I saw her across the store. She was tired and weary; it was written all over her face. The cashier couldn’t go fast enough to get her out of the crowd. She just wanted to hide and never have to interact with the world again. She was shattered and there was nothing she could do to make time rewind or the pain go away. Losing a daughter, having to continue breathing when she just laid a piece of herself in the ground; how can this world keep spinning when nothing in hers will ever be the same?

Then today, I watched as people entered a restaurant. Some were lighthearted and enthusiastic, but so many others were distraught and heavy. Grandmothers with busy grandchildren, mothers weary with care; but at least those people had the motivation and courage to come inside and be around others. The people who really caught my attention were the ones who drove through and hid in their cars. They were often expressionless and tried hard to avoid eye contact. Sometimes I would catch an eye wipe as tears sneaked down their cheek. Hurting people, hiding in their pain, wishing desperately they could hit rewind or get a do-over.

Maybe even as you read this, you are one of those people. Maybe life just sucks right now. Maybe the loss you have experienced is overwhelming and too much to bear. Maybe your world will never, ever be the same again. Maybe everything looks foggy and you don’t have anything left in you to do something about it.

A precious friend of mine lost her daughter many years ago. After some time had passed, I asked her how she was able to keep on living and doing life without her daughter. She smiled weakly and said, “Life can be good again; it’s a just a different kind of good.”

So, to all of you precious, hurting folks: life can be good again. It won’t include the person you loved but it can include their memories. It may not include all of the future plans you had with them, but it can include new plans with people who are still here and love you. We will never be able to replace your loved one or explain why they were taken away. We will never be able to help you rationalize or play the what-ifs again and again; but we can walk beside you, love you and be there when everything gets hard and heavy.  And it may take time, but one day, you will wake up and see a flower sprouting through the cracks and you will be reminded that yes, life can be good again.

Lean on Jesus with everything you have and let those who love you help carry your pain; we will love you whether you are strong or weak, and so will Jesus. Just don’t forget: Life CAN be good again, just a different kind of good.

Daniel desperately tried to fix the broken track today. He pushed and jammed but nothing made the tracks go back together. “Mama, I can’t do it,” he cried as he threw himself on my lap.

“Just bring it to me and I’ll fix it.” He pulled off a tiny piece of track and brought it to me.

“No, baby, you need to bring all of the broken pieces to me.”

He hurried back over to the floor and gathered up several other small broken pieces and set them in my lap. I quickly hooked them back together and said, “Now, bring me the bigger piece so we can hook it all back together.”

He snatched the newly constructed piece out of my hand and tried to hook it to the main track on the floor. He grunted and pushed, but the pieces just wouldn’t hook. “Mama. Fix it, pweeeze.” He was desperate now.

“Daniel, listen. I have to have ALL of the pieces. I can’t fix the broken track if I only have a small piece. Bring everything to me, all at the same time.” I saw the light come on and slowly he dragged the whole track to me, including the piece he had recently snatched away.

I hooked it all back together and he jumped up and down, “You did it! Yay! Tank ew, Mama!”

Every time Daniel brought me a piece of track today, all I could think about was Jesus yearning for my broken pieces. “Just bring it to Me and I’ll fix it.” I could just imagine Jesus holding out His hands, waiting for me to hand them over so He could take all of my broken pieces and make them new.

“No, baby, you need to bring ALL of the broken pieces to Me.” Can’t you hear Him whispering to you? Can you see the sadness on His face as you snatch the once surrendered pieces out of his grasp and try to fix it yourself? And can’t you just see His tender hands of mercy waiting as you finally reach your wits end. “Precious one, listen. I have to have ALL of the pieces. I can’t fix your brokenness if I only have a small piece. Bring everything to Me, all at the same time.

And then He masterfully hooks all of the pieces back together. It might take some time, but when He is in control, the waiting is worth the beauty that emerges.

A new track; a new life. But we have to let Him have it ALL.

Image result for magic tracks track




danI taught Daniel how to do the Hokey Pokey this week and he is a huge fan. As usual, he has his own take on it. After we put our arms in, take them out, and shake them all about, he points his little, wiggly fingers straight up in the sky, turns himself around and yells, “HOLY POKEY!”

At first, we just laughed and kept putting different parts in and shaking them all about. Then as we were singing yesterday he yelled, “Whole self in, Mama!” I jumped up to play along, but immediately my mind switched gears: If I am REALLY going to play “Holy” Pokey then I actually need put my whole self in. None of this left arm here, or right foot there; it’s all or nothing.

It’s crazy how a simple game with a two year old can strike such a chord. Now, as I play the real-life version of “Holy” Pokey, I just need to remember to put my whole heart in, my whole mind in, all my emotions in, all my decisions in, all my actions in, all my motivations in, and ultimately my whole self in. I can’t keep putting it all in and taking it right back out. I’ve got to put it in, leave it in, and let Jesus start shaking it all about!

As we go about our day, let’s work on changing our tune just a little: “Put your whole self in, don’t take your whole self out, put your whole self in and let Jesus shake you all about. Let’s do the Holy Pokey, let Jesus turn your life around. He’s what it’s all about! HOLY POKEY!”

We started down the driveway and hit the clay road. The first few curves were a little slick, but nothing out of my control. We rounded the corner at the end of the clay pit and my car wiggled and wobbled. I slowed down just a shade, but kept a steady pace. I knew I needed to climb the next big hill around the last bend, so I couldn’t stop now.

I was doing great until my front left tire got into the soft clay on the edge of the road. My whole car began slowly sliding toward the left bank. As we slid sideways, I kept the pressure on the gas. Mud was flying, smoke was stirring, but the car wasn’t moving. I tried backing up a little at a time, but the more I backed, the closer to the bank my car got. Back and forth I rocked; only moving a few feet at a time.

Inches away from the bank, my back tire finally caught hold of a firm piece of ground and I was able to began a slow backwards descent to the bottom of the hill. If you have never seen my spectacular backing skills in action, just imagine the tracks that a drunk driver would leave on a dirt road. Now, envision the new ruts I created as I slowly backed down the hill. That road looked like a gang of kids on four-wheelers had just done doughnuts and sped away!

When we got to the bottom I told my son that it would probably be wise to turn around and go through our neighbor’s field because there was no way I was going to be able to make it up that hill. He looked at me and said, “One more time, Mama. Just go fast!” Well, what else was going to happen? Get stuck?

So, I backed up my poor, pitiful, 2-wheel drive buggy onto a solid section of dirt road, popped a piece of gum in my mouth, and mashed on it! Through the wiggly ruts, up the base of the hill, through the soft clay; twisting, turning, sliding we finally made it to the top of the hill. Celebratory cheers rang out as we threw our hands up in victory.

“See, Mama. You trusted me and we made it up the hill,” my son said excitedly. “Just trust me, Mama.”

Image result for stuck in a rutThis stuck in a rut moment wasn’t an isolated incident; it was the cherry on top of a weekend filled with God tenderly stirring my heart. At our women’s retreat, I kept sensing these same, simple, hopeful words that were just spoken to me by my son, “Trust me. Just trust me up this hill.” Just like my son wanted me to trust him, God, too, was beckoning for my trust.

I’ve been stuck in a rut, lately. For those if you who keep up with this blog, my posts have been scarce. I have allowed fears, doubts, and opinions to keep me away from what I love to do and as a result, I have questioned my abilities and assignment in this life.

I’m grateful God used so many people and situations this weekend to remind me that just because I was stuck in a rut doesn’t mean that I have to say there. All I need to do is back up, hit the gas, and get on up that slippery, wiggly hill.Image result for fan into flame verse

Don’t let the world derail you from what you know God has called you to do. Don’t neglect your gift. We are not only hurting ourselves, but we are withholding blessings that could be shared with others.


I pulled up to the mailbox yesterday and opened the door. For a split second I imagined a small box from West Virginia with homemade deer jerky and a handwritten note from my Uncle Arnold. It was always around this time of year that a box would mysteriously appear in the mail. It was such a simple gesture, but so special.

As I pulled the stack of bills out of the mailbox, instead, tears fell down my cheeks. While we are spending our first Christmas here on earth without Uncle Arnold, he is spending his first one in heaven. I know he has the better view, but he left quite a hole here on earth.

Some of my fondest summer memories as a teenager involved my uncle. My grandparents took us with them to a campground in West Virginia for several weeks during the summers and we always ended up hanging out with Uncle Arnold and Aunt Phyllis. We spent countless hours playing basketball, goofing off in the woods, and relaxing in hammocks by the creek. To this day, when I get stressed, I can close my eyes and hear the serene babbling of that creek and feel the peaceful motion of those hammocks. I’m pretty sure heaven will be a lot like that special place.

Christmas time is such a complicated season. It’s the time we celebrate Jesus and all he did for us by becoming a sinless human on this earth.  But it is also a time for family; and in some cases, family evokes a lot of different and hard emotions.

As we celebrate this season, tears of sadness may come and we may feel the urge to retreat from life. We may find ourselves getting lost in the overwhelming emotions of missing those who are already gone or even pre-mourning those who are aging or absent in our lives. But we need to remember that the most important gift we can give to those we love is the power of presence. We need to be present; physically and emotionally.

It’s okay to remember our special loved ones. As a matter of fact, I have typed most of this through blurry tears as I remember my special Uncle. But as we remember, let’s make sure we let others into our world and that we are present with the ones we can still hug and hold. We have old memories that can be cherished, but we also have new memories that need to be made. Let’s make room for them all.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecc. 3:1, 4