Open Letter to the Mama Who Feels the Too-Muchness

Open Letter to the Mama Who Feels the Too-Muchness

Dear Warrior Friend, Yes – warrior. Because if you weren’t fighting for your kids you wouldn’t be here. Let’s just get it all out there on the table before we go any further. This mom gig is the hardest thing. I’ve seen the social media memes and the you’ve-got-what-it-takes articles and all those things that are meant as an encouragement to all of us who are momming in the trenches. But the too-muchness of motherhood still creeps in like children’s little fingers under a locked bathroom door. And there isn’t a season of motherhood that isn’t without its own too-muchness. From the wild-eyed newborn days to the drama of middle school to the heartache of watching grown kids make destructive choices, being a mom can feel like more than we signed up for. I understand...

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The Gift of No

The Gift of No

We sat in the office of the private high school’s principal. She was compassionate and apologetic, but unequivocal. We had a spot for her and wanted it to work out. We really like her. But it’s not a good fit. …can’t accommodate her needs… …more severe than our other students with ADHD… …so sorry… We knew something was different about our first daughter from the time she was only a few weeks old. She was extremely sensitive to temperature, light, and noise; she would wake up even if the phone rang in another room. By 18 months, her lack of impulse control was evident. In chaotic places like the church nursery, she became aggressive towards other kids, and while we were potty training she once dove head-first into the toilet. She couldn’t explain why. At age three...

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Open Letter to the Man Who Holds My Hand in the Dark

Open Letter to the Man Who Holds My Hand in the Dark

Dear Man of Mine, A couple of months ago when we were at a friend’s wedding, I stood in the fellowship hall before the ceremony wrapping the stem of the bride’s bouquet with a white ribbon, silk over thorns, and I thought. I thought about the day sixteen years ago when we stood, bare toes on rough carpet in a plain little sanctuary, and you held my hands as we made promises for better or worse. Someone had put red glitter in the foot washing water, and the pictures took so long that all the food was gone by the time we made it to the reception, and it didn’t matter one bit because I had you and you had me. And a couple weeks later we sat in the car by a pond and talked about all the things we didn’t know yet. And it’s true. We didn’t know what was coming. But you...

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Let It Be

Let It Be

Some things don’t settle in until you see it in somebody else’s eyes. Especially when they’ve known you forever and they can see the change. I stood on a hillside graveyard in Kentucky last weekend, bare toes in deep moss, and looked sixty or so of my family in the eyes. There was no pretending – not for them, not for me. It’s been a hard couple of years. There are more fresh graves on that hillside than seems right, and that’s just the upturned soil we can see. Almost all of us are working a little harder this year to fill our raw lungs, and there aren’t many of us that aren’t asking why. Why are there seasons like this? What’s the point of grief and cancer and heartache and aging and broken relationships and dreams that disappear like smoke in the wind? A...

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An Open Letter to the Folks We’ll See on Furlough

An Open Letter to the Folks We’ll See on Furlough

I’ll go ahead and say sorry. I’m sorry in advance for the things we’ll do and say on furlough. We’ve only been away from the States for a year and a half, but we’ve already forgotten a lot about how to live there. When we show up to speak at your church and neither of my children can find their shoes, it’s not because we’re neglectful or disrespectful. It’s simply that shoes have become an accessory, not a necessity, and why in the world would you wear shoes when there are puddles to splash through and soft grass and warm stones on the dirt road? And, yes, I realize their toenails and the bottoms of their feet look like they need a good scrub. About the time the stains fade and their feet look respectable again, it will be time to return to the land of unfettered...

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Where Words Fail

Where Words Fail

I write like I breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Pull thoughts into the core of me, let them saturate, then push them out as words. It’s less a pastime and more a necessary function of life. Sometimes, though, the thoughts and emotions flow wild and the framework of words doesn’t hold them. They pour out like water, bursting through the cracks and splashing over the sides, and I sit drenched and wide awake in the stream. Some experiences are too big to be tied to time and space. They overlap into eternity, and if we pay attention, we can catch glimpses through the veil. These moments are big enough that they vibrate the air around them, they resonate like music in the bones. They leave us gasping, pulling for air like a fresh born baby before its first cry. Three weeks...

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