Friday, June 4, 2021

Last Words

I don’t know if it’s weird or not for people to worry a lot about the life you would leave behind if you died. I think as a writer, I get fixated on “famous last words” and “closing scenes” which make me want to leave behind something worth remembering and deserving of this one great life I’ve been given.

I think a lot about what people will say about me; the pieces I have written that they will turn too; and the memories of me that they will hold dear. 

I think 10 years ago, the memories of me would have been different. I was devoted to my SAHM life. I was a milder, quieter version of myself. 

But fast forward through my father’s abandonment, my affair, my divorce, and about a dozen more bullet holes and stab wounds and you get me: the brazen, determined, guarded girl standing in front you.

I think the only time I am truly transparent is when I write. I think through my words I am able to let others into a side of me that often times is not as visible to the naked eye. I think my writings reflect a lot of sadness and the grief process, but I think there is also an undercurrent of bravery and courage in some of my pieces. A girl who literally rebuilt herself from rock bottom, and who stands before you a brilliant shining example of God’s grace and unfathomable goodness. 

But while my writing reflects this, my life right now does not. 

In my day to day life this is what I think the people closest to me see: a girl who is stressed beyond comprehension, who is void of joy, and who wears wounds like armor. 

And you know what? The more I think about this-the more crucial it is becoming for me NOT to be remembered like this. 

Because where my writings may reflect hope, my everyday life seems to reflect hopelessness. 

Where my writing reflect courage, my everyday life reflects a fear of change. 

And where my writings reflect a tone of joy for my salivation from my pit, my life reflects a girl who is still very much stuck there. 

And the more I dwell on that reality-the more it feels like a sucker punch deep in my gut. 

Because the people who are stuck with the girl in the pit are my family. 

My husband. Our daughters. 

The people who will remember me most once the rest of the world forgets I was even here. 

And for me that needs to change. 

I want my family to remember the way I prioritized them. Above my not only my current career, but the things that keep me tied down emotionally and spiritually. 

I want my family to remember me as joy filled, and that I was at peace with them and with our life.

I want my family to remember me as having an open and loving heart that was willing to meet people right where they were at regardless of where they came from or where they were going. 

But mostly, I want my family to remember me for the way I loved Jesus, and the way He was my Rock and my portion through all the things I have overcame in my life. 

I don’t want anyone to remember me as the girl with a bunch of baggage she couldn’t put down. 

I want them to remember me as being free and living my life out in the freedom that comes with knowing Christ. 

I’m not sure how to get there, but I think laying a lot of stuff down is a good place to start, and recently I off loaded the two biggest pieces of baggage that I’ve been carrying around for a very long time. 

So here’s to the rest of it: the current career that is literally sucking the life out of me; the alcohol that is helping me cope; and the depression and anxiety that make me feel trapped. Here’s to finding a way to set these things to the side so I can focus on what’s truly important and what’s not. 

This current version of myself is not the person I wish to leave behind. These are not the memories of me I want for my children. I will not leave the people I love most to wonder or worry about where my heart was, because despite the heaviness right now-it has and always will be with them. 

I am going to get to the other side of this. I’m going to find my freedom. I’m already a lot closer today than I was 6 months ago. 
And I can’t wait to see the way He rewrites the closing scene. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Living After Death

I died here.

I remember it so vividly.

Sometimes when I close my eyes, I go right back to this place.

I remember the way the dock felt underneath me. 

The way my friend’s legs held my head so gently. 

I remember their confused faces. Their wonderings how on a bright, muggy August morning things could go from normal to so gutturally devastating in just a few short moments. 

To be honest, I wondered that myself.

I am listening to Lisa Terkuerst’s new book, “Forgiving What You Can’t Forget”. And at the beginning of the book she invites us back to the moment we experienced our own personnel B.C. and A.D. 

“Before Chaos and After Devastation”. 

This is mine. 

A lot of people would think it was the night my dad left my mom for the first time; or the night my parents told me they were done for good. 

Many people would assume it was the day I called my dad and asked him to come pick up myself, my oldest daughter, and the few belongings that I needed to leave my first husband for the final time. 

And still there would be others who would be sure it was the day my divorce was final and I sat there surprisingly crying on the witness bench reeling from the last almost 10 years and the choices we both made to bring us to this point. 

But, no. None of those things broke me the way that day at this place did.

While they were devastating and gut wrenching in their own way, none of these moments shattered me wide open and left me bare and bleeding out the way as I was on that day.

In many ways, I’m still healing. I’m still growing. I’m still picking myself up from this dock where I fell apart in August of 2013. 

Over the last 8 years, God has been teaching me-mostly unwillingly-about forgiveness. About what it looks like and how holding onto these deep hurts only keeps us broken and unable to fulfill our true potential.

For a lot of years, I thought forgiveness meant I was giving the culprit of this moment in time a pass. 

That I was looking my monster in the face and telling him that his misuse and abuse of me was okay. 

mean, I’m still here, aren’t I? 

What’s the big deal? 

I thought that if I forgave him the way everyone else already has that he was finally getting what he needed: his free pass from the person he damaged the most. The closure he needs in a neat little package to continue to move on with his life and forget all about the girl he killed that day. 

But God is teaching me through Scripture, and worship, and wise counsel that forgiveness isn’t ANY of these things. 

Forgiveness is me releasing myself of years of bitterness, sadness, and pain.

Forgiveness is finally allowing myself to get up from that dock. 

Forgiveness is taking back control of my story and removing control of my heart and my emotions from the one who broke me. 

As long as I stay on this dock, he wins. 

I get to continue being the bad, evil person he needs me to be to feel good about himself. 

I stay the villain. 

The girl who took something she was not supposed to have. 

And that’s where the story stops.

As long as I stay on this dock. 

Well, I’m tired of laying here. 

I’m tired of feeling attached to this moment in time.

I’m tired of the way I’ve allowed it to damage me, change me, and mold me into an even more broken person than I was before he came into my life. 

I’m tired of the depression that wraps itself around me and strangles the life out of me some days. 

The moments. The memories. The things that keep me chained here unable to move. 

I’m tired of missing someone that clearly has not thought about me for one single second since the moment he left me laying here. 

I’m tired of waiting for an apology I’m never going to get, and feeling like I need it to move on.

I'm tired of feeling like I’m somehow entitled to it. 

Simply put: I’m just tired. 

This burden is heavy.

I feel my Father calling me away from the dock. 

I feel Him asking me to let Him lead me to freedom from this. 

I feel my body stirring, moving, sitting upright. 

I feel my hands on the wood pushing myself to my feet. 

I feel my legs taking steps. One foot in front of the other. One step at a time. 

Down the finger of the dock. 

Toward the gangway.

Onto solid ground. 

I’m not 100% there. 

But I’m moving in that direction. 

Freedom sounds so sweet. 

And I know He’s calling me towards it. 

2021 will be the year I finally walk away from this place. 

Watch me. 

But for now, I’m just trying to stand up. 

I’m trying to find my brave. 

And I’m finally starting to recognize the things I need to do to get there.

Friday, April 16, 2021

An Ending

You know what they don’t write a lot of books on? Grief and broken families. 

Grief when there is estrangement. Discord. Deep hurts that happened long before the death.

They don’t talk about grief when there have been lines drawn in the sand. They don’t educate you on what that looks like or how that feels.

Grief is often spoken about in the context of deep love. When you can hardly imagine what life is supposed to look like without that person. 

But it’s not really talked about when the person is a distant memory. A broken piece of us.

They don’t write endless novels on how to process that, and how to move forward. 

There is not a step by step instruction manual for how to come to terms with what was and what wasn’t.

My grandmother died this week. She was my last living grandparent. 

She had Alzheimer’s, and I am truly glad she’s no longer suffering in her prison of a mind. I’m thankful she no longer has to be alone in the nursing home like she was when COVID-19 was at it’s worst. I’m glad her 3 beloved sons got to be with her in the end.

But, the truth is: my relationship with her was complicated, because my relationship with my dad is complicated. 

Broken family dynamics are hard. They destroy us in such a unique way. I am convinced that no one knows how to hurt you better than family. No one knows how to exploit your insecurities, your ugly places, or your shortcomings more than flesh and blood. 

Grief is always hard, but grief in the midst of a broken family dynamic is so much harder.

I’m struggling with how to be. How to act. How to overcome what is and what was for what is expected.

Over the last few days I have found myself sitting in the middle of waves of anger and grief. And the days just feel heavier than normal.

Grief always makes others uncomfortable, but grief when they don’t think you’re entitled to it makes them lose their minds. 

Because grief they don’t think is yours leaves them trying to dictate it. They write off the grief because you weren’t “close with her” and your relationship was “complicated”. They down play the facts of the night she died to minimize your reaction. 

Don’t start! Be quiet! Do not cause a scene. This is your role and you will play it. 

Isn’t it funny how when people hurt you they think they get to dictate how you feel about it too? They think they get to choose your reactions and how you carry the weight. They become the thief and the judge all at the same time. And they convince those around them that they have that right too. 

Grief is always messy business, but today it just feels messier.

We will bury my grandmother tomorrow. 

I will play my part as I am expected too. 

But something I’m learning about grief in this space is that it deeply changes you and it finalizes the shift. 

The step back. 

The closing of doors.

For me, her burial tomorrow symbolizes the end of many things. 

Because there is no going back. 

There is no way to re-write the story that has already played out. 

So, here’s to ugly endings.

To stories that don’t end as they should. 

Because they are the stories that build us. That make us better. And serve as reminders for how we want our story to end by showing us how we don’t. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Guilty Motherhood


I drove over 15 miles like this today. 

Holding my screaming, sobbing, over tired, toddler’s tiny little hand while she BEGGED to be released from her seat. 

My arm fell asleep. My back was tweaked in a weird position. And I’m pretty sure I was going 10 under the speed limit and swerving. 

The people on my road this morning HATED me. 

But, we made it. 

I dropped my crying, screaming toddler off at daycare as I apologized to her teacher and attempted to leave her favorite blanket behind to console her. 

It didn’t work. ️

This morning NOTHING worked. 

It was a BAD morning. 

And several times this morning on the drive in I wondered if I should call in today. 

I wondered if I was failing by making her go to daycare.

I wondered if I was heartless to leave her with her teachers like this. 

I wondered for the seventeenth billion time if working really is “worth it”. 

If I’m somehow damaging my child by choosing NOT to stay home. 

Her older sister got me, at home, for three years. Do I owe my youngest the same? 

These are the questions. 

The guilty thoughts. 

The daggers to my soul. 

My constant internal struggle. 

My decision to work outside the home, and the career I’ve chosen, doesn’t necessarily make me popular in mommy circles and sometimes I think the PTA at my oldest daughter’s school has all but given up on me. 

Sometimes I’m late for pick up. 

Sometimes I don’t make it for dinner. 

Sometimes my Saturdays are spent in meetings I don’t really want to attend-but that’s the job.

I’m on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

I carry two phones: a personal phone and a work phone. 

Some nights my children get my undivided attention and other nights I’m stuck in my bedroom putting out the next “fire”. 

And you know what sometimes I really suck at the juggling act. 

I’ve been listening to Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In” on Audiobook. (I HIGHLY recommend this book if you are a working mom!) 

I’m on Chapter 10, “The Myth of Doing It All”. 

In the chapter she explains that we often make a big deal about babies and “separation anxiety”, but really “separation anxiety” is more about the parent. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be it all and do it all for our kids that we forget how resilient our kids actually are. 

This struck a cord with me because days like today I feel guilty. 

I feel like a failure. 

I feel like I could do more and be more.

But at the end of the day all I can do-is all I can do. 

Being a stay at home mother is a thankless task! Trust me! I know! I’ve been there. 

But, so is working outside the home. 

Motherhood is just hard. 


Some days we have it all together.

And then some days we drop the ball and our toddler screams at daycare, or our kid doesn’t pass the spelling test, or the dinner is from a drive through, or we lose our tempers at bedtime. 

Some days we let them watch too much iPad and we read only one book instead of three and they eat suckers for breakfast. 

And sometimes you drive like this for over 15 miles just to try to console them. 

Because this morning we both barely made it to drop off-but you know what? 

We made it.

And at the end of the day-that is all that matters.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Here's To The Boys

 Photo courtesy of Heather Greubel Photography.

Here’s to the boys who love the broken girls. 

The ones with daddy issues.

Trust issues. 

The ones with too many scars.

And deep gaping wounds.

The ones whose path has been lined with more mistakes than victories.

The girls who have turned their pain into power. 

Their regrets in stepping stones. 

The girls who wear their scarlet letters a little too boldly. 

The girls who don’t fall easy, but when they do-they fall hard. 

Here’s to the boys who don’t try to change them. 

Don’t try to erase them or silence them. 

The boys who show up-even when it’s hard.

Even when she’s hard.

The boys who anchor them. 

Who remind them that some boys do keep promises. 

The boys that give patience and grace-even when it’s the least deserved. 

The boys who let them fall and break and rebuild as many times as it takes. 

The boys who don’t shy away from the past, because they know that’s what brought her here. 

To this moment in time. 

To this path. On a warm fall day. Doing the thing they will always do better than anyone else in the whole world:

Putting a smile on her face. 

Here’s to the good ones.

The diamonds in the rough ones.

The ones with boots and blue jeans and callused hands that are more gentle than all the hands that came before them. 

The ride or dies.

The ones who say forever and mean it until their very last breath. 

Here’s to the boys that love the broken girls. 

And help to put them back together again.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Hard Places


Do you have places that hurt?

Physical places.




A church.

A school.

A restaurant.

Places that conjure up memories you have spent a lot of time healing from and forgetting. 

Places that can send you 1,000,000 steps backwards in a single second. 

Maybe it’s the place where you got the diagnosis or experienced the break up.

Maybe it’s where you learned a truth you didn’t want to hear. 

Maybe it’s where good memories and sad memories co-mingle in an unbearable way.

Places that breathe death instead of life. 

This is one of my places.

People who love me and who are deeply familiar with my story understand why this is one of my places.

Last week, during a particularly rough day that had nothing to do with this place or the memories of this place, I had to take a road trip here for work. 

As I drove down this road and past my personal “do not go” point, I was hit instantly with emotions and memories I haven’t visited for a long time. 

I was proud of myself for not losing it.

And as the day went on, I only felt myself slightly starting to spiral. 

I fought hard against the spin out and the backwards motion, and I came out on the other side slightly bruised, but without giving up any of the hard fought ground I have gained toward healing and forgiveness.

Two years ago I started the serious work of forgiveness.

I have two people in my story that I have held deep-seeded anger and resentment toward. 

People who have caused me unimaginable pain and grief. 

People whose choices resulted in collateral damage in my life.

They are people I will never get an apology from and I will never get to tie up their loose ends into a nice little bow of resolution. 

They are my Everest.

Those of you with similar people in your story. You understand. 

You understand that those are the hardest people to forgive, aren’t they?

The ones we don’t get to sit down across a table from and ask them why. 

The ones we don’t get the answers from that we so desperately want. 

The ones that root themselves so deeply in our soul that they become like poison in our hearts. 

The ones we allow to make us calloused, angry, and cynical. 

They are the hardest ones to let go.

The most painful ones. 

And over the last two years during my deep dive on forgiveness, I have learned that with some hurts the process of forgiveness is ongoing. 

A few weeks ago, I was talking with an amazing sister in Christ and we were talking about “baggage”, and the things we need to lay at the foot of the cross.

And she said something that struck a cord with me. 

She said that sometimes you have to visualize yourself physically laying it down.

And that sometimes you have to visualize yourself laying it down every single day. 

Like a morning ritual.

“Here you go, God. I’m going to let you carry this burden today.”

That visualization has been therapeutic for me, especially over the last week. 

Every morning this past week when I’ve woke up and my mind has tried to zap me back to this place, I stop and I visualize myself laying it down. 

This stretch of road.

That hurt.

That anger. 

That unforgiveness.

I lay it down. 

Right there. 

Right at His feet.

Forgiveness is a process. 

And for some hurts, it doesn’t happen overnight. 

But, Jesus knows my heart. He knows where I’m at and where I’m trying to go.

For me forgiveness symbolizes forward motion. 

A desire to be unstuck in a place that no longer serves me or my purpose. 

And as long as I’m trying.

As long as I’m committed to getting there. 

To the other side of all of this.

He will bless me.

He will see me through.

It may not be today or tomorrow or even a year from now.

But we’re getting there, because He’s got this.

And He will continue to carry this place that I no longer want to carry.

As long as I’m willing to continue to lay it down.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

His Steadfast Love


“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,

‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Lamentations 3:22-24


I woke up this morning to a text and a heart full of ache for a dear friend. 

A hard choice was made, but even harder choices are coming, and I cannot begin to fathom what this morning must feel like for her. 

And as I put my make up on this morning-fighting back tears- I thought about how blessed I am in this moment with my little family tucked safely into my beautiful new home. My children and my husband are happy and well. And then I glanced outside toward the beautiful sunrise that greets me each morning in this precious place we call home. 

And Lamentations came to mind.

I may not understand what today is going to look like for my friend, but I do know what it’s like to have mornings when it feels like the sun may not rise. 

I know what it’s like to have mornings where all you can do is lean into His mercy and grace. 

I know what it’s like to have mornings when it’s only by His power your feet hit the floor that day. 

I may not be in that season right now, but I have been there. 

So today I’m praying new mercies for my sweet friend. 

I’m praying for peace that passes all understanding. 

And I’m praying that today God reveals hope to her as beautiful as the sunrise in a way that only He can.

Count your blessings, friends.

Even if they are hard to find. 

 Because He’s got the day. 

The week.

The month.

The year.

He’s got it, and He’s going to show you beautiful sunrises to prove it.

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