When You Carry a Heavy Burden

I’m on my way to Summit in Kentucky. I’m emotionally exhausted-the perfect place for God to speak and renew. I’ll be helping out at the blogger meet-up, speaking on a panel about advocating as a busy mom and representing Mercy House. I’ll share more with you in the next couple of days.

Come visit the Mercy House table!

The last few weeks have been hard.  A friend emailed me these words “You are doing mighty, dangerous work, and he’s got you on his radar and you can count on us to be your prayer warriors. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us, and our voices will join His, and our Father hears.” I appreciate your prayers-Maureen appreciates them, too. They are making a difference.

After I walked my youngest into her preschool class, a teacher asked me how Maureen was doing.

I didn’t know what to say. A few sentences explaining her grief seemed trite. “Please pray” was all I could manage, remembering the day before when Maureen and I stared at each other over Skype and watched each other cry.

Sometimes there just aren’t words for the aching of the soul.

And then she said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you: How do you go about your every day life with such a heavy burden? Raising kids, your family…knowing that so many suffer.”

Tears welled. Spilling over.

“I don’t handle it very well,” I said. “I struggle.”

I told her of my own 4 year old who refused dinner, whining and complaining about the choices. Half an hour before, I read about a 4 year old, starving to death, unable to walk with swollen, worm-ridden feet.

Struggle

I told her of the painful heaviness that comes from seeing extreme poverty at  such a personal level coupled with the ultimate gladness that comes from loving, living and learning with my husband and precious children. Sorrow and joy and I’ve forgotten how compartmentalize; it all runs together, the laughter and tears.

Struggle

I told her how I’ve forgotten how to be carefree.

I swiped tears and remembered my place in her classroom. I mumbled an apology. She said kindly, “Now I know how to pray for you.”

I walk away, too broken to even be embarrassed.

I think of all the things I didn’t say: How unwelcome tears fall when least expected, how satan pummels me with doubt, how fear suffocates me and how inadequacy is a constant companion, how I fight bitterness.

How I carry a deep, abiding sadness that is hard to shake. The knowing is almost unbearable. How I try to balance this online space that I love between easy words and hard ones like these.

Back at home, I find a place, the one that beckons me to knees.  I know what I need to do when the burden gets too heavy.

I give it to Him.

He gives us a glimpse into His heart, broken for His people. But when it becomes too much, He lovingly says,

Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

And today, you may carry a heavy burden. One that suffocates and closes in–an illness, a sick child, a lost job, unspoken words you only utter to Him….

Give it to God. His shoulders are broad enough to bare the weight.

He cares for you.

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” — Psalm 34:18

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I’m so thankful for the support of my real life community group and blog friends like Maegan for their help! Maegan lives in Louisville, Kentucky and set up the Mercy House table for me! Y’all should read her blog.

(Pre) WFMW Tip: My Book is FREE on Kindle Today

I’m sharing my WFMW tip early this week-A LINKY WILL BE ADDED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST AT THE NORMAL TIME WFMW GOES UP TONIGHT.

Get my book, Don’t Make Me Come Up There! A devotional for busy moms, FREE on Amazon’s Kindle, right now. It just doesn’t get cheaper than FREE.

Even if you have a hard-copy, it’s a great quick read for those on-the-go moments when you need a lift-me-up. And did I mention free?

Valued at $12

If you don’t have a Kindle like me, you can download an Amazon Kindle Reader for free and there are apps for iPad, iPod, Blackberry, Droid, and your computer too.



Heartbroken

I’m hurting, y’all, and I’m desperately asking for prayers.

Three weeks ago, Maureen, our Kenyan Executive Director of Mercy House lost her precious 7 year old nephew to a preventable disease. It’s been a dark time.

Yesterday, his mother, Maureen’s only sister, also passed away.

I am heartbroken.

She is grief-striken.

Can you imagine losing two members of your immediate family within three weeks of each other?

Maureen is the leader of her family, looked to for decisions by all of her relatives. She is hurting and the days ahead will be dark, exhausting and financially draining.

I am asking every person who reads this post to stop and pray for Maureen. I know she is confused and has a lot of questions. I also know that she teaches me by the way she lives out her strong faith. Please pray for peace and understanding and divine strength.

Would you also pray that God will give me wisdom?

Thank you.

Happy MUD-her’s Day

My oldest was supposed to be filling up the plastic “baby” pool for her little sister.

I walked outside and my youngest greeted me with, “Hi, Mommy. We found some mud. DON’T BE MAD, okay?”

Happy Mud-her’s Day to you!

P.S. I chose not to get mad.

P.S.S. But I did lock the backdoor on my way back in.

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Mother’s Day isn’t joyful for everyone. There are some women in my life who are struggling this year. Don’t forget to hug your friend struggling with infertility, the mom who’s spending the day grieving for her lost child or missing her mother...

How [A Dad] Really Loves a Daughter

This beautiful guest post is from my husband.

I’ll never forget the bright eyed smile staring down into the home made wooden pin at seven feisty golden retriever puppies. They were almost as cute as my cotton topped 9 month old peering over the edge with wonder.  And then it happened.  It was the last thing I expected to hear.  I had been coaching her for weeks…”Da Da.”  I was taken aback when she squeeled and uttered the words, “Pup Pup.”  I was so proud.  It was adorable.  I should have seen it coming.  Today it is clear.  I was raising a very independent, strong, beautiful girl.

Over the years I’ve dressed up as a princess, carted bundled baby dolls, unhooked slimy fish, played in the mud, and taken her on her first real date.  I was made to be her dad.  Unfortunately, no one gave me a manual on how to do this.

The last year has had it’s challenges, more for me than her.  She is becoming a young lady.  This tween of mine has new distinct interests, and freely shares her autonomous, informed opinions.  Part little girl and part emerging woman. And me, I struggle, holding a handful of fine grain sand and the delicate balance shift that plays out between authority and influence.

My advice, embrace this transition.  That’s just what she and I did a few weeks ago at a unique event held annually  The Father Daughter Summit.

What I loved most about this purposed day was the format of the summit.  A general session followed by a Dad’s only or daughter’s only session, capped off with one hour of Daddy-Daughter Dialoque. My favorite part was the amazing talks with my girl during the Daddy Daughter Dialogue.  I want to share some of the things that I learned with you.

Investing in your children has legacy and eternal implications

Time, love, and availability translates into stability for our daughters

Your daughter sets her expectations about how a man should treat her by observing how you treat her mother.

As a father it is my responsibility to shepherd and develop my daughter’s relationship with God

The five needs of daughters (from www.fathers.com)

Comfort

  1. Allow her to express her opinions
  2. Actively listen to her – Dad’s this means undivided attention
  3. Respond with empathy

Guidance

  1. Discerning
  2. Correcting
  3. Teaching

Encouragement

  1. Become comfortable affirming her verbally
  2. Get involved in HER (emphasis added) pursuits
  3. Demonstrate confidence in her abilities

Vision

  1. Cast a positive vision
  2. Speak destiny – tell her  the future has great things in store

Protection

  1. Be aware and guard – this includes people, media, internet, clothing etc.
  2. Prayer – we can’t always be there be we can pray for her protection

A very special moment for me in this conference was the first Daddy-Daughter dialogue time.  We were discussing which needs and fears were most important in my daughter’s life.  I leaned in close and tried to maintain my composure as I watched tears stream down my 11 year old’s face.  “All of my friends parents are getting divorced.  I am really fearful that this will happen to you and mom and we won’t be a family anymore.”  I held my little girl in my arms and cried with her.  I assured her that divorce was not an option for Kristen and myself.  I then took her face in my hands, looked deeply in her scared eyes and said, “Honey, your mother and I love each other and we love you.  We are not ever getting a divorce.  I want you to know one thing though,  we may disappoint you sometimes and we may let you down, but your heavenly Father will never disappoint you or let you down.  As much as we love you, he loves you more.”

I certainly don’t know everything about raising a daughter, but I learned that day how important it is to love her mother!