Lean into the embrace

I came home torn and confused and frustrated and plopped on the couch with a long sigh. He looked up at me over the glow of his iPad and waited a moment before speaking.

“I knew this would happen,” he said with a smile. It wasn’t a haughty or prideful smile. I felt his sympathy and my eyes welled with tears.

“This is so hard,” I whispered and he nodded his head.

We have lived in Florida for a year and we have visited and tried out every church in the greater Tampa area. We found one we loved and we connected. We connected with the people and the pastor and the worship. It was everything we thought we were looking for.




It fit into the neat little puzzle of church that we were used to and I desperately wanted to stay there. But…

It was a solid thirty minute drive from our house and I saw Lee shut down every time we made the drive. I knew that this couldn’t become our church home. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t practical to drive that far, particularly because our children turn into rabid, psychotic baboons in the car.

I wish I was joking.

So I wasn’t surprised when Lee mentioned that we needed to start visiting churches closer to home again. We did, over and over we visited and nothing fit. Nothing felt right. I came home in tears every single Sunday.

Finally we visited a small church about seven minutes away. We’d visited this church earlier in the year. It was a recent plant and there were a lot of bugs to be worked out. Upon revisiting the church I realized there were still bugs to be worked out…but they were in my own heart.

It’s small, this church. Smaller than any church we have ever attended. I’m not used to that.

It’s a plant, something I’m also unfamilier with and makes me feel uncomfortable. But who said comfort was the goal, right?

It’s Baptist. I haven’t been in a Baptist church in a really, really long time. I have to get used to it. It’s not wrong, but it is different and I am learning to embrace the different.

But the people…oh the people. They are wonderful. They remember us when we walk in the door. They are excited to see us when we arrive. They know us and want to see us using the gifts and talents that we have been given in the best way possible.

They want to build a community.

We need community.

And so we have stayed and I continue to allow the bugs to be pushed and prodded and shaped into something more beautiful. Less about me.

But it’s still hard, because it’s not what I’ve known. I’ve lived in the unfamiliar for over a year now and part of me longs for the peace that comes with knowing and understanding. The peace of comfort. Peace.


Could it be that peace is a choice?


I stepped forward to serve in a way that I’ve always served – in the area that God has not only gifted me, but also that I’m passionate about. But they don’t know me. They know I say I’m gifted in this area, but there’s no proof to back up those claims and I…well, I’m prone to sit in the back corner and wait to be discovered. That’s what happened on this particular night. I sat in the corner and I knew I couldn’t stay there.

As I sat on the couch, knees pulled up to my chest, Lee leaned forward and spoke wisdom.

These are your gifts.

You have to use your gifts this way.

Sitting in the corner is not your gift.

You have to tell them.

You have to be bold.

And this month is the month of believing I can, so I made the call. It was uncomfortable, this business of boldly proclaiming my gifts. It felt snobby to so bluntly lay out how I believe I can best serve within the Church.

I felt like a diva.

But I also felt empowered. My husband has never before told me those things and I’d never thought of my abilities in the way he spoke of them. It was the first time I’d embraced my skills and I leaned into the embrace. You know what happened?

Relief. Not just my own relief, though I certainly felt freed from the inner angst that threatened to keep me tied in the corner. But, there was also relief from those in leadership positions who really want to use us all in the way that God desigend us to be used.

As it turns out, pastors and worship leaders and church leaders don’t have ESP. They don’t have some magical sixth sense that allows them to see the future and see exactly how each member of the body should be used.


Weird, huh?


Leaning into the embrace not only freed me up to be used, but it freed them up to know how to best utilize my skills. Bold living, humble serving – this is how we work together as a body of believers.

It’s actually not as scary as I thought it would be.

Home Base


There is an episode of the show LOST that has been running through my head on a constant loop this past week, kind of like the constant loop that Rousseau’s message ran on for sixteen years.

Have I mentioned my obsession with the show LOST in the past?

I have?

I apologize.

So this episode was the fifth episode of Season Four ran some time during Season Four and was called The Constant and I can’t remember what it was titled…


If you aren’t LOST fans, bear with me for a second. I swear I have a point. If you ARE LOST fans, doesn’t the mere mention of the show make you want to go watch the entire series all over again?!

Image from Lostpedia.com


In this particular episode, a character named Desmond starts experiencing unexpected side effects from his prolonged exposure to the time traveling mysterious island.

Of course he does.

Desmond repeatedly loses consciousness and when he does, he flashes to an alternate reality in the past. The time flashes become severe and, naturally, his brain cannot withstand the strain of these two realities.

On one of his “trips” to the past, he runs into Daniel, who works as a scientist at Oxford and who also happens to be one of the characters who have mysteriously shown up on the island a few episodes earlier. Thus he is both in Desmond’s past and his present.

Confused yet? This is why you should watch the show!

Daniel of the past tells Desmond of the past that the time travels will continue to occur and will eventually, likely, kill him if he doesn’t find some sort of constant to keep him grounded in one place. “If you don’t have a constant to attach yourself to, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the past, the present and the future,” Daniel of the past  tells him.

Naturally, Desmond’s first thought goes to his love, Penny, and he takes steps to connect with her in the past and make her promise to listen for a phone call from him in the future. In the nick of time, future Desmond manages to call future Penny, just as his brain is beginning to hemorrage. Reaching out to his constant was like touching home base. It stabilized him and allowed him to remain stable in the present, move forward in the future, and hold dear to the past.

Do you see where I’m going with this?


This isn’t perfectly clear?!

Sweet friends surprising Sloan for his birthday.


Our week last week in St. Louis was like touching home base. It was reaching out and grabbing hold of our constant. Before heading back I worried if I could emotionally handle the visit. What if it made me long to go back? What if I left feeling overwhelmed and scared of the future without so many of the people I love so dearly?

It was exactly the opposite. We were loved fiercely for a week. We were poured into, prayed over, fed and hugged by the people that know us deeply. And as we pulled out Saturday I felt peace. I felt like life stabilized a bit in the present and it gave me the courage to keep looking forward.

It was a reconciliation of our past, our present and our future. The friends we have in St. Louis are a part of our past, but this week showed me they are also a part of our present and our future as well. They are our constant and after that week I feel so much more confident in my ability to continue to walk boldly into our future.

I am constantly amazed at the God-given capacity we have to love. God has woven into our beings the inate ability to love many people and many places. A piece of our hearts will always be in St. Louis and it will always be home to us, probably moreso than Texas, which is where we started our marriage.

Our first house is there. Our children were born there. Our family originates in St. Louis. That won’t go away, even if we no longer live there.

But our life is now in Florida and there is a place for us to build new memories and there are friendships that are blossoming and growing and we have a future there that is new and exciting and promises to hold blessing. Our past and our future blend together in our present and as we prepare to head home, I have no other thought than this one:

We are desperately loved and more than adequatly blessed.

How is your summer going?

LOST Image credit

The In-Between: A Repost

We are almost a year to the day since leaving St. Louis. This has been, by far, the hardest year we’ve experienced as a family. It’s been the hardest year of marriage, the hardest of parenting and simply the most uncomfortable we’ve felt. But there have been miracles along the way. They are victories that are meant only for us as a family to experience, but I can share without a shadow of a doubt that this hard, hard year has been a miracle in itself.

As we drove into St. Louis a couple of days ago and I navigated the streets so familiar to me, I realized what a blessing it is to know that my heart can be fully present in two places. St. Louis is home, but Tampa is home, too. And so is Texas! Our lives are richer and better for knowing the people we’ve met through the years in the different places we’ve lived. Perhaps that is our miracle!

This was published on July 24, 2011.

He didn’t want to try it. Fear prevented him from true joy, from enjoying to the fullest that which stood before him. The vibrant blue waters of the pool were enticing and he tasted the joy when he stepped into the water.

But fear held him back.

He couldn’t bring himself to put his face in the water. The fear of the unknown was too much and so he simply watched in longing. Every once in awhile he put his chin beneath the surface, delighted to feel the cool water – such a contrast to the blazing heat of the sun. If, by accident, water splashed into his eyes he cried and dashed for a towel, wiping it away before realizing how refreshing it could actually be.

I wondered if he would ever overcome this fear. I wondered if he would ever experience the miracle and joy that comes with taking the plunge and diving beneath the surface. I wondered if he would ever realize that conquering fear leads to freedom.

And then one day he did it. He stepped off the edge and took a leap of faith. Faith that he wouldn’t sink, but would indeed return to the surface as promised. Faith that fun awaited if he just took a chance. And do you know what happened?

Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law, Becke'

Inexplicable Joy. Freedom. And he hasn’t looked back.

We’re stuck in the in-between right now. We’re in Arkansas for a week visiting family, which simply feels like any other vacation. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we won’t be going back to St. Louis from here.

We head to Clearwater to stay in my parent’s condo until we either find a house or decide to rent. That, too, will feel like a familiar vacation, which in the past has always ended in us returning home. But Florida is home now. It doesn’t feel that way yet, but that’s what it is.

Mark Twain once wrote, “Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with.” I so hope for miracles as we make this move. What does a miracle look like? I don’t know. Maybe it will be something big and measurable. Maybe it will be something that can’t be seen but only felt…realized only upon looking backward after time has propelled us past this unsure moment.

Maybe the miracle is our willingness to take the plunge – to face our fear of change and dip our head beneath the cool waters of the unknown. We would have been fine splashing in the waters of familiarity, but then we might have missed out on the joy and freedom that comes from taking a plunge beneath the surface.

Maybe the miracle will be my children suddenly waking up each morning with smiles on their faces and nothing but kindness on their lips. Maybe the miracle will be my children sleeping past 6:30 every morning!

I can dream can’t I?

Change leaves your heart and spirit in a vulnerable place. When you’re cut off from the passivity of the familiar, suddenly a whole new world of options are opened before you. There are no schedules to keep up with, no obligations to meet. Those will likely develop quickly, of course, but in the beginning, when life has finally, mercifully, slowed down the prospects of a clean slate leave me excited. What will we finally do that we’ve been dreaming of but lacked the time? What lies in wait for our fragile hearts?

It’s terrifying and exciting and wonderful. A tightly woven ball of “What if?” What if we had the time to finally do that? What if we were closer to finally participate in this? What if we finally set aside the resources to accomplish that dream? What if we watched in grand expectation and looked for the miracles?

While the in-between has given me a touch of vertigo, unsure of which way to turn, it’s also left me excited. I love what ifs. I love to see miracles happen and for the first time in a long time, I’m finally watching for them.

“Change is the handmaiden Nature uses to do her miracles with.”

Have you seen any miracles lately? Let’s share and all join in the excitement!

“For I know the plans I have for. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

The wind howls and my dog’s possessed

In the dark of night we listened to the wind howl above and around us. Our first Florida spring brings forceful winds that zip up and over our house, wrapping us in a cocoon of noise. The bushes rattle against the windows. The front door shifts forward and back with each gust. The high pitched whine of a poorly sealed window frame gives an eery voice to the darkened house.

And inside, as we hear the rain begin to pound sideways, sleep is elusive. Tia comes into our room around 3:00, scared and shaking. “My woom is making sounds,” she cries and she burrows deep beneath the covers next to me, her hot hand flung over my chest.

And then I feel it. The hot stare. Isn’t it amazing how we always know we are being watched? I open my eyes slowly, unsure of what I will see, and I gasp and jump. The dog sits over me, her dark eyes big and wide and inches from my face. Like Pet Cemetary.


I karate chop the air, scare the dog and jostle my finally-nearing-sleep daughter. And that was the clincher for me. Sleep would evade me for the rest of the night Saturday night. The winds did not stop howling and I couldn’t rest. The noise was too much and noise in the dark gives way to fears…most of them irrational.

What if the roof rips off?

What if a tree comes flying through a window?

What if the dog is possessed?

When day finally broke and we dragged our weary bodies from the bed, we looked out the window to find the wind had not stopped. But somehow it seemed less threatening. In fact, it was kind of beautiful the way the air seemed to move in the early morning sunlight.

Strange what a little light can do, huh?

This move has been like a massive wind storm. We are trapped inside gale force winds and sometimes it’s dark and scary. There isn’t the calm predictability of the known to lean back on, but each gust of wind brings a new change and you find yourself prone to huddling in the dark, waiting for it to end.

And you wait for the moment when the light will shine. A conversation with a friend. A bit of encouraging news. Anything to move the dark away and bring forth some sense of stability. Because even if the wind still blows in the light, at least you can see the effects the change are bringing about.

We are still caught up in the doubt and struggles that accompany a move. This past week was a rough week. For the first time I allowed myself to feel sadness. I let myself cry and miss, and it felt like sitting in a wind storm in the dark. Without warning, I found myself lost in doubt and emotion.

Why are we here?

Why can’t we find a church?

Why is home schooling the kids so hard for me?

Why do I doubt everything around me?

Why is the dog staring at me in the dark?


These are all questions I have not allowed myself to ask since we moved. I simply wouldn’t give myself over to that emotion. I couldn’t because I knew if I did, the flood gates would open. So I held them at bay and pushed everything away.

But this week, I felt a bit attacked. The Enemy was waiting for a brief moment of weakness when I let my guard down and he could sweep in with these winds of doubt and sadness. He waited for me to give in to the dark.

And I kind of think he momentarily possessed my dog because she has never stood over me all creepy-like before. Demon dog. *shudder*

Not only did I get caught up in the swirl of emotion about our move, though, but I also rode the winds in a wave of doubt over…well – just about everything. Parenting, wife-ing (I can verb wife, right?), writing…everything felt too big for me and the wind swirled.


I hate doubt. I hate being attacked. I hate falling to this place where I’m tossed around in the dark.

But I love that every time that happens and I cry out for help, the Lord brings someone along to shine a little light. Friends to speak wisdom and encouragement. A husband to make me feel loved and appreciated. A Bible study group to let me open up and be vulnerable.

All these work together, not to make the winds stop howling, but to at least light up the world around me. Life’s not so scary in the light.

The dog’s not either.

Image Credit

The Need to be Known

We sat in a circle, the porch lit up by a string of lights and the air around filled with youthful squeals and the unabashed laughter of little ones filled with delight. For three hours we sat and when we finally rose, my cheeks ached from the smile stretched wide.

It felt good to be known.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this move has been the feeling of having to put on airs. When you walk into a room full of strangers, the natural reaction is to put on a smile and those people aren’t going to know if my smile is fake or not because they don’t know me. It’s not their fault. It just takes time to get to know someone.

But this golden lit circle of people was not a group of strangers. They were family. My aunt and uncle and cousins. The people we vacationed with growing up. We’ve watched one another get married, rejoiced in babies born, mourned in loss.

There is just something comforting and familiar about family. Though I haven’t lived in the same state as my cousins since we were all in diapers, we still hold fast to the bond of family that seals us together. We know each other. We’ve traveled roads together that no one can understand. We experienced heartache and joy that binds us tight and holds us fast.

On the 21st anniversary of one of the deepest hurts our family experienced, we gathered. We didn’t plan the gathering on this specific day – it just happened. And we laughed and loved and relished in one another. Many were missing, and how I wished they all could have been there, but for Lee and I the meeting was perfect. We needed to laugh. We needed family.

Sitting with them late into the night, Lee and I didn’t have to pretend and my family didn’t expect a mediocre answer. When they asked how we were doing, we told them. This is hard. Moving is stressful in a lot of ways and the last six months have been the most trying of our entire married life.

It was cathartic to share – to be able to open up and be honest. The rest of the evening was spent laughing…hard.

Our kids ran around, screaming and shrieking, delighting in one another the way my cousins and I did when we were little. It was so good and so sweet to be known. Like walking through a fountain after traveling the desert. Refreshing and cool, Lee and I came home rejoicing.

And tonight, as two teams I didn’t care about played for a title that meant nothing to me (I just broke some hearts…I’m sorry), we talked and laughed with friends. New friends who, over the last few weeks, have allowed us to open our hearts and share and laugh and cry, and old friends who not only know us from back home, but who also know well the path we’re on right now.

They’re on it too.

I have asthma and on the days when breathing in is just a little more difficult, I always relish in that one moment when I’m finally able to fill my lungs fully. My head spins a little and the panic that has begun to well up dissolves as I can finally take a much needed deep breath and I can actually feel the oxygen circulating through my body.

This weekend was a deep breath. It was needed and we drew it in deep.

My head is still spinning a little.

Unexpected Blessings

When we began our house search in sunny Florida, we initially told our Realtor we did NOT want a pool.  Neither one of us grew up with a pool, therefore the idea of keeping and maintaining one was desperately daunting.

Then we started looking at houses and we realized two things: 1.) Finding a house without a pool in Florida is almost as difficult as finding a house without a basement in St. Louis.  They’re almost standard.  And 2.) Of the few houses we saw without pools, none were desirable enough for us to get excited.

So we ended up in a house with a pool.  And we were nervous.  But no need to fear!  The owner of our local pool store came out free of charge and gave us a “Pool School,” telling us anything and everything we need to know about pool maintenance.  In exchange we plan to give him our business.  And that’s the way you run a successful business, folks!

For our part, we are officially glad we got a house with a pool.  We have used it every single day and will continue to do so until it gets too cold (we don’t have a heater).  The pool has been enjoyable both day and night.

Warning to Grandparents! The following photos contain images of your grandchildren being flung to precarious heights.  View at your own discretion…

This child of mine is insane. She is going to send me to an early grave.

He's crazy too. But he had sense enough to know his limits. "Dat's too high, Daddy."

She, on the other hand, came out of the water screeching, "Higher next time, Dad! HIGHER!"

This one has, unfortunately, gotten a little too big for maximum flinging...much to his chagrin.

This week has been full of unexpected blessings.  Walking the dog last night, I looked up and the sky took my breath away.  Our neighborhood is far enough outside of the city that we get an unpolluted view of the night sky.


Our neighbors are fun, friendly and have boys who love to play football.

Our house, minor quirks aside, is really coming together and feeling like home.

Home Schooling is going really, really well.

Today were the Powerboat races at Clearwater Beach.  With temps in the upper ’70’s it made for the perfect ending to a lovely weekend.

So many blessings.

Front row seats to the race. It's kind of difficult to get a photo of Landon in the water because he's always upside down. I'm pretty sure the kid's got gills...

I pray you all have a blessed October week!

Is anyone else totally freaked out by the fact that it’s October?! The holiday season is upon us, folks.  How did it get here so fast?!

Big Foot, Roman Soldiers and the Voices in my Head

It is quiet and I am alone.  Three children sleep in their beds, the first time all three have slept in their beds since we moved in.

A new house is scary.  There are sounds to fear.  And other things…

“Mom, I can’t sleep,” he said, coming out for the four-frillionth time.  “I’m too scared!”

“What are you scared of?” I ask…also for the four-frillionth time.

“I was just starting to close my eyes and I imagined I was a Roman soldier being killed…”

That is scary.

After assuring him that he would, indeed, not die the violent death of a Roman solider, and also reiterating once again the fact that Big Foot does not indeed exist, we headed back to his room.

“Big Foot is real!” he protested.  “I saw it on TV.”

Yet another reason we did not hook up cable.

“Honey, even if Big Foot were real, he wouldn’t live in Florida.  It’s too hot here.  And there are no mountains or tall trees for him to hide in.  Big Foot lives in Oregon…if he exists…which I don’t think he does.”


“But you said bears live in Oregon.”  God help the poor child if he ever has to live in Oregon.  Don’t worry Oregonians (right?), I didn’t pin monsters on you.  I told the kids monsters live in Canada.

S’all good.

“Lay down, babe,” I said, brushing my hand across his silky smooth cheek.  Would that I could bottle his skin up…

“Let’s find something you can hold on to while you go to sleep so you don’t have to be scared,” I said, looking around his room.

“I can hold on to you,” he replied grabbing hold of my hand and looking up with ocean blue eyes.  And I melted…fast.  Knees buckled, a mass of goo, I slid under the covers and held his hand.  Five minutes later, he slept.  All the lights are still on in his room.  Because Big Foot doesn’t like light.  If he did, we’d have caught him and there would be no need for a TV show.

And now I sit in an empty, quiet, semi-organized room.  I believe I have found my writing zone in this new house.  I love this front room.  It’s peaceful and happy and I feel inspired here.  Last night I stayed up, much too late, writing, for the first time focused on my book.  The voices of my characters are swirling and moving again.

I’m going to finish it, friends.  It may mean I have to spend a little less time with you and a little more time with the people I want to introduce you to.  Bear with me as I find my stride.  And in the meantime, if you could all be on the lookout for Big Foot and let me know when and if you find him.

I, on the other hand, will continue to keep the air bed inflated on the floor next to my bed.

Something tells me we’re going to need it for awhile.

Image Credit

Buried Alive

I’m writing this from beneath a mountain of boxes.  I managed to carve a path from the kids’ rooms to my own where I have prepared a bed on the floor for the first to wake up scared and hightail it this way.

I thought packing boxes was overwhelming, but unpacking them raising the bar of crazy to a whole new level.  I think I made a dent today.  I can see the kitchen counter and I found the table top later this afternoon.  It was a glorious sight.

In lieu of the fact that I have nothing remotely interesting or witty to say, I’m going to send you over to my friend Wendy. You might remember her as the woman who gave me the greatest writer’s getaway ever earlier this year.  Now it’s time I gave you all a proper introduction.

Wendy is a mother of three rough and tumble boys and she just may have the best Mom of Boys blog on the world wide web. Wendy is always an inspiration to me not only because she’s talented and filled with a depth of wisdom and grace that constantly challenges me to dig deeper.  Wendy is also an inspiration because she’s real.  She doesn’t pretend to have it all together.  She’s just…authentic.  And I love that about her.

This blog post on Family Values inspired me to think about our own core values as a family and how we instill those in our kids.  Part two challenged me to make the establishment of our Family Values as something special and fun for the kids.

After reading those posts, I guarantee you’ll want to add Wendy to your blog roll.

So while you head off to be encouraged and blessed, I’m going to start digging out from under a few more boxes.  It appears that our possessions multiplied inside the PODS.

Good times…



“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.”  Mother Teresa

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”  Maya Angelou


This laundry room kind of makes doing laundry sound exciting!

“Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love.”  Billy Graham


Yes that's all our yard. Yes it's that big. Yes Lee is frantically saving money for a riding lawn mower. Yes he has to use the push mower for awhile.

“There’s no place like home.” Dorothy

“Like Dorothy, we all long for home.  I think God places this longing in our hearts to remind us of the glory that awaits.”  A wise friend

“Home interprets heaven.  Home is heaven for beginners.”  Charles H. Parkhurst

“One may make their house a palace of sham, or they can make it a home, a refuge.”  Mark Twain

The hedges kind of make me feel like I have a secret garden. This makes me happy.


“Where thou art, that is home.” Emily Dickinson

“We’re Home.”  Some Mom with a minivan and keys in her hand.


Post edit: I wrote this post several days ago and for a number of reasons decided to wait before publishing.  I worried that it would sound like I was fishing for encouragement.  I realize that many of my recent posts have been bemoaning our move to Florida.  I’m sorry for that.  This move has been more emotionally exhausting than I ever dreamed it could be.  Thanks for your patience in letting me process in this space.  I promise I won’t always talk about moving.  I’ve got other things rolling through my head right now – get excited!  I mean…ya know…if that sort of thing excites you…*sigh*  I’m a dork.  Read on…

You remember that awkward time in your early teens when you were gawky and moved clumsily through each day like a Great Dane on crack?

Remember those days?

Do you recall looking in the mirror at your oily, marked skin and wondering if you would ever grow into your nose and OMG why did your hair always look so weird and would your teeth really be straight when you finally got all that metal off of them?

Did you ever wander through your days back then feeling small and insignificant?

I mean, I didn’t, of course…but did you?  Ahem.

I remember one conversation in particular.  I was twelve and we had recently moved from Wisconsin to St. Louis.  I felt lost in this new and foreign town.  While I still harbored a small crush on the New Kids on the Block (Jordan and Joey...sigh), the people in my new classroom considered them soooo 1991.  How did I know this?

We were in 6th grade art class and “The Right Stuff” came on the radio.  I, of course, began humming along softly and suddenly the class macho man – let’s call him Troy for kicks because I honestly don’t remember his name – popped his head up.

“Who’s singing along to this song?” he demanded, his eyes scanning the room.  I immediately froze and look up wide eyed and innocent.

“The New Kids are stupid,” he declared and everyone laughed and nodded in agreement.  And thus ended my love affair with all things New Kids (publicly anyway).  Tragic, indeed.

This incident combined with several other prepubescent crises caused me to come home and fling myself on the couch.  It was totally melodramatic and very Disney Princess. “I don’t mean anything to anyone here,” I wailed, my hand over my eyes.  My mom sat quietly next to me, just listening.  After a few minutes, she finally spoke.

“You mean something to me,” she said.

I’d like to tell you that I smiled and leapt into her arms in a true After School moment, but I’m pretty sure I just huffed and rolled my eyes and muttered something incoherent about how she was only saying that because she had to and so on…

I was a peach.

But that conversation never left me.  I bet she doesn’t even remember that moment, my mom.  But I do – I remember.  Because even though I didn’t really accept it, I knew that I mattered to someone.  At twelve, I needed to know that.

I’m not twelve anymore.


But moving has brought on that feeling of insignificance once more.  The other night we watched the most beautiful, glorious sunset I’ve ever seen.  Seriously in all my life, I’ve never seen anything like it. And as I watched God paint the sky in brilliant purple and orange, I realized something.

I’ve felt insignificant since we moved here.  Small.

Things happened and came about during the move that I didn’t foresee or expect and as I’ve dealt with those things, I’ve found myself shrinking back against the tapestry before me.  And I’ve felt terribly insignificant.  Suddenly, all the things that gave me comfort and…well…significance have been stripped away leaving me with nothing but my husband, children and a few earthly possessions that are easily within grasp.  I tried to convince myself that these things should be enough.  I don’t need any more than that in life, right?


I mean, I guess if I wanted to give the Sunday School answer, I would solemnly say, “All I need is my Jesus and my family.  Nothing else matters.”  But that’s not true.  Relationships do matter.  Taking care of my home does matter.  Being in fellowship with others and taking part in a community matters.  It matters to me.

I didn’t realize how small I felt until I was swept up in the glory of that sunset.  And it made me emotional.  Sad, even.  I just felt so small.

Not that this move has been all stressful, of course.  In the past few days, I’ve been overcome with peace regarding some of the bigger aspects of the move.  Schooling, housing, etc…These are things that have caused a bit of stress in the last few weeks, but today, I feel nothing but rest when I think of them.

The other day, however, as I watched the sun dip beyond the horizon I wondered how I could feel such a combination of emotions.  Peace mingled seamlessly with insignificance.  And in a last burst of orange, the sun disappeared and I suddenly felt like that twelve year old girl lying on the threadbare couch once more.  Only this time, I felt the Lord sitting over me and smiling gently.

“I don’t have anyone to share my heartaches and joy with,” my soul whispered.  “I feel like I don’t mean anything to anyone here.”

And the breeze caressed my face as the sky grew darker, orange fading to deep blue and finally to black.  “You have Me,” I heard deep inside.

And I do.  I also have the many who are loving us from afar and online and I thank you all for that.  Sincerely and truly from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for loving our family.  I have received several emails from people I don’t even know that have lifted my spirits in ways I can’t express.  And the phone calls from old friends have served as a constant reminder that I am loved and blessed.

I will still feel small from time to time, I suppose, but isn’t that a good thing?  Being stripped of all the things that gave me a sense of identity leaves me with nothing left but Him.  And for the first time in a long time, I think I’m okay with that.