Tag Archives: parenting

We Walk On

11 Aug

I have an announcement to make: everybody feels like they are faking it.

We are all just along for the ride, and really have no clue what we are doing or where we are going. Even moments of confidence and accomplishment feel so short-lived.

Life comes at you the older you get, and parenthood adds a whole new dimension of responsibility and anxiety. These tiny human beings look at you with all the trust in their eyes because they don't know anything different. We are keeping them alive, shaping them, teaching them what love looks like. But even that we have no control over when it comes down to it.

The world is broken. People make choices and sometimes (often) choices are bad. The only thing you can do is let go and pray for the best.

Some intellects believe people of faith are weak, and actually, it's true. Only, we are ALL weak, and it's in the acknowledgment of it that we gain freedom. But the paradox of Christianity (and really all humanity) is we are also so strong. We are always pressing forward, overcoming adversity and bone-crushing sorrow. Always forging a new path. Always growing. Always making a way.

It's been in our DNA since the dawn of creation: build, create, reproduce, raise up, destroy the limits. Create civilizations, cultures, languages, inventions, art, of out seemingly nothing. Almost as if our blood was infused with the need for the New, the need to move forward, to make our lives and the world around us better.

And so we persevere. We battle the daily, hourly, voices telling us we will never be good enough and we keep living. We keep raising our kids, building a home, a new idea, a movement, a community. We keep ignoring the noise in our minds arguing the futility of it all, and we make something of our lives. We strive to create a better world for our children like our ancestors did. We use our minds and our hands. We discover and conquer. We bleed for a cause. We feel incredibly weak and extremely strong, we feel moments of stupidity and brilliance, love and rage, selfishness and compassion.

But we are human and there is so much grace for that.

If we are quiet and still, we can hear God among us, cheering us on:

You are loved. Give yourself grace.
Today is a gift.

And we walk on.

"You're a million years of work," said God and his angels with needle and thread. They kiss your head and said, "You're good, kid. You make us proud. So just give your best and the rest will come and we'll see you soon."

-Needle and Thread by Sleeping at Last

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His Strength Is Mine

2 Mar

It’s funny how life comes back around in cycles. I often find myself in the same place, learning the same lessons over again which I thought I had conquered years ago.

I guess your own history repeats itself. Nothing really changes, but everything does. The universe is more circular than we realize.

And our inner selves are in a continual cycle of growth. Death to self and rebirth. Everything comes back around.

I find myself on the other side of constantly questioning my faith, back into some kind of simplicity of what it means to be a Christian.

I rejected that title for so many years. Not because I ever stopped believing or loving Jesus, but mostly because of the people, the hurt, the reputation.

I spent years rejecting the religious side of church in order to get free. And I did. But it left a void. Jesus was still there, calling me into grace, but often I let the my own cynical voice drown him out.

Now, I feel like I am kind of starting all over. These are the days of simple songs and words. I can’t stomach another blog post on what’s wrong with the church, the same words I used to feed on and write.

I find myself going back to words I used to reject because of the memories connected to them.

Basics, that I come to see aren’t so basic after all.

Love God, Love People. 

Another freeing mantra that became a cliche. (Like all things do eventually.)

And this one, often:

Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. 

It roams in the back of my head, always, leaving tire tracks in the mud of my understanding.

I say it over and over until I believe it and even then, it’s like I can’t fully comprehend it.

But I know I am so weak. 

I feel this lately. Emotionally and physically exhausted. Just tired of feeling life isn’t going the way I thought it would.

I am so ready for a huge shift, a breakthrough, a big change. Something. 

I feel like I am drifting with no focus or direction. I grasp on to something familiar because that’s all I have.

Jesus. 

(Maybe this is the point.)

I think about how in less than 3 months my body will release my son, and we’ll get to meet him for the first time.

I am excited, terrified, in awe, unprepared.

My mind goes back to those scattered moments of my daughter’s birth nearly three years ago.

The intensity and prayer. The feelings so weak and so strong all at once.

Reaching the point of knowing there is no possible way I can do what I have to do, and then doing it. 

And my daughter suddenly being in my arms.

Knowing I don’t think I could have done it without my husband being there as my comfort and my coach.

He never once doubted my ability or our decision to birth naturally free of any interventions.

I think of his words, his love, the pressure of his hands, and how suddenly,  in the middle of my greatest weakness,

His strength became mine.

Then I remember a few days later in the lowest, darkest moment of our lives sitting on a bench outside of Cook’s Children’s hospital, our perfect, brand-new daughter hooked up to so many machines, drugs running through her body trying to help her breathe.

I remember my husband, this pillar of strength and faith in my life being so broken that it was like a physical punch in the face.

I wasn’t sure how I could hold him up in that moment, but somehow I did.

Somehow God’s strength never left me, and in the middle of a crisis,

I was able to lend him my strength. 

And suddenly, I know this truth and it warms and heals me deep down in a place that’s been left bruised and vulnerable:

When one with someone, you borrow each other’s strength

 

strength

Only I am one with the creator of the universe. One who is yesterday and tomorrow, light and love, power and strength.

And I know, all those words I memorized and whispered as a child that became cliche to me over the years are true.

True enough to shake the foundations of the universe and steady my crazy emotions and become real in every moment of my life.

With God, Nothing Is Impossible.

The Same Power That Defeated Death Lives In Me.

I Can Move Mountains.

His strength is mine. 

 

Where’s Jesus?

2 Jun

Every night, I pray with Aurelia. Sometimes it feels special and even sacred. Mostly it feels like routine, and occasionally just meaningless words.

Lately, she’s been talking and communicating and understanding more than I could have imagines for someone who is not even 2 yet.

The past week or so, when we pray she asks a question, and innocent question that stops me in my tracks and pulls me out of the mundane into something more.

“Where’s Jesus?”

“….He’s here, baby. In our hearts.”

“I don’t see him.”

I swallow, choking on some invisible fear, a memory, a doubt.

“He’s here, baby. Whenever we feel love, or happy or full of joy, that’s Jesus. Whenever we see anything good and beautiful.”

I struggle to form the words.

I’ve never had a problem believing God is real.

I don’t remember a moment in my life ever doubting his existence.

I’ve always made my home in ethereal places that don’t count on the tangible and logical to exist.

I don’t have a problem believing what I cannot see.

I don’t even necessarily struggle with the fact that He loves us.

I know he’s a good father.

It’s how good, how joyful, the “bigness” of His grace and love I think I know deep down, yet somehow I don’t apply to every day moments when I need it the most.

“I don’t see him…”

When my prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling, when my feelings seems too loud, to real to make sense of the Truth.

When I just want my way, my timing.

When I let those old voices in.

When I believe fear instead of love.

When it feels too hard for too long.

When I am about to give up on my dreams.

When I am tired from struggling to believe how good.

How big.

I pause.


Last night I had a vivid dream.

I was hiking in a dense, dark jungle with my husband. We were trying to get somewhere important, somewhere where people were expecting us.

Somewhere we were meant to be.

To get to this place, we needed to cross this terrifying chasm on a swaying, frayed rope bridge. My heart in my chest, I followed my husband across. It was so high up I couldn’t see the ground. I panicked, half-way across.

I can’t do it. It’s too hard. It’s not worth it…

I don’t see him. 

Somehow I kept going.

Somehow we made it across.

On the other side was our destination. A beautiful hotel, more majestic than anything I had ever seen. When we walked inside, we found out that someone had anonymously paid for us to stay there. We walked into the beautifully decorated, enormous suite and looked around laughing with pure joy.

It was a gift. We could rest.

I woke up with a jolt.

It’s a risk, stepping out. But there is an enormous blessing waiting on the other side. 

 


I don’t have trouble seeing Him in the small things, in my daughter’s eyes and in the little ways he provides our daily needs.

Sometimes it’s the big-ness I struggle with.

“He’s here baby. Everywhere. He never leaves us.”

She looks at me, innocent and whole, with more wisdom in her little-enourmous heart than I can understand, and says,

“He’s in the stars.”

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Parenting Through Fear

16 Oct

I used to be fearless. Well, maybe not completely fearless, worries and doubts still plagued me, but overall my philosophy on life was:

You can’t let your fear paralyze you.

You have to move forward and choose your own adventure.

And so I did. Throughout my early to mid-twenties I threw aside normal ideas of what life should look like, such as college and a career, and went on some crazy adventures. I lived a day at a time, trusting God for what I needed and that still small voice to guide me to the next step. And He did. I lived on a bus traveling all over the U.S. and later to ten different countries. It was never easy, but it was always worth it.

Adventure Girl.

I remember waking up to voices shouting in Spanish, which I could barely understand. They were angry. I looked out the bus window. It was dark, the sun barely beginning to rise. We were in the middle of thick, uninhabitable jungle, driving through the edge of Costa Rica to make our way to the Panama border.  A man had got on the bus and was arguing loudly with the bus driver.

Oh my God. Are we being hijacked?

The thought entered my mind and left it immediately, peace washing over me.

Whatever happens, I will be ok. I am exactly where I need to be.

It turned out it wasn’t a bus-jacking, but rather an accident miles ahead that had left traffic halted on both sides. A Semi-truck had tried to cross this dilapidated bridge and broken it, getting its tires and front end wedged into the few slats that held the whole poorly designed structure together.

Vehicles stopped in the middle of the jungle

It was about 4 am and we were told to get off the bus, get our backpacks from below and hike through the jungle, across this broken bridge. We then climbed a rickety ladder to the shore on the other side, where another bus would be waiting to take us to the border.

I was thrilled. Honestly. I couldn’t hide my grin.

Danger! Excitement! Who gets to do this?!

Fast-forward 7 years later, I am pushing 30, married with a kid. I haven’t left Texas in two years. Now I see news stories about ISIS beheadings and Ebola and I am gripped with fear.

It is a foreign feeling, icy and paralyzing in the pit of my stomach.

Something happened 4 months ago when I went through labor and held my precious daughter in my arms for the first time.

Suddenly, fear and worry and anxiety took on a whole new level because I am have been given the beautiful burden of parenthood.

Nightmares come, usually where I am somewhere adventurous and my daughter is in danger.

All at once the carefree girl I was came crashing head-to-head with this grown-up woman who loves her child more than life itself.

Love that is fierce and crushing and overwhelming and full of all the best and the worst possibilities.

I’ve always been someone who has always believed the best about people, always given them the benefit of doubt. Suddenly every stranger who looks at me the wrong was is a potential criminal or terrorist or psycho that could hurt my baby.

I’ve always been very nonchalant about my health, never had any major medical issues, or worried about sickness and injury. Now, I lay in bed at night fearful of going on a plane or even to the grocery store because this horrible disease is spreading and so close to home.

I know nothing I am saying is new, it is a deep God-given instinct for the survival of our species.

I must protect my young.

But I don’t want to project my fears on her. I don’t want her to grow up assuming the worst or being overly cautious.

After all, life is a risk.

We never know what we could face when we chose to walk out our door into the sunlight.

Pain and loss is inevitable, you can’t escape it.

Maybe I shouldn’t try so hard to escape my fear, but rather push through it to the other side and choose to live life anyways.

Maybe that is true bravery.

Now that I am a mom, there is always going to be something to worry about. No matter the situation, or what the news blares loudly.  Whether they find the cure for Ebola tomorrow or it turns into this century’s black plague. Whether or not we defeat terrorism far away, or it rears its evil head within our borders.

Perfect love drives out all fear.

I don’t think this means fear goes away completely, it just means it’s pushed out of the spotlight in your heart because Love takes over and there isn’t room for both.

When love is in center stages, the light it radiates shines into every dark corner, illuminating the bad things as smaller than we thought they were.

And then I can say with confidence once again,

Whatever happens, we will be ok. We are exactly where we need to be.

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