystery. I decided that night I wanted to try to reconcile with my husband and make things right with my little family again. My kids deserved a whole family – and I was hell-bent on making sure they had one – even if it meant I had to do a makeover on my marriage. My husband agreed – but he had already told my parents about my having gone to a party and that I’d been drinking – so they kicked me out and, because I had no other alternative, I could not take my kids. I tried to explain about the night before and my transformed heart, but it was too late – the decision had been made. I was furious with what had just happened to me, and now I was furious that my desire to start over had failed. I lived the next two weeks out of my car, in the backroom of the store I managed, one night at a laundry mat, and at different friend’s apartments. After two long miserable weeks, I told my dad I was coming home – taking my kids, getting a divorce, and moving into an apartment. Enough was enough. I stopped drinking, reconciled with God, and tried to get my life back in order.

If I’m with you and you have a glass of wine and I politely decline, this is why. I’m not judging, it’s just that it reminds me of where I’ve been – and that’s a place I’d rather not remember.

Three years later I was back on my feet, studying for my undergrad in English at the local university, and raising my two girls. We moved out of the apartment after a year and back in with my folks so that I could focus on my studies.

During my time at the university, my brother died of cancer and my sister decided to leave the family – for good. Just because I don’t give these incidents many words here doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt me to my core.

Life thus far had been a hide-and-seek game with God – mostly hide. But what happened in 2007 changed the entire course of my life.

It was July 2007, right in the middle of my summer session at the university. I was taking what amounted to Poetry 101 and it was my day to be “workshopped.” I had printed enough copies of my poem for each member of the class and was expected to distribute them and have everyone critique my words. I was nervous. It was Texas Summer hot outside. I was suddenly overcome with nausea. Breakfast became a memory.
After the grueling 90-minute poetry workshop where my writing was called mediocre, at best, I made my way to the on-campus medical clinic.
I gave blood, endured the necessary pee-in-this-cup moment, laid down on the paper-covered table, and waited.
I must have fallen asleep because the Nurse Practitioner shook my shoulder.
Miss Fairchild?
Yes?
I figured out what’s wrong.
Okay?
You’re pregnant.
I almost fell off the table.
My mind raced to an awful night four months before. I looked at her calendar and pointed to the date.
Yes – I remember. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just one lonely moment during March Madness. Just one.

I pulled into my driveway 15 minutes later and spied my Mom on the porch swing reading to my 6-year-old, whose auburn pigtails wobbled as she flew into my arms. My 11-year-old was inside getting ready for the water park trip I’d promised them that afternoon.
Mommy’s home!
My heart felt sick. How do I explain this to my girls? How in the world was I going to make ends meet with another kiddo on the way?
I sent the kids to their bedroom to finish getting ready for the water park and began to weep uncontrollably. My parents noticed.
All I could think was – my folks are gonna kill me. They are pastors at a local church. How do you tell your Dad, who is also your pastor, that you’re unmarried and pregnant?
Between sobs, I finally formed the words – I’m pregnant.
The truth escaped my mouth with finality. I repeated it to myself. Wow.
Mom started to ask several questions all at once, but Dad quieted the room.
He looked at me, right into my heart, and he slowly and deliberately spoke these words:
“You are my daughter, and I love you.

In one sentence, years worth of feeling less-than, feeling used, abandoned, abused, picked last, feeling unlovable, unforgivable, unworthy, and like I just didn’t belong came to a grinding halt.

In one sentence I felt God speaking through my father’s mouth.

He spoke to my identity “You are my daughter,…”

He spoke to his identity “…and I love you.”

I belong to him and am fully loved because he IS love.

I’ve had many more adventures and mishaps since this day. I’ve written or will write about most of them—just look back or wait for the next blog if you want to see what else has happened in my crazy life. But since that day I’ve had a deep-seated knowing in my gut that I’m not alone. And I’m not alone because God is with me. And because God is with me, he won’t let me panic for too long.

And in the times where I’ve panicked and looked around, frantically searching for God where I’ve thought – “I lost you, God. I thought you were gone,” He has been so faithful to remind me that I didn’t lose him. I only thought I did. He was right there all the time.

I hope you feel God speaking to you from your screen, “You are my daughter (son), and I love you.”

And I hope your life will change – starting today.

If you’re going through any of the things I’ve gone through – please email me or message me and let’s talk about it. I’m always good for coffee and conversation.

And if you don’t know the God I’ve been writing about, please let me introduce you.

He’s a good, good Father. The best way to find him is to stop hiding and start seeking. Let’s seek him – together.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Going on a Bear Hunt – I’m Not Scared!

Tonight I feel like I’m in the old nursery rhyme my kids would chant about “Going on a Bear Hunt.” In the chant the kids would search for the bear in various ways (in tall grass, behind a big tree, through a pond) and realize they couldn’t get around these things – they had to go through them.

The opening refrain was:

“Going on a bear hunt,
Gonna catch a big one,
I’m not scared.
What a beautiful day.

Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it.”

I guess I’ve been on a bear hunt lately. I prepared for this. I’m a researcher – it served me well in grad school. I prepared myself for my bear hunt – a laparoscopic hysterectomy. I was gonna catch a big one – in this case my big bear is Cancer. Getting my uterus out means a lessened threat of Cancer – because these pre-cancerous cells won’t stop multiplying.

I planned to take off a week and a half from work and then work from home for 2 weeks and then go back to the office. A week and a half off of work is what my budget could stand to lose without setting me too far off-track financially. The surgery would cost this much money. I’d be fine. I’ve had surgery before – three of them being c-sections. I could handle this – no problem.
I’m not scared.
And therein lies my problem – I didn’t really prepare for unexpected complications. Certainly not for the strain this particular procedure would have on me – emotionally.
This was supposed to be a beautiful day.
By nature – I’m an encourager. There is nothing I can encourage myself with tonight. I got nothing.
Nothing could have prepared me for a switch between a laparascopic surgery and an open abdominal procedure. Nor for the fact that I seem to be grieving the loss of the womb that carried my three precious children. Nor for the fact that my hormones would cause so many tears. Nor that uncontrollable sobbing would make my stitches burn. Nor for the dread in my heart as I wait to find out if my uterus has Cancer or not.
Nothing.
And why do I feel so guilty for feeling this way? I’m a woman of faith. I feel the hand of God in my life daily. Daily. I know He is with me and for me. I know His Word instructs me not to worry. I know He has not left me – He says so, and I trust Him.
But I feel so guilty.
I feel guilty that my 21-year-old daughter has taken on the full-time job of taking care of her mother because it hurts me just to get out of bed.
I feel guilty that my 17-year-old daughter feels anxiety because of all this.
I feel guilty that I’m missing Gavin’s last week of school, and friend’s graduation parties, and so many things.
And the lonliness I feel is absolutely overwhelming. It’s the dread of not having a partner to walk through this with. It’s been 15 years without a forever kind of love – and I’m wondering if I’m just always going to walk through life without such a love. (More tears.) Is it too much to ask for a loving hand to hold through this? I’m worthy of love, right?
It’s not fair for me to put this off on my friends.
So I struggle silently.

“Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it
Gotta go through it.”

All I know to do is let nature take its course. I will heal in time. My hormones will regulate. Life will return to a new normal. I just gotta go through it.
I just hope that soon it will again be a beautiful day.
I must close by reminding myself of the words God gave me a few years back:
“What you’re walking through is a life-season, not a life-sentence.”
Love you,
Melissa

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Life Lessons, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Runaway Train

It was midnight in the sleepy trailer park where I lived 3 miles out of town. The house creaked and groaned in the night wind, but was otherwise silent. I stared at the ceiling, then at the shadows the tree branches threw in my window. They felt like hands reaching out to grab me.

I needed air. I needed space. I needed away from the creep next door who decided a 12-year-old looked like fair game. I hated how he looked at me. What he did to me. I hated the bus ride to and from school. The teasing boys. Their name calling: “Cabbage Patch” “Basset Hound”. I had decided at this young age that I was not worthy of love. My mind was a ping-pong table. My thoughts – the ball.

I had gone to bed in my day clothes to make it easier to leave. My 12-year-old self decided running away from my problems would actually solve them. My brilliant plan: I would walk alone in the dark to a house in town some 6 miles away, spend the night, then what? I didn’t know. What I wanted was for my problems to go away.

I left a note. The kind left by a kid who thought she was grown. It surely made no sense.

I left the note, opened and quietly closed the back door, then hurried down the street toward town. In my wake I left a trail of fenced-in howling dogs down all 4 streets in the sleeping trailer park. So much for “quietly.”

It wasn’t until I got out of the neighborhood and onto the open road that my heart started to race. I didn’t dare look back. I felt like Lot’s wife – “don’t look back or you’ll turn into a…”. I didn’t want to think about it, but it was surely worse than a pillar of salt.

A train whistled – far off. An owl whispered. The watchful moon lit the winding road.

I reached a curve. It’s the kind of country-road-curve where there are trees on both sides. The wind picked up. The trees seemed to whistle and cackle and clap as I passed. I didn’t have much life experience at that age, but I felt like I was in the palpable presence of unfettered evil.

So why was it that I felt at peace? Safe, even? I would soon find out.

Lord , you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; you understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; you are aware of all my ways. (Psalms 139: 1-3)

I didn’t know how much time had passed. I just remember it seemed like a long time and I had not seen a car pass me all night. I kept walking until I reached the entrance of another trailer park. (I did a GoogleMap search just now. It’s 2.5 miles away.)

That’s when a man in an old station wagon pulled up beside me coming from town. He said, “I was hoping I’d see you again. I saw you earlier and decided if I passed by again and you were still walking, I’d offer you a ride into town. Young’ens like you shouldn’t be out here walking this time a night. I’ll turn the car around to show you I’m headed back into town and I’ll drop you off wherever you’d like. I promise I’m not going to hurt you.” He must have sensed my fear.

It was chilly, I was tired, and confused. No one had passed me all night, right? Chilly and tired won out over fear. When he circled around, I got in the front seat.

You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me. This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. (Psalms 139: 5-6)

I don’t remember much of our conversation, nor how it was we got to where I wanted to be dropped off so quickly, but I remember he said this: “Wherever you’re going won’t solve what you’re running away from.”

Had I told him I was running away?

Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord.
(Psalms 139:4)

When I got out of the car and looked in the direction he drove off in, he disappeared much too quickly. Had I imagined him? I felt oddly at peace.

Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me. (Psalm 139: 7-10)

Long story short: I got home the next day to a mom who I’d scared sick and to a whole lot more trouble than I ever could have imagined. But that’s not the point of this post.

Let me get to it:

Even if you’re on the road in the dark and think you’re alone and that no one could possibly care, God does. He knows the trouble that awaits you next door. He knows the evil that cackles and hisses and lurks around every blind curve. He knows the names they call you. He even knows the names you call yourself.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”  — even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you.
(Psalms 139:11‭-‬12)

When I blog and speak and breathe about Jesus, it’s because He isn’t a historical figure in a book – HE IS LIFE.

And I don’t and won’t know certain things this side of Heaven, but I know for sure that He is real. I know for a fact He sent a messenger to drive me to safety that night. He is Creator, Father, Friend. And since He made me and loves me – I am worthy of love.

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.
(Psalms 139:13‭-‬14)

I just wanted you to know that you are worthy of being loved.

You just are!

Love you,

Melissa

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Pocket Full of Shoestrings

18557225_10105878219742550_319263151762499277_nSome things in life go perfectly
Some people find the perfect fit the first time
I just seldom happen to be among the “some”
Like new jeans… I hate those things
First, you inch into one of the legs, and
Do a kind of hop-step-jump into the other
And shimmy and stretch them up and hope that

  1. They don’t have cameras in the dressing room, and
  2. That when you get them up, you can zip them up, and
  3. That you don’t end up in a heap on the floor with the ever-growing
    “Those MIGHT fit a mouse” pile

Not that I know anything about all of that…

Some things in life go the way you hoped they would
Like outdoor weddings on crisp spring mornings, or
Babies who sleep through the night from day one, but
I got married on a hot, rainy summer weekend,
And divorced on a cold day in December, and
My 3 babies all loved to make sure I was held at all hours,
But actually – I didn’t mind this –
Because I got to be held at all hours
And I love that I get to be my babies’ Momma

Lately, I’ve been convicted of trying to control every aspect of my life
When I know that God knows the plans he has for me,
Yet I INSIST on keeping a planner,
Which is silly, really,
Especially when it’s clear by the Scratch-out marks and the
Clutter of stickers I use to cover over so many
Thwarted plans that
I probably shouldn’t bother to make any plans…
This is usually because some of the
Biggest events in my life are ones I never planned for…
Events I never saw coming…

Like this past year, when someone I love had thoughts of taking her own life
I found my planner filled with appointments
For psychiatrists, individual and family therapists,
504 accommodation meetings at the High School,
And follow-ups to follow follow-ups…
And my journal became full of words like:
“Safety plan” and “inpatient stay” and “intensive outpatient therapy”

And all the “Es” –
Diagnoses and pharmacies and anxieties
And the “shuns”
Depression and suicidal ideation

She’s just a baby at 16
She’s the good stuff in the middle of my precious three
My precious baby doll

And, oh… she is well-worth all of my going and seeing
Dr after Dr after Dr and
Listening and follow-upping and the daily drive to Dallas
And parking and praying and listening
And driving and parking and praying for sleep
Because the nightmare of walking through this
Far out-did any night-terror I might have asleep

This wasn’t the dream I had for my darlin’
But through it all I can’t forget one thing
One defining moment at the start of all this.
Let me take you back with me…
Down a near-empty hallway as I reached for my keys
And instead, found her tattered shoestrings
In my pocket

It was at the end of two sleepless days
Of walking through hospitals
Lost in a haze of despair
It was the beginning of a gut-wrenching 10-day
Nightmare – they called an “inpatient stay”
At a place that turned her life around
I walked down the hallway that echoed the sound
Of an electric lock
I can still hear that lock…

But I knew this was where she needed to be
Knew this was the best place for my baby
And I was too busy to let it all in –
Too busy with appointments and ground rules and then
As I left her behind that lock
And took the longest walk of my life
To the parking garage
I reached in my pocket for my keys
And pulled out a handful of dirty shoestrings
From her Converse sneaks
The ones she’d begged me for – for weeks
And the nurse had just handed them to me
So that she couldn’t use them
To hurt herself

With a fistful of shoestrings
I stopped short in the hall
Everything went dark, I reached for the wall,
And then it hit me – the wall AND the reality
It hit me  –
My baby was here for trying to end her life –
And my insides started to cry

This was nowhere in what I had planned, you see
Not when I decorated her pink nursery
Or bought her ballet tights or softball cleats
Or spent hours pressing her cheer-skirt pleats
Or buying Teletubbies sheets…

Something had to give
God, why doesn’t she want to live
When she’s just at the beginning of life
Doesn’t she know how precious she is?
Is my love not enough?
How can I be a father AND a mother all at the same time?
And that’s when God spoke to me
As if He was standing right beside me
He said, “I AM her father.”
And then

“Daughter, I love you more than you love her.
And I love her more than you know.”

He said,
“This is her story.
This is where she finds her way back to me.
I’m behind that lock.
I AM the key
This thing meant to harm her – will set her FREE.”
And then He asked me one more thing:
“Daughter, do you trust me?”

And right there, holding up the hospital wall, I thought about that word, trust…
I thought back to the husband who left me
The men who violated me
To the bio-dad who didn’t even know my name
Til I was 28
And even then – it was because I called him.
“Daughter, do you trust me?”
And I paused for an eternity…
You see,
Trust is something I un-learned long ago
Each time I was harmed or betrayed or “let go”
Trust slayed me
Broke my heart and raped me, frayed me
And He’s asking…
“Daughter, do you trust me?”
And my heart whispered –
“You’re the only one who has ever been faithful”

And just like that, I felt a spark
One smoldering ember of trust
Stirred in my heart and I just said
“YES!”
And I probably should go back and apologize
To that startled nurse in the hallway
But right in the middle of that sterile hallway of
Children’s Hospital in Dallas
I.
Said.
Yes.

And as I was standing there
Pondering all of these things
Holding my baby’s dirty shoestrings
I decided to trust that His plans
Are WAY better than my plans
And I realized one more valuable thing:

God did NOT order this chaos
But He DID bring order to this chaos

And He did
Today is one year later – almost to the day – my baby is well
She leads worship
She draws and paints and sings and plays instruments by ear
And she is so full of life
Her laughter is back
You’d never realize today – if you met her –
That this past year ever happened

The reason that I’m writing this
Is so you can begin these
Conversations – if only in your mind
It saddens me that we
We don’t talk about this in church
Or in school, or work, or anywhere unless
One of our kiddos is in crisis
Then it’s too late
So many of our kids are wandering around in the dark
And we need to flip on the light
And get to the heart of the matter
And the heart of the matter is LOVE

Here’s what you can do today that will help you avoid
Walking down a sterile hallway with a pocket-full of shoestrings:
Tell her that you love her on the way out the door
Put down your phone and catch a ball with him
Have REAL face-time with them
Dad, tell her you like it when she shares her heart with you
Mom, tell him you like it when a man opens the door for you
Let them find you reading your Bible
Teach them how to pray
Teach them the difference between guilt and shame
And never judge when they share their feelings,
But be there to redirect those feelings
Into decisions that will help their future,
Not harm them, at present

We have to start a dialogue
It has to start with you
And it has to start today
Tomorrow may well be too late