My Q&A Video #2!

I answer Camilla Cruz Uphaven’s question on the inspiration for each of my novels.

Find out:

My least favorite life event

Which characters are secretly me with different names

If I ever talked to a crisis hotline volunteer and my personal story there

and more!

An Open Letter to an ESFJ

To my sweet ESFJ, who writes me faithfully,

I have been ruminating on your letter since I received it exactly a month ago.  You asked for prayer, and what you asked for struck at a root sin I have discovered in my own life this last year.  In wanting to steer you right, I’ve given my reply to you much thought, and finally realized that what I had to say was so big (for me!) that it would make a great blog post.

My reply to you is titled: The Greatest Lesson I Learned in 2014

You talk about change, and being afraid or anxious about it.  You worry about being replaced or lost or unhappy.

This pretty much defined 2014 for me.

This year, I moved across the United States.  I left the place I had lived for the past decade to move to a state I had never even visited.  I left my extended family and my amazing church.  And we did it all, my husband and I, with two tiny toddlers who didn’t understand.

I was happy for my husband’s job transfer, but I had a devil of a time sorting out my negative feelings.  What was at the root of my panicky feeling of unhappiness?

It was easy to say, “I hate saying goodbye to my family, especially my sister pregnant with Baby #1, and my youngest brother who I walked with weekly, and my parents, who are my best friends.”  It made sense to add, “I adore my church family, who feel like blood relatives to me.”

And yes, those were major chunks of sadness, of course, but the extremes I went to in my heart had to be more than that.  Anyone can feel deeply, immensely sad when one says goodbye to people.  But panic?  Sinful, stressed out panic?  That spoke to me of an idol.

At this point in my life, I really couldn’t pinpoint people as that idol.  I had my husband and my children, and they were going with me.  I adore my family, but I wasn’t idolizing their nearness.  I felt a bond with my church, but God has led us to amazing churches in the past, and I knew He would do so again.

So what was it?

Change.

Change!  That was it!  I claimed I was afraid of change.  It’s my personality, right?  Change is scary and can’t be good.  Change brings worries and anxieties.  Change is fear of the unknown.  That’s totally normal and reasonable!

And thus, I rationalized the idol in my heart, not even knowing how to dig deeper.

It was the week I didn’t leave my house, crying for two whole days, unable to even open my mouth to speak, dumbstruck with confusion as to why my feelings were so over the top, when I cried out to God and said, “Fear of change wouldn’t cause this much heartache!  I keep trying to excuse the fact that I have an idol, but I can’t figure out what it is!  Can you help me, because I can’t go on like this!

And then it came to me.

“Fear of Change” is the polite, friendly pseudonym for the evil villain that is “The Idol of Comfort.”

WHY do we fear change?  WHY are we worried about new things?  WHY do we get anxious when life takes a sudden twist?  When we actually sin in our fear, why is it?

It’s not something to be permitted because of personality.  It’s not something to nod and smile at and say, “Yep, perfectly okay and reasonable.”  It is something to be uprooted out of our souls!

A lot of the human race and I have a mortal dread of losing our comfort. 

It’s totally comfortable to go to a church where everyone knows and loves me and has been a part of my life for almost a decade.

It’s totally comfortable to be able to invite my parents over weekly to watch my kids and help clean my house and chat with me over what I wore to the fifth Christmas party I was invited to that season.

It’s totally comfortable to run and talk to Susy and Nelly every week because I’ve known them since I was a teen with raging acne, fully aware that they’ll always love and accept me and understand all of my mixed-up half-brained communication.

It’s totally comfortable to always take the toddlers to play at the Browns’ house because they wear skirts only and don’t watch anything above the rating of Veggie Tales, and don’t need to read gospel tracts.

It’s NOT comfortable to find a new church and play new songs on a new piano for a new worship leader in a new service.

It’s NOT comfortable to become a new children’s leader in a new, established Bible study, with old hats who know everything.

It’s NOT comfortable to make new friends who don’t know your backstories and haven’t already forgiven you for the major faults they found out years ago.

It’s NOT comfortable to say, “Sure, let’s meet at the McDonalds playground” to new neighbors who don’t have a clue about what happens inside of a church.

But God sure loves putting us in NEW situations, to shake us up, bring up that dross, and refine the gold that is in us waiting to be discovered. 

And we sin against Him when we say, “NO.  Nothing new.  Give me the old and tried and true.  I’d rather never mature.  I’d rather stay a short-statured Christian with all my peeps around me, where I feel confident and safe and totally in control.”

OH.  There it is.

Am I ever actually in control?

Is this a pride thing?

Uh-huh it is.  You betcha.  And God sure likes knocking the pride right out of me.

I’ll tell you one thing, ESFJ friend.  I’ve been on my knees and in His Word a ton more this year, to help my quivering little heart handle all of the New.

And it’s a beautiful place to be.  ❤

 

What idols of comfort do you have?  Where do you get too comfortable?  Are you willing to let God remove those comforts so that you can CHANGE the world?

Love Instantly and Forever

I’ve only been at this mom business twenty months. 

Well, twenty plus nine months because I was the pregnant woman who already felt like a parent.  I got a gender and a name to the pounding feet inside of me as soon as the technology would permit it.  I planned for and prepared for that precious first girl and felt motherly from the moment the maroon line appeared on the test saying I had a new life within me.

And then little girl number two came along seventeen months later.  Within three months of baby Rosalie’s birth, we moved. 

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and I’d love to blame my moods, irritation, and lack of an imagination on the 5:45 AM wake up calls from a hungry hippo-of-a-baby who has more rolls than Pillsbury and really shouldn’t need to get up that early to add to them, should she?  I want to say I’ve been a tiresome, boring, and frustrated mother because I have to clear a path through boxes and have piles with mementos dating back to the 1980s that needed to be sorted – and… Did you put that in the hall closet, honey?  I have to get at that every day!  Why on earth are we saving the Mountain Dew bottles from your college days again?

Regardless of what I blame it on, this really isn’t the mother I wanted to be.  The mother who stands in the toy area of Ikea while her toddler plays, staring vacantly at her and leaning tiredly and heavily on the shopping cart trying to avoid looking at the baby’s face in the carrier – knowing she’s going to campaign for a diaper change if eye contact is made.
I haven’t been at this mother business for long, but I’ve already forgotten some of the things I planned on doing. 

The person I planned on being.

The memories I wanted to make.

Wishing the moving to be done, wishing the Terrible… One-and-a-Halfs? to be over, wishing any of this time away is something I never do.  Ever. 

And yet, I sure live like it some times.

I’m not finding a lot of things funny these days.  I’m picking too many battles and not being forgiving for the ones I do duke out, even if I win.  I’ve almost forgotten how to crack a joke or play like a kid.  And believe me – playing is something I’ve always done well, and promised myself I would continue to do!

Because I woke up one morning, the sound of children in the daycare next to my apartment crying their heads off reminding me that I chose to keep my adorable and impressionable girls with me all day for a reason, I realized I’d simply been forgetting all of the things I wanted to be, do, and never do.

So I wrote this list.  It’s on the back of my bedroom door so I have to see it every morning before I leave my room.  It’s called “Things to Never Forget”:

♥   Spend time with the Lord every day

♥   Read the Bible to them – practice verses

♥   Sing at least one hymn a day

♥   Pray with them all throughout the day

♥   Laugh, and don’t sweat the small stuff

♥   Never get angry

♥   Play pretend – be the mom that gets into the McDonald’s playground

♥   Write in each of their journals

♥   Everyone needs some fresh air and exercise

♥   Greet Brad at the door with a smile, hug, and a kiss

♥   Be goofy and get a little crazy with all of them!

♥   Love and forgive instantly and forever

And, with the jolt like a shock collar that I gave that sleepy memory of mine, in an act of Instant Love, I decided we were going to put the wings on to unpack today.