My Chasm of Grace

Beyond blessed , I wrote a poem 26 years ago that was asked to be in an anthology of poetry that hit New York Times Bestseller Lists. Little did I know when I wrote this blog blog the other day that this had occurred. I wanted to reveal my real self, my struggle and my accomplishments to show how great our God is in in the midst of both.

When incarcerated, isolation is often used as one of the worst possible forms of punishment a criminal can receive.  Torture techniques include placing people in holes of darkness completely alone, depleted of any interaction with another person for extended periods of time to break the spirit of humanity.

Being alone can be more dreadful more than death.

When I became a full-time author two years ago I was on the precipice my greatest dream coming true.  When I was six years old I began writing anything and everything coming to my heart a rapid pace I would grab my pencil to put into expression my conflicted painstaking experiences.  Through the darkness of my tormented and lonely childhood, God gave me a precious gift, and a means to navigate unthinkable situations.

 

Needless to say having the ability to publish two books in fourteen months is something that I am very proud of.  My memoir ‘The Return to Happiness’ hit bestseller lists on Amazon, ibooks and Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.  MORE importantly miraculously,  my words have helped thousands and thousands of women all over the world giving a voice to the devastating grief of pregnancy and infant loss.  God once again used my torrent of torture to flow vastly into the form of words, yet this time healing others, not just myself.  What a magnificent God we serve.

But it wasn’t all celebration cakes and congratulations on Facebook, I faced the darkest time in my adult life while birthing my dream.

The first six months of pursuing my most coveted aspiration came with a lofty price that has the ability to haunt me until I meet Jesus.  I (unknowingly at the time) sentenced myself the most horrid punishment of maltreatment…isolation.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am the infante definition of an extrovert and a complete and total spaz. I thrive off of people, I love (most) everything about God’s people. The joy or sorrow in their eyes is my goal to discover the reason of either.  Two is always greater than one in times of celebration or despair.

As you can see isolation isn’t beneficially for anyone, especially for a person like myself.  Alone, sheltered, and wrapped up in my own fictional and nonfictional world I fell into the darkest depression and dependence on alcohol and prescription medication that I ever had faced.  Anxiety and depression have always taunted me as I have dealt with abandonment, abuse of the worst kind, a son diagnosed with a chronic illness at four and two back to back second-trimester pregnancy losses.  In prefacing that I have dealt with some mental health issues goes without strong merit.

I’ll never forget my first glass of wine.  A magnificent feeling overtook my mind and body, but mostly the pivotal escape from inner darkness and the child that always felt left behind is what continued to call my name to the lies of the bottle.  The girl who saw too much, the forsaken and tormented version of my inner child was sedated and finally left numbed.  It was the most intensely wonderful thing that I had ever injected into my body.  And I didn’t care if it was wrong.  I simply loved that I could not feel.

Labels kill the over achiever as floods wipe out the innocent.  I never wanted to admit my poison because I wanted so desperately to be loved.

I never became a raging alcoholic in those years of young adulthood.  Thankfully I never received a DUI, or put my kids or myself in danger, or lost a job.  People drink and it is widely acceptable even marketed as a way to overcome a really bad day.  I was successful in many of my areas that in enabled me to somewhat cover up my guilt with my many outlandish accomplishments (yup I’m that selfish).  A definite result of my distorted childhood was the need to please and to receive love, therefore, I was 110% or nothing.  If I was triumphant than I was loveable.

In that, it is pertinent I add a few of the prodigious things I did in my life before I drop the biggest bombshell to you all that I’ve managed to keep hidden for two years:

  • I wrote an award-winning poem at 16 and was published and hit New York Times Best Selling List in her collection of poetry, thus becoming a New York Time Bestselling author without even knowing it at fifteen.
  • I am the National Prepared Public Speaking winner for the state of Nevada and competed at a national convention in St. Louis, MO.  I can still recall the energy in my body as the electricity jolted me on the stage to shout to the world my words and voice.
  • I was a gifted runner with Olympic potential until I had a career ending injury at 16.
  • I was selected for a national band and played for 30,000 people including President George Bush
  • I learned how to figure skate at the age of thirty advancing so quickly I skated in an ice show 9 months later being the first adult to land a jump higher than a waltz.  Then I went on to perform in seven other ice shows in front of thousands of people. 
  • I am a bestselling author of a memoir that will eventually be in the United Hospital System going home with grieving mothers who suffers miscarriage or stillbirth.
  •  I am the proud mother of six babies.  (Two in heaven) whose accomplishments mean more to me than an Olympic gold medal, and a husband who is my heart light.
  • I have a divorce that is healthy.  My ex-husband, his beautiful wife, her kids, and ours are blended.  We have Christmas, birthdays, and Easter, together.  We shield one another in the dark times and celebrate the joys in life.  They are my husband and my two children together godparents.  If anything happens to Alan and I, all my babies will be together in the best care I could ever imagine.

All of those things I didn’t accomplish on my own. I once had a deeply rooted relationship with Jesus and loved my Lord more than myself.  When I left Him I still continued to soar, yet slowly crumbled deeper than the sky could lift me up.On the cliff of greatness in 2014 looking off into the sunset of finally becoming a published author I knew this would top anything else I had done in my life.  Yet I was only touching the surface of my journey back to God, deeply I was falling vastly into depression and drinking.  I was alone.  Because I chose isolation.  From church  from God, from friends. I was too busy building my business, writing my books, and well for lack of better words trying to drown my sorrows.

 

I ended up drinking myself into a horrible mess, dipping deeper and darker into depression.  I called a suicide help line one night.  I felt so lost, my dad had left…again….my past was ruining me, haunting me, nightmares made my turmoil happen over and over every night so I’d stay up all night working and numbing myself into a place where my sleep wouldn’t hit the stage of dreams.  The police came to my house at three am to make sure I wasn’t going to hurt myself, waking my husband up to attest to the fact that I wouldn’t kill myself was one of my darkest moments.  The fear in his eyes was enough.  Enough to find the inner will to fight the greatest storm of my life.

A week after I called the suicide hotline I hit it.  The cement wall holding the ability to crack my skull open and leave misery-drenched in the form of red, fluid that holds the breath of death, with no hope of reconciliation.

I decided to quit drinking cold turkey soon after a dreaded night to my realization that I wouldn’t have reacted that way if I had been sober.  I mean really, me in a screaming match?  Nope,  not reality, not truth, not the grace God has instilled in me.

The whole next day, horribly hung over, I laid in my bed alone, I covered the windows with the darkest of blankets and cried.  I shook with withdrawal symptoms and when my older boys got home from school I instructed them to come up as I had to tell them something.

They entered my room sorrowful from the sheer greeting of a black room and a clearly sick mom.  They had no idea my drinking had gotten out of control as I was  the master of deception.  Remember, if I fail I’m not loved.  It’s what my parents taught me.  What else would I know?

I told my boys that I had an altercation with our neighbors and some changes were on the horizon.  My oldest son Caleb said, “Mom you need to get involved in church.  You need community, I’m worried about you because I know you and this isn’t you.”  Caleb looked around the dark sullen room and my listless body still in bed at 4 pm with compassion and concern.

My oldest son Caleb said, “Mom you need to get involved in church.  You need community, I’m worried about you because I know you and this isn’t you.”  He peered upon the dark sullen room and my listless body still in bed at 4 pm with compassion and concern.

Yet the only thing that was was in me was anger.

Church?

God!?

A God who only took from me, who wrecked me taking my two infant boys, Caleb’s health, my innocence, my father?   The love I yearned for but never received from my mother.  NO WAY would I ever serve Him again.  I was so faithful in my youth and He still gave me nothing but adult years of suffering.

 My children left heartbroken seeing their mother who was usually strong lying on a bed that had the stench of death.  The woman who they watched make dreams turn into reality was truly giving up.  I can’t even imagine the pain I placed on their young hearts.  

Twenty-four hours after my last drink I went into delirium tremens (DT’s) which is a possible, fatal condition caused by severe alcohol withdrawal.  I write in more detail in my upcoming book about how this felt, but I can paraphrase and say it was like a nightmarish light show that was evil instead of in celebration. Streamers fell from the sky in a brilliance of color, but it didn’t feel like the fourth of July it felt like the end of life. I reached up to grab what seemed real only to see it dissipate in the confines of my pale  hands.  Rock bottom never looked so colorful and felt so regretful.

The next morning being the hypochondriac I am, I googled ‘hallucinations after ceasing alcohol’.  Of course,  every site said get yourself to an emergency room because you could die

Deep inside me,  I knew I didn’t actually want to go to be with the Jesus yet, so I had my husband Alan take me to the local ER.  Staff became serious extremely fast as I was admitted,  and I was placed on a “seizure” watch in fear that I could seize and die.

My initial fleeting moment of wanting to die weeks earlier could become a reality and in the grips of such deafening possibility of truth I held on like I had never fought in my life before.

I saw Alan.

Caleb.

Cameron.  

Trasen.  

Lilia.

Mostly I saw me.

My potential.  What I meant to people.

My smile.

My love, soul, gifts, and deep torment that can be used to gift those going through the same.

I fought so hard I felt like my hero Rocky Balboa after his fight with the Russian.  Beaten, yet ultimately blanketed with a title belt around my waist.

The doctors at that point recommended rehab for dual diagnosis depression and alcoholism, with  my pride fighting to hold me back…I went.

Being in a facility akin to the darkest of places a person can go was a creation within my being I wasn’t accustomed to.  Giving in to failure, not clinging to my success. I heard stories much more tortuous than mine.  I saw heroin addicts, suicide attempts, schizophrenics, deeply depressed people and severe eating disorders.

And in that my chains were broken, for we are all at the throne.  We all struggle no matter our life path.

All of the unlovely sat at the table we ate our meals at and we loved one another, while Jesus sat at the head of the table I actually felt Him and knew through His stripes we were healed.

Eight painfully beneficial days later I left and something on the last day during one of our group meetings we were told that seventy percent of us will relapse.  \

Seventy percent of you will fail.

In essence, that means thirty percent win this battle.  And I’m really good at winning, my prideful self self-declared.

 

But instead of victory, this time,I became a statistic. One month later I was back.

I had become the seventy percent.

In the months that followed my second visit to Rogers Memorial Hospital, I rewrote both of my books that were crafted in a non-authentic clear-minded way.  I completely stopped drinking and went on this amazing adventure that a year later brought me back to my best friend, Jesus.

 

My son was insightful in giving me powerful words from the throne of God that we thrive when we have people rallying around us not trying to cope on our own. Two are always better than one.

 

We need each other to thrive, grow prosper, and be kept accountable.

 

In this increasingly hard time in my life with my Caleb going to college and feeling like a quarter of my heart is in Minneapolis for the first time in a while I’ve been struggling.  

 

God has called me to greatness, He has predestined me to write my story of addiction and childhood/adult abandonment and how I overcame impossible odds to find my destiny  Yet, first I have to arrive.

Again I stand at the brinks of a multitude of choices to deal with transition and the pulling question of which direction will I take?  Will I allow evil to spit the ugliness of sin on my face  or will I shower myself with the grace of a Savior filed with ultimate possibility?

In my young life abandonment meant if I wasn’t the picture of perfection I wasn’t loved.  In my mid-life my parents exude the same standard.  For I’ve been shown that if I mess up, or am less than righteous, love simply leaves.  It is gone, sometimes forever. That is why sharing this with you all is so hard for me.  For I am flawed, and so blessed to have you all hugging me and praying for me in a church that is anointed and blessed, yet if you know my darkness will you still offer me light?  This hasn’t been my history so it is hard to grasp that it could be my future.

 

And I do know that my bullet point of my greatest accomplishments mean nothing, yet I needed to state them for fear of loss.  Of love, fellowship, and YOU.  Each and everyone of you who meet my eyes on a weekly basis and pray with me when I leave the service to grab a tissue because I miss my oldest boy.  I love each and everyone of you.  And I pray you still love me, even though I’m flawed, gravitated toward forgetting, and a broken child of God.

 

My shame in the perils of escape through drugs and alcohol have defined me for many years.  Success that many will never see has also defined me for many years.  And the God in my soul says NO!  None of it matters, success or failure He accepts me and hugs me like the father I long for.

 

Jesus is the King and through it is well.  Simply put… it is well with my soul.

 

Friends, I will NEVER be perfect, but I will forever need love. In my life my idea of my perfections have been rewarded with love, and mistakes that are punished with the very worst form of torture;  isolation. And sadly, as this was done to me by my parents as a child and still as an adult, it was what I gave myself in 2014.

 

If I’m writing books or in rehab,  I’m flawed, ugly with shame and still have the ability to fall.  So many thanks to you to my new family at Journey Church. I even obtained the mentor I have been praying for through her testimony one Sunday at church, of her struggle of parental abandonment and addiction.  Since then we meet regularly, she keeps me accountable and Alan and I are attending our first life group with her on Thursday…

 That is community!!  The essence of where two or more are gathered greatness is imminent.  Isolation provokes death for your soul and body, yet communion invites prosperity and more joy than we can conjure up in our minds.
The chasm of greatness brings me to the soaring cliff of stamina where we all have the ability to jump to the other side of healing.  That we are forever free, falling into the hands of grace and eternal forgiveness.

Courage Forward

A letter to my oldest son who is on the brinks of leaving home and going to college. Join me as I give him my ten tips that I have learned when I was in his shoes.

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To My Oldest Boy,

After turning forty nearly two years ago, I found myself completely perplexed as to why people find such a milestone to be a negative impact on their lives.  I mean, I felt like I was chasing a lifelong dream of becoming an author, had a beautiful marriage, wonderful children who were equally making their dreams come true, and still felt and looked super young.  I just didn’t get the whole hating on forty thing…

But what I’ve discovered your last year in high school, Caleb, is that it isn’t an age that  manifests itself as a presence, yet a moment such as you graduating high school that can carry such a heavy burden.  This has truly been a year of reflection for me~yet also a year of beautiful discovery.  I’ve pondered your eighteen years as if it were a test I was studying for or a book I was researching to write.  It was as if I had all of a sudden woke up out my  normalcy to discover that “normal” was about to change, BIG TIME.  I would no longer have all four of my babies under one roof.  But more so, I wouldn’t be apart of your everyday life.  I mean, come on, that is a GIANT pill for a mother to swallow.  Letting go is the ache of the heart, the impossible filtration of the mind, and the awkward pull of the universe.  People have struggled with letting go for as long as God has had us walking this strange place called Earth.

Trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am old enough to have a child heading to college, I;ve come up with ten things that I think you should take with you.  So here are my top ten things you should experience in this next exciting, personal roadmap years of your life:

  1. Play football in the middle of the night.  You just need to do this, no questions asked.  Find some friends, an empty field, a pigskin, and go for it.  You’ll laugh more than you know possible.
  2. Take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been.  Cram yourself in a car (safely of course) and take off with your best of friends.  Laugh, play the music way too loud and discover a new landmark that you would have never seen if you hadn’t followed your life’s calling to go to another state to attend college.
  3. Talk to someone new.  One of greatest I things I admire about your dad is that in college at our Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Thursday night meetings he would find a person he didn’t know every week, and talk to them.  He would make them feel welcome, blanket them with the comfort of fellowship.  Because this is what it’s all about, right?
  4. Courage forward.  Find someone who is insecure but has no reason to be and point out all the brilliance they exude.  I know you will find this because I have taught you so.  Hug a classmate who has had less than you in this life and buy them lunch, or heck something more.  Take a person in need into your heart and fill them with all the love I know you have to give.
  5. Branch out of school and church.  You have to expand your circle more than just the Christian bubble that you will be cocooned in.  Meet people that are different from you and learn from them.  God brings us His people that need to  be ministered to that are often times not found in church or chapel.  Look at Jesus and the company he kept, blessed, and eventually saved.  Those are the people who need us more than our awesome Christian brothers and sisters.
  6. Run far away from judgment and legalism.  One of the greatest regrets I have during my college years was a legalistic, judgemental call I made in the name of God.  Shame on me for not being a bridesmaid in my sister in law’s wedding because she was marrying a non-Christian.  That is not my conviction to place and it is not our job to guilt people into God’s kingdom.  It is our calling to love.  That is how people will see Jesus through us. 
  7. Fall in love.  Fall in love with friends, mentors, pastors, teachers, parents, and anyone who may need your love on them like the air we breathe. Some of your life long friends will be met in the years to come.  Enjoy every one of them and relish every time you say, “I love you, bro.”
  8. Call home.  Yes, this may sound self-serving (and maybe it is, a little…) but the reality is you have this huge prayer and love chain residing in your childhood home that would love to hear all of your adventures.  Your youngest sibling, Lilia, will be almost 8 when you graduate college.  EEEEEkkkkkk.  I know you want her to have your stunning influence all over her heart.
  9. Take a class that you have absolutely no interest in.  You never know what you may get out of it, and how God may use you through the experience.  It’s always good to try new things throughout your entire life.
  10. Journal, journal, and journal.  One of the things I value the most in this life are my journals.  I know I’m a writer, but even if that is or isn’t your life’s path, writing your life journey is POWERFUL!  Not only does it help you filter through what you are going through in that moment, it is also your story to look back on.  Your history, the memoir of God’s remarkable presence in every step of your walk you were meant to take.

So, my son, as I drop you off in two weeks at the doorstep of your next adventure, and I travel back to find my new normalcy, please take with you,  my heart, my words, and yes my blogs.  No, just kidding, my life experiences, that in essence have always existed to share with you and your siblings.  My ventures as well as yours, are meant to grow, root and propel the remarkable people you will encounter in times of greatness and in moments of struggle.  My sweet oldest boy, that is what life is all about.

 

I love you always and forever,

 

~Mom

All of My Sacrifice

We find our whole world in upheaval by one singular moment in time altering the axis of our normalcy. Dealing with such situations has proven tough for me, no matter the occurrence, or for lack of better words, change totally stinks!

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Major life changes have a way of doing funny things to you.  We’ve all had to deal with the swift change of the winds as it rises the shifting tides in our life.  For some reason, the stirring up of the norm creates a strange response in the human brain.  More like a plea that sounds something like this: “Wait, slow down God, I was fine before.  I actually liked the way things were going.  I WAS COMFORTABLEWait, what, this is really going to happen…no!!!!!!

Then we find our whole world in upheaval by one singular moment in time altering the axis  of our normalcy.  Dealing with such situations has proven tough for me, no matter the occurrence, or for lack of better words, change totally stinks.

As many of my readers know, my oldest son is going into the world in three weeks.  This new journey called…college.  But the strangest thing I have to wrap my mind around is that he is going there without me.

I mean this is a crazy concept, right!?  For real, how can my child, my baby, my flesh and blood, the tiny little creature that formed inside my body and made me love more than I ever knew how to love….leave me?

I’ve spent the past year of my life trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my oldest of four babies here on earth will be flying into the next.  Even though it has seemed like miles away as I’ve processed the idea of him leaving, I’m faced with the fact that his impending departure has turned into…now.  

We all deal with the idea of major change in different ways.  Some people crumble into the fetal position and cling to the past, some turn to a new outlet of social ties to help them through and some eat too much ice cream…I’ve done all of the above plus more…

  1.  I’ve cried.  A lot.  Probably to an embarrassing degree.  When I took Caleb to NCU for an audition for a music scholarship, encompassed in the next home that he would eventually have, I couldn’t stop the cascade of tears pouring from my eyes.  I felt like I was in a relay race handing the baton off to the next leg in the chase.   
  2. I’ve rejoiced.  My son has made me more proud than I could have ever dreamed.  While this past year he has pulled away and I’ve clung to one last hug, he has shown me that he is ready to make his impact on this world.  He is capable and ready to walk out my door and into the amazing journey that awaits him.  As I’ve rejoiced in the man he has become I have to pause and know that he will take with him all that I have given him.  Even the smallest of lessons like how to not ruin your clothes by putting them in the dryer on “hot”.  I’ve smiled a lot this past year rejoicing at all he was and the magnificent, intelligent and capable creature he has become.  
  3. I’ve tried to hold on.  I’ve pushed myself on him, wanting more, begging, hoping he would give me what I needed.  But in the midst,  I was missing the lesson that people never give us all of what we want but most importantly, what we need.  People innately fail us, yet, God gives us what we need.  Yet the one last glance, one talk, one hug I longed for came to me in the simplest of forms, in sparkles of hope and rejoice, and not all from Caleb himself.  His friends blanketed themselves around me this past year.  Sharing with me tales of how my boy impacted their lives. The smile that placated their faces as they spoke of him truly showed me the love my son is giving the world.  Yet, every interaction with my boy somehow felt like a “last” until I realized that instead of goodbye, this next season in our lives as mother and son is a new hello.  It is indeed a brand new beginning of a bright change in our relationship.  I’ve done my duty, now he will do his.
  4. I’ve learned to let go.  Every time I’ve watched him leave this year I’ve imagined it being when I drop him off at college and he walks through the doors of his new exciting life. I know it sounds ridiculously dramatic, yet, it has felt all too real to me.  To have one less child at the dinner table, to not be a part of his every decision, his undertakings, successes,  and failures.  I’ll never forget one of the most tender moments I’ve ever shared with my son.  When he 10 years old, after fighting 6 years of type one diabetes we shared a very powerful moment.  He was mad.  Angry, sick and tired of needles, finger pokes, highs,  and lows.  And so was I.  He melted in my arms and told me how frustrated he was with the failure of his body.  I held him tight and proclaimed that I was really mad as well.  Then we cried together.  Probably the last time I’ve seen my son shed real salt water tears.  I wanted him to know that life isn’t always perfect and that is okay, we receive ebbs and flows, joys and sorrows and to feel them is the presence of God, for this is all He has intended for us…the challenges and the blessings.

Yet as a mother my mind has drifted to a question as my son leaves me~who, now, is going to wipe away his tears?  

Letting go is the hardest thing to do.  No matter the instance.  Saying goodbye is brutal, echoing a heartache that makes one fall to their knees begging for a remarkable pardon from the feeling of absence.  Yet I know deep in my heart that he will always be with me.  For how could he not be?  He is and always will be one of the four greatest parts of my mind, body, and soul.  That’s called being a mother, and it doesn’t cease when they graduate high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.  

On Caleb’s graduation invites,  I had captured the scripture, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

It seemed fitting.  Yet, now I know who this scripture was really for…and that was indeed, me.  God is telling me that I will be okay, my boy is ready to fly, and I am so ready to watch him soar!  My Lord is comforting me in saying that Caleb leaving is a gift of promise not a burden of goodbye.  I’ve made mistakes and made promises I couldn’t keep.  I’ve let him down, yet I’ve given him all of me.  All of my sacrifice, my word, my lessons, my laughter, my work ethic, my mind, my servitude, my earnings, and my blood, sweat and tears.  I’ve given it all.  We love and breathe and provide everything thing for our children, and then we receive the greatest prize ever, a child walking into the world with promise, hope, and dreams of a future.  The tricky thing for me this past twelve months is finding how I will fit into this new world.  Yet God has taught me that life is a cycle of giving, nurturing, loving, teaching, losing, falling, winning, and finally letting go.

If you see me in the months to come beaming with joy and pride, or glossy eyes missing my boy know that I have done my job, and I may need a hug…

Please enjoy the song that inspired this blog post…Empires by Hillsong UNITED!

 

The Daughters and Me

Recently, I went to a Christian woman’s conference hoping to make some new friends. Little did I know I’d end up spending the weekend with some pretty amazing millennials.

13131540_1767702466809038_6790292382361851216_oThe term daughter can bring an uncertain sting to a girl who has begged and pleaded for an eternity to be loved by the hand that created her.  At the feet of their own father they cry out, “love me, see me, want me.”  But when their cries are fruitless there is a question of validity and an intense breach of trust being forged and often the opening of a lifetime wound.

Recently I attended a women’s conference called Shine in which I was so excited to go to I could barely stand it.  Then as it approached I became more and more filled with the fear that haunts us when we least expect it.  The foreboding that can hold us back from greatness.

I found myself afraid because I was going to this mega celebration…alone.

My mother always taught me that going at something alone is brave, that it builds character.  I’ve tested this theory, this life lesson. I’ve gone to a movie alone, dinner party of one, Starbucks with yours truly, simply to see if anyone would actually see me.  And guess what, never once did anyone care that I was in fact, this huge big smile sitting at a table alone.  Nope, no one cares.  Because we are all so inside ourselves our own complicated mess of complications.

And this created an inner dialogue that was so intense.  God would say to me: why do you care that you are alone?  For you have me and I created this interestingly smart woman who has all the potential in the world.

Even when I didn’t want to hear it.  He was there telling me that I was enough.  That I do not need other people to validate me because I am well…in fact a Daughter.

That may be easy to accept when the people who are supposed to validate you, don’t do their jobs.

But often times they don’t.  Our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers can leave us unloved and dry of life-sustaining water for years upon decades.  And when that happens waiting on God to provide at a huge women’s conference where everyone going is there with a stunning woman on their arm is somewhat…daunting.

I almost didn’t go.

God asked me, “Why are you doubting?”

I paused.  And He read my heart singing:

Seek Bravery, not Fear.

But I’m scared to be alone.  I hate not being accepted.  I’m insecure even though I may seem larger than life.  I am a facade.

No~you are greater than any comparison you will conclude and I will show you as long as you believe, have faith, and go at it alone.

Yet God knowing me, truly reading that I am not the “alone” girl I had been in the child of my past I received a text from an extraordinary young woman later that day.

She said she wanted to sit with me at Shine.

Twenty-three years my junior I wasn’t sure.  My inner insecurity said,
“Don’t ruin her fun.”
“You are old.”
“You aren’t, hip, yo.”
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You should be alone because no one really loves you.”

Against my inner demons I texted back,

I’d love that.

And so I embarked on a life-changing weekend sitting with the daughters of our future, the difference makers of the days ahead.  The future mothers, friends, wives, leaders, lovers of life that are about to embark on the truth they are being called into.

I can say there is a lot to be spoken of spending time with the generation that follows you.

Looking at the youth ready to face their own opportunities I relished in the excitement their eyes reflected back at me as they shared the call they felt were on their lives.

I met amazing young woman number one who has aspirations of becoming an author and public speaker.

Inspirational strong young woman number two wants to be a midwife specializing in women experiencing miscarriage or stillbirth.

Dynamite girl number three aspires to be a worship pastor, one of the most captivating ways to meet God.  And~has a calling on her life to write her life story which involves a broken relationship with her father.

Okay, for those of you who don’t know me, get ready for some provision…

I’m a best selling author and a national public speaker who has spoken in front of thirty thousand people.

I have lost two baby boys, one at eighteen weeks gestation and one at twenty-three both due to chromosomal abnormalities.

And lastly, my oldest son leads worship, touching thousands with his passion and fervor for both music and well…God.  And I also have a horribly broken relationship with my father that guts me every day.

Wait…What?!?!

And I thought I was going to this thing by myself?!  Are we ever truly alone in this life as long as God is in charge? Resoundingly NO!  Our life story runs through and through with a beautiful symphony of a song that weaves in and out past the years of pain and conclusion.  It is beauty.  It is God.  It is a community of women.  It breaks barriers of age, judgment, and class.  Yet only if we let it.  These girls welcomed me and we soaked each other up like precious water after a hundred year drought.

We can learn a little from the youth, can’t we ladies who have lived a little life?

My weekend ended on a high.  After I left my girls I paused and decided that I needed to get a few “selfies” with my date for the weekend.  Me.

In that, I met two amazing women (a little closer in age to me this time) who had attended the conference together and then an amazing conversation took place.  I told them that I came alone. But am leaving knowing I’m never alone, that no matter the demographic or the anticipation, God gives you what you need and what is needed from you.

I told them that it doesn’t matter who I am or what I’ve done that without togetherness it doesn’t work.
I shared with them that I wrote a little book called, The Return to Happiness.

One of the girls said she knows several women who have suffered pregnancy loss and would love to connect them with a resource such as my book.

I cried out, knowing I had been alone losing my babies yet when women unite, it is always better together, stronger, and far more powerful.

I made new friends in that moment and left the weekend behind filled to the rim with love, community, and possibility.

Yet I left with the youth deeply embedded on my heart.

The daughters and I worshiped, loved, and learned from one another far from fear of lost trust, abandonment or pain.  Yet gave us more than we could have ever anticipated.  Leaving us with an overwhelming joy and praise blanketing us all, knowing that we are in fact better together.  Forever.