Monthly Archives: May 2015

Dear Anxiety: You Don’t Get to Win

Dear Anxiety-You Don't Get to WinThis piece is deeply personal. More than usual. It opens a window into a vulnerable moment and struggle in our lives. But I felt God calling me out of deep depression years ago to tell my stories openly—protectively, but openly. To make sure others know they are not alone in their struggles and to show them the hope that is ever before them if they can just outstretch a hand and a heart. Belief and trust start out tiny. They are a walk and a dance with Christ that are lifelong.

Perhaps you don’t believe in Christ and want to just know what I have to say about anxiety. I welcome you here, but please know my faith informs what I have to say because once I started my relationship with Christ, I never wanted to leave His beautiful heartbeat. It brings me comfort on the darkest of nights.

We believe for better days in our house. We’ve already come so far. But if it weren’t for the journey we’re on watching God’s hand move in different ways, I’d feel so alone, so defeated, so hopeless and helpless. Maybe you’ve been there—or are there—too. Let me pray for you right now.

“Almighty Father in Heaven: You care so deeply to reach into our broken world and war-torn hearts to bring peace, love, hope, and even joy. Show us Your mighty hand! Help us to spread a few fingers toward You in trust, surrendering what we don’t understand, can’t figure out, and feel overwhelmed by, and let us walk in peace with You wherever we are. Let us walk as Your daughters and sons, truly knowing You. Flood us with Your eternal peace, and teach us the liberty of the captives. Set us free, Oh, God! Amen.”


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Squeezing Lemons: When Help Isn’t Helpful for Everyone

Squeezing LemonsThe other morning my tween daughter came downstairs to report her difficult time getting to sleep the night before. She had recently sold her daybed to make her bedroom more of a study/hangout pad. Knowing my husband was in the middle of creating what is currently transitioning from a fictitious to real full-size loft bed for my oldest son, she figured that eventually his woodworking gift would benefit her as well, so she settled into decorating the top bunk of my younger son’s room to be more chickie-like, assuming the room-share situation would be tolerable in the short term.

As it turned out, she was wrong.

My youngest son (who struggles to turn his mind off at night) had recently started listening to a relaxation CD. (I had listened to it first to make sure it wasn’t sending him subliminal messages to eat cookies in the middle of the night, find inner peace in his belly button, or pretend he could fly like a superhero. Thankfully, it had passed my test.)

What I wasn’t thinking about on my dry run with the CD was what such a “tense-it-up-now-relax-it” storyline would do to someone without anxiety.

Yeah, I didn’t think about that at all.

As I set out breakfast, my angst-ridden daughter vented about her experience with the CD, up-bunk the night before from my son who was getting his calm on—

—and it wasn’t pretty.

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What Blessing Is in Your Fort?

What Blessing Is in Your Fort?

I came home the day before Mother’s Day from a long-overdue visit with a friend. We had a lovely time as she introduced me to her favorite chocolate shop in Cambridge. I enjoyed an iced milk chocolate (yes, indeedy—that specific!) mocha with the purest chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It slid down my throat like silky cocoa sweetness with a “Yippee!” as it landed. It was vacation in a cup.

We tooled around a bit, stopping in a naturals store where I picked up a ginger lotion and peppermint essence for my sinus headaches. I don’t usually spend that kind of time shopping for me; it was so incredibly soothing: talking with my sweet friend, walking around in the beautiful sunshine that decided to stay in Boston for a while, and even taking the T, with its rocking rhythms as it jerks forward and later glides to a halting stop.

It was a sensory delight in every way: scents, sounds, sun, smooth mocha intake. I got my peace on in a big big way.Iced Mocha And then—then I came home to… Read the rest of this entry »


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He Meets Us at the Rails

Where Is God When We Go Off the Rails

[This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today on Mother’s Day.]

I thought about writing a Mother’s Day piece. I really did. But as awesome as that sounded to me, it ruled out so many people. I appreciate these Hallmark holidays in some ways, but I also know that for many, days like today can be difficult reminders of dreams yet unfulfilled or even crushed, or of family relationships that haven’t been or aren’t what they should be. Without going into the many manifestations of that, I wanted to address the pain, frenzy, panic, and weariness out there today. I’m going to lay it bare.

We may not all have our Sunday best on, with a handful of flowers, reservations at the local restaurant, gifts on the counter, and a trip planned to see family. Maybe this week was full of pulling ticks off kids, walking in late to that work meeting, facing three days of piled dishes at once, a car that wouldn’t start, a kid who mouthed off, a relationship that looked like it was heading toward marriage and abruptly broke off, a bad job review, a betrayal of some kind. Maybe it was an argument with a loved one, a bad report card, a miscommunication with your spouse that doesn’t feel like any “Hallmark moment”—or holiday, for that matter—that you’ve ever experienced before.

Mother or no mother, maybe your week doesn’t feel like walks in the sunshine and tea with biscuits.

Maybe your week chewed on some rocks, spit them out, and crunched down on them again.

Let’s be honest: Sometimes, we simply go off the rails.

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What Your Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

What Your Mom Really Wants for Mother's DayJust as I was wondering: “What will I write for Mother’s Day?” my friend Tammie Wommack sent me a message that she wrote a piece communicating what her heart wants to say to children and mothers out there about what’s really important on this Hallmark holiday. You see, Tammie has known the incredible grief of losing a child, and as her head comes up from feeling shoved under the water for so long to catch some air, her perspective brings tremendous clarity. As I was about to get this piece up on the blog site, Tammie messaged me one more time with her overriding heart’s cry:

“Moms want their kids to let them know how they’re doing as a mom. I so wanted reassurance when Joshua died that I had been a good Mom.”

I’m so grateful God put this on Tammie’s heart this Mother’s Day. She has allowed herself to be a vessel to bring hope, love, and strength to others on what is surely a painful holiday. I just love that she is willing to serve us through her very difficult walk in life.

[Please know that Tammie and I both recognize that not every mother has been who she needed to be with the call on her life to nurture a child. We know that some women out there miss their mothers who have already passed from this life. We acknowledge that some women are yearning to be moms and have their dreams yet unfulfilled. Some ladies may be waiting for rebellious children to show their appreciation, and it looks to be a long wait. While we acknowledge these very real and difficult situations, we also agree that there are other women in our lives whom God gives us who could benefit from Tammie’s “make the time count now and show your love” message. If Mom (or being a mom) isn’t your reference point, may I suggest you read this with an influential person in your life in mind. I just know you’ll be blessed. And if you’ve known the incredible heartache of losing Mom or a child, take some peace, healing, and comfort from what Tammie has to say. It’s for all of us, really.]

And here again, amazing us with her joy and deeply rooted wisdom, is Tammie…

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The Bridge of Transition

The Bridge of TransitionAs my youngest child was getting ready for school, I had an e-conversation with my sister-in-law. As I often do when I am reading someone’s story, I tried to imagine what it’s like to have one child graduating high school this year and another one doing the same a year later. I could picture it, but it was surreal to me. It’s not my current transition. But it is hers.

My whole year has been an extended transition: One child entered high school while one started middle school. Every day, I switch gears between fellow high school-er parents talking about student drivers and SAT prep and the typical middle school concerns of “mean girls” and safe texting guidelines. Meanwhile, I’m still in the “playdate” phase of raising my third child.

Some days, all I seem to do all day is transition: at-home responsibilities, writing, arranging appointments, taxi driving, counseling the one quickly approaching adulthood, and navigating the social wrecking ball that is middle school. (I’m convinced that once you survive middle school, you have the thick skin needed to go directly into the military or a career in psychology!)

As I write this in the early morning, coffee half-consumed, my iCalendar keeps popping up with new band performances and rehearsals. It’s comforting to “hear” from my oldest son, if even through a brief data entry about yet another place I have to drive him.

Maybe this title should be about interruptions and not transitions, but wait!

Aren’t they often the same thing?

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