Reality Check

I am the mother of an incredibly independent child. She rarely needs help with things. She will just move them if they are in her way, clean them if they are dirty, fly around the stores in a mad rush, hmmming over the things she thinks she might need. I forget that she’s just a toddler, just 2 almost 3, because usually she’s 2 going on 16.

This week has been a bit over the top in the whining department. (Probably for both mother human and daughter human) Mornings are nightmares, and it usually goes down hill from there, by the time Clint comes home in the evening I am ready to hand him the child and run for the hills. I have been ready to pull my hair out or break into uncontrollable sobs all week. The stress level at the little house on the green has been way up there. It hasn’t exactly been pretty either.

Last night, we came home from the ball field, she was having one of her melt down whining parties. I threw her in the bath tub and went out to water my parched flowers. She was under the supervision of her daddy and I was under the supervision of my Creator. (ahem) He showed me some vital things I was forgetting.

1, My child needs me even if she’s Little Miss Independent. She needs me to sit with her and snuggle on the couch. She needs stories read to her and my undivided attention. She needs kisses and hugs. She needs me to play with her. I haven’t been doing a good job of that. She acts so grown up, I expect her to not need me or even want me to hang out with her. But she’s two. She needs me.

2, I need her. I need to snuggle with her. I need to hear her giggle. I need to stop what I am doing and watch her dance in the kitchen. I need to dance with her occasionally even though it makes me feel like a dork. Sometimes, in all honesty,  I need her more than she needs me.

3, My two most important jobs are —> pursuing my relationship with Christ, and loving the two people I live with well. If I reach the end of the day and those are the only two things I got done, that’s ok. In fact, that’s perfect. Gourmet suppers and spotless houses, shoot, even getting dressed, none of those matter in the end. Loving well, that matters throughout all eternity.

4, Someday I will look back at this time and wish I could live it again. I will miss this stage. So it’s time to stop throwing a fit and be grateful for everything, even the whining.

5, These are not just MY days, they’re her days too. I need to focus on doing something fun/profitable for HER not the loads of work {I} need to get done.

So I came in, bathed my child, who once again had a major meltdown. Breathed deep, asked her if she wanted to put her jammies on and drink some milk. (ultimate comfort for my emotional 2 year old girl) Told her I was sorry she was so sad. She sniffed a bit and excitedly ran out to get her milk. We snuggled on the couch with stuffed animals for a while. It was amazing how much different she acted. . . or maybe it was just my perspective shifting. Instead of a whining toddler, I could see a little soul that needed some love. I am not sure what really changed in that moment her or me. I do know this –> I am so grateful for a God who gives me reality checks. I cannot imagine trying to do life, especially motherhood, without His hand guiding me.

Unquestionably Free

“You are free to go, Jesus has taken your place.”

I was listening to Odyssey last week (Yes, I still do that. Yes, I know I am supposed to be an adult.) and that phrase was said.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s not the first time I have heard that phrase but it’s the first time I really HEARD it deep inside my soul. It seems like such a vital thing to realize. Having known Jesus for as long as I have you would think I would have really HEARD it ages ago. But somehow I missed it

I have grown up in a culture reacting to another culture. In order to keep from becoming too free we have built up all kinds of things to keep us safe. The love of God is there, yes but goodness, don’t focus on that too much you might lose sight of His holiness. The grace of God is there, yes, but don’t get so caught up in it that you forget His hatred for sin. The God I have known has been pretty scary. Sure, He loves me but His holiness keeps me at arms length. Sure, He’s gracious but He knows I’m going to sin again and He’s just waiting to unleash His fury on me. I’ve been working through some of that. I am beginning to believe in His love as unconditional. A big giant hug even though I am covered in filth kind of love, NOT an arms length kind of love. That has been revolutionary. I am finally beginning to grasp that I don’t have to be afraid of the love of God leading me astray, the love of God is actually what keeps me safe. To add the concept of being truly free. . . I can hardly fathom that. It’s like discovering another facet of His great love for me.

“You are {free to go}, Brittany, Jesus has taken your place.”

That means no guilt, no shame, no sin. He has completely taken my place. I can hold my head up because He has taken my place.

John 8:36, “So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.”

I don’t even know what to do with all that. . . it’s so incredibly beautiful.

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I Miss Her

Her face comes to me. Her laugh. The sound of her voice. Her pet words and phrases. Her tiny hands and wrists. And the awful, awful sound of the dirt as it lands on her coffin. They haunt me.

Almost three years later, I grieve. And I grieve harder than I thought possible. I thought I had faced it. I thought I had worked through it. Perhaps in some ways I did but I certainly didn’t work through all of it.

I miss her. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She was supposed to still be here. But she’s not.

It hurts.

My last trip to South Carolina was the first time I really had to deal with the fact that she is gone. My trips ‘home’ would be different if she was still there. She knows about parts of my life that only a few others know. She was a big, big part of my life. She missing. I miss her so.

Grief is weird. At least for me. Probably cause avoiding it was my way of dealing with it. To have it all come washing over me like this… I just don’t understand it. To really look at the pain, to not allow myself to look away from it. Goodness, does it ever hurt. It doesn’t feel like it’s been three years, it feels like it was yesterday. Sometimes I can hardly breathe cause it hurts so bad. I often find myself crying in my bed at night. A deep ache in my heart comes out of no where.

If it’s taught me anything it’s that grief does not just go away when we try to ignore it. There’s this big hole in your heart. When you finally look at that hole you discover that so much of life has been affected by it. Instead of getting better, it got worse and infected other areas of your heart as well.

It’s also taught me that life is too short to avoid the people you love simply because it’s awkward, socially unacceptable, or you disagreed, or even fought about something. We only get this one chance to love them well. It might be our last chance. If you love someone, hug them tightly. Forgive them quickly if they hurt you. Go out for coffee. Hang out with them if you at all get the chance… make it work. There might be a time when you wish you could see them one more time and you can’t. Those things (awkward, unconventional, disagreements, and the like.) you thought were big things suddenly are seen for what they really are–ridiculous.

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Tea For One

 

I have had this inkling that something is wrong with me for, oh I don’t know, a couple of weeks months. I have some tell tale signs that show up as soon as things get a little off balance inside of me. I think we all do. I am a classic avoider. So it takes me a while to come face to face with the issue itself. I noticed some of the signs but was like, nah, it’s just some weird thing emotionally it’ll go away. Well it didn’t. Err, hasn’t. So here I am months from the incident, actually incidents, finally realizing admitting that something needs to be done.  In all honesty, I hate this. I don’t like facing these things inside of me. I wish I would just deal with them when they happen instead of waiting. Unlike some cheese, pain does not get better left in a dark room to age.

So I am compiling a list of things for my future self to do when [pain happens].


First, acknowledge your pain, don’t ignore it. If it hurts, it hurts. Trying to talk yourself out of a broken leg would never work and it certainly does not work emotionally. I don’t like admitting that things hurt me. To a person who is extremely sensitive, that’s the stupidest thing ever cause hello, we get hurt all the time. Trying to tell ourselves that we aren’t feeling what we’re feeling well honestly, it’s ridiculous. When our hearts hurt, they hurt. It’s ok to hurt. Even if it’s over what some people would consider ‘silly’ things. If it matters to you it’s a big deal to GOD. The other people don’t feel what you feel. They have their own set of issues. Don’t let them tell you what you can or can’t feel.

Second, take that pain to God. Don’t let it sit there inside of you. Tell Him exactly what you are feeling. Ask Him to walk with you in this pain.

Third, examine the situation. If it’s something someone said or did to you then here is an opportunity to forgive, choose to believe the best about that individual, and surrender the situation and the individual to God. I do want to say that I think we miss something incredibly important when we skip the first and second steps of allowing ourselves to feel the pain. I believe we miss something life changing when we skip the third step. I find myself thinking that I just need to forgive because that’s the ‘holy’ thing to do. I decide that I better forgive and move on without acknowledging my pain and taking that pain to God. It’s a ‘holy’ way of ignoring my pain, classic avoiders of pain know all about this. There is something incredibly precious about taking our pain to God and then surrendering the situation to Him through forgiveness.

Sometimes the situation isn’t necessarily something you can forgive. I am thinking of when someone dies, or when God is taking you on a different path then someone else which then causes separation. Those are hard things, don’t be afraid to walk through those hard things. Face them. Feel that pain. GRIEVE your loss. It’s the only way you will heal and it’s one of the most intimate ways to experience God. Don’t explain it away. Don’t look the other way. Look at it. Give God the opportunity to turn your ashes into roses. I do not mean to wallow in it. Walk through it, crawl through it if you have to.

And dear self, when you decide to ignore the pain. Pay attention to the first sign that you have something inside that hurts (pulling away from people).

If you ignore that sign, you absolutely have to pay attention to the second sign (trying to distract yourself with anything and everything, usually being Facebook and Instagram or getting your mom to go shopping and all sorts of things with you)

And if as usual you ignore the second sign, the third one will sit you on your butt really hard and make you deal with it. (panic and fear on every side) Once you get here, be kind to yourself. It’s time to get out your favorite tea pot and mug, makes some tea and take yourself outside. Now begin at the beginning. It’s time to feel, girl, and really feel.


If you need me, I’ll be sitting outside sipping my tea.

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Home Again, Home Again

Well I am back to my Colorado home. I am having a hard time getting my feet under me again. . . It was a really good trip. Crazy. But good. I was able to connect with so many people. Some friends that I haven’t talked to in about 7-8 years. It was so good.

I discovered some of the reasons I am the way I am. That’s always helpful, right? The last time I was in the south I figured out why I talk to people in grocery stores. It gets really odd looks out here sometimes. So I’ve been wondering if I’m just weird, or???  But in the south, that’s very, very normal. When you’re happy about a sale you tell someone. Often a complete stranger.  This time I discovered why I gravitate towards certain colors and decor items. . . I understand more of why my house is the way it is. Also connecting with old friends showed me how those relationships have shaped who I am today. Encouraging your children to make wholesome relationships is no joke. They really do influence who we become.

Meeting with old friends can be tricky, things change. Mostly things like children, marriage, brand new puppies (for real guys, no joke), sometimes just simply the passing of time. Sometimes things work out to meet at coffee shops other times you just meet at a house and let the kids play or nap while you catch up. I am so grateful that even though these changes occur, these people have remained my friends. I am painfully loyal (you know like some people are painfully polite), so friends I made in first grade will still be my friends today. But I know that’s not true for everyone, to see some of these people respond and still want to be my friends means so much to me. Then to connect with them and have it be like old times. Well. . . that’s just really special.  I am blessed.  To those of you who took time to meet me while I was in the south, you will never know how special and honored that made me feel. Thank you for caring. (to those of you it didn’t work out to meet. I totally understand. We’ll hang out next time. This is not supposed to be a guilt trip.)

This post doesn’t even begin to encompass my trip back east. But it’s a little snippet.

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This little girl was a trooper. She only had one very bad day while we were gone, did fabulous on our overnight flight (thank you, Jesus), and kept me smiling.

She had so much fun with Logan. He kept her entertained very well. She giggled with glee at all his antics, her favorite was of course the car ride.

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^See I told you there were puppies involved.

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I Will Not Look Away This Time

On my way ‘home’ for a funeral. Another one of the dear ladies who shaped me has passed Away. I used to go help her at her house over an incredibly difficult time in my life. I spent most of a day with her. Do stuff for her around her house. Help her walk laps on her porch which surrounded her house. Then she would take me out to eat at the cutest little restaurants. Her smile of delight when I liked the place as much as she did… I won’t soon forget. We would talk. And just have fun. I loved her dearly. She was hope and encouragement when I needed it the most. I will never be able to smell Japanese Cherry Blossom without thinking of her. I am sad I never actually got to introduce my little girl to her. That I didn’t make an effort to go see her on my trips back to the South. I can’t believe she’s gone. It feels like the end of so much… I knew she wouldn’t live forever but I wanted her to. It makes me extremely sad. I know with all my heart that she is with her precious Jesus, exactly where she has wanted to be for so long. I know she is happier than she has ever been before. But I am still sad that she’s gone. 
Grief as a Christian is such a mixture of bitter and sweet. You’re sad that they’re gone, happy they’re with Jesus, delighted that you WILL see them again, but you’re sad again that they’re gone. It feels like a part of your heart has been ripped out
A couple years ago, one of my dearest lady friends died. I did a really bad job of grieving that loss. I avoided it. Decided that my grief didn’t matter and that I didn’t think I had a right to grieve. I felt like I wasn’t close enough to her towards the end of her life. My heart hurt like no body’s business to watch her husband and her children place her in the ground. But it took me such a long time to finally grieve her death. I avoided my grief. And when it finally hit, it was that deep in the middle of the night wake up sobbing sort of devastation and loss. When I was finally able to grieve, I realized something. Grief is terrible and it hurts like nothing else… but it is such a gift. When you avoid it you can never truly come to grips with it. There’s a part of you that’s always exposed and raw. While the pain of her loss will always be there, I still cry cause I miss her and wish I could go to her house and chat like we used to… it’s different. I am realizing that until you let yourself hurt you will never be be at peace. Until you grieve your loss, you will never heal. 
And so… though most people will not understand my deep grief at the loss of this other dear, sweet friend of mine… I am still going to grieve her being gone. I am going to be sad. I loved her. She mattered to me. That’s my right to grieve. And I don’t want to hide from the healing that comes when I allow myself to feel what I am feeling. I won’t hide this time. 

an open letter to my friend

dear friend,

I see it. I see it in your eyes. The darkness that your smiles and words can’t hide. The terror that someone will find out mixed with the terror that no one will ever care. I see it. Oh, I see it. Not with the eyes of judgement but with eyes of one who has been there. One whose heart is breaking with yours. I know that darkness, I know that fear. I wish I could wrap you up tightly in my arms, I wish I could take you to safety. It hurts knowing I can’t take it away. It hurts ’cause that darkness. . . consumes everything. Not just you and your emotions. It seeps into everything else too, it affects everyone that is near you. The last people in the world you want to hurt, you’re pushing away. It’s hurting them. The darkness is consuming them too. So much hurt. So much pain. Those people you love end up pointing fingers in your face cause they don’t understand. They can’t even begin to comprehend it. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. And the cycle continues. Hurt upon hurt upon hurt. It feels like you’re drowning in it. You want it to end. You have lost hope that it ever will end.

It’s such a hard, hard, dark, dark, terrifying place. I can hardly stand it that you’re there. I feel so helpless. I don’t know how to help.

I want to tell you there is hope, that my God is there in the dark, dark scary places, even if you can’t feel Him. I want to tell you that the people hurting you right now LOVE you more than you can imagine, even though it feels like they hate you. They’re just hurting, trying to fix you, and they don’t get it. I want to tell you that God is a God of hope. There is hope. It’s HIM. Push into Him. Dig deep into HIM. Believe what the Bible says even when you can’t feel it. I also want to tell you that your feelings are your own worst enemy right now. You can’t trust them, you can’t let them define what is truth. You have to make decisions right now. You can feel your sadness, but please don’t believe the lies the darkness is screaming at you. I want to tell you so many things. . . but I am guessing you won’t hear me. Because I have been there. I know what it’s like. Until you believe that I love you and want what’s best for you, you won’t hear a word I say.

So I pray for you, dear, dear Friend. Often. Over and over. Sometimes I don’t even know how to pray. I pray wordless prayers. A lot. I keep reminding myself that my God loves you far more than I do. You’re in good hands.

so much love, Brittany

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p.s. if  you’re reading this open letter and you barely know me or know me extremely well and desperately need someone to talk to. please email me. I would count it a privilege and honor to hear your heart.