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…

This letting go

I am looking back on life and wondering how I have lived so many years.  The lines of my face age me, but inside I feel just shy of twenty.  My children are the reminders of all the time I have passed through.  The fade of the sun and the rise of the moon have transformed them.  I remember their beginning and many of the moments that have brought them to where they are now.  I have been there savoring the gifts that time brings, and loving the journey of being a mom.  And through all of these years I have come to believe that the hardest part and the most beautiful is the letting go.

My son had surgery last week that prevents him from putting any weight on one of his legs for at least six weeks. He has been hobbling his way through our home, up and down the stairs on crutches.  He is still the boy he has always been, pushing the boundaries of his abilities, full of confidence and lacking the fear that could keep him safe.  All of my warnings of the consequences that will follow a fall…

To the one not chosen

Recently, three of my children auditioned for the same choir at school.

When I see the posted list of those accepted, my heart slips slowly to the floor.  I recheck the names once, then twice, and a third time just to make sure there wasn't an oversight.  But nothing changes.

The three walk through the front door from school and hear the news that only two of them are chosen.  Their faces tell me how the by-passing of one makes them all feel left out.  I whisper congratulations in one room, and bind up wounds in another.  I see now how you can belong to the contradiction of both joy and sorrow.

I considered this scenario days before when they were all a tangled mess of nerves.  I wished, I hoped, I dreamed with them.  I looked them in the eyes, and told them how proud I was that they were doing this brave thing.  And no matter the outcome, they had accomplished all that they could to realize their dream.

But here in this space of hurting, my words fall lifeless.  I feel the pain…

To choose a life like that

A cool and rainy spring break lingers on through the Monday after Easter, and all but one of my kids sleep late.  Eliza, my little shadow, is up and about and ready to hit the grocery with me by mid-morning. A few moments after entering the store a familiar scent hits me.  I literally stop mid-aisle and question Eliza, "Do you smell that?  What does it remind you of?"

I don't wait for an answer, "It smells like Nicaragua."
The store has been under construction for the past few weeks, so I can't place the exact source of the familiar aroma, but it flies me back to our home in Central America.  It is a clean scent, like fresh laundry or newly mopped floors.  I'd forgotten it was ever a part of my life until now.

It's morning there with the windows propped wide behind the black metal bars.  The screens are popping away from their corners having been cut too short by the owner of the house.  We haven't bothered to fix them because the mosquitoes are…

It isn't well with my soul

In the year 1871, the Spafford family tragically lost their only little boy to an illness.  Horatio, the father, was a successful lawyer and businessman in the city of Chicago, but later that same year, he also lost many of his investments in The Great Chicago Fire.  In the pain of personal and financial tragedy, the family decided to take a holiday to Europe following these events, but Horatio had to finish up some business before leaving.   He sent his wife Anna and their four young daughters on a boat with plans to meet them in England.

Four days into the voyage, their ship collided with another and Anna was the only Spafford who survived.  She sent Horatio a telegram that began, "Saved, alone."  On his way to meet Anna, Horatio's ship passed over the place where his daughters perished beneath the dark and mighty sea.  It is said that these events inspired him to write the hymn, It Is Well With My Soul.

The first notes play out, and I recognize their tune before the w…