The 8KP Treasure Trove
Archived Essays for the 8KP Newsletter Subscribers!
Here I am Lord. Speak. I recently asked my therapist if I was doomed to be an insomniac. I told her I’d noticed some patterns in my midnight worry sessions. The whirlwind of nightly anguish often feels like I am trying to tackle God tasks: tasks too big for me. Yet I can spend precious hours, meant for rest, hoping that: If I focus intensely enough on this problem, my thoughts will resolve it. My hyperthinking, midnight toil-of the mind will make God’s movement more immediate. Lying awake all night might help me control uncontrollable outcomes. In the light of day, I can see the flaws in my thinking. I see the need to rewire that restless pathway delved by anxious and stressful thinking over the years. I want to receive the rest God designed and desires for me, but my yearning for a new way sure didn’t seem to be producing change. After listening, my counselor suggested I try a prayer like the one once prayed by a young servant of the Lord thousands of years ago. Do you know his story? A young servant of God, living under the care of an older servant of God, was lying in bed in the middle of the night when he heard his name called. The boy ran to his caretaker and said, “Here I am, you called me.” The caregiver responded that he had not called the boy and told him to return to bed. This pattern repeated twice more before the boy’s caregiver realized that God was calling the boy's name. He told the child to answer upon the next call, “Speak God, I am your servant, ready to listen.” The boy whose name is Samuel did as he was instructed. When God called his name once again in the night, Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And then God spoke... (1 Samuel 3: 1-11) Samuel’s midnight conversation with God offers us a model for prayer in the night. Why not ask God if He is speaking? Perhaps my mind is alert because God has spoken my name and I need to listen. Perhaps the quiet of the night is the only time I’m available. Or perhaps, I’m trying to do God’s work and God’s loving silence will offer me a place to rest. Here is the prayer I’ve started to pray, that you too can pray to help lower the volume of untamed thoughts: “God, do you want to talk to me? I’m listening. If not, would you quiet my mind so I can sleep?” Then I wait, listening. You know what’s happened? With one exception of an invitation to pray for a very sick friend, I’ve fallen asleep. This prayer reminds me to trust that God hears all of my repetitive thoughts and every prayer I pray. If I ask God if there is a reason to be awake, God will answer. If God remains silent, I can rest reassured that God is doing the work during the night and I don’t need to. God will speak, if only I offer myself as a listener. When we listen, we become still and remember that God is God.
Here I am Lord. Speak
A Devotional for the Insomniac
*from the August 2023 Newsletter
*from the July 2023 Newsletter
Losin' My Trip
An essay about Social Justice
“Problems cannot go away without truth.” ~Latasha Morrison Publishing this essay somehow feels uncertain and intimidating. I feel like I’m exposing a flaw that I should have eliminated by now. However hard to share, it is an essay of truth. That first call for pre-boarding filtered down through the terminal audio system. “Military, special needs; families with young children” - the invitation extended to people who need more time to board. I watched the man step into line, his large dog clearly marked with the red service dog vest. I wouldn’t have thought another thing about it, but several minutes later I peeked my head up from my book and noticed that as the next round of passengers was being invited to board, this man was still standing at the front gate. A wondering trickled through my mind. Was it the large dog that was causing the boarding delay or the color of his skin? Yes, he was a black man. My wondering transformed quietly into discomfort as more passengers boarded while this man did not. What was going on? Was I noticing this more because the book I had just cracked open, was Tyler Merritt’s I Take My Coffee Black, or was desolation stirring in my spirit because I was witnessing an injustice? Pay attention. God whispered to my soul. And so I watched the man as they asked him to pull out files. The gate attendants' faces remained somber fortified barriers against humanity. As the man pulled out more documentation, his soft voice complying with each new request, group two was called to board. I peeked at my ticket. Okay, I have until group seven, I thought. I don’t have to leave yet. And suddenly within my gut I knew that I could not board that plane until the man with the service dog, the man who tried to board in the group identifying as needing more time, the man who was being held up group upon group to prove something that had already been proven to get him to the gate, was allowed to board. I clipped my spot in the book with my fingers. I will pay attention. As the decision solidified in my mind, I started to process possibilities for how this could all play out. Was I truly willing to give up my trip for a stranger? Was I willing to risk not being able to fly again for a man I didn’t know? And suddenly I felt so disappointed in myself. I get the privilege to ask these questions. He gets asked for more documentation. I get to sit in wonder and doubt that this situation I’m witnessing is possibly racial in nature. He has never known a world in which the likelihood of poor treatment might not be tied to the color of his skin. At that moment I became aware of just how easy it is to contribute to oppression as a bystander. “A bystander is an individual who observes or witnesses a situation of discrimination or violence committed by a perpetrator toward a victim and has the opportunity to either condone, intervene or do nothing.” (APA.org) The person who allows injustice to occur because the threat of losing your own freedom feels real or who thinks that if something needed to be done, certainly someone present would do something. On the flip side, I became aware. I could remain a bystander OR I could be an upstander. (Just learning this term as I write this BTW). An upstander is a bystander who recognizes acts of injustice and takes a stand by interrupting and challenging situations that normalize discrimination and potential violence. I heard the man say this was a connecting flight, and he didn’t have to show all of this documentation (that he absolutely had with him) for his first flight. (After all he and the dog had made it through TSA). I watched. Was this treatment from the gate attendants harassment? Document after document offered by the man, the gate attendants diligently double checking his identity in their three person team. I don’t fly all that much, but I’ve never seen a person with a service dog invited to pre-board, scrutinized for the entirety of the boarding process so that in the end, he boarded almost last. Time slowed to molasses as time tends to in the midst of high levels of stress. In the minutes I watched, suspense wrapped my senses.I knew that the right thing to do was to make sure he boarded the plane,and still, I prayed that they would let him pass. I didn’t want to use the scripts I was silently preparing. Would the words exit upon command? Could I live out the belief I hold strong enough to teach it? Bystanders contribute to oppression. Upstanders contribute to freedom. Even when it costs them their own. In the middle of my cognitive chaos, they let him on. I exhaled (I’ve been holding my breath as I write this) and got in the line. As I walked past him, sitting in the first row, I told him I was sorry he had been treated like that. I wanted him to know that I was paying attention. I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone. I didn’t say it, but I hoped it came across that I would have done what was needed to make sure he was treated fairly (though I realize as I write this, he already hadn’t been.) Truthfully, I wondered if I actually would have done anything bold and necessary if the situation warranted action. Would I have “lost my trip?” for the dignity of another human being to remain intact? Had I already missed it? Was the interrogation and delay enough to diminish his dignity? Was I a bystander after all? I honestly don’t know. I hate writing that, but it’s true. I continued to read Tyler Merritt's book over that weekend. I devoured the last half on the flight home. As I read the final pages, I began to weep. “And I would hope that if things got tough for me… Maybe really tough… Maybe because of the color of my skin… Maybe because some people don’t see me as a real person because of my melanin… It’s my hope that you’d stand. And that you would say. In a loud and clear voice. Stop. I know that man.” Dear Tyler, if you ever read this essay, I hope you know that if I see another situation in which I wonder, is it worth losin’ my trip? I hope that I will stand up and in a loud clear voice say, STOP.
Why a Top Ten Summer is Good for Your Life
*from the June 2023 Newsletter
Cookie icing dotting a tiny chin, smile shining and eyes lock in with love. The slap of a high five when the purple golf ball found its home- ignore the hand that dropped it. Running into our house in the middle of the night, sleeping bags dripping monsoon rain and snuggles get finished in mom and dad’s bed. Are you ready for a top ten summer?! That first top ten summer, my girls were five and three and our list contained 10 items total - four people, one list. I wish I could tell you what it included, but seven years ago was pre-google docs, and I’m not sure where that handwritten list landed. In 2019 I switched to a typed, four quadrant list - every person gets a top ten which actually means a top 40 in our house of four. We make sure that our top ten works with our budget so that we don’t unintentionally add financial anxiety through our attempt to decrease emotional stress! In years that we had a smaller budget, our list was filled with free activities like library and park visits, movie nights and sleeping on the trampoline. As our financial situations have changed over the years, so have our top ten lists. What I have learned is that you can create a beautiful summer within any budget if you choose to be intentional about how you spend it. What happens if we don’t get to everything on the top ten list? There is a good chance you might not! With 40 items and some challenging tasks like learning parkour when the parkour classes go on hiatus, an activity sometimes might have to be scrapped. I find that if I at least explore what they want, my children feel heard and can handle an adjustment or dropping of an activity. When you say Yes! to a whole bunch of ideas, a no is much easier to handle :) Here are a few of the benefits using a tool like the Top Ten can provide: Decrease anxiety - making a list of some things you’d love to do in the summer helps you identify what matters, provides less decision making stress each week of the summer, and gives you a sense of accomplishment for every event you get to! In the end you can know that every person in your family feels excited about at least one thing on the list! Also, checking items off a list releases dopamine in the brain - checkmarks feel rewarding! Provide Structure: when we have an idea of what to expect it helps decrease stress by increasing felt safety. We partner our top ten list with a weekly calendar that maps out what we are doing on which days AND a daily conversation about what is happening. The planning and visual mapping help everyone adjust more flexibly to added desires (our day is full but we can do that on….) and to an activity that needs to change (we ran out of time for…. So we can do that tomorrow instead). With a plan in place, our stress levels are reduced, our cortex’s connected and we can more readily adjust! Externalize what we need to remember and record what we’ve accomplished! It’s so fun at the end of the summer to look at pictures and remember all the fun we’ve had together. Connection: Neuroscience and attachment science agree that healthy, connected relationships are the key to counteracting the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress, complex trauma. Relational connection boosts our oxytocin - the love hormone. Oxytocin helps reduce the negative impacts of high levels of cortisol - the stress hormone. Cortisol is a super important hormone to have, but when its over produced and undermanaged , it can wreak havoc on your body and nervous system. Overexposure to cortisol can put you at risk of many health problems, including: anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, muscle tension and pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep problems, weight gain and memory and concentration impairment. Oxytocin is the anti-stress hormone. The top ten list is one way to increase oxytocin levels in your home. When we feel seen and heard (letting every voice contribute) our brains produce oxytocin. Physical connection like hugging and hand holding increases oxytocin. Playing together, cheering each other on and giving each other compliments will all increase oxytocin as well. I’m so excited for you to join the movement. Let’s top ten our way into more connection. Let’s increase love and invite healing, one household at a time!
Holding Space for Grief
On Mother's Day
*from the May 2023 Newsletter
My friend Rebecca likes to use the phrase #notinthebrochure to describe the unexpected. For instance, when that first long-awaited Mother’s Day arrived, and it wasn’t quite as “Happy” as I’d expected it to be. What is there to do when the entourage of “Happy Mother’s Day” rubs like salt in a wound and you in fact find yourself - well - Not Happy. What is Grief? Grief is deep sorrow that stems from loss. Grief is a strong and sometimes overwhelming emotion and the losses that trigger grief are personal. Death of course is a widely accepted source of grief, but loss is found in a multitude of circumstances both concrete (like the ending of a relationship) and ambiguous (like the loss of a dream of having a biological child due to infertility.) In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD created the five stages model of grief in her book On Death and Dying. However, I like this updated model that includes seven stages: Shock & Denial, Pain & Guilt, Anger & Bargaining, Depression, Upward Turn, Reconstruction and Working Through, Acceptance and Hope The stages of grief are NOT linear and they do not have a set timeline for any given person. A vast array of emotions can be found within the grieving process: sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, rage, denial, jealousy, or more. Grieving is a complex, personal process that affects us each differently, and that is okay. Why might grief show up on Mother’s Day? There are so many reasons you might find yourself living in tension on a day that society proclaims “should” be happy, but is instead a marble jar of complex emotions experienced because it triggers grief. It could be the 28 negative pregnancy tests or the multiple miscarriages that in your mind reinforce the fear that you are still benched and will always be benched in the wait for motherhood. It could be the stone engraved with the most precious name of your mother or your child, two months ago or twenty years ago. It could be the cancer that you are fighting and how crappy it feels to watch other people raising your babies because you are too sick to get out of bed. And, it could be the memories of a childhood in which your relationship with your mother was toxic, abusive or absent. Within the world of adoption, Mother’s Day is a direct reminder of the loss of a first mother and a first family, for the children and often for their biological families. And every single May, I am reminded that my journey and joy in motherhood is a result of someone else’s pain. #notinthebrochure What is Holding Space? Holding space is about presence. Giving the person in front of you your full attention. Holding space includes physical presence, emotional presence and mental presence. As we work to build a therapeutic home, holding space is one of the practices we try to incorporate in our relationships. Ways to Hold Space for Grief on Mother’s Day These practices can be applied personally, (you holding space for you) OR they can be offered to someone you love (you holding space for your spouse, child or friend). Name it to tame it. This is a strategy from Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson’s book The Whole Brain Child. It might be written for children, but it works for adults too! The first place you may need to start is realizing and naming that you don’t like Mother’s Day. Maybe not this year anyway, and maybe not ever. Maybe it’s naming grief: that this Mother’s Day you feel sad or angry about the losses you’ve endured related to “Mother.” Whatever feelings you hold are okay, and giving them a name might help you integrate the loss you’ve experienced into your story. When unnamed or pushed aside, grief can lead to a tornado of emotions that disrupt life in ways you don’t like. Perhaps you notice that someone you love struggles with Mother’s Day. It’s okay to ask with tenderness, I noticed this day seems hard, do you want to talk about it? If you ask, be ready to listen presently. It’s not a quick fix, but it is a start. Practical Tip: Light a candle and say a prayer for the loss you’ve experienced. Let the candle burn all day or blow it out in 20 minutes. Meet Needs, Not Expectations When I started to understand that grief was showing up for both myself and my children on Mother’s Day, I began to make some changes. First, I had to care for my own grief. I worked on releasing expectations and remembering I don’t have to do any of this alone. Processing grief is not pretty. It includes physical symptoms, emotional symptoms and behavioral actions. A desire to be alone might be grief. Ignoring the importance of a holiday might stem from denial of the loss. - If I don’t think about it, it didn’t happen. Or perhaps an unexpected blow up around the gift that didn’t go right is really tied to the anger discovered while making that gift in the first place. Why did ________ have to happen in the first place - I don’t want to make a stupid card. Behavior speaks need. One way we identify underlying need is If the behavior doesn’t match the situation. There are many times you may not know or realize why a reaction is happening. It’s okay to not know. Practical Tip: Here’s a script I like once the behavior has calmed enough to process: I noticed you are wanting to be alone in your room, I wonder if you are feeling ____________ ? Then, listen. Release Expectations Everyone creates expectations for a holiday. Unmet expectations can compound already present grief. As the day unfolds, expectations can prove to be unpredictable sources of pain. Sometimes your expectations might be conscious and other times they lie under the surface as hopes. It’s normal to expect and hope. Letting go of expectations tied to Mother’s Day, you can be present as the day develops rather than “shoulding the day away.” Practical Tip: Reflect, Here are some reflection questions to think about or journal. What are some things I most want this Mother’s Day? How might I communicate that to my people in a thoughtful way? What might I do if my people are not able to meet those expectations for some reason? Practical Tip: Release, Lift up these questions and prayers to God. God, what might be some expectations I need to release this year? God, I need your help to let this go. Be with me today as I try. Comfort me when it’s hard. Prayer of Relinquishment by Richard Foster And, even with reflection and release, there might be times when subconscious expectations will slyly creep in and go unmet. Go ahead and grieve that loss when it happens. Feeling sorrow leads to feeling acceptance. Find a Friend, Be a Friend Remember, you are not alone. God has promised relationship. In my essay about forgiveness, I wrote: “God helped me see something new. I have given you a partner and I have given you friends who can see this world you're walking in and they can see the things that might trigger the losses you've gone through and they can hold your hand. They can say, are you okay? And, I’m in this with you. And in relationship, you can begin to heal in ways you never thought possible. We have a powerful and kind God who offers presence through his word and Holy Spirit. And we have a God who gives us real life human beings to walk with. These are the people who will love you when it's hard to give those triggered parts to God right away.” Practical Tip: Let someone know that Mother’s Day is not your favorite. Ask them to look out for you on that day. This might be that they give you a gift, or send you a text that it’s okay you said no to an event, or even go on a walk with you. Maybe, the idea of grief on Mother’s Day is new to you, and you have not experienced losses here. How might you reach out to and offer friendship to someone who has?
An essay about Forgiveness
*from the April 2023 Newsletter
Resignation and Rejection. It was just a few minutes from the time I had chosen as “the time.” In a mindless moment, I opened my email inbox. The email I’d been waiting for had finally arrived. The email from the publisher I started speaking with last summer. The editor I had resubmitted my book proposal to after six months of intense networking and developing a marketing plan, revising and rewriting my chapters, and spending my money on coaching and learning how to even do this whole book marketing thing. Earlier that morning my husband had spoken hope over me. “You will write a great book.” An hour earlier, my friend Jamie had texted gratitude for the talk I had given to the CMU branch of FCA. “So many girls have reached out asking for the promises Adi.” And I was just minutes away from resigning from my school district job. A decision I’ve been praying over and contemplating for over a year. I opened the email, hope held in my small intake of breath. I had only to glance at the first line to know that the news was not what I had been hoping for. And even worse, the editor wrote out the words that I think for too long I’d had fearfully hidden in my heart. You do not have credentials or credibility to write about this topic. Almost at the same time, I heard the whisper to my spirit. You know Who you Are, Adi. I know who you are. I swiped up. Closed the email, walked over to my most incredible boss and I quit my job. (In education that means I’ll finish working through May and then won’t start a new contract in July) I walked to my car, called Sam and started crying. The brain swirl started, but amidst the spiral of worry, God’s whisper whirled in like a sign of hope in what could quickly turn tornado. - You know who you are. Repetitive Forgiveness Let me back up just a little bit. This day took place just a week after Sam and I had returned home from the Family Life Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference in Redondo Beach, CA. We had a couple of sessions that were really good and then we ditched a session because it was really sunny and beautiful, and the lunch hour wasn't quite long enough to go to the pier and back for lunch. So, we went, and we walked and then we sat and had lunch and we had a fight that was long overdue. It wasn't a bad fight but was more of working through an unresolved conflict. I see this, this way, you see this this way and coming up with a plan and getting full closure. We had enough time about both of our perspectives and each of us owning the areas we struggle. And then we returned to the session on conflict that included a whole chunk on forgiveness. The night before we completed a self-assessment, and the thing that came up for me was forgiveness. I told Sam when that popped up, “forgiveness is my thing that I am figuring out with God, Sam. I don't think that's what we're gonna be working on this weekend because I already know it's my problem that I'm stuck in forgiveness. I don't know how to take the next step forward. And it's multiple things I'm struggling to forgive.” As we were listening and filling out our workbook, the speaking couple Chris and Mary Herndon, began to talk about forgiveness in a way that resonates so deeply to my personal struggle with counseling. It absolutely felt like Mary was speaking directly to me. Here is what she said, (word for word because I may have followed her around for a bit after the session, cried with her and then begged her to let me write down her exact words.) “You make an initial choice to move toward forgiveness. And then many subsequent decisions to forgive again when that choice affects you in a new way or when a trigger occurs.” ~ Mary Hernon She tied up in two sentences the thoughts that I’d spent hours rehashing in counseling. In life, new events will happen that will trigger the first wound. Suddenly that “forgiven sin” pops up again - the persistent weed in the manicured garden bed. So, forgiveness becomes a great big yes followed by a thousand little yeses again and again. Every time a new event or a new situation reminds you of the original trespass or the original harm. And I just started crying. I really just felt like something was wrong with me, right? Why can't I forgive? I thought I did forgive, but now this new experience is making me think about that older one and I'm mad again. I'm hurt again. I want them punished again. And as I’ve continued to talk with God about this over the last few weeks, I’m realizing that surrender becomes the critical heart posture. Nothing is wrong with me being triggered. It’s an expected, though unwanted, occurrence due to the harm I’ve endured. And I don’t want to live trapped by that harm, stuck in anger or a posture of punitive punishment. Every time the wound appears, then I take it and lay it down at the feet of Jesus. I say, God you are in charge of whatever is supposed to happen from this. And I must make that choice every single time it comes up. And it's, and Mary said something like, you at some point get to the point where you can talk about it and you're not crying anymore, you're not so distressed by it anymore. And that's when, you know, healing has come about. And then, Chris Herndon added to the conversation. He said that if you're the person who caused the harm, you have a role in that continuous forgiveness. First your job is to continue to rebuild trust. So that when your spouse is triggered by something new, you've been acting trustworthy so that when your spouse is looking at the story and the situation, they're seeing those acts of trustworthiness. Secondly, you’re going to build your empathy for your spouse and start to consider what might trigger that old wound? You are her partner. You are his partner. And when something happens that you think might remind your spouse of the event that caused so much harm, you can do something as simple as just holding their hand. At that moment, Sam reaches over and holds my hand, and of course I start crying harder. And Chris continued to speak, “You can check in with your spouse, I bet that made you think about that harm that was done. Are you okay?” And I was just sobbing. Because the reality is that I had been feeling like this isolated little person. I had to work this all out - I mean I knew I had God in it with me - but I thought I had to figure out how to forgive all these hurts and some of them, the other person has no desire for reparation. And I've been living in this lonely and forsaken state around forgiveness because I just had the old wounds growing like bindweed around my heart and I didn’t understand how the weed could keep growing as I was trying to surrender it to God. And sitting in that row, in the air conditioned ballroom, God helped me see something new. I have given you a partner and I have given you friends who can see this world you're walking in, and they can see the things that might trigger that harm you've gone through, and they can hold your hand. Or they can say, are you okay? And in relationship, you can begin to forgive and heal in ways you never thought possible. Yes, we have a powerful and kind God available for healing through his word and presence. And we have a God who gives us real life human beings to do this walk with and who will love you when it's hard to give those triggered parts to God right away. Truth Bomb So, we surrender again and again. First the big surrender, God, I want to give this to you. And then it's the surrender on repeat 7 x 70 times. It’s saying, Yes God. I really do wanna give this to you. I don't wanna carry this around. I don't want to be the punisher. I don't want to be the judge. Yes God, you take this. That's the past. I forgive it, I forgive it, I forgive it. My spiritual director, Megan, and I talked through this and then started talking about the writing. My resignation from the school district and the rejection letter. I told her about this image that popped up similarly to those wrangling weeds in the past but this time it was an image for the future. Almost like a gold medal dangling. And as I told her we both knew that this message did not arrive as whisper but instead as a hiss: If you just rewrite what you're doing, if you just let go of this thing that's important to you, that God is sailing you to write about, then you'll be published, then you'll be recognized, then you'll have all the credit. My spiritual director named it - who does that sound like? That is definitely the enemy. Our conversation returned to the wrestling I’d done all year about quitting my school district job and coming to terms that that move was not about the writing, but about the most important platform I serve - my children. Megan said, “If God is asking you to really focus on your family for this next season, maybe writing is just for you.” And I said, well that's just not sitting well, I really think I'm supposed to write this book. Her reply, “okay, but write, this book doesn't have anything like to be published or to get credit or recognized.” TRUTH. Treasure Hunt And suddenly, a clear message began to form. The weeds fading out of sight as the brilliant bloom of truth began to unfold. So, in the same way I must surrender the past again and again, when I submit my book proposal to a publisher or an agent, I also have to surrender whatever God's gonna do with it or not do with it every single time. And then of course the same is true of the present. I'm just going to walk into this moment and say, you do what you need to do with it. God. On my drive home, Lauren Daigle’s song, “First” came on. And the lyrics, “you are my treasure. You are my reward.” And I began to wonder, what if the process of writing this book is about having a secure attachment to God as your foundation, what if the writing of the book is really about finding the treasure of God? Like that's what it's ALL about. Surrendering the journey means that I can embrace the process. It doesn't include any particular end result. I'll produce a book - sure. But the journey, the seeking of the treasure, that is the reward.
A Mother's Prayer
*from the March 2023 Newsletter
How many prayers have been lifted up to God this day? This month? This year? How many in a lifetime? I'm studying Philippians with an incredible group of women using Beth and Melissa Moore's most recent study. In week the second video session, Beth elevated the concept that God's work in you is not completed until the day of Christ's return. As she illustrated the concept with time lines and examples, my Grandma Opal came to mind. You know, I'm not sure of all of the hardships my grandma overcame. She used to tell us that she did not know what love was until she met my grandpa Ken at 18 years old. 18 years is a long time to live feeling unloved. And yet, she is one of the people who made sure I knew about Jesus. His fierce love for me. His compassionate life and words. I have multiple Bibles in my possession from Grandma with her scrawling inscriptions. I find old letters and newspaper clippings that I keep stored like treasures to find in keepsake bins. Just last week I came across a letter she sent to me in my final months of college. In it she wrote, “Just think about how God has directed your life thus far. Not all that you had wished or hoped for, but everything God knows you NEED… Too often we get stuck on trying to figure out why something has come our way, but that is not what I am telling you to do.” Did she somehow know the struggles I faced day to day in reconciling my story? I sometimes wonder how God’s Spirit talked to her for me. One thing I am certain about is that my grandma was a fierce prayer warrior on my behalf. The depth of my grandma's struggles to fully embrace the promises of love she first experienced in relationship with my grandpa and then further experienced from her maker are not known to me. I just know that 18 years of feeling unloved is not resolved overnight. And at the same time, I believe that is part of God’s good work in her life that is continuing in me today. I think about that as I lay down my longings for worth and significance at the feet of Jesus. “Let my life look like the pattern of your love.” I think about God’s continuing good work as I lift up my prayers for my children and many of your children too. “Thank you for your plans, and that your plans for us are always so good.” (from FPC Prays, Book 3, Week 48, Prayer 1 Hope) I think about the tension we tread as women and men who are wondering how a good God could let terrible things happen. And I’m reminded of a God who promises to listen to us in our heart cries for those we love. Though there is no promise for a pain or problem free existence, God promises again and again to hear us when we call out for help. My friend Stacey shared this story in Episode 16 of the 8KP Podcast. In her late teens and early twenties, Stacey found herself suddenly trapped in a relationship that she had never expected. Wondering if she was being punished by God, a prayer in a grocery store parking lot unlocked a new way of experiencing her relationship with God when a random person replied to her silent plea to God - “ Remember, Jesus loves you.” Stacey went home and called her mom. In our interview, (8000 Promises Podcast, Episode 16) Stacey shares "She [my mom] said, 'I was just praying that God would put angels in your path.' And that's what started my journey back." Hey there mama (or maybe grandma, father or freind). I know you are on your knees. Praying for your baby. Maybe it's the baby you're longing for that still has not been conceived. Maybe it's the child who is coming home in tears every day after school because school is just so hard. Maybe it's the child the hard to hear phone call is always about. Or the child you can't keep track of anymore. The one who is holed up in his room. The one you don't recognize anymore. Or the one you haven't heard from in too many months except in the constant worry of your mind. Keep praying. God sees you on your knees. He hears your silent pleas. He's working. A lot of times we don't see direct answer to prayers, but sometimes we do. Stacey Lyons shares her vivid example of how God met her in a grocery store parking lot and how her mom knew it was a definite answer to prayer. Stacey is not the only one who had a mama praying. I did too. A mom, a grandma and many more. God has space for all the prayers and though we do not always see the answer in the way we might want it, God hears us and promises that the work being done in you and through you is good. Keep praying. Your babies need your prayers. All the love -from this mama who gets it.