Eleven years ago today, I moved from Dallas to Philadelphia.

I got on a plane with a one-way ticket from beautiful friends who believed God enough to support me on my journey–even so far as to drive my car halfway across the country.

I embarked on an adventure of trusting God to do more than I could do on my own.

I left the familiar comforts of knowing when, where, and how to do things. Simple things, like how to get to the grocery store, how to get my car inspected, how to pay for tolls on the highway. I never expected to be so profoundly disoriented in my own country simply by moving to a new city and state.

On this journey, I’ve questioned God’s goodness and sovereignty. He has been so patient with my wrestling. More than I deserve.

I’ve experienced emotional pinnacles and waded through some of life’s nadirs.

I’ve done things I never knew I’d do: made disciples, led a ministry, been jobless, taught high school, attended graduate school, worked as an administrative assistant, helped people get married, gotten married myself, watched a child being born, birthed my own, recorded an album, taught workshops, lost my last surviving parent, lost friends, made new ones.

I wish I’d trusted God more, and more quickly.

I wish I’d rested in Him more.

I wish I’d been wiser with my tongue, saying the things that should have been said and keeping my mouth shut at the right times.

I wish I hadn’t been timid when a moment called for boldness.

Overall, I’m grateful for the journey and hopeful for the future. I hope I’ve learned from what my mother called the shoulda-woulda-couldas.

I hope my daughter learns from mine, too.


Giving The Gift of Motherhood

I’ve spent more of my life as a single woman (38 years) than as a married one (almost 5 years). My only child is about to turn 3 in less than a week (*gasp*). And I have spent 20 Mother’s Day celebrations without my own mother. So I have a sensitivity to women who have not had children of their own (whether through singleness or infertility). I’ve felt the sting of being motherless most often around her birthday (early December) and the date of her passing (three days before Christmas). Any memory or milestone can trigger feelings of loss or emptiness, even two decades after my mother’s death.

I say all that to say…I understand the wound. I have felt the wound. I still feel it sometimes.

So if that’s you–if you’re feeling the wound this Mother’s Day–you’re not alone.

The enemy of your soul would love for you to feel like you are.

He’d love for you to isolate yourself, to sulk, to play patty cake at your own pity party.

He’d love to steal your joy and peace by trading in the truth for his lies.

So here’s the truth:

You can still be fully feminine (even if your womb is empty) and fully loved (even if you’ve never been a wife) and can be fully parented by God (even if you are still reeling from the ache of losing your mother).

Here’s one way I have learned to experience joy in the face of dreams deferred and tangible loss:

Give what you don’t have.

That sounds super crazy, doesn’t it? How do you give what you don’t have?

You have to have access to a bigger storehouse than yourself.

If I’m doing this well, I’m acknowledging my hope/loss, and looking to God Himself as my chief Comforter. He becomes my storehouse of joy. And I’m able to celebrate others rather than solely soaking in my own tears/regrets/griefs.

I could send a text to all my mom friends celebrating the fact that they’re doing the hard work of mothering.

I could give a hug to an empty nester who’s missing her kids who might be around my age.

I could mentor a younger single woman who’s having trouble finding her way.

I could tutor a child who might be struggling with a subject in which God has given me proficiency.

I could find ways within my circle of influence to affirm motherhood and participate in it: encouraging words, babysitting, disciple making, volunteering, etc.

There are a million and one ways to give the gift of motherhood–the very thing you may feel has been withheld from you. Just look around you! And as you’re giving it away, you’ll marvel to see how God fills you with joy and peace as He becomes your greatest joy.

Running well

I ran one track race my freshman year of high school. The 800m run. Two laps around the track.

My first and last race. One and done.

I always wanted to run the 100m dash. Those ladies were *real* athletes. They could run faster than anybody else. Whether they were long and lean, or short and powerful, they got the job done.

I wanted to be like that. So I figured what worked for them would work for me.

Just run, right? If I run faster than anybody else, I’ll win right?

>>Athletes, insert hearty, knowing chuckle here<<

I had no strategic advice for how to run the 800. I just trained with the team and thought I’d figured it out well enough.

At the start of the race, I set my feet in place. Every muscle was engaged. I put my game face on. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest with the anticipation & hope of a win. I wasn't going to be Flo-Jo. I was Flo-Jo.

The starting gun went off. I sprung into action.

At the end of the first lap, I was in the lead. “Flo-Jo” saw visions of Olympic glory dancing in her head.

And then…

The spirit of tiredness was upon me. All my energy was zapped.

And I still had another lap to run.

Suddenly, all the people who were behind me started to overtake me. One by one, I was getting sucked up by everybody I’d thought I’d passed for good. My best friend was the last one to zoom by, encouraging me to finish. (Let’s not even talk about how she had enough energy to both run AND talk while my lungs were burning and imploding inside my chest. All I could hear was Charlie Brown’s teacher as she spoke: “Wanh wanhhhh, wanh wanh wanh wanhhhh.”)

I came in dead last.

Suffice it to say that what I didn’t know, hurt me.

But that story has carried some helpful “life nuggets” for me along the way:

1. Life is a marathon–not a sprint.

2. Plan. Strategize. Then execute.

3. A good coach can make all the difference. (Another post on that is forthcoming.)

4. Encouragement is helpful, even needed, but at the end of the day, you still have to do the running. The beauty of this is that Jesus Christ has done the heaviest of the heavy lifting for us. So we are finishing in His unlimited strength, not our own finite ability.

5. Finishing the race set before me was better than quitting altogether.

So…what about you? What “life nuggets” have you picked up along the way? Please comment below and share them!