Love Will Always Come

20170120_125309_editedSomething remarkable happens when you are wheeled into a hospital.

Everything that was important before somehow shifts.

You measure life in breaths and beeps and counts. You look at others with gentler eyes and a softer heart. You find yourself willing to do just about anything to hear, It’s time to go home.

Life becomes frailer, somehow, bending into a place where the only thing that matters is love.

The love you left. The love that shows up. The love you hope to go back to.

Dancing in your mind as you count what comes—from friends, from family, from absolute strangers. Wheeling in unshowered and unlovely to the echo of your friend’s sweet words, I’m coming to get the baby and don’t worry, we can figure out the rest.

So then you breathe in…

Feeling the weight of one room you pass, the one where you said goodbye to a most beloved Daddy. A weight that is lifted by your baby sister, who brings laughter and chocolate because she knows the hurt this hospital brings. She knows it so well that when she says goodbye, she whispers the words he would have said.


And then you breathe out…

Praying that you can get home to find beautiful dresses for your girls to dance with another sweet Daddy. You pray to the point of silly until you realize what you want and what is are not the same. But your heart breathes easier knowing another sweet mama is enthusiastically clapping through fashion shows and fancy dresses so that your girls feel celebrated and loved and known.

And so you breathe in again…

Fighting through the tests and all the things you must do so that you can finally hear the words, You are going home. Wheeling out still unshowered and unlovely to your van where a two-year old hand grabs yours. Her hold tight and unrelenting until you pull into the garage as if to make certain you do not leave again.

And then you breathe out…

Drinking in all the ways you have been loved. In the rides given, the diapers changed, the meals offered, the prayers whispered, the fears faced and the words written. Tearing up at what another mama made with your girl, the most perfectly imperfect way to shout in the quiet, Welcome Home, Mom!

It is here, in this place, that love becomes all your heart can recognize. It goes farther, beats louder and does more than anything else ever could.  Willing to stand in places that are not beautiful or lovely or comfortable or even noteworthy.

Always protecting. Always trusting. Always hoping. And always, always persevering.

So that when the noise of this world can be too much to bear, you will hear it beckon softly until the rest of it fades into one resounding truth…

Love will always come.


I Tell Them She’s Dory

2A few mornings ago, I began my gingerly pad down the stairs…

But then something in me said to stop.

Maybe it was the gentleness in their laughter. Maybe it was the rarity of a peaceful moment between them. Maybe it was just curiosity at what had drawn them together.

But whatever the reason, stop I did.

If only to hear a most darling interchange…

When I tell people about her, I tell them she’s Dory.

No way!!! Me too!!!!

Guys, I have been saying that for YEARS.

It was here I stifled a little snort.

Because. Really.

A kindergartner who speaks with such sage wisdom in regard to the equally sage conversation of an eight and ten-year old? Especially in regard to her memory-challenged mama? And is so ridiculously spot-on?


It was almost so snort-worthy I missed what came next…

But you guys, isn’t mom the best?

The. Best.

Totally the best. And she loves us SO much!

This is where I nearly gave myself away with a little more of a sob than a snort.

Because this.

This is the kind of thing a mama needs to hear in the middle of putting up Christmas trees and making mashed potatoes and getting sick because she just tried so hard to keep everyone else well.


This is the place we all long to find in the middle of a-mama-has-to-be-perfect kind of world.

A place to remember that at the end of all the things is the love you bring with them, that when you feel lost and less-than and something not as awesome as all the other mama-girls…

Your babies see you.

Your faithfulness. Your effort. Your heart.

Your absolute love.

So that when you fade from their day-to-day and someday, their world, you know they will find the you that you meant to be.

Hold onto that, sweet mama friends of mine.

Because it isn’t the perfect tree or the perfect house or the perfect whatever-today-says-you-are-supposed-to-be that will go with them in life.

It is instead the relentless love you’ve given them in it.

This Crazy-Wonderful Little Life

momI would never have chosen this disease, this path of brokenness. But I would choose the story He has written in it. Every single time, I would choose it.

~Crazy-Wonderful Little Life

Life as a mom with chronic illness can be messy and hard but in many ways, it can also be incredibly beautiful. So grateful to Blythe Hunt and the Mundane Faithfulness Family to be able to sharing a sweet piece of journey in one of my favorite spaces this morning.


In The Waiting Room

we-have-hopeI noticed him first.

Frail but strong somehow.

Towering over his cane as his kind eyes scanned the room for a seat.

It was as he sat down that I told him, I love your hat.

To which he smiled with a gentle, Thank you.

There was no mistaking what it covered—the frailness, the sunken face, the slowed gait—all testament to a body ravaged by the effects of chemo and cancer.

But. His. Laugh.

The first time it pealed through the waiting room was absolute heaven.

It was also the first time I noticed her.

Giggling with him in a way you might have completely overlooked the gray in her hair or the wrinkles on her face. Chatting about the weather, the things they forgot, the kids, the grandkids, the neighbor down the street. Shuffling back up together when the receptionist called their last name but not before giggling about it because she had certifiably butchered it.

And so I went back to reading my whatever, secretly hoping that when they were done they would find their way back to the seats next to mine.

And they did.

But this time I said something to her.

I can’t remember what it was. I can’t remember why I said it. I can only remember the moment we recognized one another.

It followed the question, How old are your babies? To which I went down the line with a 10, 8, 6 and 2… That’s when he giggled with a raspy, Whew.

And with a playful tap she talked over him, Two girls. Two boys. But one of my girls died when she was five-years old. I could barely breathe out an I’m-so-sorry before she continued, But girl, I have hope. I have hope and joy and the promise that I will see her again.

And then, with tears in my eyes, I said the words that would change everything…

I have hope too.

We poured out our hard. We poured out our love for Jesus. We poured out our wish for community in this sometimes whackadoo world.

A world that might only notice our differences.

Our age. Our skin color. Our stories.

But something bigger took it’s place…

Our Jesus.

Our Jesus was the same.

His love. His grace. His comfort. His unabashed faithfulness in the middle of hard things.

And y’all, even when it may seem like the world is falling down around us, this is where our hope belongs.

Even. When.

No matter the hard. No matter the loss. No matter the madness.

We have hope.

A hope so beautiful that it can take strangers and turn them into friends if only for a moment. A hope so bonding that when the time comes to say goodbye, you hug each other tightly as if to say…

I can’t wait to see you again.


Saying Goodbye To Say Hello

cnadlesFive years ago today, I was dying of septic shock. My body could not let go of what my heart would not…

Our precious, almost-April baby.

It is a day that will always leave me torn.

Torn because it marks the day that my sweet babe and I had to say hello so we could say goodbye. Torn because it was also the day God worked miracle upon miracle to spare my life. Torn because today is still a day of pain in a place of so much mercy.

So. Torn.

And. Yet.

I know the conversation isn’t over.

I know another one is coming. I know that my daddy is continuing the conversation I began. And I know the love my heart feels is being given to both by the One I love the most.

So today, I will honor the day we said hello to say goodbye. But in that honor, I will also hold tightly to the promise that one day…

I’ll get to say goodbye to say hello.

Carrying Boo Boos

grace-mad_editedMe. The Stairs. Um, no.

I try. Heaven bless me, I try.

But here’s pretty much how it goes…

I pause for a moment with a little mental YOU CAN DO IT! And then with reckless abandon, an oomph, an ugh and an occassional Whoa, there. I dive in. Think that I am exaggerating?

Spend some time with the two-year-old and wait until she climbs the stairs. She will ugh and oomph up to the second floor as if she was carrying a bowling ball instead of only her tiny bird-like frame. I’ve decided to embrace it as precious because really…

Just bless it all.

And know that when my Sophie-girl slipped up the stairs to take my hand today, I immediately thought, Thank you, Jesus, that the elementary school is one floor or I might just have nightmares about this one climbing the stairway with a booming, “Thank you, LAWD, I made to the top!!!”

This played out in my head just long enough that I was delighted to be interrupted by a little voice saying, Hey, mom?

Yes, love?

I’m here to help you!

With total sweetness not discounted, my mind began to play out all the possible help scenarios that would add to the counseling this girl will need at my expense. That is, until these words mercifully fell out of my mouth, Help me with what?

I’m here to help carry your boo-boos.

And there I stopped.

Stopped caring about the stairs. Stopped caring about my awkwardness. Stopped caring about my witty comebacks. Stopped caring about anything other than the seven words spoken.

I’m here to help carry your boo-boos.

This little girl had seen my struggle.

She didn’t come in trying to fix me or hurry me or pass me by. She saw me, she joined me in it. She picked up my hurt so I knew I wouldn’t be alone in the hard things ahead.

And truthfully?

It all unraveled me to a little pile of mush on the same darn stairs.

This. World.

This. Place.

This. Time.

This. Story.

Needs us to see.

See the struggle, the hurt, the boo-boo. See the person next to us who needs our hands if only to hold in that moment. See the wisdom of silence, the grace of joining hard things, the love that picks up another’s hurt and carries it to the end.

He did no less.

He saw. He joined. He loved.

He held out His hand and picked up the hurt of others in His deepest brokenness to show us how to see a world He loves.

A world that needs a little less passing-by and a little more Sophie-kind of love. One that reaches out and says, “I’m here!”

Holding out hands. Reaching into hearts. Ready to carry whatever comes.

No matter what.