We took my daughter, Hannah, for her 2nd year of college on Tuesday of this week. I wrote two posts when I took her to college as a freshman in 2016 – one that I posted, and one that was too personal for us to publish. Now, after a year has passed, I’ve updated it, and we are ready. This is what it was like for me on the day that I had to let my daughter go.
I woke up early, the sound of the noisy hotel room air conditioner stirring me to wakefulness. I hadn’t been awake for long before the realization of “the day” hit my consciousness. With a groan, I felt the heaviness settle once again upon my soul. It was the day that a child often longs for and a mother dreads and it comes in a variety of ways.
It was the day to let my daughter go.
I didn’t know what to expect. I sat in the parking lot, gathering my composure and my nerve, preparing to enter a new environment full of strangers. I was going to a meeting to hear someone share his testimony. I was there for somewhat selfish reasons – I wanted to find out if I could possibly come and speak to the group myself one day. So I took a deep breath, got out of my car, and walked into Celebrate Recovery.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-based 12-step recovery support group. It is a biblical and balanced program that helps people overcome their hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Think Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous, then add Jesus and a variety of struggles in addition to chemical dependency. The program is in almost 30,000 churches worldwide.
….to my next speaking engagement. I’m honored to be speaking at Pursuit Ladies Group at my home church, Global River Church, next Tuesday, August 8th. The meeting starts at 630.
You might remember my “Beautiful Messes” blog post that I posted in June. God spoke to me back around Easter to write a full message on that topic. I’ve been working on it ever since! I’m sharing that next Tuesday. If you are living an imperfect life like I am, it will encourage you!
Global River Church is located at 4702 South College Road. Feel free to email me with questions – Lisa@CelebratingWeakness.com.
At 4’10” tall, I’ve always been the littlest one in the crowd. Even today, I often get mistaken for a child. All the way back to elementary school, you could easily find me in the class photographs because I’m the one who was front and center. Every. Single. Time. I have always been smaller than everyone else.
How would people describe your home? Friends describe my home as homey, cozy, and peaceful.
As you walk into my foyer, you are welcomed by warm, golden walls and a room filled with cranberry red accents. My plaid couch is as old as my 20 year son, and the slight fraying just adds to its personality. You can sit on that comfy couch and put your feet up on my dented coffee table. You can reach over and grab the afghan that will warm you up on a cold day.
Let’s turn on the gas logs, plug in the twinkling lights on the mantle, and light a few candles. You will hear the sound of peaceful music through the speakers, see the light streaming in through the skylights, and hear the soothing sounds of water in the fountain.
God, thank you for loving me in my mess.
In my beautiful broken fragile humanness, You love me.
I sat with a group of beautiful women in the historic Hilltop House Restaurant in Fayetteville, NC. I was a visitor at the “Fayetteville Women’s Connection,” an outreach of Stonecroft Ministries. For the last nine months, I have been preparing to become a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. During this time, I have written and rewritten my testimony – my story of how I came to know Jesus – to share with Stonecroft groups in the future.
The time we had all been waiting for arrived. The speaker stepped up to the podium. I was excited to hear her speak and to learn more about what a Stonecroft meeting was like. I began the meeting sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to learn.
She began her talk by engaging the audience by asking them their favorite Disney movies. Pretty soon she had us saying, when cued, “Once upon a time…” She smiled and nodded as she drew us in with her story. She was a dynamic speaker who had her thirty minute presentation completely memorized.
Surrounded by towering pines and hardwoods, I’m safe in the embrace of nature. Its 50 degrees outside in June, so I’m ensconced in three layers of clothing and a warm blanket. The steam from my coffee rises to greet my nose and its heat warms my hands. The birds are singing in the trees and the sun is rising, highlighting the towering mountain in the distance. I could sit on this screened porch in the mountains forever.
But there is a discontent in my heart that disturbs the perfect peace that surrounds me.
Even though I have a beautiful home and a lovely garden and amazing friends in my coastal hometown of Wilmington, NC, I don’t want to live there. I want to live here, in the serene mountains of North Carolina.
My heart longs for the peace that I feel here.
Shame had kept me silent. Few people knew the intense battle I had been having with panic attacks. Not even my pastor was privy to the emotional upheaval that existed in my mind. My doctor knew because he was prescribing the medications that were helping me to function. But fear of judgment had kept me from telling people how bad it really was.
The smallest thing caused me to feel panic. I was scared to take a shower. I was scared to wash my hair (the picture below was not staged). I was scared to fix my breakfast and let the dog go out and fill up my Tervis with ice. Why? Because in previous days, when I had done those things, my body panicked and my pulse raced and my chest felt like I was having a heart attack.
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.