We all have things that we need to let go of. Some easier than others.
Maybe it’s drinking too much soda or letting go of an idea of a perfect person, or maybe it’s letting go of a dream, or maybe it’s letting go of a loved one.
Letting go is an easy 2 word combo “LET GO”. Seems simple, yet so complex and wrapped up in emotional ties, work, expectations, relationships, etc…
My current “let go” is a soon to graduate senior daughter of mine. 18 years of mentoring, teaching, loving, disciplining, encouraging…. and now…. let go. How a mother bird can push her baby out of the nest to fly is beyond me. The PROTECTOR in me gets in the way, my internal “don’t let anything happen to your kid or you’re a bad person” protector. Anyone have that? If not, good for you. If so, I feel you. It’s a tug of war like none other. This is where the “I care about what people think of ME” comes into play. Oh if I could bury this thing and be done with it. Why do I care so much about what other parents think of me? It’s ridiculous. I’m sure it stems from the beginning of parenting…
I started out my parenting journey as a “single mom”. I felt the judgement of the world on my shoulders in the 90s. Goodness there were Dateline shows and 60 Minute specials on the “single mom” epidemic. You would have thought I was a virus. So the judgement hung over my head and apparently still does, even though I’ve been married for 20 years and have 3 kids and should be sooooo past this.
So what do I really need to let go of? My daughter or my idea of being a perfect mom? Maybe I hit a cord as my eyes are welling up a bit. Will she be ok without me protecting her? There really is no guarantee. But I wonder…. this “perfect mom syndrome”… it sure might be getting in the way of her flying. So if letting go can be seen differently… seen as a releasing her to be who God created her to be, then maybe perfect mom syndrome can be done and be healed, so I can just be a mom.
Step 1: Admit I am not a perfect mom and be ok with failing my kids at times.
Step 2: Forgive myself for all the mistakes I’ve made over the last 22 years of motherhood.
Step 3: See my kids as separate people from me.
Step 4: One finger at a time… start letting go.
Step 5: Hold tight to this: God knew her before I did. He is never letting her go(even if she leaves this earth, He is not letting go of her). He is her protector and He does not fail her. Her will is in His hands, not mine and if something does happen, as hard as it may be, I have to trust God’s plan, His ways, His will… That’s easy to type, not easy to live. The one thing we can hold tight to and never let go of is Him.
Step 6: Realize I am not a good God, and let God do His job.
Step 7: Accept that she will go through struggles, just like everyone else. It is part of her story, her God story.
Step 8: Repeat step 1-8.
This is hard, I know it seems impossible. The risk is great, yet the risk is greater if I don’t let go… how long will I battle and hold her down. NO, I will not, NO I will NOT.
Regardless of what you’re working on letting go of, I want you to know this, if we don’t let go of our dream, our idea, our expectation, or whatever it might be, how will we ever know what might be re-birthed in our life? What might God have for us that is being reborn in our own journey? For me I have to realize that God has plans for my daughter, yet I believe he also had plans for me. How might I ever see the new plan if I can’t let go of what needs to be let go of? So I encourage you to hope for what is next. Trust that the a dying dream just might be reborn into an even better one.
To the moms and dads out there… regardless of WHAT you are letting go of… take off one finger at a time, little by little, step by step, know that the risk of holding on is greater than the risk of letting go. Trust the God of everything, He gave up His own son, He knows what it’s like to let go, and His letting go saved you and me.
As many of you know I am an advocate for wellness, a seeker of healing in body, mind and spirit. The mind and spirit have so much influence on the well being of the body. I’ve spend years diving into mind strength, emotional healing and spiritual growth. This journey started almost 10 years ago as my health was wavering and so was my emotions and spiritual walk. You see, when all three are weak, it’s a recipe for a health disaster. I became very sick, doctor after doctor, test after test, no one could help. As I read through the doctors notes, after requesting medical records, comments like, “difficult” patient showed up frequently. I’m sure I was difficult… no answers, no direction, just sick, hurting physically and mentally…
My journey to wellness started with spiritual growth. I took this amazing bible study class called, “Breaking Free”. Layers of my past were mended and the journey to health began. Over the next 10 years I dove into many bible studies, journalizing and worshiping. Healing continued. About 2 years ago I felt a draw to learn more about the power of the mind and what part we have in our wellness journey through our thoughts, and my health continued to improve. My body has been my biggest struggle as I’ve been REALLY healthy, and REALLY not healthy over my life span. I’ve ran numerous races, half marathons and did a triathlon. I was a college athlete and was very strong physically. I also have been 40 lbs over weight, completely lazy and neglected my body by NOT exercising at all!! This yo-yo journey with my body as been a mess. Although I’m well (not taking any medications, only supplements, and have no “conditions”) I know I need to work on getting into a healthier routine with exercise and eating. I’m better than I was, but still need improvement. I’m a work in progress. We all are.
I have felt a call to help people, and encourage others in their emotional healing, mind strength along with spiritual strength. This is what I do, encourage, guide, help. I’ve many times considered going back to school to get a degree to practice medicine or become a counselor. Maybe someday. I’m 43, I’ve got plenty of time… right?
Here is the hard part. All this education, all this time I’ve spent diving into books, resources, learning from my own experience and others, I can’t help my own daughter. She is 18 years old. We have been taking her to doctors since she was 3 months old. Skin issues, joint pain, stomach pain, vitamin deficiencies, anemia, muscle pain, headaches, allergies… The weirdest symptom has been her sensitivity to water on her body… it’s evident to me she has a compromised immune system and major inflammation. On and on we go, test after test, doctor after doctor, medicine after medicine, vitamin after vitamin… I believe we have tried everything from anti-candida diet to allergy shots, MRIs to lab tests for every Auto Immune DisEase under the sun… We’ve done emotional work, counseling, dermatologists, allergy specialists, neurologist, sleep studies, raindrop technique, Chiropractors, Naturopathic doctor. The ND was the closest to getting somewhere. The dietary changes and supplements helped for awhile.
My point, I’m tired, I’m hurting, she’s hurting. As her mother, and a wellness advocate, I feel like a failure, I just can’t come up with an answer for her, no one can. I’ve prayed for her for healing, I’ve went to healing services on her behalf. I’ve interceded over and over and over. What can I do? What can SHE do? What?
I know God has a reason for this, maybe it’s to direct her as she is going into the medical field. It’s so hard, she’s been well for 6 months in a row for her entire life. She lives a roller coaster wellness ride. I hate this. I want to fix it. I want to “find” the cure, I want someone to find the cure, I’ve prayed for immaculate healing, just make it go away.
I’m the one who tells people to NOT claim disEase, that your thoughts can reverse your health, that emotional release can bring physical healing and yet here I sit…. empty handed, feeling defeated and helpless. It could be so much worse, I know, she could be fighting for her life, and maybe part of me feels she is, that this “thing” might consume her if we don’t figure it out. It’s a fear, I’m being real, I could pretend I’m not afraid, what good does that do. Maybe I’m playing God, maybe I want to fix her… who wouldn’t want to fix their kid! I just want her to live like other kids. I don’t want advice anymore, I don’t want another suggestion, I just want her better. I want her well forever. I hate this.
I’m tired of doctors being horrible to us. She has had some of the worse experiences with doctors, the worst one telling her “If you want the boys to like you, you might want to use the cremes on your eczema.”… I don’t know but the girl has had HORRIBLE experiences with doctors, therefore putting a real bad taste in our mouths for anyone even giving a shit about her well being… or seeing her as just another number walking in the door. I’m sick of it. I hate it. I just want it gone so she can move on. I worry about her claiming sickness over her life as she doesn’t know any different… I look at my girl today, she’s been home sick for 2 days this week, dropped 10 lbs(she’s already a size 2!), rash everywhere, can’t eat, stomach and back pain, weak. And off she goes to school today, straight A student, working as a waitress after school, always caring and loving on her friends…. People just don’t know the struggle she has. She says she stays busy so she doesn’t have to think about it.
This is a raw area in my mom journey as my girl is heading off to college next August. I want her well for what comes next in her life. I want more than anything for her to claim health over her life, with positive thoughts and spiritual strength. At the end of the day though, she could still be sick, this is the part I just don’t understand.
We do not get the privilege of understanding God’s reasons or will over our lives or others lives. All I can do is offer it up to Him and give it to Him over and over and over. I pray for her restoration, for healing of body, mind, spirit. We continue with tests and advice from doctors as she flares up… we continue….
This brilliant child of ours will move mountains regardless of her physical health, she already has. Press on child, press on and trust in His reasons. Your health may be a struggle but your brilliance and spirit can’t be touched, signed sealed and delivered by the King of Kings. Keep fighting, claim freedom over it, I believe healing is possible.
If I might ask you to offer up healing prayers for my daughter I would greatly appreciate it.
Love, a tired mom
As many of you know I have recently been to Africa, and though you may be tired of hearing about it, I’m quite certain the revelations from this trip will continue well into the next 365 days.
Straight up, Ethiopia rocked my world. It rocked my world in many ways, hard and good. My brain and my heart have been reset and have been opened in a way I never would have expected.
Leading up to this trip I felt like the Lord gave me a “heads up” that my father would somehow be part of this trip. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, yet it sure does now.
The first full day we spent in Ethiopia was with Glory to Glory church. They worshiped in a tiny concrete building with plastic chairs on a broken concrete floor. I remember looking at the stained walls and the open building to the outside world. People were gathered inside the building and outside the building. Some awaiting food afterwards as we were to serve the people. It was a very humbling experience to face famine head on. Poverty here was so much more than the material positions we think of, this was famine of the heart, the spirit, which is what poverty truly is for each of us. They were starving inside, I saw eyes of emptiness, and it was hard. Though there were empty eyes, I also saw and heard beautiful praise, beautiful hope and beautiful faith, and eyes that shined. I had to let the good out weigh the hard, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The praise and worship wasn’t in english, yet I felt the Spirit moving so heavy, He surpasses language barriers, that’s for sure!!
After church we went to a local soccer tournament that was started up by ManUp and Go many years ago(this is the organization I went with). To see the kids playing and so many children watching was beautiful. Many of the kids came up to our team, immediately wanting to communicate with us and also asking for gifts or money. Big gulp, NOT giving to them was difficult and thinking of “what do I have to offer them that would be lasting” was a challenge. Many of them went to a local school around the area and some did not. I spoke with them the best I could. Language was a barrier, but the Spirit was not.
One young boy followed me around speaking to me, laughing at how different I was, and playing hand clapping games with me. I thought the one thing I can do is teach them a simple game of different handshakes, and they loved it. Finally this young boy approached me along with another person on our team. We began asking this young boy where he lived and about his family. He explained that He was fatherless and lived with his mother. “No papa.”, he said. My heart immediately connected with him.
This was the first time dad showed up on the trip.
I explained to him that I to didn’t have a papa. I offered to pray with him and he accepted. This was what I had to offer, something much more lasting than a handout. I was able to point him to his Heavenly Father who will always be with him. For the remainder of the time he followed me around the soccer area. Every once in a while he would say, “Me, No papa, You, No papa.” There was a sparkle in his eyes when we would lock eyes. We had a connection in suffering, and somehow, my suffering gave him hope, hope that he can get through this.
That day in Ethiopia was Father’s Day. I dreaded that day for many years. I learned how to celebrate my husband and avoid being titled “fatherless”, but with my husband not there I had to face it head on. I was given a moment to use my hurt to help. Only God can do that.
That evening I dove into the Word. My daily devotion said this:
Psalms 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.
This is His holy habitation, to be a father to the fatherless! I was able to point this young man to Abba. We are all sons and daughters of the one true King, Abba. How beautiful that the Lord took a broken place within me and gave a child hope through it.
Today is my father’s birthday. So this is a present for him. In my loss, I was able to connect with this young child and give him hope in his Heavenly Father. Without my loss, I would never have been able to. God is so much bigger, so much smarter, and so much more everything.
Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you, I love you, be seeing you.
I wonder if you’ve experienced a miracle. I also wonder how many unseen miracles happen in a day? I look back over my life for the last 42 years and can name many, some involving my own life, some involving healing miracles, some involving redirection to safety and so on. This last one, it’s hit me hard. It was my child’s life.
Over the past few months I have felt an urgency to pray protection over my children, asking the Lord to send legions of angels to protect them. I didn’t understand the urgency, in fact I felt it was weird that I was asking for angels, this isn’t something I’ve done much of in the past, yet I listened to the whisper and I requested just that.
Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? Matthew 26:53
This past Saturday I was eating continental breakfast at a hotel with a friend talking about life, softball and my recent trip to Africa as we were preparing to take on day two of our softball tournament. My daughter was unable to play the night before as she was working. It’s a battle with coaching 18U, the kids are at an age where many have jobs and other responsibilities to balance it all out. My daughter was driving up Saturday morning to meet us at the fields for the tournament. While I was eating breakfast one of her friends said, “Abby’s trying to get ahold of you.” I explained I had left my phone in the hotel room and her friend offered her phone to me and said I should call her.
When Abby answered I could tell she was rattled and crying. She said, “Mom, I’ve been in an accident, I’m okay, it’s not big, just can you come get me?” I grabbed my things and rushed out the door driving to the location she sent me from her phone. She was less than 15 minutes away from me. So I sped to her as fast as I could. As I approached the location spot I saw 1 police car with lights on and my daughters car out on the edge of a field. She was standing in her softball uniform by the car talking to the officer. As I walked to the car I notice the tires were destroyed, the window was cracked and the passenger airbag was deployed. I ran to her and wrapped her up in my arms to insure she was ok, this was NOT a small accident.
Abby had fallen asleep at the wheel. She explained to me that she knew she should have pulled over because she was struggling staying awake and felt bad she didn’t listen to her instincts. All I cared about was she was ok. She had no visible markings, no scratches, no bruises, not even a sore muscle.
The police officer asked me to come with him away from her. He directed me to the back of the car. He pointed out to me her path. What I could see from the ending point was first she missed a tree, then she missed a sign. He informed me that I needed to recognize the path she took and how ‘lucky’ she was to not have rolled the car. He said, “She should have rolled it at least in 3 different places. But it didn’t.” He looked like he saw a ghost. He then informed me, “THIS doesn’t happen, I’ve seen this too many times where the end result was not good.” I took it in the best I could, then called dad to take care of the towing and such. Abby and I then headed to town for the softball tournament. I was rattled, yet I had to put my coaching hat on for the rest of the day. After the tournament was over I felt like we should go back to the site of the accident. I encouraged Abby, her sister, dad and I to go see the path, that was the one part the officer said that stuck out to me. I had to see the path, all of it.
I decided to start from the beginning this time. Abby fell asleep at the wheel, her car left the road and first missed a tree, then the sign I saw early from a distance was much more than a sign. it was a sign marking a culvert. Her car went OVER the culvert, not around it, over it. There were rubber marks on the concrete from her tires. After driving over the culvert her car then road along the edge of the ditch. At one point we noticed there were only 1 set of tire tracks. Her car didn’t roll. From start to finish her car traveled almost 300m-400m off the road. She didn’t wake up until she was at the last 100m.
How does a car drive OVER a culvert? How does a car drive on one side without rolling? How does a car drive along a ditch and not flip over? How did she sleep through it all? And why didn’t her airbag deploy?
Miracles. Plan a simple miracles. A friend and I were recently discussing what this had to have looked like in the spiritual realm. The amount of angels, the amount of protection, the amount of redirection, the amount of peace she was in to NOT wake up and try to course correct! As insignificant as the driver side airbag not deploying seems, it in and of itself is a miracle. Abby has had numerous concussions. I’m not sure where we would be if that airbag opened. Her last concussion that happened over 2 years ago affected her for 6 months, recovery was awful and she really struggled to get back to normal life.
The miracle rattled me, the path rattled me, the sheer greatness of God rattled me. He saved her. Why? I look to the parents that have lost children, I look to the friends who have lost loved ones in accidents. Why? I don’t know why. I don’t know why he takes some and leaves others. I don’t know why my own father died suddenly at 53 and my daughter was saved. I don’t know, but I trust. I have to. I have to believe His reasons, His plan, His purpose for her life, for my life, and for the lives lost.
She has been given a story. She has been given another chance and for that I am forever grateful. I choose to sit in His plans for all things. I could lose someone tomorrow, I could also see a miracle tomorrow. I am choosing to look for the miracles, small and big and find comfort in a God who saves all of his children, some are saved here and some are saved to His ultimate protection in heaven.
As I contemplate the sheer path it reminds me of our path in life. So many times we coast through life and sometimes we go off the road, sometimes we fall asleep and sometimes we manage to ride on one side of the car not knowing if it might roll and sometimes we drive over an impossible culvert.
I challenge us to REST in his abilities on our path, in His saving grace, in his protection and trust in all He has for us even when it seems impossible.
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
– 2 Timothy 1:9
In January of 2017 the Lord gave me a word, content, I didn’t think much of it as I felt that I was content with what I had been given, and content in my life and wasn’t seeking anything beyond the blessings in front of me. Easy peasy.
January 29th I signed up for my first international mission trip. The trip consisted of a group of medical professionals traveling to an orphanage. They wanted a photographer to capture their work. I would have to come up with the funds as this was a volunteer gig. The call was for the greater good and this was a seed the Lord had planted in me 10 years ago, an opportunity to capture the work of a mission team. The team, which spanned from 6 different states, was going to an orphanage in Guatemala(The Eagle’s Nest). I would be the only one from Kansas and I didn’t know anyone on the team, but, the orphanage was were my nephew had been adopted from in 2005. Guatemala closed down adoption to the USA around 2008.
Content…. in His abilities to provide opportunities.
In preparation for the trip I saved money from a few of my photo sessions to make my first deposit. As the second deposit came due, I was a bit nervous about having enough money, but I made a payment on faith that God would provide somehow, if not, then I probably shouldn’t go. 2 days after I made the “on faith” payment I received a print order for quite a few of my nature photos, enough to cover the entire second deposit! My husband and a few others felt called to donate money as well, yes I said husband, he runs a HVAC business and had been putting funds back to gift me… he truly is the sweetest man. The last and final amount was due and my local church donated the rest of the funds to the organization(The Orphan Door) and it was a done deal.
I’m reluctant to share this but I think I need to. in December of 2016 our daughter decided she wanted to go on a mission trip to Guatemala as well, with the local church youth. After interviews and being accepted to go on the trip she began her process to prepare for the trip to the same orphanage that I would be going to 2 weeks earlier. When our daughter signed up for the trip I had no idea that the opportunity for me to go was even in the cards. I knew I couldn’t go with the youth team as I had already booked a wedding to photograph the weekend they left. On January 15th her seed money was due. I felt it within my spirit to pay for more than just my daughter’s seed money, I paid not only our daughter’s but others as well. 2 weeks later I signed up to go to Guatemala on complete faith that the Lord would provide a financial way for me to go…… He did.
Content… in God’s abilities to provide funds…. The Lord funded my trip and my daughter’s trip, among many others.
In preparation for the trip, my goal was to prepare my heart to be broken, for I knew observing poverty would be hard for this mercy heart. The Lord spoke whispers over and over to me that my job was to observe the blessings in the hard, dark places, to SEE HOPE. One journal I had prior to leaving was this, “Shining bright is not a controlled burn, let the fire burn bright. (References: John 1:5, Matt 4:16, Ps 27:1, Rev 21:23) Be a light, trust Him, and then this:
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Cor 4:7-8 NLT
Leading up to the trip, our family had quite a bit of chaos, approximately 3 months of chaos. Teenage struggles mostly and work overload. The one thing I realized when I got to Guatemala was that my struggles were not that big, although they felt big at the time, they really were not.
Content… in His abilities to change perspective.
I had never flown in a plane by myself, yes, 41 years old and have always flown with someone I knew. Not only was I flying alone to Houston but I had never been to the Houston airport and I was meeting up with strangers. As you can imagine I was a bit fearful and nervous about this. 5AM I got on a plane from KC to Houston. I sat down next to a couple and decided that if I’m out of my comfort zone I mine-as-well attempt to make a friend. As I started speaking to the lady next to me she shares with me that she has been on 14 mission trips and was on her way to Honduras for a month. She had been in the Houston airport numerous times and was willing to walk me to my gate so I made it on time. We were a bit worried I might miss my flight as I barely had an hour to get to my gate and our flight was rerouted due to weather, we were running late. With no back up plan in place I went on faith and told her I was just going to trust God that he would get me there on time. Little did we know that the plane flew into the International terminal and it was a hop, skip and jump from where I needed to go. I gained a friend and a prayer warrior.
Content… in His abilities to provide guidance.
The next flight was upon me and now it was time to meet the team. My prayer on the plane was, “Let me see what you want me to see, help me to capture life, love, whatever you deem, even the hard stuff if necessary. Protect my family as I am away, and always. Please let all the luggage and travels on to the orphanage go well. Protect us Lord and guide us to be the hands and feet of you. Amen”
Stepping off of the plane
Overwhelmed is the word that comes to mind once in Guatemala City, as I was removed from the USA box. So much poverty, pollution, trash, yet in all of that, beautiful crops come forth and smiles of laughing children and a young boy stops to smile as he sees the camera. I am thankful, but I am ashamed. I am blessed yet humbled at this level of poverty. I asked the Lord to forgive me for not knowing my abundance. My problems are so small. Once out of the box, you can’t look at life the same. When I came back to the states I didn’t realise the effect it would have on me. I cried when I washed my hands in the bathroom sink and could brush my teeth with clean water. I cried in the gas station bathroom because it was clean and had toilet paper. I cried in the grocery store over the multitude of choices. I cried looking across the parking lot of a hotel, it was so clean. I could see the abundance and blessings over America. I had never seen it this way before. The resounding observation that I had while there was that many people in Guatemala are completely content with little, they would give away to their family and friends without a second thought. At the orphanage they served lunch to the children in high poverty, it was called “Manna”. One of my team members saw a child sneak out part of their meal and share it with their mother waiting for them outside.
Content… in the abundance He provides.
Over the next 5 days I witnessed 16 people who had never worked together before, most of us were strangers that came together, each with their own gifting. We loved on these kids and organized and worked together like a well oiled machine. Exams were done, classes were taught, life was shared together, relationships were built, prayers were said and some how God made all of us feel as if we had known each other for years at the end of our week. It was an absolute honor and miracle to witness.
Content… in His ability to bring the hands and feet of Christ together to serve.
Throughout the days at the orphanage, many of us fought colds, toothaches, stomach bugs or even just bugs in general! Many of us faced fears of illness or emotional battles within or felt spiritually unsettled, yet we all got there safely and we all got home safely as we felt the protection of the Lord among us. We witnessed special needs children who had come leaps and bounds in their health. The team came up with plans to help others who may still be struggling physically or in other ways. Many times we see healing as only a physical aspect, but healing can be emotional, spiritual or physical… We joined together and prayed for each other, for the kids, for others outside the walls and the presence of God was felt.
Leaving was hard…. yet many of us felt that saying goodbye was temporary… for many will be coming back. So we trust the Lord in his ability to protect His children and bring restoration and healing in mind, body and spirit.
Content… in His protection and healing.
The 3 things that resonated over and over with our team was this:
Our Brokenness, God’s Calling, Our Obedience
Content… in our journey, His will and His abilities through us.
If you feel called, be obedient to it and be content in all of HIS abilities, not your own.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
Isn’t God amazing?! Blessings.
“Isn’t it exhausting pretending to be nice to people all day?”
I use to be all of these….
I challenge you, look for the blessings, look for the gifts, even in the hard stuff.