It’s Not Your Fault….

When kids are little, and all hell breaks loose, it’s developmentally normal to think whatever just happened is their fault.  There’s all kinds of twists that journey can take….”Daddy wouldn’t xxxx if you weren’t a bad girl”….”Mommy wouldn’t xxx if you did/didn’t xxxxx“…  A powerful burden some kids carry in silence, trying to keep things together so the world doesn’t fall apart.  Sometimes acting out, other times acting like angels….

I was 30 years old when I heard the speaker say: “It wasn’t your fault-and, you didn’t deserve it.”  They spoke  to the kids/adults who kept asking themselves why; what they could have done different; what they did to deserve “it”.   I never realized before how I’d stuffed/packaged it, but I guess I always figured if I  tried harder, worked smarter, believed better, didn’t need anything , wasn’t a bother….it would have been different.  My logical/rational/non-emotion admitting side, resonated with it.  But  the hidden, reserved, removed, guarded part of me, fell on my face before God and tearfully said “Thank you.”  The questions remained as to why some things in life had been the way they were, but I could start letting go of thinking it was because I was defective or insufficient or had failed to measure up to the task.  

Today, in the CCU, an angel in a nurse’s uniform gave me an explanation I didn’t think I would ever receive in this lifetime.  She explained about the “elephant  in our living room,” that had lived there undiagnosed and nameless for so long.   It’s an illness- a biological/physiological malfunction.  There is no medication or treatment that would have controlled it for long.  The changing cycles were too rapid.  It wasn’t our fault, but it wasn’t hers either.  It’s just the way it was.  Nothing has changed, but everything is different, understanding that she really couldn’t help it.

Today, I give thanks, and explain to my kids how grateful I am they have learned to live with grace and tolerance and love a somewhat challenging person who has loved them the best she could.

When it’s all been said and done….

At the end of your life, what’s gonna matter?  I had quite a few hours to think about that one yesterday as I sat by my Mom’s bedside and held her hand, tried to keep her calm, and listened to her talk.  Her monologue made more sense than usual-was less combative and demanding, occasionally, even kind.  My sister-in-law commented on the different than usual theme in Mom’s monologue: yesterday, Mom seemed to value her family.  It’s not always like that, so for us, it was a gift.    She was able to admit wanting to die, and being scared.   Up close and personal real emotions, not the things she would normally have expressed.  She was grateful for a hand to hold, and to not be alone.

Today, she’s still hanging in there. Doctors say it could get better slowly or worse quickly.  So for today, I’ll be grateful for being present for that one day when it seemed she was present too, being able to be there for her.

The end of her days….?

I’m not sure what people are supposed to feel at this point….when the hospital calls and says “Your mother is going downhill fast, and may end up on a respirator tomorrow”…when they want you to fax the paperwork that tells them what her wishes are for how things go from here…when you look at the mixed blessing that her life has been at times….and you question if you have done enough to be a bearer of light to someone who at times seemed like darkness…and you pray for grace to be graceful under pressure and to let her know in whatever way she can receive it, that you know it was her illness, not her intention, when she was difficult, unreasonable or impossible…and you pray again for grace to be light and to help family members as they struggle with the enigma that is her life…..if this is the end of her days, I pray she finds peace, and that as a child in His arms, she is at rest, undamaged, at last….

Love Is…

Yesterday had parts that were hard, and parts that were really beautiful.  The beautiful part was making it down to Karen Church in Kent and being able to be there for the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple who have poured their lives into loving God, their family, their community and seems like most other people who cross their path. 

People from Oregon, Vancouver, the Seattle area, and maybe some others gathered to honor their lives and their relationship.  It was pretty neat to see this 70+ year old gentleman talk about how it had always been his hope to get to celebrate this moment with a community of his countrymen, but since he had brought his family here in the 70’s, that had seemed pretty unlikely.  Wish I knew the language and could have gotten the whole story, but I could catch the essence of how much he loves his wife (and vice versa), and the strength of their love and faith which has brought them through many challenges. 

Hearing him read 1st Corinthians 13 makes it very fresh in my mind today, and I read it with new respect for what is possible if you spend your life trying to live out love…..

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8Love never fails…”

“Almost” A Grandma

I feel sad for some of my friends….the ones who think it’s not a” baby” until after it’s born-just a “product of conception” or a “fetus“.  They miss out on an extra seven months or so of the almost inexpressible delight I experience each time our daughter calls to say that the little one’s heart beat was strong, or that the ultrasound showed him/her sucking it’s thumb,  or that it’s kicking wildly at night.  I can’t imagine not being wildly protective of this little one’s present and future, and in awe of the fact God has a plan for this little life already-this much awaited little person is a gift from Him.  

Parenting is never easy.   Nothing I know of can fill your heart as fully, break it completely, and be as worth it.   For our daughter and her husband, parenting has already begun as they celebrate, plan and prepare space in their home and their lives for this new little one.  

I’ve been meditating on Psalm 139, with much gratitude, looking forward to exciting days ahead…

Psalm 139: 13-18

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  

All the days were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with you.”

Legacy (poetic & personal)


There’s a little girl in a country church
Watching Daddy today
Wondering why he lifts his hands
And tears fall as he prays….
She’s still too young to understand
How her Daddy’s heart does break
As he’s praying for the wisdom
He knows raising her will take…..

Father God, he’s asking you
For wisdom from above
To write a living legacy
In the heart of the ones he loves….
Let his life, his words, his prayers
Show them how much their Maker cares
And teach them they are precious in your sight.
Help them to walk in your light.

The little girl is older now
With children of her own.
Life hasn’t always been easy
But there’s something she’s always known….
She knows there’s a God in heaven
Who has a plan for good
For her and for her children,
Just like Daddy prayed she would…..
Now Father God, she’s asking you
For wisdom from above
To write a living legacy
In the heart of the ones she loves….
Let her life, her words, her prayers
Show them how much their Maker cares
And teach them they are precious in your sight.
Help them to walk in your light…


Any other accomplishment, goal, task, project or pleasure isn’t gonna mean much if I blow it on passing on God’s hope to those I love.  My prayer probably every day for the last six years in particular (since moving to Seattle) has been, “God, teach me how to make time for people,” but even while praying that, I keep taking on more tasks, which take more time, which mean less available opportunity to build relationships….

I love doing practical things and would much rather act than just have a meeting and further discussion.  But sometimes I’m way over the edge on how many practical things I think I can take on. 

Right now I’m reevaluating a lot of things (tasks/projects/committments)and trying to mindfully, intentionally learn invest in the things that are really important (people!).  Grateful, in the words of Philippians 1:6 that “He who began a good work in my life will carry it on to completion….” I’m definitely a work in process (and not always enjoying the process!)