Shower Confessional…


I follow a lot of writers. Writing, good writing, gets me every time and I can feel moved, inspired, energized, inadequate, all kinds of different feels come out through words. More and more, though, I am feeling disconnected and like something may be a little wrong with me. The more words, the more authenticity, the more of just more that comes my way, I begin to do a little back step. Story is important-I’ll concede that point. But (all good things have a good but in them just read the bible) after everyone else has found their voice, found their freedom, found their tribe, found their passion driven everything, found their keys why is it that I still feel a little lost?

Because it’s their story and not mine.

My story has a different voice because it is grown out of different stuff. Mommy stories made sense for a while. ‘Be you’ stories had their place, for a while. Follow your passion, OK, I admit, I still don’t get that one-I am passionate about really good gluten free pizza and I am pretty sure that it’s not in His plan for my life to have a pizza joint. If I am going to be brutally honest, sometimes my passion is just to get through the day so I can go to bed again. I’m tired, I’m sorry. I am also in the throes of menopause-surgically induced-which there are not enough words to describe just how unprepared I was for this gift. Somebody please, PLEASE create an honest blog about what to expect and to all you people who say you were just fine two weeks after surgery…go away, just go away. I am six months out and am still missing parts of my brain so, whatever.

The story that makes the most sense for me, in this moment, is what I call my raw heart. As in I feel like my fleshy, tender heart has been exposed to the elements. It feels battered, wind beaten and like it’s been hit by more than a few random branches in a storm. It also feels raw in that way that comes after a really good cry-swollen, exhausted but better for it. It’s a weird mixture of relief that I can feel deeply enough at this stage of the game and bone grinding weariness from feeling things so deeply.

I am going to cut through a whole, whole bunch of my journey and get right to the point of this particular post. I am mom to a military boy. I am entering into my third time of being mom to a deployed military boy and I wish I could say I am heading into it with the strength and dignity many military mom’s exhibit. I’d also like to say that since it is the third time that I am stronger now-I know what to expect so it is easier. No, just no.

Going into it a third time I know exactly what I am in for. I know the sleepless nights. I know the tiny flip of heart that comes when the phone rings at odd times. I remember the increasing difficulty of finding the words to pray that feel adequate. I remember feeling like I wasn’t really living until I got that phone call telling us he was safe on home soil. I know that tears can erupt at the most inopportune time because they just have to come out. Sorry lady in the aisle at Meijer, it had nothing to do with you or the cheese.

Shower Confessional

I had no intention of even writing about this topic. My morning shower made me do it. I don’t know about you but something happens when I hit the shower. It is that place where everything else falls away and my sole goal is to either wash off the day’s grime or prepare for a new day. Sometimes I get my best ideas for writing or for a new painting-I think people have done studies on why this happens. I don’t really care, I am just happy when it happens. Other times, though, it gets very, very real.

Surrounded by white subway tile and warm water I end up in sacred space. I come face to face with my failures and imperfections and I pour them out to God. It is a place where I can ugly cry and no one sees it. I can lay my truth out and feel God-both metaphorically and literally-washing my sin, washing my weakness, and bearing my pain away. It is a safe place where I can stand alone, like I did this morning, and weep a two word prayer; no, God. no, God. no, God. no, God. It is a place where buckets of my prayers and tears are released. It is also a place I am held. I can close the curtain and I don’t need to be strong because I can give it all to him in ways that I can’t seem to manage during the day.

I read stories of other peoples strength and I wonder why I can’t find that. I hear of people who have gone through incredible adversity without flinching and I wonder why I feel felled by fear of the unknown. There are so many powerful stories and I think that mine is really nothing at all. I have my past that a precious few know about-even those closest to me don’t know the depth of my particular story. I believe it’s just not time for that story to be told. But (see above), we all have to begin somewhere and maybe this is how it begins. With me being honest. With me letting go of this idea that ‘strong’ is what I need to be when maybe I just need admit that I rely on God and that I ugly cry in the shower.

If I were a the right sort of Christian writer I would insert scripture here-or better yet I would have included it throughout. I am going to settle for just being a writer for now. One who has a death grip on God’s sleeve and one very cold cup of coffee. Whatever comes next is up to Him. I also know that he’s got this-he has my anguish, my anxiety and my tears. He never promised it would get easier He only promised he would see me all the way through…

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Why Praying for your Girl Matters…


20121158_1966258606921476_1895253948306773899_oI don’t think I have ever read a book that made me wish I could turn back time in quite the way Teri Lynne Underwood’s new book, Praying for Girls, has.

I didn’t grow up in a faith household. I also didn’t grow up in a household that spent much time investing in my future or my heart. Thankfully, I have a God that showed up in unexpected ways throughout my growing up and, while I may not have known it at the time, He was preparing me for a life with Him.

From the moment I came to Christ-in a public school counselors office no less-I have longed for deeper relationship with him, to live out my days serving Him and to raise my family according to His word. All good things, right! But, here’s the deal. Other than scripture I didn’t really have a handbook for how to go about living a Christian life. I became part of a great church that modeled this for me in loving, accepting and tangible ways. Looking back it is one of the best churches I have ever attended. Life and circumstance took our family many different places-and to many different churches-and I don’t think I have ever seen it modeled so well anywhere else.

Prayer as a way of life…

One thing that I could never quite grasp well was prayer. Prayer, in my experience, is approached and sometimes attached to particular methods and philosophies that I struggled to buy into. I had a college professor who wrote a book titled God is Not a Vending Machine and so often prayer is treated like a vending machine. I pray this, in the right order, and I get an answer. The answer I want. Or, in some cases, the thing I want. I always felt something was missing. I also never learned that prayer-real prayer-was a way of life until I was much older.

I am a Mim now, my children are all grown and married and I get to spend my days loving on my adorable grand daughters-I have three and each one lights my heart. When I heard about Praying for Girls I got a little excited. When I checked out the website (http://prayersforgirls.com/) I got a little more excited and signed up. Then, when I heard Teri was writing a book, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Through the course of following Prayers for Girls online and now in this amazing new book I have learned so much about prayer and our ability to pray scripture in a way I had never experienced before. There is no formula, this isn’t a ‘pray this and you will get everything you ever hoped for’ kind of book. Teri opens her heart in honesty and a deep desire to address the very real challenges facing our girls. She presents scripture as prayer and does it in such a way that transformed how I pray for the girls in my life.

Teri Lynne writes from the tender place of remembering what it was like to be a girl and also from and equally tender place of being Mom to a girl of her own. She invites the reader into her experiences and then offers sections geared to cover every aspect of your girl’s growing up. With sections titled Prayers for Her Identity, Prayers for Her Heart, Prayers for Her Mind, Her Relationships and Her Purpose, she equips us with ways to feed our daughters spirit and deepen her relationship with God. As Mom’s we understand the importance of feeding our children healthy meals designed to nourish their growing bodies, making sure they get the rest they need, and feeding their minds. It is as-if not more-important to feed and care for their spiritual hearts and bodies.

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Along with prayers for our girls, Teri includes sections of encouragement for Mom’s. Let’s face it, we don’t always get it right-I never did! She cares as much for the heart’s of Mom’s as she does for their girls and speaks specifically to them throughout the course of the book. She also provides suggestions for interactions with your girls-no matter their age-that coincide with themes presented in the book. These not only illustrate God’s love for them but grow your relationship with your girls

I may not have had a resource like this when my children were young-though I sincerely wish I would have-I am grateful to have this book now! I don’t think it is ever too late to pray these scriptures over our children and by praying them for my grandchildren I am a loving them in the best way possible.

Only for girls?

I know this is a book designed specifically for girls but without hesitation I would recommend it for anyone with a child in their lives. The prayerful pursuit of God in our children’s lives is never wasted and just like we can never stop being their Mom’s, we should never stop praying for them.

Prayers for Girls is available now and can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major online retailers. You can also learn more about Praying for Girls by visiting the website and while you are there make sure you sign up for the prayer calendars! Each month you have access to a downloadable daily prayer resource!

As always there are always a multitude of words that I wish I would have said…and my views are my own. I have received no remuneration for my review other than a copy of this amazing book. I want to thank Teri Lynne Underwood and Bethany House for providing a review copy, it is one I will return to again and again.

Images courtesy Praying for Girls.