Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Gift of THAT kid

I wonder if you saw the article going around facebook and featured by the Huffington Post about THAT kid.  I am grateful for this compassionate teacher and for how she spoke about grace and seeing beyond behavior.  I am grateful for the way she sees and loves these kids in her classroom.  I have close friends and family who are, in one way or another, mothers of THAT kid.  I am one, too.  We need to hear these truths.  But, here’s one truth that we need to hear even more deeply.  One that I hope will settle into the core of who we are, wrap itself tight around our doubt and not let go. One that I hope we can speak into THAT kid’s life.  Over and over.
THAT kid is a gift.  He was created by God.  And while he may teach other kids and parents about grace, he was also created by the one who IS grace. 
And while part of her story might be broken and wounded, it is also beauty and grace and HER story.  She has a story that is not outside the realm of God’s redemption. 
While he may find a way to excel at school, or at relationships, or at life in general…even if he doesn’t, those things are not what make him valuable.  Value was endowed from the moment he was conceived…no…even before, as scripture says that God had already dreamed us up before the foundations of the earth. God says he is valuable.  And it is so.
THAT kid has her own part to play in the story of God.  She isn’t just here to teach us a lesson.  Aren’t we self-centered, sometimes?  She is here because God said it should be so.  She is a gift from the Creator.  And he saw what he had made and said, “It is very good.” She will be offered His gift of grace.  And that grace redeems and transforms.  She may not have the easiest road, but she will not be alone.
That kid can impact his world for Christ.  His understanding of redemption can light up dark places.  He can share Jesus in meaningful ways, not in spite of his difficulties, but because of them. 
So, if you are a mother of THAT kid, weary and worn by all that you do and hope for, and struggling just to hear what God says about it all, listen to these words from Him today and believe.  They were written for THAT kid, and they were written for you.

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Amen, and amen.

Monday, November 10, 2014


The enormity of parenting isn’t something to be minimized.  We shouldn’t even try…even if it makes us feel less anxious for a little while.  It just is what it is.  Daunting and challenging and well…overwhelming…only I can’t really use that word anymore because my husband and I had a discussion the other day in which he asserted that being overwhelmed is an emotional response and probably means we are trying to rely on our own strength and not the Lord’s.  Yes, these are the discussions we sometimes get to have over a rare quiet lunch together.   These are also the discussions that make me give him the side eye while I finish up my cobb salad, mentally pulling my mind off the crazy train that thinks my husband is calling me an emotional woman who has no substance.   

Here’s the thing about that.  I know I have spent a lot of time over the years describing myself as overwhelmed.  Because I am.  A lot.  And there isn’t any mother on the planet that would deny me that adjective.  We mothers are good at letting each other feel what we feel. But my husband isn’t another mother.  He is a sensitive, strong, analytical man.  All things I appreciate in different ways. The fact is, I need his critical thinking skills sometimes, in the moments when I am all emotion. (I have those thinking skills too, but I am generally more of a Big Feelings kind of gal...which HE tends to need in the moments when his brain can't process the emotion coming out of the three little girls in our house.)  Sometimes I need him to challenge what has sometimes become second nature to me.   It doesn’t mean that I am not secretly annoyed by that about half of the time…at least at first. At first, my thinking is always, “Why can’t my husband just think I am perfect and not ask deeper questions?”  I’m not alone here, am I?  Don’t most of us think that at first?  But, it isn’t long (Well, it’s not long anymore.  It used to be long.  Really long.  Kind of ridiculously long, in fact.) before I unclench and start to listen to this man, who I know loves me.  Who wants me to know Jesus more deeply.  He doesn't deserve the side eye...most of the time. 

So, I decided to examine my words a little more closely.  To look at what is behind those feelings and how it lines up with scripture.  And I think he was right. Overwhelmed IS an emotional response.  It feels like fear and inadequacy and burden all rolled up into one. And it IS a response to my trying to handle everything on my own.  Or feeling responsible for every choice my kids make.  Or believing that it is totally up to ME to make sure their lives turn out well.  It may be a fact that I am busy. It may be a fact that I am responsible for a lot.  It may be a fact that the job of parenting is a difficult one full of complexities.  But I do not have to be overwhelmed.  Even as I write that, I am not entirely sure that I can believe it. It feels like it's just a part of mothering.

And therein lies the challenge.  Because as mothers, I think we are sold a lie.  We are told in various subtle and not so subtle ways that we SHOULD be overwhelmed and anxious.  That it is a mother’s instinct.  That it is, in fact, almost necessary in order to be a good mother.  And we applaud and agree and welcome each other to the club when we worry and fret over our kids. 

But we can do better for each other.  We can do better for our kids. 

I’m still not exactly sure what it looks like to let go of those feelings.  Obviously, more prayer, more scripture, more open hands and believing that God is working all things for good…those things help.  But exploring this feeling of being overwhelmed also forces me to admit some lack of trust.  It’s why I hold on so tightly…why I feel the need to control as much as I can.  And, it’s why I feel overwhelmed.  And so I know that a big part of what I need is to confess.  To ask forgiveness.  To repent.  And I need to do this in my community of mothers.  We need to do this together. We need to learn together how to respond to each other in this place.  I’m not exactly sure what it looks like to gently call each other up from the muck and mire of distrust.  But I think it’s important.  I think we need it.  Because how would my life look different, and the lives of my kids, if I approached the chaos and heart ache and busy never ending to-do's from a place of rest and trust?  From a soul that knows she is only called to do what the Lord asks and that he is responsible for the rest. 

Look, I’m no poster child for the Relaxed Mother’s of America.  Is that a thing?  Maybe we should make it a thing!  But I want to learn to let God be God in my children’s lives.  To do what he has called me to do in the lives of my children, (which, by the way, isn’t to be perfect) and then to trust him with what he does.  I mean really trust Him.  Not just say I do. Even if things are not how I had hoped or planned.

Oh dear…just admitting that things might not be how I hope or plan is making me feel overwhelmed again.  Lord, help me.  Help us all. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Adoption is a beautiful thing.

Adoption is a beautiful thing.  The stories we tell are happy ones.  Stories of loving children we couldn’t make ourselves.  Stories of giving a child a home they wouldn’t have otherwise.  But there are other stories, too.  Stories that our children have to work to reconcile in their minds.  Stories of inexplicably missing a person they never really knew.  Stories of feeling abandoned, even though they have been in our home from the very beginning.  And in the midst of their grief, I must decide how to manage my own.

This week, grief came knocking at the door.  As is nearly always the case, my first instinct is to lock the door tight.  To be quiet and withdrawn so that she will go away.  Or to be loud and excited in order to scare her away.  Because she is an exhausting companion, leaving me weary and anxious and wrung out. And she gets in my head, making me think that she will always feel big and scary and louder than anything else.   

She was insistent this week, though, and so I opened the door.  And as I sat with her, weeping for all that is broken in our beautiful  stories, I began to feel the familiar feelings of despair.  How will I ever fix this brokenness? How will I manage it so that it doesn’t hurt so badly?  So that my child doesn’t hurt so badly?  And, at once, I knew that I couldn’t be alone with her.

So I invited my people over.  My tribe, as my friend would say.  “Please pray,” I texted.  Again and again they responded, “we are praying.”   Grief didn’t leave, but she got quiet.  She gave me some space to breathe, to remember in the dark what I have learned in the light.  That Jesus Christ is our only answer.  That my own capacity to fix brokenness is so small, so short-sighted.  But He is bigger and he sees the big picture. That his strength is perfected in my weakness.   That brokenness can lead me to him. Can lead my child to him.

It looks like grief may be here to stay for a while.  But I’m not scared of her today.  Instead, we have decided to welcome her in.  To embrace her ability to bring us to the feet of Jesus.    To thank her for the reminder that this world is not our home.

Some days are harder than others.  And grief can feel like an unwanted guest that we need to shut  out. She is insistent, though, and I’m convinced these days that her presence is for our good.  She doesn’t have to be the loudest voice at the table, though.  It turns out, if you welcome her, and if you introduce her to your tribe, she gets quieter.  She takes her rightful place as a bit player in this drama.  And her presence beckons you to look center stage, as the King of All Joy takes his place in your story.

Adoption is a beautiful thing.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


These are some of my favorite pictures so far this spring:

 This is just a small taste of how BIG her personality is.  :)

Our doggies.  They love each other and this is how they sleep these days.   

 GOOOOOOOAL!!!!!! If only I'd have gotten a picture of her face afterwards.  Priceless...

Leadership Day at school.  Bella and 2 of her friends after giving us a very informative presentation on the endangered Gray Wolf.  Don't they look grown up?  And...ahem...doesn't someone look a little...TALL. 

 Hopie on Leadership Day after giving a very informative presentation on Figurative Language.  I learned a lot.  She's also looking very grown up these days.  We're wearing the same shoes and rapidly approaching the same height.  Any tips on slowing this train down??? 

Ava and Noah...her bestie.  They matched on Easter and it was too cute! These two are gonna take the world by storm! 

What a gift to be at the adoption finalization hearing for these dear friends!  I balled my eyes out, of course...cause that's what you do at an adoption finalization. Welcome to your forever family, Ariana!  

We are enjoying the warmer weather, fun family time, and time with good friends.  Next up...a trip to Texas for Ava and I and the count down to the last days of schools.  Yipee! I LOVE this time of year!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lose Your Bacon

Don't worry this isn't a post about dieting! Frankly, even if I was dieting, I would never lose my bacon. It's delicious.  ...Now all I can think of is bacon.  Where was I?...oh yes...

A few weeks ago, we had our 10th annual YoungLife Women's Retreat at Trail West in Buena Vista, CO.  It is one of my favorite times of year.  Time to laugh and worship and be with friends, old and new.  And time for silence.  Oh the blessed silence!  The two and half hours of complete silence is one of my favorite part of the weekend.

During the weekend, my friend Ginger had a little part for those of us on the planning team to play. She wanted us to sing a song at the end of the weekend to wrap things up.  And she wanted us to sing it loud and proud and with abandon.  She kept saying, "I want you to lose your bacon."...which you can only really appreciate when you say it in kind of a southern accent. "Lose yer bacon, yall!"

Later, as she and I were talking, I confessed a weird little problem.  I love to sing.  Singing in a casual way with friends...I could lose my bacon.  At home or in the car, by myself (a rare thing to be sure)...I am guaranteed to lose my bacon.  But, anytime I sing in a way that is "performing", my chest gets a bit tight and I can't breathe properly...which makes it really hard to lose my bacon or anything else for that matter. And I can't sing they way I'm supposed to, with the kind of support my body needs to do what it's been gifted to do. That makes my dream of performing in musicals really difficult.'s on the bucket list.

But, it's not just performing.  Last week, we had a training at church for those of us who help lead music from time to time.  The discussion led to closing our eyes during worship and how, though sometimes we close our eyes in authentic praise, part of our job is to interact with the congregation. To invite them along as we worship. How can we do that if we are closing our eyes for an entire song set?   In fact, that can make it seems as if we are alone with the Lord and others aren't invited in (not to mention that it can make you dizzy...I've experienced that first hand.) I shared with the group that I had recently become convicted that most often, I close my eyes in worship because I am uncomfortable with my own expressiveness.  I want to lift my hands, and I know at that moment, with it welling up within me, that I must!  But I am embarrassed of myself, embarrassed and worried about what others might think, so I close my eyes.  It's a bit like a little kid covering their eyes when they get in trouble and thinking they have disappeared. Silly. The problem is, it's not just silly.  I know that I am bound by the fear of man.  And now that I know, I can't just stay there.

As I talked a bit more with Ginger during our weekend, we discussed how much we worry about what other people will think. She asked me what I was hearing in my head when I performed. I knew immediately the voice I hear. It's one that says to me, "You are an impostor and everyone will know it. You are not a performer."  In worship, that voice says "You are NOT free to do what comes naturally. It's embarrassing."

So, I've been sitting with the Lord and asking him about it.  Not because I want everyone to think I am awesome when I can belt out notes in the middle of a performance or because I want to put on a show when we sing at church, but because I want to be free.  I want always to be offering up my chains to the Lord and asking him to set me free, even when those chains are just an inability to be silly. Do I believe that he wants to free me, even from something as small as that? I do, because chains are chains. And I don't think God desires us to be bound by anything.

I'm learning that freedom is the beginning of worship. That the freedom to present our bodies, our gifts, our talents, our hearts as a living sacrifice, without restraint, is rooted in trust and in an understanding of the character of God. And that always leads us to worship. I'm not completely sure how to get there when I'm in a group, though.  So, I keep sitting and I keep asking and I think, in a way, that alone is doing the work of releasing me.  As I sit and learn of him, my heart becomes softer, the fear of man begins to fall away and I become enamored with who he is. I worship, with no one watching but him. I set aside some of my chains and pray that he would help me not to pick them up again. Sometimes undoing takes time.  But I am an eager pupil, and He, the most patient of teachers.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What came first? The chicken else...

This conversation with Hope in the kitchen last night had both of us laughing.

A: Hey!  Yesterday I cracked an egg and it was a double yolk!  So cool!

H: (wide-eyed) should have heated it up in the microwave so it would turn into chicks.

A: Hope!  That's not what turns eggs into chickens.  An actual hen has to sit on them.

H: Well, then you should have sat on it, mom. I think I've just seen people put a warm light on them, though, and it works.

A: Hmmm...I think you're right. But, that wouldn't work for these eggs.  They need to be fertilized first and eggs from the store aren't fertilized.

H: Well, then you should have taken it to the bathroom and put it in the toilet and gone to the bathroom on it.

A: (looking increduously) What?!?

H: Well, like we use cow manure to fertilize stuff in our garden.  Maybe it would work with the eggs.

A: Umm...yeah, it's a different kind of fertilizer.  Fertilized by a rooster. A boy chicken.

H: What does the rooster have to do?

A: (thinking, thinking, thinking)........honestly I have no idea.  I don't really understand eggs.

I should probably go and look that up.

And also, these are the latest photos of my grown up girl.  I think maybe she could win a beauty queen contest...but that's just her mother talking.  Oh...and the 20 people (it seems like) a week that look at her, and then double take and say, "Honey, you are BEAUTIFUL!"  To which she shyly replies, "thank you," and then looks at me as if to say, "how embarrassing..."  Get used to it, sweetie. :)

And maybe I could win some kind of photography award.  Yep, that's all me people.  Well, me and a very fancy camera that basically does all the work for you.  Well, me and a fancy camera, and a beautiful subject, and about 1,000 pictures taken from all different angles so that I can find 3 or 4 that don't have shadows or squinty eyes. (Okay...maybe one random person if you look hard and maybe a little bit of a squinty eye.  Quit being so critical, people!) Yeah...I don't really understand photography either...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Grace of Growing Old

I will always remember her best in the kitchen, quietly moving from one dish to the next, everything expertly timed.  Butter beans, corn bread, turkey, potatoes.  Oh the potatoes.  I can remember one meal where she made three different kinds of potatoes...hash brown casserole, mashed, and potato salad...just because one of us had said we liked those best.  She did that with pies, too.  Everyone always got to eat their favorite pie at MeeMee's house, even if we all came at the same time.  Cherry for Melodie and my cousin Britt, chocolate for Amy, apple for me.The kitchen was her comfort zone.  It was the most natural expression of her love for us. And we ate it up...literally.

MeeMee has always been old to me.  Nobody would love hearing that, but it's true.  When you're a kid, grandparents just seem old.  (Sorry mom and dad...I'm afraid that means my kids think of you as old....even if you don't, and even if I don't.  They're wrong, though.  You're still young bucks!). Maybe that's why it has been such a surprise in these last couple of years to see her health deteriorate and her mind begin to go.  I guess I had been lulled into thinking that, "this is what old looks like." This grandmother who expertly prepares meals for the whole family and takes us to church, introducing us to all her friends. But things have started to change.  She's 95 after all. She has trouble getting out. Going to church is difficult.  Going to the store seems impossible.  Getting out of her chair or out of her bed is easier with someone else there to provide a steady hand and an extra push. And she is not happy about it.

I can't blame her. There is so much about this that is not fun...for anyone. The big picture feels daunting and overwhelming and sad.  But, if you squint a little, you can see that there is grace in growing old.  Those of us close to her are reminded, in the midst of all she cannot do right now, of when she did it all.  It sharpens our memories of her and makes us grateful for all she gave us.  And if we can embrace it, there is something sweet about the stillness of her life.  There is no rush to move forward for MeeMee.  There is only today. And yesterday.  And so there is a lot of remembering, of listening to old stories, the same ones told over and over. And a lot of just sitting together. There is grace in remembering that a person's value remains intact, even when the most they can do is just sit with you.  There's good in remembering how to just be with someone without requiring anything.  That is grace.

In the midst of it all, we are also learning to listen to what is underneath her words of bitterness or despair and to love her by answering the questions she is truly asking.  "Is this too much to ask of you?" and "Am I still valuable?"  My parents and my aunt and uncle have taken the brunt of her frustrations, and continue to answer, "We love you.  We want to care for you." This is grace.

When I talk to her on the phone, MeeMee often says to me, "I don't know why God still has me here on this earth." I understand her sentiment.  My PaPa went to be with the Lord seven years ago.  It has been a lonely seven years.  She usually finishes by saying, "I guess He knows best, though. There must be some reason."  And I know she's right.  There may be a whole host of reasons.  I know at least one of them, though, is that she's here for us.  She's here to teach us about grace. And we can all stand to settle in and learn a little more about that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o on Beauty

I love this.  And she is more eloquent than I, so there's no need for me to expound on her four and half minute speech.  One of my many favorite lines, "...I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy." Oh friends...may we understand beauty better.  For ourselves.  For our daughters.  May we not be seduced anymore.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bella Grace and Grace in Basketball

Bella has been playing basketball this winter.  It has been so fun to watch her do something all on her own and enjoy it.  She has gotten pretty good at dribbling and shooting and it is the most adorable thing ever to hear her yell at her teammates, “I’m open!” 

It’s been really good for her to be on this team.  On the first day of practice, she was in tears in the first three minutes. The first drill was to dribble the ball around the court.  She must have bounced that ball on her shoe 14 times and it went flying across the room every time.  When she got back to the starting place, she just broke down.  And I wanted to run over and rescue her.  I wanted to make sure, in that moment, that she felt known and loved and every bit of the amazing little girl that she is, even if she wasn't great at dribbling.  But Loren gave me a look.  I know that look.  It’s a look that says, “Let her fail a little.  Let her figure it out.  Let someone else speak into her life.  This is good for her.”  Her coach walked over and gave her a hug and then they talked for a minute.  Bella told me later that she said, “You know, Bella, everyone is just learning here.  Nobody expects you to do it all perfectly.  We’re gonna learn together.”  Words of life for my little one. 

When I watch her now, eight weeks later, I can see all the ways that she has grown.  Sure, she’s gotten better at the game, but I can see the ways most don’t know about.  I know how important it is that she has learned to go for the shot, even if she doesn't always make a basket, because I know she struggles with a desire to never disappoint anyone.  Though it may seem strange, I love watching her dribble down the court, accidentally bouncing the ball off her shoe, and just running after it, picking it up and continuing on with a smile.  Because laughing when you make a mistake like that means that you know those kinds of mistakes aren't who you are.  They’re just mistakes.  In basketball.  And we don’t always have to take ourselves so seriously. 

You know what else? Not once, has one of her teammates been annoyed with anyone who made a mistake on the team.  They have been the most gracious little 1st and 2nd graders.  And I have loved watching her settle into the freedom of that grace.  That kind of grace makes you excited to try something new instead of fearful.  It lets you giggle when you make a mistake instead of dissolving into tears. And it has been such a gift to my little girl.  

Her coaches are another gift.  I love that they ask each member of the team what the best part of their week was.  Then they ask if everyone is doing well in school, if everyone is obeying their parents and staying out of trouble.  They begin each practice by reminding these kids, in subtle ways, that their whole life matters, not just how they do on a basketball court.  They remind them that their teammates are other kids just like them.  This is little kid sports at its best and I’m one grateful Mama.

Bella has loved playing basketball, but I don't really think it's the sport she's crazy about.  Last week after her game, she said to me all sing-songy, “I love basketball so much.  It’s so fun!” And I told her that I was so glad!  Because I love seeing her enjoy herself, and because I fully understand what a gift it is for her to be able to love something, even when it is a challenge for her.  Then I asked if she thought she wanted to play again next year.  “Oh yeah…for sure, Mom,” she said.  And I said, “Well, what if you aren't on the same team as Lilly (one of her best friends in the whole world).  “Oh…probably not then,” she said.  What?!?  But, I should have known.  Bella may throw herself into something and enjoy herself silly while doing it, but that something has always only been as good as the friends that are doing it with her.  That’s what matters most to her. I love that about her. And really, what fun is bouncing the ball off your toe and sending it flying, if your friend isn't there to giggle with you about it?

Bella is going to be tall.  She's already tall.  But, it remains to be seen if God equipped her with such height in order play down low under a basketball goal, rebounding easily over those other shorties and laying it up nice and soft for two more points.  I know why he equipped her with such a big heart, though.  And as she lives into all he has planned for her, my prayer is that what she is learning in basketball translates into the rest of her life as well.  That she would know grace in such a way that it would give her the freedom to take risks.  That she would experience that same deep grace when she fails.  That she would know that her whole life matters, not just a moment.  And I hope that she continues to believe that relationships are much more important than all we can accomplish.

If she’s on a basketball court someday, you can bet I’ll be there to cheer her on.  But in life, there are bigger fish to fry.  And I pray I’ll get to be there for those, too.  Encouraging, cheering, praying, giggling, and reminding her that grace isn't just her middle name. It's a way of life. The ONLY way to life.  And we'll be thankful together for the friends that come alongside us and make everything a whole lot more fun.   

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Learning to Remember and Making Peace with the Proverbs 31 Woman

I write so that I will remember.  I am a forgetful person.  Not just birthdays and directions and the name of the person I met 5 minutes ago, though I forget all of these things all too often. I forget what God has said.  I forget, in the light, what he said to me in the dark.  And I forget in the dark, what he has said to me in the light.  And so I need a reminder. 

I’m a stay at home mom, with 2 kids in school and 4 year old at home. She is old enough to have given up naps but young enough, and squirrelly enough that she needs to be watched all the time, engaged all the time or bad things happen.  Irrevocable things with permanent markers and scissors.  So, I spend the large majority of my time playing hide and seek and memory, reading books and playing a game called freeze (a game she invented that is a lot like freeze tag…though she swears they are different and plus in this one you freeze each other with fake guns, so she’s probably right).  I get almost nothing else done. 

I also lead a ministry for teen moms called YoungLives.  We walk alongside teen moms, living life with them and earning the right to be heard as we share the gospel with them.  It’s challenging and time consuming and transformation happens slowly.  So, so slowly.   

And so, as such, I have been struggling hard with value.  It’s not a new struggle with me. But, this time, the wound seems deeper because I thought it was gone. I thought I had licked it. 

But Satan is like a crouching lion.  He is roaming around and ready to pounce and he is the Father of Lies.  Lies like… “you are not that valuable” and, my current favorite… “you should try and do something to make yourself more special.”  I can usually handle, “you are not that valuable” because it just sounds like a lie to me.  I can usually wave that one off.  Several scriptures flood my mind and shield me from its grabby hands.  But, “you should try and do something to make yourself more special?” That sounds like it could be true.  I mean, maybe I should do more. And facebook and blogs and our ability to see all that everyone else is doing can add fuel to the fire.  As much as I love some of those witty blogs that encourage us to more, sometimes they can feel like a scissor kick to the gut.  I mean, some days, when that adorable 4 year old decides to fingerpaint on her sister’s bed with lotion and toothpaste (yep…it’s happened) I feel maxed out just being at home.  Getting the floors mopped seems a distant dream, so I know meaningful wisdom isn’t gonna flow from my fingertips and I’m certainly not starting a non-profit that will change the world anytime soon. How can I do any more?

I’ve struggled often with Proverbs 31.  I mean, who was this gal?  How did she get all this crap done?  And why, why is there a whole 21 verses in the bible dedicated to touting the accomplishments of this woman who obviously had perfect kids, a wacked out Circadian rhythm (who rises while it is still night?!) and a small sweat shop in the back of her house where the fine linen for her bed coverings and the scarlet clothes for her household were made.

And so it startled me, as I lay on my bed praying one night, confessing to the Lord that I had believed the lies and asking him to teach me the truth, that Proverbs 31 came to mind.  “I am hearing in my head, Lord, that I need to do something to make myself more special.  But I want to hear what YOU say?” I said.  “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” came the answer in my spirit.  “I do, Lord.  I love you, and your holiness and sovereignty both thrills me and scares the whooey out of me.”  “I know,” he said.  And that was all.  

As I lay there and let it sink in, it resonated in the deep places.  And also, just like that, I made my peace with the Proverbs 31 woman.  Because it’s not that there aren't things to do.  We are called to live out our faith.  To experience and bring the Kingdom of God to earth.  There is work involved.  But the work isn't what makes us special.  It isn't what made her special. Her value was directly linked to her relationship with the Lord.  Her fear of the Lord informed her work, her wisdom, her desire to care for others, her ability to laugh at the days to come. Her fear of the Lord was the thing worthy of praise. Everything else comes out of that.  Whatever it is, whatever we are called to, however big or small it is, begins and ends with knowing Christ. Our value is firmly fixed in Him, so knowing Him is the greatest pursuit we could ever undertake.

So, my struggle has magically disappeared, right?  Wrong.  Satan isn't put aside so easily.  And he has continued to do everything he can to steer me away from that truth.  So, I am battling hard.  The fiery darts he throws sometimes cause me to retreat.  He knows just where my scars are and his aim is true.  

But the greater truth, the one I learned in the dark, remains.  And I am learning to remember.  A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  It is my shield of faith, my belt of truth, my helmet of salvation. And in beautifully divine moments of clarity, I even find myself able to laugh at the days to come.