Posted in heartache, Life Lessons, Love, Truth, waiting, Word, Writing

Lookin’ For Love

My mind wandered this morning to John 4 and the woman Jesus spoke with at the well. I’m often reminded of her when I mentor single moms. Why had she come to this well to draw water alone? That was an activity the women did together. For safety. For social interaction.

I’ll guess why: shame.
She was hiding.

From other women. From society. From her shame.

That’s when she met Jesus – the man who would alter the course of her life.
Jesus was sitting there alone, waiting on his disciples to get back from town with food. He asked her to draw him some water and you can almost hear her audible gasp.

“Who, me? I’m detestable.” (Paraphrasing here.)

She actually said:
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

Let’s stop a sec.

Single momma, how many times have you been asked to go get your husband? By a salesman? By a snarky married woman who knows you don’t have one? By a mean girl? You know what this feels like. I know what this feels like.
And the answer stammers it’s way out of your trembling mouth. Your eyes glance down, or away.
“I, I… have no husband.”
Then Jesus spoke a truth that walked right through the solid, heretofore impenetrable walls around her heart:
“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”
Ouch. Yep. There it is.
But let’s be real. I’ve often wondered if there was a more shameful truth exposed here. I’d be willing to bet more than one of the 5 wasn’t her own husband, but someone else’s husband. Just keeping it real.
But Jesus knows everything and chooses to forgive anyway and offer a second chance at life. He did for me when I was that woman.

Forgiveness heals. You. The other person. It heals.

I know this hits more than single moms, but that’s who is on my mind today.

Girl, lift up your face.
I’ve done worse than you. Don’t believe me? Sit down for coffee with me one day. I’m not afraid to tell you about my past anymore because it does not own me. But hearing about it might just set you free.
Because if God can know my heart the way it was, forgive me anyway, give me a new heart, and offer me forgiveness and fill me up with love, He can and will for you too.
The Samaritan woman in this story had looked for love all her life, but was handed counterfeited love. I’m not sure what happened. Like me, did her husband leave unexpectedly and take her hope and strength and dignity with him?
Jesus wants to give you back your hope and strength and dignity.
Drink deeply of His Word.
You keep going back to the places you know will give you the love you want so badly, but you get thirsty again and just have to keep going back. And truth be told, you do the walk of shame all the way there and all the way home. Because it’s not love.

Enter Jesus.

He’s waiting to meet you and give you all the love you’ll ever want. Trust me. I know what you might be saying. “But I want a husband’s arms to hold me and love me.”

I’ve cried myself to sleep more nights than I care to admit because I want that kind of love, have it to give, yet have no one to share it with.
Oh, I know.
But each morning I choose to meet Jesus and allow His love to restore my hope, strength, and dignity and THAT is why I walk in joy and peace.
Do I want a husband?
Yes I do.
Oh, but not if it costs me even one precious drop of the love Jesus gives. I’m not giving that up. No way.

Now a man who loves Jesus and drinks deeply from His love, I’ll walk with THAT guy forever and five days.

Seriously: drink up, sister.

You’ll never thirst for love again once you’ve had the real thing.

Posted in heartache, Life Lessons, Love, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love, Writing

One heart. Many faces.

I made a huge mistake at work today. To be fair, it’s my first week of actually doing my job and I’m still onboarding. But the impact of this was far-reaching.

I control 2 email inboxes from the same email account. One is my personal company email. The other is my team’s email. I was tasked with sending our team’s newsletter out to 500+ call center agents and managers from our team’s email. I made the newsletter, hit send, and waited for it to arrive in my personal inbox (since I fall within the recipient list).

It arrived. But it was NOT from the team email. It came from my personal account.

Audible gasp.

My breath caught. My lungs seized. My heart chugged deep and slow like the 2am train that runs through town. People who matter would see my mistake.

Got me thinking though. How many times in life do I live duplicitously?

How many sides can there be?

Work me. Home me. Friend me. Inner circle me. Church me. Mom me.

And how many times have I been caught saying something that must sound strange to an audience who either knows a different side of me, or who knows me better?

I used to be this way more than now. Now I try to always just aim for being real.

I find that this throws people off though.

I’m an encourager. I just am.

But when I struggle nowadays, and people read it in my blog or on my social media pages, they’re like…”that’s the girl who is always up. Why is SHE struggling?” And my private message box fills up with concerns.

Here’s the thing:

I am only ever up because I have chosen to get back up.

I’m gonna repeat that in case someone missed it.

I am only ever up because I have chosen to get back up.

Fallen is my natural state.

But see, now when I fail and when I fall, I get excited. Not right away. Not till I dust off my knees and clean up my wounds. But eventually I get excited.

Not for me. I get excited for others.

Because now I can see when someone else is about to fall in that same pit and I can say…”HEY! YOU! THERE’S A HUGE PIT RIGHT THERE.”

And if they fall anyway, I get to say…”Here’s my hand…let’s get you get back up. Keep going.”

So when I broadcast on social media what my inner circle already knows I’m struggling with, people aren’t ready for it. They’re ready for more encouragement. More happy.

But conversely, my inner circle probably rolls collective eyes when they see me broadcast supergirl encouragement when I just blew up our group or private chats with how I cried myself to sleep for the fifth time this week.

But what I understand is – I learn and grow best by struggling, being transparent, and getting back up.

I really do possess the capacity to walk beside people who have hurt me. And this is because I have been forgiven much, and have been loved much – so I am quick to forgive much, and quick to love much.

My teammates at work expected to see that weekly newsletter from the team, not the new-hire.

But at the end of the day (after I recalled the email and had another team member send it correctly) I realized that all the information I sent was correct.

And that’s the point. If you’re correct in what you say and how you live, you don’t have to worry about who sees or hears you.

Side note: it wasn’t my fault after all – my email lacks a setting that allows me to send anything from the team.

I’ll put in a ticket to IT on Monday.

Y’all have a great weekend.

Live with integrity.

One heart. One voice.

Life is short. Love well.

I love you.

Posted in heartache, Love, Poetry, waiting, Word, Writing

What Do I Know of God?

It’s days like these
When my heart is broken
It’s days like these when my
Mind is obscured
It’s days like these
When all l know is
Nothing feels like I think it should

It’s days like these
When my arms are lonely
When my eyes are cracked
From tears
It’s days like these when
You remind me
You have always been here

And really…
What do I know of kindness
What do I know of faithful
What do I know of
Trustworthy and pure

What do I know of sacred
What do I know of sacrifice
What do I know of
Working all things for my good
What do I really know
God, what do I really know

It’s nights like these
I sit in silence
Wondering what else I can do
It’s nights like these
My mind just wanders
In and out of half-lies and half-truths
It’s nights like these
That make me weary
That I wind up on my knees

And you remind me,
You remind me…

That you’re the
Author of kindness, the
Creator of faithful, the
Painter of
Trustworthy and pure

You alone are sacred
You gave yourself as my sacrifice
You work all things for my good

What do I really know
God, what do I really know

Posted in Love, Poetry, Writing

The In-Between

On the margin of day
When the sun slides sleepily
Off the page,
I sit awake, hold my pillow,
And sigh.
Where daylight dwindles and
Tree-shadows grow long,
So do my thoughts.
They yawn and stretch and
Thoughts that got lost amidst the
Busy clutter of a long day’s work
Now saunter back,
Sit cross-legged on the couch
Of my mind, and
Settle in with me for my last
Cup of vanilla-caramel decaf.
Thus begins the in-between.
At least for tonight.
But it’s a place that knows me well.
Half-asleep thoughts
Never cease to glaze, like my
Eyes that beg for sleep,
But find none.
It’s always the same thoughts,
Always the same culprits –
And work,
And money,
And kids,
And tomorrow’s Instaquote.
And Happy-Birthday-dear-so-and-so,
And grocery lists,
And one last sip of decaf,
And then –
It always begins and ends with
And one tear slips, unbidden
Down my tired face, and
Then another and another and
Before long it’s 2am and
I’m re-living scenes that
Don’t matter much now,
But mean everything.
Now it’s 2:48am, now 3:11, and
I’m stuck
Sunset and shadow,
Daybreak and heartache,
Tired eyes and my
5:45am alarm, which creeps
Ever closer.
And I stop and address the night:
“Why am I always stuck in this
But no one answers.
Not even me.
And I hesitate for a moment
Before I have a fleeting thought that
I’ll post this tonight
For no one to read and
Tuck myself in and dream.
And tomorrow (or is it today?)
I’ll be so busy
I don’t have time to think of
In between.

Posted in Poetry, Word, Writing

This Poet’s Angst

I don’t have words tonight,
Not adequate words, anyway.

I have cautioned words.
Quiet words.
Words that peek out of my heart,
Look around to make sure no one is reading, then
Tip-toe quickly onto the page.

Words that don’t chassé, rather,
That glide forth, slow,
Measured and unbidden
Like a silent tear that escapes,
Unnoticed by everyone but you
In a moment everyone else is
Overjoyed, yet your mind is
Recalling a tender moment, of
Long ago when you first met
The one who you had no idea
At the time would be so important to you,
But made all the difference.

The one whom, when they first held you
You knew they were the one
Your heart never again wanted
To live without.

And yet here you are,
Living without…

Oh, vile words,
Betrayers of my heart,
Get back to your chores.
Back to your duties of describing
Happier times.

Back before a rainy night and
An old wooden bridge and the
Way my heart carved
Initials into it’s memory.

This is the beauty and the
Weight of a poet’s heart:
To feel all or nothing at all,
And to describe it either way.
To vividly recall
Moments best left in the past.

One day new memories will
Undoubtedly replace the old.
Until then,
This poet’s angst is having loved
And lost and sighs at being solidly in possession of a
Poetic heart that won’t ever forget.

Posted in Life Lessons, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love, Writing

I am NOT Enough

Everyday for weeks now I’ve watched women champion and repeat and chant the phrase “I am enough.” It’s on mugs and graphic t-shirts and books and billboards:
“I am enough.”
Really? Are we? Why do we say this? What are we REALLY saying? What are we enough of or who are we enough for?
I have a graduate degree and it took 5 months to find a job when my last contract ended.
My body aches and takes longer to recover from workouts because age is creeping up on me.
I have to hold my phone out an extra foot to read because I have over-40-year-old eyes.
I snap at my family when I’m tired or hungry or stressed or lonely.
My laundry multiplies faster than my want-to.
Oh, I have great qualities. I’m a great friend. An encourager-extraordinaire. A great writer. My smile might even momentarily cure your depression.
But when I see this phrase, I cringe.
Because the TRUTH is:
I. Am. Not. Enough.
But. My. God. Is. Enough.
He knows me and strengthens me when I invite Him into my broken places. He was with me in my long job search. When I pressed into him I found peace enough and hope enough and joy enough for the journey.
In Exodus, God gave Moses the task of liberating the Israelites from slavery by the Egyptians.

“Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13‭-‬14 CSB

I AM is enough.
Moses wasn’t bringing the Israelites out of slavery. I AM was doing that.

In 2nd Corinthians 12:9 when Paul asked God to remove a “thorn in his flesh” (a weakness he had), God said this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

I am NOT enough. I am weak and broken. But God’s power is sufficient (ENOUGH) and His power is made perfect at exactly those places where I am weak.

I’m not trying to put anyone down, just to make someone think twice and edit this popular saying to: “I am enough because my God is enough.”


Posted in family, Friends, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized, Word, Writing

Glamour Shots


I was purging old stuff in the garage this morning. I don’t even want to tell you what ALL I found. But I came across something that got me thinking.

I came across old Glamour Shots pics  of myself from 1995. That was the year I got married. I looked at my pic for a long while. My makeup is extremely thick and I have what I affectionately call my big Texas hair. This was when poofy bangs and a feathery look was the thing. I was 20 and beautiful, but I had absolutely no clue what I wanted out of life.

Like. Zero. Clue.

The girl I was back then thought she had knew what she wanted. Note the engagement ring in the pic. She had a good job as a retail manager. She was planning a wedding, ran 3 miles a day, and was at her ideal weight.

Here’s the deal – the 20-year-old girl in the picture would never have known what she really wanted or needed if she did not go through all the heartache she went through to get her to today: age 44 and 13 days.

That pic was pre-kids, pre-divorce, pre-assault(s), pre-brother’s death to Cancer, pre-heartache, pre-financial woes, pre-depression, pre-Cancer, pre-Bachelor’s degree, pre-Master’s degree, pre-single-parenting-for-16-years, pre-job-loss, pre-so-much-life.

Right now the kids are in the living room going through the old baby pics of them I found. I’m enjoying their laughter. It’s been difficult, being a single parent. It is certainly different than I expected parenting would be. But without it, I wouldn’t have my youngest.
My kids have changed my priorities in life for sure and for the better.
I am so grateful for the three blessings I have.
I am grateful for Katie’s funny jokes and stories about life and all the joy she lets me in on, on her path to get her teaching degree. She has the most even-keeled personality – ever.
I am grateful for Stephanie singing her heart out at all times and her all-over-the-place emotional greatness. She has the best laugh.
I am grateful for Gavin’s 11-year-old-boy sense of humor. For his knowing every part of every movie score he’s ever heard and being able to sing it back on cue. He has the sweetest heart.

My bestie tribe has helped me clarify what is good for me and what is not. I thoroughly enjoy their wisdom. Without going through my divorce I may have missed out on these 3 amazing people who are in my “tribe” – my inner circle. They keep me prayed up. They lovingly tell me when I’m wrong about something. They make me laugh every single day.

But the main things that have enhanced my life and made me grow are my heartaches – both my mistakes and just awful things I have had to walk through. Like divorce. Like Cancer. Like losing my brother to death and then my sister to the fallout over grieving him. Like so many things.
Trauma made me struggle and cry and bend. It made me stronger in the weak places. If I hadn’t gone through so much trauma, I wouldn’t have so much true joy.

This is because the struggle made me appreciate what I do have. It made me grateful every single day for my kids and my parents and my tribe and all the other friends I have.

The struggle drove me to God. It drove me to soak in His Word. It drove me to be better. It made me stronger.

As I went through the pictures today, I asked God to redeem each heartache. I asked Him to allow me to see where He was along the way. I found He was true to His promise to never leave me nor forsake me.

As for the glamour shot pic – I don’t look at it and wish I were younger. I just don’t. I look at it and realize how much more glamorous my heart is today. How much more confident, secure, and full of wisdom. AND I realized I’ve aged gracefully. The pics here are 24 years apart. I haven’t really aged all that much. I feel comfortable in my skin, but love myself enough to want to exercise and eat healthy and be a better version of myself day-by-day.

I’m glad I stumbled across my struggles today – it helped me appreciate my strengths.

Posted in Poetry

Redemption – A Reverse Poem

No longer
Whole, and
What once was fractured is now
Scattered, but
Love left me
I was picking up the pieces from when
You walked out the door
I thought my life was over when you
Said you loved someone else
I found my life wasn’t over when you left
My life was just beginning.

This is a reverse poem, so now read it backwards, line by line.

Posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized, Writing

Wait Lifting #4 – Waiting Out the Storm

For the past few weeks I have been immersed in a hands-on education in waiting. I’ve written more on this subject here (Life Lessons – Patience),  here (Waiting Room), here (Learning to Wait), here (Minding Your Ps [Pauses] and Qs [Quizzes]), and here (Finding Hope to See in the Dark).

Today we’re going back to 2011 to a stormy Spring afternoon to discover how to wait out a storm.

May 18, 2011, I set out from my little North Texas town to drive to Columbus, Ohio. That’s 1076 miles or just over a 16-hour drive. My final destination was my best friend’s wedding in Goshen, Indiana, but I was picking up my boyfriend in Columbus, Ohio “on the way.”
I know. You can do a Google Maps search and see that it wasn’t “on the way.” Oh, the things you do for love.

On May 22, 2011, I was driving back home to Texas from Ohio. I left early in the morning, heartbroken over what I could probably write a bestselling novel about, and had driven through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I only stopped once, so I was making great time. Driving through Springfield Missouri, I was all cried out and exhausted. It was less than 7 hours to home, and I was determined to go the distance. I wanted my own bed and my babies. I put in a CD and kept driving.

Just as I was about to call home, the sky changed to an eerie shade of green. I’m a Texas girl. I know what a squall line looks like coming and going. I know what green skies mean: hail or a tornado.

The wind from this storm began pulling the car down the road. Not pushing – pulling. I’d never driven in that kind of wind before, nor have I since.

I turned off the CD and turned on the radio. This was before smart phones were so smart. That weather warning signal – the one with the beeping and squealing – was on. It was on every station.

I heard the weather guy say something about a supercell, a tornado, and to take cover if you’re near Joplin, Mo. I had no idea where Joplin was, but for sure I was in Missouri. I pulled off the highway into a hotel parking lot and looked at a map. I was in Mount Vernon, MO – about 40 miles from Joplin. I got a room and stayed for the night.

I turned on the local news and saw that about a half hour after I had pulled off the road, an EF5 tornado had hit Joplin. In fact, it leveled most of it and killed 158 people. If I had not pulled off and taken cover, I would have come face-to-face with this massive tornado.

Why am I telling you all this?

Some of you are just about to hit the storm of the century. Some of you are worn out, think you’ve gone through enough miles already, are all cried out, are ready to get home, and are singing 90s breakup ballads at the top of your lungs over your car stereo. When all the while an EF5 tornado is taking aim at the road just ahead.

I’m suggesting you turn off the distractions and tune in to some reality. Look at the atmosphere around you. Is it changing? Are the people you love trying to tell you something? Are there meetings going on at work that you’re not invited to? Is someone you love pulling away? Are you having health symptoms that keep nagging you?

Stop. Pray. Ask your friends what you’re missing. Ask your loved ones. Tune back in.

Doing this may help you to stop heading toward a huge life-leveling storm.

As it turned out, I couldn’t go through Joplin the next day. The roads were packed with emergency vehicles and insurance agents all scrambling toward the devastated city.

I backtracked and took back roads to my grandparent’s house in Arkansas. It did me some good. I needed a couple of days to let my heart heal after what I’d gone through in Ohio. Nanas are always good for healing hearts. Nanas and a good road trip will cure what ails ya.

Do you need to backtrack? It’s okay.

Do you need to stop and look at a map? It’s okay.

I just wanted to share my story and ask you to stop and look up a minute. Assess your life.

It’s okay to need to stop and wait out a storm.



Posted in Writing

I suppose

I suppose it wouldn’t be quite as good a life if every day was filled with wildflowers, sunshine, and balloons. That would make a beautiful day, of course, but how would I know it was beautiful? Where’s the perspective in that?

This is why I embrace the rainy days. Most especially those. I love the thunder and gloom and cold that makes me dig out the sweater I just packed in off-season storage.

How would I appreciate love if I could get it as easily as I get coffee in the morning?

How would I feel it’s warmth and cherish its presence without the precursor of a cold, waiting season?

Yes, there will be days like these. Days of not knowing. Days of wondering why not me or why not now or just why the heck not.

But there will be other days that far outlast these. Days of holding hands and whispering sleepy goodnights and waking, not alone. Days of cleaning house together and taking long walks at sunset and laughing at the nonsense of society.

I’ve faith enough. And plenty of love. And hope for what’s next.

As long as there are brighter days ahead, I don’t mind that there will be days like these, I suppose.