What I would tell someone fresh to grief

July 12 is a hard day for me, friends. The memories are still vivid, as if they happened hours ago. Sometimes when I can’t fall asleep, I relive them.

July 12, 2013. A Friday.

I received three phone calls that day. The first was from Dad, about mid-morning, his usual weekly check-in. He called to chat and say hello to his granddaughters whom he saw only a handful of times a year due to the miles between us. It was a pleasant conversation. We had just visited him the week before, and he had plans to come out to see us soon. We ended it with, “I love you,” and hung up. 

That evening, the second phone call came. This one from my brother, a tone in his voice that instantly made me tremble.

“Dad collapsed. He’s in the ambulance now.” Continue reading “What I would tell someone fresh to grief”

The courage to be still

Every so often I feel the way I feel today: wanting to get beyond where I am now — believing I can — yet here I remain. Not. Getting. Anywhere.

I strain against these chains I didn’t ask for. I wear myself out in the fight.

All the time, God is trying to whisper into my plagued heart: Be still, child, and know that I am God — the same who has held the earth in My hand since the beginning (Psalm 46:10, with embellishment).

Several years ago I wrote the prayer below, and I included it in my minibook Uncage My Brave: Pray Brave, Fly Free. Routinely, I fall back on this prayer, the title of it if nothing else, and I remember the way God showed up in that original situation.

I remember why I hold onto the hope He will move again. Because He always does. Because He is God, just as He says He is. Continue reading “The courage to be still”

What I want my daughter to believe about beauty

My daughter and I visited the makeup aisle at Target the other day. As you will see in this video on my Facebook page, makeup and hair just aren’t my thing.

My daughter, on the other hand? From a young age, she has been interested in makeup and nail polish. The brightly lit aisle is like a playground to her.

“Oooo, Mommy, look at this one!” She picked up a neon pink polish. And then a mascara in a shiny green case. And then a lipstick the color of a rose petal.

The colors were fresh, crisp, carrying a promise that life was better with these things.

She has not yet discovered the “beauty influencers” on YouTube and Instagram, but it is only a matter of time. Until then, her biggest exposure to the beauty world is the makeup aisle in Target, that white-lit beacon on the way to the shampoo and paper towels.

I know I have my prejudices, but I also have a Truth that makes me eager to teach her about real beauty.

If I could make her believe one thing about beauty, it would be not to listen to the world’s influences.

I would shield her mind from being ensnared by the lure of the perfect displays. I would ensure she believes there is so much they don’t tell her. Continue reading “What I want my daughter to believe about beauty”

How to get quiet time with God when life isn’t quiet

“I know I should have quiet time with the Lord every day, but, ugh, LIFE.”

This is something I hear often from both my peers and younger women I walk with in faith.

I get where they’re coming from. As a wife and mother who works outside the home as well as inside it, I absolutely get it.

For the woman who gets up early as it is and goes to bed later than everyone else in the house, the thought of getting up even earlier feels daunting. Those who are already struggling to balance all their responsibilities feel guilty about not making quiet time a regular occurrence but have no idea how to make it happen.

It’s not that they don’t want to honor God by giving Him their time; it’s more so that they don’t know how to make it part of their day. No one in a similar life circumstance has shown them how.

As I have listened to these women tell their stories, what I realized quickly is that they would benefit from a new way to approach quiet time. Continue reading “How to get quiet time with God when life isn’t quiet”

‘Don’t call me a Millennial’: How to stop stereotyping young people

“Ugh, I hate that word.”

My twentysomething friend’s nose wrinkled at the mention of the word “Millennial,” as if it reeked of dog breath and gym socks.

“Why don’t you like it?” I asked.

“Because it’s so negative — and it’s not ME. I am none of those things.”

“Those things” include the stereotypical traits of a Millennial: Continue reading “‘Don’t call me a Millennial’: How to stop stereotyping young people”