Anxiety and Weirdness and Growth 

Stay there! You can’t leave – no! Don’t get up! No, Mom, you have to stay and watch it all the way through… awww Mom!”

This is what happens when I get triggered.

Could be a movie. Could be Grey’s. Could be anything that draws me in to pain, and I immediately react.  It ain’t pretty.

Most of my adult life I have been walking around in some sort of pain, so I have never really bothered to analyze what the heck my reactions were all about. All I knew was that pain hurt , even on a tv screen. Leaving the scene was my only option.

Along with gasping breaths (which I now recognize as hyperventilating).

Heart racing.

Stomach in knots.

Adrenaline flowing.

You know… normal everyday stuff a grown woman does when watching the boob tube with her kids. (insert eye rolling emoji here)

Its only been in recent months that I have been curious about this weird thing that I do. And I have come to the conclusion that it is anxiety.

I know. I’m a rocket scientist.

Guess what? I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time, without realizing it.

Guess what else? My kids are prone to high anxiety too.


But here’s the thing: now that I know what is happening to me when I’m triggered by witnessing pain in any form, I can learn how to manage my reaction. I’ve even discovered Tapping recently, so maybe I will employ some of those techniques. It may take some time to get a handle on it all, but the thing I’m happy about most is that I am aware now.

I tend to get anxious about a lot of things. Even writing gets me agitated. For instance, as I have been typing this piece, I have had to get up numerous times, walk around, rub my hands on my pants, go get some peanut butter and chocolate, and force myself to sit back down again and continue typing.

There is power in the knowing.

And you know what else? I see growth as I look back over the last few years.

So many of those years were spent simply surviving. Ragged, broken pieces of my heart that knew there was more to life.

A faith that refused to give up on what I read about God and the tantalizing possibility that I was important enough to Him to matter. That He would indeed breathe life into my dry, dusty bones and create beauty out of my ashes.

I have held onto those hopes, reveling in His whispers along the way that He was doing a new thing and that I would see it soon.

That His plans for me are good. That no weapon formed against me has a chance of taking me down for the count.


I can truly say that I know what joy feels like.

I remember what it feels like to be happy, because I am happy! I am seeing new, green shoots of life begin to come forth and I am giddy with anticipation.

Instead of feeling bound by the chains of fear, disappointment, religious rules, and social approval, I instead feel His freedom.

I feel loved.

Ephesians 16-21 “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Umm. Yeah. I’ve tasted and seen His goodness.

Its for you too. Stick out your tongue and try.

love love


You Are Made For More

I’m going to come right out of the gate and tell you that it is has been one heck of a week.

I felt like my greatest enemy snuck up behind me and took a bat to my knees. I lay crumpled on the ground, whimpering in pain and disbelief, fear gaining more access by the minute, feeling completely out of control.

But then, are we ever really in control?

I digress.

I refuse to tell you what has actually happened because it is too personal, too fresh, and too painful. I will tell you this, though: my enemy knew the exact spot that would hurt the most.

My thought processes over the last few days have been all over the place. I mean, how much does one person have to face in their lifetime? How much pain is there to endure? What the heck happened to all the promises I have been clinging to, that have been been steadily whispered, chanted, strummed, sung, and roared into my heart, into my soul in very recent months?

I didn’t realize that when you have hit bottom at least once in your life that it was possible to do so again. That there is no statute of limitations on how many times one ends up lying in a heap in their lifetime.

This has been a very intimate attack on my family. Debilitating. At least for now.

I woke in the middle of the night a couple nights ago, and terror seized my heart as the possibility of further destruction entered my mind. I ran into the other room to ensure all was well, and as I climbed back into bed, I trembled as I told God that if this got any worse, particularly after all the recent promises I’d been hearing from Him, that I just didn’t think I could be His anymore. It would be too much.

Yeah, I went there.

In the morning I felt like a wet rag, completely devoid of hope, strength or motivation for anything beyond getting kids fed. Once I had them off to school I sat and knew I needed to continue my conversation with the One & Only.

Before I got anywhere, my ears picked up the sounds of Hannah’s radio still playing the local Christian radio station, and the song was reminding me of Who it is I was about to speak to.

And I repented. Meaning that not only did I say I was sorry, but I switched gears. Changed how I was thinking.


Because I remembered that He is God and I am not.

You can call bullshit if you want, but this is how it is.

After navigating over a decade of pent-up grief over the death of my infant son; after 20 years of learning how to love and successfully raise a daughter with special needs; feeling trapped in a loveless, warped, dysfunctional marriage for over twenty years and then finding the guts to walk away and live through divorce; figuring out how to love and support my children who live with anxiety… I suppose one could chalk these things up as life’s occurrences and – hey – no one is immune.

But this.

This was an attack.

But God Does Not Change.

Jesus warns us that there will be trouble in this world. The God who loves us so much that He made a way for us to have relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son, allows for us to exercise choices.

Free will.

So, in allowing this… there are often repercussions. Consequences.

People choosing poorly.

Doing bad shit.

Hurting others.

And we can get caught in the crossfire.

Yeah, I pray every damn day for protection over my family. And I was pretty ticked off when it “didn’t work”.

You know what? I forgot that prayer isn’t a lucky charm. GOD is not my lucky charm.

What God is though, is my Savior.

My Helper.

The One who fixes things, even though I wish to hell there was nothing to be fixed in the first place.

He is my Redeemer.

He is my Recompense.

The One who Loves me most. And its deeper, wider, longer, and higher than I can possibly know.

So what now?

Well, hear me on this.

God Does Not Change.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He is good.

He brings beauty out of ashes. Joy out of mourning. 

HE will restore what has been taken. What has been lost.

And multiply it.

Today I will stand.

Not out of my strength, but out of His.

He has infused me with His strength, reminding me that the battle is His, and He is already victorious.

He has reminded me that He has called me. That His hand is upon me, upon my children, and that they will indeed taste and see that He is good.

Because He Is Real.

And He doesn’t mess around.

He is not happy about this turn of events, but His hand is upon us, and there will be moments where we will say: “Wow! Look at God!”

Yes, there are giants in this land. But my God goes before us, He comes behind us, and His hand of blessing is upon our heads.

No weapon formed against us shall prosper, and though the winds may blow, we will not fall down.

He’s made me to be a bad-ass for Him. I am unique, called, and dearly loved.

But it is He that will bring the goodness around.

Not by might, not by power, but by MY spirit says the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6)

Here’s what I want to say to you:

Life can really throw some wing-dingers.

I know.

But you are not trapped.

You are not without hope.

You are important.

And you need to see that.

God is bigger than the stuff you’re in.

He sees it.

He sees you.

And He loves you and wants to work good out of it all.

He will if you let Him.

Take it from somebody who’s been through some garbage, and finds herself there again.

Except this time I see God walking with me. I feel His power. I hear His words of strength. Of encouragement. Of direction.

You are made for more than this.

I’m calling you to rise up.

Its better up here.

– love love





God WILL Bring Goodness Your Way

“God WILL achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you!”  (Ephesians 3:20 The Passion Translation)


When reading a scripture verse like this one many of us have an immediate reaction.

And it’s not necessarily positive.

When we have been living with difficulties for any amount of time, we wind up becoming leery of good things that present themselves.

Because the rug has been pulled out from underneath us so often in the past, we are hesitant to believe that the good thing in front of us will either happen or stick around.

It’ll just be booted to the side after another doozy hits us.


But… what if we’re wrong?


Personally speaking, I was able to ride the festive and busy wave of the holiday season primarily because I learned how to switch my thinking to something positive when  negativity wants to reign.

But I am not immune to the emotions that can whip up without a moment’s notice. The emotions that are tied to memories, – both good and awful. For some reason they are harder to catch than the thoughts I work so hard to manage.

I find myself easily transported to familiar aches.

The shadow of that loneliness that haunted me for so long.

The suffocating pressure of shame & guilt that wants to hold me under again when I realize that I still make mistakes.

To strip me of any hope that I may have been able to muster.


As I choke down the cries that bash against my throat and swipe at the tears that keep slipping out and down, I hear a familiar whisper:

“praise me.”

I know this Voice.

I have learned to listen to this Voice.

So I shake my head and sing the song that immediately comes to mind because I understand what He’s trying to do.



It is crucial to remember that emotions aren’t to be ignored or stuffed.

But it is equally important to recognize that they are merely indicators of deeper things that should be addressed. They are not to rule our lives or direct our choices.


I know I need to learn something here… the shame and embarrassment that keep taking shots at me are not from the Father who loves me.

I know that I am not seeing myself as He sees me at this particular moment.

But its hard.


As I sing to Him, He reminds me through scripture verses that begin to play through my memory that God does not change.

That His grace covers me ALL the time, not just when I perform properly.

That’s the whole plan.

Jesus did it all.

Not me.

If earning God’s approval was all up to me, then we’d still be in the Old Testament and there’d be no need for Jesus and what He accomplished for us.


And oodles and gobs of Love that I can barely comprehend.

I don’t deserve it.

At all.


For the last few years, the Three have been slowly expanding my ability to accept His lavish nature.

I have been so brainwashed to believe that I must earn everything that comes to me… even though there is practicality in most of that way of thinking:

  • We work for a living.
  • We treat others as we want to be treated.

You know. Common sense stuff.

But this… this is different.

They have been educating me on how He has always shown up for those He loves in one way or another, even if they don’t understand it.

That He has always stressed that He rescues, saves, redeems, helps, blesses, showers gifts upon His people simply because He is who He is…

NEVER because they deserve it. Only because they belong to Him and its a reflection of His nature.

Makes Him look good.

Gives Him glory.

And He really, really likes to give good gifts.


And I am one of His.

Grafted in.

Part of the Family.

A daughter of the King.

A high priest.





Danced around.

Sung over.

Laughed with, and, I’m sure, at.


So, as I process these things my Three have taught me so diligently, I lay my shame at Their feet.

And leave it there.

And ask for help, knowing that’s what They’re waiting for me to do.

And I humble myself to accept the answer that inevitably comes, and fills me to overflowing with gratitude (and a wee bit more embarrassment that I really try hard to squelch).


You see, the goodness that comes my way will always come, even though I had been trained to expect the worst because of the things I have experienced as a young woman.

God is good.

He does not change.

And He promises to bring beauty our of our ashes, joy out of our mourning.

It is not about what I do that determines whether or not God will show up, or bless me, or give me good things…

It is always about Him.

And whether or not I choose to believe Him.

And I do.

I choose Him.

I choose to focus on Him.

To see myself as He sees me.

To be grateful. To be thankful.

To praise Him .

Worship Him.

Because He is worthy.

— Lets be clear: its not about what we get, really.

When our focus is on Him, and how good He is, we become in a better position to receive it, rather than unconsciously pushing it away.

The goal isn’t the goodness He pours out onto us, but its a fantastic perk that is ours if we are willing to see it and open ourselves up to humbly accepting it.


Instead of piously rejecting free gifts from the One whom all good things are created, lets learn to position ourselves to receive them.

Because He’s got plans that involve His glory, His Good Name, His reputation, and the dreams He planted in each of us to carry on His good works.

Don’t dismiss the gifts just because you don’t think you deserve it.

Because you don’t.

Never did.

But Jesus does, and He qualifies us because of what He did for us.




He is so good. 

love love,


When it’s Hard to Give Thanks

Somebody’s child is in the hospital today. 

Someone else’s marriage is crumbling.

While the media is showing us pictures of perfect families sitting down to perfect meals, advising us to steer clear of politics around the table this year,  the reality for many people during this holiday season is one of heart break, anguish, worry, sorrow… 

We’ll run the gamut between not giving two hoots about turkey & stuffing & pies & Uncle Bob’s tendency to stir the political pot at dinner… and wanting desperately to maintain some level of normalcy by ensuring that the day happens just like it should. Because that’s how we cope. 

Because at this point, all we can do is cope.

And hang on by our fingernails.

Some of us have lived in some shade of darkness for so long that when sunshine finally peeps through, we have a hard time adjusting to its brightness. 

I guess all I want to say to you today is if you’re going through something awful: I’m sorry. 

It hurts. 

And you’re allowed to hurt amidst the thanksgiving hoopla.

 It’s ok to eat more pie if you need to. 

It’s ok that it hurts so bad you don’t even want to be around anyone. 

Or to want everyone around you. 

However you need to do this, you do it. 

And I’m so sorry you’re hurting. 

You are loved. Even while you hurt. 

Even if you’re angry at the hurt. 

Even if you can’t see which way is up. It’s ok to feel those things. 

You are loved. And seen. 


When Good Keeps Getting Better

I’m guilty of letting the disappointments and heartache of the past become too familiar. 

Maybe you are too.

embarrassmentIts easy enough to let it happen. I mean… when we’ve lived it, breathed it, and experienced it for any length of time it just naturally becomes a way of life. What’s expected.

Recently I pulled out some of the old CD’s that my ex and I had recorded so many years ago, and I’ll tell you this: it was weird to listen to them again.

The influx of memories that crashed through my mind carried many good feelings with them because I used to love to sing on stage.

Loved bringing people into worship.

Singing about hope.

– I’m wired to encourage, and I really got to do that all over the country for a few years (way before social media became my jam!), yet there was another side to those years on the road, as well as the ones before and after.

And its hard to forget.

The past few years have been a training ground for me.

I’ve been relearning what goodness is.

What it feels like.

And how to reprogram my thinking.

When I made the daily decision to plunk down in front of Him every day, God invaded my space by teaching me about who He is and what that means to me on a daily basis.

He has convinced me that He loves me like a really good dad loves his kid.

Like a proud papa who adores his little girl.

As a new husband loves his bride.


He loves me.

It took awhile to grasp it. And then to own it… but it has totally rocked my ever-lovin’ world.

The reprogramming has included His soft whispers of hope for my future, which I confess has been extra difficult for me to wrap my head around.

My life has been full of things that have hurt me, things that stretched me, things that have blindsided me.

And I became accustomed to not expect anything much better than the very simple pleasures like my children’s smiles, their health, a decent job to pay bills and put food on the table, and good friends.

Those are really good things, and I do not take them for granted.

Yet He kept repeating certain scriptures of hope in my time with Him everyday, compounded by confirmations through random sermons, books, emails, quotes, music, and conversations.

I’ve written about many of this over the past few years, and its safe to say that it is well documented that I have struggled.

My most recent posts have been rather jubilant, if I do say so myself, because I have had the privilege of watching God come through with some of His promises for me, and I can hardly stand it.

A very big component of my joy is realizing that I’m not crazy! Which feels really good.


When I sensed Him tell me to start praying and repeating aloud the things He had been promising me, and to do so with some urgency, I was a wee bit afraid that I may have finally toppled my rocker.

But the stuff that started to happen shortly after I obeyed, well, still kinda gives me shivers.

You guys, let’s be honest. We all know there’s a lot of smarmy hocus-pocus garbage that has been tossed around in the name of God over the years. And a chunk of it seems to have padded pockets more than anything.

Here’s the thing though: when you learn to hear God’s voice, and He consistently speaks to you about something, and then pushes the GO button… it pays to listen. In ways that are much more fulfilling than common currency.

He is a faithful God, and when He says something He always follows through. It may not be in our preferred timing, but His is better anyway.

Because He’s just so smart.

Anyway, I want to let you know that I am experiencing some really good things in my life these days, and feel compelled to encourage you to not give up, or to give in to despair if you are in the midst of some really tough stuff.

I am living proof that God is the Master at creating newness, of bringing beauty up out of our ashes, of restoring those things that the locusts have eaten, of redeeming, of healing, of replacing our mourning with joy.

He is the author of all that is good, and it pleases Him to take the yuck and transform it into something amazing.

A year ago He began the process of getting me ready for a new person in my life by allowing me to feel deep loneliness (which, if you recall, really ticked me off).

I eventually allowed myself to start to date, and had no idea what I was doing.

He also began to stir up more inside me regarding the dreams and plans He planted within me for business and for championing women…

metomToday I am thrilled to be building a relationship with a man that surprises me almost daily with something I am pleased to discover that I like, respect, or admire about him.

It is a good thing, and I am thankful that God laid the foundation for me so I could fully enjoy it.

And these good things only seem to get better.

God is a good God.

And He likes to spread that goodness around, contrary to what many may think.

The hard things in my life are being used to help others… I might have hit someone for telling me that all those years ago, but today I am happy about it.

He doesn’t waste a thing.

Let Him show you.

– love love





It is Well With My Soul

For some reason, I still stutter when people ask me how many kids I have. 

Do I say four?

Or do I draw it out, and say, “I have three girls, and had one son who passed away when he was eight months old.”

Or do I not say anything about him at all, and just answer that I have three?

Because do I really want to see the cocked head, hear the little cluck of the tongue, followed by “oh I’m so sorry, that must have been hard. My sister/daughter/friend lost a child too. I can’t even imagine how you got through that.”

I can’t imagine it either

Sometimes it sneaks up on me, and I am surprised to realize and remember that this actually happened in my life.

I traveled this path.

I gave birth to, and eventually said goodbye to, my little boy.

I wonder what he would have been like…

Would he have played sports like his dad? Bantered with his Grandma over favorite hockey teams?

Would he have loved music as much as we do, or had some other creative bent?

Would he have been like my side of the family and lean a little more redneck? Learned to hunt with his uncle, fish with his cousin? Tinker under the hood of a truck?

What would it have been like for the girls to grow up with a brother? Who would poke and tease them at home, but stick up for them at the playground.

Would he kick their ass for even thinking about dating so-and-so, and make their lives miserable until they dumped said-date.

Would we have been close? Would our bond be any different than the ones I have with the girls?

What is it like to have a little boy?

 I don’t even know. I never got to know him.

If he had lived, he would be 21 years old this month. A legal adult.

But he didn’t.

My grief was like a festering wound, but fairly well hidden, for at least ten years after his death.

I didn’t know how to process it all. How to grieve, especially since I felt like such a failure. It was my body that failed him, after all.

So my turbulent emotions stayed at a simmering boil just beneath the surface for far too long, and caused so much damage.

I was stuck.

I was in pain.

And I didn’t know how to fix it.

Funny how having my husband walk out on me turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. 

Too harsh?

Not really.

I was forced to feel when Kevin walked out; when he told me it was over, that there was nothing we could do to fix our marriage, and he wanted a divorce.

All the pain I had kept bottled up for so long crashed its way to the surface and broke through, surging forth with a vengeance.

I cried for a year. No kidding.

And slowly began to come back to life.

We’re not doing anyone any favors by locking down our emotions. Least of all ourselves.

In order to continue to live with any meaning, we must be willing to face what hurts. Process it. Feel it. And heal.

These three. 

I would have missed out on so much more with them if I had not had the opportunity to face the hurt.

Mando was 11 when I crashed, and she had already borne the brunt of my pain for 9 years. Poor kid.

But God. God is so much more amazing than I could imagine. He has brought beauty out of this pain. Out of our ashes. Produced songs from our mourning.

It still sucks that I don’t have a young man to hug and kiss on and tell him I love him and call him Joe.

But I do have his sisters. And I squeeze them and tease them and kiss them and nag them and laugh with them and love them fiercely all the more now.

Because I am no longer stuck.

I know that life has all too many unpleasant surprises. But I also know that if I field them well, safely in the hand of the Lover of my soul, I will always come out on top.

Because He says I am the head, and not the tail.

That no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

That His plans for me are good.

And He began a good work in me, and will continue to bring it to pass.

Oh. And He is a Good Good Father, despite what some may think.

Life and people can hurt. But I have experienced great healing from the God of the universe on a very personal level.

It is well with my soul. And my heart. And my mind. And even my body. It is well.

Love love


Recognizing the Good

When you have been praying for something for a long time, and it just feels like it’s never going to happen, it’s easy to become a tad jaded — even if you don’t mean to. 

All the waiting can tend to produce a bit of a shell around your heart, especially if it’s been years that have passed. 

So it has been with me. 

What God has promised me has been reiterated, confirmed, and established within my heart over and over again so that I have had no choice but to continue to place myself at His feet in expectation, repeating His promises and affirmations to Him with faith & trust. 

The funny thing is that as time has passed, a little part of me has tried to harden (the shell around the heart that I mentioned), to protect itself from disappointment. Waiting can be an exercise in strength & endurance training, and recently I have discovered that I’ve been limping, so to speak. And that protective shell, thin though it may be, was starting to cause some friction. 

And this is where God continues to amaze me. As I have been watching something unfold before my eyes that seems to fit the bill of what I have been praying & waiting for, the limp and the friction have prevented me from actually seeing it as the blessing and answer it is… 

Today, as I ripped off a scab that was so irritating I had trouble focusing on reality, I felt a sharp jab of pain that brought me face to face with the potential beauty of this moment. 

And would it surprise anyone who knows me to learn that I am undone by it? 

Yes, there are tears today.

Partly because I suspect there is still a measure of unworthiness involved that needs to be thrown out. 

And a little bit of incredulity since I have had nothing to do with its occurrence.

 It’s a gift, plain & simple, and I’m kinda overcome with gratitude. 

Years ago, I read a remarkable poem called “Wait” by Russell Kelfer, and I believe it set the tone for what my heart was to be engaged in in the ensuing time.

More than anything, I want to be the first to thank God for His faithfulness. He didn’t have to give me this gift. He already had my love and gratefulness for all He has healed and revised in my life. 

But this. 

This goes far above & beyond what I could have imagined, and I can truly say that I know from experience that His plans for me are good. 

I see and recognize His hand, and it is so, so good. 

What an awesome thing to be able to proclaim. 

He is so good!

Love love


Letting God Create Beauty From Our Ashes