6.23.2015

Why They Don't Want You to Be Whole

None of your loved ones and friends would actually say they don’t want you to be whole; however, often those nearest us struggle with our pursuit of wholeness.  Why?  Because when we start to pursue the healing of the broken places in ourselves, we start to live differently.  Those who have lived and interacted with us in our more broken states often learned to live in alignment with our brokenness.  Sometimes our broken patterns actually benefitted them in their own brokenness.  So when we start to change, start to heal, start to live differently, those broken benefits start to disappear and we start to cost others what had become so comfortable and familiar. 

This has been my situation and my story on more than one occasion over the past eight years.  Over the past two and a half years, God has especially been overhauling me, healing my heart, changing my broken ways of thinking and living.  And as I change, there are real costs to those who had grown accustomed to my old ways of being.*

The problem is that the old me…the one that others knew and had grown accustomed to…always wanted to make everyone else happy, fixed whatever I could for others, had an internal drive to please any and all authority figures in my life, thought I had no limitations, was a workaholic, existed in fairly constant low-lying anxiety, struggled to admit my mistakes, was desperate to get things right all the time, and had no idea how to stand up for myself.  That version of me was so comfortable for so many.  The way I lived often made other people happy, and I looked to them to determine my value and worth. 

The me that is developing now is a much stronger, much freer, much more peaceful woman.  A woman who definitely does want to be kind to all the people.  But who also knows when to stand up and call, “foul,” when something isn’t right.  A woman who is just beginning to admit my mistakes and errors, because I finally feel safe enough to do so.  Safe, because I am truly beginning to understand that I do not hold everything together, but Jesus actually does.  It’s not just a platitude any more, but my reality.   He is my complete Rescue, so I am free to be just as I am: a human woman with beauty and flaws, searching out His face and receiving His grace while I walk this earth. 

The problem is that when we start to heal deep down inside our souls, a domino effect begins.  When I begin to see and admit and ask for wholeness in one part of my life, I began to see the brokenness in other areas.  It’s like what would happen to the old cars I used to drive (and I’ve driven a lot of very used cars).   I’d be driving the car just fine for a while, when one moderately noticeable problem would occur with the car.  I’d go in and get it fixed, only to have something else go wrong shortly after.  What would follow would be a cascade of car problems and necessary repairs. 

That first thing I had repaired was finally working better than it had in years.  When that part started working better, it would expose the lack in a connected area in the car’s system.  And so on.  Repair after repair as the car experienced disequilibrium between new parts and old parts in the same system.  When this domino effect would begin, I would sometimes wish that I hadn’t repaired that first problem at all, because the car had seemed to be working so well for so long.  Now, after that first repair, all these new repairs incurred all kinds of costs. 

Often as we start to heal, changing from old ways of living into new and whole ways of living, we find those around us subconsciously wishing we had never started those first “soul repairs,” because who we were was working so well for them for so long.  In their brokenness they benefitted from our brokenness.  While most of those around us would never admit even to themselves that they wished we could just remain as we were, often in our journey toward healing, others do struggle with who we are becoming.  Our new selves create disequilibrium in a system that still has so many old patterns coming into contact with our new selves.    

However, even when healing costs us dearly in relationships that we used to find our home and identity, it is still worth it.  Because Jesus coming in and making whole all that is broken inside us is more valuable than keeping all the brokenness in the world. 

And as we heal and are being made whole and new, we are actually paving the path for those others in our life to take the first steps toward healing, too. 



* 2 Corinthians 2:15-18, Ephesians 4:20-24


6.18.2015

Shhhh...

Please be still.  Please stop in the chaos.  In all the Facebook opinions.  In the pain of this world.

Recognize that today there are whole families sobbing in grief.  Please see a church congregation, broken.  Stop to give adequate space to a city that has been rocked. 

Stop and pray.  For the families.  For the church.  For the city of Charleston.  Light a candle in remembrance of the lives lost.  Pause long enough to give space to those in grief.

And then do not minimize the reality of the victims’ deaths by trying to remove racial hate from this tragedy.  Racism is still real in America.  If you doubt it, please look up and read the comments from the shooter of last nights’ tragedy.

I personally am heartbroken.  Sitting here with tears streaming down my face. 

Join me in prayer today, please.  Join me in considering how you…how I…how we…can be agents of reconciliation in our nation. 

Because reconciliation, racial reconciliation, is necessary and needed. 

How can we, you and I, be part of the reconciliation and not part of the perpetuating the problem? 





6.07.2015

Summer Camp

Summer camp is how we’re going to survive this summer.  We had formed such a great routine this past year with homeschooling.  Every morning when Silas went down for his morning nap, the boys and I did preschool and pre-K together.  The focused time together plus the brain engagement were so good for the boys.  Our forty-five minutes of planned, focused learning together made their mornings so much better, so much smoother, and so much more enjoyable.

So, when I could feel summer coming upon us, I could feel the regular rhythm slipping away.  Having been homeschooled myself, it is my strong belief that homeschooled kids should absolutely have the same breaks that traditionally schooled kids have.  In essence, homeschooled kids ought to get summer break, too.  Which now created a conundrum for me.  How was I going to keep my kids engaged this summer without our school routine?  How would I keep them from pulling on me all summer in the lack of a school day rhythm?

Then it [Divinely] came to me: summer camp.

This year, summer camp for us would entail three things:

1) Elijah would keep working on learning to read.  We would do one lesson a day from the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

2) Solomon would work on letter identification and eventually letter-sound identification.

3) Together, we would do one fun summer project, activity, craft, or science experiment each day. 

I drew up giant calendars for the summer months and explained the plan to the boys.  I then included them in the planning.  The three of us poured over craft books, activity books, and Pinterest, working together to create a list of things we wanted to do this summer.  I took our list and mapped out our activities on our giant calendar. 




We are now two weeks into summer camp, and it has been the best thing I could have done for us this summer! 

First, learning to read is such a huge undertaking that I am so glad that Elijah and I are working on it over the summer when there are no other academic goals.  Learning to read is enough brain challenge for each day.  Second, I am so glad we have an activity planned each day.  Having one focused, fun activity to do together every morning makes the whole day so much smoother.  Plus, the boys are learning how to read a calendar because they are super excited about all the activities and are keeping track of when we’re doing what! 

Summer camp keeps our focused time together in the mornings different from the normal school year; however, it also keeps the boys and I connected and their brains active, so they’re not just floating through the morning without any engagement.  It is how we’re going to make it through the summer!




5.27.2015

When Life Feels Fast

Most of us are blessed with friends throughout the various seasons of our life.  People we hang out with.  People we eat dinner with.  People we laugh with.  People who will meet us for coffee, help us move, send us an encouraging text, make a meal when we have babies…people who just show up.  Friends.

Then sometimes in a random season of our life, we meet more than a friend.  We meet that person.  The one who stops long enough to really hear our story.  The one who actually prays when we ask her to pray.  The one who thinks we’re funnier than we actually are.  The one who follows up on the details of our life.  The one who loves our kids even when they’re nuts.  The one who gets us.  These friends are rare.  These friends are special.  These friends are to be cherished.

Three years ago, I didn’t even realize I was meeting one of these friends.  At a routine residency retreat brunch, the girl across the table and I realized that we both had two little boys about the same age and had both just moved into the same neighborhood, living only a half a mile apart from each other.  She looked across the table and said, “Let’s just be friends, okay?”  My reply, “Okay!” 

In that moment, a friendship began far beyond what either of us had expected.  Here we were two grown women…mothers, wives…with lives full of the caring of our little families.  Yet, there was space in our lives for that friend.  We found understanding in each other’s companionship.  We found a common faith connection…often discovering that what God was doing in one of our hearts mirrored what He was doing in the other’s heart.  We just got each other. 

We listened to each other.  We encouraged each other.  We spoke the truth to one another when no one else was brave enough to say what we needed to see.  We brought each other meals.  We dropped off ice cream and candy on the worst days.  We borrowed each other’s movies.  Our kids played in each other’s backyards.

As the years have passed, we have seen each other through some of the most unexpected turns life has thrown each of us.  Some moments of the deepest pain.  Some moments of incredible joy.  And all the in between moments of everyday life.  The moments that are so plain, yet so important to have someone else be witness to.  The thousand text messages that have flown through the air mean more than words can even express.  Known.  Valued.  Loved.

In just a month, this friend and her family will move multiple states away.  Her husband graduates from the residency in June.  They have an exciting next season of their life beginning this summer.  We always knew this would come.  At the beginning of three years, this point seemed so far off…someday.  But now that we’re here, life feels so short.  It flies by faster than can be grasped.  Friends of the deepest kind move.  And we start new seasons of life.  New seasons of friendship.

Over the course of my thirty-two years, I’ve been blessed with more than one of these friends.  Women who really got me.  Women who still walk beside me in life even though we’re thousands of miles apart.  Seasons shift, our frequent contact may lessen, but I know that I am known, valued, and loved in these friendships. 

If you have one of these friends, take a minute today to tell her how grateful you are for her in your life.  Take a minute to thank God for giving you such an incredible gift.  Don’t take for granted the unique and precious gift of a friend who truly gets you.  Call her up for coffee.  Make the most of these moments. 

If you don’t have one of these friends but long for deeper friendships, start praying.  Ask God boldly for friends.  Friends who get you.  Then go out and be friendly.  If you long for meaningful friendships, go be that kind of friend.  Invite the new girl and her kids over for a playdate.  Ask that couple down the street to come over for dinner in the backyard.  Keep an eye out for those who are new, on the fringes, or seem alone.  Be the girl across the table who says, “Let’s just be friends, okay?”  Be a good friend and at some point you may actually discover that you’ve met a good friend in return. 

Life is short.  Spend time with those who are valuable in your life.  Tell them you love them, appreciate them, and are grateful for them.  You never really know when this season will be over.  Cherish the now.  


That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.

Emily Dickinson