Monday, January 27, 2014


If there is one thing I should be an expert in but really know nothing about it's healing. A little over two years ago my body was torn apart in ways I would have never imagined possible and yet today I am whole. Cancer had infiltrated my body and the first step to health was cutting me open and removing the tumour. The cutting took about four hours. The healing took much longer.

In the days after my surgery I wondered how I would ever be whole again. I wondered if I would ever be able to laugh and play and run (okay, who are we kidding? I've never run ... not ever ... and I doubt I'll ever run. Not even if I'm chased by an axe murderer!) again. I couldn't see how I'd be able to move through my life like I did before. I thought I was too hurt, that I'd be too scarred, to every fully live again. I settled in my mind that things would never be the same and I'd have to adjust to and accept a new normal.

I was so right and so wrong all at the same time.

I did heal. Little by little, day by day, my wound closed. Stitches and staples were removed. Scabs came and went. It was painful, then itchy, then irritating for a while. The wound went from angry red to a light pink and healed into a fine pale line. When I touch the scar I can feel that it's there and sometimes when I move a certain way I can feel the tightness and pulling of the healed tissue but for the most part I am healed. So much so that I rarely think about the surgery and the pain any more.

So if I have experienced such a profound healing then how can I know nothing about it?

Healing is a mystery. It happens in secret and by measures. It happens slowly when you focus on it and rapidly when you don't. Healing takes time - longer if you constantly pick at the scab and poke at the wound. Healing is most successful when the wound is cared for and then left to mend on its own.

If I know this about my body then why did it take me so long to apply this to my heart?

A little over one year ago, an adult in our world betrayed our trust and manipulated one of our children.  He used his influence to undermine and confuse our child. He inserted himself into our lives and twisted our values and contradicted our instruction to our child. When we confronted him and informed him that we no longer wanted him to have contact with our child he reacted in a way we never would have expected, causing further damage to our child and our family.

We were all devastated. We were shaken to the core. We were damaged. We were wounded.

At the time that this all came to a head I thought there was no way back from this. I thought this man had forever changed our family dynamic. I thought he had ruined who we were trying to be, as a family. I was overwhelmed, depressed and heart broken. I thought I was going to feel that way forever.

We sought help from councillors, pastors, doctors and legal professionals. We patched ourselves up and tried to move on but it felt like someone was always poking at the wound. We couldn't get away from this man - by product of living in a small community - so just seeing him would set me, Mr. Awesome or our affected child off. Running into this man on the street or in the school or in the community would send us into a tailspin. Us ... me.

Mr. Awesome and even the Affected Child seemed to heal faster. They were able to leave the bandage in place, to let the mending begin. Me? No so much. I struggled with rage, hurt and disappointment for months. I wanted justice. I wanted ... I wanted ... ack ... I don't know what I wanted but I wanted it so bad that I was consumed by it.

Gradually I realized that I had to live. I had to re-engage with my world and not return to the moment of hurt every time I saw this man. So I did. I lived. I became good at masking my homicidal rage whenever I saw him or had to talk about what happened. I sounded reasonable, for the most part but I knew I had not healed. I knew that I had let the wound become infected with hate.

About a month ago, another parent who had had a similar experience with this same man spoke to me about how devastated she was still, how she was still so angry and hurt. As I stood there talking with her, trying to offer words of comfort I realized that I was in exactly the same place she was. The words I was saying to her were exactly the words I needed to apply to my own wound.

Over the next few days I thought about that conversation, I thought about my own feelings of anger and hate. I cried. I prayed. I waited in silence. I offered all my hate and brokenness and disappointed to God. And He took it.  In essence, I removed the rotten bandage from the wound and allowed it to be cleaned and properly mended. I stopped picking at the scar.

I'm not 'over' what happened to our family but I am allowing healing to happen. I still don't like or trust this man but I have stopped revisiting me hurt every time I encounter him. My scar is scabbing over. Soon it will be just a faded line in our memory where a little tightness and discomfort exists but it won't hurt anymore.

It won't hurt. It will be healed.

God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Business of Unbusying Myself

A few days ago I read a blog by Tyler Ward that has stuck with me, gnawing at the edges of my mind as I've waded back into the chaos of post-holiday life. I don't know who Tyler Ward is but his thoughts on busyness resonate with me, so much so that I feel compelled to add my two cents to this conversation.

Although I've done this myself, more than I'd like to admit, I have long felt that answering the standard, "How are you?" greeting with a trite "busy" was a self-important cop-out to avoid engaging in a real conversation. It effectively shuts down any real hope of conversation and reduces the exchange into a comparison of who has the busier life. When the greeter and greeted both complete their lists of busyness, there is usually a moment of uncomfortable silence before they awkwardly bow out of the interaction and return to their busy lives. Often times, in the midst of the busyness there is an overwhelming sense of loneliness because to-do lists have replaced togetherness.

After reading Mr. Ward's blog and then looking at the mountain of emails, projects and to-do lists waiting for me on my desk I had to ask myself is being busy is all that it's cracked up to be?

The short answer?


And we all know it. We all know, deep down, that busyness is no where near as fulfilling as friendship, community and purpose. The day to day tasks that overwhelm us and numb us to the simple pleasure of being are a shadow compared to the joy and satisfaction that comes with living an authentic, meaningful life. But how do we find meaning? How do we know where to put our energy to find fulfillment instead of mere busyness?

Look at your life. What are the five things you give the bulk of your time to? Be honest and don't cop out by saying 'family' or 'work'. Be specific. Do you run a lot of errands? Do you watch a lot of TV? Do you work a lot of extra hours? Are you a dedicated kid chauffeur?

Make your list and then think about it. Really THINK.

A while back I saw this little graphic on Pinterest that was meant to apply to the words we speak but as I looked at it again I felt that it could also be applied to how we spend our time. So, look at your list and ask yourself ...

Is it TRUE to who I am? Does this item reflect my values and character?
Is it HELPFUL to me and those around me? Am I really adding to the solution or am I just keeping busy to feel that I have value in this situation?
Is it INSPIRING me to do more, to be more or is it exhausting me? Am I energized or drained by this activity?
Is it NECESSARY? Is this a task that must be done or is it a time suck that is stealing you away from something more vital and productive?
Is it KIND to you? Does this bring life, rest, inspiration or relaxation to you? Is this something that adds to your life and sense of worth or does it detract from you?

If you answered 'no' to any of these questions in relation to your list ask yourself whether the list is the problem or your attitude toward it.I'll bet you that you can already see where changes can be made, where you can trim some busyness and add something that is True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind to your day to day life.

Think, start small, be consistent and, above all, put relational ships above busyness - you won't be sorry!

Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Three Stars and A Wish

Welcome to 2014!

Last night, as I rang in the New Year, book in hand and a sleeping Mr. Awesome by my side, I thought about 2013 and all it brought our way. I'm sure the blogosphere is full of 'Year in Review' posts today so I'm not going to bore you with a rambling monologue about my year as a whole but I am going to steal an idea from Mischief's elementary school.

At the end of each term, when I sit down for the Parent/Teacher meeting, I am handed a piece of paper that says "Three Stars and a Wish." While I wait for my turn to speak with the teacher I am meant to write down three things I think Mischief did well this term and one thing I'd like him to work on next term. I like how this gives us the opportunity to celebrate the triumphs and name our future victory and so, in this, the first post of the new year, I offer you my Three Stars and a Wish.

Star 1 - I wrote a book this year! Although I have yet to figure out how and when I will publish it, it is written. I wrote, edited and rewrote and polished to completion. I finished what I started and I wrote a book.

Star 2 - I am working at my dream job only it is a dream I never knew I had. In September I became the Children's Pastor at my church. The journey was long, winding and, at times, frustrating but through the past two years I have learned volumes about God's faithfulness and the benefits of resting in Him. Relaxing into God's plan, and more importantly, His timing has brought greater joy, fulfillment and peace than I ever thought possible.

Star 3 - Each night when I tuck my kids in and again each morning as I drive them to school I pray for them. Part of each prayer includes this sentence, "Lord, help them to be good friends so that they may attract good friends to them and may the law of kindness ever be on their tongues." All five of us in This Random Family have seen and felt this prayer come to being. This has become the year of friendship. We have each learned, in our own way, what being a good friend is and how that brings good friends to us. We also continue to focus on living a life infused with kindness. And because we are flawed beings, we are learning the value of grace as well. Friendship, Kindness and Grace have been the greatest gifts we have received this year, by far!

My Wish - My wish for this coming year is to be fearless in the face of adventure. I want to embrace life, to live each moment, to take risks. I want to stop disqualifying myself before the moment has even begun. I only have this one life and if I succumb to fear instead of boldly embracing opportunity then what's the point of living? My wish is to live!

Courage is being scared but saddling up anyway!
~John Wayne