You Will Dance Again

In October one of my dearest friends asked me where my picture was that Keegan had made of me dancing when he was 4. It hung in my PA house for years and this blog was birthed out of that picture 3 years ago. She thought it was time for it to come back out and for ME to be reminded this time… I will dance again. I reread this blog last night through tears…So with no further explanation… here is “You Will Dance Again,” by me, this time for me…. and the picture came out of the boxes and is up on my wall again.

dance again.jpg

 

There is a picture of me dancing that hangs on our refrigerator. It’s been there over a year now as a reminder and I don’t plan on taking it down anytime soon. It’s a reminder that I dance again.

I have a masters degree in counseling but there was a season when at the end of a lot of days I felt like I needed to be the one on the couch.

Life felt out of control, I felt out of control and I lost myself. I vividly remember going on a walk with my Love one night and he said, “How’s Vivian?” My answer was simple – “she isn’t. Vivian doesn’t exist anymore. I’m a mom now.” I hated it but didn’t know how to fix it, and I didn’t have the energy to try to figure it out. I was just treading water to get through the days.

I remember another conversation after baby number two that I said through tears, “I’m just so sad that they will never know me. The real me. The ‘full of life,’ bubbly, FUN, me. They will only know this shell who is exhausted and yells to much because I’m stressed.”

Couple all of this with the guilt and confusion of knowing I was living my dream, but all of the sudden feeling like my dream didn’t fit. That’s an awful place to be. You might be in this place right now. It might be because of motherhood or it might be because of another dream that feels it doesn’t fit. Can I let you in on a little secret? You will dance again.

It seems unbelievable right now, I know. You loved to read but now the thought of even picking up book makes you tired. You’re were a party planner extraordinaire but having someone for dinner now means you actually have to cook something. You loved to write, but the only words you get out now are mostly focused on a toddler vocabulary. You were the best teacher, accountant, massage therapist, managing partner, fill in the blank… but these days you are ready for a nap by one.

That picture on my refrigerator, it was painted by my youngest when he was 4. He knows me as a dancing mama. When he walked out of his school with that picture, I don’t know who was prouder; him because of his beautiful artwork, or me, because I kept pushing through the days. With the help of a Heavenly Father that loved/s me and poured out strength, intentional friends that listened and a husband that held my hand even when I wasn’t “me” I made it over that mountain. And now, now I’m dancing on the other side, for my kids and the whole world to see.

Keep pushing my friends. Cry your tears and never feel guilty for them, for you were created by a loving Father who insisted we come equipped with an emotional side. Find your intentional friends, the ones you can be gut level honest with and who will never make you feel less. Paint your nails. Sign up for a 5k. Bake a cake. Seriously, something small that you can do that is just for you. No one else. Something that will remind you that you are a person, not just a role.

You’re in there, and you will dance again.

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Yet…

In my boxing class I was in the middle of an excruciating ab exercise so I looked up at the clock to see how much longer I had to persevere. My trainer, and best friend, said to me, “stop looking at the clock and trust me.” I yelled back at her, “you and Jesus are trying to tell me the same things!” You can yell things like this to your best friend who knows Jesus and you pretty dang well.

I just finished reading Annie Down’s new book “Remember God” and y’all, it was brutifal. As in, exactly what I needed to hear but hard as hell to see in black and white. It was as though she was living part of my life, different journeys, but a lot of the same feels. She talked about her “word for the year” and how she prays for a new word each birthday. I loved this concept and even though I didn’t exactly pray for one, I do feel like the word “yet” has been whispered into my spirit and I have started to cling to it. I know that God can heal me with one word, but why hasn’t he? The word I get back is “yet.” If you’ve been around any church long enough I’m sure you’ve heard sermons on his timing just like I have. But man, when you’re in the wrestling match of a lifetime, sometimes you just want to yell “UNCLE” and have it come to an end and my timing says yesterday would have been a good day for it to end. Anyone else?

Recently my Love and I were processing a certain wrestling match that took place a long time ago. If you grab your Bible and jump back to Genesis 32 you’ll read about a man named Jacob who wrestled (literally) a man all night long. The Bible doesn’t tell us who the man was, but it’s obvious from the context that it is a man of God or some type of angel, not a homeless man living in a van down by the river. 🙂 Some things stand out to me about this short passage after reading “Remember God” and talking with my Love.

  • The match went on all night, when it was dark. I don’t really want to wrestle anyone during the daylight, but at night, when I’m exhausted and worn down, no way. And yet, that is often when we have to get our fight on, when we are tired and worn down, in the “nights” of life.
  • The man could not overpower Jacob so he touched his hip and it “puts a wrench in it” and Jacob still didn’t give up. He continued to fight with a bad hip.
  • At daybreak, the man told Jacob to let him go because the night was coming to an end, Jacob tells him no, not until this man blessed him. You guys, he fought ALL NIGHT LONG and still wouldn’t quit until he got his blessing.
  • After all of this, when the man of God sees that Jacob will not quit, he gives him the blessing he was asking for AND a new identity, his name was changed to Israel.
  • The sun comes up, and Israel walks with a limp.

Sigh. Sometimes we have to literally wrestle our way out of things. Sometimes it feels like the night will never end and even when it does we aren’t there yet and we have to keep pressing in and pushing hard. But friends, we have to. At the end of the fight is a new identity and blessing. Sure, we might walk with a limp, how could you not after such a fight, but we’ll be walking with a new purpose, a new name and a new blessing.

Back to my girl Annie and her amazing book… she talks a lot about this wrestling match too and her current limp. I’m so glad she took the time to write it all out because her limp has helped me in my wrestling match. So “yet” has been my word and I’ve been pondering and processing the yet all week. Last week I texted it to my girlfriend and had also mentioned it to my tribe of girls that know my current wrestling match. Within thirty minutes of texting my friend I sit down to read some more of my book and this is what I read:

“Then in the quiet of my soul, He seemed to say…

The year isn’t over yet.

‘That’s awful,’ I responded. ‘Don’t do that to me. Don’t act like you’re going to show up for me at the last second and then not do it. This is not fun anymore. You’re hurting me.’ Yes, I said all those things. And then I chose to believe Him. I thought about Lamentations 3. ‘I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh, how well I remember – the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope; God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. (vv 19-24 MSG)”

I burst into tears. The World Series was on and my husband was sitting right next to me, I just looked up and said through my tears, “He sees me.”

Sometimes, in our darkest moments we just need to know he sees us. My friend, he. sees. you. And me. Let him whisper the word you need to hear this week and watch for him to show up. He will. Sometimes our wrestling matches take way longer than we want or expect, but at the end of that fight is a new identity and blessing. Keep fighting. There is a rest that can come “on every side” – Joshua 21:44. Doesn’t that sound hopeful and inviting? It does for me.

Praying for you my warrior friends. Praying that we hear and feel him with us through our wrestling and that he quickly pulls us to the other side with new blessings and rest on every side.

*The practice of shutting up: one of my biggest takeaways to date from this journey has been in my prayer time. I am learning from two different studies to pause, ask the Holy Spirit to show me what he wants me to see or change the way that I am seeing things. Can I be honest? It’s super nerve wracking. As one dear friend recently said, when you ask him to show up, you take the chance that he won’t, and that would be even more hurtful. When teaching this practice (yes, it’s a practice) to my boys the other night, my oldest said, “how do you know it’s God speaking and not just your own thoughts?” Another good question. But… every time I have invited him in, he shows up. And I’m learning his voice better and better and quite sure when it’s him over me. It’s such a beautiful moment in my day. Can I encourage you today to pause and ask his spirit to show you something new? I think you’ll be as surprised as I am with what he has to say.

In the Fire

“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” – Morgan Nichols.  

I bought a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich today. You’re might be thinking, “who cares sweetheart that’s my everyday” but it was the first time in almost 4-5 years that they have gotten any of my money and I’ve put any of their food in my mouth. We swore them off a long time ago as fake food and not worth our time or money. In fact, I’ve sworn a lot of things off in my years and I think God giggles a little bit every time I do. About 6 years ago I said I’d never move back to the East Coast. We were living in Kentucky and finally near family and had no desire to go back there… Until my husband had to move back there for work. After 8 months of living apart,  back we all went, and it ended up being a place where our family experienced true rest for the first time. I said our kids would never go to public school. I was raised in a private Christian school, I mean, I KNEW how toxic public schools could be, having never stepped foot into one, and my kids would not go there. Until they did. And we love it… maybe even more than private. I said I’d never go back on birth control. I was on it for years as it was absolutely necessary for me in early adulthood but then I had my kids and swore I would never put that many chemicals in my body again. It can lead to cancer you know. I start back tomorrow and I can’t wait.

I can be a pretty judgmental gal in my head. Can’t we all? We think we know the best way and maybe for our family it is, until it isn’t, and then we shift to make better decisions for all involved. I’m not here to preach about how McDonalds was a wise choice today. It wasn’t. I did buy the lady’s behind me and told the cashier to tell her that Jesus loved her. So maybe Jesus does show up in a sausage mcmuffin from time to time… and that IS my point exactly.

Sometimes he doesn’t show up how we expect. Wait. Sometimes he doesn’t show up in the way we want, when we want. But he’s there. In Daniel 3 we find three men that refuse to bow down to another god and their punishment is being thrown into a furnace. A FURNACE YOU GUYS WITH REAL FIRE!! For some of us, this is a story from Sunday school, and for some, maybe fake news….  But I think if we were all sitting in a room and I asked you to raise your hand if you have ever felt like you’ve been put through a “fire” every hand would go up. I believe every word of Daniel 3 to be true, and while my inner child just sees it as a super cool story where God shows up and saves them and they come out on the other side “hair NOT EVEN BURNED” as my niece will tell you, the adult me is processing something even better. Three men were thrown into the fire, but four were seen walking around in it. God shows up. God shows up in the middle of our fires and waits with us too.

Sometimes the fire burns longer than what we want. Sometimes it feels hotter than we can handle. And yet, fire can be such a refining tool. There is a reason that big ranchers burn their fields, “they are often called prescribed burns because they are used to improve the health of the field.”* They grown back replenished, renewed and better than if they hadn’t been burned. I am walking out of this fire a replenished, renewed person, better than I was before. I am already starting to feel it. I know what it is like to want to push through a fire with everything that is in you, and yet have to sit in it a bit longer. I know that even though I might not be able to “feel” it, my God is standing in the flames with me…. And I’m learning one other thing too.

People in the fire don’t want your advice. We really don’t. I was quick to let people know the choices that I had made about all the things and I’m backtracking on like a half dozen of those now due to a shift. It wasn’t my place to try to convince them of how they needed to journey through their fires. They just needed someone to come into the fire with them and be with them.I know this now. I know people have opinions on how I am handling my fire. I’ve heard them. People are just trying to help, but you guys, sometimes it lands me in my car in a heap of tears because you think my doctor is handling my “fire” wrong. I say, let’s let God be God, doctors be doctors, and the rest of us, let’s be the best damn firefighters we can be for one another. Let’s walk into each other’s flames and just be. The BEST things that have come my way have been surprise packages in the mail – so many books and beautiful things that make my heart burst. A flame extinguished. My neighbor checking in and just sitting to listen on the bad days. Another flame extinguished.The amazing texts and emails from people letting me know that this too shall pass, it’s not the end and they are praying for me. Another flame extinguished. Every hug. Every “you’ve got this.” Every “you are not fragile, you are so strong.” Flames extinguished. I’m marching out of this fire with my mouth shut and arms open… because that is what the world needs. Well, that, and maybe a few more free sausage mcmuffins in Jesus name.

*http://netnebraska.org/article/news/972396/why-do-farmers-burn-their-fields

 

Dreaming in the Darkness

A hormonal anything is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I think it might be its own section of hell, you get there and think, “this isn’t so bad, there’s not even actual fire here” and then WHAM out of nowhere you get hit with all the hormones or lack of hormones, but not just any… female. Don’t get me wrong, I think my Father God is absolutely incredible. I think about the human body and all it can and does do on a daily basis and there is no question in my mind that we were created on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose. But… I do have some questions about the female hormones and if in hindsight we truly still think ALL of it was a good idea. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I’m learning things in this hormonal valley, and while I’d much rather just get the hell out before I have to learn anything else, I know from where I live that the valley can only last so long because there is always a mountain to go back up. As one friend recently told me, “it’s okay to be in the valley, just climb yourself back out” – and I am… it just feels like I’m crawling… but crawling is okay because it’s still forward movement. Some of my forward movement has been being extremely vocal about where I am. Friends know. Family know. Heck at this point even strangers know. I have fallen apart in school halls, on the playground and in chiropractic offices and I’ve always been met with hugs, tears, and even an unscripted prayer from my favorite Catholic in the the world who let me know that was a huge deal for her. Speaking of prayers, I have found there is nothing more beautiful than the prayers of those that have crawled through the same valley and are back up in the mountains now. Man do they know how to pray… they’ve been there, on hands and knees, snotty faced “down in the dirt” and they know how to carry you to the throne when you don’t know how to get there yourself. To every single one of you… side hugs in hallways and all… thank you. You’ll never know the impact you’ve had on me through this time and I am rising again and will be there for you like never before. I’ve also chased all the doctors. I’ve gone from PCP to acupuncture to massage therapy and this week my specialist. I’m tired of explaining the same thing over and over, but hopeful that with this team we can figure it all out. One more step to my crawling and one of the most healing ones for me to focus on is dreaming.  

When do dreams occur? When we sleep, right? When it’s dark. Dreams can’t come unless there is darkness. And along the same lines, we dream when we are asleep and therefore not in control. Does this kick anyone else in the gut? For someone that likes to be in control (and I think I speak for most of us) this is not an idea I’m crazy about but one I’m confident God has been whispering on the hardest of days. Dreams are born in a time of darkness and a lack of control. My biggest dream right now, and the one I shift towards constantly, is the ministry that will be born out of this darkness to help others know they are not alone. I don’t know what that will look like. I don’t have the specifics. I do have a 4.1 million journals, notes, Bibles, podcasts, blogs, pillows and blankets that are supporting me during this time and maybe, just maybe I can get it all out there to help support others too. Maybe even just this ole blog is the start of it.

So the days seem long and dark right now. This shouldn’t be a total surprise. The Word says in John, “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”  And there is so much more good stuff in there y’all. Psalms 3 says he is our deliverer. Psalm 4 says we can lay down and sleep in peace because he alone is our safety. Habakkuk 3 (did you even know this was a book?) says he is our strength and he will enable to us to go on the heights – side note, I have this particular passage marked with 3 different dates of times that I thought life was intense. Looking back I can see his faithfulness and how he’s gotten me through each of them and I came out on the better side so… here we go again. Jeremiah 29:11 – his plans for me are GOOD. 1 John reminds me that the one who is in me is greater than the one of this world. Psalms 91 says he commands his angels to guard me. I could keep going. There is so much good. So much. I speak these words over me all the time. In the car. On hikes. At home. Sometimes with my arms up in the air declaring them. Sometimes preacher gotta preach am I right? But it doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t take away the fear. It doesn’t take away the bad days. Trust, I wish it would. But it DOES give me glimpses of him, what he wants for me and that he’s there in the midst of all of it. Psalm 23 – we all know this one – he is my shepherd, I shall not fear, he leads me, he guides me, he protects me.

All of this to say, in your darkness, dream a little. Exodus 14:14 will always go down as one of my favorites, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Lay down in the darkness, rest in his control, dream all the dreams and let him go to battle for you. He will and he is.

Held

A storm is rolling in and I can feel it. The clouds are closing in, thunder is rumbling, the wind is picking up and after a very sunny start to the day, darkness is creeping in. Some days this is just outside and some days I feel it on the inside too.

Sometimes it’s not easy to write in the middle of the storm.  When you feel like you’re stuck out in the winds and the rain and dodging lightning and hearing all the voices asking all the things, sometimes you just want to scream, “Just let me get out of the damn storm then I’ll tell you what an adventure it WAS.” And yet…. I feel like my writing, my getting it all down and out there is a part of my fighting the storm. And based on the reaction from my last blog, not just mine. So, here I am… watching a storm roll in, out here in Colorado, typing and fighting for you, for me, for all of us.

Two nights ago I was doing ALLLLLL the laundry from our camping trip when I reached into the lint trap and got a splinter in my finger. I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too… I guess I can’t do laundry anymore because it’s far too dangerous. Needless to say, that little booger hurt. It went deep. In this house, everyone knows that the ultimate splinter getter outer (a real name) is my Love. He uses a needle, his technique is on point and every single time he removes them with precision and care. It doesn’t mean the process doesn’t hurt, but it works. As he held my finger I looked away. He continued tell me how deep it was and that it was difficult to get out, but he was sure he could. I never doubted him. I didn’t watch, because we all know watching makes the pain worse. I did bite down on my shirt at one point and yelled out at some others. It hurt like hell. In the end, it was out, all of it, nothing left behind to cause pain or infection.

My mind was swirling through this process. I knew my Love wouldn’t do anything to me to cause intentional pain, but sometimes the process to stop the pain, is painful itself. In the last couple of weeks there have been times when this man has left an event to simply come home and hold me. His arms make me feel safe, warm and loved. Other times he has a needle and he’s digging thorns out of my finger so I can feel better in the long run. In all of the moments he’s treating me with such love and care that I don’t doubt that he’s for me. He is for me.

When we got married I knew I loved that boy more than I could imagine. And then guess what happened? We had two adorable little babies and I’ll never forget watching him hold our first on the couch and thinking to myself, “I had no idea I could love him more.” But I did, I loved him on an entirely different level now, I loved him as a father. Fast forward 11 years and we’ve held each other up through a lot but the last couple of weeks have been the hardest on me yet. And yet, once again, I find myself even more deeply in love with this man that I said “I do” to over 16 years ago. I love him on an entirely different level all over again. I’m watching him hold me, through good times and bad, with unwavering care and consideration for all that is going on and all that I am fighting, thinking, “I had no idea I could love him more.”

My Love is being Jesus to me. He holds me. He takes my hurt and removes the thing that is causing the pain so that life can move forward better and stronger. He reminds me that my Jesus is for me. He is for me. He reminds me that I had no idea I could love Jesus even more, on a whole different level than I ever have before.

If I look hard enough, I can see past this storm moving in to the pink sky behind it just over near the mountains. Storms don’t last forever. Jesus loves you, more than you could ever imagine. He is NOT causing your storm, but holding you through it with all the care and consideration you can imagine and more. He can’t wait to watch you emerge on the other side, obstacle removed, stronger than ever.

My child, do not despair. Do you think we would have brought you here if there were no hope? We are asking you to do a very difficult thing, but we are confident you can do it.” – A Wrinkle in Time

“Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4: 7-8

*Do you have people to hold you through your storm? Can you take as step today to reach out to them? It looks like mine could be totally related to a hormonal imbalance and I’m so thankful I reached out to ALL the doctors to get help. I’m currently under the care of a PA, acupuncturist and gynecologist… getting older takes a village ya know 🙂

*Do you know that you have what it takes to weather it? I listen to worship, surround myself with Scripture and read uplifting things constantly – this way it FILLS my head with all good things and when the darkness tries to sneak in, I’m ready to fight. Happy to give recommendations for all of the above if you’d like.

Down in the Dirt

No matter what our Facebook posts boast… we all hurt sometimes. I don’t have any problem with people posting their best moments on Facebook, I do it too. I’m not going to take pictures of the layers of dust and post them “just to be real.” But tonight, I’m about to be as real as I’ve ever been because I believe we need that too.

Most days, I’m smiling. And not for no reason. I’m smiling because I’m absolutely in love with my boys, our home, my life. My name means “full of life” and I feel like I’ve lived up to that with every ounce of my being. This is one of the reasons I love my current FB profile picture. Jesse caught this on a ferry this summer and I just feel like it sums me up. I. Love. Life. We’ve been through some challenges and it hasn’t always been a cake walk, but for the most part, I’ve been able to rise above and find the adventure.

hurt

June 2018 hit me like an asteroid hits a planet. It hit hard. It hit out of nowhere and I didn’t see it coming, that’s for sure. This blog is a blog in process because I’m still down in the dirt trying to find my way out of this mess. This is all I know, I’ve started having what feel like depressive/anxiety periods and I’ve never known such darkness in my life. I’m not talking about, “oh, I’m kind of sad about that and wish it would get better…” I’m talking about fighting the voices in my head that tell me I’m a failure and all the lies that I know in my heart of hearts are false, but can’t seem to walk out of. It feels like some days are covered in gray and all of my emotions go flat. Then sometimes my anxiety goes through the roof that this will be my new normal and I can’t live life this way. That’s all I’ve got. I’ve cried. Boy have I cried. My love has held me so much but then the guilt comes sweeping in telling me that this isn’t what my husband signed up for. That my boys don’t need a crazy person raising them. The voices just keep going and I’m left feeling defeated and flat.

Tonight while snuggling with my youngest he got teary about a pet that passed away this past spring. I asked him if he thought he was ready for another and he smiled and said yes. I explained to him that we didn’t want to just “bandage his pain with a new shiny thing to ‘fix’ the pain, we wanted him to work through it as much as it hurt us to watch that process happen.” And man did it hurt. But we feel like he did truly work through the grief and now is a good time to get a new lil critter. As I said this out loud to him, I almost choked up myself. I wasn’t thinking about a hamster. I was thinking about how I’ve just been screaming “fix it Jesus” and wanting it to be fixed ASAP. I was thinking about how that just isn’t how life works and maybe, just maybe my heavenly Father was looking down, holding me, with tears in his eyes saying, “I don’t just want to bandage this pain with something new and shiny, I want you to work through it as much as it hurts me to watch this happen.”

I don’t know why He doesn’t just fix things. Trust. I’ve been begging and it’s only been off and on for a couple of months. I know this… He’s  holding me right where I am today. Whether a huge smile plastered on my face or my face in my palms crying all the tears not even fully knowing why. I know that he’s given doctors wisdom and I’m seeking them out to run tests and check imbalances to be sure that my mind and body are working as they should. I’m looking for a solution, praying that he “fix it” and in the meantime, learning that he is holding my tightly, tears in his eyes, watching his daughter process a new hurt that she doesn’t understand. Just like I watched my son… tears in my eyes. Sometimes… we’re just down in the dirt. But I know someone else that was buried in that dirt and walked out of that mess. And that’s why I have the hope that I will too…. One day.

*In the meantime… if you’re hurting, will you please let me know. I’d love to lift you up. My tribe has so rallied around me on this one and I have family and friends that I can text at all hours and tell them “pray now” … I’d love to be that for you.

** My love told me to come up with 3 truths that I can repeat to myself during the darkness and I do it. It helps. What truths can you tell yourself?

*** Worship is where it’s at. “There is a light, that shines in the darkness… his name is Jesus.”

**** Give people grace. All day everyday. Some days it’s hard to imagine doing anything and I know I’m not the only one. I can’t wait to be on the other side as the grace giver again.

Sticks and Stones

“You’re the reason we lost” a very *sweet* boy told my son after their first basketball game this week. When the buzzer went off, we were down by two and my son was the one with the basketball in his hands, so clearly it was entirely his fault. Nevermind the other boy didn’t make one shot to help that ending score. Someone needed to be blamed and my son was the easy target. Does your blood ever boil? Just me?

A couple of months ago we were sitting in a sermon when my husband leaned over and said, “I have an idea.” Here’s the thing about my man, when he has an idea, it’s always good. I’m not just saying this… I’ve learned after almost twenty years of partnering through life together, this man sincerely has incredible ideas and when I go with it, good things happen. The message that day was how words are powerful and those spoken to us on a daily basis, both from others and our own, form a worldview that we see out of. But there are more important words being spoken over us every minute of every day and those are the words of our Creator, the one who intimately knit us together making sure that everything was exactly how he wanted… before we even took our first breath. The point was to focus on the words that matter.

Fast forward and we are all sitting as a family on our floor with poster boards. Across the top we write “What others say” and halfway down we write “What God says.” We started at the top and began to write down the messages that “other voices” try to pour into us. You want to find out the kind of mean shit kids are saying these days… do this activity with your kids. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. I could cry right now thinking about some of the things that have come pouring out of my ten year old on this poster board that he had never told us. But there it was in black and white. For some of us, it was our inner voices that did most of the talking and hurting, and there were tears, it’s one thing to hear it, it’s another to see it. After this we spent time with the Bible and each other pouring truth on the bottom of our posters. It was amazing to see the light fill the boy’s eyes as they realized the words at the top didn’t really matter anymore because the God of the universe was speaking so highly of them. We hung these posters in our hallway upstairs near the laundry room. At any point you can see little messages being written on the top and bottom and it has opened the doors to some good family conversations for sure.

Let’s go back to the basketball court for a minute because I don’t think it stops there at an elementary basketball game. I think as adults we are constantly bombarded with messages about how we’ve “dropped the ball.” It might be in a conference room where you hear from the head CEO that your presentation didn’t really nail the point of the project. It might be at home where you hear you’re not fair or your dinner is gross… again. It might be in your own head where you hear that you’re not measuring up to so and so, so you’re likely to lose it all. Didn’t sign up as a teacher’s helper? Don’t work with a local charity? Don’t look like that woman? Don’t workout like that man? Never enough? Maybe it has nothing to do with dropping the ball. Maybe we are focusing on the wrong voices. Maybe the timer is about to run out on the clock and it doesn’t matter who has the ball, the game is over anyway. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But what does matter is the message we tell ourselves, and the message we tell others, because words are powerful. We will all fall short, this doesn’t mean we plant a permanent message in our heads about our imperfections, no, this means we stay thankful that “in our weakness, HE is strong.” This means we remind ourselves that we were created in His perfect image. This means that no matter what others try to write on our lives with their words and actions, we can go back to the One that gave us life and know that He believes we are good, simply because we are his children.

I love that boy of mine out there on the court. I know that in his game he’s giving it his absolute best and I love watching him run, dribble, shoot, have fun and LOVE the game. I believe our Heavenly Father loves us, his children out here in the game of life. He loves watching us give our best, have fun and LOVE this one life we’ve been given. And at the end of the game, when the buzzer goes off, it doesn’t matter how many points are on either side of the scoreboard, because the score really doesn’t matter. And just like we came down to our boy,  He’ll embrace us with his big arms, high five us for doing our best and speak the words, “Well done, I am SO proud of you.”

We highly encourage you to try out the posters in your home. It has been very enlightening and an awesome avenue of communication with kids that often answer “good” when asked how their day was. Have questions? Let us know, we’d love to be a resource!