Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not Scarred For Life

This is a post that I've had whirling in my head for a long time. I need to hear this reminder frequently. Some other mom out there needs to hear it, too.

I was hospitalized before Little Brother was born due to pregnancy complications. After Little Brother was born, he was in the NICU for ten weeks. I spent all day every day at the hospital with him. It was almost as if I was hospitalized, too. There are a lot of musings from that time period about which I will write in the future. That story has to be told bit by bit by bit, the way it was experienced.

Today, though, as a friend is facing a similar trial, heavy on my heart is the part of the story that affected Big Brother. You see, he was not quite three years old and suddenly his life plunged into chaos. During that time, my heart broke to be apart from him. His third birthday came and went without much ado. Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's came and went… and his mommy was absent. He missed me. He wanted me to "snuggle" him on the couch. He would hold my hand to his cheek when he saw me, and close his eyes as if being near me was complete bliss.

I told some people how I felt about it, and everyone would say, "Well, at least he won't remember it!" I tried to comfort myself somehow with that thought - he was small enough that he wouldn't remember it. He wouldn't have to carry that burden his whole life. Isn't this what we do? We worry about how we are "scarring our children for life" with the things that we say and do or don't say and don't do. There is always guilt associated with every facet of motherhood… guilt associated with both sides of every single decision. 

God gave me a verse to which I clung in desperation throughout Little Brother's hospitalization and the months that followed his homecoming:

I fought fear every day. It was an excruciating, exhausting battle, but I reminded myself that He loved my boys so much more than I love them. I had to surrender them to Him time and time again.

I still clung to the hope that Big Brother wouldn't be scarred for life by my absence when Little Brother was born and hospitalized. Then, one day, just a few short months ago, I heard Big Brother say to Little Brother, "You were in the hospital for a LONG TIME. But don't worry. You don't have to go back there EVER AGAIN."

Tears stung my eyes, and my heart sunk with the realization that he had not forgotten. For a short time, I was tortured by this. I wondered how it was going to affect him in the future; I worried that he was "scarred for life."

Then something clicked in my head. I don't know if it was the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart or what, but these words came to me: Yes, he remembers. He remembers and he is okay. Quite simply, it was part of his journey, just like the things that have hurt me in my life were part of my journey. I realized that just as there is no part of my life, no hurt, no circumstance, that is beyond the redemption of Christ - that same truth applies to the hurts in the lives of my loved ones! He can redeem my mistakes as a mother and use them for good. Of course, it will be up to my boys, but it will be their choice. They do not have to be scarred for life.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

What Curly Hair Has Taught Me

I was born with curly hair.

A lot of people would say curly hair is a blessing, but for a long time it felt like a curse to me. I struggled with insecurity anyway, and it didn't help that my hair was often a frizzy mess I have had all of the clichéd exchanges you can imagine, from old women telling me that they would pay money to have my curls to a young woman telling me she would “cut off both her arms to have crazy curly hair” like me. Ah, thanks. I think.
Photo Credit
Through the years, I've finally come to terms with my curly hair, and learned a few life lessons along the way.

Go with the flow.
No matter what I do with my hair, it does its own thing. Thankfully, when I was sixteen I learned the cardinal curly hair rule: DO NOT BRUSH YOUR HAIR. This has made a world of difference, but my hair is still wild. After years of fighting the curl, I've come to realize that I can either fight and be disgusted with its wildness or I can take care of my hair and accept that it is not going to be perfect. Ever. This is something my dad calls "being flexible." He likes to remind those around him, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." I can do my best to make good decisions in life, but I am not in control, so I have to roll with the punches. Just like curly hair isn't perfect, neither is life.


There is no comparison.
I'm ecstatic to be teaching Sunday School again, and yesterday's lesson was on not comparing yourself to others. WHAT?! I'm teaching the very lesson that my own heart needs to hear. So what if my friends' hairs seem to fall smoothly just the way they want them? My hair was created to be curly. In the same way, my life is not going to go as smoothly as the lives of others appear to be going. (Note that I didn't say "as smoothly as the lives of others" because most of the time, the lives that I think are going smoothly are really just as rippled as mine!)


Take responsibility and let it go.
My mom didn't have curly hair, so she taught me to brush my hair the way she brushed hers. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I finally took responsibility for learning how to take care of MY hair - and figuring out that what works for some people doesn't work for me! How often do we try to emulate others to the detriment of our sanity? I have to remind myself to do what works for me - to take responsibility for myself - and not worry about the rest. After all, if I'm making the best decision possible with the resources available to me, I can have no regrets.

Sometimes, I use a straightening iron and make my curls smooth and straight. It doesn't last, though. Underneath, I'm still a curly-haired girl, and I always will be. And I'm fine with that.

What about you? What have you learned from your unchangeable physical characteristics?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Verse Four

I read Psalm 71 this week and found several jewels - or tools for my arsenal, if you will! I selected this one because of its pertinence to where I am right now. Sometimes, the cares of life weigh down my spirit and this verse reminds me to choose hope continually, and to praise Him more each day. What is your new verse for My Sword 2014?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Letter

I love you.
It is because of Me that you are.
My love for you is greater than comprehension.
I give all good things to you.
I forgive every time you offend Me.
No matter what you do, how you fail, how you disappoint or anger Me,
I will go on loving you.
My death gives you the chance to love Me.

There is no greater love than My love for you.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd post this little love letter. I wrote it eleven years ago for a Valentine's Day writing competition at my college. I can't remember if the competition was to write the best love letter or the best Valentine's Day poem, but whatever it was, I won. (The prize was a stuffed animal of my choice from the campus store! Ha!) I'm sure I won because I focused on the Greatest Love Story instead of all the mushy-gushy stuff, NOT because the writing was stellar. I know some people call Valentine's Day "Singleness Awareness Day." I'm posting this as a reminder that you are loved with the deepest love, no matter your relationship status! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I made this card and thought it made a fitting "happy Thursday" post! Forgive the homemade-ness of the card and photography! I'm no photographer… all my blog pics are from my phone since I don't have a "real" camera.

Monday, February 3, 2014

On Feeling Alone

This post is me keepin' it real.

Throughout my life, when heartbreak has occurred, I have felt alone. When I was in college, I wrote a poem about this (the poem was probably no good, and it has not survived the years, but I remember writing it and I remember my poetry classmates critiquing it). Every time I hurt, I struggle with feeling as if I am the only person on the planet - and maybe in all of history - who has felt this way. These feelings of isolation are a hurt in and of themselves, and exacerbate the other pain exponentially if I allow them to do so.

I have come to the realization that these feelings of isolation are something that has to be fought. I feel alone. Am I really? I feel as if I am the only one to ever suffer this pain. Am I really? So often, my heart doesn't follow the logic of my head. That is not to say that my feelings are not valid. On the contrary, my feelings are important pieces of the puzzle. Our perception of reality isn't necessarily true, but it does influence our reactions.

In the end, though, truth will win. We see this played out time after time in history and in our own lives.  If I claim to believe the truth; if I claim to be a Christian, then what must I do with feelings of isolation?

Satan wants nothing more than to cripple the saints. He knows that he will lose in the end, but he is determined to bring as many down with him as possible. He loves nothing more than to trap the Beloved with lies - not because he can snatch us from God, but because he does not want us to live victoriously as God has intended. When I feel isolated, it helps me to remember that I am most decidedly NOT alone, and to wallow in this pit is to call God a liar.


Oh, yes. God has promised that he will never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised that He holds us in His hands. He has promised us the Holy Spirit will dwell within us. If I say, "Woe is me, I am alone," God could just as easily say, "Child, I am right here! Stop denying me!"


The true question is, do I believe Him? Do I believe His promise not to leave me alone? Only then can I finally get to the heart of the matter, and that is trusting God to do what He says He will do.

My friends, I am fighting this battle more often than I would like. Maybe you are, too. Hold on! Just hold on. We are never, never alone!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Verse Three

More than anything, I hope that I am one who speaks the good word that makes glad the hearts of those around me. Someday, I hope it can be said of me, "And they glorified God because of me." (Gal. 1:24)

What about you? Feel free to enter your memory verse in the comments below!