Friday, September 27, 2013

Size 6 Fancy Shoes

I have this one pair of shoes.  They are brown with a pretty gold buckle type think on the front.  They have this little kitten heel on them and make my legs look really long. I love them. They match with anything (I suppose anything but a black dress - being brown and all). They are a perfect size 6 shoe that I bought on clearance at some department store for I think 5 dollars.  They are even more perfect now, huh?

I am a size 8.  Yes, I slip my too big, three babies later size 8 feet into these tiny little shoes and to the naked eye, I am pulling it off. If someone comments on these shoes - someone always does - I say "and I got them on clearance," proudly.

Truth?  Yeah...I can barely feel my toes, sister!  They are not a "little uncomfortable". They are "someone could chop off my toe with a machete they are so numb" uncomfortable. They hurt my feet so much, but I wear them a lot.  No. One. Ever. Knows.

I walk around in these shoes, looking fabulous, hurting so badly I need frequent secret breaks.

This is funny to me.  I'm giggling in the quiet of my living room while I write this, because this Sunday I am planning to wear this brown skirt that I have been waiting all summer to wear, and NOW people may ask about those shoes because - yeah, I'm wearing them again.

This shoe dilemma has made me consider the condition of my threadbare heart.

How often do I walk around with my heart raw in my chest, aching all over, beating loudly to be heard, or crying out for Jesus to intervene?

How often do I stomp around with pretty feet and a smiling face with an aching secret place that has become so painful I wince in secret?

How often, sweet sisters, do we walk around in our own personal communities nervous that at any moment our aching heart is going to burst right out of our chests, bare for all to see?

What if, dear ones, we - for once -  let that happen?

Jo Ann Fore

Today, I'm linking up at Jo Ann Fore's site in promotion of her new book, "When A Woman Finds her Voice". This masterpiece is really speaking to me. Jo Ann Fore is a gifted life coach and author who, within this book, has incorporated stories from women who have found their voices through the redeeming love of Christ Jesus and also shared tried and true methods of healing from the heart out.  Join me?  Join us?  Link up or come on over just to hang and delve into the beautiful stories of these gifted women.  Stories that express how they lost their voices or found their voices in the realms of community

Community for me is a difficult topic to discuss. I have a wonderful church family, an amazing group of friends and a family that really IS the coolest group of 5 people on the planet. ;) I know I am loved - loved by - above all - my God, and also my family, friends, neighbors, and the like.  However, something within screams disconnectedness. My heart (a lot like my feet in those brown fancy shoes) is crying out for mercy. There is a constant ache in my heart to feel fully connected. I am hungry for authentic relationships. Relationships that go beyond 'Hi, I like your shoes'. Relationships where I can bare my aching heart and just receive a hug.  Relationships where silent moments in the same room don't feel uncomfortable. Relationships where I feel wanted, not needed. Relationships that give, not just take.  

Community is tough for the pastor's wife.  Because I AM human. Because I HAVE feelings. Because I would easily lay my life down for my family - a lot like YOU. Attacks on my husband's spirituality, ability, and behavior feel like a daggers in my heart.  There really isn't a lot of time that flows by where someone in my beloved community is not upset about something or with the man I love the most. In my community, the soul deep connection I made with someone could be challenged by the color of the carpet or the lack of an available program to meet a need within minutes. Getting too close with a fellow momma who I have everything in common with creates feelings for others of unfairness. In my community, my reality is that if someone gets upset, they may not say hello when I so desperately need a smile on a morning where I had to fight with every one of my children and wield them across the ally to church while sweating profusely in the dead of winter without the help of my husband. A vote swayed in an undesirable direction may mean that I need to tread a bit more lightly with someone I felt was really beginning to connect with me.  I rarely know what to expect and always feel overwhelmed by my Pastor's wife calling.  I am an introvert. I could collapse on Sunday afternoon from exhaustion and from trying to be social...or trying to pull it off, at least.  

I have been caught off guard in my early thirties at how much like high school adult life feels like at times.  I think of 16 year old me, always on the outskirts of that crowd everyone wanted to be a part of. I think back to people within the surrounding community that stole my voice through power moves and revenge - Theater directors, coaches, teachers, and family that felt it necessary to abuse the heart of a young girl by 'keeping her out' - convincing her vulnerable heart that she was never or never will be 'good enough'. 

These are reflections, but how often are we confronted with these same negative feelings? It is frightening how close they actually are.  High school is over, but the sin that entangles us as young girls - as young immature torturers of each other - is still very much a part of community now.   

Gossiping mean girls, judgmental glances and jealousy plague our adult communities and send us reeling back to the 16 year old versions of ourselves - threatening to take all of what God has restored. 

For me, these feelings surface so easily. Too easily.  Simple things send me back to 'you will never be good enough'.  It is so much easier in my role as a pastor's wife to continue to serve others without trying to find those meaningful connections.  So much easier to paint on the smile and stand tall, in those fancy brown shoes of course, knowing in solitude that I can fall apart with no one knowing.  But, God does not want this from me. When I retreat to solitude, I hear Him calling to me - come to ME, daughter, heal in ME, daughter, grow in ME, daughter.  "When we stifle the need for connection, we sacrifice a healing intimacy and companionship, forfeiting the opportunity to unfold that which cannot be discovered in solitude" (Jo Ann Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice).  

Truth is, my fear of connecting because I will get hurt again cannot keep me or us from the very important practice of connecting.  The truth that I will never meet everyone's needs and meet everyone's expectations, and will always make someone mad and hurt someone's feelings unknowingly should not keep me from seeking genuine community with those around me. 

The enemy would have me believe that what God has restored in my heart these past 15 years is a lie.  The enemy wants me to stay in solitude and keep my heart pain as a secret. Satan would have me focus on the pain that community has caused my heart pain, and stay away....and I could. I actually think it's easier to hide - to try to forget.  Thinking about piling on more hurt, more reasons to distrust, make me afraid to join, but hiding is an illusion.  Hiding won't heal us - it hurts us more.   

As I try to navigate through the pain of being hurt, I am using Jo Ann's new book as a tool in my healing. I took a pledge with my fellow launch team members, and REALLY, REALLY want you to take it too. Together we can create authentic communities where genuine connections are made and kept and satan is sent away as the deceptive force he is. 

Directions for pledge:

1. Click on the picture below.
2. Follow the prompts on the pledge page.
3. Submit.
4. Go to your e-mail and confirm.
5. Go back to page and see your name! (You must 'confirm' on the e-mail if you want your name to show up)



Thursday, September 19, 2013

When A Woman Finds Her Voice - Behind the Mask

Jo Ann Fore
Today I am linking up over at Jo Ann Fore’s site with some other really awesome women. There, we are sharing a true prayer from the depths of our souls that God would unveil our masks. Many of us have stories that exemplify how God was able to lift our masks, allowing us to be more authentic followers of Him. I hope you will join us and through their words gain hope and encouragement. If you're a blogger, link up as well.  If not, write your thoughts in the comment section below or on Jo Ann's page.  

While you are there be sure to check out the information on Jo Ann’s new book titled “When A Woman Finds Her Voice” – soon to be released.

Being real. Authentic. What does it mean. Webster describes this word as "something that is not imitation or artificial. Genuine." Genuine. Bona fide. True. Proper. Palpable. Am I these? Am I who I say I am behind the doors of the home I reside? An even more sobering question haunts....Am I who I am on Facebook, or other social media?  Are you?

Very sobering indeed. Jo Ann Fore's book - When A Woman Finds Her Voice has really begun to shape the places of my heart that I have allowed to become complacent. The places where I don't want anyone to see. The places that if they were to be exposed for the world to see, I would hide, too shamed to show my eyes.

Why do we pretend? Why do we hide who we really are?  Better question yet, why do we feel the need to become someone we were never meant to be?

Why do we wear masks that hide our true selves?
For me, not very long ago, my true self was something that I wanted to hide. I had a few masks I would use to hide behind. I had one foot in church and one foot in my world.  I would go to church every Sunday, sing on the praise and worship team, pray, listen and leave, knowing thinking that I had restored myself - filled a reserve perhaps that would get me through to the following Sunday - until I put my mask on again.  Upon leaving I would reassure myself, knowing I had, once again, given my life to Christ like I had maybe 30 times before. My drive to go to church was to relieve my quilt for the destructive lifestyle I was living. To feel better about the choices I was making - and for awhile - it worked. However, the more that I allowed God's truths to penetrate my heart, the less room there was for the destruction, toxicity, and bad choices. The emptiness I began to feel was heavy and painful and something I couldn't contend with. I cried without tears and longed for peace - Peace that extended beyond Sunday morning. Peace that could only come from hanging up my pretender self and finally being who God was calling me to be.

My question - the one that created a longing to hang up the masks - the one that called me two feet in with reckless abandonment:

"God, there has to be more to this life then broken hearts and an empty soul - something beyond broken promises and unrequited love that leaves me feeling powerful but oh so lonely. So - what is it?" This time in my life, I was desperate for an answer. I cried out to Him and He answered me.  In an audible way,  all He said was, "Be still, Daughter." To me this meant stop trying to look the part and be the part.

For me, I was at the end of a very long, exhausting road when I handed in my masks.  Salvation for me came rushing in like a true promise - Loving a Father who would love me back. This picture was hard for me to grasp. "Girls who need their daddy are weak, girls who need men to support them are pathetic." This mask I wore - this lie - it didn't protect me from being hurt, it kept me away from a Father figure I sorely missed.  A Father that would fight for me. A Father that didn't need me, but wanted me anyway - and that, my friends - was something I so desperately wanted, and because I was ready, and His promises are true (Jeremiah 29:13), my God rushed in and restored my broken heart, assuring me I didn't need to hide behind my pain of not being loved, because I am loved.

When I revisit this time in my life, I think of a sweet friend of mine. I am always indebted to her. Although distance has separated us, she is still so very special to me because this sweet sister in Christ gave me friendship that served as the first positive role model for me. This positive relationship gave me the strength I needed to leave the things of this world behind - the things hindering from grabbing a hold of the relationship God had promised me long ago - the things that held me back from truly experiencing the love of a Father. I always think Satan must have been furious during this time, because the removal of that mask has spiraled into so many beautiful life blessings - ones I would have missed if it hadn't been for her example and her love.

In Jo Ann's book, she speaks of beautiful friends like these.  She says, "Those times we can't believe in ourselves, those are the times we have to hold onto what others believe for us," (Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice). I wish everyone had a friend like the one I speak of.  She believed I could heal and loved me through a lot of really hard stuff, and I will always be grateful.  

I still hide - still occasionally retreat to a pretender version of who God has designed me to be.  I imagine Satan thinks it as a great victory for himself when a woman forgets who God has created her to be, and takes off on a path where she thinks she won't be uncovered.  Hiding feels safe because it gives us the illusion that we are going to be ok as long as no one around us uncovers what we are hiding.  Truth is, "Hiding won't protect our hearts forever. No matter how high our walls, someone will eventually find us," (Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice). For me, that someone was God and because God is so, so good, He also gave me beautiful friends, who wanted better for me.

Hiding is no longer easy for me, and although at times I wish it was, God's design and plan for my life compels me to be honest with those around me when my heart isn't where it should be. God's plan for you, sweet sisters, is to take off your mask and share your struggle.  This design uncovers the lies of Satan in a way that strips him of his power. When we strip him of his power, we begin to heal, when we begin to heal, God is glorified!

What masks are YOU wearing today?  Are you the pretender version of the mom you want to be? Are you struggling with a gossip problem that prohibits you from having authentic relationships? Are you a flatterer? Are you a "perfect homemaker" to everyone else, but a disaster emotionally - working to keep up with the image you are trying to portray?

God wants to heal your heart of your need to hide behind your mask of choice, and I want to hear about what God is doing in your life!

As Jo Ann so eloquently illuminates - derived from her own personal story of God's redeeming love,

"We intend to hide our shortcomings, and the fear inside our heart, but instead we hide our beauty, our true selves." - Jo Ann Fore)

What Beauty of self are you hiding today? 

When A Woman Finds Her Voice 
Life coach and Author - Jo Ann Fore



Friday, September 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday Link-up-Mercy

Directions from Link-up:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (On your blog or in the comments).

2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}.

3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you. - See more at: Lisa Jo's Five Minute Friday Page

I'm doing this link-up because I suppose I want to torture myself. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, it often takes me some time before I press publish on a post, but this unedited stuff is made of vulnerability and truth and freedom.  So, here. we. go.

Today's prompt - Mercy.

8:43 GO.

Today may have been a rough day. It blurred by like a memory before my tired eyes. My head aching most of the day.

I sometimes sit at the end of a long day such as this one and have silent dialogue with myself when I should be discussing my day with the one who could right my wrongs and reassure this tired mamma that mercies are new every morning.  

I think of my littles and how I was just a bit too angry with my Nora when she smeared her nail polish all over the carpet in her brother's room, when I asked her 10 million times to stay still. As if a small excited child should ever HAVE to sit still.  Especially while looking at something as magical as pink painted nails. 

Or I think of how I was screaming at a little boy who was dancing to the music of the worship DVD I had on so excitedly, that he ignored me. 

Or getting angry with an infant for not staying still during a diaper change. Sigh.....   

Moments after my dialogue I spend some more time going back upstairs staring at their sweet faces and praying over their still bodies.  I can smell the nail polish and it reminds me of something she said, "I can't wait to show daddy." As I sit on her bed, I see one foot out because, "Daddy will want to see without waking me up."  I see the imperfect smears and her toes look honestly frightening, but she only sees beauty and I want to be more like a child.

Mercy - God showing this tired mama glimpses of what a child sees. An innocent, unscathed, joyous little girl with heart whole, untouched by the harsh world. Seeing only beauty in the mess.  And I see Mercy.  A God who sees this mama - this woman who had her heart torn to pieces long ago - who is a bit too quick to judge something as unlovely - as a beautiful masterpiece.  Lovely, with no flaw.  

A God who allows me a glimpse into the imperfect job I am doing with these precious babies - and reassures me tomorrow is a new day.  

A God who allows someone who spent most of her life running away from Him an opportunity to grow and learn in a home where Christ is the center. Married to a man who worships God and loves me - loves me so, so much. Raising children together that have a real shot at falling in love with Jesus.

Mercy - Giving me as many chances to get it right as I'll ever need, and holding me up and pushing me on the whole time.  

8:48 STOP

Go link-up too!  If you don't have a blog, I encourage you to try this too.  Leave your 5 minute Friday dialogue in the comment section below! Remember the rules and happy writing. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When a Woman Finds her Voice - A Cursed Princess

A voice. You hear it often.  She has a pretty voice.  He has a squeaky voice.  She has such a peppy tone in her voice.  He has such a deep voice.  He has a radio voice.  She has a mothering voice.  She sounds like such a teacher when she talks.  She talks too much.  He talks so little.  Children talk...a lot.  I hate my voice on the phone.  My recorded voice sounds weird.  I can always recognize that singers voice on the radio.  I could decipher my mom's voice from rooms away.  I lost my voice.  My voice is scratchy.

A voice.  A way to tell people how you're feeling.  A way to express love, hate, happiness, sadness, anger, pretense, joy, worship, a cry for help, a plea for prayer, a warning,

For many reasons, our voices have impact.  Impact for good and impact for bad. Impact for hurt or impact for healing.

But what if your voice has been stolen?  Stolen like a scene from little mermaid, where that princess is rendered unrecognizable because she lost her ability to speak?  Who took your voice? What or who is your Ursela? And how far off is your happy ending?

A cursed easily we relate?

I grew up in a home that was less than loving; my father, an alcoholic, who found it difficult to keep money coming in to pay the bills, and my mother, who worked her fingers to the bone and made sure everyone knew how much she resented it. I have a brother and a twin sister who comfortably, along with I, fell into the roles children play in a family suffering from someone who is dependent on drugs and alcohol. I was the "hero". I took care of everyone, I cleaned for everyone, I loved everyone, I solved problems, I held hands, fed the baby, and wiped scraped knees. I spent my carefree days doing everything but being free. Although no one on the outside could see, we were a wounded family, dysfunction with a capital "D".

The problem with this particular role is that the child playing it never develops emotionally. This child is unable to understand who s/he is because they are too busy taking care of everyone else. It is a sad state of affairs for this child because NO ONE knows how badly they are damaged, because they look, from the outside, that they have it all together.

I was as insecure as I could possibly be, but on the outside, I had it all together. I went onto to college, graduated, and started a teaching career...all while participating in a barrage of toxic relationships. I bought into what the world had told me would fill this emptiness, but all it did was leave me lonely, feeling confused at the emotional baggage and physical consequences I never expected. 

When a Woman Finds Her Voice - Jo Ann Fore
After my millionth heartbreak, sparing many intricate and beautiful details, I found Jesus. He filled the void, and at long last, I wasn't empty anymore. I didn't need a man to love me, and was completely fine without one!

As I healed from the pain of my past, I felt a small pull to tell my story - to use my voice....but I couldn't. Satan lied to me, and much like Eve, I listened.  I fell silent...I was ashamed...I was just so afraid. I was content to hide in the shadow of my salvation. Content to remain silent, knowing now I would spend eternity with Jesus.

God is a redeemer...and He wanted my story - my voice. This girl, looking for love in all the wrong places, came to know Jesus, fell in love with Jesus, and was going to marry a PASTOR....was going to be a pastor's wife...and was going to look in the eyes of women for the rest of my life and tell them how I found my voice - and God wanted no "ifs ands or buts" about it!!

We were married and began our lives.  Still silent, my sins began to haunt me because of my inability to overcome Satan's lies.....lies like:
"You are damaged goods"

"A man that has stayed sexually pure deserves better than you!"

"If anyone in the congregation finds out, they will hate you."

"You will have kids who think you are disgusting."

I was being tortured emotionally, and no one, not even my husband knew. I hated myself for what I had done, and I spent countless hours tearing myself to pieces because I knew I was worthless. I didn't know how to fix myself and our marriage was being threatened by it.  Behind the scenes; blame, accusations, and undeserved arrows from my past pain threatened to ruin what God so masterfully put together.

When a Woman Finds her Voice - Jo Ann Fore
After our daughter was born, I endured a mean case of postpartum depression, which I also convinced myself was a punishment from God for my sin. Looking into the eyes of my baby girl, I was determined to be healed. I didn't want her to grow up with these unrecognizable wounds. I was desperate. So very very desperate.

I began to read...Scripture verses about marriage, Bible studies about marriage, verses about redemption, books about girls who weren't loved as children, books about damaged but redeemed girls. I finally gained some perspective and began to let go of some of the chains. Right around this time, my husband asked me to share my testimony in front of the WHOLE church, and then a friend asked me to share my testimony in front of our WHOLE MOPS group. Terrified doesn't sum it up, but I knew it was God leading me further to a place of freedom for the sake of my family. I shared, and I felt God enter into the pain. I released the secrets, I released the suppression, and because of this, I began to feel freedom from something that had been a governing force in my everyday thought life - shame. 
I found my voice.....and as I spoke, I saw in the eyes of the women around me, a whisper, "me too". 

The more I read and talked, the more freedom I felt. It became easier to love my husband the way he deserved to be loved, and I felt more lovable myself.

As a matter of fact, I felt like a lovely, beautiful, redeemed daughter of a  King 
who used my lost and found voice for good...
for the good of this King 
and His kingdom!

I am linking up over at Write Where it Hurts today, and every Wednesday. Jo Ann Fore, a woman I have never officially met and perhaps never will has written a book that has made its' way into my heart. I have had a unique privilege of being a part of a launch team to help her spread the news about this wonderful book. 
Jo Ann Fore

Can I be honest? I am changed because of this experience. Often times we use good intentions to help those around us, lending a hand to bless one another, all the while experiencing God's love in ways only He can manifest. I have been blessed. Abundantly blessed. 
Frankly, I can't wait for you to read this book too! 
I want you to find your voice, and I want it to sing!

Coming October 8th Pre-Order Now.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pre-school and other terrifying things....

My dearest oldest little,

You are so sweet. So innocent. So unscathed by the world.  So far you have been under my wing, and aside from the occasional babysitter I have watched your every breath and seen your every move.  You spend little time by someone else's side, and accompany me to almost every shopping trip, doctor appointment, dinner out, play date, meeting, practice and play date that has taken place in the last 4 years. You are a much a part of me as the shaky fingers I am watching type out this note.

I have watched you almost slip away from me, and as I held you that night I knew no time was certain or guaranteed.  The paramedics saved your life and since that moment I have hovered over your health like a rain cloud.  I watch you breath at night...still.  I've lost hours of sleep listening to your breathing on a monitor that should have long been stored away.  I listen for the sound of your cough and can decipher within seconds what my next step will be.  I know what you can eat and drink and vigorously read and re-read and re-read again any label of the food you consume.  I control the food other people bring into this house and monitor the cleanliness of the fingers of your brothers' and your friends' in order to keep your skin clean and your body from itching.  I would give my right arm to ensure I would never have to see you the way you looked that October night, when I thought perhaps Jesus was calling you back.  I control your environment to keep you keep you keep you with me.  

I know your laugh, your cry, your precious pretend baby doll's cry, the sound of your footsteps, the sound your lungs make when they are crying out for rest.  I know when you're tired.  I know when you're sick.  I know when you're annoyed and I know when you're sorry.

Your father and I watch you sing and create songs from soundbites from your memory. You dance as if you are a professional and we are your biggest fans.  We love your every move and smile brightly for you. We clap at your awkward spins and silly leg kicks, and as far as you're concerned you are fit for Broadway. The paintings you draw are works of art and are hung with pride.  Your innocent prayers about baby dolls and the weather are praised and we are proud of the made up words and oh so innocent requests to your Father in heaven.  You smile brightly at other children, even when they aren't so nice and assume everyone is as madly in love with you as we are.  You get excited about a trip to Rita's as if it may be the best thing that has ever happened to you.  You think all the colors are lovely....even grey and black. You flip your wild hair and feel like a beauty queen.  You could put on any article of clothing and feel ready for the runway. You are unscathed and innocent and see the world in a beautiful way.

I love you.  Your father and I love you so, so, so, so ridiculously much.  The love we have for you extends further than any possible way we could have ever imagined.  We would easily lay our lives down for you. Easily. Without question.    

God loves you too, but so much more.  This is hard for me to imagine, but I know it is true.  God loves you so much that He sent His son to die for you.  In fact, He sent His ONE and ONLY son to die for you. Being your parent has helped me to understand a fraction of the pain this must have caused, but it had to be done.  When I think of sending you to die for men who hate you, an alarm screams inside of me, "send me instead!".  It makes me love God more, knowing what He did for me.  He loves you and knows how to protect you.  He also hovers over you.  In a much more "in control, not crazy nor wild eyed" kind of way.  He is not worried about you.  He is not anxious when it comes to you.  He does not panic when he hears you cough or run to the pediatrician to test your pulse Ox.  He just hovers.  He hovers and protects you and holds you and loves you.  In an "I got this" kind of way.  His loves extends and fixes where we fail you.  His love is unfathomable.  His love is perfect.

Why do I tell you all of this, my sweet, sweet little?  I tell you this to reassure myself that as I send you off to pre-school, God is hovering in an "I got this" kind of way.  For the first time in your 4 years, mommy will trust your care to people who will never love you like I love you.  For the first time in 4 years, I will need to turn off the hovercraft and trust that God will protect you.  For the first time in 4 short years, you are going to spend time with people who have not mastered the sound of your scary cough and your "help me" cry.  For the first time in 4 years, someone else will be feeding you and handing you snacks and not washing down fingers like a psycho in an attempt to keep you safe.

Perhaps the thing that stings the most for me is that for the first time in 4 years I must actually TRUST that God is in control rather than pretend I truly believe that.  I must trust.  He can take care of you...He sustains your life....He created you for a purpose, beyond dancing in our safe and comfortable home to made up songs and beyond caring for plastic dolls with the intensity of a woman over her babes.

This world will not always be easy on you.  This world will beat you up and tear you down and make you cry.  You won't always be safe here.  You won't always be healthy.  There is no guarantee of how long you'll be here either, or how long the ones you love will be here.  There will be pain, sickness, tears, fighting and sorrow. But there will also be happiness, health, laughter friendships and joys and success.

People will disappoint you and your ideas won't always be appreciated.  You will fail and it will feel like no one around you cares about the state of your heart.  You will cry...sometimes to the point of dehydration all while the world twirls around you.  You will fall in love and have your heart broken.  You will love and find that you were loving alone.  You will be ignored, under-appreciated, and taken for granted. You will work, sometimes to exhaustion with no return.  So many unexpected sorrows.  I want you to know, even the ones you love the most will fail you......I will fail many times. So many unfortunate times.

This is the beginning, sweet little.  You are growing up, whether I like it or not.  I cannot keep you safe forever.  I cannot trust in my own strength any more.  I must relinquish control to the ONE who gave it all. For you...for me.

Be encouraged. There will be glorious times of love and happiness and overwhelming joy.  There will be moments where you could not smile bigger or feel prouder.  There will be laughter and comfort and joy beyond worldly emotion.

...And know..without a shadow of a doubt...and as long as I draw breath, I will be here to hold you and dry your tears.  In a most imperfect way, I will cheer for you and encourage you and be your biggest fan.  I will stop what I'm doing to walk with you through tragedy and call on God when you need prayer.  I will bake for you when you're sad (vegan). I will fight for you when there is a fight worth fighting and will remind you to back off if the fight is a war of the flesh.  I will be excited for you.  I will push you to succeed. I will dream with you and for you. I will cry for you and mourn with you. I will love you until I draw my last breath.

You are beautiful. A creation that could only come from a most perfect God.

So, as you go into this world, know we will be learning together.  While you learn colors, numbers, letters and words, I'll be learning about PTA, classroom snacks and room mom business.  While you learn who God has created you to be, I'll learn to finally and imperfectly fully trust Him.  So, thank you for teaching me more than I could have ever dreamed of learning.  Thank you for teaching me that I'm not strong at all. I speak for your father as well when I say, Thank you for teaching us how to rely on and trust our creator. A God that loves us more than we could ever possibly imagine.

Thank you, sweet little.  Now fly. The beginning is sweet and scary and lovely and terrifying.

As terror screams around the walls of my heart, I will learn to fully trust in Him.  I will learn to fully trust in a God who holds your tomorrows, who hovers above your every need and whose promises are truer than anything I could ever promise you myself.  He loves you....more than even your anxious, worried mother....and that truth alone will sustain me.


Your mom