A letter to my ten-year old

20160327_124323Dear son,

I really don’t know where to start. How can I sum up ten years in a few paragraphs? Ten years, a full decade, but then, it doesn’t seem that long. It feels like I blinked and suddenly you’re ten.

I’ve lived through the mother references that evolved from mama, to mommy, now mom. I’ve seen your fascinations travel from Thomas the Train, to Legos, now NBA superstars. From not caring if your clothes matched to Under Armour and way over-priced socks. 🙂

I am so proud of you. I know your transition from homeschool to Christian school hasn’t been easy, but you overcame the fear. You have grown so much in the past year; we are amazed. You played basketball this year, your first ever organized sport. You took a little while to understand and acclimate but you weren’t scared to try something new. That’s a victory in itself!

You’ve inherited my sensitivity, but let me tell you now what has taken me years to discover.  That it’s not a bad thing. Really, it isn’t. Yeah, it might sting more when a friend acts cruel, but a sympathetic heart is God’s delight! A sensitive spirit can easily hear His quiet voice and sense His gentle nudge.

Thank you for filling my heart with memories of laughter and love. I am not telling you to stay little; I want you to grow. I want you to learn to be responsible. I want to see if you drive like me or your dad. I want to post a zillion pictures of your prom on Facebook. I want to blubber like crazy on your graduation. I want you to experience life in all it’s fullness. So, son, keep growing. Just know that I’ll be here to watch and cheer you on. I love you so very much.

Happy Birthday 🙂

 

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Scars for Scars

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Scars. Those ugly things that flaw us. The defected skin that never healed right. The most unfortunate part is that most scars are permanent, showcased on our frames forever.

Then there are deeper scars. The ones that no one sees but God and us. Ones that score our soul. These emotional wounds are more difficult to deal with.

When I was fourteen, I read the crucifixion of Jesus for the first time out of my Bible. I remember it vividly. Emotions surged through me as I malled over the scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails. It moved me to tears but it also moved me to fury. How could people treat someone like this? Especially someone like Jesus, whose entire existence was spent on loving mankind. It was wrong. Barbaric. How could they?

Then I found Isaiah 49:16- See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. The realization struck. His life wasn’t taken; it was given.

The very thing that separated man from God was the very thing the Son of God was about to become- sin. To hit even closer to home, it was my sin, my mistakes, my failures. An innocent soul bore my guilt. He engraved me—my weaknesses, my faults, and ultimately my punishment— on the palms of His hands.

It was the great exchange. Scars for scars. My scars said shame, but His scars said mercy. My scars brought regret, but His scars brought forgiveness and eternal life.

My prayer for this coming Easter Sunday is that we all get a greater revelation of what Jesus did for us, a clearer picture of redemption. And that it’s not just a holiday, a one day memorial, but a way of life. To live resurrected. 🙂

Finish Strong

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186. That’s the number of pages I have edited in my current novel. And there’s about 136 remaining, waiting to be polished. About a week ago, I was working page 145, and I was feeling burned out. Charred brain and such. Every word an effort, each page a burden, and my finger got a lot of exercise on the delete bar. Then came the ugly voice of discouragement. We all know it, the evil presence that trespasses into our reasoning realm and tries to take up residence.

It wasn’t about writing; it just happened to show up there. Next week it could show up in my relationships or some other niche in my world. Like that annoying wac-a-mole game. Just when you think you knocked it down in one area, it pops up somewhere else in life. Soon you’re frustrated and your strength has dwindled.

The only force big enough to knock it out and keep it out is God’s Word. To believe His voice over the noise. Over the contradicting chaos. He said that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He told me that I have overcome because He is greater in me than he that is in the world. He wants me to finish. But not crossing the finish line crawling and scraping the ground. No, He wants me breaking through in a full sprint. To finish strong. Not in my own strength but in His.

So, what have you been going through that needs Heaven’s touch? Let me know in a comment.

Thanks for reading, friend. Let’s finish strong this week! 🙂

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Mortifying moments. Everyone has them. It goes beyond embarrassing. These are the memories that, even years later, when you think about them—you cringe. I have accumulated several of these marked moments in my span of thirty-two years. But in retrospect, I can see the hand of God. Here’s my humiliating story. (And I am going to click PUBLISH before I change my mind 🙂 )

When I was fifteen I went skiing with my church youth group. After half the day of rockin’ the bunny slopes, my friends asked if I wanted to join them on a more difficult slope. I agreed. If you’ve seen one hill you’ve seen them all, right? And so what if I didn’t have a handle on knowing how to stop or slow down. Details. Details.

While riding the incline we saw that there was a trail that led off this slope to another. My friends and I decided that would be fun to try. Three. Two. One. And we’re off.

Right away I realize not all hills are created equal. The slope is steep and my skis couldn’t go any faster than if I had rockets strapped to them. The trail is approaching. It’s turn now or don’t turn at all. I hesitated…it cost me.

The next thing I was aware of was a medic staring me in the face. My fifteen year-old frame ran into a thirty-foot tall tree. It knocked me unconscious for who knows how long. Now this medic tells me I had to ride down in a snowmobile, giving everyone on the mountain a good chance to gawk. Humiliated. Mortified. And not to mention my biggest crush (my future husband) heard and was waiting for me at the bottom of the slope. Doesn’t that beat all?

I walked away from the whole ordeal with a slight concussion, a dandy of a mark on my forehead, and the ability to puke in a Pringles can.

Looking back, I can now see what my teenage brain couldn’t. I COULD HAVE DIED! Okay, now that it is out of my system, I can proceed. Yes, I was sooooo concerned about how embarrassed I was that I didn’t realize the severity of the situation. In fact, that same year Sonny Bono died by hitting a tree while skiing.

So what’s the point of the story? Psalms 116:6 The Lord preserves the simple. J

Even though I was stupid. God protected me. When I had no clue. He was watching.

A couple weeks ago, we were walking in a parking lot. My child wasn’t paying attention and I had to grab his collar to keep him from stepping in front of a car. After I recovered from the Oh-my-goodness-that-was-close shock, I stressed to my child the importance of being aware of your surroundings. I have accumulated many examples like that, some as severe and some not, of watching over my kids and stepping in before harm could be done. And often times, they had no clue. And still don’t.

And that’s what God did for me, not just on the ski slope that day, but in life. He hovers over me, watches me, just in case he has to pull me by the collar to get me out of harm’s way. He gives His angels charge over me to keep me. (Psalms 91) That’s His nature. He is my rescuer. I could tell you of time after time of how God saved Rachel McDaniel from sinking. Before I can yell “Help”, His hand is already there.

What about you? Any close calls that you made you thankful for our ever-present, ever-helping God? Tell me about it in a comment below.

*Michelle is the winner of Sapphire Secrets kindle copy. Enjoy, Michelle!!

Sapphire Secrets Review

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Want to read intrigue with a dance? I did, and it was fabulous. Let me tell you all that Sapphire Secrets delivers. First, here’s a brief description.
Livy McCreary has life at her command, enjoying the satisfaction of a blossoming dance studio which she teaches with her twin sister, and savoring a budding romance with hunky Will. Yet, there was a missing piece to her happiness—the mystery behind her mother’s death? Yes, it was twenty years ago. Yes, her family told her there was no foul play, but something in Livy’s gut wouldn’t let it be settled. What about the trauma she experienced and her twin sister didn’t? Weren’t twins supposed to react the same? Did she see something that her mind’s eye wants to remain blinded to? If only she could remember.
Her zeal for truth overtakes her, digging up memories her family wished to remain buried, questioning those she loved to the point of making them uncomfortable. It all came to a head when she calls her famous rock star father. Surely he knows. The phone call numbs her to her surroundings, allowing a tragic accident to take place that shakes Livy’s world.
When questions nag uncontrollably, the answer comes in the form of confident Scott Lorenzo. He challenges her New Age upbringing and introduces her to the Truth. Will Livy embrace this new life she reads about in the Bible Scott gave her? Will this mystery unravel or come to a halt like everything else in her life?
The author, Dawn V. Cahill, weaved a beautiful message of truth and forgiveness. The plot had twists and turns that kept you guessing. (And I admit that I gasped a couple times 🙂 ) I adored the characters, which were believable and relatable.
Delicate issues, such as substance abuse and new age philosophy, were addressed so masterfully that you didn’t realize until you put the book down all the strong points that were encrypted in. You get ministered to without being preached at. It’s stealthy, like mixing broccoli into the brownie batter—soul healthy and tasteful.
From the opening pages to the final passages, I found the powerful message of redemption—truth sets you free.
So I confess that my description above was a teaser of sorts, but I couldn’t spoil all the good parts. And there were plenty. Like the time I recorded the football game for my husband while he was working. When he got home, he did not want anyone telling him who won. He wanted to experience it himself. Same with you. I want you to experience Livy’s journey for yourself. And you can!
Write a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Sapphire Secrets. Because the main characters were dancers, a lot of reference was made to music. So tell me what music you listen to. Or tell me what you love about reading. Or just say “Howdy.”
I’ll draw the name Tuesday night (you can enter until then), and I’ll let you know on my next Wednesday post who the winner is. If your name doesn’t get drawn you can purchase a copy of Sapphire Secrets on Amazon. Buy Sapphire Secrets

*I received a free copy of Sapphire Secrets in exchange for a honest review.