Posted in heartache, Life Lessons, Poetry, Spoken Word, Truth, waiting, Word, Writing

You can be quiet

The sun slowed down and
Took one last look over the horizon.
It had had a long productive day and
Could finally meander on to
The other side.
Meander.
That’s what my car did –
Steady and slow like the sun.
“I’ve been… feeling really quiet.”
My text whispered through the screen as I
Wiped an unbidden tear.
“You can be quiet it’s okay,”
Came the reply.
I laughed out loud.
I needed to laugh in that moment.
I knew what they meant:
It’s okay to have a quiet moment.
But I’m a word girl and always quickly assess
Multiple meanings words can have
If taken out of context.
Perhaps I need to be quiet more often. Lol.
I’m glad my friends get my
Inappropriate laughter.
Even via text.

The truth is
I have not shut up lately.
Not with my friends.
For context I’m naturally
Quiet, especially
Around people I don’t know.
But when I trust you
I lay my soul bare.
And do so often.

But the truth is –
I need to be quiet.
I need to take a step back and
See things as they truly are.
The truth is:
I’ve been walking in
A daydream for far too long.

I need to regroup and refocus.

This blog is meant to meander.
Like the sun.
Like my car.
Like my thoughts.
To make you, reader,
Pause.
“Be quiet.
And in the quiet – be still
And in the stillness – rest
And in the rest – listen.”

That is wisdom from one of my favorite pastors.

Quiet doesn’t always happen
In the dark, or
In depression.
In fact, the best quiet times I have
Are in the light of a brand new day when I
Sit outside with a cup of morning
And a copy of my favorite book
And just breathe it in.

So…
Meander. Be quiet. Breathe.
Thanks for letting me be transparent and vulnerable
While my thoughts find their
Rest on this page.

Rest well.
Goodnight.
I love you.

Posted in Life Lessons, waiting, Word, Writing

The Gentle Gardener

One morning shortly after my divorce, as I woke up, I had this vision. I clearly saw a pair of rugged male hands reaching down, digging in, and clasping together underneath a wilted plant. Actually, the plant was beyond wilted—it was dried by the sun, and what had once been some kind of small growth was now beginning to fly off in the wind. It was that dry. It was almost entirely dead. Its roots, however, were entirely alive. As the hands came down and clasped together, they carefully pulled the plant out of the soil – carefully keeping its roots intact. The “Gentle Gardener” as I have sometimes described the owner of the hands, removed the plant from the ground with the roots sticking out between his loosly clasped fingers. The process of extracting the plant took some time, as the dry ground was caked around the roots. Some digging, pulling, and scraping went on for what seemed like an hour. As the hands lifted together and transported the plant, I noticed the hands, up to the wrists, were now caked with soil and there was dirt caked under his fingernails. Some blood began to pool and dry around a scrape. The gardener was fully invested in this process.

Then the scene in my vision widened out – as in a movie. I noticed that the whole field that the plant had been pulled out of was a dry, cracked land. I would call it parched. Thirsty. What once may have been a field of beautiful wild flowers was now barren.
At this point, I surveyed the entirety of the landscape. I began to have a new realization: I could no longer see the plant, nor the hands, nor the roots – because I was the plant, and I was being intentionally moved. But to where? Suddenly panic set in. What if I fell from this height? Was I destined for the fire pit, the compost pile, or – hold on, what’s this? As the hands came down and I descended, I (now as the plant) peeked over the edge of the hands that carried me. I saw the greenest grass, flowers were budding, new trees danced and swayed, and a bubbling, flowing mane of water caressed the soft curves of the land.
Water! My parched soul rejoiced! But the water did not come to quench me for a long time. Replanting was painful – physically agonizing. As my roots settled into the earth, something strange happened at the surface.
Nothing.
Nothing happened. Not for a long while.
While my roots underneath the surface reestablished a bond with the earth, I remained dry and cracked and thirsty above.

While all around me everything was glorious and full of life, I kept my head down and tried to hide my ugliness.

And then something else happened.

I began to cry.

I began to ugly cry. The kind of tears that run hot and wild. The kind of tears that arrive as a whimper, then become a sob, then a wail. I cried for a season – and then another – and suddenly, I was no longer seeing from the perspective of the flower, but from the viewpoint of the Gentle Gardener. Or was
I? Had I grown to this height?
Yes! I had. He had planted me in the center of his beautiful garden. I had not started as a
seed, but as an acorn. He saw that I had fallen on the side of the fence that did not have the proper environment for growth. Furthermore, I was not watered by the river, but by my own tears. My eyes were so swollen from crying that I did not notice my growth until I had become a glorious Oak. Tall and mighty.
Beautiful and sturdy. Arms outstretched toward the sun. Birds nested in my branches. Squirrels gathered and scattered my acorns. Bunnies frolicked in my shadow. I provided oxygen—I gave life where once I was almost dead.
The last I saw of the hands they were clean and glowing and applauding me.

Perhaps you’re in a dry season. Perhaps you’ve been in this season for a long time. But perhaps it is a season not of dying and thirsting, but of crying and learning and growing. That is where I have been lately: in a crying, learning, growing season. Let me encourage you to trust the Gentle Gardener.
Cry. Let your eyes swell shut if you must – but when the season ends, you’ll find you’re just what you ought to be – glorious, life-giving, quenched. And best of all, your arms will be outstretched toward the sun once more.

Posted in Word

My Heart’s Overflow

Lord, I know you search me
You know all my thoughts
You know when I sit quietly
Or when I stand up –
You’re there.
You understand me.
Close by or faraway you
Reach me –
You know just when I sleep
Or when I’m walking,
Nothing catches you by surprise.
Before I begin to speak, you
Know what I’m going to say.
Before I write a word you
Know how my heart’s overflow
On the page.
Your hand is on me
You go behind and before me.
Your wondrous knowledge
Is beyond me.
I can’t wrap my heart around it.

Where can I run from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
On a crisp Autumn morning, you’re there.
In this Texas Summer heat, still there!
When I cry, when I question,
When I think thoughts I can’t mention
You’re still there!
When I play, when I work,
When I worship –
Your hand always guides me.
You steady my heart with your
Steadfast arms.
If I burrow in the dark of depression
And think you’ll never find me
If I throw on a smile
And think people won’t see
The darkness through my façade,
Even the darkness is not dark to you.
You see my heart behind the mask.
You see the light you placed in me.
Dark and light are alike to you.
You made each.
And you made provision
For me to see you through each.

And you didn’t stop your creating there.
You made ME.
All of me.
Blue eyes.
Dirty blonde mane.
Curves and edges.
Heart and mind and soul.
You knew me – when I was being formed.
You saw me – before anyone.
And I will throw back my head and praise you
As I did when you and I
Danced in the dark and bright
Of my mother’s womb.
I will praise you because
You amaze me.
You fearfully, wondrously made me
And I know this and it
Drives me to my knees daily.
Bone and muscle, flesh and blood,
When I was drawn in secret
You held the artist’s brush.
You gave me life when you
Planted me in the depths of your love.
Even before this you knew me.
Knew every semicolon of my story
Even before I had a working title.

God, your thoughts are precious to me.
They outnumber the grains of
Sand by the sea
I couldn’t count them,
Even given an infinite number of days.

Every sunset – you give me rest.
When I awaken safely at sunrise
I’m still with you.
You kept watch.
You hid me.
You foiled the plot of the enemy
Who lurked in the dark while I slept.

Lord, search my heart.
Take note that I want to follow you only.
Take this selfishness,
This spirit of distraction from me.
I want to encourage and not offend.
I extend my gaze, outstretch my hands,
And ask that you keep shaping my heart,
As you did in the secret place.
Purify me, God.
Lead me in your way, everlasting.

(This is how my heart reads the Psalms. This is my personal journal entry after reading Psalm 139.)

Posted in Life Lessons, Parenting, Uncategorized

How Not to Take a Toddler to Dinner

Since 1996 when Katie was born, I’ve been living The Mom Life. This journey has had its ups and downs, but tonight I’m lying wide awake recovering from surgery and needed to laugh, so I’m reminiscing about a couple of the crazy moments I’ve had with my crew.
Early in 2004, during my first full year of single-parenting, I took my girls, ages 3 and 7, to our favorite Italian restaurant. It was a little hole-in-the-wall with great pizza at less-than-great-prices (at least on my budget back then). It was one of those nights where the girls wanted to get out, so Luigi’s it was. We sat, mostly quietly, while a couple in the corner had their sweet, awkward, mushy first date, an older couple held hands, and you could cut the sappy romance with a knife. I’d been busy cutting up the girls’ food, helping them eat, and chatting with Katie about school. My food by now was cold and mostly untouched. I looked up to see that 3-year-old Stephanie was literally wearing her spaghetti sauce. I got looks from other patrons as spaghetti and sauce was everywhere, Stephanie was laughing like crazy about it, and Katie needed to “go”, so I took their little hands and found the ladies’ room. I cleaned (practically bathed) Stephanie and wiped bottoms and washed little hands and walked back to our now perfectly clean table. Someone had come by and cleaned off our table while we were in the restroom because they thought we’d left the restaurant. I’ll remind you – I had hardly touched this beyond-my-budget meal. Katie was uncharacteristically mad – “where’s my plate…I wasn’t finished.” Stephanie started to cry. I was about to cry. I took a deep breath. The manager made it right by making us new meals and comping mine, but by that time the girls had eaten most of theirs before the potty break and were unruly, so I just took the new meals to-go and warmed mine in the microwave at home (after bath, book, and bed-time). After that we didn’t go out-to-eat much, at least not without another adult to keep watch over our table.
Then there was the day when Katie was about 10 and I was taking a test in a class at the University. It was a final exam, but Katie had strep throat, I didn’t have a sitter, and I couldn’t miss the exam. My professor was livid. He was afraid she’d get everyone sick, and that I’d somehow cheat. I somehow convinced him otherwise. So there I sat in the very back of a lecture hall on the floor with a feverish Katie fast asleep on one arm while I filled in a Scantron and wrote an essay with the other. I aced the class.
As she got older, I made it a point to take her to one class a semester. One time she sat in on my Archaeology class while a guy came in to show us flint-knapping (making arrow heads and stone axes). That was cool. My girls became familiar with University classrooms, libraries, and lecture halls by the time I finished graduate school.
I suppose I could recall many more times that life as a single parent got crazy. The moments etched into my heart the deepest are when I say “I love you,” and a little voice echoes mine and sing-songs, “I love you more,” to which I always reply, “not possible.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Balance

Photo cred Annie Spratt upsplash.com

I am all glitter and tulle:
Painted smile,
Painted toes,
Satin – hot pink and black, the
Perfect outfit for the
Star of the show.

While clowns spray each other with
Silly string and fire hoses,
While the crowd roars with laughter,
While elephants parade in
Bright blankets and bare skin,
I wait for the spotlight –
I ascend the rope ladder, silently,
And wait.

This is not my first,
Nor my thousandth
Walk across a thin fate.
This is not my first circus.

The music pauses, changes, intensifies
The crowd gasps as they look
Up
Up
Up
At the next act…

I disappear and in my place
Is a performer:
A painted smile,
A sparkly entertainer,
An escape from their boring reality.

One thousand,
two hundred and
forty-three
Pairs of eyes wait for
Hot-pink-and-black
To take up her baton and
Balance her way overhead…
I pause, take my cue, and…
Look down.
“Never look down.”
How many times did they
Say that in training?
Focus.
Breathe.
Balance.
This is not my first circus.
But this IS my first time
Back after “the fall.”

It took me years to get up
The courage to train again.
Years to even think about the
Lipstick, the outfit,
The balancing act…
Yet here I stand,
Here she stands – the performer –
Doing what she, what I,
What we do best…

“Don’t project an old fear
On a new day.”

But with scars still present,
Limbs stiff from non-use,
Age sitting on me
Like a bear on my shoulders,
I…
I look down…
And step back.
The crowd boos
Someone calls,out,
“Come on – let’s see the act.”
Popcorn flies, babies cry,
My pride swells…
Okay – let’s do it then.
The first step wasn’t so hard,
Nor the second.

All of a sudden
I find myself
In the center of the rope –
One painted, glittering foot
In front of the other,
Toes pointed,
Lights catching my every move…
“Don’t project an old fear
On a new day…”
And then I see it:
A camera flash
Recalls to my mind the
Moment when I
Spiraled into nothing,
Into a sickened crowd,
Taking out half a dozen spectators
With one whiff of fear.
I find myself stumbling,
Catch myself with my baton and
Dangle there –
My palms gripping either side
Of the baton as it
Balances on the rope.

Do I swing up and let myself
Finish the act? or
Fall, or fail, or
Just give up the façade?
And is it really a façade,
Or do I really possess this talent?

Am I the talent or just a trained bit of spunk and sparkle?
Well? What am I?
Fearless.
Talented.
Inspired.

So what if I stumbled?
So what if I fell?
So what if I didn’t live up
To expectations?
Fall twice, get back up three times –
As long as the get up rate is greater than that of the fall –
Golden.
In a moment I know what happens…
I have to trust what
I know will happen…
A swing will fly,
Seemingly out of nowhere –
Unexpected by the crowd,
But He planned this long ago.
This is the work of a good Ringmaster.

I take a breath,
I swing back up,
Dive headfirst off the rope,
And wait for Him to catch me.

Melissa Fairchild (c) 2016

Posted in Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Word

Feet to the Fire

Today I’m reading in Daniel. It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible. In it we meet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – three men who lived like they believed God – even if it potentially cost them their lives. Their king demanded for all of his subjects to bow to a gold statue that was 90 feet high and nine feet wide to show him their loyalty – or else be burned in a furnace. Talk about peer pressure! These brave three essentially said – “No chance, king. We only bow to our God.” So when they stood while society bowed, King Full-of-Himself said they’d better bow, or face the fire, then dared to ask “…and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

He’s about to find out. Read with me.

Daniel 3:16 says:

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king.”

But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

(Daniel 3:1‭, ‬16‭-‬18 HCSB)

I’ve read this story many times, but the wonderful thing that came alive to me tonight is this:

But even if He does not rescue us… we will not serve your gods… .”

Now that’s some kind of faith.

I don’t know what you’re facing, but I know it always goes better for me when I align my life with God and focus solely on Him.

I didn’t say it is easier.

I said it always goes better for me.

I’ve bowed to alcoholism, promiscuity, bitterness, self-pity, deceit, anger, and pride more times than old King Nebuchadnezzar had subjects.

But ever since God rescued me from myself and gave me a brand new start, my whole life changed.

You see, the things I bowed to (listed above) were actually not idols at all, but thresholds to the furnace.

Last year, when I thought I might lose someone important to me, I decided not to self-medicate and instead trust God – even if that meant facing the fire. And face the fire I did. Let’s see how it worked in the Bible story.

“And these three men fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.
King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said … “Didn’t we throw three men…into the fire? ” “Yes, …” they replied. He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God — come out! ” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. When the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Daniel 3:24‭-‬27 HCSB

Last year the outcome for me was like these three. When I placed my trust in God and refused to bow to anyone or anything else – I still faced the fire, but I wasn’t burned by it. In fact, I felt the presence of God throughout the whole ordeal. It only served to increase my faith and that of others. My loved one is doing great – and so am I.

This week I’m facing a potential new monsterous idol I’m expected to bow down to. It is the threat of a scary disease. I could bow to self-pity, depression, anxiety, or fear, but I’m choosing to stand in its presence instead of bow.

I will stand with my heart lifted and say,

“God is able to heal me, but even if He does not rescue me, I want you to know that I will not serve any other gods or worship anything that could potentially take His place.”

I encourage you to read the end of this story for yourself and see how it ends for the old king.

I’ll tell you how my story from last year ended – in victory.

You can read my story here.

So what’ll it be?

Bow to an idol at the demand of society, or stand in the fire with the Almighty God?

Posted in Love, Poetry, Spoken Word

I “_______” You

The question I’ve been pondering is

What does love really look like?

Is it sweet romance, happenstance,

Beautiful, blissful,

Flowers, kisses, and love letters?

It has got to be more than a mention

More than affection, attention,

More than just lovers carving hearts into the sand.

The question I’ve been pondering is

What does love really feel like?
Is it tears of joy,
A walk in a garden,
A playful puppy with a three year old?

It has got to be more than an emotion,
More than a fairy tale, a notion,
More than riding off on a white horse.

The question I’ve been pondering is
What do we mean when we say
“I love you”
When those words
More than won’t do –

Why don’t we say what we really mean, then?

Like with my kids, what’s really happening is…

I “quality time playing Mario-Kart 8 for the third night in a row because you’re a cool kid” you.

I “working extra hours when I don’t feel great so we can go on vacation this summer” you.

And with our significant others…

I “holding hands in a movie theater” you.

I “texting you out of the blue because I can’t get you off my mind” you.

I “created a new playlist with songs that remind me of us” you.

I “still get butterflies in my tummy when I see your name on the caller ID” you.

And in my pondering I’ve come to realize that
Love looks like sacrifice –
Love looks like working hard all day and
Coming home with a smile on your face and
Keeping the smile there while you do dishes because
Your kids have a clean home and,
Come next paycheck – new shoes, or school clothes or
A paid-for cell phone, electricity, a vacation.
Love looks like a tired momma at the end of the day
With no left-over paycheck to show for all her hard work,
But a house full of happy kids to fill up her heart…

Love feels like…
A Daddy wiping his own tears after his daughter walks out the door with her prom date or

Swinging on the back porch swing with a
Glass of sweet iced tea while you
Watch the kids and the puppy play like
Kids and a puppy…

Love feels like a first kiss –
Standing on a park bridge
While the rain
Starts and stops and starts again, but you don’t notice
Because you are
Too busy falling deeper
For the one you hold –
Not only with your arms,
but now with your
Heart…

Love feels like fishing
After a long workday
On a calm lake,
Like a good night’s sleep,
Like love…

Love is a deep-abiding commitment that, during or after an argument, says –
“You first.” and
“I’m so sorry.” and
“If I had to do it all over again I’d still choose you.”
Love can’t wait to get home to the someone they love.
Love is always being on the same team.

But because this world has tried to re-brand love,
I’d rather throw that word out the window,
Or set it on a shelf until it becomes less misused and more of a
Treasure each time it slips off our lips…

I “cotton candy clouds on a road-trip” you.
I “new socks on freshly showered feet” you.
I “waiting on God’s timing to turn my heart your way” you.
I “_______” you.

(Try it for yourself – you’ll see…)

Posted in Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Stand Your Ground

I think I know how David felt
Holding an ordinary stone
A poet’s soul
A warrior’s stance
As an army mocked his boast
They stood and laughed
But didn’t know
He’d faced lions, not alone
But with the strength, with the help
Of one mightier than those

Face your giant, not with armor
That the world finds adequate
But with power that only comes
From an all-surrendered spirit
When you look up, stare him down,
Say a prayer and square your shoulders
You’ll find an ordinary prayer
Hits like a giant boulder

With your back to the crowd
Set your jaw, don’t back down
Stand your ground

-M.A. Fairchild (c) 2014

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Poetry, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Pocket Full of Shoestrings

18557225_10105878219742550_319263151762499277_nSome things in life go perfectly
Some people find the perfect fit the first time
I just seldom happen to be among the “some”
Like new jeans… I hate those things
First, you inch into one of the legs, and
Do a kind of hop-step-jump into the other
And shimmy and stretch them up and hope that

  1. They don’t have cameras in the dressing room, and
  2. That when you get them up, you can zip them up, and
  3. That you don’t end up in a heap on the floor with the ever-growing
    “Those MIGHT fit a mouse” pile

Not that I know anything about all of that…

Some things in life go the way you hoped they would
Like outdoor weddings on crisp spring mornings, or
Babies who sleep through the night from day one, but
I got married on a hot, rainy summer weekend,
And divorced on a cold day in December, and
My 3 babies all loved to make sure I was held at all hours,
But actually – I didn’t mind this –
Because I got to be held at all hours
And I love that I get to be my babies’ Momma

Lately, I’ve been convicted of trying to control every aspect of my life
When I know that God knows the plans he has for me,
Yet I INSIST on keeping a planner,
Which is silly, really,
Especially when it’s clear by the Scratch-out marks and the
Clutter of stickers I use to cover over so many
Thwarted plans that
I probably shouldn’t bother to make any plans…
This is usually because some of the
Biggest events in my life are ones I never planned for…
Events I never saw coming…

Like this past year, when someone I love had thoughts of taking her own life
I found my planner filled with appointments
For psychiatrists, individual and family therapists,
504 accommodation meetings at the High School,
And follow-ups to follow follow-ups…
And my journal became full of words like:
“Safety plan” and “inpatient stay” and “intensive outpatient therapy”

And all the “Es” –
Diagnoses and pharmacies and anxieties
And the “shuns”
Depression and suicidal ideation

She’s just a baby at 16
She’s the good stuff in the middle of my precious three
My precious baby doll

And, oh… she is well-worth all of my going and seeing
Dr after Dr after Dr and
Listening and follow-upping and the daily drive to Dallas
And parking and praying and listening
And driving and parking and praying for sleep
Because the nightmare of walking through this
Far out-did any night-terror I might have asleep

This wasn’t the dream I had for my darlin’
But through it all I can’t forget one thing
One defining moment at the start of all this.
Let me take you back with me…
Down a near-empty hallway as I reached for my keys
And instead, found her tattered shoestrings
In my pocket

It was at the end of two sleepless days
Of walking through hospitals
Lost in a haze of despair
It was the beginning of a gut-wrenching 10-day
Nightmare – they called an “inpatient stay”
At a place that turned her life around
I walked down the hallway that echoed the sound
Of an electric lock
I can still hear that lock…

But I knew this was where she needed to be
Knew this was the best place for my baby
And I was too busy to let it all in –
Too busy with appointments and ground rules and then
As I left her behind that lock
And took the longest walk of my life
To the parking garage
I reached in my pocket for my keys
And pulled out a handful of dirty shoestrings
From her Converse sneaks
The ones she’d begged me for – for weeks
And the nurse had just handed them to me
So that she couldn’t use them
To hurt herself

With a fistful of shoestrings
I stopped short in the hall
Everything went dark, I reached for the wall,
And then it hit me – the wall AND the reality
It hit me  –
My baby was here for trying to end her life –
And my insides started to cry

This was nowhere in what I had planned, you see
Not when I decorated her pink nursery
Or bought her ballet tights or softball cleats
Or spent hours pressing her cheer-skirt pleats
Or buying Teletubbies sheets…

Something had to give
God, why doesn’t she want to live
When she’s just at the beginning of life
Doesn’t she know how precious she is?
Is my love not enough?
How can I be a father AND a mother all at the same time?
And that’s when God spoke to me
As if He was standing right beside me
He said, “I AM her father.”
And then

“Daughter, I love you more than you love her.
And I love her more than you know.”

He said,
“This is her story.
This is where she finds her way back to me.
I’m behind that lock.
I AM the key
This thing meant to harm her – will set her FREE.”
And then He asked me one more thing:
“Daughter, do you trust me?”

And right there, holding up the hospital wall, I thought about that word, trust…
I thought back to the husband who left me
The men who violated me
To the bio-dad who didn’t even know my name
Til I was 28
And even then – it was because I called him.
“Daughter, do you trust me?”
And I paused for an eternity…
You see,
Trust is something I un-learned long ago
Each time I was harmed or betrayed or “let go”
Trust slayed me
Broke my heart and raped me, frayed me
And He’s asking…
“Daughter, do you trust me?”
And my heart whispered –
“You’re the only one who has ever been faithful”

And just like that, I felt a spark
One smoldering ember of trust
Stirred in my heart and I just said
“YES!”
And I probably should go back and apologize
To that startled nurse in the hallway
But right in the middle of that sterile hallway of
Children’s Hospital in Dallas
I.
Said.
Yes.

And as I was standing there
Pondering all of these things
Holding my baby’s dirty shoestrings
I decided to trust that His plans
Are WAY better than my plans
And I realized one more valuable thing:

God did NOT order this chaos
But He DID bring order to this chaos

And He did
Today is one year later – almost to the day – my baby is well
She leads worship
She draws and paints and sings and plays instruments by ear
And she is so full of life
Her laughter is back
You’d never realize today – if you met her –
That this past year ever happened

The reason that I’m writing this
Is so you can begin these
Conversations – if only in your mind
It saddens me that we
We don’t talk about this in church
Or in school, or work, or anywhere unless
One of our kiddos is in crisis
Then it’s too late
So many of our kids are wandering around in the dark
And we need to flip on the light
And get to the heart of the matter
And the heart of the matter is LOVE

Here’s what you can do today that will help you avoid
Walking down a sterile hallway with a pocket-full of shoestrings:
Tell her that you love her on the way out the door
Put down your phone and catch a ball with him
Have REAL face-time with them
Dad, tell her you like it when she shares her heart with you
Mom, tell him you like it when a man opens the door for you
Let them find you reading your Bible
Teach them how to pray
Teach them the difference between guilt and shame
And never judge when they share their feelings,
But be there to redirect those feelings
Into decisions that will help their future,
Not harm them, at present

We have to start a dialogue
It has to start with you
And it has to start today
Tomorrow may well be too late