Monthly Archives: May 2017

Back to Work, Part 2

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God Sprinkles, First Day Back at Work

 May31st 2016

The sprinkles were many and perfect . . . Every one! They looked like friends who take you all the way to your door with new rose folders and pretty Kleenex and fresh flowers and chocolate. And more chocolate with love when you get to your desk. Friends with strong hugs and bosses who dish up to do lists with ice cream and breezes. People who were kind with love in their eyes and did enough to make you feel loved without bringing your ugly cry.  


 People who started their day by making sure that yours started with encouragement.  


But at the end of the day with darkness here and battles won- the ugly cry found its way to your heart. Those big girl panties wouldn’t stay up anymore and the longing – it hovers. And you’re looking for the landing pad for the crash and burn upon you. And he is there. His voice is gentle. His eyes both admire and inspire you.  

His every word is for your wellness. His every prayer for your wholeness. His endless vow for every season. His love beyond all reason. And in this moment, he leads you. He comforts and whispers hope and peace to your heart. And God himself has reached down and scooped you up and He used the arms of your husband to do it. And you cannot believe the lie that you are forsaken because the truth is all around you: no woman has ever been loved more than you. And you try to remember that your husbands name is Chris because you swear – -He looks exactly like Jesus. 


Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. 

Ephesians5:25


And these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

#EG41


 I knew He would sprinkle what I need but I didn’t know how loved I would feel that day. And I didn’t know the miracle that was happening with my husband. At the end of the day, it was all about him. And Him. And it got pretty fuzzy for me- the difference between my God and my husband. That is why it’s easy to respect and obey Chris. Because of his great love. This is a beautiful thing that came out of the broken.  I’m always amazed by it but. . . It’s just what God does.  

Back to Work

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May 30, 2016 Last Night of Maternity Bereavenent Leave


I’ve Never. . . 

Returned from maternity leave without a baby to return to, show off, check on. . . 


Without pumping and storing and transporting 


Or with people not quite knowing what to do with my presence


Or with the uncertainty of what level of emotional control I will have. . . 


Or with that feeling I know all too well that things are not as they should be. 


But I know this. I am blessed. I mostly have control of my attitude. And my God goes with me and before me. . . 

He knows the way. I don’t walk alone and he knows my heart. He’ll sprinkle what I need throughout my day so I just need to set an alarm and look sharp. . . And be a good listener. . . And. . . Good gravy it’s like I’ve never worked before and yet I’ve been working very hard. . . And I work in a big place called a hospital where there’s lots of band aids and Kleenex and people who’ve dedicated their whole lives to caring for others. . . It’s gonna be great! I tell you. Great! 


Above all, love each other warmly, because love covers many sins. Welcome each other as guests without complaining. Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others.

1 Peter 4:8-10


Even after the year I’ve had , it’s weird to see the words maternity and bereavenent together. 

But it was important to say them together. If you just say maternity leave, you will have a problem on your hands. 

 There will be joy-filled questions with joyful voices. Little squeals of Oooooh! What did you have? A boy or a girl? How’s that baby doing?

 And you’ll choke on your own heart trying to answer them. You’ll step in your own mess of a soul that’s come undone and is just oozing everywhere. 

“we had a girl” you’ll think and you might even say it. . . what did we name her? Ellis Grace. Ellis Grace. Ellis Grace. Ellis Grace. I miss your face. But then you’ll need to switch to past tense. Because they’re gonna ask how she’s doing. And you’re gonna have to find a graceful way to say that “ she died.”

The first time I said it. . . That’s all that came out. The other person was embarrassed and shaken and I spent the rest of the time making them feel better about asking a perfectly normal question that had turned in to an unpredictable dance of shock and woundedness.

Since then I’ve gotten much smoother. I can now say that we have 3 dirty little farmers and a farmgirl in heaven. She lived for 41 days and they were the best 41 days and it’s OK” I have to tell people it is OK. We all know that it’s not really OK. It’s far from OK. And that OK isn’t even a glowing report. . .but more of a “it’s holding together” kind of an answer. 

Because people are sorry. They say I’m sorry.

 They are sorry to hear that. 

They are sorry for your loss.

 They are sorry they asked you about your baby. Your family. How many kids you have.

 Whatever question landed them here to this naked and exposed private part of your heart that you take out in public with you – – wherever you go.

I watched other moms recently back from maternity show off the pictures. Complain about the short supply of sleep. The pain that pumping at work is. I made no attempt to correct their misconception. They had every right to curse the part of their identity that I begged God for. . . 

 Some people avoided me. Some People sought me out to get it over with so that they wouldn’t feel the need to avoid me. Some people acted like I never had a baby at all to avoid the above referenced awkward conversation. And some people asked me how I was doing in an unsure repetitive way – as if looking for another answer besides the complimentary OK that I have learned to dish up on no notice.   

For the record, I am not writing the handbook on what to say or not say. Do or not do. There isn’t one. I did like it when people were happy to see me and glad to see me out trying to do “normal.” Whatever that is. 

 I can only tell you that it is very hard to go back into a world with so many triggers and such tender grief bubbling under the surface. People who do this – myself included – are very brave. There must be no end to the grace we give them. And whatever is happening is OK if we just commit to get through it together.

I didn’t remember things. I had a tremendous problem focusing. I was distracted in meetings. I had days when I cried all day. I had triggers that I couldn’t get through and left seminars to go cry and be terrified in my office. I nearly broke everything in my office every time the baby chimes went off at the hospital – – for a time. I needed lots of bible verses. Lots of breaks. Lots of days when I left early. Lots of days when I came late because I could barely get ready, drive, get out of the car. . . etc. . .

But there was a commitment on everyone’s part that it was all OK and we were going to get through it together. I had come back to work, back from maternity leave, with no baby . But I had not come back alone. I was surrounded by people who were committed to it all being OK and to us all getting through it together. 

 I am still surrounded by the constant reassurance that it’s OK and I’m not alone because we’re all in it together. I’ve been allowed to recover from trauma and keep my job. To have days when I can’t make it work and have to leave early. But I also have a boss who says come back to work tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Because you know what? IT’s OK. You’re OK. And we’re gonna get through it together. 

This Person

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Dear introverts, I am sorry I haven’t understood you. I had no idea how overwhelming all the people are to you. It’s ok for you to not come, leave early, sit by yourself, and fantasize about killing loud talkers like myself. Your quiet and gentle spirits, the way you can say so much by not saying anything, and your amazing listening skills are such treasured gifts.  

With love&respect, 

The loud talking extroverts

That was my post last year. I only post for those who are recently bereaved. Because I get it. No, I don’t get what you’re going through or know what you feel like  or anything like that nonsense. But I get how uncomfortable you are in places that used to be home. Including your actually home. Because you don’t feel like yourself or look like yourself. You don’t remember things like yourself or tolerate things like yourself. You’ve basically left and when you left yourself , you left this weird alien person in your place.  

This person is often worthless and no help to you. They are completely out of touch and hold your head under a foggy fountain most of the time. This person loses everything, can’t remember anything. Feels irritated by things that you love and feels frustrated with the feeling of love at all. 

You want to be ok but this person thinks ok stands for one knead. And that doesn’t make sense because nothing about this person makes sense to you. 

She can’t sleep, can’t plan things, can’t do math, can’t keep track of anything . She’s forgotten how to do things you are good at. What’s been natural to you your whole life- you don’t know how to start anymore. 

When I was this person full- time, I actually thought I was becoming another person who was terribly introverted even though God made me extroverted from birth. I’m certain I introduced myself to the delivery room and started sharing my feelings right there. 

I didn’t realize that this person was here to help me recover from trauma and that cooking and field trip slips are not necessities when you’ve been traumatized. I didn’t realize I needed a little introvert side to guard my heart in the mine field that just IS public grieving.  

This person has cut back to part time duty and I hope she will one day only work PRN. That’s just when I need her. When she takes over now,  I know I need her healing perspective.  I would try to make myself charge all the time and she gives me permission to rest and retreat. To save it for the times that a charging spirit will be mandatory. 

Sometimes when your daughter lives in heaven, you just can’t say yes to everything you used to. She helps me say No when avoiding is best. And she’s not that crazy screaming lady either. She’s the opposite actually. She’s wise and thoughtful.  She’s insightful. Always calculating the cost. Weighing the energy versus the reward.  

She protects me from myself . That loud mouth extrovert that remains at my core. Because the truth is for me that grief is that great exaggerator. And that’s wonderful in some respects and too much in others. 

So God designed the grief experience to balance us and refine us. When we are complete, we will see what importance this season had on our evolution of Beauty and Grace.  

But we’re not yet complete, we budding masterpieces, so we’ll be tempted to believe that we have even lost  ourselves . But we have not. We’re only getting richer layers and deeper margins. 

We are just as we should be. A work in progress. Me and the many faces of grief. There’s a good chance that Mona Lisa herself was grieving and not even she knew who she was or what she was thinking. 

The Truths of Reconciliation

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Reconciliation Part 1: My Truths 
On February 17th, the Lord blessed our family with His greatest kindness in our daughter, Ellis Grace. We have always felt immeasurably blessed by our sons. But we must admit this little girl filled a place in our heart that we didn’t know existed. Our delight was in her. 💕

On March 28th, her life on earth ended unexpectedly. What was our greatest joy became our deepest sorrow. I spent the next 40 days in a painful disagreement with God. During this time, I was not reconciled to God. I trusted Him. I believed in Him. But because I was not in agreement with His plan for my life- I remained unreconciled to Him. I thank God for His spirit and my tribe and His kindness in gently leading me to finally give Him this rebellious and broken part of my heart. On Thursday May 5th, I , along with most of my tribe, asked God for the miracle of reconciliation and He gave me that which I asked for in faith. These are the important truths that were confirmed to me in the course of that miracle. What is my truth on earth according to the truth of Heaven? 
💕not that Ellis died, but that she came into the full presence of the Lord💐

💕not that her life ended but that her ministry began💐

💕not that I was alone but that I was chosen to be the first to know 💐

💕not that I tried to save her but that Jesus is her Savior💐

💕not that my boys lost their sister but that they found the kindness of God, the miracle of answered prayer, and a true understanding of the value of Human life💐

💕not that she didn’t live long enough for us to know her but that in 41 days we knew her so well💐
These truths are very specific to my loss as a mother but God can give us all the heavenly view of that which we cannot understand from our earthly post.  

Please ask, seek, knock and beg- – because He is Faithful. He has never left you and He knows the way back for you. Wherever you find yourself, He knows the way back.   
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 

2 Corinthians 5:18
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors , as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf : Be reconciled to God.  

2 Corinthians 5:20
#EG41 #useEllis2tellus

Surrounded

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Truth has become a vital component of my life.  It used to be optional .expendable. Scheduled. Listed. Prioritized. Thought about but not always considered in real time. And there were many things more important than being surrounded in truth. Being on time. Being on point with my preferred grooming routine. TV. Oh it’s hard to believe that TV once trumped truth but it’s true and since I’m surrounded in it. . . 

Truth. A timeless truth untouched by trends or relativism.  What’s been true for very generation since Eve’s. Not my emotions . Not what my circumstances are shouting at me. Something had to be louder than that or I would kill Myself . And my boys need a mother. And that daughter I pine for was pure of heart. She does not want anything marked for kingdom life to die because of her.  And it’s ass backwards but I am her legacy bearer.  Ain’t that something. I thought for sure she would bear mine.  And it often seems like she should. That can all get pretty confusing if you don’t have the TRUTH right on you. 

Wrapped like a blanket. Covered like a mighty mobile fortress. It needs to be everywhere I look . . . Lest I forget for one second who I am.  I wear it, accessorize with it. Listen to it in music form. Post it. Pray it. Send messages  asking people to send it to me. Signs. Jewelry.  What I used to think was the commercialization of something sacred, I now think it a sacred form of modern life saving. 

Truth. It’s a cloak. A shade , a covering. A strong tower. It’s an object of love and mercy from the lover of my soul. It’s the only way I’ll make it – a force field that tells the enemy I’ll be a lot of effort. That tells me ” hey that’s the enemy!”

That’s the best thing about surrounding yourself with the truth. It helps you see untruth a Mile away and then you’re protected from the scam, fake, counterfeit crap that’s not worth your time. 

And you see it because you are Surrounded. The belt of truth goes all the way around you. And it’s in the center of your body. Truth at the core of who you are and truth everywhere you look. That’s how it’s done. That’s how this race is run. 

The word Surrounded means to encircle so as to cut off communication or escape .  And when I am surrounded by truth- lies lose their ability to penetrate me. I’m always in my escape hatch because truth itself is our great escape from anything attempting to ensnare us. 

Grounded. Yes. But it’s not enough. I must be fully surrounded by the swat team of Gods truth. . . My own personal sniper body guard. The truth. Don’t leave home. Get dressed. Or  even watch TV without it.  Stick to the truth so tight that you’re able to tell me what flavor it is when this game is over. It tastes good. Good enough to cover yourself in. 

Leading Worship Lost at Sea

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I had a great morning. I enjoyed my husband with canoodling and flirting. Laughing.  And I enjoyed it so much that I sailed into Sunday service. Just in time. I joyfully walked up on stage to worship my great and glorious God. And then I turned around . And it happened. 

The presence of the lies and the feeling of a cruel forsakeness that is hard to describe. Among the crowd of people staring back at me, ( they’re not really staring back at me but it feels that way if you lead worship sometimes) . Among the crowd of disciples are most of the  women I was pregnant with. They are holding their babies or closely monitoring their toddlers. 

And then there’s me. And that screaming woman inside of me. She wants to know where our baby is- why we’re the only ones without the typical prize to show for a pregnancy. Why we only need a bible and not a diaper bag and nursing cover and the like.  Why this happened to us.  

Of course my big furry protector Aslan has told me we are not to ask if and why but only to trust His what is. . . But the screaming lady inside me doesn’t get that. 

It overcomes me. The sheer horror of the reality of this again. But it overcomes me when I’m supposed to be leading worship looking like I have my act together. It takes me down with eyes on me and a microphone in my face. 

And it makes me feel like a failure. A misfit. Someone who needs to ” give it up.” As they say.  For me, worship is never about performance until you cannot perform well. Well then you’re not worthy .  The whole thing feels like a terrible battle instead the mountain top experience I had planned on.  

And I pretty much run out of the church. I don’t want to be seen and known like this. My mascara is a river that’s collected on my neck. War paint is gone along with my ability to fight. So I surrender. But not to my enemy. To My God. 

He has His reasons for His plans. And I have my reasons for trusting Him. 

He only asks that I go back in this morning. I Get a quick truth check from the tribe. Touch up the war paint. Straighten my crown and return head held high. 

I don’t know who is aware of the battle this was and who is not. Did they see me shake? It Doesn’t matter.  I return for my King and not His crowd. I will keep following even if it leads to at times to a hot place of embarsssment. 

And so we’ll keep dancing. Publicly. Privately. Peacefully and in times of great battle. Because no matter how consistently I am a hot mess, I am His. 

I. Am. His. 

Oklahoma Sky

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I had planned to bring Ellis to Oklahoma and show her many things. It was to be a joke between the two of us kind of like JoJos belief in Dillard’s. Need a prom dress? We better go to Oklahoma. Want to go to women of faith? I bet it’d be better in Oklahoma. God made sure that most of my Ellis dreams were realized and that is why we did find ourselves in Oklahoma to lay my grandpa to rest. It was early in my pregnancy but I could feel her joy. And she could feel mine.  

I recently gave my testimony through Dance telling the story of Ellis’ departure to heaven. It was no accident we danced to the song Oklahoma Sky. We will indeed dance on the red dirt of the new earth.  Together. In dazzling brilliance. She’ll twirl in celestial dresses on prairie scapes.  We’ll run around lake Hefner. We’ll admire the view from Mt. Scott. We’ll tour the heaven version of the Marland Mansion.  Eat Teds Mexican food with Jesus and have cattlemen’ s coconut pie  with Paul. Have boomerang milkshakes with rahab. Braums with JoJo. Johnnies burgers with daddy and Job. Shoot baskets with Eddie Sutton and tell jokes with Will Rogers. My grandpa messer will show up for that meeting and say “tell him the one about the alligator driving the car.”  I must stop because it never gets old joining Ellis in heaven in my mind.  But last year at this time I was still releasing her from this old earth. Truth be told I still have times I have to work very hard to release my grip on Ellis Grace.  Now I don’t hold her back at all with my clenched fists. She soars and glides regardless of her mothers heart condition or trust level. But I could certainly hinder my own great race by rejecting surrender and short changing trust.  So a year ago I was in red dirt country without her for the first time. It was hard but I was made for hard and holy things. And continuing to walk with God when you don’t walk with a dream of your heart any longer is a Hard and Holy thing. God knows this and is greatly honored by each of my struggles to stay with Him. 

Red Dirt and Rolling Storms. . . May 27, 2017
Yesterday I walked a stretch of red dirt road and for the first time it felt foreign and cruel to me. I longed for what I thought would be. And the “what is” had me feeling forsaken at the worst and bewildered at the best . . . I longed to bring her to a part of the earth that has always felt like home to me. We were gonna tear up some red dirt together. . . She and I . . . Me and her. . . EG and her momma.  

And I started sinking fast and the winds started blowing hard and I could barely get a gulp of air before being covered by the next wave.

I thought about the truth and tried to set my mind to meditate on it. I called for prayer. I gave into it. Indulged it. I tried to change my activity. . . My surroundings. . . My mind set. It passed– – as it always does. And He felt far from me the whole time. And the storms raged in the sky as they rolled through my heart. . . 
This morning I ran that same stretch of road with a breeze in my hair- – with a softness in my spirit- – with a release of my wishes leaving an opening to receive another piece of “what is.”  

It’s the same road. . . Same God. He feels close the whole time. What’s changed?
The sun, the wind, the depth of the earth soaking up the storm. He is there in the storm too. He is working in it. He is working on parts of my heart that need to be refined. . . Healed. . . Changed. He can stop the storm at any time. So the truth is if there’s a storm in my heart, it’s because He’s
doing something. I may not like it but I can trust it. And as sure as the sun rises every morning, so is every storm calmed. 

In His Time. Let Him work. Let the storm blow debris to a place of clearing. My shelter will stay. I am guaranteed to weather it all. In God, there are no storms of mass destruction- – but of master construction of His Greatest works. Let Him Work. He does His best work in the storm.  
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Matthew 8:26
#EG41