Category Archives: Redemption

Saturday: The Day of Silence

Good Friday is over. Now it’s Saturday.

Saturday. As Jesus’ friends awoke, the day after they watched their dear friend violently die, I imagine it took some longer than others to remember. As the morning sun streamed in the windows, bringing the promise of a new day, their memories of the night before caught up with them. The morning sun no longer held promise. Just defeat.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.

How could Jesus leave them like this?

Where do we go from here?

I’ve been there. I’ve lived through a “Saturday” filled with hopelessness. My life wasn’t supposed to look like this. I was supposed to have purpose. Things weren’t supposed to look this way. It didn’t feel as if I would ever find joy again.

Friend, are you stuck on Saturday? It looks different for all of us. Depression. A soul-killing job. Illness. Divorce. But one thing is the same, we feel as if God has abandoned us. He’s stopped speaking. Or at least, we’ve stopped hearing. He’s silent. Maybe even…dead.

Saturday.

But oh, the best part of all, is that no day lasts forever. Even Saturday. As Sunday dawned, so did the hopes of the world.

The women came to the tomb. The only ones strong enough to face what had happened. Women, look in the cracks of history, and you will always find us. Doing hard things. Being present at the most glorious moments. He isn’t here, he is risen! Go, tell the others.

He is risen!

Everything I believe hangs on this historical fact. He. is. no. longer. dead.

Sunday brings life. Sunday brings hope. Sunday brings the answers to Saturday.

God will not remain silent. Death could not contain Jesus. Sunday will come. And when it does, you can look back and praise him for his faithfulness, even on Saturday.

His love is relentless.

Easter is coming.

 

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Hibernation is Not an Option

This is me in the summer: wp-1452547324242.jpeg

Looking at that picture, my heart feels light. I’m warm. The grass is green. The sun is shining. I love everything about it. Here’s another:
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Summertime is my jam.

I lived in Southern California when I was a kid until 4th grade. Winter was not really a thing there. We had a season called winter, it basically meant we didn’t go swimming as often. I’m probably romanticizing that quite a bit in my head, but let me have my memories.

Then we moved to the Midwest. Winter was so cold. So bleak. So long.

For as long as I can remember, my moods and emotions and mental health have been closely tied up in the seasons. I wish very much that it wasn’t this way. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder or whatever, but the fact is I have to work much harder to feel alive in the winter months.

Until this last year I didn’t realize that my thyroid has a lot to do with this. I’m cold all. the. time. At my in-law’s house for Christmas I was wrapped up in a blanket from the time we got there until we left (those Minnesotans, they love the cold so much they let it in their houses). Am I a wimp? Yes, I am. But I also have a tiny little gland in my throat that sits in a layer of ice from October to April (that might not be medically accurate, but the idea is).

When I wake up in the winter time, many days I start my day at a -3, whereas my husband is always at a 7 (I’m not sure what this scale is, but work with me here). If it’s cloudy outside, I might even be down to -5. The point I’m trying to make here is that before I’ve even gotten out of bed, I’m already feeling defeated. It’s a struggle to even get dressed, eat, brush teeth.

On top of this, I’m pregnant and it’s made me sick since the middle of November. So sick. Barely able to function a lot of days.

I know I’m not the only one. I’ve talked with some of you who have told me the same things. Living everyday life with depression is hard.

I was talking to Tim recently (my husband is so wise, you guys) and telling him I was tired of the struggle. “I’m so depressed in the winter, why is it this way?”

“Okay, so what?” He replied.

“Excuse me?” What does he mean, so what? I think the answer is pretty obvious. At some point we call it quits and move to Phoenix or Fiji where we’ll never have problems again.

“I mean, if your life is telling a story, you’re depressed, but… What are you going to do with it? Where does your story go from here?”

I stared at him, and realized that he was right.

Obviously I can’t just stop living in winter. I can’t only be emotionally present in my people’s lives for only half the year. I’m here on earth for the long haul, I have to do something with this.

Every spring I play a game with myself and the boys to try to find the first signs of growth. Green sprigs coming through the previously-frozen earth, first stems of fresh grass, tree buds. These signs to me cause hope to stir within my soul. The warmth will be back.
wp-1452548104109.jpegI think I still have a lot to learn from winter. In fact, without winter, would I appreciate summer as much? Would I feel the kind of longing hope that leads me to worship?
wp-1452547936668.jpegI think God has put inside all of us a desire for summer. It looks different for each of us. An end to the cold, an end to illness, a desire for peace. Hope for better circumstances.

This longing, this discontentment can either cause us to become bitter and lifeless, or bring us to our knees in desperation.

I can’t live in summer forever. The idea is appealing, but no.
wp-1452548350051.jpegI need winter. I hate to admit that. The cold and misery take me to a place of utter dependence.

Life is hard. But as Tim and I tell our boys, we do hard things.

So as I explore God’s grace this winter, and figure out where my story goes from here, I will acknowledge my own weakness and dependence. And wait again for the joy of summer, and even greater than that, the hope of completeness in Jesus. One day.

Will you do the same?

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2016: The Year of Grace

2015 was the Year of Healing for me. Like a lot of you, I choose a word for my year to pursue and meditate on. My year of healing ironically led to quite a bit of medical issues. I got diagnosed with a thyroid disease, ended up in the E.R. two days in a row with stomach pain, and my normal cycles stopped completely.

That wasn’t how my year was supposed to go.

The more I dug into my health, the more my diet and lifestyle changed. Good changes, of course, but hard to do when the rest of my family has a love affair with carbohydrates.

When I finally started to feel like my normal self (I haven’t felt great in about 7 years), I saw a gynecologist who in response to my issues of the last couple years told me I was probably done having kids without medical intervention.

So that was fun.

I left her office in tears and never went back, determined to prove her wrong.

Our word for this year is Grace. God freely giving us what we don’t deserve. My health. My children. My patient husband. Jesus.

Grace.

We will explore God’s grace in 2016. What will your word or theme be?

There is a happy ending to 2015, as hard as the year was. In the late fall, my doctor (who I love, and who listens to me, and who values nutritional medicine) suggested we do some bloodwork to find out what my body was lacking hormonally. I had 3 periods in 2015. That’s not normal. And she knew our desire to have another baby.

5 weeks of bloodwork.

The day of my appointment to talk over the bloodwork, I took a pregnancy test on a whim.

You guys. Positive.

I fell on my knees, crying and thanking God.

What a gift!

What grace!

Over a year of trying to conceive. Thank you, God.

As 2016 starts, I watch and feel the evidence of God’s grace growing in my body. July will bring a baby to this family that has been waiting and praying for so long. I am overwhelmed by this gift.

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Some of us are more shocked than others.

Happy New Year!

Do Not Fear. Breathe. Repeat

You guys. These last two weeks.

We went from the War on Xmas to watching a literal war unfold across the entire globe.

Twelve years ago. I went to college in Florida with a sweet blond girl who loved Jesus in a way I had rarely seen in my 18 years. Last week. Her sister was attacked and shot in her home. A short coma later. She is no longer with us.

I met with a dear friend this morning for coffee. She talked about police knocking on her door last night in the late evening. Asking her if she’d seen anything unusual. She was alone with her kids. There was an armed man on the loose in the neighborhood. There were gunshot victims.

The media keeps telling us that terrorists are walking across our borders disguised as desperate refugees. So much hate. And racism. And fear as a result.

It’s easy to be fearful.

It’s tempting to lock my doors. To turn off all the sources of information. To pretend we’re safe. I want to wrap my babies in figurative bubble wrap. Never join the real world with all its killing. ugliness. hate. It’s okay, babies. Nothing’s wrong. Stay here.

But what good would that do?

I have a secret for you. Come closer. I’ll whisper it. I’m not going to make it out of here alive. Neither are you. So far the mortality rate of humans is 100%. Those aren’t good odds.

In 2008 and 2009 I was in college. We had begun to see the economy collapse around us. Futures were uncertain. We were students with degrees like Women’s Ministry or Biblical Studies. These would suddenly be no longer marketable. We didn’t realize it at the time. I remember a professor who saw where we were headed. He told us things were going to be worse for us, for our nation, in the coming years.

But, he saw this as good. He said that our faith carried the only answers to disaster. To hardship. To a violent world. When the world is searching for an answer, we have it.

Do not fear.

Jesus reminds us over and over. Do not be afraid. I have already conquered evil. Death is not the end. I’ve defeated it. There is more than this.

I wish this meant that I knew everything will look better in a minute. But we know this isn’t true. Look at the world! Sweet, innocent children fleeing war are looking for a home. They are met with hatred instead. We watch as child after child is killed with a gun. Senseless acts. We pretend our threat comes from “outside.” Yet we’re killing our own. Our “safety” is not a thing. It’s an illusion.

No. I don’t offer easy answers. I can’t say, “Come over to my side, we’ll cling to our faith and ignore reality. But at least we’ll be happy.”

No.

But I can say this: Friend. Don’t fear. Jesus defeated death. We know this is not the end. He died in place of me. In place of the ugliness inside my heart. My worst enemy. I don’t have to stay there. I can live in that freedom. I can give grace and refuge to those who need it.

Don’t fight terror with fear. Fight it with boldness. With love. To those around you. To those across the world.

Friend, don’t fear. Breathe. Find peace within the hope of Jesus. It’s only going to get worse. That doesn’t change the fact that he. is. in. control.

Turn off the news. Look for ways to help. Practice peace and love. Breathe. And repeat.

Do Over

We were dressed, had eaten, had completed school. Long, frustrating schoolwork where Little Guy needed 100% of my attention 100% of the time. That’s mathematically impossible because I have two boys, and I need to help both of them.

We are all cranky with each other, everyone’s waking up at ridiculous hours and going to bed at ridiculous hours, and still detoxing after a weekend filled with sweets.

“I’m hungry!”

That whine. That whining plea for food as if they never eat.

It has to be lunch time, I though to myself. I’ll feed them, and then we will all have an hour of silent, solitary rest before we face the rest of the day.

I looked at the clock.

9:30.

Crap.

I had already had as much Tuesday as I could handle, and it was just starting.

The next half hour did not go well. There was lots of tears, yelling, and time outs. As I sat on the couch contemplating moving to Australia (there are no terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in Australia), I realized I had a choice. I could let my depression get the best of me and give in to the day, or start over.

The week after Daylight Savings Time ends is consistently one of the worst weeks for my mental health. The extra hour screws up our sleeping schedules, brings the sunset sooner, and leaves us with a cranky, tear filled week. Every. Year.

Last week I felt great. I felt like I could take on the world. I felt like maybe I would approach winter with a better view on life and health, and maybe, just maybe I would escape my depression this year.

This week I want to move to Australia.

“Put your shoes on, we’re leaving!”

No, we didn’t move across the world. Just to Trader Joes. Well, we didn’t move there, we just shopped. We took the dog out. Got away for a bit. Fresh air fixes a lot.

In a little bit we’ll head next door to share lunch with  friends. Then we’ll go outside and play in the warm sunshine while it lasts. And tonight I’ll go to yoga, and remember to breathe. Breathe through the hard moments. Breathe through my frustration at the endless chatter of these munchkins.

We had a do over. I apologized. The boys apologized. I gave my guilt and anger over to God. He gives grace in return. Tuesday has started over.

It’s never too late for a do over.

On the wall next to my bed is lavender. Sometimes I hide up here and just breathe it in.

On the wall next to my bed hangs lavender. Sometimes I hide up here and just breathe it in.

Not the Monday Post I Intended

So this isn’t what I had planned on writing about today. I wanted to write about how I’m treating Hashimoto’s with diet and supplements. I wanted to talk about the Paleo Diet and how it’s The Best Diet. I’ll have to get to all that later, because I can’t get my brain to work that hard today.

I didn’t sleep last night, hardly at all. I suffer from insomnia, and have for a long time. It’s been better lately, thanks to some amazing supplements, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. But every once in awhile, I struggle. Big time.

And my brain and memory do this fun thing where not only am I lying there for hours not sleeping, but I recall every bad, embarassing, awkward, stupid thing I’ve ever said or did in my entire life. And I obsess over them. And by morning I’m curled up in the fetal position convinced that no one could love me, I’m the worst at everything, and there’s a chance I might be becoming Gollum (I’ve been reading Lord of the Rings).

I had scheduled childcare for my boys at the YMCA this morning so I could work out, and as Tim was leaving for work I told him I didn’t think I could make it because I could hardly stand up because of my tiredness. He encouraged me to go anyway, and get the endorphins flowing (that’s what he always says, “Get the endorphins flowing.”), and since he’s almost always right (don’t tell him I said that) I got up and got ready to go.

When we pulled into the parking lot I looked at my phone, expecting it to be 8:00 and saw instead that it was 8:30. Wait, what? My reserved time was supposed to start at 8, and I was half an hour off. I’m still trying to figure out where that missing half hour of my life went, it just disappeared into oblivion, because I really thought we were on time. Sleep deprivation, guys.

Now, if you follow me on Instagram (you should, you should! Check it out! It’s over there ——> ) you might already know most of this. And that is why I needed to write about it.

When I’m struggling, or hurting, or miserable, I sometimes convince myself that no one else could possibly understand what I’m going through. I wonder if you do the same? I tell mysef, “There is not a soul in the world that could even know how I feel or has ever been in this exact situation. I’m hopelessly alone, I know it!” And come on, how stupid and egotistical is that? What? I think I’ve got the corner on human suffering all to myself? Of course not!

So today, I put it out there. I was open on social media about how crappy my day started. And I was overwhelmed by the response of my friends, those I see in person, and those I don’t. I have the best friends on Facebook and IG, you guys. The. Best. I felt lifted up, but I also felt like there were others who knew exactly what it felt like to be in that situation, or to have insomnia and depression go hand in hand. You all rock!

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I wonder if you would consider putting yourself out there too? We try so hard sometimes to create this facade of what we want our lives to be by only showing the beautiful things on social media. I wonder what it would look like to truly be our authentic selves. I don’t mean that we should complain all the time. There’s a difference between being honest and straight up complaining.

My good friend, Brittany, over at Little Mountain Momma, started this hashtag a while back: #letsgetrealmoms. She’s the best at it, really. She includes that tag with pictures of her messy life in all forms, created by children, and not. So maybe throw that hashtag out there the next time you post on social media. I’ll probably see it, I occasionally look through those tags, and we both will feel uplifted.

Let’s get real, moms. Let’s get real, women. We are authentic, and we are encouragers. Carry on, Warrior Women.

Snapshot of My Day: The Time I Prematurely Scolded the Children

“Boys!” I yelled from the kitchen, “get in here!”

I heard them running down the stairs as I turned back to the mess I had just discovered on the counter. I keep sugar in a glass dish by the coffee supplies and it had been knocked over and spilled across the counter. wpid-wp-1424291829353.jpeg

“Which one of you got into the sugar?”

“It wasn’t me,” they both insisted.

Of course, I didn’t believe them because no one ever makes the messes I find around the apartment. They just show up. There is marker on my furniture but I never catch either of them in the act. I step in a puddle (hoping it’s just water, every time) that neither of them spilled.

I know they like to stick their fingers into the sugar jar. What kid wouldn’t? And I try to keep it far enough back on the counter that they can’t reach, but apparently this day I didn’t. I gave them an angry lecture about leaving things alone in the kitchen and then sent them back upstairs to play.

I was angrier than I should have been. It wasn’t really about the sugar. I was upset at an entire morning of cleaning up after their carelessness. Already feeling guilty after scolding them so much over such a little offense I started cleaning up the mess.

Just then, Tim walked into the kitchen, “Oh, sorry. I spilled that earlier and forgot to clean it up.”

My hands stopped wiping it up and I slowly turned around and stared at him.

Now I really felt awful.

“Boys!” I yelled again, “come down here, please.”

Feeling like the World’s Worst Mom, I apologized and asked their forgiveness. Being the grace-filled, amazing guys that they are, all was forgiven.

I’m gonna mess up. A lot. So much of this parenting thing feels unnatural to me. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. But I think that’s okay. I’ve learned the most important thing is to be humble enough to ask my kids forgiveness for my failings. They’re always ready to forgive.

They’re so small, but they teach me big things about God. I pray that I can be patient enough, and humble enough to learn.