20 Years

Twenty years ago this month Jim and I started dating. We were 16 and like all teenagers eager for a relationship. Jim has always carried this quiet confidence with him, sometimes it wasn’t quiet but regardless of its volume you knew what he was sure of. Loving me at 16 was one of them. I’ve always loved him deeply but I was so much more hesitant than he was. He was bold and sure. I was timid and perfectly happy to “just be friends” because I loved the relationship we had and I feared we’d lose it.

I loved the idea of love. I loved every ounce of romantic notions that the world would throw around and I wanted all of it, but I also loved comfort in the known and predictable. I felt secure in a few truths: love was beautiful but often damaging; and even if I found love and got married it would not last. The stats were nothing to the realities I saw around me. Broken homes. Shattered dreams. Nope, not for me. I wanted it but I was afraid of it.

We wobbled and imploded under the weight of a love that neither of us fully understood. I saw it through a shattered lens and he saw it through a hazy “good enough” lens. Neither realizing that we needed to clean and repair.

So twenty years later I have a new definition and understanding of love. It’s hard. It demands all of you. It has zero to do with perfection and 100% to do with imperfection. It brings out the best in us and challenges even the hardest, most broken hearts to come into the light.

So for those of you fighting the good, hard battle of love here is some hard-learned wisdom: very often hardest work gleams the best harvest; a peaceful, loving relationship doesn’t just sprout up, it’s cultivated. Fervent prayer is the steadiest battle plan there ever was. Kindness bridges what bitterness shatters. And rushing through difficult seasons does not make them go away, bottled up hurts and anger will most likely explode at a later time. Communicate about even the things you think they already know. Being present is always the best gift, no matter how many years tick by.


No More Faking Fine Book Review

I literally stumbled across this launch team; unlike all the others that were sent to me via email or through a friend, I found Esther Fleece’s Facebook post about No More Faking Fine and its launch team entirely on my own.

I have to admit I wasn’t sure at first what I thought. The word that the book is kind of based off is “lament” and that scared me because when I think of lament pretty flowers and sunrays don’t come up. But what I learned was that on the otherside of lament is the pretty flowers and sunrays.

Esther defines lament as a passionate expression of our pain that God meets us in.

Again, this definition scared me because I have found that passionate anything usually is loud and lamenting is sad so loud sadness…nope, sorry, not for me. Boy, was I wrong! It is for me! It’s for you, too! We fake fine, brush pains aside and meander through life not stopping to deal with them. Because if we do then we have to come face to face with some truths and realities that are frankly unpleasant and it’s hard. But it is also worth it.

When we fake fine and leave lamenting at the side we damage ourselves and like Esther Fleece started to do, damage her relationship with God because she thought He didn’t want the hurts she carried. Faking fine is the chain and lament is the freedom. The art and act of lamenting pulls us down to still, calm, and near to God. It’s us crying out and waiting.

So what am I saying? Really that despite how afraid I was of the truths of this book I needed it. It’s worth every penny. It’s worth every second that it takes to read it. Don’t be flippant and arrogant as I was about the it being just another book, allow the words to soak in.

This is probably my shortest book review I’ve ever done, but I believe this book stands on its own two feet (if a book had feet).


Plant The Seeds

Well, it’s 2017 and like most blogs right now I am going to share something I learned from the year before. Actually, two things one a lesson and one a reminder.

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I pray you all had a fantastic holiday season. We sure did. Many memories were made, entirely too much food was consumed, and a sense of thankfulness and expectancy was and now is amongst us.

Like any other year 2016 came with its fair share of ups and downs. Extreme ups and downs. Personal growth and devastating losses. Life happened. If life didn’t happen you then I want to know your magic trick because the full range of experiences landed on me. But I was reminded of a simple truth through them: perspective changes everything.

This morning Zack and I were in the car talking about 2016 and he noted that he had a “bad year” and that “only” two good things happened: he got a car and a job”. I, on the other hand, felt like it had been a good year. We were all healthy. We’ve all grown in many areas. And, we were able see the glimmer of a path for our future ahead of us. Life was good. Just as all Moms do I started pointing out some of the good that happened to him. We all need the reminders. Even in rough seasons there is beauty. Sure, we may have to dig for it and it may be buried under enormous loss and hurts, but it’s there. Or it may be under a teenage case of glass is half full or it’s empty.  Bring the rain, Lord because with it comes the freshness of new mercies.

I don’t know where or how the philosophy started that once we hit an age (not sure what the age is) we lose the ability to change. Like we’ve capped off on personal growth. I don’t know. But I refuse. Get behind thee, Satan. A friend recently recalled a story of her Mom explaining to her that her father was old and was not going to change. That he was “set in his ways” and she needed to learn to let it go. I think that’s garbage. I do. And I’m not sorry. I think people choose to stop growing and improving. It’s not that they can’t but that they won’t.

This year, I learned that a hardened heart that is slowly shown love can eventually show love back. It takes time and it takes patience but it can be done. It’s unlikely that anything drastic will happen over night but it can. Guys, I saw a sliver of love from a heart that I had never seen it from this year. It was in their own way and it was small (think a grain of sand) but it was there! So thankful! Be patient with those you think are unchanging. Keep applying a layer of love because love softens even the hardest of hearts.

So with these pieces of knowledge under my arm I ready to tackle this new year. I have big dreams for the year. I have an unknown garden inside me waiting to come forth and bloom. I am expectant. I am clinging to boldness. I am daring to be courageous. And even if things don’t come out just as I think they should a truth will always remain: I am loved and so are you.