Even if. . .

I remember the accident.  I remember it like it happened yesterday.  I remember it because it was a day that changed me.  In truth, it changed a lot of people.  It was August 11th, 2004.  It has now been 14 years since my little girl, Emma Grace, came face to face with death.
I was working in Chicago that day, and called home during a break to check in on my husband Chad and our two young girls.  Emma, our oldest, had celebrated her second birthday 5 days earlier and Rylee was 6 months old.  
When Chad answered the phone I knew immediately something was wrong.  “Nancy, Emma fell and hit her head.  Her eyes keep rolling back and she is in and out of consciousness."  I could hear the panic and fear in his voice.  
“Keep her awake!  Don’t let her fall asleep,” I yelled in desperation.  I heard the sirens in the background.
Looking back, I can remember that surge of fear and the anxiety, but my mind was focused on the distance that separated us.  I knew I needed to be there for my f…

What we need to do for each other

I read a Facebook post recently that concerned a friend of mine.  On the surface the post was ordinary, but just beneath that was another layer.  That deeper layer touched me in an unexpected way.  What I saw by reading those few lines, was a tiny view into her world.  A world that I'm not a daily part of, but still care deeply about.

She is my friend, and my sister in Christ.  Though time and distance have changed our relationship, I find I still have a deep love and longing for her greater good.

I imagined for a moment what she must be going through.  What hard things is she facing today?  How is she dealing with pain and disappointment?  Has life wrecked her world and thrown her to her knees in desperation for answers and guidance?

I have been there.  I am there right now.  I share many things on this blog, but there are some burdens that I am unable to speak of.

A week passes and she still comes to mind.  There's a heaviness I feel for her; an empathy I cannot explain.  H…

The path to surrender is the road of the cross

It was early, but the birds were awake to witness our departure.  I'm sure they sang like they did every other morning, but I was in no frame of mind to hear them.  The sun was throwing pale yellow rays through the fronds that hung over the uneven road to our neighborhood known as Colonia Becklin.  And just beneath the height of the hanging coconuts grew a Plumeria tree displaying Nicaragua's national flower.

I wonder, sometimes, at how the earth still spins and pushes forth beauty when a world can stop short, caving in from the weight of sadness and disappointment.

Our home for the past year, with its concrete walls and leaking roof, its dusty floors and roach filled kitchen, stood in stoic silence as we passed by for the last time.  Our call to missions wasn't suppose to the end this way, this soon.  The guards had given us a bored, sleepy wave when we drove through the gate.  We were one of many missionaries who had lived in that neighborhood.  I doubt they remember ou…

To know, is to love

A few months ago I was asked to consider speaking at a ladies' gathering.  My initial reaction was curiosity, but that was quickly followed by nervousness and finally dread.  I gave a quick verbal decline, "Thanks, but no thanks."

It was my mind that held onto the idea, turning it over and looking at it closely.  What could I possibly say that people want to hear?  Who am I that people would care to listen?

I pump detergent into a tattered blue sponge, and began to wipe clean the pile of dishes in the sink.  From the window I look over our fence to see the backyard of my friend Maria.  She reached out to me before I moved into my house six months ago, and in the midst of that crazy, busy, strange time, I felt a flicker of hope for acceptance and belonging.  I wonder what would Maria want to hear?

I rinse and stack and wipe down counters.  My phone pings; a text from one of my sisters.  I dry my hands to send and receive a few messages back and forth, then return to the …

The gift of fathers

I'd wake before the sun, and follow the hallway into the yellow light that was thrown from the kitchen.  My bare feet padded across the cool linoleum floor and stood waiting until I was invited up onto his lap.  There were remnants of runny eggs streaked across the white plate before him, and a lukewarm cup of coffee that I knew from experience tasted more like sugar and cream.  When he left for work, the mug would remain in my possession; a gift for early risers.

The remembering of him during my childhood flows in and out of my mind.  Moments emerge and collect into categories.  My adulthood analyzes, organizes, assigns.

We didn't have a lot of money, but we were never in need.  My Dad would leave us early in the morning to drive 18 wheelers until late in the evening.  Mom nurtured us kids.  Dad provided for us.

Before I reached my teen years, he managed to work as a truck driver and go back to college.  After graduating, he began to pastor a church and for decades he never t…

The secret to finding God's will for your life

I once held preconceived ideas about the character of missionaries.  Being raised in church all my life, one would think I had met several, but I had not.  I think in some ways they are thought of as being on a higher spiritual plain, possessing the most beautiful of Godly principles.  Surely they are selfless and sacrificial, driven and adventurous, bold and fearless, visionaries and leaders.

But then I became one.

I know who I am, and who I am not.  People can look at the outside and assume they know the heart, but they cannot.  Maybe I managed to make some tough decisions on the way to serving as a missionary, but every single one carried its own dark fear.  I have never been bold, and certainly not thought of as a leader.  I am admittedly selfish too.  But somehow none of these things disqualified me.

In the four years since I first set foot in Nicaragua, I have learned a great deal about the character of God and His perfect will for my life.  I used to believe that His plan had e…

In the morning, I rise

I get up after hitting my snooze button on my phone for the 3rd time.

I get up for many reasons – reasons I’m not quite sure of yet as I stumble out of bed from my sleep/sleepless night.

I steady my off balanced footing and stomp through my motherly garments that I have rightfully earned– the comfy pants, slippers, t-shirt, and oversized cardigan/ know the one you wore the past three mornings – that one.

I trip out of my bedroom into the hallway that could have landmines of legos, tape, open doors, babydolls, matchbox cars, chair-legs, etc. I sacrifice myself to get one step closer to the aroma of delayed brew coffee – thank the Lord every morning for delayed brew coffee.

I pour my cup, open up my devotional app on my phone and begin swiping and scrolling through readings and verses and quickly write down in my journal the thoughts that float through my brain so that I might actually remember them at the end of the reading.

The app I use allows you to see what your friends hav…