Holding on, Letting go

Friday June 26, 2015

As moms, we spend our lives trying to strike a balance.

How much to hold on, how soon to let go.

I'm writing at The MOB Society today about Staying Close As You Let Go.

And in that spirit, I offer you some poetry written for my first son as he graduated from high school. Its message resounded for each of my boys (and for many of their friends, my students) as they "left the nest."


There it is – The fluttering.

You can always hear it this time of year
As they perch on the edge, wings flapping madly, oh-so-ready to take the plunge.

This year it’s deafening.
I not only hear the fluttering
I feel it
Right in the pit of my stomach…
No, in the bottom of my heart.

This time there are so many who have a place in my heart.
As I watch them turn and smile and wave
I see chubby little hands linked in friendship
I recall trips to Ocean World
Choo-choo train birthday parties,
Boosterthon and field day so long ago.

But this is the way of things.
Seasons change; things grow and flower.
It’s part of His grand design.

So, go ahead.
Flap really hard as you step off.
And don’t look down.
Keep your eyes above and your hand in His.

Flutter on.
Flutter away.

You will find...

What are you looking for this Christmas season?
The blessings of family time?
C.S. Lewis left timely advice for all of us during this season.
Stay tuned for my fifth favorite and discover how to find what you seek.
I’m so happy to be posting and linking up with my Friday’s Fave Five friends as we revisit the blessings of the week.
My favorites:
1. A great semester. You haven’t heard much from me because I’ve been steeped in books, studying my way through my first full semester toward a Ph.D. This semester has deepened my life in so many ways—intellectually, spiritually, relationally. And the carryover into my classroom has been invaluable. I’m so thankful I have the opportunity to undertake this study!
2. Family time. Thanksgiving was great, but a couple of our boys weren't with us. At Christmas we plan to have the whole family (minus one granddaughter from India—see #3) under one roof. Just cannot wait for this!
3. Anticipation. We are awaiting the unraveling of some red tape that will bring our granddaughter home to Kentucky from India. This waiting is SO hard. As soon as the proper documents come through, my son and his sweet wife will be traveling, and it can’t come soon enough. It has been a long journey and the days near the end seem so much longer. You can read (and see a sweet picture) on my daughter-in-law’s blog here.
4. A new year! This one has been great, but we’re looking ahead. Things under our roof have contracted a bit. This was the first Christmas that our card was signed with only two names, as all the boys are out on their own. Things are changing, and it’s with hope and excitement that we look ahead to a new year. Who knows what the Lord will send our way?
5. A quote, as promised. How to find what you seek this season?
“Look for Christ and you will find Him. And with Him, everything else.” (C.S. Lewis)
When He is what we seek, when we find our rest and fulfillment in Him…then, we can rest.
Praying Christmas rest for you this week,

The Teenage Eyeroll

Wednesday September 10, 2014 

I saw it about four times today while I was shopping—the teenage eyeroll. 

I’ve been the recipient of it, too and, surprisingly, it was in the same context I saw it today.

Mom, holding her phone, asks the son a question.

He responds, pointing quickly at buttons on the phone.

She looks at him, puzzled, and opens her mouth to ask another question.

Then…wait for it—the eyeroll. 

It happens as he reaches for her cell phone with a sigh that says, “I’ll just do it myself.”

For a while, I just put up with the eyeroll. But it was strange; all of a sudden, I felt our roles reverse. My mind went back to the preschool years. I went through all the mental images and stories in my mind, searching for Mom in the midst of an eyeroll.

Nope. Nothing. 

So as my son reached for my phone (or laptop or mp3 player), I looked at him and said, “Look, I really appreciate your help. I’m just learning this thing and I do want to learn it. But I don’t appreciate your attitude when I ask for help.”

Another slight eyeroll and the shake of his head.

“Sorry, Mom,” he said reluctantly.

“No, wait a minute," I continued. "You know, when you were learning your ABCs, I don’t recall ever ripping the pencil from your hand, rolling my eyes, and saying, ‘Oh, just let me do it.’ Do you?”

He grinned. A little.

“If I had, would you ever have learned to write yourself? So let me learn.”

Now he smiled a real smile. “Okay, Mom. I get it.”

Lessons in respect don’t stop when they’re teens.

Sometimes we have to reinforce daily, in small ways. 
And without eyerolls.

Sit at the Master's Feet

Monday September 8, 2014 
Need encouragement?

Looking for a devotional?

Heather Strickland has just the thing – At the Master’s Feet: Encouragement for Your Soul

Heather’s 30 day devotional is like having a conversation with a friend. Her honest, warm words point to Christ, helping you focus on Him each day.

Heather and I became friends through Friday’s Fave Five, a meme that encourages you to name your five blessings of the week. I got an excited message from her when she began her eBook journey, and we kept in touch throughout the process.

Listen in while Heather shares her writing journey. 

Why did you decide to write an eBook? 

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of writing a book. God put the desire in my heart, but at that time I had no clue really how it would all work out. I was still young and just dreaming. I began to mature more as a Christian after I was married. God began to really teach me some things, and it wasn’t easy at all. After a few years of being married and becoming a mom, I knew it was time to start writing that book. An eBook was something I knew I could do without having to get an agent. It was most practical. And the exciting news is that my eBook is in print, too!

How did you go about it?

Last year I started writing an outline and knew it would take some time for the book I wanted to unfold. Meanwhile, God nudged me to write a devotional. I had just started writing devotions for two online ministries, so it was perfect. My friend, Ashley Wells, posted on Facebook about an eBook challenge, so I messaged her about it, and it took off from there. I was in a class called "31 Days to Write Your eBook."

What did you learn from this?

I learned to not be afraid. I have always had a fear of rejection. This process was a big step for me. I had fears of being rejected, and writing a book is very intimate—especially if you share any personal information in it. I learned that even when trials come in the midst of doing something great, you must press on. We have to persevere no matter what comes our way.

If someone out there is thinking about the process, what would you recommend they do?

If you’re self-publishing, find a great support group. I had my husband and several friends who were supporting me in real life, not to mention my friends online. Ask around on social media about an eBook coach that can help you with the process. Ashley was wonderful in helping me accomplish my goal. If you know what you want the book to be about, go ahead and write an outline. Then follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.

What's your favorite devotion in your book and why? My favorite devotion from the book is "Day 8: When We Are Weak." I love it because God works through us even though we are weak. He loves to do the impossible through His children to show His might.

Mississippi born and raised, Heather Strickland is a stay-at-home wife and mother with a passion to encourage others through writing. God planted this dream of writing a book in her heart when she was a teenager, began to grow it during her early adulthood, and now - with the help of many dear friends - God has made that dream a reality. She enjoys sipping coffee on her front porch, flipping through the pages of a good book, and holding hands with her love. When she isn’t serving her family, Heather blogs regularly at Becoming Titus 2 Women, Laced with Grace, and The Imperfect Wives. But her primary ministry is to her husband and three boys. Not only is Heather crazy about them, they give her an abundance of writing material. Through them, God has molded her and taught her many life lessons. Heather is forever grateful for God’s grace and guidance in her life. You may contact Heather on Facebook at Becoming Titus 2 Women or email her at the.stricklands06@gmail.com. 

I'm linking up today at Playdates with God and Soli Deo Sisterhood.

Too Much to Carry

Monday August 18, 2014 

Sometimes there's just so much to carry.

And it gets to be too much.

What do you need to lay down today? 

Concerns about the future?

Doubts about yourself? About your parenting?

Worries about that son or daughter you’re sending off to college?

One day Moses, carrying his staff, met God.

Now, a staff isn’t a bad thing. It can be used for good—to walk, to direct sheep, even to ward off predators.

But God told Moses to throw it down. 
So he did. 

And after Moses picked up that staff, it was never referred to as “his” again; it was forever after called “the staff of God” or “the rod of God.” 

What do you need to lay down today? 
What are you holding so tightly to, trying desperately to wield in your own power? 

Throw it down.
Give it to God and pick it back up in His power, with His strength. 

There will still be tough hard times, but your strength will come from Him, not from you.
Moses held up his hands during the battle in Exodus 17 (likely with that staff), and they dropped after a time.

But what did Moses do?

He focused on God and what God would do. 
He let others come alongside him to hold his hands up. 

You can do that.

Throw it down—whatever you’re holding in your own power.
Give it to God.
Pick it back up in His name, with His strength.
Focus on Him. Let others help hold your hands up.

What do you need to lay down today?

I'm linking up today with Laura at Playdates with God and Jen at Soli deo Gloria Sisterhood.
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