Tag Archives: friends

Hopeful Expectancy – It’s Time To Start Dreaming Again

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It is no secret that I have struggled with the idea that hope, often times, seems elusive. Pain from trauma, brokenness, grief, mental illness, etc – that pain can be so intense it’s blinding. It removes hope as a word in our vocabulary. It insists that hope for anything beyond the pain isn’t a thing – that it never really was. It ensures we cannot remember what hope even feels like. It says hope isn’t real, at least not for me. I’ve also come to realize that this is dangerous, and false thinking – simply put: hope never goes anywhere. Yes, our life’s experiences that allow for that temporary blindness that makes hope appear to play a mean game of hide and seek – with us consistently losing. I urge you, however, to remember that hope is still real, and it always will be. Yes, I’m speaking to myself as much as the next person reading.

Today, however, something pretty interesting happened. I will explain more specific details in a future post, but I will say this. I was at a very low point today, and – if I’m being honest – the same can be said for plenty of the time recently. I have been questioning the meaning of life, in combination with the actual desire to keep on walking. To keep breathing. It’s been a struggle, trying to simply be, and live with the intensity of the pain. Instead of getting easier to navigate and deal with over the course of time, it’s been getting intensely more difficult. I have questioned my ability to keep fighting. Life shouldn’t be a fight.

Today, I was feeling really very overwhelmed, like giving up – and just, hurting. Instead of forcing myself to deal with it on my own, I reached out to a trusted friend. I will write more about this friend in time, but it became a moment, inspired by God Himself. That is not something I say lightly. But, it is something I say absolutely, with no doubt, was orchestrated by the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.  Grace took on the form of human connection, and reminded me of hope. And smiles. And laughter. Even tears. But, more than that, reminded me of the life saving grace and love that God offers.

This day especially, I needed this reminder. Had I forgotten who God was, or all He’s done in countless lives, mine included? Absolutely not. Had I been blinded by the pain, so I was unable to see or focus on Him at all? Yes, more than I care to admit.

But, the beauty of it all? Hope arrived. Though it never actually left, it did become real again. I would be lying if I said all was now a bed of roses, and all my thoughts and feelings are suddenly all totally better. I would be telling a tall tale if I told you that I now have it all figured out, due to this magical conversation with a friend. Though, I will say that the conversation was absolutely a tool God used to penetrate some dark places – to shine light on hope again; to allow for hope to arrive. What did happen, was beautiful indeed. I dared to allow myself to hope again.

Then, like a healing balm applied to a painful wound, a word was beginning to take form, and be etched in my heart. Expectancy. More than that, to live with hopeful expectancy. That is a change from where I am right now. It became a moment of deciding to choose not to live life comfortably – a moment where I chose (and will continue to choose) to dismiss the status quo. I realized, I really do want more than just the pain that life has offered. I know there has to be more out there. I will not give up on it.

You see, just last night, I was listening to this same  previously mentioned friend talk about dreaming. That our dreams are possible. While he was speaking, something broke inside me though. It was at that moment that I realized that I do not really have a lot of dreams – big or small. I haven’t been dreaming anymore. This really bothered me. But, I didn’t have the answer – the “how to” on dealing with it.

During my conversation today, though, That word, expectancy – it became real again. It is taking up residence in my heart, and is helping me grow my thinking.  It is helping me believe that not only is hope real, but also that dreaming is possible again. I haven’t really dissected this all that much yet. I haven’t sat down and really put much more thought into it, but I am going to.  I need to be in a different place than I am right now, and I can already tell it will require re-framing of my own thoughts. Re-framing reality even.

So, even though I don’t have it all figured out – I say that’s okay. I have something much greater: hopeful expectancy. That, in combination with my faith in a God who loves – that, is where I believe life change will begin to happen. That is where I see hope growing and thriving. That is where redemptive grace takes hold, and doesn’t let go. For this, I am grateful.

With this, I say, let’s get to dreaming. Never let your dream(s) die. If you aren’t dreaming, it’s time to rekindle the fire that says to not give up, and to never stop dreaming. You’ve got this. I’ve got this. Together, we can change the world. Maybe not the entire world (maybe so though) but we can change our individual world. That is worth hopeful expectation.

Dream big.

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If You Are Who You Follow

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If you are what you follow on social media, then I am

a gay, straight, lesbian, heterosexual, single, married, bipolar, possibly suicidal, mentally ill, happy, hopeful, loving, hated, bullied, loved, toddler, restaurant, pastors wife, pastor, executive pastor, youth ministry, worship leader, friend, caring, empathetic, waitress, friend with benefits, grown ass man, feminist preacher, apologetic pastor, agnostic, TV news anchor, weatherman, LGBTQ+ community, hurting, broken, exhausted, energetic and wide awake, husband, wife, Christian band, boxer, wrestler, asshole, sweetheart, photographer, mentally challenged, evangelist with a love of fishing, triangles, pencils, scary movies, music, songs, pickles, cake, bacon in any shape or size, chocolaty popcorn, and all things love.

So, as you can tell – I am very diverse.

I am a human being, you see. I am you, and you are me. We are us. We are a team. We are individuals. We are better together and we really must not ever be alone. We all need grace, compassion and love.

Just To Write – Sharing What Is On My Mind

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I am going to do something different this evening.  I am just going to write.  I don’t have anything specific on my mind, or that I need to get out, so to speak.  So, I am just going to write.  Unedited.  What you see is direct from my brain.  Buckle up  and enjoy the ride!

One of the biggest things on my mind right now is life.  Life, in general. I have a lot of time to sometimes just sit back and ponder the meaning of life.  I sometimes wonder if this is all there is to life, and it bothers me.  Then, I might feel a little bit guilty. Why?  Look around.  I have a husband and three amazing children – not to mention a multitude of extended family – and a network of amazing friends.  It takes thoughts like that to remind me that I am surrounded by so much love.  Life indeed does suck sometimes.  There is always more to life – but even if there isn’t – what I have right now is pretty special, and worth truly living for.

Living.  There have been days recently where I’ve just wanted to pull my hair out.  Truth be told, that might be a little difficult right now, seeing as how I recently shaved it in honor and support of my daughter who is six years old – and bald, fighting cancer.  But, back to my recent crazy days.  There have been moments where I have been feeling quite overwhelmed.  By everything.  Coping with life.  Coping with her having this returned cancer. Dealing with feeling inadequate to handle everything.

It’s then that I realize that I DON’T have to handle everything by myself.  I don’t.  You don’t.  NO ONE SHOULD.  You see, there are multiple factors I have on my side, making life more than worth living.

First, I have a God who is larger than life.  For some reason, He loves me.  He always has, and He always will.  The neat thing about that is that I haven’t done anything particularly worthy of Him.  Just because I am His child – that’s why He loves me.  It’s an awe-inspiring thought.  To know that I can not do everything right, make mistakes and just not live life “perfectly” so to speak, and KNOW that He is always going to be waiting with open arms…that is powerful to me.  To just know that no matter how broken I may feel, He is always ready and willing to pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece.  He is someone who understand every single part of my life.  The good and the bad.  The ups and the downs.  He gets it. And, He loves me.

Secondly, I have family.  I’ll talk about friends in a minute, but first I’m going to share how blessed I am.  I got to thinking what life would be like if I weren’t here.  No, this was not me contemplating suicide, it was me taking myself out of the equation, and wondering how things would be different if I just ceased to exist.  Let’s talk about that precious child fighting cancer.  I’m her Mama.  There isn’t anyone else in this world who can play the role I do.  I am with her every step of the way.  Her Daddy is too, but I’m primary when it comes to taking her to appointments, blood draws, etc.  I don’t resent it.  It makes me happy that she needs me.  Then, there are my boys.  They are tremendous.  I love that we have an open line of communication.  There is not any topic that is barred from conversation, and they know it.  I would like them to be able to talk to me about anything.  I want to be a part of their lives, not a distant dictator as a parent.  I love my children more than I can put into words.  Then there is my husband.  We have been married longer than we have a teenage boy alive.  Things haven’t always been perfect in our marriage. There have been times I have questioned so much.  However, though not perfect, always worth fighting for. God has given me a love for this man unlike anything I can put into words. Even through tough times, I have never forgotten the initial reasons that brought us together, and the love that connected us in marriage.

After family, there are friends. You know, some friends are as close to me as family.  Friends make me smile.  I’d like to take a moment to talk about people both online, that I’ve never met – and that I may not ever meet in person, and people I know in real life.

Don’t EVER think that “just” online friendships are worthless.  They mean so much.  No matter what, online relationships are very real.  I’ll talk about them first. Through online platforms, Twitter, Facebook and my daughters prayer and support page (also on Facebook) I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world. Literally.  All over the world.  That’s neat.  Just connecting with other people is important.  Creating friendships “across the airways” has been incredible.  There are people on my daughter’s page, for instance, that I value their friendship so much.  They have shown so much love and caring.  They take the time to let her know, and to let me and our entire family know that we are loved, and that they care how she is – and how we’re all doing.  It puts a smile on her face, and on mine to see people comment and just surround her with support and love.  There is no question in her little head that she is loved.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Real life friends.  I also know I couldn’t do life without them.  One very specific place I’m surrounded by friendship is at and through my church.  From the moment I walked in the doors the very first time these three years ago almost, I felt truly at home.  I walked in the front doors with lots on my mind, and weighing on me personally.  Like I have said previously, I am diagnosed bipolar.  I say that to just say this.  I was not at a great place, mostly mentally, when I first started going to my church.  However, I was welcomed with open arms, with no judgement, and regardless of what my story was.  That, my friends, was life changing.  Because of the welcoming atmosphere, I was able to connect – both with the people, and with God. Even at the beginning of this fight with childhood cancer and my daughter, I knew they were with me.  They freely admitted that no one at  the church had gone through this, but that they were going to walk with us through the process. They have done just that.  In short, they have been friends.  True friends. Through all that makes up life.

Speaking of connecting with friends,  I’ve mentioned how I’ve recently felt quite overwhelmed.  It’s almost as if all the emotions that come along with being bipolar and having a kid fight cancer – as if all the emotions of these two things have combined forces from years previous and come back to sneak up on me…saying, “here I am…deal with me now!”  It is during these times that I have learned the value of reaching out.  I haven’t always been one to reach out.  I’ve been one to hide, keep to myself, and not let anyone else in.  Why?  I don’t want people to know the “real” me for fear of what they’ll think when and if they find out what makes me tick.  I’m learning that if someone thinks negatively about me after knowing who I am, then fine – I didn’t really need them anyway.  That may seem harsh, but it’s true.  If someone can’t accept you for who you are, you can’t go and try and change yourself to fit the mold.  Doing that will just chip away at you, taking more and more of you with it each time.  Be you.  Be transparent and be authentic.  Doing so isn’t always easy.  It’s vulnerable.  But, it’s worth it.  Creating relationships based on reality is worth it every time.  Like I said, during the times where I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, I’ve learned the value in friendship.  In calling someone and just saying “I’m not okay” or “I’m hurting. Would you please pray with and/or for me?”  That’s hard to do.  But, it’s necessary.  At least, it is for me.  If you’re honest, you’d agree – you need to always have someone by your side that you can call on to just say that things aren’t going okay right now.

As such, it has become imperative for me to remember that it’s okay to not always be okay. I am a Christian.  Which is awesome.  However, accepting Christ into my life to lead the way doesn’t mean that suddenly life will be a bed of roses, with no troubles or struggles.  No, just the opposite.  It means you are human, but even so, God will give you strength to walk through whatever life throws your way.  I know this to be absolute fact.  It’s just that sometimes I don’t always keep my eyes on Him and Him alone.  Through the struggles, I see myself, and my own inadequacy. Of course I’m inadequate.  I wasn’t created to do life alone.  I wasn’t created to do life without Him.  I truly believe that God created us to be community people – to not walk through life alone.

I guess I needed to write all this for myself as much as for any of you who have taken the time to read.  I want you to know this.  You are not alone in this world.  You don’t have to be alone in anything you walk through.  Know that.  I want you to remember all these things I’ve needed to remind myself of.  No matter what your situation is, you are important, and your life has value.  Even when you can’t see it, look around you.  See the people you interact with, and that count on you.  You may not be able to see it, but your impact is great.  More people than you realize love and support you.  You may just need to allow them to do so.  I know people have constantly wanted to help me, and to just be a friend. It wasn’t until I was able to reach out and just be real – authentic – transparent, that I could see true and deep friendships.  I encourage you to do the same.  You are worth it.  Your story is important, and it is still being written.

If you have made it this far, know I’d love to hear from you and know what your story is all about.  If you are feeling alone, or just need a friend, feel free to reply in the comments or to connect through the “contact me” page.  Even if you are having a great day and just want to remind the world to smile, feel free to connect.  I also want to say that I value your thoughts and prayers.  Clearly this isn’t the easiest time in my life.  And that’s okay.  I’m not doing it alone thankfully.  Thank you to everyone who will take the time to pray.  It means so much.  Let me know how I can pray with and for you as well!

An Internal Look At Why I Write What I Do

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Lately, I have talked a great deal about – even in the midst of life’s storms – seeing the good things, and enjoying life. No matter what situation you’re in, and what path of life you’re walking, I want you to have joy. I don’t want you to walk through it alone. In fact, I consider it an honor to walk through life with you.

That said, I’d like to take another internal look at the “why” behind the things I write. I feel like being authentic with an added layer of transparency is the only way to go. Those of you who know me, know I’ve struggled with this concept for a long time. It is a concept that makes me wonder what you will think if you know the truth. If you really know ME, would you still like me? Of course you would, because I’m awesome.

While I joke, I’m absolutely serious. That’s just the thing. It had been a long time struggle. To a degree, it still is. The point in my life I’m at right now, though, is how I react to said insecurities. Right now, I have learned to love myself. I have learned to see myself as a much loved child of the creator of the Heavens and the earth. I am a child of God, and thus what you think will not change who I am. As a side note, I DO care what you think, but I will not let it dictate my character.

NOW, that was a little bunny trail. I’m writing to you today to simply be real. To let you know a few things about what makes me tick. I have written a decent deal about fighting this rare, aggressive cancer with my four year old daughter lately. It’s been a huge part of my life, and the lives of those close to us. That said, I want to also stress that just because our daughter is the center of the universe right now, and that everything does seem to center around her care, it’s not all that exists. Good and bad. Everything that was there prior to her diagnosis is still there. Her siblings are still there, loving as always. I am still struggling with the roller coaster ride that accompanies bipolar disorder. I’m dealing with taking care of that while I take care of her too. As a side note, that is actually under control well right now. It became an issue where I learned that it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to need help sometimes. It’s okay for me, and it’s okay for you. If I’m able to take care of me, I can take care of the children as well. Even though cancer hit our family, everything else we deal with didn’t just magically disappear.

Those are physical and mental struggles and things I deal with. I’d also like to talk a little bit about my faith. Without regard to any situation (cancer or otherwise) that I find myself walking, I maintain a faith in a God larger than life. It is through Him that I have strength – even in the midst of some of life’s darkest storms. I live by the following thoughts: God is still God. God is still good, and He IS in control. No matter what the outcome is, and no matter where the varied paths lead, my trust is in Him.

Things that can, are put on the virtual back burner. There are things, however, that just don’t wait – even if life is crazy or centers around hospitals, doctors, chemo, cancer, etc. What will NOT happen, however, is it will not win. Cancer will not destroy our family. What I will do, though, is ask for your continued support and prayers. They absolutely mean the world. PLEASE do not hesitate to ask how I am, or how any other member of my family is. We all enjoy connecting, and don’t want to let this whole situation put who we are on hold…well, on hold for longer than it needs to be.

I’m pretty sure this blog post is pointless. It says nothing of real substance, but it will give you an inside look at me, and the “why” behind much of what I write. With that said, more of it will make sense on upcoming days, as I sort through all that is on my heart and in my mind to share.

Thanks for standing with me on this and all the different paths I walk. If you have any questions, or would like to make any comments, please feel free to post below in comment, or send a message via my “contact me” link. I look forward to connecting.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Friendships

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There is one thing you have probably heard me talk about before, and something you will likely hear me speak about again (often) — and that is people. People need people. Everyone needs friends surrounding them and supporting them. It doesn’t make you weak to need a friend. It makes you human.

I am taking this day to be grateful for old friendships, and new ones forming. God is blessing me with beautiful people with such sweet spirits. God is helping me look internally and figure out a need for transparency. No matter how happy or how sad a situation is, it all boils down to being real. Having friends who love you through both the good and bad times is priceless.

I strongly suggest you reach out to others in your life. You might just be surprised at the love that reaches back.

I am thankful today for friendships, new and old.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Reconnecting

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Today I had the opportunity to reconnect with a friend I had lost contact with several years ago. We didn’t spent a ton of time together, but we had a few moments, amidst the blizzard-like snow coming down outside, to catch up and just enjoy each others company. It was a God-inspired connection, and I’m thankful for having taken the time to reconnect!

365 Moments Of Gratitude: Thankful For A Reminder – It’s Okay To Not Always Be Okay

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Yes, it’s true. It’s okay to not always be okay. There are times in all our lives that life isn’t perfect. It’s what we do during those times that dictate how the next 20 minutes (or day/week/month) will go. This is on my heart because I just realized how not okay I am right now. Don’t get me wrong. I will be fine. This happens from time to time – for one reason or another – and I deal. I realize that how I feel right now is temporary, and as such, won’t last forever. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, and that it’s one of those part of human nature.

That said, it’s what I’m choosing to do with this that I believe will make the difference. I will be open and transparent, and also reach out. I’ll ask my friends in real life, and those of you who are reading to stand with me. I will not stand alone.

If you are curious – there are a variety of things going on right now that are making me think and/or feel the way I do in this instant. Part of it may be a random chemical imbalance. Part my be my crazy thyroid. Part may be a pending medical issue. Part may be transition. Part may be things completely out of my control. Moral to the story – all these parts add up. They do for me, they would for you.

It’s my choice to see a God larger than life in the midst of it all. It’s my choice to also just be honest and let you know – it’s okay to not always be okay. During those times, I encourage you to do what I am doing – reach out. You aren’t alone. Neither am I. If you have taken the time to read this, please know that I am grateful for you, and for your friendship and prayers. Please know it is reciprocal. You are loved, friends!