Integrity and Credibility


Tonight, my house is quiet.  The kids are keeping themselves busy and Phillip is enjoying watching a movie.  I love nights like tonight when I have time to sit and ponder things that have really been on my heart lately.

I’ve learned to take advantage of when the quiet comes.   I can better hear God’s voice and am more open to His perspective rather than my own.   I think we should all jump at quiet moments like these to search our hearts, and rethink our point of view if necessary.

If we don’t take the time to get quiet, we run the risk of missing some of the most valuable echos of truth that will resonate deeply in our souls.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity and credibility.  For me, both are really, really important. Let’s be real for a moment.  I mean, down and dirty real.  When I’ve failed in these areas, the damage I’ve caused those I’ve love,  was almost unspeakable.

One of the most life transforming experiences in my life was coming face to face with my failures and owning them without excuse or justification.   The shame. Oh the shame I tell you.  Even writing about it right now, my hands tremble.  Yes, when you are exposed and ashamed due to nothing but your own bad choices, a grief fills your soul like nothing else you will ever experience.   When, in the same moment you experience forgiveness and grace, your heart is forever transformed.

So, when I write about integrity and credibility now, it is not from a position of haughtiness or arrogance.  In fact, it is from a sober place of understanding that in my frailness I easily could stumble back into faulty thinking, self-justification and self-soothing behavior that says my sin is not that bad — Scary right?

So, when I come to a place in my life that I am looking at integrity and credibility again I know I must first look at myself.

  • Is there anything that I would try to cover in shame if my life was going to play on a big screen for everyone to see?
  • Am I being careful with my words?
  • Am I honoring myself, my family and my faith in all that I do?
  • What do I need to change?  Have I become lazy or complacent?
  • Am I letting God’s word lead me and guide me or am I getting caught up in battles and emotions that aren’t mine?

Asking the above questions are so important…so very important.  Why?  Because as Jeremiah 17:9 says,

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

In other words, we can all fool ourselves into believing we’re not doing harm.  We can convince ourselves that we are actually doing better than we really are.  We can shut out the wise counsel of others, close our eyes to the truth so we can somewhat blindly continue down the path we are already on at all costs.  Think I’m wrong?  Think about an alcoholic who thinks they can have just one drink….right????


Integrity for me is of course about being truthful.  But it also so much more than that.  Integrity beckons me to go the extra step when I see a friend stumbling to reach out to try to save them.  Friends have done this for me — out of love and out of integrity for our friendship.  Sometimes I heeded their calls and it saved me.  Other times, I responded with arrogance and anger and I had to live a few more heartaches before I was ready for rescue. Sigh.  Yes, integrity begins with truth but runs far deeper and wider when we pair it with friendships, loyalty and helping a brother or sister who is stumbling in our midst.

Can you imagine a world where we all sought to have integrity with ourselves, our relationships and our friends?  I think it would be a powerful world filled with truth and love.  That’s the type of world I want to start building!


For me, credibility is not about how long you’ve performed a job.  We all know people who have been in the same position for years while they have back stabbed and wounded those around them.  It isn’t about reputation either.  In this crazy world, you’re a hero one day, and a zero the next.  Credibility has more to do with having a steadfast character as you walk through life.  Seasons may change, roles may change but people should be able to look at someone who is credible and know their character is steady, reliable and trustworthy no matter what.  Volatility and harshness do not go hand in hand with credibility – they are in fact directly opposed to it.

Now we’re cooking with fuel!

Can you imagine a world full of steadfast men and women who are not perfect but who are working to grow their character more and more like Jesus?  That would be a patient and kind, long-suffering, world where love would overcome.  Again friends!  Let’s start building!

We are living in a world where evil and anger fill the news.  We live in a world where people are tossed away like garbage and treated as though they hold no value.  We must turn the tide and that direction change starts with us.  It starts with us examining our own hearts and character.  It starts with confessing our sins and getting our hearts aligned with God’s will.   From there,  filled with His tender loving-kindness, I know the Lord will guide our way!


I’m in, how about you?

Love, Nancy





Celebrating 20 Years With My Love!


In five days, Phillip and I will reach the 20 year landmark in our marriage.  20 years of enduring commitment.  20 years of laughter and tears.  20 years of successes and failures.  20 years of building, tearing down and rebuilding.

How well I remember catching a glance of Phillip as he entered the church on our wedding day.  His smile was bright and full of hope.  My heart fluttered and danced about with excitement to the point where I could barely breathe.

Anyone who knew us then, understood ours was not going to be a marriage that would ever be picture perfect.  Broken pasts, lost dreams, and two diabolically different personalities that cried out failure at every turn were just a few pieces of baggage we carried down the isle that day. And yet, on that day when we said, “I do.”, God stepped into our midst and and knit our hearts together as one:  a powerful beautiful one that has overcome sickness, loss, disappointment, rejection, hopelessness and fear.

Yes, when God knit our hearts together as one, we became so much more quotes-about-love-and-marriage-love-and-marriage-39173than each of us were alone.  My weaknesses  – – which are many — were counter-balanced by his strengths.  My gentleness refined his rough edges.  His steadfast nature matched my perseverance.  As the years unfolded the gifts of each others strengths to each other also unfolded.

Years of love and forgiveness fortified our love so even when that love was mightily tested, it withstood the test, reshaped, and thrived once again.

Now, as I watch so many friends in the early years of their marriages pressing through and learning to love always want to encourage these few things.

  • When they stumble – because they will indeed stumble – be the first to be there to restore them to their feet AND back to their position of strength.
  • When you stumble – and you will indeed stumble – reach first to your love to restore you.  Let them hold you, tend to you and love you back through mercy and grace
  • Recognize the gift of each other God blessed each of you with.  Treat each other as treasures always remembering God’s gifts are good, lovely and beautiful (even when when they are used for refining).
  • The Lord brought you together.  HE BROUGHT YOU TOGETHER.  Fight for each other.  Defend each other.  ALWAYS Choose love.
  • Since the Lord brought you together, never leave Him out of the equation.  He must be center of your marriage to make it complete.

I can’t wait to experience the next 20 years with my love.  We are so different than we were when we met, when we were married or even 10 years ago.  The changes have been hard at times but because of God’s grace the fruit has always been good.

To my love Phillip – I wouldn’t want to walk this life with anyone other than you.  Thank you for being my very best friend, support and also one who constantly challenges me to grow.  I thank God every day for the joy of loving you!  Happy Anniversary!








Extinguishing Darkness


Two days ago, we all watched in horror as Paris was attacked.  Our collective hearts broke as terrorists, with no regard for life and full of evil, killed over 100 people and wounded hundreds more. As more images filled the screen I felt my heart harden more and more.  Before I knew it, I was seething and internally cheering when politicians began to openly state we would destroy all who were part of the attack.

Certainly those in ISIS are out to destroy anyone who does not choose to believe what they do.  They choose to kill, maim and create fear where ever they are; negotiating and reasoning won’t work with the hatred they are filled with.  There is no doubt this particular type of evil must be confronted with strength more powerful than its own and more daunting than their belief systems compels them to be.

Understanding this, I must constantly guard my own heart against becoming rigid and hard.  I must be willing, even in the midst of justified anger, to keep myself in check and not go to extreme unbending positions.  I must be be ready to choose to bring more light and love to the world instead of more darkness and despondency.

The question is, after such a horrible terrorist attack, how do we who are not directly connected to it choose to respond?

I can’t help but remember that after 9/11 many in the Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and other Eastern religions were treated with disdain and fear all through North America.  Our ignorance caused mothers to fear going to the grocery store, children to be pulled from school and fathers to lose their jobs.  If we are not careful, that same scenario will once again flourish and it will be justified by our rage against wicked men who have nothing to do with those we walk and live life with today.  Darkness filled the streets of Paris – lets not allow it to fill our hearts, neighborhoods and friendships too.

It is my suggestion this week that we all seek out someone who is different than ourselves, and in particular our Muslimth neighbors, and extend a hand of kindness. It is my challenge for all of us to shine God’s love so the darkness of prejudiced and shame cannot not grow. 

Be aware.  Smile.  Say hello.  Greet them with kindness and compassion.  Most important, understand they are different than the evil that was encountered on the streets of Paris this week and LET THEM  KNOW THEY ARE WELCOME.

I was indeed seething as I watched the attacks on Paris as I should have been.  Innocent lives were lost and we all should be outraged by the horrific crimes that were committed by evil that day.  Paris has all of our support and love.  That will never change.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with them.  We will weep when they weep and will fight when they fight.  We also need to handle our justified anger with wisdom and not project it on the innocent around us.  Instead, we need to shine light and love through out our lives fighting to extinguish the darkness that seeks to destroy and overcome us all.


I’m in, how about you?

Love, Nancy

Mud Puddles

Yesterday was a horrible day.  Early in the morning, my daughter began crying out for help.  She screamed in pain, doubled over and turned ashen grey.  After hours at the ER, the problem resolved and I was able to bring my baby girl back home.  As soon as we were home, I received a call that my dad was at the hospital, horribly sick and being admitted.  My stress meter went up, up, up.  Then, my sweet James came to me and said he was feeling angry, unbalanced and like he needed to punch a wall.  Knowing that James’ bipolar was spinning up broke my heart for him.   Still, with the events of the day, knowing he was cycling tipped me even a little more over the edge.  After all, Philip is losing his job, and that stress alone can be rough.  Compounded by the rest the day brought, life felt a little unbearable.

So, after James was a little more settled, and Faith was quietly working on her homework I looked at Phillip and said, “When it rains it pours.  Let’s jump in some mud puddles!”  Phillip looked perplexed at first but soon understood where I was going.

You see, when the storm clouds of life roll in and all you see is rain pouring down sometimes the best choice is to take an emotional break from the storm to jump in  what I call figurative mud puddles. Laugh, dance, sing or explore.  Hope, dream, play, and remember times of joy from the past. Do whatever it takes to remind your soul of the wonder of the world and joy of living life to the full. Joy

We couldn’t go out last night because we’re saving every penny right now but we could watch a movie together.  So, we got on Hulu and chose to watch about the worst movie we’ve ever seen.  The acting was bad, the plot was horrible the climax both ridiculous and uninspiring; yet it was exactly what I needed.  We laughed so hard together that tears streamed down my face and my stomach hurt.  It was a moment of bliss on a day that was filled with hurt, disappointment and deep, heartbreaking concern.  It was a moment filled with God’s grace and grown by the knowledge of the truth, that no matter what the circumstance, he is always by our side.  It was a moment in the storm where our souls were refreshed even though our circumstances didn’t change.  It is evidence that our circumstances do not have to control our mood.  Rather our hope in God stabilizes and directs it regardless of what is going on all around.

Today, my daughter Faith is doing better but Dad is still in the hospital not doing well at all.  James is doing OK, but the reality of his struggle with bipolar goes on.  Phillip is still losing his job and all the stress that comes with that remains.  Yet, our hearts are a bit lighter because of our time dancing, laughing and simply being child like in  mud puddles found in spite of life’s storm.

I  can’t help but imagine the Lord watching us yesterday with great delight as we found happiness and joy when discouraging circumstances were all around. Today, I can’t help but reflect on Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord your God is living among you  He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.[b]
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

I know one things for sure.  Without the Lord walking life with us — without his delight and and enduring gladness — without his unfailing love calming our fears we never could find one single mud puddle to dance in.  He is our rock, our hope and our lasting inspiration for joy when our hearts are often filled with sorrow.  He is the reason we have hope and I am so incredibly grateful he calls me his own.

Always looking for more mud puddles to enjoy!imagesLove, Nancy

To be a Victim or, Victorious

Over the past few days I had many conversations with incredibly loving friends and family who are sothR35961T8 concerned about the news that Phillip’s company is being shut down by its parent company.  In a matter of days or weeks, Phillip will be without a job because someone, who doesn’t even know us, crunched numbers and determined he, his company and his fellow coworkers, aren’t valuable any more.  I’ve found these conversations very comforting.  This is tough though, and without the support of friends and family, getting through it would be so much harder.

I’ve been aware through these conversations though, that I have a choice to either be a victim of our circumstances or victorious over them.  I’ve fought this battle a few times before.

Many years ago, I attended a party with coworkers that I trusted.  A friend offered me a drink and within minutes the room was spinning.  I vaguely remember my friend carrying me up to his room and laying me on his bed.  As I laid there helpless, he brought a stranger into the room who then grabbed me in inappropriately.  As I tried to stop him, I realized my arms were Jell-O and the room faded to th6RBBSZR7darkness.  I awakened, three days later, in the same room confused and painfully aware that I would never really know what happened.  Though I never had any real memories of what occurred, feelings of helplessness overwhelmed me and needed to be processed with tender care.  Still, the day came when I had to choose whether I was going let those circumstances define me as a victim or if, instead, I was going to find the strength to move forward in victory

When Phillip and I were first married, we decided to try to have a baby.  As I watched all of my friends having babies, I went through the heartache of three miscarriages one after another. Finally my beautiful daughter Faith was born.  We were filled with joy yet soon we discovered she was critically ill with medical condition after medical condition.  While all of my friends were enjoying shopping and playing with their babies, we were watching our precious little girl endure surgeries, and painful procedures.  It broke my heart every single day.

Just as we began to see light at the end of the tunnel with Faith’s most critical issues, to our surprise, I became pregnant with my son James.  Though I worked so hard to follow all of the doctors orders, James was born at 27 weeks.  He was just 2 pounds 2 ounces and so incredibly frail.  After 10 weeks in the NICU James came home to much celebration and love.  Yet, his life has been filled with many challenges.  From developmental delays, the diagnosis of autism and intellectual challenges and most recently, bipolar disorder, James has indeed struggled and we’ve felt the heartache of that struggle with him.

During the kids painful struggles I learned to really honor my feelings and theirs.  What was/is happening was horribly difficult and mind-bendingly painful.  Crying, being discouraged and not wanting to endure any more pain was perfectly normal.  Still, my job as their mom was to model how to choose joy, happiness and hope in the midst of suffering.  I can’t help but see that if I had chosen differently, I never would have experienced the joy of seeing those characteristics develop in them!


Five years a go, after my nurse overdosed me, things were so hard.  Walking was hard, being a good mom was hard, really EVERYTHING was hard.  I wasn’t the person I was before and coming to grips with the loss at times, felt unbearable.  Because I had indeed been victimized by my nurses carelessness, it was really, really important for me to authentically process all the emotions that came with the helplessness and injustice that had occurred. And, oh my how I did process those feelings over and over and over again.  Like the other difficult times in my life though, I reached a point, when I had to ask myself whether I wanted to be a victim for the rest of my life or whether I wanted to find the strength to move forward in victory.  The miracle of my life is that I was able to choose victory.

You see, I’m not this incredibly strong woman at heart.  I’m frail, broken, and easily th2KD3LEGVdiscouraged. However, because I walk life hand in hand with Jesus, I have strength well beyond my own.   Because of Jesus, I have peace today and hope for tomorrow.   Because of Jesus, I walk life holding tight to the promises in the Bible;  promises of strength, hope, peace.

Two paths lay before each of us.  One is the path of being always being a victim.  I promise, this always leads to bitterness, disillusionment, hopelessness and anger.  The other path, leads to living victoriously through authentically and tenderly caring for our feelings, while at the same time, choosing to live life to the full!  I’m in…how about you?


My love,


He Will Indeed Get Us Through

I’m feeling a little angry this morning.  Well, actually a lot angry. Yesterday my husband came home with a painfully serious look on his face and explained Target has decided to close the doors of the company he works for, Chefs Catalog.  You see, Target owns Chefs and even though Chefs is profitable, Target’s upper management, in all of it’s wisdom, decided to go a different direction leaving 152 employees and their families scrambling right before the holidays.

I’m sure it’s nothing personal right?  I’m sure it’s just business.

For those with golden parachutes everything will be ok.  But for families like ours, we will likely get a painfully small severance package with little time for my husband to find a new job. We’ve been through this before when another company closed their doors as well.  Thankfully that employer was gracious and helped us until we were on our feet again.

Somehow I don’t think Target will be so generous.  They laid off thousands in Canada when they failed up there and more recently laid off close to 2000 more at their corporate head quarters.  It is a time of slashing and burning — it seems no one is safe.

So how do we respond?

  • We need to stay steady.  Even though Target has let us down and they have let us down mightily, we as a family need to pull together, stand tall and strong and not let our circumstances dictate our well being.
  • We must put our trust in God.  He has been faithful in our past, he will be faithful in our present and he will be faithful  in our future too.
  • We need to count our blessings and never lose sight of the wonderment and joy this life brings.
  • We need to remain full of hope.  Hope chases away darkness and brings delight back into even the hardest days.
  • We need to stay determined. Determined to walk this out well.  Determined to not give up.  Determined to get to the other side allowing our character to be more refined and our faith more rooted in the Lord.
  • We need to forgive the bozo’s at Target who have made these horrible decisions and get to a place where we can sincerely pray for them.  Obviously, I have a lot of work to do in this area.  ;0)  Forgiveness opens the heart deepest places to be healed.  I don’t want resentment to build up — I want to remain soft hearted and filled with compassion.
  • We need to protect our kids from this and allow them to remain innocent from carrying this burden for as long as possible.  So…if you know them…please don’t say anything. 

We have a lot of work to do in the coming days.  The first thing I’m doing today is posting a board in our family room where we list anything and everything we are thankful to God for.  When our focus is on him, everything else begins to fall into place.

We also need prayers for job leads and for the right job as well as for provisions along the way. Would you pray for those things?  It is going to be a journey of faith until we see how God unfolds his plan for our family and your prayers will sustain us along the way!

I now I close remembering 2 Corinthians 4:8,9

We are pressed on every side, but we still have room to move. We are often in much trouble, but we never give up. 9 People make it hard for us, but we are not left alone. We are knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

God is with us and no matter the circumstance, he will indeed get us through!

My love,


How to find joy again…

Yesterday, I wrote about how I experience times of discouragement/depression post my brain injury.  It is just part of my life now and I’m learning how to function through the fog until it lifts.  Each time I go through a cycle of being down, I learn something that helps me stay a little more afloat.  In response to yesterdays blog I received a few emails asking how I manage through these more difficult times.  I thought I’d share a few thoughts here.

august-3Discouragement and depression beckon that there is no hope and that nothing could possibly turn around.  While those feeling may indeed be strong, I do not have to live as a slave to them.  I have the ability to rule my thoughts and choose well.  Even when I’m down I make the choice to put my trust in God.  That is the biggest burden lifter of all.  He’s proven himself faithful in the past, will be faithful in the present and undoubtedly in the future too.

82f3ec8e43a1a0ce40b0d43bef101006Yesterday, as James left school he had a huge smile on his face.  When he jumped in the car I chose to greet him with a smile and ask about his day.  He looked at me with his big innocent eyes filled with excitement and said, “I made some real traction today….A girl called me hot!”.    Choosing to see, hear and engage with others and focus on the simple pleasures of the day instead of ourselves, will bring light in darkness and laughter in the midst of sadness.

pinnaclequote12Depression seeks to stop you from moving.  It works to entrap you in a life without joy.  Continuing to move forward with plans, keeping up with the kids needs and not isolating myself is really important.  When I get stuck and feel as though I can’t move forward, I stay steady on course and connect with those who love me and understand my more fragile state.

shame-652499_640There is no shame in being fragile.  There is no shame in being vulnerable.  There is no shame in needing support.  There is no shame if you deal with depression, discouragement, or sadness.  Even though you may not feel it, you are wonderfully made and incredibly valued.  Kick shame to the curb and give yourself the compassion and understanding you would grant anyone else who is in your shoes.

indexjjjSome people journal and I choose to blog.  Find a way to record your thoughts and feelings and then, when its a hard day, go back and read through some of the times when you have overcome or made it through a difficult time.  Bring times of joy to your remembrance and don’t let them go.  Cherish them, hold them tight and take the risk of believing your joy will return again!

1c08454aff454c0160a7a1e322d02e3bWhen I am down and discouraged I can easily fall into a cycle of beating myself up.  That is not a healthy cycle anytime of life – let alone when I’m discouraged.  If you are struggling with depression be kind to yourself.  Honor your journey and know you are perfectly OK where you are.  There is no need to hide, and certainly no need to fake it.  Be present, be kind and allow God’s mercy to overflow.

These are just a few of things I’ve learned that have helped me.  More than anything, the knowledge of God’s love is my greatest help.  Still, though, choosing to see the simple pleasures of the day, staying steady on course, kicking shame to the curb, bringing times where I did indeed overcome and being kind to myself lifts the darkness and restores hope.

Depression is real. It does not have to rule us though.  Day by day, moment by moment.  Small victory or large break through the journey through this life is good and together, accompanied with God’s love and mercy,  we can find joy again!

I’m depressed – but there is purpose found even here.

I awakened today feeling really melancholy….down….discouraged….depressed.


My  brain SPECT scan post injury shows obvious damage to the emotion center of my brain so I am never surprised when the mood switch flips.  Something shifts chemically in my brain and the blues roll on in. On days like today coping is a whole lot harder and peace is far more difficult to find.11221778_465123920312844_3878084533325491062_n

I once tried to describe to Phillip what it is like when the mood meter swings into the negative.  What was once bright and colorful turns dim.  What was pleasant, lovely and beautiful becomes bland, stagnant and lacks inspiration.  Everything that brings me joy suddenly has a flatness to it and almost nothing can inspire me, overwhelm me or bring me joy.  A little bit like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz;  all the vibrant colors of life drain away leaving only deep consuming blacks, joy robbing grays old white that seems dirty and unclean.

I’ve learned over the years, how I manage days like these is incredibly important.  Though internally everything is screaming for me to stay in bed, hide under the covers and wait for hope to blossom again, it is so important for me to fight to see my foundation and keep my feet on its solid ground.  To do this, I always turn to King David’s Psalms.

The Bible tells us King David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he was also an flawed man.  He had an affair, and then had the husband of the wife he cheated with, killed. He sometimes cycled through emotional ups and downs some due to circumstances out of his control and others caused by his own bad choices.  In the end though, King David always trusted God and because of that, I want to learn from him.

At one particularly low time David wrote,

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!

What King David knew is key; putting hope in God even when we are discouraged and deeply sad unlocks hope for our future.  Why?  Because hope in God renews strength and allows us to figuratively soar above the pain to see a different God’s perspective. (Isaiah 40:31)

God’s perspective of my life says there are good plans for me.  Plans filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11).  It also says that God will turn EVERYTHING to go for those who trust in him. (Romans 8:28).  And the Bible promises these times are not in vain but rather will bring about growth.  That IS exciting and something I can cling to when things feel sad.


Today I’m really down and discouraged.  There really isn’t a reason for it.  I just am.  But I am putting my trust in God, and in doing so, he has faithfully reminded me that experiencing days like today teach me so much about what my son James endures regularly in his battle with bipolar disorder.  They help me understand how hard it is for him to function and how hard he must fight to not go under the emotional riptide that so often tries to pull him under. I have no doubt God is shaping me through these days into a far more compassionate mom who can really support my son with deep understanding and steady love.  He is shaping into a mom who has a greater capacity than I ever imagined so no matter what, I will always be able to reach out and compassionately hold his hand through every single painful and confusing storm.  Powerful right?  And it all starts with knowing and trusting God even when the darkness overwhelms and sadness looms.

So, yes, I am discouraged but instead of curling up in bed I’m pressing through.  My feet are firmly planted on the foundation of God’s promises – my hope is in Him.  There is no safer place to be.


My love, Nancy


The other day I was at an event for one of the kids when a mom who I’ve just recently met came to talk to me.  As we spoke I realized she has a lot of fears surrounding her kiddos being in public school.  They were homeschooled until this year and the new freedom and exposure of her kids to outside influences has been hard.  I empathized.  I don’t think any of us, regardless of our beliefs, are worry free about what our kids are seeing, hearing and having to deal with in the schools these days.

Wanting to encourage her, I shared some of our families story surrounding my brain injury and also my son James’s struggle with bipolar disorder. I talked a lot about God’s faithfulness and because of it, we can have peace even when things are hard. I thought sharing would help, but somehow it launched us into a totally different stratosphere — one that I really didn’t want to be in.

Shaking her head she said, “We’ve got to get you to our house so we can pray for you and James.”.  Before I could really blink or even process what was going on she again and again threw out verses – some in context of the scriptures and some out if context – about healing, power and faith.  I listened for awhile but then pushed back just a little and tried to explain the folly of the perspective that one’s faith alone can determine whether someone is healed.  Gently I suggested such a point of view can lead to very dangerous disappointment and even disillusionment with God.

She however stood strong in her point of view.  God desires for all to be healed.  End. Of. Story.  If we aren’t healed, we don’t have the faith to receive that healing.  End. Of. Story.

She kept pounding and pounding and pounding with her point of view until I just wanted to scream…


On one hand I agree with her.  Of course God desires for us all to be whole and well.  He is indeed absolute love and love does not delight in someone’s pain.  On the other hand though, there are examples in the scriptures of where Jesus himself did not intervene and heal.  Consider John the Baptist.  He was beheaded — and Jesus wept over the loss of him — he did not heal and restore his life.  I could give other examples but I’m sure you get my point.

If I’ve learned anything through my own physical struggles as well as the struggles my son James endures it is this.  Trusting in the Lord in the midst of your circumstances, without demand that he change the story to fit your own needs, is the most peaceful place any of us can be.promise

Now don’t misread that.  Of course we’ve prayed that James’ burden of bipolar would be lifted and my continued struggle with the left overs from my stroke and brain injury healed.  However, the Lord has instead chosen to give us his grace to walk the road before us with the peace that transcends all understanding.   Do I questions God’s love for us because he hasn’t fully restored my mind and also because James struggles so much?  Honestly, there have been times I have.  And yet, I always come back to the same place.  God doesn’t promise we won’t suffer or experience pain.  He does however promise he will give us the ability to walk through it with his help.  So, I walk through the hard days clinging to him and on the good days, I am thankful for his presence during these enduring storms.

walkthroughI have no doubt my new friend has a passion that she just wants to share.  I do pray however she comes to a place where she understands her point of view actually serves the roll of diminishing the wonderful breakthroughs God has brought us.

It is because I have suffered, that I now have a passion for reaching those who are overlooked and misunderstood.  It is because I have wept that I have more compassion for the needy and understand the hopeless.  My experiences have brought these things out in me — when they were never on my radar before.

In addition, because we love James, we now deeply care about others struggling with mental illness.  We see how God using James’ life to shine a light out to the world to remove the shame and sigma that surrounds it and instead is replacing it with His love, light and hope.  That is beauty coming from ashes!


I believe God does heal and it brings him great glory.  I also believe, when he allows us to tarry in the place that we wouldn’t always choose, and we find him there his peace abounds, his hope endures and hearts are shaped and changed.

You Must be Compassionate

A few days ago, my mother-in-law fell and broke her hip.  She was utterly alone, and desperately needed help and yet no one heard her cries for over an hour.


She has lived a rather tragic life and has suffered a great deal.  As a result of how she has suffered, she often struggles with choosing simple kindness.  Born in Poland in 1938 right before the Nazi’s invaded,  her parents died when she was very young; orphaned she was raised by her older brother.  She met her future husband, a young American GI, and became pregnant with twins before they were married.  Speaking very little english, she moved to America to start a new life.  That new life was full of promise but much of that promise was never realized.  Bitterness, sadness and hopelessness have instead ruled her life.  She, probably without real intent, abused her kids and filled their lives with rejection.  Those of us who married them have lived with the scars she created and have been wounded ourselves many times by her rigid and often cruel words.  It has not been easy being her daughter-in-law.  Especially when I’ve seen her rejection hurt my kids.  Kicking her, and her attitude, to the curb has always been a far easier choice for me than loving her.

And, yet, when the call came that she had fallen, the first verses that came to mind were

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.  35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.  Luke 6:32-36


Ah yes.  The real heart of knowing and loving Christ is not about being right or ruling over others.  It’s not about being pious, or making people feel small like they may have made us feel.  It certainly isn’t about repaying someones cruelty by being cruel.  No, loving Christ is about following his example, and loving even when it hard.  It’s about forgiveness.  It’s about sacrifice for his name sake.

As I drove over to the hospital a lot of things ran through my mind.  Over and over again I thought about how Jesus was so tired and yet he looked out at the crowds and had compassion on them.  I prayed that the Lord would grant me compassion for this woman who has brought many tears deep within my heart.  And that is exactly what he did.

As I walked into the pre-op area, as I saw her so frail, broken and afraid, my heart flooded with authentic and inexplicable compassion for her.  In that moment, I didn’t see her so much as my mean mother-in-law but rather, a woman who needed understanding. And, I could understand her feelings.  So many times I’ve been the one laying in the hospital bed afraid of what was to come.  So many times I’ve needed compassion, kindness and understanding.  I know what it is like to be vulnerable and without hesitation, I was able to go to her, hold her hands, and listen to hear fears.  Grace overflowed.

When God shows up, miracles happen.  hands

Late last night, as I tried to sleep I found myself reflecting on those moments with my mother-in-law.  I’ll never know how they impacted her.  I do know however, that they deeply impacted me.  I am changed for the better.

Love won this week!  Compassion won this week!  Forgiveness won this week!  There is no greater gift than being compassionate and loving someone especially when it is hard.  It is a life changing choice that chips away at heart break and hurt like nothing else possibly could.