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07.05.2015

I can't remember the final time I bathed either of my children.   For years, I scrubbed their tiny bodies with Johnson's, my knees screaming for mercy as I kneeled beside the tub. Night after night, I wrapped their sweet-smelling pink flesh in hooded towels and wrestled their slippery selves as I forced their toes into feety-pajamas. I slathered chunky thighs with pink lotion, combed wisps of baby-fine hair, stacked bath toys in their usual spots, and mopped up rivers of bath water cascading through the bathroom. Every night, we had our routine. And now it's done. My big kids bathe themselves now, and although I used to long for this day to arrive, it's bittersweet. Sure, it's nice to say, "Go take your shower" and sit on the couch while it happens, but some nights I'd give anything to watch them marvel at splashing again or to shampoo their hair myself. Sometimes, I'd love to see baby toys sitting where big-kid shampoo and loofahs now do. What I wouldn't do to wrap their warm bodies in hooded towels and snuggle them against me one more time. Lasts are hard, but sometimes only after the fact. They're hard because we don't know that they're lasts....

18.04.2015

The clay sculptures sit next to my bed where I can see them every morning and night. A dinosaur, an eagle, and a fish are among my most treasured possessions.Painstakingly shaped and painted by my own children, these pieces may never be on display in a museum, but they are displayed where their creators' mother can see and appreciate them over and over. In a fire, I'd scoop them right up over items worth thousands more.My children made them for me, and that is what makes them perfect.But to my children, they aren't. Sometimes when they see them, they laugh at what they made when their hands were smaller, and they see every flaw in their hands' creations. They ask me why I keep them out, why I display them like they're fine art.So often, in my own creating, I feel like I just mess up everything, too.In my hands and through my eyes, what I intend to be beautiful is nothing more than broken. What I mean to be a masterpiece turns into a mess.My meager offerings to the Lord? They disappoint me. They are never enough and never as good as so and so's. When I reflect on...

12.04.2015

"Josh, look at my nails."Her eight year old fingers stretch out before her stepfather's eyes, showing off the latest manicure on her tiny bitten fingernails."Ooh, pretty," he replies. "I like them!"She doesn't know it, doesn't understand what she's doing, but she's following in the footsteps of every female before her. She is wanting - needing - the affirmation of a father.As independent and intelligent as she is, my little girl also has a need deep within her heart that is as old as time itself. She needs to feel loved and beautiful. She needs to hear the man in her life tell her she is enough as she is, she is treasured in his eyes, and there is something about her that is of value. She needs to know that she has worth. And, praise God, she hears that from her Josh. He was not in the room when she was born, is not biologically her daddy, but he loves her like she can do no wrong and openly admires her as she twirls in new dresses for him. He tells her what he tells me, that she is so pretty and she is enough.He tells her, and I pray...

07.04.2015

“The grand design of God in all the afflictions that befall his people is to bring them nearer and closer to himself.” Thomas Brooks***Of all the posts I have ever written, this is one of the most personal and one of my favorites. This weekend, I saw my first inchworm of this spring, and I felt the need to share this post again. I wrote it about one of the most difficult seasons of my life and how God showed that He hears every cry His children make, even when we're not sure He does.***It’s as if there are two brains operating simultaneously inside my skull. One is the brain with a brain, thinking about the logistics of my new life – finances, schedules, grocery lists, the reality of living as a single mom. The other is the brain with the heart, thinking about the pain of being alone.These two brains war against each other, the winning brain at any moment anyone’s guess. My thoughts shift moment by moment, like a radio dial that jumps between frequencies. This is an unanticipated difficulty – never knowing which brain will take control, and feeling powerless when the wrong one is in charge. Thoughts are...