My “Mess” is My Message

Today I received my copy of Stephanie Ackerman’s latest book Faith Journaling for the Inspired Artist. Did I need another book on Journaling or Art? Well, apparently I did! Not five pages in, the photo to the left smacked me upside the head…kinda crazy, right? Stephanie, among other wonderful women, have encouraged me from afar with their zest for art, an insane love for God, and the desire to intertwine the two.

For the past month, God has really been working on me & my obedience factor… at the forefront has been a host of new cancer challenges…. but those challenges have been the catalyst to realizing I haven’t consistently been giving God my best.  I’ve been giving what’s easy and through numerous experiences… sermons especially ….(thanks Pastor Jim!), I’ve been convicted as to how I’m living my life I’m for God.

Stage IV Cancer, like so many other chronic diseases, is HARD.  It doesn’t go away.period. and more often than not, you get new challenges… like wonky lungs, blood clots, and such.  I am very thankful though – just think if God allowed cancer to hit you with everything all at once? No bueno!

While I thought I’d learned my new normal, I was still entirely too focused holding tightly onto the things I could still do.  Like grocery shopping, housekeeping, or walking the dog… yeah, call it what it is….PRIDE.  Don’t get me wrong, staying active is essential, but holding too tightly onto things is a slippery slope and sets you…me… up for missing great God opportunities.

As it is today, I’m in a season where those types of activities aren’t necessarily adding value to my days. Instead, little things, like going out to the grocery store, have the potential to set me back vs propel me forward.  So I’m learning to choose more wisely and it’s definitely a process!

My 2018 goal (starting now!) is to be more mindful and dig deeper in my relationship with God.  While cancer isn’t exactly what I may have chosen, it has given me the opportunity to focus more time on Him by not trying to balance a demanding and stressful full time job….HE is my full time job…and that is pretty darn amazing – not many get that opportunity!

If you’ve read my blog, the consistent thread has been my lack of consistency in writing. And writing is a big part of my relationship with God…to be vulnerable and transparent, and to share how He leads me daily to walk closer with Him.

If I had to choose ONE thing that propelled me into deepening my relationship with God, it was a little book you may be familiar with called The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. It is a 40-day Christian devotional designed to strengthen marriages.  No, I’m not married – I’m not even dating or in a relationship.  God brought me the book as a dare to strengthen my relationship with Him.  Weird? Odd? Perhaps.  But I hope you will follow me as I share, and possibly help,  precious readers do the same… coming soon… My Love Dare with God.

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#write31days – Day 19

imageOne of my primary goals in writing for 31 consecutive days is transparency… so here I am… being transparent.  I REALLY did not want to write this evening… I did exactly what I wrote about in my last post… thinking too far ahead (or perhaps behind…) of the posts to come… and I didn’t want to go there.

Well, of course I wrote…reminding myself of baby steps…two sheets of paper at a time… the great thing is that I was able to recall some really hard decisions and have peace over them vs my usual “could I have done more” mental interrogations.

And yes, that’s where God and His gracious healing power comes into full view… because of those hard days and seemingly impossible decisions, I was learning to receive God’s glorious embrace and willingly take refuge in Him… if only for a short while… make no mistake though, He was teaching me how to lean into Him for the days too difficult to imagine.

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#write31days – Day 13

 I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!  While I have no idea who these words are for or how they may help, I know this process isn’t all about me.  

While going back through the weeks leading up to my dad’s move wasn’t the same tumultuous roller coaster of emotions as it was the first go-round, it still had a bit of a sting…however, writing one small piece at a time helps make the memories less overwhelming.  There’s a part of me that wishes I’d been able to write during this timeframe, but I couldn’t – being honest, I was barely hanging on…I felt like I had a fingernail’s grasp over the daily chaos and if I slowed down to process emotions through writing, I might fall apart.  I was trying, but not completely trusting God  to see me through this storm.

And as hard as these days were, it was only the beginning and I’m truly thankful I didn’t have a clue just how much harder the days would become.

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#write31days – Day 12

imageCan you believe we’re almost to the middle of the month? I’m not sure which surprises me most: that I’ve written for 12 consecutive days or that the days are truly flying by!
So today I wrote about the actual day my dad moved into assisted living.  Although I’d known people in the past whose parents moved to assisted living, I had no true appreciation of the mental toll it can take… and maybe it’s not like that for everyone.  Maybe I made things harder on myself…by creating unrealistic expectations for myself I could never meet…

Thankfully, I had friends praying over the situation with my dad and I was trusting God as best I could to see us through…and He did. Was it hard? Yes.  Was it painful?  Absolutely.  Did I grow?  By leaps and bounds! 

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#write31days – Day 11


I did it again… I fell sound asleep waiting for the image to upload! I woke up around 2am…lights on… iPad and notebook in lap…a jar full of markers at my side… glasses on… as if I’d closed my eyes for a few seconds vs few hours…

Once upon a time I would’ve rushed to add a few notes, hit “publish” and call it good…check it off the list.

Sunday’s writing isn’t so much about events of 2013 as it is God’s faithfulness – how He provides peace during the storms of life… I am continually taken aback by how much God loves us… it’s so BIG!

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Beautiful, isn’t it?????

And although this should have posted on Sunday, perhaps it’s a great way to start the work week…the often crazy, chaotic work week…every single day is a new day – a day filled with opportunities and possibilities – even a day with struggles that seem insurmountable…but God IS there…we will not be consumed by this world…wait for Him.

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#write31days – Day 10

imageGolly…even though I have a pretty decent idea of what I will be covering in my next post, sometimes I’m still amazed at the direction God decides to take and tonight is a great example!

When I left off yesterday, I briefly mentioned my dad making comments that he would “just kill himself” and didn’t elaborate on the reasons why that statement sent me into panic mode.

I mean, sure…anyone threatening to harm themselves is cause for serious concern, right? So it was easy to sort of gloss over my reaction – then tonite it was as if God was saying, “not so fast little lady…”

So I pulled back the covers of my life to share a little deeper…believing God will use it to reach someone somewhere and give them hope.

Suicide…dealing with thoughts of, or an actual attempt, are completely out of my league… what I do know though, is that there are folks waiting & willing to help – you only need to reach out – that may seem like a monumental task, but call out to God – He will meet you right where you are – no matter how deep the mess – and He will see you through – lean into Him for courage and strength to ask for help…call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE

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#write31days – Day 9

 I was so pleased when I set out to write earlier today…I accomplished my goal, but here it is late again…I wrote, but didn’t sit down to post until now. Perhaps this is the way it should be? Time will tell!

I started the post with an update about my stepdad…strokes are scary…to me, they’re sort of like a tornado.  So often they hit without warning and the effects range from a scrape to total devastation. My stepdad’s stroke was far from mild, but it could have been far worse.  I think one of the things I was most grateful for was that his clarity of mind stayed in tact.  As you will see a bit in this post and then much more clearly in the posts to come, witnessing the loss of memory & comprehension firsthand with someone you’ve spent a lifetime getting to know is heartbreaking…you know that person still exists and yet you are lost to them.

For me, understanding the effects of  dementia and/or Alzheimer’s wasn’t something I could simply read about – like so many life lessons: having a baby, being married, getting a divorce, going through chemo, etc., I had to experience it up close and personal.

If you are reading this and dealing with a family member or friend affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! And all those emotions are OK.  There are no easy  answers, but others have walked (or are walking) this same road – I encourage you to reach out.  Whether it’s a friend, a professional counselor, or a support group, God is faithful! He will put people in your path to help guide you through this season.

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