Monthly Archives: August 2018

Waves

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Another wave rolled in and knocked me down as the water rushed under my feet. As the water engulfs me, I hold my breath, as I struggle to come up for air.

When these waves hit me, I feel trapped. Trapped inside a mind that can’t be healed. I’m imprisoned by this thing that torments me. No amount of work on my part will take it away. I am powerless to defeat it. All I can do is attempt to stay ahead of it. Constantly running, looking over my shoulder to see if it’s catching up to me.

When the gap between us widens, I get lost in a sense of euphoria and safety. I slow down and sometimes stop running altogether. I experience genuine laughter and joy. And peace. And full, deep breaths. But then it sneaks in and catches me off guard.

As I wrestle the beast, I feel the euphoria and safety and all the goodness that came with it drain from me as if it were never there. I grasp at it and try with everything I have to hold onto it, but I am unsuccessful.

It came and went so quickly, the peace. Was it even real, or was it just a figment? I can’t recover the reality of it, and it becomes a falsity conjured in my mind to escape the brutality of the thing that brings the blanket of darkness.

And then I feel numb. The numbness dulls the pain. For the next undetermined length of time, I oscillate between the pain and numbness. I trudge through the days, willing myself to keep going. Not really living. Only just making it to the end of the day, and the beginning of the next. Rinse and repeat.

And then, as if like magic, the pain disappears and the euphoria is back…and so it goes…

Looking at it from outside myself, I can see the strength in this person who doesn’t give up. I see the resolve in her eyes, as she wipes away the tears, to remain steadfast for the three souls who came from her. And for the one who chose her and stands unfailingly by her side. She is fierce, unwavering, and powerful. Yes, I see strength.

But from the inside, I feel weak. Tired and desperate. I question how I will make it through this wave. Each one feels like a tsunami, rushing in and sweeping me away. Why can’t I be bigger than this thing? Why aren’t my efforts enough to destroy its powerful grip? If I’m strong, shouldn’t I be past this already? No, I don’t feel strong. I feel weak.

I do know the truth of it all. I know it’s beyond me. I know my role is to stay on track with my plan and to cope the best I can when the moment calls for it. I know these things. I understand them. I abide by them.

I just wish the knowledge of truth drove out the reality of the beast…

GO WILDCATS!

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A few short hours ago, we said our goodbyes to our daughter and then watched her walk toward her next adventure.  We hugged, we prayed, we cried.  Allow me to be more specific.  Amber sweetly had a few tears rolling down her precious freckled cheeks. Josh was able to maintain his composure, and stayed away from any standard of ugly cry.  I, on the other hand…Well, I kept myself together (for the most part) until I climbed back into the car to drive away.  And that’s when it really began.  It was one of those can’t-catch-your-breath sobs.  You know, the kind that causes you to make all sorts of strange noises that you can’t possibly control.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  That was the scene as we left the campus and turned onto Judge Ely Blvd. and headed out of town.

I thought I was ready for this.  I thought she was ready for this.  Turns out, I was only half right.

I know it’s time for her to venture out, away from home – away from mom, and make her own way in the world.  I know this is the normal progression of things, and I’ve had 18 years to prepare for this; but honestly, I don’t know of any way to be ready for this.  As she walked away from us to begin her journey, I felt my heart leap out of my chest and go with her.  That’s what happens when you have a child.  Suddenly, your heart resides outside of you.  It takes the form of a tiny baby, an unsteady toddler, a toothless grade schooler, an awkward tween, a full blown teenager, and an emerging adult. So there I stood, watching my woman-child carry my heart away.

So now I do the thing that moms do – I question. Did I prepare her?  Does she know how much I love her?  Did I leave her with enough toilet paper and toothpaste?  Did I do enough?  What more could I have done?  How can I leave her in a place that serves Pepsi products instead of Coke products?

And then I do the thing where I manage to conjure up every bad parenting moment I’ve ever had.  And then I feel guilty for those moments.  And then I laugh at the absurdity and normalcy of these mom-thoughts. And that’s when I know, for sure, that I will be ok.  I will soon find the beauty and joy in this next phase.

In the midst of my not-readiness, there were a handful of moments when the look in Amber’s eyes gave it away that she didn’t feel ready, either.  *PANIC MODE* Oh no!!!  she’s not ready!  Abort mission!  Abort mission!  We can’t possibly go through with this!

I CANNOT LEAVE HER HERE!

Turns out, she was just exhausted and a bit overwhelmed.  It was nothing a good night’s sleep in her new bed couldn’t cure. *Phew.  Disengage panic mode* She is ready.  She is ready for some independence.  She is ready to dive into the deep end of college classes. She is ready for this challenge.  She is strong and bold.  She is confident and ambitious.  She is brilliant and disciplined.  She is gifted and talented.  She is capable.  She is ready.

Even in my helicopter mom moment of not wanting to let go, I realize that my baby girl is ready for this.  We have, indeed, prepared her well.  And so I have some peace.  But that’s not the whole picture.  Another very important part of all this is the school itself.

Abilene Christian University – ACU – GO WILDCATS!

When we visited the campus in March, we were exceedingly impressed.  Amber quickly decided this would be her school.  *Thank you Jesus*  We had no idea that when we came back for orientation and move-in we would continue to be blown-away by this university.

Move-in day.  Picture it: We pull up to the school and there is a line extending off campus and down the city street.  Hmmm, we weren’t expecting this.  The line moves quickly.  As we round the corner and come into the dorm parking lot, we see the throngs of upperclassmen we were assured would be there to help us.  Are you ready for this?  We pulled up to the main entrance of the dorm.  We told them Amber’s name and her room number.  In five minutes ALL of her stuff (that filled up the Suburban) was out of our car and in her room!  AMAZING! We anticipated spending at least an hour hauling things, box by box, from the car to the dorm.

Ummm, I’m sold.  Love this place.

But what I really love is the overall focus of the school.  Every incoming student takes a test which identifies their strengths – five strengths, actually.  Throughout their entire education at ACU, there will be emphasis on developing these strengths.  The focus will be on building these students up in the areas where they possess natural ability, rather than on improving areas where they might struggle.  The focus shifts from negative to positive. The students not only feel better about their school performance, but they also learn a tremendous amount about what kinds of careers suit them well according to their God-given strengths. BRILLIANT!

LOVE.  LOVE. LOVE.

Added bonuses:  She has a friend from church in Pensacola who is also a freshman at ACU this year.  We have multiple friends in Abilene who will make sure she is taken care of.  And of course, she will be in an atmosphere that is saturated with Jesus-loving people!

So…She’s ready.  She’s at a fabulous university.  She has local contacts.  She is in a Christ-centered atmosphere.

OK, I guess I’m ready, too.  GO WILDCATS!

 

 

 

 

What If…

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What if we weren’t so hard on ourselves?  What if we stopped being our own worst critic?  What if we stopped being so hard on ourselves?  What if we recognized our strengths and talents?  What if we embraced those and used them for good? What if we accepted ourselves just the way we are?

What if we loved ourselves?

Can we stop judging and criticizing what we see in the mirror?  Can we see what we love instead of what could use some improvement?  Can we be motivated to better ourselves rather than beat ourselves up because we aren’t yet where we want to be?  Can we see the good in others rather than judging them from our own perspective and standards?  Can we embrace our differences?  Can we appreciate the differences rather than simply tolerate them?

Can we make our world a better place?

What would it look like if we loved ourselves?  What would it look like if we loved each other?  What would it look like if we acted upon that love?  What would it look like if we lived in this kind of world?

I recently found myself in a place where I needed to learn to love myself for all that I am, and all that I’m not.  I began compiling lists – all kinds of lists that helped me to see the beauty of myself and my life.  It gave me something tangible and visible to keep me from forgetting.  One list contained all the physical features that I love about myself; another listed all of my character traits that I love.  In order to keep each list to one single page, I kept having to make the font smaller!  It’s amazing how much you find that you love about yourself when you really stop and think about it.  And honestly, this helped me in a tremendous way to let go of my negative self-talk and embrace the good in me.  I can acknowledge and verbalize my gifts and talents for probably the first time in my 41 years.  I suddenly don’t feel as if I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders as I strive to be more and more and more.  What an amazing feeling!

How would you feel if you could change your perspective about yourself from negative to positive? How would it change your life? How would it change your career? How would it change your relationships? How would it change you?

Can I issue a challenge? Write your own self-love lists. What do you love about yourself? Think about it.  Write it down.  Read it often.  Believe it.

Peace.

13 Reasons

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I’ve just finished watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  It’s tough to watch, for sure.  The last two episodes, especially, really shook me.  If I’m being honest, I’m actually kind of sick to my stomach over it.

One of the themes of the show is that we are important in the lives of the people around us, whether we realize it or not.  We affect others with our words and actions.  We make an impact on those around us – good or bad, we make an impact.  But beyond that, we should be paying attention to those around us.  We should take notice of our friends and family members and coworkers.  We need to see each other.  We need to hear each other.

I mean, why don’t we?  I think there are a few reasons.

We have become a society full of busyness.  We busy ourselves to death.  We don’t even have time to breathe some days because we are racing from one thing to the next.  How can we possibly have time for others when we don’t even have time for ourselves?  How can we serve others or be the hands and feet of Jesus when we are scheduled nonstop from the time our feet hit the floor until the time our heads hit the pillow?  How?

I think we are also scared.  It’s scary to get in the weeds with other people.  It’s hard to take on their problems or situations.  It’s difficult to carry someone’s burden.  It’s easier to look away.  It’s easier to utter a few prayers and convince ourselves that we did our part.  Sometimes we simply don’t know what to do.  So we do nothing.  We don’t show up.  We aren’t present.  We tell ourselves that we would do something if we just knew what to do.

I just know this is not what Jesus had in mind.  He didn’t want us to be so preoccupied with ourselves that we can’t be there for others. He didn’t want us to live in our own little bubbles, separate from everything outside of that.

We were designed for more than that. We were designed for community, for relationship. How can we cultivate relationship if we turn our heads away from the hurting?

I wonder what our world would look like if we each committed to diving in and being willing and able to ease the burden of just one person. I wonder how different our world would be.

I wonder.

I wonder if some of the brokenness and loneliness in our world would fade. I wonder if hate and violence would diminish. I wonder if the divide in our country would begin to decrease. I wonder if love would abound.

Maybe it would. I hope it would.

Dear Melissa

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Dear Melissa,

This is your persistence and this is what I want you to know…

You are worthy. You are strong and you can do this. You will do this. When you’ve wanted to give up, I have been here insisting that you don’t. I have helped you put one foot in front of the other. I have breathed air into your lungs when you couldn’t. I have held you up and dried your tears and calmed your fears and slapped that smile back onto your face. I have never let you fall so far that I couldn’t pull you back up. And I never will. Never will there be a time when I will sit by and allow you to plunge into the deep. Never will I allow you to quit. No, you and I – we’ve come too far. Look at us! What a team. We are unstoppable, you and me!

We have things to accomplish. We have dreams to realize. We have lives to change. I’ve been doing some hard work during these difficult times, so you’re stuck with me. I’m sticking around for the good times. I’m going to be here to celebrate the successes. I’m going to grab onto some joy and keep it for myself-because I’ve earned it. And when it gets overwhelming to reach for the sky, I’ll be with you, not so gently urging you to keep pressing forward.

I know you. I know the real you. I know you don’t want to settle for anything less than your heart’s desire. I know you desire to do more, to be more. And you will because you were made for more. In your own way, in your own time, in your own little corner of the world, you will be more. You will make a difference. You will touch lives. You will inspire. You will teach and help and love and listen. You will hug and pray and cry and hold hands and laugh. You will sing. You will leave your mark. Your legacy will be great. You were designed for greatness.

So no, I will never stop pushing you toward success. It’s my job. And if I’m not great at what I do, how can you be great at what you do?