I Call Bullsh**

I was so ready to leave.

So many times over the last year I thought my time in this town was over. I thought God was going to move me on to something else…somewhere else. I even explored where I wanted to go.  I looked for places where I could just be another face in the crowd. If I’m honest, I looked for places where I didn’t have to take care of anyone…places where I could be the one to be taken care of.  But recently I realized that it truly wasn’t about the people, or their needs…it was all about the belief that this place held all my pain…like the ocean holding a drowning man…surrounded, suffocated, trapped.  I just felt like I couldn’t heal here…like I would forever be stuck in all the things that I had been through in this place.  I struggled with the thought that I would never be free. (Take a peak at More Real Than I’ve Ever Been)  And so I looked for places to move.  I looked into jobs in other towns, in other states. I asked God for the release that I thought was coming, but I was met with silence. Absolute silence. What I didn’t understand is that God was beginning to talk to me about something.  But I wasn’t listening.  Not on purpose. I just couldn’t hear Him yet.  But I think I’m beginning to hear Him now.  I think I’m finally seeing a bigger picture to all I’ve had to go through.  And I have begun to burn.

In navigating the hard places in my relationships, God has been revealing something to me.  My selfishness.  All of this pain and heartache I’ve endured have been about HIS passion for this community. A community of people like my daughter, my son. Your daughter, your son.  Not about me.  I know it all sounds so confusing.  Stick with me.

I was brought up with a very clear idea of how the addicted became addicted..and why they stayed addicted.  I knew all the things I’d been taught growing up…about drugs, alcohol…all of it.  I knew what Christians were supposed to believe about homosexuality and gender issues.  I believed what I was taught about all of the things that seem to set off explosions in culture today.  There was always a cut and dried answer to all of it…even if it was confusing.  Please hear me, I believe that there are absolutes written in the Word of God.  But if you hear that, please, also, hear this.  I am not God.  I don’t get to decide if one kind of person deserves His love over another.  I can’t truly see anyone’s heart unless they choose to show me.  And even then, it’s only a piece of it. What I know, is that that old Mitzie believed that if I committed suicide, I would go to hell. No, really. I did. I was told that.  More than once.  But I tried anyway. After my own suicide attempt in 2002, I began to question that belief and many other perceived truths I had about the character of God.  After several years of agonizing over the idea of it, I gave into the impulse to end my life.  It was awful and ugly and very, very real….but not one time did I ever believe that God wasn’t who He said He was.  I just didn’t feel like I could survive the constant pain and hopelessness that I felt in this world.  I never rejected Him.  I never believed that He didn’t love me.  I just didn’t see a way out of it all…other than death.  But God saved me and used that very thing to begin to highlight and free me from the lies.

You see, the enemy wants us to believe things like I believed.  He wants you to think that you have all the “right” answers…that you’ll go to hell if you commit suicide..that you are beyond hope and unworthy of love if you are an addict…that your sexuality determines your value before God…that conservatives are more “Christian” than liberals…that your community doesn’t care about you. That your worth is about how people see you. That the sin you struggle with is making you unlovable and unforgivable.  I am so tired of the enemy of our souls having the loudest say, so I’m calling him out.

And I call BULLSHIT.

I know that I’m nobody special according to the world standard.  I’m not famous in any kind of way.  I’m just a single, divorced mom who’s been through a lot of hard stuff, works a little insurance job and lives in a small town.  And I’m just a middle aged woman who loves Jesus.  But I still call bullshit.  I’m sure there are educated people of faith, who could argue me into the ground and tell me all the reasons I’m wrong…and also call me out for cursing.  That’s fine. I probably wouldn’t enter that argument anyway. But what I do know is that I am that woman at the well (John 4). I’m that woman who has done unspeakable wrongs.  I’ve lied, I’ve had an unfaithful heart, I’ve attempted to end my life, I have wounded my children, I’ve gotten divorced, I’ve held unforgiveness as a weapon, I’ve been unbelievably selfish, I’ve rejected and enabled and I have been a complete coward.  I have also failed…my children, my husband, myself. Let’s face it, I’ve failed everyone at least once…or a million times  And yet Jesus still chooses to sit with me at the well where culture says we aren’t supposed to be.

So here’s the BS.  Showing people Jesus has nothing to do with pointing out other peoples sin as we perceive it. That’s God’s job. We don’t get to decide when it’s time to sit in judgement.  Sometimes God chooses to just sit and be with someone before He ever shows them their “stuff.”  I know this because He’s done it with me.  Over and over again.  But other times he shows it to me quickly…sometimes he rips the bandaid off.  But HE is the one who knows what’s best for me.  At just the right time.  Do we really know or understand the timing of God unless he shows us directly?  Or do we see someones sin and feel the need to shine a spotlight on it as soon as we see it just so that we can save them ourselves?  Like I said, I am that woman at the well.  My sin on his lips has only been one single sentence in a lifetime of affection and kind words from His heart to mine.

So what makes us think that we are drawing people to Jesus by pointing and shouting at them about their  sin?  That’s not our job.  When we show people love, we show people Jesus.  We’ve got to get outside of ourselves.  I know this is in direct opposition to the culture of the world today…which is to sit in our comfy homes and look at the world from a computer screen and form opinions and ideas without ever coming face to face with a real person. But if we continue to crawl further and deeper into our Christian hole, those who need Jesus will ever really know that they need Him.  All they will see is more shame than they already carry on their own.  We have to get over the lie that says we need to look a certain kind of perfect to be a Christian! We have to stop pushing our idea of “appearances” on people.  C’mon my Jesus lovers! We are light bearers!  It’s time to stop expecting someone else to do it!  It’s time to do it ourselves.

My heart is burning for my community.  Burning.  There is so much pain.  There is so much trouble and heartache.  Addiction has exploded.  Gun violence is invading us rapidly.  Human trafficking and childhood sexual abuse are around every corner.  Do we see it or do we ignore it because it’s not in our house?  Do we pay it no mind until it touches our doorstep?  I say all this because I WAS THIS PERSON.  I didn’t see it in my own home until I had to see it.  I was forced to open my eyes.  And I almost caved.  But then I decided to rise up and refuse to be another casualty of apathy.  The enemy doesn’t have to kill you to take you out.  All he has to do is create indifference, blindness.  And right now he is gaining ground in spades.  We close our eyes because we are afraid that it is contagious…that somehow, by looking at it, we will catch the darkness.  I’m telling you…there is only ONE answer. The blood of Jesus.  His very blood is the light and we are light bearers.  Where there is LIGHT there can be no darkness for The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5.  It’s time to stop being afraid of the dark!

Are we, finally, going to be willing to sit at the well with the outcast, where culture says we aren’t supposed to be? Will we finally face the darkness that is encroaching and say no more? It’s time to stop looking at it only when we are forced to. It’s time to walk in the authority we carry because the same power that raised Christ from the dead LIVES INSIDE OF US! 

So needless to say, I am no longer entertaining the idea of leaving this community.  I am here for however long I’m supposed to be….and I’m all in.  And I call bullshit on us all.

More Real Than I’ve Ever Been

For nearly 5 years I have been strong. I have pointed my face like flint and run to the One who I know will always hold me. But in many ways I’ve been lying to myself. Not about God, but about myself. I didn’t know it until today. I didn’t know it until I said it out loud.

“I need to heal but I don’t think I’ve even grieved.”

I lost my marriage.

I was so set on what I knew God was going to do that I didn’t allow even a single thought that it may not go the way I wanted it to go. I just knew that God would restore. That He would make everything beautiful and new again. I had this dream constantly running on my internal video player. But Gods not in the business of controlling people. And my husband didn’t choose to fight for me. He chose another. But yet, I still lived with a weird internal battle between dream and reality.

And today it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I lost my husband. I lost my dream of being with the one I loved forever. I lost the travel we’d always talked about. I lost the cabin in the woods we dreamed about together. I lost going to dirt bike races and loving Asher together. I lost all the kids visiting for the holidays together. I lost summer gardening and helping in the shop. I lost the lazy Saturday morning coffee dates together with no kids. I lost growing deeper in Jesus together.

I lost my home. I lost my person home and my physical home. And now…still…I don’t have a home that’s mine. I sleep in someone else’s bed. I sit on someone else’s furniture. I eat off of someone else’s dishes. I don’t even have my own pictures on the wall. This beautiful roof over my head has truly been Gods provision and I am unbelievably grateful…but it’s not my home. Do you know what I mean?

I live in a town where all the pain is. Where all the dark things that have ever happened to me, have happened. What do I do next? I thought I knew. But Maybe what I really need to do is go backwards. Because I forgot to do something.

I forgot to grieve. I never did. I need to…but I don’t know if I even know how. Grieving means I have to accept that my dreams are gone. Not just the words in my mouth but truly, truly gone.

I need to heal. Can I do that in the place where its all in my face? In the place where everything just fell through my fingers and I was helpless to stop it?

I have put myself in a position where so much is expected of me. Because I’ve always been the one that can be depended on. When things are hard or frustrating or painful, I’m always the one to hold it all together. Now I’m finding that I can’t do it. I can’t rescue anyone else. I can’t save anyone else from having to figure it out. I have to save me now. Me and God…I gotta really let Him save me this time. Save me from all of it. For real. Because right now it hurts like hell…and I have nothing left to give.

Miracles & Ripples

Miracles & Ripples

Where do I even begin?  So much to say.  I think it’s going to take me a long time to really process what has happened in the last 10 days.

I have never shared this part of the story fully, so I will start with that.

Just under a year and a half ago, my daughter was arrested.  The circumstances were extremely serious and she was potentially looking at a very long time in jail….possibly more that 30 years. The total number of charges was 28, with the most serious being attempted murder.  I still, can hardly hear that or look at that sentence without feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut. It’s like living in an alternate universe.

On May 10, 2017, I had gotten a phone call on my cell at work around 2pm.  I didn’t recognize the number and I was really busy so I didn’t answer.  And I didn’t think another thing about it until I was walking out the door at the end of the day.  As I stepped outside, I was looking at my phone and realized I had a voicemail.  I got into my car and started listening to the message.  It was 39 seconds long and it changed my life.  As I heard my daughter sobbing, I pulled into the library parking lot and just sat there.  I could barely understand what she said, but I understood enough and called the number back.  The person who answered the phone was not my daughter.  It was a woman with law enforcement and once I told her who I was, she said words that are seared in my memory.

“I’m so sorry I have to you this, but your daughter Miley has been arrested for second degree attempted homicide.”

I couldn’t even think.  I immediately asked if the other person was okay.  What she said, set the precedent for everything in my mind and heart from that point forward.

“What could have been a very, very harmful situation, was not.  By some miracle, everyone is okay.”

We said a few more things back and forth….I couldn’t tell you now, what those things were.  I hung up the phone and sat in my car, in that library parking lot, head in my hands, and wept.  I couldn’t move.  I don’t remember how long I sat there alone.  Unable to breathe.  Unable to process.

And then I heard a little whisper.  “I’m in this.  This is all me.”


May 10, 2017 – Arrest Photo

Eventually, I somehow made my way home.  In the next 24 hours, I learned more about the circumstances of her arrest. There are so many details I could share but all I’m going to say at this point, because of the freshness of the events in the last week, is that she attempted to steal a car and was interrupted.  As she ran away, she was chased down.  She had a gun and pulled it out when she was caught in a headlock.  She fired that gun.  Multiple times.  There was a bullet in the chamber but the gun did not fire. The gun never fired.  God put His finger in the end of that gun and saved a life.  And in the process, saved my girls life.


He knew what would stop Miley in her tracks.  He knew what was enough….and He knew what was too much.  She had spiraled very rapidly into drugs and crime.  In the span of less than two weeks, she accumulated 28 charges and now sat in jail with a $1 million dollar cash only bond.  But God still knew.

In that moment, when I learned that there was a bullet in the chamber but the gun didn’t fire, I knew.  I knew that the whisper I had heard was the Lord.  He was in this. That gun told me from the very beginning that God had every little detail taken care of and I didn’t have to worry anymore.  About anything. All those prayers that I had prayed over her, over all my children, came rushing to the surface and I knew that God was answering.  The ocean I thought I would drown in, was becoming the very thing that would carry us to shore.

And God went to work….in fact, He’d already been working for a very long time….I just couldn’t see it yet.  The first time I talked to her on the phone I gave her a scripture.  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11.  It was the only thing on my mind for her.  I prayed it over her, I wrote it to her in letters, I talked to her about it on the phone….and I prayed it over her some more.

Miley sat in isolation in that jail cell for many weeks.  There was no contact with other inmates other than through her cell door.  She was let out of that cell for just 3 hours a day and only in the company of deputies.  In that isolation, She took every other book out of her cell and began to read nothing but her bible.  She began to write me letter after letter, telling me about how God was reaching down and encountering her broken, busted life.  She was allowed 2 envelopes per week and would stuff multiple letters in each one….sometimes she would write 2 or 3 in the same day.  I will keep those letters until the day that I die.  They are a written record of a million little encounters….the became a single massive miracle.  They are a written record of the love of God.  He needed her to be right where she was and she knew it. He was transforming her and she kept saying yes. A weak yes is still a yes and she did it every day for 533 days.

And so we fast forward to October 2018.  There had been more court appearances than I can count, plea deals and withdrawals, delay after delay.  Her bond was still set at $1 million and trial was set to start 3 weeks before Christmas.  And then it came.  An offer for rehab and probation.  No prison time.  None.  And on top of that, there was a possibility that she would be released for a few days before she had to report to rehab.  I held my breath.  On October 24th, 2018 we went to court for what was supposed to be a motions hearing for trial.  It ended up being a plea hearing and subsequently a sentencing hearing.  I have been to court more times in the last year and a half than I’d ever been in my life.  This was like nothing I have ever experienced.  When it was my turn to speak for the sentencing portion, I gathered my stack of letters from the last 18 months and I walked to the front.  All I wanted was to bathe the room in the love of Jesus that Miley had discovered.  I so desperately wanted Him to be seen.  I wanted the credit for it all to go to Him, because it was all Him. These were my words….

More than 17 months ago, my daughter Miley could think of no one but herself. She was in deep pain and was making the worst decisions of her life to attempt to find freedom from all of the chaos inside of her. Today she is not that same person. This stack of letters are the words of a young woman’s stunning transformation over the last year and a half. Every word, in every letter is about recognizing and taking responsibility. They are not about feeling sorry for herself or blaming others. Today, She is thinking of and doing what is best for her son. Today She asks me how I’m doing…and listens. Today she is concerned that her sister and brothers are okay and happy. Today She worries about her dad and wants him to be happy. She is not perfect but she is forgiven. She was not that person nearly 18 months ago.

Today she is.

We are here on this day because of the choices Miley has made and in so many ways I am so sorry for that. But ultimately, I believe in the deepest part of me that we are here because of the kindness of Jesus. He loved Miley enough to stop her in her tracks. He loved her enough to save lives. He loved her enough to know what was enough. But God is funny like that. He is never about just one person. His reckless, unceasing, chase-you-down love is about everyone involved in this case. He died to save the lives of everyone in this room. All of you are valuable beyond what you can imagine and he loves you deeply.

He is working out the redemption of my family in the middle of this most painful process. He is making a tender, fiery warrior of out of Miley. Her story will change lives if she continues to choose this new path. Her own life and the dead and broken lives of countless others will be brought to life because of what God has already done and what he will continue to do in her. Isn’t that the best we could hope for?

I would like to thank Patrick for his hard work and his belief in Miley. I would like to thank the sheriffs deputies who do the thankless job of serving this community in a very difficult place like jail. I see you. Thank you for always being kind to me. Thank you, your honor for choosing the law and serving in a capacity most of us could not imagine. And most of all I thank JESUS Christ for saving a life destined for a cycle of deep darkness. Our lives will never be the same. Today We choose LIFE. Thank you for your time.

When her lawyer spoke, he talked of the change in her and how he has never said that kind of thing about a client of his.  He talked of who she was at the beginning and who she is now.  He said, “Her mom is religious, the victim is religious.  I am not.  But there is something else at work here.  I’ve never seen anything like this.”

That did me in.  I had so desired to be honoring to the Lord in this whole mess.  And he was seeing what he had never seen before.  He was seeing Jesus.  There is nothing better.

The judge talked about how, in the 2 1/2 years she’s been on the bench, she’s never seen a court case like this.  She talked about how all parties worked together to give Miley a future.  She talked about how we all sat in the same rows and talked with one another. She talked about all of the support she was seeing for Miley in the courtroom.  She talked about how it was a calm and peaceful environment.  And she thanked us for that.  And then she accepted the plea deal for my daughter and set her free.

For 4 days, I watched my daughter.  I watched her interact with people.  I watched her share her testimony.  I watched her deal with conflict.

All the things that I expected were not there.


October 25th, 2018 – When Moses came down Mount Sinai….he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the LORD.  Exodus 34: 29 a&c NLT

She wasn’t aggressive.  She didn’t yell.  She didn’t dismiss others feelings.  She listened.  She understood.  She stood up for herself but she didn’t attack.  She asked for what she needed.  She was affectionate.  She was peaceful.  She was honest. She was respectful. She was confident in what Jesus had done in her.  She knew that she would never have made it through except for Him.  And she said so repeatedly.

And after not enough days (four), I drove her to Denver to begin her court required time in rehab.

What God has done is almost impossible to speak of with human words.  He has completely changed a girl who hated herself and everyone around her.  He has changed a person who was in utter darkness into one who just wants to give herself away to people.  She just wants to love.  She knows that He has called her to do and she has already begun. All she wants to do is speak His name.  She wasted no time and said yes to the first opportunity.

So here is my encouragement for you.  When your children start down a road that you cannot convince them to avoid.  Stop.  Realize that you cannot rescue them from the story that is meant to be their lives.  You cannot rescue them from their testimony.  You cannot stop the miracle that God is trying to do in their lives.  I tried desperately to change her path.  I saw the destruction coming and could not stop her.  Her dad did everything he knew how to do….and still could not stop her.  She went anyway.  And it

was ugly and dark and desperate and broken.  And look what God has done!  Miley has exactly the story she was meant to have.  She knows that there are people that will need her story.  She may even find those people in rehab.  At this point, who knows what God will do?  She will be a world changer.  Even if it is just one life….because, like me, like you, like all of us, she is one pebble thrown into a vast ocean….and the ripple reaches all the way to the shore.


October 26, 2018 – Home

Be a ripple.

And watch the miracles.


You Really Aren’t Enough…

You Really Aren’t Enough…

I’m feeling pretty out of sorts lately and I realized (duh) that I needed to put the chaos in my head down on paper so I can make some sense of it.  Will you bear with me as I trudge through this processing thing that I do?  Maybe something in here will be helpful for you too….

This week has been a really rough one for me.  I’ve had some really (really!!!) hard parenting moments with my grandson and I’m still questioning whether I did things the right way.  Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.  But I’m trying.

I also saw (good ol’ social media) the end result of my “muchness” for someone I really love and respect.  That was a hard one.  I tried so hard to do things the right way but things were just never the same….and in the end it didn’t really matter….I was set aside anyway.

Right now, I feel really unseen.  I feel like people have this perception of me that says, “She doesn’t need anything.  She goes through stuff but her and Jesus, they always work it out.  She doesn’t need anybody.”  And in that perception of me, I get left alone.  It’s true, Jesus and I do have a real thing.  We work through it whenever things come up.  Sometimes I see what He is trying to tell me pretty quickly.  Other times, it takes foreverrrr! Usually because of me!  But to be totally honest with you, people still need people.  They need to be seen and loved and known.  We (yes, me) are so good at focusing on our own selves, and our own pain, that we forget to look up and walk along with the people next to us.  Here’s the thing though…You don’t have to fix it.  You don’t even have to make it better!   What???  How can I say this?  Don’t we all feel like we can’t step in with someone else’s struggle unless we can fix it, or make it better somehow??  The real honest truth is that your kindness is what makes it betterChoosing to love and be present is what makes it better.  Your undistracted eyes are what make it better.  And then there’s this…..God didn’t design you to fix it anyway!  Nope.  No fixing for you.  Or me.  That’s His job.

Ok.  Deep breath. (Am I really about to admit this?) Here’s the big one….

I have been battling with feeling used…on a major scale.  I feel as if my heart to love and help and do the right thing is seen…and I’m being taken advantage of because of that.  Some days, it seems as if I have the designation of the Fall Guy  “When it all falls apart, I’ll give it to Mitzie.  When it’s too much for me to handle, I’ll give it to Mitzie.  She’ll push through and make it work. She’ll keep it all together.  I don’t have to hold up my end of the relationship cuz she’ll be good with it…eventually.”  I feel like I have a sign on my forehead that says, “Kick me, I’ll just take it.”  Right now, I am that person who hears the promises but is not seeing the actions to those promises.  And I’m losing it a bit.

So now my enormously overthinking brain asks questions like this.  “Am I reading too much into all of this?  What about grace for these people?  Everybody is broken in some way or another…maybe this is just the way they’re broken?  Hurt people, hurt people, right?”  So now (as I always do), I’m in the process of excusing all of these feelings away…I’m invalidating what is inside me.  In the scheme of things, are they even going to matter in a few days or weeks or months?  Probably not.  But maybe they’re still valid….and I need to purge them out so I don’t go to this place over and over and over again.

This whole post so far (let’s be honest), sounds like a pity party.  Maybe it is….but maybe it’s not. You can decide.  But let me suggest something to you.  Maybe it’s the process (at least for me) by which ugly things that grow in the darkness, get pushed into the light so they can be flushed out.  Soooo here’s a question for you (or a few)….does any of this sound anything like what you’ve said in your own head from time to time?  Are they things that you know you’d be judged or condemned for, so you never say them out loud?  Are they things that you have cuddled up to like a warm, fuzzy blanket and accepted as truth?  Has the lie that you are unseen become such a part of you that you just accept it?  Do you own the belief that you are all alone in the world and that no one cares?  Do you believe that you are too much and no one will love you because of your “muchness?”  Do you believe all of the darkness that runs through your thoughts?  Guess what my friends!  No darkness can reside where there is light!  Maybe it’s time to bring it into the light.  Just sayin’

And on a final note….as I’ve just thrown up (figuratively) all over the keyboard….I just had a revelation.  I may be about to offend lots of you, but here it is anyway…

We, especially women, keep saying to each other “You are enough.” May I suggest that, actually, you aren’t. Yep. I said that.  But seriously, let’s get real…..there is always someone who won’t like how you dress or do your hair, how you work outside the home or not, feed your baby formula or not, give them solid food too early or too late…How you shouldn’t be married to the one you’re married to…or god forbid, be single….How you don’t have the right taste in friends or furniture…How you don’t spend your money right, or make enough, or that you flaunt the money you have or live too “high”….That you don’t clean the right way or say the right thing or do the right thing or have the right job.  How you don’t feel things the right way or love the way they think you should or talk quiet enough or loud enough or even talk enough. You’ll talk too much or too fast or too slow or…..or…..or.  You fill in the blank.  There is always a plethora of not-enough-ness.  Let me just be clear.

You. Are. Not. Enough.  Only Jesus is.  So when you talk too much or love too much or run too much or breathe too much, let Jesus be the one who is enough for you……and for the one who judges you. 


One Year Later…

Today is 8/08/18.

In 8 days, I will have been divorced for a year.  I know, I know….a lot of people get divorced. But the pain still exists.  The struggle still exists.  It is a very real thing.  The effects of it don’t disappear in a few weeks, a couple months, a year.  It takes awhile.  I suppose it’s different for everyone. Some people find ways to move on quickly.  Some people take time.  Maybe I’m somewhere in between.

I never imagined myself divorced.  But I am.  And in that circumstance, I have come to some abrupt realizations of how I’ve been seeing myself and how I operate in relationships.

They are this….

I am a lot.  I am a very emotionally intense person.  I feel things very, very deeply….much more than most probably.  And in that, I discovered that I have frequently operated in a very out-of-balance fashion.  I tend to constantly apologize for my tears, my feelings.  I make jokes about myself and my emotions.  I make excuses or diminish things that are part of my God Design in hopes that I will be not be rejected.  I’ve made excuses or diminished my own out-of-line behavior in order to keep myself in my own victim bubble.  I have been known to completely set myself aside for the comfort of others, even when it is wrong to do so.  I sometimes make decisions that are based on manipulating people in order to “keep them around.” I haven’t always chosen to take a breath before I respond in confrontation…and I’ve used those reactionary emotions as a battering ram. I’ve tearfully (manipulatively) glossed over anothers sadness or frustration with me by ignoring their feelings and in turn, aggressively bulldogged them with my own.  In other words, I behaved as if my emotions were the only feelings in the room.

Can you see the pattern?  Is the picture becoming clear?

I don’t say these things to, yet again, be the victim.  I am no victim!  I say these things becaue they are honest realizations about myself.  If I don’t choose to look them in the face, own them, and walk in accountability,  I will repeat them.  Over and over again.

I have been asked about dating and I’m just going to be honest…I don’t feel confident to do that yet.  For a few reasons.

First, I am not comfortable with where I am physically. Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain. I have struggled with my weight and physical appearance for a lot of my adult life.  I have attempted to lose weight and get healthy numerous times.  What I realized, just yesterday in fact, is that I always made those attempts for someone else.  I wanted my husband to think I was more attractive.  I believed that if I became a certain size or weight, he would stay with me (manipulation on my part). Some of that was in my own mind, some not.  He promised me at one point that he would take me on a trip overseas if I lost 100 lbs.  I see now that he was just trying to help motivate me in the goal that I had set for myself, but back then I chose to believe that he didn’t like how I looked and wanted me to be something I was not.  Ultimately, I started crossfit because I believed that if I was what he wanted, then he would love me. What is crazy, is that I never saw it.  I thought I was doing it for myself and only for myself.  I was not.  I was doing it to make people happy with me. But I need to do this for myself.  I need to have my own motivation, not someone else’s.  So I’ve started crossfit again because I want to feel good. Every day. Not just on good days. I want to be able to play on the floor with my grand babies. I want to fly overseas comfortably. I want to hike. I want to ride a bike. I want to lift heavy stuff.  I want to do a pull up. For me. Because I can.

Second is that my marriage was hard..especially the last few years.  I felt really burned…and I don’t want to carry that into any potential relationship.  I want to own my part honestly and work through the ugly, painful, dirty stuff so that I don’t take it out on someone who doesn’t deserve it.  I don’t want to be constantly suspicious of another’s words and actions. I want to love fully….without the reservations of old hurts.  To put it bluntly, I don’t want to be the same person I was in my last relationship.  I want God to be at the center and I long to do it His way and only His way. My dream has always been to have a marriage that is a picture of His love.  I want a relationship that is a witness of who He truly is.

Right now, I don’t know if that’s His plan for my life or not.  And I’m okay with that.  I have learned that I can live on my own.  I have learned that my worst fear can come true and I can come out thriving and alive…because of who He is….not because of any great accomplishment on my part.

Third is that I have a little boy in my life who needs me right now.  He needs consistency. He doesn’t need more people that come in and out of his life that he gets attached to. He’s had more than enough of that.  It’s time for him to be a priority…to be chosen. And I choose him.

If I had had my wish, I would have been able to learn these things while I was still married.  I wasn’t. I was too stubborn and too busy living in my emotions to listen to how God wanted me to find His way through these hard things.  He asked me to go His way more times than I can count, but I just kept thinking I could do it later….when I finally had courage. I kept thinking that surely God wouldn’t allow my family to fall apart.  But He didn’t make my family fall apart. We did that.  And so, I learned these things in the hardest way possible. Through loss.

God allowed me to be sifted because I asked Him to.  He allowed it because He believed me when I said I wanted to go deeper with Him.  He allowed it because He knew I could do it, even when I was sure I couldn’t.  He allowed it because He wanted me to become the warrior that I am now.  He wanted me to be one who walks with His authority. To bring His hope and His healing to the lives of others who are broken and hopeless.

This journey was not for nothing.  And just like me, your road is not going nowhere.  It means something.  It may take longer than you like but it will get you where you are meant to go.

A little post script…Why did I highlight all the eights? I’m pretty sure it’s significant….The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration. It is the number of a new beginning.

Krabbe…It’s a Name not an Attitude!

8:18 pm. January 19th. I read the text and then read it again. And again.

Does this say what I think it says? Time may be very short? What?

I can’t breathe.

And then I just sat there. For maybe 10 or 15 more minutes. I just sat there. It’s like I couldn’t feel anything at all for those minutes. I thought, for a split second, that it wouldn’t overtake me. But eventually, it did. And I nearly ran. I was at a birthday party and bumbled and mumbled through my goodbyes with only a brief explanation.

And no one there, at that moment, really knew who you were.

Thinking about that silly little fact now, I find such injustice in that. It’s silly that it bothers me, but it does. It’s impossible for anyone to know EVERYONE….but EVERYONE should know YOU….REALLY KNOW you. And everyone should know your family too….because if they don’t know them, they don’t know you.

They should know the birthday parties you threw for your wife. They should know about the cheesecakes you made for her and her friends for one of those birthdays. They should know the fathers heart you’ve always have had for my children, and especially for my Mags when she has struggled. They should know how, for years , you were the “kid whisperer” at church and in Sunday school. They should know about that time you hid in the back of my suburban and scared the tar out of me when I drove out of your driveway….so many laughs! They should know your love of crossfit and mountain biking and cooking with your wife. They should know how you love and inspire your employees. Your friends. Your people. You have so many people my friend. But not all of the people. I wish everyone knew you. Really knew you. Because their life would be better if they did.

You see, my friend, you are one of those people who knows how to Love well. There aren’t many of them around these days. Oh they’re around, they’re just not you. You have loved one of my dearest and oldest friends so very well. You always put her first. You showed the world that she’s the top priority in you life right after God. You’ve always supported her heart and her dreams. You’ve shown your children what it means to love well and to require the same in their own relationships. You see, those kids of yours? They don’t accept anything less because of you. I don’t know if they’d even know how. You did that. You let God lead….and you and your wife did that.

You have been a gift to me in so many tiny little ways that I don’t even know how to describe. Just your way of “being” has been encouraging to me. I’ve never seen you walk in offense towards anyone, even if it was deserved by the worlds standards. I’ve never heard you speak ill of anyone. I’ve never known you to be harsh. And I saw you love Jesus. What more could one even hope to be?

I don’t know if you will ever read this because I don’t know what God’s plan for you is. I just know that you have lived your life so well. Yes, you have a successful business and those kinds of things…but for this friend, what you have done with your LIFE and the way you have LIVED is the story that needs to be told.

You are forever “Krabbe….it’s a name not an attitude,” to me.

I love you Gary.

Let me be clear for a moment…

I did not want to get divorced.  I don’t want to be divorced.  I love the man who was my husband….I just can’t be with him.  I came to a place in my life where I realized that I was compromising my relationship with the Lord, and devaluing myself in an attempt to make someone else comfortable.  It sounds so simple. It’s not. It would be easy to just point my finger at him for all the ways I felt he failed me but I am not without defect. Not. At. All.

Divorce hurts more than I could ever fathom.  I never imagined that this is where my life would be right now.  I had dreams….ideas of how we would grow old together…..kids out in the world and doing their own thing…finally on our own.  But somewhere in the mess, the trauma of life events, the loneliness of living alone for nine or ten months a year, I forgot that I was married to a good man.  I think he forgot that too.  And I also think he forgot he was married to a good woman.  Things go off kilter when you believe things that are outside of who God says you are. We both did it.  It just showed up in different ways for each of us.

I grew up in a house where in conflict, there was no conversation allowed.  Any attempt at conversation was viewed as argument.  As an adult, looking back, I understand that approach to some degree.  However,  I am (very much) a verbal processor.  When there is conflict but you are never allowed to sort out feelings and thoughts outside of your head, you learn that you have no voice.  You believe that you have no value because no one listens to your thoughts, feelings, ideas.  You learn that who you are is not okay.  You learn that there is something wrong with you because you can’t sort yourself out inside of your head like “normal” people.  Please hear me.  My parents taught me so many good things.  This is only one little piece of a growing up that was otherwise really, really good. They believed in me and loved me.  I harbor no bitterness towards them at all.  It is part of how that generation parented.  I understand that every parent does the best they can with what they have at the time.  And they did….they so much did!

But then, I married a man who did not know how to nurture a verbal processor either. So everything I had come to believe, was in fact, complete truth to me. “There is something wrong with me because I need to talk to sort out my thoughts and feelings.  I have no value because I cannot be like the people who are supposed to love me.”  You must understand….this is never a conscious thought.  It is a belief that becomes part of your DNA because of your experience in life.  Only recently have I realized that this had been concreted into my very bones.

I cannot blame anyone.  They were all doing the best they knew how.  They just didn’t get me.  Or really know me.  If you never get to the point where you can articulate clearly, what is inside of you, you cannot be known.  So as much as I wanted to be known, I could not because I believed I had no voice.  So there was no voice to use.  I was unable to communicate through conflict in any clear way.  Everything came out of me in highly emotional, hysterical ways.  There is no understanding that.  I don’t believe for one moment that anyone was truly wanting to devalue me. I was just foreign soil to them and they didn’t know how to speak my language.

So here, on the other side of this realization, I am attempting to walk away from the belief that I hold no value….that who I am is not okay.  Those are lies.  Yet I believed them.  Unfortunately, they were lies that the enemy continued to confirm for many years, through people that I loved….so it must be true, right? Oh how insidious he is.

Even as I sit here writing this, I cannot stop the tears. I am almost 44 years old and have never truly believed in my gut that I have any value as a person, a human, a woman.  I have believed that how I feel is inconsequential to those who love me. That the thoughts and ideas that I have aren’t worth really looking at. I have learned that my pain is irrelevant because of my defects…if I was normal,  it would matter to someone, right? It would matter enough for them to stop for a moment. And try to learn me. Do you see what has happened? Do you see how it has permeated every part of me?

Don’t feel sorry for me and please don’t hear this as a pity party. It’s not. At all. It’s realization. It’s revelation from the Father. It is turning away from lies and moving into who He says I am. It is walking into my value as a daughter, a woman, a human.

I cannot have victory if I do not acknowledge the truth. It’s ugly. It’s dirty. It’s messy. But it’s the truth. I don’t want to live there anymore. I refuse to live there anymore.

Divorce is my worst nightmare come true. I don’t know how long it will take me to stop feeling like I’m living in an alternate reality. No one died but it feels like death. It is so very painful. I just have to keep telling myself what I know to be the truth, even though I don’t feel it yet…God has a plan. What is important to me is important to Him. My pain is His pain. I am not alone. I am not too broken to have value. Who I am is not just okay, it’s amazing….because He made me.  If I speak it enough, I will begin to feel it. It will come. I just have to feel what is here right now in order to heal what is wounded. I must feel it in order to be free…..

To My Husband…on the Day We Got Divorced

I’m sorry that you could not love yourself enough to love me. 

I’m sorry that you could not choose the healing for yourself that I was choosing for my own self.  It would have brought you freedom and it could have saved our marriage. 

I’m sorry that I was an embarrassment to you, because that loud voice and vivid personality are so much of what make me a treasure.

I’m  sorry that you could not see me as that treasure. I was worth the effort. 

I’m sorry that I thought I could fix you. Only God can do that. 

I’m sorry that I found my own value before you did…because I am worth more than gold or rubies. 

I’m sorry that my contribution to our life was not enough for you. Because it was for me. 

I’m sorry that you never learned how to enjoy my passions as much as I learned to enjoy yours. I never liked coffee or dirt bikes or Led Zeppelin until I married you.

I’m sorry that you could not forgive me for the messes I made in our life, because there were plenty. You just couldn’t. 

I’m sorry you never learned to forgive yourself. 

I’m sorry that you never learned to drop everything just because I needed you. 

I’m sorry that you wouldn’t fight for me. You missed out on a beautiful woman. I’m a million times more amazing now, than when you married me. 

I’m sorry that all of these things I say are more about how you see yourself than how you really see me. 

I’m sorry that you could not see yourself the way I see you…because you are a good, good man….you just don’t really believe it.  There in lies the problem…

I’m sorry that you could not accept the love I had  to give you.  It would have been worth it. 

I’m not sorry I fought for you.  You are worth it. 

I’m not sorry that it took me so long to let go. You are worth that too. 

I’m not sorry that I love you. 

I just can’t be with you. 

I just had to choose to love myself this time….

This Beautiful Disaster….

I don’t even know where to start….I’m not sure if I should even be writing about this right now, but it is what I do.  It is how I wade through.  It is my voice and I need to speak. But now I sit here, with my fingers on these computer keys, and everything that was rolling around in my head has screeched to a halt.  I don’t know even know how to start talking about what is on my heart….I will try.

It is the middle of the night and I just woke up from a dead sleep, wide awake, brain already in overdrive before I even realized I was coming out of the stupor of sleep.

How do even begin to spit this out?

How do I start this conversation with you?

How do I breach the uncomfortable awkwardness of the elephant in the living room?

I don’t know.

So I will just rip the blanket off and speak of this beautiful disaster….

My child has been arrested for attempted murder.

. . . . .

. . . . .

Please know that I am fully aware of how emotionally unsafe this conversation may make me.  In talking about this, I know that I am potentially opening myself up to all kinds of opinions of my daughter, myself, my family.  It’s a small town.  I get it.  Things like this don’t happen here.  I know the judgement will come.  It’s already here.  But what I know is that there is nothing that anyone can think or say about me that I have not already thought of myself. I understand. Believe me.

I have thought so many times that my failure as a mother is what allowed my girl to walk into the world she walked into.  It is not.  What allowed her to walk into this darkness was her.  It took years but she got here because of her.  Over time, she made choices.  She thought things, and fed those thoughts, and allowed others to feed them.  And the more she thought them, the more she became part of the darkness she dwelt on.  She began to make choices.  And those choices, over and over again, led her to where she is right now.  I did not make even ONE of those choices for her.  In fact, I fought those choices with everything in me.  I fought them with my words, my emotions, my prayers.  I was unsuccessful.  The failure is not mine as a mother.  I refuse to own that.  We must all own our own choices, even if culture tells us that it’s got to be someone else’s fault.

But there is something so much deeper than these thoughts and opinions that I need to talk about with you, things I need to tell you.

Whatever you know about this situation may or may not be true, but even that is not my point in this moment.

Because what you see, what you know, is not the real story.

This story is about love.

The love of a mother.

The love of a God who saved that mother.

This mother.

He saved this mother from her herself, her demons, her own pain and destruction.

Over and over again.

And I know that just as He has saved me, He will save my daughter.  Probably not from her own consequences, and that is a good thing….but He can save my daughter from herself, her demons, her own pain and self destruction, just as He did me.  Maybe it sounds like I’m talking about this fantasy pie in the sky that you hear about in other peoples stories, but I promise you, I’m not.  He has already saved her, she just doesn’t know it yet.  He saved her life.  He saved the lives of those in her story.  Literally.  He is real.

But this story is about so much more than what one girl did on a Wednesday afternoon in May.  It is also an acknowledgment of the pain that has been inflicted on the people in my daughters story.  It is a recognition of the impact that this has on my community.

Whatever the details of this case as it moves forward, whatever words and opinions are laid before me, my daughter, my family….whatever happens…I will not be offended by you.  Whether I agree with you or not, I will not argue with you.  I will not entertain the voice in my head, that says that this is my fault.

Because you see, this story is about love.

The love of a mother.

The love of a God who saved that mother.

This mother.

And this mother loves you.

I love my community.

I love this place I call home.

As the only one in this story that can talk to you right now, I must tell you that I am so deeply affected by what has happened.  Please know that this is not trivial to me.  I do not take it lightly.  But please understand, also, that I love my daughter.  However, I will never ask that that love be a reason for lack of consequences.  That love is why, whatever the court decides, when the time comes, I will accept.  Because love without accountability is not love.  It is something else entirely.

I serve a God who redeems.  He saves the deepest and darkest people.  I have seen it over and over again.  He saves the mother and the drug addict.  The doctor and the murderer.  The best and the worst.  He does not care what you do, He will save you anyway.  He will love you anyway.  All that is needed is a yes.  He will save my daughter.  She need only say yes.

So, with a humble heart and an understanding of the thoughts and opinions of this story, may I still be so bold as to ask something of you?  Regardless of how you feel about me or my daughter, would you pray for us?  As my community, would you pray for her?  Because wouldn’t it be better for all of us if she was redeemed?  Would it not be the miracle that we all hope for but are so often to scared to ask for?

Maybe in praying for her, you will find that it’s okay to ask for your own miracle.

Maybe in praying for someone you dislike, you find a kindness and compassion in yourself that is more powerful than you ever knew.

Maybe in praying for a broken girl, your own broken pieces, start to be put back in place.

Maybe in praying for someone you despise, you see a new and beautiful side to the hard people in your own life.

And maybe in praying for this beautiful disaster we will all find our own redemption.

All I know is that my mama’s heart is busted.  Open.  Wide.  I grieve for the road my daughter is going to have to walk.  I grieve over those she has hurt.  The pain of this is like fire.  It burns.  I feel it physically.  I am not immune to the reality that has been thrust upon me.  Upon all of us.  But I know one thing for sure.  This pain is not wasted.  My pain.  Miley’s pain.  Your pain.  It is not for nothing.  So I will be the first.  I will say yes first.  I will allow it to break me open and break me through.  Into hope.  And life.  And love.

Whatever the choice, none of us will ever be the same again…..





I left.

I moved out.

I never thought I would be saying these words.

I would have staked my life on it.

I’m not going to share details but I came up to a wall and was not breaking through. In times past, when I hit these walls,  I could get in the “tower” and be able to re-engage to where I knew God was calling me to walk.  This time was different.

Completely different.

I was confused, angry, foggy. And the effort to push through felt like slogging through thick, concrete-like mud. It wasn’t happening. At all.

And then I was asked a question.

“Is it possible that God is releasing you?”

I didn’t want to hear it.

I was actually a little bit mad that she would ask the question.

But then she asked another.

And another.

The thing is, I knew I was in this until I died.  Seriously.  I’m not joking.  I had said it over and over again. I believed it. With everything in me. I believed that there was only one way that this was going to be resolved. My marriage was going to be restored. Period.  No question in my mind.  I tattooed my body with my wedding date for heavens sake.  Of course God was going to do it my way!

And then I hit the wall.  And I couldn’t push through.  No amount of praying or asking God to help me was helping me re-engage.

So I set a fleece before the Lord.  Two, in fact.

The first being a place to live.

And he provided it within 24 hours of that prayer.

And the second, he provided within 3 days.

With an abundance that has completely BLOWN. MY. MIND.

And so I moved out.

On my own.

For the first time in my life.

For a fleeting moment, I thought the last 2 1/2 years was for nothing.  In my emotions, it feels totally wasted…..but with God, I know it is nowhere near that.  I know that I did everything the Lord asked me to do.

I don’t regret staying…..

And I don’t regret leaving…..

The things that I have learned in this last season have changed me forever.  I have grown deeper, in ways I never thought possible.  I have shown my children what it means to stand on the love of God.  I have learned that I am an authentic, powerful woman.  I have seen that God has a high calling on my life.  I now know that I have value before the Lord.  I have realized that my life can affect and change the generations that will come after me.  And most of all, I have come to know that God truly is, always, always good.

I fear that some of you may feel betrayed….that I didn’t follow through. That I quit.  That I’m disobeying what God said.  I also feel as if I have disappointed you or made you feel mislead in some way by walking away.  I know so many of you have hoped and wished and prayed your hearts out right along with me. But please do not be disillusioned.  God is NOT done yet.

I wish I could give you a picture into what God said and how He spoke to me.  I don’t know how to do that yet.  I can only say that I truly do believe, that the only way I could have endured the last 2 1/2 years, was to be utterly convinced that God would resolve this the way that I had pictured.  That picture is what kept me going.  It kept me pursuing him.  It drove me deeper into His Word and His heart.  It’s what has changed me forever. What I do know, is that God made it abundantly clear that this season in my life is over….and staying, when He has lifted His grace from the situation, is asking for more pain and suffering….only without His covering over me.  I can’t do that. I won’t.

And so who can know the ways of God?

In my very real, human emotions, I feel as if I will never understand any of this.  Maybe I won’t.  But I can’t stay in that.  I have to let God heal me and move forward in my life.  I think part of the last 2 1/2 years has been processing through the grief and pain of this.  And so, I do, in many respects feel so much relief.  Relief that this part is over.

The waiting is over…

Living in limbo is over…

Daily disappointment is over…

Hope deferred is over…

My dark night of the soul is over.