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Fear - You're Not the Boss of Me Anymore! - Part 2

My dad’s soul left for heaven four months, one day, and about fourteen hours ago and I haven’t dissolved into a pile of nothing yet. I’m more okay than my fear ever let me think was possible. I’ve weathered the scariest thing in my life and imagination better than I expected to because of the “Lesson Learned” God is teaching me right now.
Lesson Learned: The security you found in your dad’s opinion of you was an important part of God’s plan, but not all of God’s plan. The things your dad gave you were a downpayment on the things God, your good Father is giving you now. Your dad carefully stewarded your self-worth and in ways invisible to you, has been carefully handing the baton back to God. More of how you see yourself is currently resting in how God sees you than you realized. This is why you are okay.

God used one of my favorite Psalms to spell this out for me. God’s voice has been especially loud during miscarriages, disappointments, and fears through Psalm 103. I love that he broug…
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Fear - You're Not the Boss of Me Anymore! - Part 1

I had a recurring nightmare as a child. It woke me in the middle of the night and kept me awake worrying about whether it would fill my mind as soon as I closed my eyes. I thought I would outgrow it. I hoped my adult brain would be able to see things my child’s brain couldn’t and I would be free. Instead, a panicky fear of my Dad dying followed me into marriage and parenting. I’m 49 years old and until recently, the nightmare still showed up in various forms.
This year my beloved Daddy died. I watched him take his last breath in front of me and imagined him arriving with the next in heaven. My whole life I’ve been clenched up around the fear that watching him die might break something inside of me and I couldn’t survive. 

It didn’t happen. I’m more okay than I ever thought possible. My dad isn’t living anymore, he’s not here on earth for me to talk to or touch and I’m sitting upright and in my right mind. Today I’m amazed at my okayness. Finally being free of this fear I’ve lived with s…

Hack Yourself First - the Life Hack that Changes Everything

If you start looking for hacks to make your life simpler and happier in the wrong places, you will accomplish the exact opposite of what you hope. You will spin out on solutions to problems you don’t have. You will waste energy trying to feel good about accomplishments that don’t matter to you. You’ll quit because it didn’t work.
Shortcuts are good for two things: finishing faster or having more fun.
When we drive from Grand Rapids to Chicago for a fun weekend in the city we usually want to get there as quickly as possible so the fun can begin. Extra time spent wandering through Gary, Indiana in the car isn’t tempting when deep dish pizza and a show are waiting for us in Chicago. We want to shave time off the trip any way we can. We’re looking for a time-saving shortcut, an efficiency hack. 

You can only find a shortcut to an actual destination. Until we’ve set a course to Chicago, there’s no way to find a quicker path. Before I know I want to have a garden, it’s silly to figure out who …

Preparing Your Kids to Fly - The Glorious Table

My friend discovered a nest in a tree next to her driveway, and she watched it all summer. It was perfectly hidden behind a few branches but easily seen when you knew which ones to pull back. Each time my friend bent one of those branches, she witnessed a new stage of development happening right on cue. Tiny eggs nestled in a warm, safe spot. Momma bird brought food to her pink babies. Fully feathered babies chirped and bounced inside the nest. One day I was with her as she made her daily nest check. She pulled back a branch, but she didn’t lean in as I expected. Instead, she jumped back in surprise as a baby bird took its maiden voyage inches from her face! She turned to me with wonder in her words. “I can’t believe it! These birds have never flown before!” With her next breath, she told me how she was sure they were ready. I said those words a week later as we loaded my twin daughters’ belongings into our van bound for their freshman year college dorm: “I know they’re ready, but I …

Four Rules for Giving the Best Advice - The Glorious Table

There was a woman who spent her life hiding. She hid in her home; she hid in bravado; she hid in toxic relationships. The day Jesus went after her, she was hiding in plain sight. I wish I knew her name and could invite her to coffee. I want to hear more about the conversation she had with Jesus beside the well in Samaria. It must have been a doozy, because it sent her off into public with a loud message. Something profound changed in her heart, making her a person who wasn’t afraid to be seen and heard. She suddenly spoke words with power. John 4: 39-42 tells what happened next: Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really i…

Five Steps to Happiness - The Glorious Table

I fight the urge to hyperventilate as we get close to the trailhead. I wish the cause was adrenaline and excitement, but that’s not the problem. Self-recrimination runs wild. How could I do this to myself again? What was I thinking when I said another yes to this kind of trip? Did I forget that I’m not in my twenties anymore? I take deep breaths and force a tremulous smile as we disembark from the van and I’m quickly thrust into the role of experienced, calm hiker with our group.
I zip my comfortable flip-flops into my pack with my other thirty pounds of essential supplies, slather myself with 100 percent Deet, and lace up my hikers. There’s no turning back now. The only question is how much happiness I’ll be able to wrestle out of the climb.The first section is always the hardest, I tell myself. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking one more step and then one more.The hot sandy trail leads through streams and slowly slants uphill, becoming rocky.As I take what must …

Silver and Gold: The Gift of Friendship - The Glorious Table

Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, and the other is gold. Living in the parsonage next door to my church brought with it a fierce temptation to run for cover on Sunday mornings. At war with my longing for good friends was my compulsion to avoid awkward post-service conversations. I loved my friends; it was the process from acquaintance to bosom friend that killed me. Voices in my head told me the happy groups chatting in the foyer didn’t need one more person. But I was in a new place with new people as a mom of two preschoolers. To build a life here, I needed friends. God always knew I needed friends. The proof started before I was even born as my mom discovered one of her Lamaze classmates attended the same church she did. My first friendship was born before I was. Kim and I grew up together. She was the blond to my brunette, the laughter to my serious, and the active to my laid back. She provided an anchor of belonging to my little heart. I can’t remember my elementar…