Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm not ok

The sobs are rising in the back of my throat
I choke them down and blink away the hot, stinging tears
No one can see
No one must know
If you ask me how I'm doing
The answer is I'm fine
I don't want you to know the truth
The truth that my heart is breaking
That I'm walking wounded
My head is spinning
I can't think straight anymore
I'm exhausted
I don't want you to know that I messed up again
I can't do this "Christian" thing
I don't know what I'm doing at all
My chest feels like an empty chasm about to swallow me whole
My entire world is falling apart
It's a cave-in and I'm being buried alive
I'm losing control
I can't breathe
Another night of crying myself to sleep
Another morning of wishing I would never wake up
Another day of feeling invisible
Trying to blend in so I don't rock the boat
Can't be different
Nobody else is letting their wounds show
I have to be like everyone else
So I hide
I don't let them see me for who I really am
I can't let them know that I'm broken
But my mask is cracking and I can't keep it together
Not for much longer
Maybe that's a blessing in disguise
Because I just want to be free
Free from the suffocating masks and the lies that I speak
Free to not be ok because sometimes I'm just not

I wrote this tonight because someone saw through my mask today and asked if I was ok. I  told him I was fine even though we both knew that was a lie.  I wanted to tell him the truth, to tell him that I wasn't ok, but I didn't. All day long I was wishing someone would notice that I wasn't ok but then, when somebody actually did notice...  I lied. 

I'm not ok. I'm scared, overwhelmed, stressed out and grieving that this chapter of my life is coming to an end. And that's ok. 

To my friend who asked if I was ok: I'm sorry I wasn't honest with you. Thanks for noticing and for asking. It meant so much more than you'll ever know. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy birthday to my hero

Let me tell you about someone that I've known all my life and who is very important to me. This man is my hero and this is the man who worked really long hard hours to make sure that my family was taken care of. He is the man personally responsible for the roof over my head, the clothes on my back and the food that I ate. He went above and beyond those basic needs though, like making sure we always had a car, and toys, and a good education even if I didn't always appreciate having school.

As a little girl, I remember waking up early sometimes and crawling up the stairs to see my hero before he left for work. I liked to wear his black combat boots, even though I could barely walk in them because they were so huge on my 5 year-old feet. Most of the mornings, I would find him kneeling by the side of the couch, his Bible open beside him, praying. 

This man taught me a lot of cool things in life. Things like how to shoot a gun, how to ride a bike, how to pull a loose tooth, how to be funny, how to do math (even though I still don't get it). He taught me how to learn and to love adventure. He taught me how to drive. He taught me how to work hard and to be good at whatever I do.

But I think that one of the most important things he taught me was how to sacrifice myself for those that I love. 

Almost three years ago, this man took a huge risk to his body and his life to save my life. I was dying and I needed a new kidney to be able to live again. My hero, my Dad, gave me his. And three years later I'm no longer dying but living in better health than I have in my entire life. 

It was my dad's birthday yesterday. I'm late getting this typed up but I am a firm believer in the saying "better late than never!" and it's never to late to tell someone what they mean to you. 

Happy Birthday Daddy! Thanks for being my hero. I love you so much and I can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks :-)

Always yours,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Handprints On My Heart

I got asked recently why I was writing these letters and stories from Mexico and I just shrugged and answered "Because God told me to." Lame, I know. It's true, God did tell me to write them, but that was a cop-out answer because I didn't want to go into all the details of explaining exactly why I felt that this was what God wanted me to do.

And to be honest, it's a hard question to answer because I don't know all the reasons why but I can share this story explaining the "why" a little better.

The day after we arrived in Mexico, we went to a woodcarving demonstration in the afternoon after church because we had some spare time before we needed to get back to the hotel. The carvings took weeks, sometimes months to finish, from the choosing of the wood, to the painting of the finished design. It was an incredible process and I especially enjoyed watching how they mixed up their own natural paints. 

As we were looking around the shop, after the demonstration I really wanted to buy something to bring back home as a souvenir but nothing was really catching my attention. I also didn't have a whole lot of money with me and this was our first day so I didn't want to get anything real expensive and not have any money left. 

Then I saw the display of wooden hearts that were within my price range and the perfect size for what I had wanted. They had a metal loop drilled into them with a clear line attached so it could be hung up. The hearts were all hanging from the wall at different heights and it looked like a waterfall of hearts.

I settled on one that had a unique design all over. They were tiny handprints in all different colors. When I bought it, I just thought it looked really cool, but I had no idea how significant that heart would mean to me when I got home.

As I unpacked, exactly one week after buying that heart, I pulled it out of the suitcase and looked at it again. As my eyes bounced from one little handprint to another, I thought of how each of those children I met had touched my life. I realized how each person we meet leaves a mark on our lives and how we leave a mark on theirs. A handprint on my heart. 

Some marks are a handprint of love, when one touches you in such a way that you never forget their  love towards you and that mark inspires you to reach out to others to leave a mark on them. Some marks are ones you wish you could get rid of, they are painful and you wish you had never met the one who left it there. Every handprint tells a story of the one who gave it to you, of the way you perceived them to be, of the impact they had on your life. 

I wanted to tell those stories of the little handprints from my kids in Mexico and that's the biggest reason why I started writing. At first I just thought it was just going to be a handful of letters about the missions trip. But now I see that this is a lifelong project because I am always going to be meeting people and I am always going to get a new handprint from someone with story to write. 

I also started to write because I had a lot of pent-up emotions from that week and writing has always helped me work through them. Writing was an outlet to share what I saw and felt without overwhelming someone with all my feelings and talking their ear off as I described every detail to them. 

I know I'm not a very skilled writer and I know that there are a lot of typos and grammatical errors in my posts but I thank you for reading them and for all the likes and comments you've given me. Your feedback means a lot and it encourages me to keep sharing what I've written. I hope that these have been inspiring to you and that you've gotten to see a glimpse of what God has been showing me the past few weeks.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Flashback Friday

The reason you haven't seen anything posted for awhile is because I haven't had access to internet. But no worries because I've still been writing and I've got a lot to share here now that I have internet again! Seeing as how it's Friday, that means it's time for another flashback. :-)


I wrote this on my birthday 2 years ago a few months after the transplant surgery. A birthday I honestly wasn't sure I was going to have.

I enjoyed reading this again.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


This is a story about Lili (Lee-Lee), one of the little girls I met in Mexico. She was so very tiny, and one of the youngest kids there, at 3 years old. Her mom worked with Buckner so she was always there before our team even got there in the morning. I knew she was going to be on my team and I was hoping that we would get to be best friends before the week was over. 

So when her mom brought her up to me during our story time, I was excited to see her and I sat down next to her to listen to the story. But then she started crying. It wasn't a loud scream or anything, just a pitiful little whimpering like a puppy would make, and big tears welled up in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks. She looked up at me and said "Mama." over and over again.

I was a little disappointed, but I took her downstairs to her mom. Oh well, I thought to myself, I have all week to win her over. I'm sure we'll be friends by then. I underestimated how stubborn Lili was going to be. For the next three days, every time I saw her I would smile and wave and try to get her to come play with us. Sometimes, she would take my hand and follow me outside, only to change her mind and ask for her mom. 

I never got a smile out of her until the last day and we played peek-a-boo behind the wall. She would peek out, ever so slowly, until she saw me and then quickly hide behind the wall again. Then I would lean out over the wall, find her, and then quickly pull away. I was so excited to finally get a smile from her even though she still wouldn't participate with the other kids. 

During lunch that day, I had just sat down to try and eat. I had been really sick the day before and I was still not feeling so great. All of a sudden, Lili came around the corner with a toy in her hands and a big smile on her face. She climbed into my lap and started talking. I had no idea what she was saying but I was so surprised to hear her talk, since the only thing I had ever heard her say all week was "Mama." She brought me toy after toy, telling me something about them, all the while smiling and laughing. I couldn't believe it.

Was this the same girl who started crying in my lap not three days before, asking for her mom and frowning at me every time I smiled at her? Was this the same girl who refused to participate with the group at all? 

I have one picture of Lili that my group leader snapped for me and every time I look at her picture, I can't help but smile, even though she looks so grouchy in the photo. She was so hard to get to know, so hard to play with and I wondered why I was putting so much effort into her when the other kids were so easy to get to know and so likable. For whatever reason, I just couldn't give up on her, I couldn't stop trying to show love to her. Even when I was certain she was probably never going to like me back. 

Lili taught me an important lesson that week. You see, Lili and I really aren't that different from each other. I'm really stubborn too. I don't trust in the love that my Father has for me and I refuse to participate in all the great things He has planned for me. He constantly tries to win me over and I just frown and turn away, thinking that I know what's best for me instead of trusting Him. Yet, God never gives up on me, never stops loving me, never stops calling for me, never stops offering his hand out for me to take. 

It took Lili four days before she decided not to be scared of me and that I was actually more fun to play with than playing by herself. It's taken me most of my life to realize that I don't have to be scared of God and that I can trust Him because He loves me more than anyone on this earth ever could. 

I'm so grateful to have met Lili and for the lesson that she taught me. I'm grateful for the last day that I got to spend with her and for finally getting to see her smile and laugh. I'm grateful for the handprint she left on my heart. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Flashback Friday

It's been quite the emotional journey to go back and re-read my old blog that I kept during my illness. In a lot of ways, nothing has changed. But in a lot of ways, everything has changed. I'm not that person anymore, but it's still me. If that makes any sense at all...

Anyway, every Friday I hope to share with you a "flashback" of my life, or of someone else's life, in the hopes that it will be an encouragement to you as well as me. Our pasts still have a lot to teach us if we're willing to learn from them. 

I chose this post from my old blog because the date is almost exactly three years ago from today. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Butterfly Circus

To those of you who haven't yet watched the Butterfly Circus, click on the link and go watch it.


It's a really great short story of redemption, and how our darkest moments can become our biggest triumphs.