For all of you that think when something GOOD happens….something BAD is bound to come.


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Dancing with joy infinite. My eyes are curious to meet your movement, your waves and gestures I cannot see as I wash dishes here at the window, but I can feel bouncing off the rays of sun my body has been craving this former long, hard winter and landing here in this trough of a sink—a place where I come to scrub both heart and hand.  This past season making a slow and sluggish exit it seems– endless in cold and brief in light it was, and I feel hollow and pale like the palette of this world that surrounds me.

In this moment, this snippet of being physically  still, my mind jumps and panics as it often does as a defense mechanism to the lack of moving,  just stasis and suds. In the panic thoughts reel off, my internal teleprompter starts to roll: phrases like I am stressed, this is not clean, this needs to be done, that needs to be written, this needs to be uploaded, that room needs organized chant in my head like an unwanted, rigid melody. But then I pause, I let my eyes move upward to  the tips of my eyelids to meet this movement that is a bit mysterious to me–curious what it is that you are doing, what is it that has nudged my guarded spirit? A grin puckers to the left crease of my mouth and I sigh with amusement and envy. There you are dancing with bliss un-endless, without a care in the world–the music playing outside on the speakers and joy has moved your bones to flesh–you choose to come alive. You, my son, just know two things in this moment: 1) the sun is out 2) and you love the beat of this song. Really what more beauty is there in life than recognizing that which is glory in the everyday and that which  moves you to live with abandon?

To have this freedom I covet. The sins and stains of this world have not permeated your pores and calloused your heart. Just joy. Just this moment. Oh to be you–to be that free on a sunny Sunday. I cannot be that liberated….or maybe I can, and choose not. To this 36 year old heart it seems idealistic, naive, and yet really the only way were created to live. We are wired for joy. Bound for struggle. How does the first stay alive through the latter? I am not sure.

 

But peeking into your world today we seem to live on distant galaxies yet we are steps apart. Where the heart stands is where we live.  Angry hearts live in fist raised and clinched worlds. Jealous hearts live in discontent worlds. Shame filled hearts live in hopeless worlds. But, Oh, God almighty, give me this joy, in- the- moment -enjoy- your goodness joy. Not oh- God -this -is too -good -when- will -you- take -it away and what must I do to guard myself and heart for when you do.

 

You, my little almost 6 year old, continue to live with a heart wide open– it does not make you weak, nor gullible, nor prone to  more disappointment; life hands that to you whether you choose joy or not. Joy just gets you back on your feet quicker when life knocks you down; it gives you a handful of hope in one pocket and wisdom in the other . So, on this newborn day in April I will learn from you–I will not perfect it with such abandon as you but I shall try.  I will do my best to not to fret when the song will end nor when the sun will set when the melody and warmth try to resuscitate my own  heart.

So, tonight when I kiss your and your sister goodnight and savor it like a delicacy, I will not fear doom—that something bad will happen or that this is too much goodness for little ole me, or that I do not deserve it and surely it will be stripped of me.

 

And by risking to enjoy, I am one step closer to the world in which you dance freely; the world in which we were made for.

llj_sig

 

 

Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience. And if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.”  Brene Brown

 

My little creative mini me dancing away without a care in the world….and yes, those are his underoos. Told you, he truly just doesn’t care:)

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Why Easter is for the imperfect ones…


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The other day I was working out when I heard the girl beside be deliberating on whether to go to church on Easter, then she paused, let out a partial laugh and said with complete sincerity, Well ,let’s be honest… I am too much of a sinner to go to church anyhow.

 

Something in my heart shriveled and winced when those words flew into the atmosphere and landed on my ears. In fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day- no matter where I went those words seemed to chase me, repeating themselves with increasing volume. Maybe because it saddens me to think that all of us are big ole messes, all of us need grace, and all of us are loved by Jesus. But somewhere a lie has been bought that you must have it all together to walk into church, one must be rid of their cancer before receiving chemo, one must be perfect  to be within 2o miles of a church. The emphatic, obnoxious Pharisees of our times with haughty voices and dormant hearts get the news coverage…and I cringe. Will I too be grouped with such?   Or will I stop  to help  the man bleeding and wounded on the side of the road and not care that my hands may get dirty?

 

What that woman said that day at the gym gripped me because it reveals what I tug and pull with every day: Thinking God loves me more when I am a good little girl that does good little things so I don’t get zapped by lightning. Because truth is I am sassy, hot mess, that never feels that I am who I want to be. This being- holy- on –our- own -hogwash:  I am a sucker for it. I buy it, take it home, wrap it up and shelve it ever so often. But truth is on this Easter weekend the beautiful thing about Jesus and why after all my struggles and doubting, I have come to a place where I realize the cross sets me on a path toward hope, but an empty tomb catapults  me into absolute freedom.

 

Why?

 

Not because I live in the Bible belt and I have bought the cliché’s hook line and sinker, the one liners leave you empty and feeling like you are attending a circus of pomp and circumstance.  But with Jesus, the real God in flesh, the one that turned everything we humans think upside down and inside out—with Him I do not have to be good enough; you do not have to be good enough. He loves me as I am, but pushes me to where I need to be—not out of guilt or condemnation but out of wanting more for me. I don’t have to be constantly wondering if I was good enough today. That is a standard this world puts on you the second you take your first breath—but with Jesus it is lifted. What is good enough anyway? I do not even know. If you find out let me know because  I have looked high and low and everywhere in between. I think this territory of being “enough” is similar to the Wizard of Oz.  A humbug disguised as a powerful authority, constantly pulling a lever on us—telling us “more, be more, do more…you are not quite there….”

 

But Grace. Oh grace, you come across as cheap but are the ultimate expense.

Grace says His love sets me free; you free. I can never be perfect enough and the thought of such freedom makes me fold when I  let my mind wander to such a vast, expansive place. But because He chose to take on my mess, your mess…we are free. Free to love, to forgive, to be healed because we ourselves are loved, forgiven and healed. To come honest and open to Him. And he doesn’t try to change us or list all the things we do wrong. He just wraps His arms around us and tells us He died for us so we could live freely, fully and that truth pushes us out of our self sabotaging cocoons that we can’t escape on our own. His sacrifice pays it all. It’s a law of the universe; an evil is inflicted someone must pay—justice is in our blood and redemption is what we crave.

 

And Jesus is redemption and justice in their perfect state. Sometimes I just sit and think about this and my brain cramps like I have mentally run ten miles without hydration; it is so hard to understand; my human mind cannot fuel such a truth– so counterintuitive in a world that says you get what you deserve.

 

Jesus comes so that you and I could enter a place whether in our heart or under a steeple where we come to him as we are, sinners ALL OF US— loved infinitely by the One that deems us lovely and beautiful no matter where we are in our spiritual journey because of who HE is, not because of who we are.

That is worthy of celebration.  This is LOVE.

This is EASTER.

 

Ann-Lamott-Quote

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Our little-try-to-take-a-picture-when-we-are-all-dressed-and-showered Easter Sunday!

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And my other Easter “happy” …my baby sister had her baby, Louisa Faulkner Harris, better known as Love Lucy as my children named her. Poor thing, I hope she isn’t scared:)

Roman is beaming…there is nothing closer to holding heaven than cradling a newborn. Innocent. Pure. And Divine.SPRING 2014 007

 

 

 

And a prayer that I just love when I need a good soul re-calibration..

 

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Bono on Jesus


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I was perusing around the internet Sunday afternoon, on a quest for the perfect Spiderman birthday cake for my soon to be 6 year old on Pinterest  and somehow in the magic and mystery that is the cyber-world I landed on an interview with the beloved Bono. Funny thing, the internet, how it can bounce you through cyberspace from the world of cake pops to the face of U2 spilling his guts on what he believes. I had seen this excerpt before but as I re-watched it I was reminded of how much I admire his honesty (and  lurrrrvvv his accent, let’s be honest). And I especially love that he thinks of Jesus’ approach to life as “punk rock.”   Mr. Bono, I think you  might be on to something….

For those that have ditched your faith, for those that have a full heart of faith, for those that want to believe but aren’t sure how, and  for those that don’t know what they believe because life has just been, well too much.

 

Bono on Jesus

llj_sig

 

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The one quality you cannot live without…if you want to live freely:)


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Every two weeks we do something I have grown to love, to need. We settle into someone’s home, sometimes our own. We have this little thing the Christian sub culture calls “community group”. To the outside world it may sound, cheesy, quite possibly hokey. Even to me I was a bit resistant, spiritual guard up, gloves ready to come out if I felt judged –for being, well, me.

But turns out to be one of the best experiences of my life. The other day as I was stopped at a ridiculously long red light—I do what I always do when I am forced to be still behind the wheel…I let my mind wander (scary, I know). I was recalling the night before and what made this two hour time on Wednesday something I actually look forward to, something my soul has begun to crave–like being anemic for years and tasting of the most divine filet. This time satiates a place in my soul that has been quietly growling for years. I began to go down corridors of: Why does it feel cathartic, not cumbersome? Why does this time feel like joy and not duty? Why am I not frantic to pull out my costume to mask my insecurities,doubts and inadequacies for two hours? 

And then the light turned green both before me and inside me.

I knew what IT was.

There is such a stirring, sobering, shake- your -soul honesty in that room. Sound bites of: My dad cheated on my mother at an early age. My parents weren’t there when I needed them. My mom is on the crazy train and always has been and all I want for my own kids is normal. I don’t always believe. It felt like God abandoned me. I tried to save a kid that was drowning and failed. I don’t always trust God. I battle major depression.

You name it and we have talked about. Each of us taking turns telling our life stories each week when we first began  and story by story the invisible fences  come crumbling down. The winds of  vulnerability infused with sincerity can knock down the highest barricades.

And may I tell you something?

Sometimes I hate life stories.

But only when they are disingenuous and duplicitous.  Like… I never struggle, my life has gone as planned down to the last detail including the month in which my child was to be born  because I didn’t want to be fat in the summer and the most stressful thing in my life has been choosing the color of my curtains. GA-GA-GAG.

It isn’t that I am jealous because God knows I am not above envy. But there is something so attractive and exotically beautiful about authenticity. Pure, unadulterated honesty is love on its knees. It’s humility’s twin brother.  You cannot have one with out the other. IT is saying,  I am no better than you. I humble myself by pulling back the curtains on my heart at the risk that you may not like me but at the hope that I may live fully and freely.

And humility opens up these dense doors that are double bolted by pride and waters of healing come rushing in that have been dammed up for years because you thought so and so had no chinks in their armor. But he or she did have chinks–they actually had bullet scars. You were just looking so inwardly that you could not see them. Everyone fails and everyone is perfectly imperfect. No matter how many flawless instagram photos you see or perfectly cropped and filtered facebook photos displayed-no one has the perfect life. And that is ok. Actually, that is beautiful.

Why in the heaven’s name am I sharing all this with you?? Are you thinking this post has as much to do with living fully as a green been recipe? Probably. I would be.

But I tell you this for  many—here are three:

1. Your story is your greatest gift–no one has YOUR STORY. NO ONE. It can heal and bring life or it can take you to the depths of bondage. I would say comparing ourselves is our number one robber of joy. I know it is mine. I could probably write on it for days because it is a weight that tugs and pulls us into the sinking sand of discontent the minute our feet hit the ground.

2. Being honest is like a balm–laying your crap at heaven’s door is like laying down a 3000 pound weight and not only do you lay it down but Jesus comes and picks it up and tells you to rest while He quiets you.

3. You cannot experience true relationship bliss without humble honesty. I mean, I guess you can talk about the weather and clothes and the new OPI nail polish for awhile, but when the shit of life hits the fan and ricochets everywhere you need people that love Jesus and love you not because of where you are or where you are headed but because they know your junk and they love you anyway.

We buy into the lie that we have to be perfect for God to listen to us much less love us. Truth is : You don’t have to have it all together for God to love and listen to you.  I realized a couple months ago that I feed God a lot of bull. As in I feign prayers I don’t mean. I know this sounds awful and not at all the holy response.  Somehow in our culture we have equated godly with pretty, flawless–the person singing hymns in the car with a golden, glimmering halo over their head because they always are smiling and never have doubts. But I am slowly grasping, God isn’t looking nor does he want my performance and perfection. He wants my heart–broken, jagged, tangled,  grimy, grubby, ugly pieces. So I have started changing my prayers–not for the sake of variety or to shake things up in heaven, but just because I struggle most days–struggle to be content, struggle to compare myself as a mom and why I have zero desire to do crafts and I ABSOLUTELY hate even the smell of  a Michael’s store, struggle to tell God what I want and not what I Am thankful for. And I have seen something happen inside me. He meets me. You dig up the dirt in your own heart and a relationship with the loving God of the universe grows. Even when my prayers are proceeded by cursing and huffing and puffing over the most trivial issues I feel the plates in my heart shift. Like an earthquake I rise to higher ground.  Did I really just say that to the God? Did I really just say that I am angry at that person still? Did I really just say I don’t trust you today? Did I really just grumble about so and so having it easier than me. Ah, why yes, I did. And you, GOd, lift my chin and said, “thank you for being honest. Thank you for knowing my love for you is not dependent on your goodness. It is about Me, my child, not you.  Pour it out–I know it is all hiding behind those pretenses anyhow. I AM GOD–I am big enough.”  And with a tilted , dangling, barely hanging on by a thread halo and a messy heart I usually utter something like this: Jesus, I am here. Standing. Breathing. Leaning into your loving arms. I. cannot.do.it.on.my.own.

You know, community group may not be made of gold paved roads with cherubs flittering  and ‘afluttering. But there is something heavenly about being real with people–not just sharing your crap because you are suppose to, but because someone needs to hear your story so they can put two feet in front of each other.

I am learning that that very place is holy ground. That VERY  place is walking parallel to the unseen world. For when we embrace our weakness, His light beams down and reflects off every crook and crevice. Admitting our imperfection gives heaven a mirror and its rays shine like the noonday sun. God’s light has no place in the proud nor does it want to be there.

If it takes me my whole life and then some I will try to live with this humble honesty as the soil beneath my feet from which all goodness grows. I will aim to have this kind of accountability… this fellowship because most of the time, well, a lot the time the only reason we stray so far out to sea is because no one was calling our name. Never calling you by your name because you and I would never would admit we couldn’t swim on our own. But when we allow our name to be called in love and compassion we are anchored. We stop drowning. We lift our weary heads. Hard times splash our face, temptations knock the breath out of us but we paddle on, sometimes bobbing for breath, choking on more water than air.

But we know when we rise back up someone, sometimes many are calling your name, my name…. we love you, we are not going to leave you.

Oh this is I am discovering is where I want to live and breath. This is the LOVE OF GOD.

llj_sig

 

 

I love this  first quote by Brene’ Brown…her writing in general is insightful. Though the font is small take the time to read this gem. Well worth it, promise!

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When you feel you will never be “good” enough…


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Struggling.

That would pretty much sum up every action, thought and breathe that palpitates and pulses through my body.

Struggling to find balance.

Struggling to not buy into all this world tries to make you think is important.

Struggling to be me.

Struggling to me a mother, a friend, a wife.

Struggling to write.

Struggling to find time.

I have hardly written in 4 months—really since we moved in with my parents while we gutted a house that we are moving into in four days.

I have no real space to write—neither in the physical or mental sense and piles of needed appliances, lights and what not seem to blow up my email before I can give life to what is going on inside me. As I said in my last post, silly, senseless first world problems they are. But in this midst of having no place to land, in this cramped space where Star Wars legos play peak a boo in my sock- meets –bras- meets- you name it drawer, princess tiaras are found nestled under my unread book pile, bills somehow get lost in 5 year old artwork, I too feel a little lost—not quite sure where I belong.

Wobbly because I scuffle and scrap with believing that being productive equals my value. That where I live has something to do with who I am. And that if I am good enough at the roles I have been given then somehow life will go my way. If you are imperfect like I am then I imagine you have been there…this place where there seems no entrance or exits just static movement.

I keep thinking  when we move this or that  will get better, when we do this  or that then we will be settled, when I am productive and as accomplished as Martha Stewart I will finally be at peace with me.

In the words of my sweet grandfather, it is all hogwash. If I cannot find reconciliation right where I am –in clutter or organization. Productivity or apathy. In little or a lot. Reaching my goals or barely holding onto them. Then I dare say I have somehow missed God’s greatest truth: it’s not about me or you or being good enough. It’s about His great love for us as His children and that when we lay our weary heads on our pillows at night we must know and hopefully believe His love is enough.

I fail every day—sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. I don’t love like I should. I curse too much (way too much if we are being honest!). I get pugnacious and fraught over little things. I compare myself too much. I over-commit too often. I try to control things I cannot control, which is pretty much everything in life. I create unrealistic expectations that lead to resentment.  I get lost in this world and its lies that I will be happy when this or that happens. Then I sober up, fiercely shake my head like a dog freshly released from an unwelcome bath hoping to shed these unwanted false beliefs out of my head and into the atmosphere to hopefully evaporate.  I slap my spirit around with much chiding and disappointment for buying into such nonsense. I would pretty much say this is a daily routine for me. Rinse and repeat. Lawdy, I am a slow learner.

But as I finally sit down to write and assign letters to my grappling, I recognize it is this that I am constantly learning and relearning:

 That God’s great love sets me free, you free. When I am good enough there can be no arrogance because truly it is by His grace that we love and live. And when I bomb and  lose my way before  8 am  it is alright even then because my failures don’t condemn me.

I think I have spent 36 years trying to be good enough. And good isn’t a bad thing. It’s just what drives that train called “good” that makes all the difference. Are you and I chugging along tracks made out of our own efforts only to wreck when we mess up in a colossal or not so colossal way? Or are we being propelled on tracks of grace knowing that whether we have a great day or the very worst day that we are still at least moving because His mercy and love define us and move us forward toward freedom, not perfection—that is the beauty of the gospel. Your life, my life can never be stagnant once we realize that we will never be good enough in our own strength.

So struggle I will, I doubt it will just go away. I imagine, or rather I hope that with age it will be less though. Humanity has a way of exposing our frailty, whether doubt or fear, we all have our demons.

But what I know now is that as long as you and I measure ourselves by His great love for us we will always matter. You and I will always make a difference.  And most beautiful of all when friendships shift, homes are relocated, marriages fluctuate…. we shall know our place, which is His child. It’s just a matter of embracing the struggle instead of running from it, living out of His love for us not our need to be approved, and recognizing that good will never be good enough if we use it as litmus test for getting what we want out of life.

Sometimes the hard places make us dig and when we excavate we realize there is always more to unbury. More worries, more insecurities, more not really knowing where life is going. But truth is we don’t have to try so hard, struggle so hard.  We just need to let go, welcome the unwanted, uncomfortable places instead of manipulating them and let Him love us to higher ground.

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If you haven’t read How Good Is Good Enough? I highly recommend. Total paradigm shift for me….. 51NlUH0CZ4L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

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Money and God. Can you have both?


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I have been online beholding this, buying that, and quite often returning this and that once I have over analyzed my frivolous purchase and buyer’s remorse has set in causing my mind to cramp and cringe.

As Seth says, we have the first world problems of gutting a house that we hope to be moved into by January.

I tell you all these frivolous details because I have struggled with “How do you enjoy beauty in this world but yet not become owned by it? ” It can all capture our idolatrous hearts so quickly.  Perfectly woven fabric robust  yet tender to the touch , glossy paint colors that one might find cloaking the walls of heaven, and furniture with clean lines and never -sat-on-before-seats that somehow you think might just make you happy.

I think we were created to delight in  that which is lovely– a longing for Eden even in  aesthetics–to yearn for it,to be consoled by it and quite often to find awe in it.  But what I struggle with is reminding myself that while I can appreciate things that are pretty to the eye I must not be possessed by them. Now, this  doesn’t mean I need to move into a tent or live in a frat house to portray my holiness or how much I am above this consume society that spins around us whispering our name at every corner. It simply means we long for beauty in our inner most being because we are created by the ultimate Artist, Creator, and Designer.

And as we are on the brink on the consumerism season that unleashes itself like a lion, I am reminded that it is a tight and tricky rope that never ends because if your eyes get off Jesus you land smack dab onto the soil of materialism and odd thing is you don’t even really notice the steep fall because it seems everyone is tumbling and fumbling by the second–no one seems to know up from down–a lot from a little.

I always tell my friend Nicole who is now a missionary in Italy (yes, there is such a thing) that I get jealous of her life. Living in 800 square feet is normal, there are no Targets with 5607 choices of soaps and tampons, and no moms are stressing about matching monogrammed outfits.  And she lovingly reminds me that I often have the harder calling to live here in Nashville, Tennessee –in the heart of America because I must learn to live in it and through it, be thankful for it, yet not let it mold who I am and my worth.

You see, I think you and I can so easily buy the lie that what we have—our house, our zip code, our cars, and our clothes are who we are. And here in the south I live in a subculture of Jesus plus……Jesus plus this, Jesus plus that. Jesus is cute. Jesus is convenient.  Jesus is part of our vocabulary. Just don’t mess with our stuff or our image, oh sweet  little Jesus, stay on that little shelf.

I often wonder and am scared to answer quite honestly, “What if it all was taken away?” Could I still love Him? Would I think of myself less? Would I now put a discount sticker on who I am and move myself from top shelf to bottom if all was gone?

I hope not.

I would love to say I am above consumerism. I am not.

But I can pray, pray, pray and do often fervently pray: God be my treasure. Be my kids’ treasure. All “this” comes and goes. Let me enjoy your goodness—my shiny new sofa that smells of velvet unworn, my Charlie Buckley painting I tend to lust over when I walk by, and even my Sequoia SUV with a gazillion miles, makeup smudged on the seats, and janky scratches all over its backside. All these things come from YOU. Let them never own me but let me be forever thankful. Let me do well with what you have given me but may it never capture me. PLEASE, Protect my wandering heart, Jesus.

I get why Jesus talked about money so much. Money is not bad at all. Just the love of it.This is not a call to feel guilty. Just a reminder to you and me that our value must come from His love for us. Our identity must be rooted in this truth or we will spend our lives competing with a standard that isn’t even real–like the Wizard of Oz behind his curtain playing mind games with us all.

We are fools holding and clinching onto counterfeit Monopoly money, waving it in the air so others will see how much we have and know that we too matter. But little do we know it really has zero worth. While God holds these riches that others may not value, but no price tag can be put on them. God’s currency buys peace, wisdom, love, forgiveness. And most beautiful of all God’s love says you matter. Rich or poor. Old or young. Lost or found. The most awe inspiring aspect of the gospel is it brings value and beauty to ALL regardless of possessions or achievement.

You and I must re-calibrate daily. His love for us equals our worth. 

llj_sig

 

 

 

Because I am a little obsessed with a good quote……:

Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment. –Mark Twain

An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit. –Pliny the Younger

Much of our activity these days is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.–Unknown

thankfulness

Just a little monkey to let run wild in your head:  What if removed from your life would shift your identity? ( don’t you love heavy over the top questions to run through your head?? :) 

 

 

 

 

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Why and how YOU do NOT have to lead the over-leveraged life


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No I can’t, I mustered up from the depths of deep people pleaser gut—waves of needed and much desired  authorization drowning me. The words tasted raw, coarse rising up my throat and yet ever so satisfying and freeing once they dove off my tongue and landed on my dirty, kid clobbered i phone.

I waited. Silence. Nothing but nothing. Awkward quiet can make me over verbose. But I tied an invisible rope around mouth and double knotted it—Lindsay,don’t do it, don’t back pedal, don’t explain yourself away like a babbling fool. But my mind ran sprinting—running for approval as it does when it senses discord. She thinks I am a total B—-. She thinks I don’t care, but I really do care. My sub- conscious started to rattle off “my good” deeds to justify my two letter curse word: NO.

That was a conversation I had a couple weeks ago with a friend that I know from afar. And turns out she doesn’t hate me or throw darts at my face online. But it does turn out that at almost 36 years of age I still struggle to say no. No to a jewelry party. No to a fundraiser. No to room mom. Noooooooooooo scares the bajeebees out of me. Because deep inside me is this little 6 year old that wants to please,do it all, by golly be it all.

I HATE IT about myself.

When I saw some time back how much this affliction  was controlling me I started praying about it earnestly…it’s an infirmity only God can free you from: Let my identity who I am be found in You and your love for me, dear Jesus.  I pray my much unsophisticated prayer like a melody on repeat—like a playlist stuck on one song until the lyrics get in the dirty, shackled places and I begin to say the words subconsciously.   I pray it confidently and scared and hopeful while waiting to checkout at Trader Joe’s or on a run or even while I am making coffee with sleepy gook still bonding my eyes shut.

Jesus, would you please set me free from this self-affliction. Here is the goal: God, family, friends. This is what my life needs to look like….and then you tell me what, who is next, hear me God—I can’t live like this forever.  You see, I am slowly learning that my kids have to come first. If mommy is at 1001 fundraisers but my kids need me and are one day in therapy because of it—well, then it’s not only worthless…it’s damaging. Now, that doesn’t mean I sit around and read stories using a Mary Poppins voice and do crafts all day—I will never roll that way, my friends. But It does mean that they ( Seth, Roman and Posey) come first even when I have to risk someone thinking a little less of me by saying NO. Laser focus on who and what counts is the name of the game.

I will be honest sometimes saying NO feels like I am stripping off my clothes and just standing there buck naked with a neon light flashing over me on the corner of Broadway. It’s that uncommon in our society—especially in our southern society where being nice and over leveraged is valued over being honest and balanced.

I wish I could sit here and type my heart out at how you overcome this ailment, but that would be in the wise words of Harvey from Suits …..POPPYCOCK. But here is what I have learned from letting yes slip off my tongue too quickly:

  1. Don’t be afraid to say NO in a kind, firm way… it gives your YES respect, meaning and value.
  2. If you do say YES and over-commit, just gently swallow the humble pill (you can even chew it if you like) and own your mistake with: “I messed up, I am over committed, please forgive me.”
  3.      Back to #2. Your identity has to be found in God’s unconditional love for you. Not what you do or do not commit to, where you live, what your kids do or do not act like. All else is a race that never ends. There will always be one more lap to feel good enough, complete enough, and that you matter enough.
  4. The book called Choosing to Cheat  by Andy Stanley radically changed the way I chose to spend my days. HIGHLY recommend.
  5.    This is not a free pass for to spew out NO’s at every opportunity or invitation to live selfishly. Rather to really say YES to what matters. Your time is your life and your life is your story and your story is all you leave behind.

 photo (16)

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The never-ending battle of forgiving yourself and learning to be a friend

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The latter part of July I spent packing up boxes. I am a procrastinator to the core of my being.  I am THAT girl in college starting her paper at ten p.m. when it is due at eight a.m. The … Continue reading

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And they say God doesn’t do miracles..this might just change your mind


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I am re-posting Posey’s story on her birthday today, August 12th, as I think in an age where there is so much darkness everyone could use a good miracle story to renew their faith (me included)….

Here you go:

Let me preface this before you start reading you might just need to pull up a chair—actually I highly recommend that you do, because your legs may go weak reading it. But in a good kind of way…this is a story that I have held in my heart  since May 31st. And I can’t believe I got to be a part of it….I’m still reveling in it.

8/11/11 6:33 a.m.

I can’t sleep because I know I need to write about this…this story that has woven itself into the fiber of all that I am and no one can unravel it if they tried. I have been holding this wild,crazy,no one-would-believe-me story bottled up for 2 months…I have felt at times it was going to ooze out of my fingertips and onto this screen without me even doing a thing. It’s the first time in my life I had to  tell myself over and over, “Lindsay you can’t write about it yet, not yet. For once in your life keep your mouth- rather your fingers -shut!”

If you are reading this then we made it…the ten days are over-everything is final. I truly believe God will bring to pass what He has so miraculously brought about as I sit here on August 11th,2011 the day before “our big day”.

So get comfy,grab some tissues and get ready to be AMAZED.

Here it is:

On May 31st I  when the heat was beginning to say hello(you know one of those days when spring had handed off the baton to summer and the air was starting to get that thick feeling of warmth that you can dollop  up with a spoon) I was in Target doing what I do best, getting diverted into perusing the aisles of “ what I don’t need, but really want.” It happens every time. Never been to the dadgum place without spending less than 50 buckaroos. As I was perusing the she sinks she’s sexy lip gloss,when  Roman looks up and out of the blue says “ mommy, my ear huwwts.” I was trying to make sure he wasn’t being dramatic because he hadn’t mentioned this all day. I then replied, “are you sure,hun?” And he looked up with his big brown saucer eyes and snuffaluffagus eyelashes and said, “yes, I am for weeeal” ( a term he learned from Nicholas….)

So I pulled out my beat and battered i phone and called my pediatrician to see if she could fit us in as it was already 4:15. She said they had one appointment left before the office closed and she asked if could I come in straightaway. I said, “yes, that’s perfect we just happen to be in the area”( we live 30 minutes from the office from our house). I sorted through our fire engine red, bacteria ridden Target cart and sorted through what we needed and what we wanted and threw in a “Lightening McQueen” that was on sale for $1.99 as a I-feel-sorry-for-you-gift for Roman and headed up interstate 65.

We pulled up to the office–rather wheeled in like we were playing bumper cars with the curb. Roman and I schlepped ourselves out  and into the office…my  faux gold purse dangling off my right shoulder from its weight, Roman’s goldfish spilling on the hot black asphalt—it was just another day of our abnormally normal routine. I signed in,got called back immediately, saw the doctor and were officially declared with an ear infection. Good thing we were in the area or we wouldn’t have made it, I thought. So the doctor wrote the script and I asked her to call it into Walgreens in Green Hills because that’s near our house and I didn’t want to get stuck in pesky Brentwood traffic at 5 pm. So I headed out the door on a mission to beat rush hour traffic, only to be hollered at by the doctor. “Ms. Jennings, Ms. Jennings( they always call me this—makes me feel way too old!) you should go to Publix,that type of antibiotic is free there, forgot to tell you that. I knew she was right but I didn’t wanted to head home, but for the sake of the almighty dollar I headed to  Publix which is right  down the street from the office and the complete opposite direction of our house. But I first asked the doctor to call the prescription in so I would not have to wait.

I pulled up to Publix to find the parking lot like a puzzle with too many pieces, packed to the gills. I jimmied myself into some spot and when I got out it definitely looked like a drunk driver had taken over my vehicle. I trekked Roman into the store,hands stained with goldfish and  with his bazillion trains and cars  nestled in between his chubby fingers like his hands were some kind of temporary car garage. I scurried up to the counter, confident that his prescription would be ready and I would be on my merry way. The woman at the counter, looking quite medicinal, yet friendly, chimed in with a warm, “how may I help you?” I told her I had a prescription called in and she looked at me, kind of chuckled and said, “dear, our computers just crashed. Can you take a walk around the store for a bit, ‘til we get it up and running?” “ Ugh…sure”, I replied,  while staring  beyond the Cheeze-Itz on sale wishing I would have just headed home. I didn’t really want  or need to buy anything as I had to just gone to the store, so Roman and I made it our little track and looped around. Just as I was diverting Roman from the candy aisle, my eyes rolled up and I saw two things: a massive thing of Digiornio pizzas on sale staring me in the face and my good friend Boothe with her three kids.

I talk to Boothe all the time, but in the 17 years of knowing her, I have never,ever run into her. We live on different ends of town so I was a bit surprised as this store wasn’t really close to either one of us. “Hey,there I chimed in…what are you doing?” She got this big smile, yet it was on the canvas of a heavy face and before I could say a thing she said this to me:

“ I am so glad I ran into you, I have been meaning to tell call you. I need to talk to you about something.  I know the grocery store is an odd place to tell you this…but, my aunt has been mentoring a young woman at church that is pregnant. She has yet to find a family for the child because she really wants to pick the family herself, not off paper. I really thought she’d find a couple by now. I know you weren’t looking to adopt right now, but I cannot get you and Seth’s names off my heart.”

As our kids ran up and down aisle #12, past all frozen items, I myself was frozen in time, thinking to myself,  “wow, neat story..not really sure what to think, and I thought maybe I’d hear more,maybe I wouldn’t. I considered the facts, “ Boothe and I can barely get together for dinner without rescheduling 4 times much less her work out the details of an adoption. Besides, I didn’t want the details to work out…I was scared. Scared to get hurt.

The only reason I listened to her was because in battling this whole infertility thing we have fasted and prayed, and IVF seems to be the last option, yet in my inner most being I couldn’t find the peace to push the “go” button—and I have learned all too hard to act without God’s peace is foolishness and unwanted heartache. Seth and I agreed it was what we rather do over adoption right now as we both aren’t details people and the idea of writing papers and having someone inspect your house to deem you good “enough” at being a parent…a role which I felt confident in, overwhelmed me, and to be honest made me a little peeved.  And to be truthful, our  plan had always been that we would adopt later on in life. Because I feared I’d do all this emotional work and the birth mother would reject me, change her mind, and I just couldn’t reckon with it for lack of better terms. I just wasn’t willing to “go there.”

But the one thing I wrote in my journal time and time again, was “God if you want me to adopt you are going to have to chase me down. I mean CHASE me down, you hear me?!”   So, when Boothe said all this, I felt a little whisper with a big voice that crying out like gentle thunder,  “listen”. But once again I knew with Boothe’s schedule  and mine, this was just going to boil down to a nice little conversation in the grocery store on a sizzling, steamy Tuesday afternoon. No more than that…

Once I finally got Roman’s prescription, I headed to the car, buckled Roman’s sweaty self in, then jumped in my my 105 degree oven of a car and then looked down at my phone, which I left in the car(shocker, I know!). There was  voicemail from Boothe saying to call her that she had talked to her aunt and that she had also talked to “Annie”,the birth mom. And then she said, Annie cannot find a family she likes and she would like for you to call her as soon as you can. I got kind of nervous and called Boothe back and said I would have to talk to Seth first before I did anything.

Seth’s personality, is one to mull over things and think about them for days before making a decision, like those people that over chew their food, so is Seth with making in major verdict.  I knew if I asked him about it his response would be my way out of this whole thing. The door would be closed, I would be done…I would not have to risk putting my heart on the line.

Later that night I told Seth about the whole encounter with Boothe, and to my surprise “He said,” wow..I really haven’t thought of adopting right now, but call her. Yes, call her.”

So, on June 1st the day after I talked to Boothe, I called Annie, and she answered.  I didn’t know what to expect but for the first time in a long time, I bowed my head and prayed, “Jesus, whatever you want for my life, Whatever. I’m so over me. My plans. My agenda.”  As I raised my head, I felt my spirit lifted. Liberated from a weight that was invisible but heavy—the weight of I’m- gonna- make- life -work -on -my own.

And with that I picked up the phone and I just knew there was nothing I could or could not say that was wrong or right because it was in God’s hands. We talked for about 45 minutes. I basically told her I wasn’t calling to convince her or sell her, because I wasn’t. I just felt like God was leading me somewhere. Where that was…I did not know.  I believe God opens doors all the time, but sometimes we are not meant to walk down the hallway. So I didn’t really know what to do with all this. She was so nice,normal, and very bright…. I felt like I was talking to one of my friends at 26.

At the end of the conversation she asked if she could meet us for dinner I said, “ well, let me talk to Seth.” Seth was my out, as again this was fast, and Seth moves slowwww…he ponders and ponders.  So I asked him and he sat there and he said, “I feel this nudging in my spirit that we should, even though this is all so fast.” I mean who meets with a normal,intelligent  girl that is pregnant  and wanting to do a stateside adoption without first seeking it, and second doing heaps of paperwork and waiting 2 years. This was just TWO days.”

That was June 1st, on June 2nd that night I went on an hour and half run….me,God, and my running shoes. My mind ran faster than my heart. I was scared and mad. Mad at God. Mad that I felt cornered. Mad that I felt He was up to something. Scared my heart would be let down one more time. Scared I’d give it my all and find myself with an empty womb and heart all over again.

My plan was one more biological child then adopt later when I was older, when it made sense. But the more I walked the anger and fear just oozed out with each step. I was just thinking that the most blessed times in my life are when I am in the center of His will, when I lay down my plans for His. And I had just finished this book “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller.  And I distinctly felt God say to may as I approached 42nd avenue, “Lindsay you think idols are things,stuff,posessions. Well, man’s biggest idol is holding on too tightly to what he thinks his life should look like.”  And in that moment, I just felt peace   run through my veins. How could I not see that idol wedged in my heart?

After that revelation, I didn’t feel God was “screwing” me over, or not listening to my cries, I felt like He was saying “yes, I know you are frightened and afraid of one more disappointment…I so know it. I just need you to put ME first, not your plans. I’m the ultimate storyteller, lay down your pen—do you want a boring safe story or an adventure, Lindsay?.”

I finished up my run with sweat on my brow and peace on my heart. A solid peace that where God leads He provides. And there is no sweeter or better place than to be in His will. The weekend continued, and we prayed more and more. I wasn’t stressed, I just said once again, “God, I don’t know what you are up to but seriously if you want this for us, if you truly want this for us, MAKE IT OBVIOUS…so obvious that if we weren’t to obey we would feel we were being sheer disobedient.”

So we met Annie for dinner around 6 pm on June 6th—Seth and I got there first, as she was held up in traffic. We took a booth in the corner and I informed the waitress what was going on so there wouldn’t be a lot of interruptions as this was something I had never done before—talk about my potential child while ordering crab cakes and ice tea—most people have sex to contemplate a child, nope not us, we were ordering food. I felt like I was about to meet someone famous and I don’t even get impressed with renowned people, it’s just that I felt like what Annie was doing was so brave, so sacrificial that I was in awe of her.  I stared at the menu, but was not reading it, my eyes closed and  the ears of my heart opened to whatever God had to say and I prayed, “Jesus, be at this table, literally eat with us. Be here and pour out your peace and wisdom on this dinner”…and with that a very cute, pregnant  woman in a yellow shirt came up to the table. I didn’t know whether to get her autograph or to hug her, but I reigned myself in and I greeted her with the most sincere hello I knew how.  We chit chatted as much as one can chit chat in these bizarre circumstances, Seth prayed before we ate, and I once again I said , “Jesus, whatever you want for my life…half petrified, half full of great freedom in just saying that because I knew it wasn’t up to me.”

Seth told Annie he wanted  her to ask us anything she wanted as we were an open book,  she had felt all the other parents had only asked her questions, trying to pick the “perfect” child.  We decided on the way there that this was her dinner—she was doing something so valiant, so selfless that we wanted her to feel freedom to ask whatever came to her mind. We had nothing to lose, so we said “ask away…”

Annie leaned back, rubbing her hands on her napkin and finishing a swig of her ice cold water and contemplated for a second. Then she leaned forward  casually, but firmly and her first question was, “what was your relationship with your parents like growing up…your home?” Seth laughed and said, “ let Lindsay go first her childhood–she loved her childhood so much its kinda comical.” I laughed and replied, “well, I am not lying but I can’t really say anything bad about my childhood or parents, I have the best, most loving parents in the world. My mom and dad aren’t perfect, but they are perfectly imperfect to me. They are a true example of God’s unconditional love. And then I told her what was just waiting to surface, I was just not sure if once it surfaced I could keep my tear ducts from going into over drive…and this is what came out of the deepest part of my heart.

My mom was pregnant as a teenager, sent off in the middle of the night amongst the many saddening details… and had to keep it secret  from everyone except her parents—it’s a dark story drenched in a lot of shame and sorrow. So maybe the rockiest part of my childhood was seeing her hurt and deal with secrets and see my dad hurt as well….but I never felt insecure, I just felt God was making all of us stronger, purging our family of past generational sins. And then I said, “you know despite my mom dealing with a lot of pain and heartache, she somehow loved us so well, she never took out her hurt  on us. Ever. I would dare say, God protected that bond between us and allowed her to love so well, that it had to be God’s grace. In fact I told my mom that very thing just the other night while talking on the phone,which I really did.” Seth chimed in and said, “yes, she has incredible parents, she is not making this up—I have known Lindsay since she was 14—it’s like God redeemed  her mom’s pain through her daughters… and they both (jack and I) have the most loving, big hearted dad.T hen Seth said this, “it’s like so much of her mom’s pain was redeemed through the relationship with her daughters because a lot of mom/daughter relationships can be toxic. They truly love their parents.”

All that kind of seeped out my mouth, I didn’t even know that that was what was really buried in my heart of hearts—as if it had been covered in layers of blankets while I slept on it for years and all of a sudden it just popped out of bed. But as l looked up great emotion had taken over  Annie’s eyes  and she said, “ I so needed to hear that, generationally, the mother/daughter relationship has not been so great and I have almost lost hope that it could ever be healthy, ever be even close to good.

And with that I knew God was just as much a part of this dinner as the three of us. If nothing else occurred but for me to say that to her and for me to be blessed by her courage then that was enough. I realized, after saying all that, that this whole thing was not what I thought it was. It’s like God gave me this “stool” and I was thought it was to sit on and God said, “yes, my child it’s a stool…but you need to stand on it, not sitlook out…see that I am doing something for greater than just connecting lives, I am weaving redemption—I have been weaving this moment for 40 years…40 years since your mom gave away her own child in secrecy. That is what I do—I REDEEM. I need you to listen at this dinner, I am up to something much bigger than you.”

I felt like the universe was spinning around me—I was the earth taking a trip around the sun—except in this instance the sun was this dinner,this encounter, that had somehow become much bigger, and more layered than I could have ever imagined and the holy spirit was giving me a ride that had my mind whirling.  I  sat back and let Seth do the talking as I was lost in my own orbit of thought…a bit taken back by the fact that God was using my mom’s pain to bless her with hope. Who would have thought? It’s like I gave her this great gift in telling her “yes, God can heal you and not only can he heal you ..He can restore you! That is what He does best… seeking us… calling us back to Him even when it looks like He doesn’t care.”

We talked more,there was so much more said, that was incredible but I will save you the time. But before we left I said, “oh, one thing, I just want to be honest, I am hear truly because when I heard your name in the grocery store from Boothe, I felt that I needed to listen up.”

Annie put her fork down, and replied, “really, I have been hearing your name for months…you need to meet Lindsay and her husband is all I have heard from Boothe’s aunt, Pat.” Now, keep in mind I don’t even know Boothe’s aunt!!! I just was a bit taken back…thinking inside ,”WHAT?!!!”

When she said that I realized that all those time when I felt God was silent when Seth and I prayed and fasted over direction we always came up with nothing…as if God just was asking us to sit still. At times it felt like He was just not listening, but as she said that, I realized He was actually speaking on my behalf. LITERALLY speaking on my behalf.

Seth prayed one more time at the end of dinner, we asked Annie, “where do we go from here as the baby is due in August!?” She said she just needed to pray and she’d get back with us. We said we would pray too and seek wise counsel. Then I joked and said, “hey could you let us know by July…hahaha!” She chuckled and said , “of course!”  What was a heavy and emotional dinner now felt a bit lighter with the laughter echoing off the walls of a soon to be made colossal decision.

There is one thing we all had in common at that night at dinner: We all had made plans for our lives, only to find disappointment within our own foiled attempts and mistakes. Our surrender was the engine that drove us all to this night…it may have been on different tracks but the destination was the same.

And as we arrived at that destination, there was one element that tied us together with strings that only the heart can feel: The love of a child. While I have not carried a child physically in four years, I have loved one in my heart. One thing was for certain we were all here for the LOVE of this unborn child.

We got in the truck and Seth said, “wow, I’m  speechless, that was surreal…I am in awe of her courage. “ I agreed and chimed in, “ I don’t know what all this means and I am not even going to try to figure it out. I just know I had more peace than I had in a long time sitting at the table. And that if God wanted this He again would make it obvious because again I was terrified of getting hurt—of putting my heart out there to get it stomped on. I needed Him to continue to make it apparent as if this was to happen I needed to go back to that  place…that place of “this was my plan all along, Lindsay.” Accept it and live fully, or run like Jonah trying to live out what you think is best.

We drove and I just whispered to myself while looking at the half eaten moon, “Lord, I’m nervous, but I know you are in control, I will do whatever you want, I just want to be in Your will. Not because I  feel I am cornered into it, not because  I am conceding. My will is comfort…a comfort that actually ends up killing me. Yours …well, yours Lord, is a vulnerable place, but in that place You are there and that is all I need…Your presence.  There is no greater place to be. Lord, this was  not my plan. But, I don’t want my plan. I want yours. ”

The next day after lunch, I was running around packing Roman up for the pool when I looked down at my phone and saw a text from Annie, reading “call me please”. I got really nervous as we just had dinner with her the night before and she wasn’t supposed to be in contact until she had finally decided. “ I wiped the sweat from my  sun kissed brow and with shaky hands I called her back.

In a casual, but thoughtful voice she said, “hey, do you have a minute?”

I said, “sure, what ‘s up?”

She said this:

“I want you to be the parents….i know that i know that I know I do. I knew it from the time I heard your name from Boothe, I just did. I asked God some time ago, to literally bring me a family, as I did not want to pick someone off a sheet of paper…I knew it was a big request but i kept on praying it. I’ve met with so many couples and  as I watched yall last night and heard all you were saying –all things I needed to hear on so many levels–I just knew. I didn’t want to tell you last night and weird you out, but as I prayed today, I just thought, there is no reason not to tell them. God answered me, Lindsay, he did. He really did.”

 

Needless to say, I was breathless. In seven days God did what most people pay booocoodles of money for  and wait years for. Here I was SEVEN days later! Was this really happening?? I mean I am a good story teller, but I would be hard pressed to make this up.

 

Annie also added that she had talked to the birth father, as she wanted to talk to him when she decided on the family. He said that was fine, he is quite angry about it all and went on and on about how this child didn’t exist or matter and that he was done. He said he didn’t want to go through their current agency because he didn’t like his counseling experience there. He wanted to just go through attorneys and be done with it. So essentially his foolishness was our gain—it had boiled the process down to a simple legal exchange of minimal amount. Once again, God removing all barriers.

 

You know, I never got the story of Jonah, in fact I struggle to believe it’s real at times, but in this instance I got  what it feels like to be Jonah…wanting to go a million miles the other way because you are petrified out of your mind—even when God is calling you to do  a good thing.

 

Am I scared? Hell ya.

Am I overwhelmed? YES

Is God in control? YES

Am I thrilled out of my mind? ABSOLUTELY!!!!

 

This is just a glimpse…there are so many more miracles in this story. One being Annie’s first ultrasound was January 7th, the same day Seth and I fasted and prayed all day and cancelled IVF…not because we think it’s wrong but because I just couldn’t come to peace with it. It’s like I was forcing myself into a dress that didn’t fit. January 7th was one of the hardest days of my life, I wanted to do IVF, I wanted another child so badly—any woman knows the desire to have a child is a very raw one. It’s like I was ravenous and someone told me you will never eat again…that’s how it feels—it sucker punches your soul. We all have our battles and this was mine, and I was tired of fighting with a knife when my infertility was fighting with a sword. I remember sitting on the couch January 7th with Seth balling my eyes out until I was shaking… finding myself in this downward spiral of, “ what’s wrong with me as a woman? I am not enough. I have failed my family. I have flunked womanhood.” So this is how I felt on this bitter cold Friday when the salty tears ate at my skin because I felt hopeless. I was mad at God, “just give me peace about IVF! God..why are you holding back..why do you always hold out on me,God?” I try to be good enough and this is what I get? “

 

I pulled myself out of my pity party and went to the computer and emailed the nurse that we would be foregoing our round of IVF. Little did I know, God was forming our child in the womb as I lay breathless and angry in my flannel-I-give-up-on-life pajamas.

 

I beam inside and out right now for many reasons. One being, that this story restores what I doubt on most days and believe on some…that our pain isn’t pointless. I mean it took FORTY years for God to bring my mom’s story full circle. I can barely sit still to watch a move much less wait FORTY years. But one thing I am learning is God doesn’t do anything grand swiftly. As annoying as it is He is not concerned with time. He’s weaving something so beautiful…literally bringing us joy for mourning, beauty for ashes.  Problem is to us…to you and me the process is knotty, painful, it makes no sense. In fact it’s a mess at best, senseless chaos at worst.

 

But what I am learning is one day, some day; He will turn over those knots and weavings and reveal to us the most majestic beautiful blanket. It’s just that most of us unravel and bail before he can finish. So I say this to YOU…whether your mom is dying, your husband is cheating on you, you have lost someone you love, you are infertile, you aren’t married and pushing 40, you are pregnant and 19….or you have just given your own baby up for adoption. This is true for ALL of us:

 

You can’t quit in the middle. He’s not done yet. The story isn’t over.

 

We all love grand, majestic stories…just look at us, we buy books, we pay a gazillion dollars for a movie and some over processed popcorn. Not to experience some safe, boring story…quite the contrary, to experience the power of beautiful story woven with love,pain,heartache,healing and redemption. But problem is pain is the only door that leads to triumph—there is not victory unless something has been conquered.  It’s like this invisible code got set into motion when this world went from perfect to broken: you can’t feel true love without pain, the sun without the rain.

 

The only way to make a beautiful mosaic like this story is to have a handful of broken glass. But that is what Jesus does best. He redeems. He takes what seems senseless and cruel and makes it whole…and not only does He make it whole but he takes what was meant to harm us and tear us apart to heal us…to heal others. If we let Him.

 

It is so rare to taste redemption this side of heaven…truly it is. So to experience this has left me paralyzed in awe of God’s goodness. Yes the world is mean, cruel and ridden with heartache. But that doesn’t mean God is sitting in the corner with His feet propped up, re-reading the Ten commandments for fun, while categorizing who is good and who is not—He doesn’t care about our goodness. No,no,no…., it just means that it breaks His heart too—so much so that He laid his life down to make all that was wrong right, to make every tear turn to laughter, every loss turn to gain, every sacrifice turn into a gift—even His own sacrifice.  He chases us all down each day…whether through a sunset, a friend, a book, or bringing a baby that you didn’t know was yours into your life. As if to say, “I see your hurt, and not only do I see it, I feel it. I AM the only one that takes what the world deems hopeless and breathe life into it again.” Just try me.

 

As I sit here and revel in what I have always hoped to be true and is now a reality, I ask you to do what I have learned the hard way to do…put your pen down, let Him take those smudging and mishaps, those moments of what the hell is going on and use them  as the very key that unshackles you…heart and soul.

 

It might take 40 years to turn the lock, to see what lies behinds that door of heart wrenching pain and suffering. But once opened, the scars fade, the light overwhelms you. The wounds are still there but they no longer hurt you, they are now what is used to help you—to help others. You point to your wounds, saying, “see, look, I’ve been there—you can see my abrasions. I’ve walked that road. How can I help you?”

 

I have to be honest I am a bit riled at how I missed this whole thing…how did I not see this coming?? Like when you watch a movie with a twist at the end that you didn’t expect at all, but at the same time you wonder how you missed it since everything was pointing towards it. So that is how I feel even now. God, how could I be so blind?

 

This is just a small,small piece of this story, like a sliver of pie that has been nibbled on.  There is so much more…I want I to tell you—to let you feast on with me. And as the days pass I will—I think I could do a year’s worth of blogs on the miracles that have occurred starting 40 years ago to today August 30,2011. But for now, one brave, unselfish young woman’s sacrifice is our gift. And to Annie, we are eternally indebted as she literally laid her life down for the good of our sweet little girl that is now our daughter. Dear Annie, we love you not just for what you gave us but for who you are. Always and forever you are a part of us.

As I sit here and look at my daughter, that I am so in love with… I realize I would walk a thousand miles on hot coals, to taste God’s goodness like I have the last 2 months.I wish I could knock on everyone’s door and wake them up out of their complacency, their cold religion, their ditched faith, their hopelessness and tell them that what He did for our family…He can do for you.

 

Please meet who God has working on for 4 decades…our ashes have been replaced with a bouquet of flowers. May I introduce you to Josephine Boothe Jennings…”Posey” born August 12th (nickname for Josephine–meaning bouquet of wildflowers).

 

 

Blog post taken from August 31st, 2011

Posted in Life Lived Fully | 1 Comment

Why it is important to embrace YOUR insecurities…


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I always thought that when I was 16 years old driving around in my smurf-ish colored Honda Accord  that one day far far in the future when I was a real bonafide adult….. say, 35 years old I would be rid of all insecurity and angst. But that far away future is now and I  still struggle and grapple with me. I love, like and all together dislike who I am on most days.  And every now and then in the  in between I feel like I might have it all together only to be struck down by some area that I have altogether FAILED–like thinking you look pretty darn put together one day and then at the end of the day you glance in the mirror and you have mascara running everywhere and your skin is broken out. It’s never easy or fun to see your soul’s shortcomings or ugliness.

 

Lately, I just feel this little gnat swarming around my head humming in an annoying tune: you are not good enough. You know…..look over there….you are not as good of a mother as so and so–they do crafts and sew and you can’t even get a button back on your daughter’s dress. Not as good as a writer as so and so–they are way more productive and multi-task oriented than you. You just are taking care of your kids this summer—you slacker.

Truth be told I don’t know what end is up right now.

I am trying to pack up this ole house we sold in three days and move out in five days (which I need anxiety meds just writing that) I am going to miss this house  like crazy because I transitioned from wobbly Lindsay— not sure of who she was or what she was suppose to be to the broken, but strong Lindsay–still imperfect, still longing for more, but sure of Who loves me and where my identity comes.  Don’t get me wrong the mess is still there–just behind pretty french doors of self-acceptance. You just have to barely open them to see all the crap oozing out. Difference  now is this : I own it. I own my free spirit. I own that I am going to mess up and need forgiveness from many,but I will give it my all at the risk of failing. I own that I do not have it all together. I own that I must be a good friend to have one. I own that I am accountable for the words springing off my tongue and I pray they bring light and not darkness. I own that this life isn’t about me and my hankering to just be comfortable ( even though Jesus knows that that scares me to my core) and I own that what I have and do is not who I am.

As I have been playing this game of tug of war with my inadequacies–dancing with them gingerly then slapping them when they get a  little too close for comfort and step on my feet … often wondering Jesus, am i getting this living life thing right? Is there even a right? And what does it look like? Where does this right live? Is there a book on it or a formula for it because I am not sure I even know how to attain it or if I am even capable of achieving it.

Am I a better wife than I was almost 12 years ago? I do not know…I hope so. Am I a better friend? Do I listen and sacrifice and love not to  simply receive  but as an overflow of the love God has poured upon me. Sometimes. And other times I think I just  flat out BOMB.

With all this nonsensical wandering in my mind, visiting all these towns of self reflection down paths of pondering–I have learned that I love the needy places in my life, the dirty places, the ones that don’t fit or make sense, the ones I try to hide from those that do not know me. Because running up to your imperfections and giving them a big ole hug allows you this odd freedom–you own them and they no longer own you. A God given confidence is born out of the humble realization that you do not have it all together nor does anyone else.

This past Saturday as I headed to a writer’s workshop, which  I really had no business being at sense nothing has been packed–not a cup, not a bra,not a chair—nada, this whole am I good enough walked  around in my mind…actually it stampeded like a herd of two ton elephants. All other thoughts had to pass through the gate of what does owning your insecurities look like?

And as Amy Lyles Wilson sent us off to write with the prompt of  “I save”…..–me looking into the computer screen with jitters bubbling under my skin because I felt writer’s block just around the corner.

Panic wreaking havoc on any potential  and half way decent thoughts.

Then this came pushing through.

This is what I save:

I save my insecurity and drink it when pride creeps under the doorstep of my conscience, for it teaches me that I am beloved by He that knows no end. I savor my losses and  failures like a wine aged by imperfection and fuddle them when the plenty of life leaves me still parched for more. I relish my loneliness for it has taught me that this place where serpents dwell in darkness cloaked as light and half eaten apples leave you ever ravenous …..is but  a perch to see that I cannot really fully see and that one day I will rise up from this place of  toiled soils and fly beyond  into clouds of glory. I save my lost loves because they have broken and molded me into an authentic version of my  wayward self that clings to a plastic life of safety. I can and pickle my rejection and keep it on the middle shelf where my soul can reach it  with  ease and taste of it,  for it has given way to a spirit of empathy which  is a gift that opens up a fifth chamber of the heart. I salvage the rough edges, the prickly places like a treasure–only I know where it is hidden under the worn planks of am  I good enough? And I sift through the gifts of inadequacy and false shame and hold them for they have held me and freed me.

What do you save?

 

 

And since I have yet to conquer a summer schedule and writing–here are some updated photos to make you hopefully crack a smile :)

 

Roman thought it genius to dress Posey up as Izzy off of Jake and the Neverland Pirates...and somehow this very opinionated almost 2 year old obliged:)

 

 

Me, Roman (now the pirate), Posey and my sister, Jacquelyn at the beach…doesn’t Posey look comfortable!?

 

 

Roman and Lulu…only two kids I know that can rock out until 11:30 pm and not bat an eye. Night owls through and through.

 

 

Nicholas’ big 11th birthday night out…the boy consumed a filet that night that was big enough to feed a 400 pound man! Growing up….

 

Thanks as always for reading my messy words. I started a new venture this summer –helping people tell their stories (ghost writing and book proposal assistance). Email me at lifelivedfully.llj@gmail.com if you have something you have been wanting to breath life into. Our stories are our greatest gifts.

xoxo

Posted in Life Lived Fully | 4 Comments