A Follow-Up Post

I wrote a blog post last week about being married without children.  I thought perhaps my good friends and a few curious facebook friends would click the link, but instead, the post got shared and shared and shared some more.

I got countless emails, personal messages, texts, and comments and a lot of them were “me too’s”.  So many people said, “I have felt the same way but didn’t know how to articulate it” or “I thought I was the only one” or “Thank you for putting words to my feelings.”

There is power in knowing that we aren’t alone, isn’t there?  There is relief in knowing there have been, and are. and will be others in similar life seasons.

This week, the online community became a beautiful place of connection, of truth-telling, of encouragement, and of support for me.  When I hit submit on this post, I was bracing myself for some theological debates about having children.  I was nervous that I was opening myself up to the critics about a subject that is so personal but so important.

But instead I was met with love, love, love.

Thank you online community for being grace and love and support this week..

Let’s keep doing that with one another, eh?  Let’s keep celebrating one another as we live out our callings in seasons!

Married With[OUT] Children

I’ve stayed away from this topic on the blog completely – Not out of avoidance – I just haven’t had much to say about it.  But lately, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of opinions on this subject and thought “hey, I guess I do have some things to say about it.”

Today, let’s talk about being married without children.

When I was a senior in high school, the most frequently asked question to me was “Where are you going to college?”  When I was a senior in college, the most frequently asked question to me was “What are you doing after graduation?”  And since my first or second wedding anniversary, the most frequently asked question to me is, “When are you having kids?”

It’s in our nature to ask questions.  And we have societal norms, so we ask questions that are appropriate based on our perception of normal.  The traditional middle class American life order goes: college –> marriage –> kids… and so on.

I broke the order by getting married while in college, which was taboo enough, and I’ve been married 9.5 years and still don’t have children, so I’m just blowing stereotypes and norms all over the place.  I think my husband and I are bit of a mystery to some – and that’s ok.  After this many years, I’m used to getting asked rather personal questions like, “Can you not get pregnant?”  or “How’s your marriage?  Are you struggling?  Is that the delay in having children?”

Honestly, I don’t get mad about those questions, I know that the motivation behind the asking is making sure that I’m ok and that we’re ok.  I appreciate that people love me and love my husband and want us to be healthy and happy.  For the record, our marriage remains a beautiful partnership, and thanks for asking.  Also on the record, I feel so deeply sad for my friends who want to have children and cannot.  I can’t imagine being questioned when waiting, longing, and sadness are present – you are brave.

The reason that we don’t have children is that we simply haven’t felt called to have children.  It’s as simple as that.  My husband and I believe that parenting is an extremely high calling.  We celebrate and affirm that calling in our friends and family.  At this time, we feel confident that parenting is not our calling.  We believe that some callings are for a lifetime and others for seasons.  We have yet to determine whether this lack of calling is for our lifetime or for this season, but we will be faithful to our calling.

We don’t want to have children because it’s normal or expected, or to fit in with our other married friends, or to give our parents grandkids (sorry guys), or so we have someone to take care of us when we’re old.  We believe children are a gift not an expectation.  We believe that parenting is a calling, not an obligation.

We don’t not have children because we’re being selfish, as many seem to surmise.  We don’t have children because we haven’t felt called to raise them.  There have been a number of articles posted lately from couples who have chosen to not have children, and to be honest, some of the reasons for not having children sound rather selfish.  I would argue, though, that some reasons for having children are rather selfish, too.  We are humans and we are selfish.  Parental status doesn’t inherently negate or encourage selfishness.  Please don’t assume that all DINKS (Double Income No Kids) are inherently selfish.  Please don’t assume that all parents are inherently unselfish.

I have a lot of parent friends who assume my kid-free life is sort of easy and breezy.  I know they imagine me sleeping in wildly late on weekends, going to grown up concerts and movies at my leisure, eating gourmet candlelit dinners, going on extravagant international vacations, and getting to drink an entire cup of coffee while it’s still piping hot without interruption.

I giggle as I type this.

This doesn’t describe my life at all.

I have a lot of friends who assume that I don’t like children because I don’t have children and that I don’t respect the hardness of the job of parenting because I haven’t applied for that job.  They imagine that I don’t want to hang out with them + kids, or that I don’t want to hold their child, don’t know how to change a diaper correctly, or don’t want to hear about their battles over veggies.

I’m raising my eyebrows at this.

This doesn’t describe my life at all.

I have a lot of parent friends who assume that I am missing out on the deepest joy or that my life is sort of empty.  They imagine that I don’t know about selflessness, sacrifice, and mothering.  They can’t fathom me understanding the depths of the Father’s Love sans children.

I shake my head as I type this.

This doesn’t describe my life at all.

My life is rooted in contentment in this season.  I know what I am called to, and I find deep joy in living out my calling.  My life is brimming with relationships.  I am mentored and I mentor others.  I have sweet friendships.  My home is full more than it is empty and often the decibel level is over the top with laughter.  I know well how to cook for masses, sweep crumb-filled floors without complaining, soothe a crying soul, and give when I’m on empty.  I view this season of life without children as an opportunity that I am choosing to seize with intention.

I love this season of my life because I am living out my calling.  I celebrate with my friends who are in similar seasons and different seasons who are living out their callings with joy.  Together, let’s celebrate that we all have gifts and callings that we are sharing with others.  And let’s stop the assuming.  Let’s stop the fantasizing about the life we don’t have.  Let’s stop imagining our season to be the hardest or most noble or most fulfilling.  Let’s stop projecting our desires and dreams onto others.  Let’s instead celebrate our friends who are living out their callings in seasons.

Target and Leadership Lessons

Confession time:  I love Target.  Like really, really love it.  There’s something about that place that calls to me, and I answer, probably a little too much.  But now I’m digressing into another post.

Yesterday, I answered the call to Target with the justification of a toiletries list, and had an epiphany in the check out line.

As I waited in a long line with other Target addicts, I watched as a supervisor made calls over the walkie-talkie for other cashiers.  She observed the scene at the checkout line, eyes darting from cashier to long line to cashier, and made several pleas to staff.   I’ve been to Target enough times to know this is a regular practice there.

And every time I watch that scenario unfold it drives me crazy because there’s a lapse between when the supervisor calls for backup and when the backup arrives.  And I stand there with my cart full of toiletries (and treats – let’s be honest, I always add something to the cart that wasn’t on the list because Target’s marketing is brilliant) waiting with growing impatience because the supervisor could just jump on a checkout line and help.  They could answer their own call for help, right?

So as I stood there tapping my foot and judging the supervisor, it hit me, this was about leadership – more specifically, this is an area of growth in leadership for me.  Good leadership often requires a view that’s above the hectic fast pace of the check out line.  A good leader needs to have sight on all angles to know how best to place those working the lines.  They need to be able to direct, guide, and make calls because they can see the whole picture.

But I struggle with that.  I am a do-er by nature and I enjoy achieving.  I’m also a team player, so I love to pitch in and accomplish tasks.  I’m also a big proponent of servant leadership and I want to model what I’m asking to be done.  It feels disingenuous and downright wrong for me to observe and direct when I could just help.

But the truth is, sometimes I help less when I’m all pitched in because I’m not seeing all that I need to see.  I might help in the short-term, but it’s not helpful in the long-term.  Sometimes I need to stay back and direct because my role as a supervisor really does help the team in the long-term.  I need to grow in being ok with that.

What about you leaders?  Anyone else struggle with the tension between pitching in with your team and leading your team?

Does this mean I get to keep  going to Target regularly so I can have more leadership enlightenment?

Food Day Friday – Gingersnap Oatmeal

Gingersnaps are my fall kryptonite.  I love them and once I make them, I can’t stop making them because I can’t stop eating them.

Recently, I went gluten-free, and to be totally honest, I’ve been disappointed in gluten-free baked goods.  There are plenty of naturally gluten-free meals, so my main courses aren’t suffering terribly, but cookies and cakes that are gluten-free are lacking. Gluten is apparently is what puts the good in baked goods.

BUT since it’s not fall without gingersnaps in my house, I decided to try my favorite gingersnap recipe with my trusty Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour last week.  And guess what?  Gluten-free gingersnaps are actually good!  Like really, really good.  Even one day and two day and three days later.  Usually gluten-free cookies get super crumbly after a day or two, but not these guys.  I’ve been singing the hallelujah chorus and eating gingersnaps all day every day since.  (Not really –  but almost really).

So when I found myself eating gingersnaps for breakfast last week, I decided I needed an intervention.  But instead I worked on an invention:

Gingersnap Oatmeal.

(For all my Celiac friends, I know oatmeal is taboo, I hope you can find a good gf brand of oatmeal and give this a whirl because it’s so darn good).

gingersnap oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/4 cup quick-cook oats

1/2 cup water

1 tsp Grandma’s Molasses (I’m convinced the key to perfect gingersnaps is in the right molasses)

1 tsp Brown Sugar

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

1 pinch each of cinnamon, ginger, cloves

Put it all in a bowl and heat it in the microwave and dust with brown sugar.  Judge me if you wish, but you dip gingersnap cookie dough balls in sugar before you bake it so this is my version of best practices with gingersnap fidelity.

This smells divine and tastes so close to a cookie.  Enjoy this fall/winter treat!

Sassy Friday – Christians and Political Correctness

I’ve seen the eye roll one too many times.  I can’t keep my mouth keyboard shut any longer.

Why are so many Christians opposed to political correctness?

According to good old Wikipedia, political correctness  is a term that refers to language, ideas, or policies that address perceived or actual discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups.

In many Christian communities, the phrase “pc” is more offensive than the f-bomb, more eye-rolled-at than the mention of Al Gore, and more opposed than healthcare reform (but only slightly).

I hear Christians say that the political correctness agenda has been invented and embraced to undermine Christianity.  I hear Christians say that they won’t be politically correct because the notion of inclusion is non-Christian.  I hear  Christians say that political correctness muddies the truth.

But I believe that unless we know how to speak lovingly to and about our neighbors, we are undermining Christianity, we are being non-Christian, and we are muddying the truth.  Jesus loves people and his followers ought to do the same.  It’s hard to prove that we love someone when we attack, disrespect, misunderstand, and talk down to someone.

But seriously, when did speaking with care become an anti-Christian agenda?

God forbid we speak lovingly to our neighbor – oh wait, I think He is actually all for that.

Why would we not want to call our neighbors what they want to be called?  Why would we not want to learn what ethnicity our neighbors are?  Why would we want to label our neighbors at all?  Why would we not respect and give greetings when our neighbors holidays are different from our own?  Why would we not choose our speech carefully, considering who it could hurt and offend those around us?

Maybe part of it is that many of us don’t have actual neighbors who are much different than us.  Maybe we make the statements we do because we don’t really know any people to whom those statements apply.  Or maybe it’s just because we have an agenda, which we have labeled God’s agenda.

But…

Why do we get jollies from promoting discrimination?

Why do we fight to continue to call people with an intellectual disability retarded?

Why do we enjoy stereotyping?

Why do we balk at calling someone a flight attendant rather than a stewardess?

Why do we get pleasure from pushing our own agenda?

Why do we want to make everyone celebrate Christmas?

I’m not talking about changing interpretation of Scripture.  I’m not talking about changing political affiliation.  I am, however, talking about changing the way we talk about and interact with people.  People are not politics.  Individuals are not pawns in our personal stakes.

The Jesus I know  loved people.  He loved the poor and the rich, the women and the men, the unmarried and the married, the sick and the healthy, the Samaritans and the Jews.  Jesus looked on people with compassion and Jesus spoke to people with compassion.

I’m sorry, you’re right.  Jesus was offensive at times.  TO THE RELIGIOUS FOLKS.  Not to the outcast, the discriminated against, the marginalized, and the hurting.

And you know why political correctness is being promoted?  To protect the outcast, the discriminated against, the marginalized, and the hurting.  Political correctness is about changing hate-language, it’s about esteeming others,  it’s about making everyone feel equal, it’s about disbanding stereotypes.

I think that’s pretty in line with the work that Jesus was all about.

I see a lot of Christians who are more concerned with being right than with being in relationship.

And I guess the question I’m asking is: Is a political affiliation more important than a Christian reputation?  Is a label on homosexual relationships more important than building relationships?  Is pushing holiday celebrations onto others worth pushing others away?

Let’s love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).  Golden rule stuff.  Let’s treat people like we want to be treated.  If you as a Christian don’t want to celebrate Ramadan, your Muslim neighbors probably don’t want to celebrate Christmas.  And that’s ok.  Honestly, I don’t think Jesus would love what Christmas in America has become.  I don’t know how Santa and stockings and Christmas lights point to Jesus anyway.  Getting to know your neighbors and their family and their work and their faith will open more doors to share about Jesus than saying “Merry Christmas” to them, knowing full-well they don’t celebrate Christmas.

Let’s be very careful then how we live.  Not as unwise but as wise (Ephesians 5).  This is a big one.  People watch how we live.  If we are bold and outspoken about our faith, others watch to see if our life is congruent.  The #1 reason people site for being turned off to Christianity is judgmentalism.  When we talk down to people, label people, and push our agendas, we are perceived as judgmental and we are being judgmental.

God’s agenda is people.  God’s agenda is redemption.  God’s agenda is reconciliation.  God’s agenda is salvation.  If we are fighting to push agendas that don’t bring those about, they are our agenda’s not God’s.

Speaking kindly, calling people what they wish to be called, and not pushing our agenda to the detriment of others is not anti-gospel and it’s not anti-truth.  We can take a stand on issues while not alienating others.  We can disagree with others without disrespecting them.  We can build friendships with people who don’t share our beliefs.  It’s very hard to witness to someone we’ve offended and disrespected.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. – James 1:26

Every Day I’m Hustling

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of talk on the interwebs about hustling.  I know a lot of people who are celebrating others and themselves for working really hard.

I celebrate good work ethic.  I work with teams in my job and in my personal life, and trust you me, I appreciate hard-working team members.  I appreciate individuals who are self-motivated, energized, have good ideas, seek to improve systems, and who put in their best effort.

But, this whole celebration of hustling movement has been a bit troublesome to me.  As I’ve thought about it for the last few months, I’ve tried to put my finger on just what it is that bothers me.  Every time I read a post or comment about hustling, I have a strong nearly physical reaction.

Clearly a reaction that deep points to a deeper issue.

And it came to me this morning – as a recovering perfectionist, overachiever, & control freak, the mention of hustling either leaves me jonesing for more perfection/achieving/control in my life, or leaves me wanting to turn and run from that which held me captive for a years.  Perfectionists hustle to appear just right.  Achievers hustle be productive.  Control freaks hustle to make sure things are done properly.

The word hustle doesn’t conjure up the most positive imagery for me.  The dictionary definition didn’t really help me feel better about it either:

hustle

I bet that the majority of people I know that are using the term “hustling” are referring to definition 1.  I assume they are referring to the fact that they (or their colleagues) are working rapidly and energetically.  I know that good intentions cause people to hustle by that first definition.  So do good ideas, time limitations, insufficient staffing, and a host of other good or beyond control forces.

But I have to wonder, does working rapidly and energetically over time, lead people to start to hustle by way of the more negative definitions?  (Ideally not illegal activities – see definitions 4 and 5 above).  Does hustling over time cause us to be forceful, aggressive, rushed, and addicted to a fast pace?

I ask that question, because when I’m in crazy perfectionist/achieving/controlling Allison mode, my hustle isn’t pretty.

As a trained behaviorist, I believe that there is a motivation behind every action, and there is most certainly a motivation behind repeat actions.  When I find myself hustling, or talking about hustling, or working in an organization that celebrates hustling, I do best to pause and ask myself:

1.  Do I know where I’m going?

Sometimes I’m hustling because I don’t have an end goal, or a vision, or a mission, and I’m floundering.  So I tread water instead of swim to a destination.  Treading water involves lot of movements, but results in no movement.  Sometimes when I’m panicky and feel the busiest, the best thing I can do is stop, rest, and set goals.

2.  Do I know how I’m getting there?

There is nothing more crazy-making than knowing the end goal, but having no clear plan of how to get there.  This affects individuals, but it affects teams and organizations more often.  Teams waste countless hours hustling without a plan.  Over the years, I’ve learned that just because someone is working lots of hours doesn’t mean they are being productive.  When I find myself putting in a lot of hours, but see little movement toward a goal, I pause and get a strategic plan.  Adding timelines and assigning people to tasks takes a lot of the crazy out of the journey toward meeting a goal.

3.  Do I trust my colleagues/teammates?

Man y’all, I struggle with this one big time.  I’ve been that person on group projects since grade school.  You know, the one that all the lazy people hated interacting with but wanted on the team anyway because I took over and did it all myself?  I still have to consciously tell myself on every group project: a.) My way is not the best way b.) My ideas are not the best ideas.  Over time (and thanks to many community organizing classes), I have come to embrace others’ ideas and realize the power of collective work.  BUT, every time a teammate disappoints me, old Allison tries to emerge.  My distrust of others and need to control has caused me undue hustle over the years.

4.  Do I have an elevated view of my organization/responsibility/role/project?

I am and have been guilty of tunnel-vision.  I get so focused on the work I’m doing, or the organization’s cause, or my role, that I lose sight of the rest of the world.  And when I lose sight, I lose perspective.  Sometimes,a headline or a good friend will put me in my place.  My work is not more weighty or important than  most things in the world.  Truly, if I don’t accomplish everything on my checklist today, things won’t completely fall apart.  In the helping/church/nonprofit world we get so caught up in our cause that we can justify our own suffering because we’re working toward alleviating others’ suffering.  In the business/marketplace/money world, folks justify bottoming out for the bottom line.  We need to be reminded how small we are sometimes.

5.  Do I have my priorities straight?

I know the right answer.  But in the thick of busy seasons at work when I get #4 all wrong, I can start to justify working too hard.  I have sacrificed a healthy relationship with my husband for work.  I have sacrificed a healthy relationship with family and friends because I felt like I needed to hustle.  I have sacrificed taking care of my body because my priorities were out of whack.  Hustle should never jostle priorities.  Workaholism is a destructive force.  Sabbath is a command and a blessing.  We all need a day to rest, refocus, celebrate blessings, and refuel for the week.  None of us are above a Sabbath.

6.  Do I trust God?

This one’s a real biggie for me, too.  I love achieving, accomplishing, completing.  But I leave God out of much of what I do.  I strive, I take control, and I lean into my own understanding.  When I find myself stressed, overwhelmed, and about to crack, I’m usually reminded of that rather famous verse from Proverbs 3: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your path straight.”  I’d love for that trust to come into play before I’m at a breaking point due to hustle.

So, before we go bragging about our busyness, our solid work ethic, or our crazy hours, let’s all start asking ourselves the why behind the behavior.  Let’s check ourselves before wreck ourselves, our families, our relationships…

Taking a Deep Breath

I refuse to write a “Dear Diary, I’m sorry I haven’t written much, life has been so busy” – esque post regarding the quiet on the blog.

Life has been busy.  I started a new position in August and my learning curve is steep.  And I haven’t been feeling completely myself for the last month or two.  To be perfectly, honest, I’ve been wiped out, and haven’t had time to think about the deep things of life, or world injustices.  I haven’t had much energy to get sassy, even on a Friday.

Yesterday was the first day that I had nothing on the calendar in a long time.  I started several loads of laundry and then took a mug of coffee, my Bible, journal, and a few books out on the back patio ready to process life with God.

I opened my journal and embarked on a rather long prayer to God, analyzing why I assumed I felt so busy, so tired, so drained, so dry.  I told God that I needed to rest, and then made a long list of excuses as to why that seems an impossible task in this season.  And then in the middle of my long whiney prayer, this big gust of wind came and blew through the big trees in our backyard, and made this loud, “shhhhhhh” noise.

I stopped writing, and in that moment, I was sure that God himself was shushing me.

I got quiet and looked up at the trees blowing in the wind and the perfectly blue sky and I listened for the first time in a long time.

photo

Yesterday, on the first day of fall, on my back deck, I communed with God.

It was so refreshing, so sweet, so good.

And then I opened up my Bible to Hebrews and read this:

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.”

I left my back deck feeling like I had breathed for the first time in nearly two months.

And mid-way through a Monday I still feel like I’m breathing.

And this – this feeling of breathing -must be why God instituted the Sabbath.

Moving to Nashville

St. LouisLabor Day marked our two year anniversary of living in Nashville.  Some days, I can’t believe it’s only been two years and other days, it feels like we’ve only been here a few weeks.

I took some time to read through the last two years of blogs, and I was reminded that moving to Nashville has been so good and so hard.  And I wouldn’t trade any of it.

Two years ago, we packed up our house in St. Louis, said goodbye to dear friends, and set out on a journey of faith.  Adam had been hired at a missions organization, but was in the process of raising his own salary, and the pledged amount for his monthly salary was terrifying .  I didn’t have a job lined up or even a single prospect  We didn’t have a home.

Things didn’t miraculously get easier once we arrived.  Nashville has been sort of hard on us.

I didn’t find a job for five months.

We lived with family for those months of joblessness.

We then moved into a little house in the ghetto, and subsequently got robbed… TWICE.

We took care of my grandmother for several months while she rehabbed from a fall.

We have struggled through the continual awkwardness of raising a salary.

And most recently, I was attacked by a dog and have been working hard at healing.

We were hanging out with some friends recently, recapping all of the weird, bizarre, and downright awful things that have happened since we moved here, and they encouraged us to write a funny book called “Moving to Nashville.”  We just might do that one day – Because really, it’s been an adventure.

But mixed in with all of the difficult has been a lot of beauty.

Nashville has been so good to us in a lot of ways:

I got a job in an organization that I love with a team I respect and a boss I adore.

We bought the cutest little house you’ve ever seen and it’s always full of friends and laughter and honest conversations.

We lead a college group at our church that’s full of the most amazing, hilarious, interesting students you’ve ever met.  Each semester that we’ve been in Nashville, we’ve met more and more students who challenge us to engage our own faith and others’ faith.

We have the greatest friends here.  We spend a lot of nights sitting on our friends’ porches and couches, talking about honest, hard, funny things.  We have friends who are family.

We have family here.  We love living near our nieces and getting to watch them grow up.  We are thankful that we have friends who are family and family all in the same city.

The beauty of this crazy move to Nashville, and the subsequent hardships and gifts has been growth.  I trust Jesus more today than I did two years ago when we packed up our U-Haul for this adventure.  Even though life has been unpredictable, hard, and uncertain, God is healing my anxiety through his continued faithfulness.  Nashville has brought us closer to Jesus and closer to each other, and that’s a gift.

So Nashville, Happy Anniversary.  We like you.  

We think we’ll stick around and make this thing work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internship

I’ve been an intern 5 times in my life.

Each internship was unique.  I learned a lot.  I dreamed a lot.  I entered loads of data.  I surfed the internet on boring days.  I complained to friends that I was capable of more.  I got put in my place.  I got offered opportunities I hadn’t earned.  I grew as a professional.

Each internship supervisor was unique, too.  I loved my supervisors.  I had some serious social worker crushes on a few of them.  They were all these amazing women who had wisdom, drive, poise, and passion.  During my internships, I imagined the day when I would get to supervise an intern.

Well today is that day!  Today, my first ever social work intern comes to work with me!

I have some fun things cooked up for today and some goals for the semester.  But I know my list is lacking, so I’m coming to you for advise.  I want this experience to be good for both of us.  I want to learn and be challenged, and I want my intern to learn and be challenged.

So, help me out:

For my friends who are currently interning or about to intern:

What do you want to learn/do most during an internship?

What do you expect from a supervisor?

What do most supervisors miss out on that would make them better at supervising?

For my friends who have supervised interns:

What is your greatest supervisor lesson?

How did you balance supervision with regular tasks?

What do you wish you’d known before your first intern?

Thanks in advance for all your sage wisdom.  You guys are the best!

“You Are Healing”

I’ve been learning a lot about pain, wounds, and healing this month.

One of my biggest takeaways is that healing is exhausting.

The last few weeks have been a blur of exhaustion.  Work has taken every ounce of energy that healing hasn’t taken.  I’ve been grossed out at my body, tired of seeing medical professionals, and hopeless that my arm will ever function normally.  Nerve damage is painful.  Oozing wounds are disgusting.  Anxiety is debilitating.

I was explaining my medical overwhelm to a doctor this week, and she stopped writing, came over to me, and took my face in her hands.   She looked me in the eyes and said “You are healing.  You really are!”

At that statement, I felt release from:

Some of the worry.
Some of the disgust.
Some of the anger.

And I also felt a surge of hope.

In the midst of pain, open wounds, and sleepless worry-filled nights it’s hard to keep perspective.

Sometimes in the thick of it, we need someone who knows us or who knows what healing looks like to say “You are healing, I promise.”

To me, my wounds still looked oozy and red and hopeless, but to the one who knows healing, they looked ok.

And in the midst of darkness, ok sounds like a glimmer of hope.

Surely you know someone in your life who is wounded – our world is full of heartache and pain.  Reach out to them, take their face in your hands and offer them the hope that they are healing, because they probably don’t feel like they are.

Hope is the best balm for deep wounds.