Saturday, February 10, 2018

Home Sweet Home: The day I ask my kids for forgiveness

Our holiday, winter break was truly sweet. Those days are etched in my memory. I didn't want it to end. The most peaceful Advent season we have had in years. We were truly able to keep our eyes on anticipating the Christ child's arrival; marvel at a baby coming to earth to be God with skin on.

To be sure we were intentional with our time, we made a "joy jar", filling it with ideas for quality time and fun excursions to experience around town. We enjoyed movies nestled beneath warm blankets while flames danced in the fireplace. Balsam and fir wafted in the air, while little hands constructed gingerbread houses and arranged sprinkles on cookies. 

With the clinic closed, we savored a whole week lounging in PJs and sipping coffee while gazing at twinkling lights on tree. After New Year's, an unexpected gift arrived....SNOW! I delighted in being witness to the first time my kids have felt flakes tickle noses and melt on tongues. The glee of hands scooping cold mounds and hurling through the air pelting sibling. We recounted my own childhood memories of snows in metro Atlanta where their granddad bought us make shift sleds from Ace Hardware. Black concrete mixing tubs gave us hours of rides down our steep driveway. Our southern region had not received snowfall in decades! Isn't that just God? He gives unexpected gifts just because he wants to bless his children. The break truly felt like home sweet home!

Yet, peppered throughout the break were scenes not so picturesque. Squabbles and screams. Jeers and tears. Sharp words that penetrate soul. Loud verbiage, slammed doors. Savage. My kids can turn savage. I am left perplexed  as to how this mean chaos happens again and again? If you were to ask me if I teach my kids? If I seek to discipline and disciple my kids? If I  probe their sinful hearts and point to their need for Christ? If I get them to examine their behavior in light of God's commands, fruit of the spirit, and love for others? ......My answer is a resounding YES!


As I seek retreat to the master suite to escape for encouragement, I hear conviction and truth  through a series of sermons. Rob Rienow's words made my toes and heart ache a bit. Thought I was probing little hearts and steering them in the right direction with great intention. I came to realize, I have been fooling myself. I have been believing lies.                                                                       
I sat my kids down at our kitchen table with a bag of marshmallows, a cardboard house, and their bibles.                Joy reads, Proverbs 14:1......

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers downs (brick by brick MSG)."  

Then I humbled myself. "I need to ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me. I have discovered I have been believing two lies. Lies that I have allowed to tear down our house. "

Silence. Amazement sat on faces. "I've been believing, 'Siblings just fight!' When in fact, siblings are God's design to give you an encourager, a prayer partner, and accountability.  I've also been lulling myself into thinking your true character is who others say  you are outside this house. You are who your teachers, friends, and youth leaders compliment; brag about. When in fact, your true character is who you are in this home. If you want to know what kind of friend you are, it's how your treat your brother. If you want to know what kind of husband you will be, it's how you treat me."

"See this house? This house is a visual representation of our home (pouring in marshmallows) . We can build it up or tear it down! I love you enough to teach you how to make a home, a sweet home. Will you do your part?"  
During an interview for her role in the film, Wonder, Julia Roberts commented on the script that gripped her. "Compassion.... Compassion is not something you want to be lectured about, you want to be infused with it. " My prayer is our home is infused with love, empathy, and compassion. Since we constructed our marshmallow abode that final day of winter break, it sits as the centerpiece of our kitchen table. When harsh words ring out, marshmallows removed symbolize to little hearts they are choosing the foolish way, tearing down our house brick by brick. I wish I could tell you this teaching tool has totally transformed life under our roof; that sibling spats have ceased and encouragement from mouth abound! Not hardly! But, I do believe I've seen the aroma of my kid's hearts become a little sweeter.

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

2 Corinthians 2:15 

Rob Rienow: Visionary Family, Visionary Marriage

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Through the Looking Glass: Letting Advent Transform Your Pane

The screams of Christmas lists,  family tensions strung high , custody schedules, and complaints echo through my ears . I feel like I'm standing still watching all the squabbling  of the season happen before me through a frosted window pane. And I want more than anything to beckon them to come and see how I see; to offer them a piece of my peace .

In my world, the perspective on the other side of the looking glass, cozy Advent atmosphere : White lights tinkle, an advent wreath, a Jesse tree.... my haven is awaiting , waiting with anticipation . Waiting for a babe. Because a babe, fully God, fully man, a Savior coming, our vocabulary changes from all the have tos to we GET to! From seeing lack to seeing all we have!

Make no mistake , life under this roof is not all a bed of roses. The realization , the pains of Advent put all first world problems into crystal perspective . And if one allows , grief can transform panes from pains. The lens of gratitude lights the path to counting life as joy and peace .The lens makes all things new.

I can't help but know there are people out there praying for what most take for granted . A roof over head, four wheels to drive, pantry of food, accessible medical treatment, faucet flowing drinkable water, eyes that read, ears to drink in sounds of the season,  diplomas on wall....all make me wealthier than 75% of the world's population.
Through the glass I see all I have only because of the one who gave it all. The one who took holes in hands knows all the holes in your heart . Discovering your holes leads you to the only one who can make you whole .  Love came down to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free.

Breathe. Breathe in hope. Breathe in peace. Breathe in joy.  Breathe in love, for the Christ child is coming !

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Helping the Greiving Through the Holidays

As a young girl growing up near the heart of Atlanta, my most vivid Christmas memory was going to see The Atlanta Ballet perform the Nutcracker at the Fox. Now I too enjoy the Nutcracker tradition in our community each Christmas season with my daughter.  A few weeks ago I found myself roaming through the ornament section of Target. I was on a hunt to find a special ornament to commemorate this year's Nutcracker tea and performance.  No ornament was really grabbing me as a token I'd like my Sugar Plum Fairy girl to hang on her tree many years from now to remember the annual event . What did catch my attention was a dull throbbing ache that began to creep up in my chest. I soon realized the familiar feeling...the return of the Holiday grief monger.

 After seven years, I have come to the conclusion, the lights that are so merry and bright illuminate holes within hearts. The holidays make grief more raw. Our pain is less sharp now, but Micah's absence is always with us. My thoughts shifted to those in my circle who are grieving right now. A friend who just buried her dad. Marriages shattered, kids worlds crumbled. Another family just kissed Dad in uniform good-bye and will see him about this time next year. As I pulled my cart to check out lane 6, there she was, a beloved MOPS sister. She shared hubby just deployed for 3 months. She shared my sentiments, holidays make pain greater.

How can you help grieving families through the holidays? Here are my top dos and don'ts :

1. Say, "I'm here. Call me if you need anything!"
This is a grand gesture, but grieving people often don't know what they need and won't remember who offered to help. If it's soon after a death, I encourage a family member or close friends helping to keep a list of all those who offer to help and what their specific ways they want to help (childcare, yard, make meals).

2. Say, "You know this was God's will. "

3. Don't say irrational spiritual statements to rationalize loss: :
" God knew it was his time!"  , "At least your kids had a dad for the time they did! Some kids never have one !" , " You are young and beautiful you will marry someone else .",  " You are young ! You can still have other children !",  "You know God knew you all needed an angel up there to watch over you !"

1. Continue to include them. Invite them to outings, game night, or parties.
Even if the person says no, the gesture that you thought of them and invited them means a lot. Know that each person is a soul. Just because their marital status may have changed doesn't mean they don't want to be included in their previous circle of friends.

2. Invite them over for a meal or take a meal to them and stay to eat.
Meals are wonderful. Company is even better. I know I've said it before but, if we are to be the supportive body of Christ, we have to get past pop and drop. Popping a casserole in the oven and dropping it off and riding into the sunset fills the belly, but not the soul. Grieving people most need a listening ear and fellowship.

3. Ask them when and how you can help them decorate their home or haul down Christmas boxes from the attic.

4. Ask what their family holiday plans are to be sure they will not be alone.
Grief can bring family closer or tear them apart. Families either lean on each other or turn on each other. Don't assume because family is close by that family supports the grieving.

5. Ask them what in their home needs repairs.

6. Ask parents if they would like help shopping for the kids and take the kids shopping for surviving parent.
For a surviving spouse or  spouse of a deployed service member, buying all your own Christmas presents and faining to be surprised on Christmas morning  is one of the hardest/lonliest parts of the grief journey.

7. Be a constant presence.
Whether cards, text, lunch dates. being there on a regular basis is the biggest support you could ever imagine . One mom shared,  "After my miscarriage , a dear friend would just come and sit on my couch with me and watch movies. I'd cry and she never had to say a word. Having her there meant so much "

8. Be dependable. Keep your word, be a promise keeper.
From my observations, disappointment to the grieving (especially children) is magnified more than I could put into words. Follow through on intentions to get together, take kids hunting, or on fun outings.
Be a person whose walk matches talk. We show integrity by our actions rather than our intentions. Keeping promises reaffirms there is good in a hurting world and loving people who can be trusted. If we are in Christ, then we are an extension of God's love in action.  After all,  love is something that we do and  we do what we believe.

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with action and in truth."
1 John 3:18

Love Is Something That We Do: Clint Black

Emergency Response Handbook for Small Groups by Group Publishing

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Living On the Bridge Through Life's Seasons

God's given a clear word to me. The word keeps resurfacing in small group discussions, bible study, news articles.... the word is season. In this season, God has definitely tilled the soil and is doing a new work. I am so thankful my little haven is in a season of peace. I'm back to work full time in the speech rehab world. I ain't gonna lie!  I love what I'm called to do. But ya'll, the struggle  IS REAL to balance single motherhood, work, and home life.  I'm most definitely right where I am suppose to be ministering, but not exactly where I thought I'd be this season last year. 

During this season, God has taught me:

1. God gives vision and His chief desire is for us to be obedient. 
This time last year I created a LLC with the vision of training church leaders and educators on organizational leadership and on how to create safe sanctuaries. A vision to help bring awareness and a plan to protect children from sexual and emotional abuse in churches. Can I  get a witness? Our headlines every day beg and scream this is a need. Yet, apparently it's not the season my for family. 

If I'm honest, I've been through Satan getting in my head. He has spoken condemnation. "Who do you think you are? What were you thinking? See your vision did not come to fruition!" I've journeyed to contentment now knowing I was obedient and if Roots & Wings Educational Consulting is to take flight, God will open doors in his time. 

In your season of waiting, don't grow weary or give up beloved! You will reap what you sow, later than you sow, and more than you sow! Galatians 6:9

2. God can use the hardest trials to help us walk into His destiny.
I've had to sit back and watch; watch my curly headed boy wrestle with a season of hardship. My John Davis, he has been handed a Goliath size, suffering cup no mom would ever want her child to bear. I found myself apologizing to him over and over that he has to endure this mountain.

I clearly heard God whisper, "Hush, just hush". I realized this very suffering may be what shapes him for his God-calling. If this thistle is taken away, he may not be changed into God's likeness and step into all his heavenly Father has for him to become. And then right there in His word:


Isn't what we all need? To humble ourselves, cast out our idols, and rest in God's saving grace? And sometimes our silence can be the loudest remark! Closing my mouth and trusting God will give me strength to know He is working the hard, painful times into good that will glorify Him.

In repentance and rest is your salvation, 
in quietness and trust is your strength,...Isaiah 30:15 

3. We are all living on a bridge.
In this haven we are most definitely in a season, a season of matrimony. In our little corner of the globe 2017-2018 ushers in 4 weddings .  As a spectator of planning and showers, I watch brides juggle dreams with family dynamics. I have become keenly aware grief has you live on a bridge, a bridge of time; a never ending  time continuum between past, present, and future.

Any given day, I walk John Davis and Joy across the bridge through several time continuums...sometimes even multiple times. 

The bridge to the PAST takes my kids back to enjoy visiting their earthly father, to know what their Dad was like; to remember and hold on to memories, and makes him tangible in his absence.

The bridge of the PRESENT  keeps us focused on what is right in front of us. Focusing on gifts in the present unlocks joy. Joy produces contentment. 

The bridge to the FUTURE  fills us with hope. Our prayer is  for wherever God plants us we will walk in His light and be a vessel to bring him glory.  We pray for whoever God brings into our future will allow room for us to bring the past along where we will cherish them both simultaneously. For we are all a sum of our past. People who speak encouragement spur us on to love and good deeds. We treasure and hold them dear. Those that caused pain and destruction also compel us to vow to love justice, seek mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

Beloved, embrace your walk on the bridge through all of life's seasons! Knowing He is the unchangeable God of each step you take through all the changing seasons will set you free. He is the God of all of your days! 

Until the whole world hears,


God of All My Days by Casting Crowns

The Very Next Thing by Casting Crowns

Monday, January 30, 2017

Kenny Rogers Theology: When It's Time to Get Out of Toxic

If you don't happen to have a knack for reading and listening to Christian psych, this debate I'm about to weigh in on might not even be on your radar. Call me a weirdo! I really wasn't going to weigh in on this Christian Psych debate I see unfolding in podcasts and media. However, since helping abused women out of toxic is my greatest passion second to creating safe sanctuaries (measures in place to prevent sexual abuse) for children, I've prayed and couldn't hold my tongue.

And since I recently wrote about having Kenny Rogers theology and knowing when to hold em', knowing when to fold 'em, knowing when to walk away, and when to run.... And then my girl Jen Hatmaker apparently got the same memo and writes the same message! Well......I just have to go there.

After Smalley's (Michael rather than Gary) broadcast on January 10, Healing in the Midst of Being Wounded, where he answered a listeners question, I cringed. Listeners question:

"Why do the churches preach forgiveness, but nobody discusses verbal abuse, and most christians make other christians being verbally abused feel like they are in unforgiveness when the reality is, the abuser never repents for his ways, and never owns their behavior, they just continues to be abusive, while their spouse is made to believe that they should turn the other cheek, forgive 70×7. Even God demands repentance, a change of ways so why do christians think it can come another way, and that healing can even occur when no change has occurred. If someone has a knife in my side every single day, it would be impossible to heal, so why do we expect spouses to heal in the midst of being wounded daily?”

Smalley you had some wonderful points, did a great job of weighing in and describing what is emotional/verbal abuse. You did an excellent job of citing statistics that indeed, emotional abuse leaves scars far worse than physical and leads to self harm in most cases. What stabbed my heart?

I think, if I might take the liberty to translate for her, the lady was not asking for someone to determine whether she was or was not in an abusive relationship and I'll admit that would be hard since she was not in the studio with you. She obviously feels like she is in an abusive relationship or she would not  have taken the time to ask you.  I'm concerned she truly needs help and this is her cry. And after hearing the broadcast, my concern?  She might feel she has to stuff her need to get out of TOXIC rather than get help.

I interpreted it to ask or hear her say:

As a Christian:  1. She has stayed because she has heard her pastors convey from the pulpit in addressing forgiveness and grace she needs to suck it up and take it. 2. She has exhausted all efforts and the relationship is not better because her abuser will not work on himself or admit that the way he treats her is wrong.

Mostly she is asking, "Is there EVER a time to WALK away for self preservation? And if so when?"

The answer my dear is: ABSOLUTELY!!!!

At this point, I'm going to hand the mic over to Jen Hatmaker to answer your question.( she recently pulled this post out of archives )

When Is It Time to Walk Away?
by Jen Hatmaker on April 21st, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make toffee. Again. The first attempt, despite scant instructions and just three ingredients, emerged like a sheet of sand and made me resort to violence and hatred.

Round two: sand again. $&*%!!!!

So I consulted the interwebs to discover the error of my ways. Let me condense the instruction I received:

Keep stirring. Stir constantly. Stir occasionally. Don’t stir once it boils. The temperature is too hot. It’s not hot enough. Too hot, too fast. Oops, too long. Keep a steady boil. NOT A ROLLING BOIL, YOU MORON. Use a whisk. Use a spatula. Use a wooden spoon. Recalibrate your candy thermometer. Don’t use a candy thermometer. Pour immediate at 285 degrees. Drop toffee into ice water and it should be brittle. Oops, while you were doing that it reached 286 degrees. Dump contents. Don’t cook if there is rain within 500 miles. 12 minutes exactly. 7 and a half minutes. 4 minutes and not a second more. If it separates, add water. If it separates, keep stirring. If it separates, turn the heat down. If it separates, turn the heat up. If it separates, I’m sorry to tell you, but your life is in shambles.

This inspired a new Toffee Doctrine I’d like to discuss today, catalyzed by a Facebook comment of unusual depth: “Girl, sometimes the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.” And I bowed my head and said amen.

There is something to be said for hard work, diligence, for pushing through obstacles and emerging victorious. Heaven forbid we’re people for whom failure is a chronic deal-breaker. Some best things are won through perseverance, and there is simply no other path. Often triumph is seized on the 77th try, and every last effort in Attempts #1-76 was worth it, and not only do we emerge successful, but the false starts and failures became our greatest teachers, and no amount of instruction could replace them.

But there is another narrative to consider, which doesn’t smack of the Protestant Work Ethic we champion or provide a lovely headline, but it is no less essential to health, and confusing the two approaches is not only dangerous but destructive. Help a sister out, Kenny Rogers:

You got to know when to hold ‘em…know when to fold ‘em.

I recently discussed this with my 7th grade daughter. (Fact: 7th grade exists as an evolutionary natural selection process to weed out any tender, confident, precious traits from the adolescent species. Eat or be eaten, kids.) This has been a Challenging Friend Year, and she found herself on the outside, and I don’t even have to tell you what that means because we are all 7th Grade Survivors, am I right?

After a year of working and crying and trying again and crying and taking a different approach and crying more, I finally said, “Baby, some things are precious and worth the work it takes to keep them alive. Plenty of good things require hard work. But some things are too hard, and it’s time to cut bait.”

There is a tipping point when the work becomes exhausting beyond measure, useless. You can’t pour antidote into a vat of poison forever and expect it to transform into something safe, something healthy. In some cases, poison is poison, and the only sane answer is to move on.

Relationships, careers, churches, friendships, expectations, roles, tasks, organizations – these structures and connections can be the most life-giving elements on earth. They can lend meaning and purpose and belonging like nothing else. Within them, we find our tribes and passions, we come to life.

But anything that powerful has a downside, for they are the same things that can drain us dry and leave us for dead. When an endless amount of work and blood and sweat and tears leaves a situation or relationship or even an ambition (Perfect Mom, Size 4 Human, Person Who Has It All Together) as unhealthy as it ever was, when there is virtually no redemption, when the red flags have frantically waved for too long unheeded, the alarm bells receding into white noise after sustained disregard, sometimes the healthiest possible response is to walk away.

Assessing a circumstance as worthy of the toil is a discarded skill. Our culture doesn’t value safe boundaries like it should. We hold private disdain for the one who quit, the one who pulled out, drew a line in the sand, the one who said no more. We secretly wonder if they shouldn’t have tried harder, stayed longer, if this isn’t an indicator of their flimsy loyalty. Surely we would’ve done better in their shoes.

Locked in a toxic relationship or career or ambition or community, the levels of unhealth and spiritual pollution can murder everything tender and Christlike in us, and a watching world is not always privy to those private kill shots. It can destroy our hope, optimism, gentleness. We can lose our heart and lose our way. And here is the key: we can pour an endless amount of energy into the chasm, and it will never matter.

There is a time to put redemption in the hands of God where it belongs and walk away before you destroy your spirit on the altar of Futile Diligence. Not every battle has a winner; sometimes it is all losers, carnage everywhere. When healthy options exist, and there is a safer alternative right…over…there, often the bravest thing we can do is stop fighting for something that will never, ever be well.

Walk away gracefully; we need not fire parting shots over the bow. That only creates more losers, and you're better than that. Take your dignity and self-respect and precious humanity, and be proud of the way you handled yourself one year from now. You don't need to be proven right; much more is at stake than validation. You'll never regret being gracious, but you might deeply regret burning a bridge that might one day be safe enough to venture back over.

It is not ungodly to evaluate critically; it is the wisest thing we can do. Reaching a point where you say “enough” to a toxic environment is not cowardly – it is so very brave. It will free you up to expend your energy in worthy ways, protecting you and maybe even your people from brutal coping mechanisms. (Do we really want to teach our children that “identifying with your captor” is the best way? When all we do is defend our imprisoner, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror.)

What is the tipping point? There is no formula here and I can’t give one. This requires honest self-evaluation, safe and wise counselors, the close leadership of the Holy Spirit, a sobering assessment of reality. Ask, “Is the juice worth the squeeze here?" and sometimes it is. You might discover signs of life and possibility rising up through the efforts, or the task at hand is simply too worthy to abandon, regardless. There may be necessary work left to do, and it’s too soon to assess. Or maybe the Spirit holds you in place for unclear reasons, which you may or may not ever know, but you will find peace in obedience and continue to listen for marching orders.

But the Toffee Doctrine bears adherence too: you got to know when to fold ‘em - for your health, your heart, purpose, family, your precious life. Certain goals are unattainable, and the means will never actually reach the end. And so often if you just turn a quarter degree, you’ll discover a healthier version just within reach. You’ll find the underlying value intact in a context that fits like a glove. You’ll hear yourself say, “Oh! I didn’t know it could be like this!” The toffee is still good elsewhere; maybe just need to rethink how you get it.

As for me, homemade is out, store bought is in. Now everyone is happy, the kitchen is no longer a war zone, and I know what I’m having with my coffee tomorrow morning. But there was that one recipe involving a microwave…

Someone stop me before I jump back into the crazy.


If your instinct is to counter with all the times we must stay the course, I’d ask you to carefully reread the blog and notice I already did that. My advice is for scenarios in which walking away is the right and necessary thing to do. My aim is not to lead a revolution of irresponsible quitters but of discerning disciples.

How are you struggling? Or when did you walk away for the greater good?

Until the world hears,

*helpful but not meant to self diagnose, seek counsel from a professional.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anchored in Love

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My ANCHOR holds within the veil
--Hillsong United ; Cornerstone

First weekend in October ......these Jackets swarmed home, home to my birthplace . Went to watch our Jackets take on the Hurricanes. Went to escape, get away, away from what keeps knocking, landing in family and on advocate desk;  litigation and broken busted souls.  Above all truthfully, "the Main Thing" ? We went home to see blazin' friends and their brood of boys.

While there I find myself under blue skies a short drive from McKendree Elementary walls and close to hospital where I birthed first born. Born preemie, 5 weeks early with a throng of residents, OBs, nurses, and NICU team waiting anxiously to help a life coming too soon.
Ha! So much for privacy!

In middle of Central Black Knight territory standing beside white church within "Fairview" of Hwy 316, instead of green pasture as far as the eye can see, there is now a Home Depot, a Target...the terrain much changed after 37 years gone by. Also hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years since this "Prospect Walk Wayers", Weyerhaeuser crew left these "Roots". "Wings" took us back to South GA.

What hasn't changed is my memory. Memory of those that loved me, my anchors, who made me who I am . Standing in cemetery,  three of my anchors lay on that hill next to beloved rose buds none the less, under earthen Gwinnett County clay. Ones that made my first birthday cakes, who took me weekly to pick up fried chicken on Sundays after church with a wad of tabbacco in his cheek, watched me ride little red tricycle, and taught me to catch fireflies in Mason jars.  Names?  Peoples and Ash. They are MY people and my Mama Jacque made beauty out of her broken busted ASH.  

My heart needed to go home. Home sometimes holds some harsh memories, but I needed to go home to remember truth, rediscover myself. Earthly anchors, actual bodies who show God's love and are conduits for Him; they create healthy identity in hearts. Anchors hem you in so that when lies and voice of the enemy try and creep in and steal, you can throw up the hand and z-snap it away and say , "No you can NOT penetrate this breastplate of righteousness or helmet of salvation and steal my heart and mind."

More anchors dwelled at the center of downtown close to my buddy's Brand Bank under steeple, ones that showed us The Way. I watched from choir loft as ONE TIME ONE man stepped out of pulpit, spirit led, and broke free from order of worship to comfort hearts in pew shattered by homicide; to look in eye, give a hug, and whisper, "I'm so sorry."

Yes! But God! What we need in our shattered stained glass moments are anchors, hand holders, and Chief Footwashers. Within safe sanctuary walls we were taught love, what love looks like in action; "Love is a win-win proposition, love expects the best with no strings attached ." (Chappell )

Now here we sit in January. The month on the other side of Advent when sometimes things seem dark and hushed after all the bustle (Ha hmmm....I mean materialism) of when we are suppose to preparing for the Christ child.

During an afternoon, Joy riding her bike and my feet pounding pavement in gray Sketchers,  ear buds ring. Calling? The Chief hand holder , Chappell pastor . I make confessions, bring him up to speed,  we travel down memory lane... warm moments of special people , a time in music and ministry shared. Some time frames of life can't be resurrected or recreated, can't go back to what was ,  but they forever change the geophraphy of your soul and shape how you implement ministry in your present.

I proclaim to him in some fashion, "I'm U-G-L-Y! Really my only alibi?" Grief and hand holding for many trips around sun, through more dark and litigation than I can count has made me angry, cold, ungraceful ugly at times. Unbecoming as my onion girl proclaims!!!  We agree over coffee, it's our life, always been daughter of judge and PK life. We may be gifted, even good at it but it might not be good for us. Volleying between two parties has a way of making one unbecoming. Joining daddy judge's prevention passion outside the courtroom hopefully is a more becoming option.

Chappell man affirms, "Katie the suffering find those that have suffered much!" And he confirms what my heart already knew. Officially, here we have arrived, arrived at my Jonah.... life interrupted .

Somehow, while my feet are stuck in the muck, I needed an anchor that has a 16 year clear, aerial view of my life. One that has journeyed with through infertility, camp meetings, birthing babies, and birthing a church. I needed confirmation to hear the words uttered, the directive to unlock the confused, divided heart, and find faith to obey.

The Collins Hill Eagles, Pride of Peachtree Ridge Lions, Region 8 born, #6  Fernbank/Winnona Park girl?  ....hears,  "It is time!" Time to take the "Road Less Traveled", because  the road divided makes all the difference to being healed . Here is to  embracing the staircase I can't yet see and allowing God to fill in all the blanks as Lysa recently penned.

In this season of love where shelves are lined with sweetheart candy, father/daughter dance posters deck merchants doors,  and florist advertising specials on boquets of roses, the real "Roses in December" are our anchors, the ones that make you feel loved in their presence.
I challenge you to choose to be present with those you love today!

 Love defined? Well..... I'll leave that to the Chappell man. He can deliver and articulate love better than I ever can . "Let those that have ears, let them hear".

Love is....Magic and Mystery of Life (Davis Chappell)

Lauren Alaina: Road Less Traveled

Rascal Flatts: Movin' On

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Truth About Normal

You single moms out there know you have the toughest job on the planet. Juggling kids, schedules, work, planning meals,  bills, running kids to practice.... You are playing a doubles tennis match as a single. Nice big package of demands and stress under even the best circumstances. If your life consists of broken covenant, the living death, divorce then you might happen to have ex husband drama, co-parenting manipulation , narcissism, menopause, and hormonal teens to add to the mix!   

My heart's desire is that I could whip up a Mary Poppins moment girlfriend and tuck all that hard mess in playroom drawers, pop up the umbrella, and whisk you away so your present is more peaceful. In reality? BAM! Will light up your sky like the 4th of July! Fireworks! 

In my widow world, two kidos feel it's their duty to question every decision made, even what route to take to Wal-Mart? For the love, have I let the ship sink so far? You may have been in diapers and do not recall that ONE TIME ONE family used to manage a whole manufacturing plant full of people and women's ministry simultaneously! We got people skills and multitasking down! I got a good handle on this ship and there are only 3 peeps aboard! Calgon take me away! 

Feel alone? Before you fall into a heap of self pity and sit in your closet doing the ugly cry and eating chips like War Room chick, please know you are not alone! Take heart! There are 9.9 million single moms out there! If you still insist on being in the closet ring my digits! I up for making a chocolate or Blizzard run for you sister! 

Sometimes I get in above my parenting head and the temperature of the fatherless house gets too hot for me to handle. So when I get to the point I want to put John Davis in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Octagon? The local "correctional man" gets called in to give this fam some counsel.

Counselor ? He is best of the best. Been knowing him in ministry for 21 years (he had hair back then 😊). He's one of my college ministry peeps. I am telling you, keep going full circle, full circle. My collegiate ministry folks keep showing up all over the place. They took that "go and make disciples" and ran with it! (Way to go Blazin' Techie pastor you taught us well! Be proud! ) I am proud of where they have all landed to make an impact for God's kingdom!

Counselor buddy... his analogies to movies and metaphors  my intelligent boy really digs and bring home his psychological and biblical points. My favorite philosophy is to raise kids to recognize friends that bear fruit, bad company corrupts good character, and to flee from the fruitless. Have tolerance; tolerance defined is to disagree with respect. Raise kids to be wise and there are no teenagers. Teens? Nope! Because he will tell you the Jews got it right! You are either a child or accountable. Teen is an excuse for foolish behavior.

Counselor and I.....our vocations and ministry paths criss-cross and thus we share the same criminal justice, psychology, therapy , advocate lingo. Could talk 5Love Languages, love tank debate, 5Apologies,  Chapman, Smalley, Boundaries, and the empty chair til the cows come home. However, during wrap up he lost me! I declare:

"Dude, come again? You know you think on a different plain and need to dumb it down for me. Hey, I've learned recently this lingo may seem the norm, but it ain't the norm for most. "

I think to myself: Normal? What is normal anyway? Every time I think I'll have a normal day, or nothing else will surprise me? God expands my borders!

"You know you don't deal with normal, are not normal, and really live up in the stratosphere right?!"

"You know Katie, back in the day (VSU BSU college days that is) I used to think we were the normal people!"

To which I say to him, "You want to know the truth? The whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God? You do realize in our daily life, we live DAYS OF OUR LIVES and God tells us we only got  ONE LIFE TO LIVE and I want to live it BOLD & BEAUTIFUL with ALL MY CHILDREN holding hands up in the GENERAL HOSPITAL and I ain't got no more time for the YOUNG & the RESTLESS!"

Until the whole world hears, 
Embrace who you are!
Square Peg? Triangle? Whatever fits!
Represent Him well!
Help make the world go round!


Square Pegs by Kelsea Ballerini