The wonderful “after”

BalloonsThey say you can’t outgive God.

Last week’s LIFT event was the culmination of months of prayer, planning, and labor. Pam, Genny, and I have been collaborating since the spring of 2015 to help women address the tough issues of identity, purpose, and the challenges to living them fully. We have shared our thoughts and hopes for those who would attend over many hours and countless ounces of black coffee.

And then, last Thursday, it finally happened. The tickets were sold out. Chairs were packed tightly. Candles lit. Cupcakes baked. Flowers arranged. And our messages were shared.

It was surreal–after these many weeks of preparation–to have it done. And oh-so-sweet to see it come to fruition and to welcome all those women through the doors.  Read more

A Seat at the Table

I could barely read them, but at least the airport signs were written in English again.

After ten and a half hours on the plane from Frankfurt, Germany, preceded by a four-hour layover in the Frankfurt airport, and a three and a half hour flight from Moscow, Russia, I was exhausted. Our itinerary was made all the more challenging by the fact that my husband and I were in the company of two toddler boys who didn’t speak a word of English. We had been pronounced their legal parents just days earlier in a Siberian courtroom. After the boys bid an indifferent farewell to the cinderblock building that had been their home, we set out on our long journey to their new one.

Flourish

I’m writing over at (in)courage today. Click here to read the rest of the post. If you’re not familiar with (in)courage, you’ll find a treasure-trove of encouraging writing. Here’s the link to subscribe to their daily emails. 

 

Authenticity: Rising tide lifts all boats

exhaustedI wasn’t sure I wanted to “share.”

I knew the tears would well up in my eyes. (Insert cursory feminine joke about mascara here.) And I haven’t known these women for very long, so tipping my emotional cards felt (extra) risky. We were discussing hypocrisy in the Christian life and how our social masks put an intimacy barrier between us and others. My story was relevant to the topic and even illustrated the point, all while pressing on tender parts of my heart.

I did open myself up and was met with compassionate responses. We talked more about how putting ourselves “out there” often invites community, builds friendship, Read more

The Words that Matter

GlassesIt reduced her to tears.

My daughter was pulled aside, her motives and commitment questioned. Her concern for others and willingness to respect authority were impugned. Because her heart and deference are authentic and pure, it absolutely blindsided her.

Later that same day, a package arrived for her. The inauspicious cardboard mailer contained a t-shirt from a race in Portland, a gift from friends she made over the summer at a running camp in Washington state. (And an autographed photo of Emily Infield. Woot!) But the most priceless gift inside was the card. The words inscribed affirmed my child for her  Read more

When 1000 words miss the point

They say a picture says 1000 words. But what if it doesn’t tell the true story?

The photo below was taken at my daughter’s last cross country meet. The girls’ varsity team huddled together in prayer. This is customary for their team and many teams. They often gather before the race to encourage each other and then to ask God’s help over the course of their race… for strength, safety, and perseverance. Things you’d expect, right?

But that’s not what was happening.

Read more

(In)dependent

sunflower3“Back to school” felt really different this fall.  And I did not like it one bit.

My oldest daughter really took responsibility this year.

She looked up her schedule.
She organized her supply needs.
She drove herself to registration.
And to school.
And to practice.

All. By. Herself.

Before she left for school one morning last week, I began to load her water bottle with ice so it would still be cold by the time her 3:30pm cross-country practice rolled around. She’d already prepared her own breakfast and lunch; this was my small token effort to come alongside. But she interrupted me, saying that she wanted to do it… a particular way.

I felt rejected.

She didn’t seem to require anything from me. She just didn’t need me. While we’re raising our children to prepare them for launch into adulthood, I wanted her to need me (for more than just registrar fees, anyway).

As often happens in parenting, I realized how similarly God must feel with us. Read more

When you need a reason to pray

Reason To PrayFor some of us, prayer comes naturally. For others, less so.

I’ve got friends who make it through the entire Bible every year, but find prayer laborious. I confess, it’s not the best side of my spiritual life, either. My daughter recently expressed the same struggle: she said she didn’t feel close to God, probably because she’d stopped praying because it didn’t feel easy or comfortable. She was waiting to “want to” before she did. Before anyone gasps with horror, let’s acknowledge that we all have different “bents” in the spiritual disciplines. After all, I’ve got friends who would happily pray for hours, but rebel at the thought of reading their Bibles.  Read more

First Things (and how to cope with summer)

First ThingsSummer is hard. Wonderful, but hard.

I find myself frustrated by needing to accomplish the same things I do during the school year days (client deadlines, etc.), but wanting (and needing) to spend the time with the kids. Result: this productivity junkie is getting very little done.

After reading multiple articles on how crippling perfectionism is to productivity, I’ve had to coach myself to use the 20 minute gaps of time interspersed within my days because I won’t have two uninterrupted hours. Instead of waiting until I have “enough time” to do something well (read: perfectly), I need to do what I can with the time I have.

This has necessitated solidifying my priorities… knowing well which things are most deserving of those precious minutes. Reading 2 Chronicles put another (more important) layer atop my understanding:   Read more

The Other Kind of Mat

Nobody wants to be a doormat.

Who could aspire to such depths? Weak. Passive. Feeble. These aren’t desirable personality traits.

This summer I’m using IF:Equip as my Bible study (join in; it’s free!). We’re slowing inching our way through the Beatitudes with accompanying passages. This week is a deep-dive on Matthew 5:5.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (ESV)

Nobody has ever accused me of being meek. (Though StrengthsFinder does argue that I have a Harmony strength. What??!) I’m opinionated and vocal. Without a strong leader to counter-balance me, I’ll run away with any project, committee or meeting I’m part of. So, these words of Jesus usually cause me to discount myself from being blessed or inheriting the earth. I don’t even want to be meek. But Jesus says the meek are blessed.

So shouldn’t I want to be?

Read more