My Favorite Day!

I have a message for all my friends!

All my friends who are struggling right now…

To my friends who don’t know how they are going to pay rent in a couple of days,

To my friends who have a loved one in the hospital,

To my friends who have lost a child,

To my friends who have lost their freedom,

To my friends who are stuck in an abusive relationship,

To my friends who struggle with their mental or physical health,

To my friends who can’t find a job,

To my friends who are moving from sofa to sofa,

To my friends who live in fear of the unknown…

TODAY IS GOOD FRIDAY!

It is my most favorite day!!

Today, the most important man who ever lived, died over 2000 years ago for me (and for you)!

No one else has ever done this for me. No one has ever sacrificed their life for me. No one has ever loved me THIS much. Even before I knew I was a sinner. Even before I knew I needed a savior…

I lived without hope. I found myself in a life I never expected or wanted. Not only did I feel trapped, I felt undeserving of anything else. I felt dirty. I felt the weight of the world. I felt responsible for every wrong doing. I had no worth. I was lost.

And before I even felt all this…a man took this all from me! He saved me! He gave me hope!

He LOVED me!!!

He loves you too, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet!

HE’S COMING BACK! I swear to you, I know this to be true.

And because he comes back, everything he said was true. He is the son of God (Matthew 3:17). He is the way, the truth, and the light. No one can come to the Father except through him (John 14:6).

So, although I don’t know how any of you are going to get through the day, I do know that you are loved (John 3:16). And that God sees you (Proverbs 15:3). He made you for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). He cherishes you (Psalm 139:13-16). He has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He is for you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

You will get through this! And not only will you survive this, you will become better, wiser and stronger. You are becoming your best you!

Today, Jesus died, and in three days he will be back. If he’s not, then call me crazy. But if he does, then fall to your knees and praise him. (I think I stole that from someone. Whoever it is, he’s much smarter than me. You should listen, cause he’s not wrong.)

God is good.

All the time.

I love you.

Better yet, JESUS LOVES YOU!

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Let’s Go Cubbies!

I’m from Illinois, but I’m not a Bears fan, or a Bulls fan, or a White Sox fan, or even a Cubs fan; but my brother is.

Regardless of the fact he’s lived in Arizona since he was four, he’s a diehard Cubbie.

I’m talking about for as long as I can remember, my little brother has sported around a Cubs’ hat, or jersey.

He’s gone to every Spring Training game since he’s had a job and could afford to take the day off.

He’s flown to Chicago, not to visit family, but just to see a game.

His children have probably all worn the same Chicago Cubs’ onesie.

Ex-girlfriend and ex- wife call to congratulate him on the Cubs success this year.

Yes, to know my brother, is to know he loves his Cubs. He’s not one who has suddenly come out of the woodwork like some long lost relative who’s heard you won the lottery.

He’s the real deal.

I told him recently, I’ve been watching the series. I started thinking maybe they had chance until the fourth game and their third loss. I went into the fifth game thinking they didn’t have a shot, but after a couple of runs I quickly got my hopes up.

He chuckled at me, “Oh, don’t do that, Kim. You never want to get your hopes up.”

He’s so funny. He has no faith in his team but he’s loyal to them just the same.

I guess after years and years of getting so close, but never close enough, can take a toll on you. A bit of a rollercoaster ride I guess you could say. Or maybe they’re just predictable. He know they won’t make it far. They don’t disappoint.

I’d like to say he is a believer of Christ, like he’s a fan of the Cubs. I think the ride is probably about the same. A bit of a rollercoaster.

Some days God shows up on time and saves the day, and sometimes he doesn’t.

Sometimes you’re left hurt and confused wondering what just happened. Did he even show up?

Sometimes it feels like you’ve hit it out of the park and sometimes you’re just walking around the bases.

It’s interesting though, whether I watch the Cubs play or not, they still do…

every year…

every year in Chicago since 1876…

even though they have only won two World Series titles; 1907 and 1908.

That’s a long time to be playing and not be winning.

It’s interesting because after all these years of letting their fans down, they’re still here. They still play.

So this leads me to believe my brother is capable of believing in something he doesn’t have hope in.

Whether the Cubs win tonight or not, he will still be a fan tomorrow.

I know this, because they’ve never even been in the World Series during his entire lifetime, and yet…he still watches them. He still roots for them. He still believes in them.

My prayer is one day God will show up in his life’s World Series and it will be a perfect game. No hitters. No batters walk.

He’ll be called out of the bull pin and my brother will see he’s got heat. He’ll see even though he doesn’t know what pitch he’s got up his sleeve, it’s going to be over the plate. God delivers. You can trust him. Dare I say he’s predictable?

And one day my brother can have hope in something he believes in,

year after year, after year, after year…

Yeah, that’s my prayer. That would be pretty cool. Cuz, you know, I’ve been a fan of my brother for a lot of years. His entire lifetime.

I can’t wait to watch that series too.

My Daughter’s Holey Heart

I’ve never kept from her the relationship I had with her dad.

When she asks me questions, I’ve always answered her as honestly as I could and I’ve never told her I didn’t want to talk about it.

Mike came into our lives when she was two. She’s always known he wasn’t her real dad.

She was so jealous of Smart and would ask Mike if she could call him dad too. We always told her no.

That is until we got married. She was five then.

Oh, she was so stinkin’ excited to celebrate that first Father’s Day with him!

I was surprised how much it meant to her.

Years ago, my mom had made me a scrapbook of the kids. Oh my gosh, they were so little.

But imagine my surprise when I flipped a page to see a picture of me and Butterfly’s dad, together.

Then imagine what it was like to have my daughter sitting next to me, asking who he was.

She’s asked to see that scrapbook several times over the years. I know why she wants to look at it. Sometimes I get it down for her. Sometimes I don’t.

Today was one of those days. It was funny, she ran into my closet and pulled it from my top shelf before I could even get in there.

I didn’t realized she had become tall enough to grab it without a chair, and because she knew exactly where it was, and I didn’t, made me think she’s gotten it down herself before.

She entertained me by starting at the beginning and pointing out each of her brother’s as she turned the page.

She finally turned to the page that held the only picture I have of him.

I don’t even remember the questions she asked, but suddenly I found myself telling her he’s in prison.

She was shocked to have learned I had googled him.

“You can do that?”

Yes, you can, and I found him.

Even after all these years, I still fear him showing up in our lives.

He was a master manipulator, and at one time in my life had taken everything I had.

I wanted to know where he’s at.

My fear was he would take her one day too. Not necessarily, physically, but definitely emotionally. My fear is one day, when she’s 25 he will walk into her life and take her for everything she has, with guilt and shame to the point where she feels trapped, just like I did.

Immediately she had wanted to know what he had done, was he in Arizona, and finally…

Can she see him?

Ahh…

Hadn’t quite planned on that.

My daughter asked me if I thought it was weird that she wanted to know about her dad.

I told her I didn’t.

But I didn’t understand why she wanted to see him.

“Honey, you have tons of people who love you. People, who never would have been in our lives if we hadn’t gotten away from him. Our lives would be so different. Why would you want to see him?”

Tears welled up in her eyes, as she told me with a seriousness I was not accustomed to hearing from my ten year old,

I know I have lots of people who love me. But I NEED this one to love me. He doesn’t even know me.

Well there it was.

A need I can’t fill. A need he won’t be able to fill.

That desire for something more.

We all have it. It looks different with everyone. But we all carry that hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God. And yet, like everyone else, thinks it can be filled by something else.

In her case, it’s knowing her dad. If it wasn’t that, it might be if she was only thinner, or more outgoing, or if she had a boyfriend, or if she was married, or if she had children, or if she just had…

…then she’d be happy.

And so her journey is about to start.

I told her I didn’t know which prison he’s in. If he’s even in Arizona. I did tell her if something revealed itself, and that information became available, then I would take her to meet him.

But in order for that to happen, she needs to start learning about Boundaries, and what and who she is responsible for, and what she’s not.

If this is going to happen, I want her to be protected, and prepared. But honestly by showing her now; by teaching her about how God made her and what is hers and what is not, is the best defense I could give her not on only against her dad, but also against anyone else who tries to fill that hole for her.

So, I will choose not to pass my fear unto her, but will empower her by sharing my faith in the only one who can fill her soul.

Lord, I lift my daughter up to you. I understand that hole my daughter is feeling. I understand that feeling of something missing from her life. We are all born with that deep desire for more. Lord, I pray she searchers you more. I pray she studies how you’ve designed her and realizes how much love and value you’ve put into her and she is worth being protected. She is worth fighting for. So much so, that when other people or things try to fill that hole, she immediately recognizes they are not making her hole smaller, but actually making it bigger. Lord, you are the only thing that can satisfy our deepest desires and fill our holey heart. Equip me to help her know that too.

In your Son’s holy name, please protect us, AMEN.

Hey Lucy!

Last night I facilitated the start of a new life group.

My husband is so awesome. He did everything I asked him to do.

We had food, and food, and more food. He cooked everything on the BBQ for me. He sliced up the veggies for everyone’s hamburgers, and displayed them very nicely on a platter.

He put together all the gift bags I wanted for everyone to have, that included their Participant’s Guide, a journal, a pencil and a couple pieces of candy.

Everything was set up perfectly. The kids had done their chores and the house looked nice.

By the time our first guest arrived, I was happy. I was satisfied.

But I was still nervous. I was still afraid. After all, even though everything looked and felt great, it would ultimately still be just me standing in front of everyone acting like I had it all together.

For years I was criticized for being who I was. I was meant to feel stupid. I was dumb. I shouldn’t draw any attention to myself because I may say or do something that would embarrass myself or someone else.

Frequently, I would be in “trouble”, for dropping stuff, running into something, or not understand a joke.

I felt shame. I felt less than. I felt I should just be quiet, and let someone else do the talking, because I would just screw it up.

Since becoming a devoted follower of Jesus, things have certainly changed.

I have learned I’m surrounded by people who now laugh with me and not at me. They celebrate me. They accept me who I am and encourage me to share myself with others.

I have a pastor who affectionately calls me Lucy, as in, I Love Lucy. (Yes, he had to explain it to me.)

I have spilled Jesus, during communion. (I was horrified!)

I have nearly knocked things off the walls, trying to walking pasted them, or picking something I have dropped, under them.

I have forgotten to show up to fellowship events I have organized.

And once, while watching a video presenter, I leaned over to tell my pastor I was having trouble finding the speaker on Google. He had to stop church because he had been consumed with laughter, and once he was able to talk, informed me (and the church), we were watching FRANCES Chan, not JACKIE Chan.

Sometimes, I still get scared I’m going to be yelled at or punished because I forget to turn the water off in the backyard when I go to work.

Or for all dings I have under my car because of all the curbs I hit.

Or for buying ravioli, instead of tortellini for tortellini soup.

I know my husband looks over my shoulder as I look in the spice rack for something, and I’m determined I’m am going to take every single one of these spices out, along with each oil and gravy packet until I find what I’m looking for because I’m tired of feeling like a screwup.

Or I’ll leave to specifically get my husband a candy bar at the convenience store and come back with five sodas for all the kids and a water for me.

“It’s OK, Honey.”

It’s not OK. Not for me. I don’t understand why I keep doing stuff like this. I really don’t try to.

But my husband loves me! And he doesn’t think I’m an idiot. He doesn’t punish me for forgetting something, or not understanding something, or losing something. He smiles at me because he knows if he laughs, sometimes, I might cry.

I facilitated a new life group last night. I’ve done it before, but this time the group was different. Instead of it being focused on our strengths, it was focused on our weakness. It was about our fears.

I can’t express the overwhelming feeling of acceptance I had on the first night after sharing how much fear I have in letting people know me, the real me, the Lucille Ball, me.

I don’t have to pretend I can pray.

I don’t have to panic when I read out loud and say Jesus when I meant John.

I don’t have to cry when I run through all the kids’ names before I get to “Tank, get down!”

Because I’m ME, and God made me…me.

He never intended for me to feel shame, or less than.

His plan was never to have me remain quiet, and let someone else do the talking.

I’m not a screwup.

He finds great joy in me.

For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. – Psalm 149:4.

 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.” – Zephaniah 3:17

So I can’t wait for next week to come, so I can screw it all up again!

🙂

Dangling

Giving up control is a good thing, right? It means I’m trusting God, they say. Uh huh, yeah, it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel like that at all!

That, you would think, would feel good.

It feels like panic. It feels like fear. It feels like I should be grasping onto something and digging my nails in as my feet dangle below me.

But this is what it feels like when I give up control and then try to determine how things are going to go. I look into the future and what do I see? Well disaster, of course.

And without God, that’s what would happen. But I have Him, so according to the Bible, things should go a little better than that, right?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10

Those don’t sound too bad. Not too bad at all!

So, when I look into my future and I feel fear of giving up control, clearly I’m not seeing God there.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” – Exodus 14:14

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. – Philippians 3:12

Oh and I so desperately want Him there for my son. I’d much rather want Him there, than me! Where has having control over the situation ever got me?

Yeah, exactly, grasping onto something and digging my nails in as my feet dangle below me. Why do I keep finding myself here?