My son took a piece of my heart with him…

I stuffed the tissue in my pocket knowing that the inevitable was about to happen. As much as I wanted to create a stalling tactic and pause time, I only had a few more minutes with my 19 year old son until I had to tell him goodbye. He was leaving us for a nine week summer job that was five hours away from home. I asked him to find a summer job, and he did. I should have said to find a summer job closer to home!

This is his first time living away from home, and what makes this farewell different than others is we weren’t sure if this day would ever happen. When my son was three years old, he was diagnosed with autism, and all of our hopes and dreams for him were suddenly up in the air.

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Three good reasons to be thankful for weakness

“At some point in life, we must come to know who we are, like who we are, and be who we are.” – Lloyd Penley

I received this message on a beautiful Saturday morning via Facebook from an older, wiser pastor.  It challenged me.  It made me think about who I am, and if I like that person.  I’m blessed that in general, I like who I am.  I think I’m fun, humorous, creative, and a good friend.  But then I began to think about the part of me that gets her feelings hurt easily and who avoids conflict like the plague.  I began to think about my weakness.  I don’t like that part of me.

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When your life is one great big beautiful mess

“Don’t fall. Please don’t fall” I pleaded with the beautiful china plate as I tried to hang it on the wall. I had recently made it with beautiful, sparkly jewels and I was hanging it on my colorful back porch. The plate hanger was hanging over a nail, but I was trying to “engineer” the two together (with a wire) so the plate wouldn’t fall off the nail and break.

And then…

SMASH!

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I’m confused…am I a Do-er or a Daughter?

I’m in a quandary. I will share my quandary with you through this blog post, but I’m going to present a disclaimer up front: I won’t wrap this blog post up with a tidy bow and all the answers. I haven’t found the answers yet, but I have a feeling that many of you might find yourselves in the same quandary. And perhaps, as we explore it together, we might find some answers to these questions and in doing so, find peace..

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Your triumphs as a mother are scattered among your failures

I spent a recent morning looking through scrapbooks.  I made the scrapbooks when my children were little because I needed something to look forward to at the end of the day.  I was a stay-at-home mommy to two toddlers that were 20 months apart, and every night at 9 pm, after they were put to bed, I scrapbooked.  I eventually completed about thirty scrapbooks.  I desperately needed that creative outlet.

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Dear Minivan: Lives were shaped within your sliding doors

Dear Minivan,

Today is a bittersweet day – I am surprised that I am crying. It is the day that I will tell you goodbye and the day that I will take home a new vehicle.   I’ve entered a new season of life – my teenage children are both in college.  I’m sad to see you go but happy for a new change.  I didn’t want to let you go without taking a moment to let you know what you mean to me.

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Insecurity lurks beneath my trendy J. Crew outfit

Panty hose – check.
Cocktail dress – check.
Statement necklace – check.
Cute heels – check.

It was the time of year for holiday Christmas parties and we had been invited to one with my husband’s coworkers.  I was all set to look festive and fun in my new dress but on the inside I was a complete wreck.

The month prior, when the invitation came, I panicked.  The dress attire was “cocktail/holiday festive” and my “little black dress” in my closet was over 20 years old. In those 20 years, my body had changed thanks to children and gravity and fashion had certainly changed, so that little black dress would not do.  For my birthday, a fashionable friend took me shopping for a new little black dress.

She helped me put together a killer outfit but sadly it did not give me an ounce of confidence.  My brain was stuck in a profound memory that was ten years old, and took place in the Landfall Country Club bathroom.  I’m in this bathroom and I’m looking at lean, fit, refined women in their sleeveless fashionable little black dresses.  Then I look at myself and I was frumpy, dumpy, and woefully out of style.

The truth is, I struggle to fit in with the refined, cultured, country club set.  I grew up roaming my grandmother’s cow pastures helping my dad feed his cows.  I know more about how to call cattle (OY-EE!) than I do about how to dress for a cocktail party.  I’m not fashionable or fit or refined, and it leaves me feeling like I’m not good enough.

And as I look at my clothing for this next corporate Christmas party, I still feel the same way.  I won’t fit in.  I can’t compete.  Compared to these women, I’m not good enough.  I don’t have any Spanx and my eyebrows aren’t waxed and my fingernails are never painted.  But I can call a cow – does that count?

My feelings are not unique to just me.  When you go to work, you may look around the table and think that you are not smart enough.  When you are at the park, you may see some “super moms” and think that you are not as good at parenting as them. You may look at your sister and think that you will never be as successful as she is.

Will we ever feel like we are good enough?

And just who said we weren’t good enough?

The lie of “not good enough” started in the Garden of Eden.  The serpent, that beguiling liar of old, hinted to Eve that without the knowledge of good and evil that God had, she was not complete.  She was not good enough just like she was.  And Eve bought into that lie and tried to make herself someone who she really was not meant to be.

Just like me with that fancy cocktail dress and statement necklace, trying to look like a country club girl when really, I’m just a plain country girl without a club.

In that country club bathroom ten years ago, a lie was whispered in my ear as I looked at those beautiful, fit, fashionista women.  A lie that told me I was not good enough.  And I believed it, hook, lie, and sinker.  Just like Eve, I took a bite of the apple.

When you are sitting at the conference table and you think everyone else is smarter than you are, you are listening to a lie.  When you are at the park and all the moms seem to outshine you, you are listening to a lie.  When you are out with your family and the other women seem more successful than you, you are listening to a lie.

When you hear “not good enough” you can be sure that you are listening to that ancient lie that started in the garden.

Stop it!

What is the truth?  When God made Adam and Eve, He said that they were good.  They were complete, sufficient, good enough.  They didn’t need anything more than what He had given them.

Everything that God makes, he calls “Good.”   When He made you, He put the best of His amazingness in you.  He made you creative and clever and wise.  He made you fun and beautiful and valuable. Don’t believe anything otherwise.

Sister, you are good enough.

When you go to the gym,
Or head to your play date,
Or make a presentation,
Or take an exam,
Or meet with your child’s teacher,
Or attend a family gathering,
Or just head out with the girls,
tell yourself:
“I am good enough.”

And when I head to the next Christmas party, I will do the same.

Save

Save

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How could anyone not want Jesus?

Do you remember your teenage years?  Mine were 30 years ago but I remember the 90s quite clearly.   Confession: the life I presented to those I wanted to please was much different than the life I was living.  On the outside, to my church family and teachers at school, I was kind, helpful, a good student, a good speaker, and a youth group leader.  
But on the inside, I was just as the Bible describes sinners in Titus 3.  I was foolish, disobedient, envious, hateful, deceived, and enslaved to lust and pleasure. I will spare you the details, but I was not the person you would want your teenage daughter to be.  I did my best to keep this side of me hidden from those I wanted to think well of me, but my friends certainly saw my rebellious side.  I was not the perfect little church girl.  Far from it.

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I ditched my early morning appointment with God

I stared at the window, longing to go outside.  I could see the birds flitting from tree limbs to the bird feeders.  I could hear the sweet song of the cardinal at the top of the river birch tree.  I could see the water flowing in the fountains, the windchimes swaying, and the flowers blooming in my whimsical cottage garden.

And I was stuck inside.  I felt like I was the “princess in the tower,” locked in the upstairs bedroom and not allowed to leave. (more…)

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Its hard to be a disappointment

I hung up the phone, a huge weight hanging around my neck.  A close friend expected me to be somewhere at a certain time for a gathering, and I was going to be very late.  “Well don’t you care about being with me?” she asked.  The underlying accusation that I didn’t care about being with her was tangible in the air.  “Yes, I do care, and that is why I will be there with you at 4 pm.”  As we hung up the phone, my happy-go-lucky spirit slowly sank into a deep funk.

In the never-ending battle of trying to please others, once again, I was a disappointment.

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