Tears of Transparency

My heart is sad this morning. It has been a restless, short night of sleep. We learned of my husband’s uncle’s completely unexpected death last night. We are devastated. The hardest part of being a parent is seeing your children cry and to know they are hurting. It is our son’s first experience losing someone close. Our daughter is in another state and unable to come home for a few days. It is hard to not be present to console her.

Knowing your children are hurting is so difficult as a parent. As much as you hurt, seeing the tears of your child is that much more heart wrenching. We have always tried to encourage our children to share their feelings with us and to be open.

Transparency in my feelings… something I am not always so great at. Being willing to be transparent and vulnerable in your feelings with someone you trust can open the floodgates to understanding. Yes, it feels risky and uncomfortable especially if you are like me and not used to talking about feelings. I would rather suffer in silence, but I know God doesn’t desire that for us. And, I certainly don’t want to model that behavior for my children.

So, through this difficult time right now, we will pull together and comfort one another. Tears are the unspoken language of transparency and vulnerability. They are a bridge to understanding.

Life is often not easy, but with God and the support of those we love and trust, we can walk through the valleys and know we are not alone.

Faith Lessons in the Kitchen Sink

This past weekend, I prayed over the question Jesus asked the blind men…what do You want me to do for you?

I realized I needed discernment to something I was struggling with. I needed​ affirmation. Today, God revealed the discernment that I needed to me through the words of another and a clear sense of peace in my heart.

It was a good day.

And tonight, I found this in my sink.

Just when you think they aren’t listening, you turn and see something that makes you pause and smile. He rinsed his milkshake glass without being told. Small victories. Simple things. Mom moments that remind me this balance thing I am striving for might just be attainable.

God uses everyday people, everyday simple things to grab our attention. The affirming words from your boss. Your son’s rinsed glass without being told. A listening ear from your best friend. Shared dreams with your spouse.

Sometimes, I overcomplicate things, and then a simple act of obedience from my son reminds me he is listening to me. I think how pleased our Father must feel when His children obey. It may be a simple act of stepping out in faith or a huge leap of faith. 

I challenge you to pray for courage to obey this week. May we all be free to laugh without fear of the future.

The Illusion of Perfection

I fight the thoughts of perfection as chocolate smoothie falls onto my white top. I try to remind myself of how far I have come from the grips of anxiety, self doubt, and the second guessing. Those reminders can seem like mere whispers among the shouts of the world… You’re not good enough!!

As I listened to another woman’s fears and saw her tears earlier this week, I saw my own fears through her words. I was reminded that we are all broken people fighting a battle of some sort.

I attended another Casting Crowns concert this past weekend, and as I listened to the lyrics of the songs, I did reflect just how far I have come in just a few months since I heard them in concert in October. 

From their song God of All my Days…My seasons change, You stay the same.

Despite my circumstances and feelings, God is the constant in my life. When the anxieties of not being good enough creep up, God is constant. When the fears of failure knock at my heart, God is constant. He stays the same through all my changing seasons.

The illusion that everyone else has it together but me is just that…An illusion. I remember the first time I visited one of the other soccer mom’s homes. You couldn’t see her kitchen table. She had a stack of reading books by her bed. A huge stack. Her kitchen counters were filled with packages of food and a sink with dirty dishes. I remember sighing a huge sigh of relief inside…I wasn’t the only mom who didn’t have it all together. It really was OK.

I have been really reflective the past few weeks. Perhaps it is related to the passing of my dear 95 year old friend. Her life left such a legacy.

As I think about success and what it means, it is not about having it all together. How do I define success? What do I do well?

I would like to believe that I love people well. 

Instead of cleaning the stacked mail and clutter off the table last night, I spent some quality time with my son. He will remember that much longer than he will a clean table.

A few things to remind you mid-week…

Perfection is an illusion.

Success is defined individually by what matters most to us.

We are all broken people in need of each other.

God is constant. He never changes.

The Great Balancing Act

When I talked with a dear friend in regards to my struggle of balancing work and life, she gave me some great words of wisdom.

Do the one thing only you can do.

What exactly does that mean?

Work provides meaning and purpose to our lives, but it should not be our life. I truly believe it is important to have purpose and stay involved in experiences that are meaningful to each individual. My dear 95 year old friend who recently passed away was active and involved in volunteer work well into her 90s. 

The challenge for many of us, though, is finding that balance between leisure time, rest time, and work time. A few things have been really helpful for me.

This verse…

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not people. Colossians 3:23

When your perspective is that you are working for the Lord and you pray that He helps you focus on what needs done for the day, then that can be empowering and freeing. This perspective has helped me to learn to be okay with not getting everything done at the end of the day.

Now, the statement my friend shared with me….How has that helped me? This woman is a passionate follower of Jesus. Her words….Do the one thing only you can do…have been life breathing to my soul.

What is the one thing only I can do? 

As my friend reminded me, only I can be the mom to my children. My daughter is a strong woman miles away thriving at college. My son is navigating the rocky terrain of junior high. So many things can compete for influence in their lives. I don’t want to pour so much of myself into work that my son’s precious years at home fly by. It really does feel like you blink and your children are grown up. That quickly. 

What is the one thing only I can do and that I want to do well? Be a good mother to my children.

Balance…Life is an ongoing balancing act. Don’t lose sight of the things that only you can do, you can be. 
For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also. Matthew 6:21

What is your treasure? Where is your heart? 

Seek to ask God what the things are that only you can do…The treasures in your life.

Lessons from Children 

Thirteen. My youngest officially crossed the threshold into his teenage years yesterday. Wow. Where has time gone? It seems like just yesterday we were in the Filipino heat at his orphanage eagerly waiting to meet him for the first time.

The other day, one of my co-workers was talking about her children and wishing they were little again. Not me. It’s not that I don’t have moments that I don’t miss the excitement over zoo trips, a sweaty little hand in mine as we cross the street, or cuddling while watching Disney movies because believe me, I do. Yet, I find it so exciting and humbling witnessing my children growing into their own individual person.

Our son was a quiet child, unsure of himself and his place in the world just a few years ago. Now, he is thriving academically and socially. He loves his family. He made the decision to be baptized last summer.

At school conferences this past week, one of his teachers said that our son is teaching him to be a better teacher. It was humbling to hear about our son in the classroom – his interaction with others, his sharing about his adoption, his teachers’ beliefs in his potential. 

Children are such a gift. Whether they are biological or adopted, students, neighborhood children…they are a gift. They need adults who love them and believe in them. I am grateful for the teachers and close adult friends who are positively shaping the lives of my children.

 I am so grateful to a God who did not say no to my prayerful pleas for a baby years ago but rather Wait, I have something far better planned for your family.

My children keep me grounded and focused on what truly matters in this life. 

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.  Angela Schwindt

Sometimes, life is messy, but if we keep our eyes focused on God, He helps us keep our focus on what matters most. Even on the messy days.

Write your story, baby girl 

As I said my final good-byes and hugged her ever so tightly, the tears began to well in my eyes. Our gaze met, lingered for a moment, and then I turned to go. I knew this was her time to shine, her time to write her own story.

As I walked the beautiful campus with my son, my heart swelled with love. How did this happen so quickly? It seems like just yesterday we were walking hand in hand crossing the street. Now, she walks hand in hand with God…her faith strong.

Heavy sigh. Bittersweet indeed.


I had texted a friend, telling her I was trying to hold it together. She texted me something back that resonated so deeply with me as a writer. She wrote….this is where you get to see that you have helped her write the first chapters of her life and now she has the opportunity to write the rest and she will write the best book ever because the way you have raised and guided her.

Sobbing…as I read her words.

Children are a gift from God. He entrusts them to us to raise, guide, encourage, and then when it is time, release them into the world. 

God, Heavenly Father, that means I must trust You. Trust You to guide her on her own journey. Her story.

As I walked into her room this morning, seeing how empty it is and realizing it isn’t nearly as much fun to borrow her clothes when she isn’t here, the tears welled again. The tears are not just of sadness but of joy. She is writing her own story with God at her side.

Write your story, baby girl!!

Letting go…a mother’s thoughts on graduation Sunday

Today’s the day.

I am a meshing of emotions as I prepare for church knowing my eldest child will graduate from high school later this afternoon.

The baby God entrusted to her daddy and me 18 years ago has grown up. As I look back over the memories, it seems like the years, the months, the days have just flown by. The sleepless nights when she was little, the Girl Scout outings, the school plays, the countless soccer games we both coached and watched….

From the moment she was placed in my arms, I knew somewhere in the depths of my heart that as a mother desiring to raise her daughter in a Christian home that God would guide me and carry me through this thing called motherhood. I also knew that letting go would be an ongoing lesson for me as this little girl grew into the Christian woman God created her to be.

Proverbs tells us…. Train a child in the ways he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

She is a strong, faithful young woman of Christ ready to spread her wings and fly. I know as her mother I must let go…allow her to fly…and trust God to guide her and lead her as He has me.

Thank you dear Lord for the privilege of being her mother…help me now to trust You as she prepares to make her way in the world.

The sky is the limit…spread your wings and soar…He will always be there to catch you…

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