because a label is just a label, but we are a glorious unfolding…


There are days a label is nice. I like to know a behavior can be related to anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, sensory processing disorder, past trauma, or depression…the labels my daughter has been given over the past year or so.

Other days a label makes me want to flip my **** and throw something against the wall because a set of symptoms cannot even begin to describe the things I watch her struggle with.

Some days are filled with extreme clarity. Concerning emotions or behaviors almost cease to exist. I hope they disappear for good, but reality tells me they will come back.

Other days I can barely catch my breath as I attempt to meander gracefully from one concern to the next. Days like these symptoms are all too real, and they threaten to suck my mommy heart under.

And maybe there is a medical thing underlying all of this – we are currently doing testing to find out.

I feel like a jerk because some part of me hopes there is. Nothing serious…Lord please nothing serious, just something a medicine could treat…or a simple tweak of this or that could fix. But even then, it’s unlikely a magic pill can or could leave her suddenly departed from her struggles. Although heaven knows if this simple of a solution existed, I would move heaven and earth to find it.

Much more likely is a slow and steady approach. Continued therapy by her amazing counselor, occupational therapy for the sensory issues, medication management, and letting Jesus mold her into the person He created her to be.

I guess that’s the one place I find peace. None of this is a surprise to Him. He knows every millimeter of her tiny brain and He formed it with care, exactly how He knew it needed to be. And who am I to question His majesty?

I don’t suppose any of us come into who He has called us to be without some bumps and bruises along the way. She just seems to be stockpiling difficulties beyond what I accept as an appropriate measure.

And so a label is nice. It gives us an appropriate researched regimen for treatment, but that’s really all it does. It doesn’t define her life, nor do the feelings the label creates get to define mine. Rather there are just large collections of thoughts, emotions, and actions that stack up to form day after day. And it’s what we do with these thoughts, emotions, and actions that matter.

Do we praise God in the storm and dance in the rain, or run away afraid and surround ourselves with tears? There’s a time and place for both, but most of all I just want to be thankful for life the way it is. It may not look like I thought it would, but how boring would it be to have a plain Jane life anyways?

Lauren gets to live, I get to live, we all get to live, the glorious unfolding. Our story is not over. And we will be amazed.




because He is the competent keeper of our hands and feet…


Hands and feet are curious things. We can do good with them, harm with them, or even nothing at all. Seeing my daughter struggle with the sensations in her appendages has given me a whole new appreciation for the fact that my hands and feet function. They are not overly sensitive and don’t cause me pain. They just serve their purpose.

They can get dirty and that’s okay. I don’t mind putting lotion on them, or someone touching them. They can rub the wrong way on the carpet and I don’t give it a second thought. But my daughter does. Any one of these things can send her writhing for hours in what appears to be pain. She can’t handle it. And she cries.

Seeing her huddled up on the couch this weekend, trying to protect herself from sensation, rattled me to the core. I hated it for her. It pained me, and there was nothing I could do.

If I could, I would impart peace into the parts of her brain that cause her so much anxiety. I would calm her nerves and slow her rapid breathing. In fact, if I could take the pain for her myself, I would. But I can’t. I’m stuck as an observer.

And it’s an amazing parallel to how Christ must feel when He looks at me…

He sees me sqiurming and writhing. Not in physical pain, but emotional distress.

I don’t know what the answers are to my daughters dilemmas…and that bothers me. I draw my hands and feet close and beg for the pain of uncertainty to stop touching me. Maybe if I curl myself tight enough I can just avoid the way powerlessness makes me feel. Because it’s so very uncomfortable. I don’t like it at all.

And He offers me His peace. He longs to slow my breathing and the pace of my rapidly answer searching anxious brain. It pains Him to see me refuse the rest He offers. He wishes I would take it, but no matter how bad He wants it for me, I must choose it for myself.

I don’t know how much of Lauren’s struggle is within her control. Can she choose to breathe, decompress, and relax through her sensations? Maybe…I hope so. But in moments of distress, the choice seems impossible. My best option is teaching her to relax in the good moments so she has skills to use when it gets bad, but she must choose to accept and use this teaching.

Much of our life struggles are completely beyond our control. But can we choose to seek the Lord when times are good so that when it hurts, we know where to find rest.

Because ultimately He is the keeper of our hands and feet. Drawing them close to us in attempts to avoid pain and uncertainty might seem functional, and may even be functional for a moment, but we cannot stay that way. Eventually we have to get down and let our toes rub deeply into the carpets that make us cringe, trusting that even in the pain we will be okay. Because we have sought His presence in the light, we know the dark will not overwhelm us. We can hurt, be uncomfortable, and yet choose to Be Still.

But it takes practice. And it takes knowing. And it takes tolerance. And most of all, it takes choosing to believe that His Word is absolutely, always true.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lordthe Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121 NIV

Because redemption sets us free 1000 times in a 1000 different ways…


Trauma affects us in different ways at different times. And so does redemption.

Its been almost 20 years since I was raped, and almost 10 since I broke the silence and actually gave a voice to what happened to me.

Throughout that time there have been highs, lows, and everything in between. I was once under the impression that if I “processed” through my pain in therapy I would be miraculously and instantaneously healed. And when I wasn’t, I was disappointed. I wanted to swallow a magical pill of survivorship that would forever grant me peace. But that’s not realistic. Healing is a process. A lifetime process. And that’s okay.

My friend Twilla illustrates this process in something she calls trauma rings. We have an experience, we find a measure of resolution and healing, followed by peace and rest. Then life happens, the experience is triggered again, and we discover a deeper or different place that needs to be healed. We work through it, move on, and take another break. The process continues ring after ring throughout different developmental and circumstantial phases of our life.

I’ve experienced the activation of these rings lately. Watching my daughter experience some of her own trials resparked memories of my own. It was tough and I had to work through yet another layer.

But I am discovering another part of this ring thing…and that is the idea of the redemption ring.

When I first told my story, I was in a deep state of depression. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was desperate for the overwhelming hurt that came with processing trauma to stop. I remember lying on the floor sobbing, barely able to breath, and begging God to take the pain away.

And in that moment, He spoke to me.

He gave me vision of something beautiful. Vision of helping others who had been sexually assaulted or abused. He rejoiced over me with singing and told me I no longer had to be afraid. That the pain would eventually lessen, and I would find peace and rest in Him. It was my first sweet taste of redemption.

Over the next several years I would be redeemed in different times and different ways. At first, I found freedom by sharing my story in writing. I began writing a blog which God grew into opportunities to speak at women’s conferences, write a devotion about my experience for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and a guest post for  And it felt amazing.

Then I led a support group for survivors of sexual abuse. I felt so empowered.

And then there was a long lull. My writing waned, I was in a job that I didn’t feel purposeful about, and for a few years I just felt stuck. But it was in this stuck time that God was preparing me for something even greater.

Over the past year I have been able to start a private practice. And I don’t even know how to describe what I feel or what it means to be able to help others in this way. There is nothing that brings me greater joy than sitting with a hurting soul, giving them space to share their story, and loving them through the healing process. Letting me walk alongside hearts that are hurting is the greatest gift God could have ever given to me. And I want to do it forever. It’s a huge part of why I am here. It’s brings me life. It’s my redemption, and it’s only because of God that I am free.

Psalm 111:9 says, “He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name.”

His redemption is our everything. It has to be. Because trauma happens. And it’s rough and painful and everything about life that is just wrong. But so does deliverance. And when the waters part and we realize we are no longer slaves to fear, but indeed beautifully broken children of God…it changes things. We are finally free.

And if you like this post…you TOTALLY need to listen to this song…


because some feelings just don’t have a big red bow…


Today was field trip day for Lauren. A day filled with sweat, dirt, and the requirement of wearing tennis shoes.

Lauren doesn’t mind wearing tennis shoes, but due to sensory sensitivity she cannot tolerate a tennis shoe and sock combo. She always goes sockless. You can just imagine the amount of foot perspiration this causes…

She had a great time on her field trip, but the moment she got in the car, the shoes had to come off. And that’s when the fun started. The feeling of sweat on, around, and in-between her toes was just too much. She cried and cried with her feet held in the air and her toes spread out until we could get home and she could wash them. And it didn’t stop there…

These sweaty strange feeling feet and toes could not come in contact with the floor, so naturally she had to knee scoot all the way from the garage into the bathroom to wash them.

As I watched her scoot into the house I thought, it’s amazing the lengths we will go to, the ways we will bend and twist, in order to avoid anything touching or triggering our most pain filled sensitive places.

If I could teach her anything it would be that sweaty feet and the contact they make with the floor won’t harm her. That she can stand discomfort, learn to sit with it, and the sensation and compulsion to wash will pass…but she isn’t open to that yet. Right now she believes she can’t stand it, and no one is going to tell her different.

And I’ve been there. I don’t have sensory processing issues, but there are times I struggle to sit with emotional pain and discomfort. Part of me knows the pain feelings will pass and that I can stand them, but there are days I want to run to the bathroom and wash them off.

I’ve tried swishing them around in the soapy water of avoidance, but it hasn’t worked yet. In fact, when I try to avoid pain, it just spreads deeper and wider.

The thing that often cleanses pain is to stop trying to wash it off in the first place. Sometimes we just have to accept it for what it is. That there is no need to avoid, or bend and twist. To realize the proverbial sweat on and in-between our toes won’t kill us. That pain is tolerable.

Easier said than done. I get that. Sitting with pain feels foreign and awkward especially if you grew up masking, hiding, and tieing a big red bow around your emotional state to make it more presentable. But not all feelings have a big red bow. Sweat is just sweat. Pain is just pain. And sometimes crap is just crap. There’s no need to waste effort avoiding it, because it’s present whether we find it palatable or not.

I love what The Bible says in Philippians 4:12-13, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

What a blessing that is. To be content in knowing our soul has been harvested by Christ, and that no matter how much discomfort life causes, we will choose to sit with it and be okay because He gives us strength. We don’t have to knee scoot to avoid, and no matter what life pitches our way, as long as we have Jesus, we will be okay.

because being a kid with sensory issues is painful, and so is being their mom, and that’s okay…



My daughter struggles with sensory processing issues. And it doesn’t stop there. It causes her a great deal of anxiety and depression.

For the longest time I didn’t really understand. I wanted to help her. I wanted to be empathetic but I wasn’t really sure how.

This morning God put a fresh thought on my heart. Her struggle with sensory processing is a lot like a struggle with chronic pain. Putting on her shoes is not just bothersome, it’s painful. Wearing socks is excruciating. Hearing me scratch my head is like nails on a chalkboard. It overwhelms her. And it never stops. There are days she copes with it better than others, but most days it’s just plain hard. 

And it sounds weird, but understanding her battle as a dual with pain helps me understand. She’s not trying to annoy me or make me late for work. Her goal isn’t to make homework time into World War III or abandon her commitments. She’s doing the best she can with what she has. And there’s grace for that.

As her mom, I’m also doing the best I can. I don’t mean to yell at her and tell her she’s going to make me miss my meeting, or roll my eyes when she tries yet another outfit, or loudly sigh when she just can’t get something done in my allotted time frame. But sometimes I do. And there’s grace for that.

When it all comes down, we are both doing the best we can. And for whatever reason God sees fit to allow her tiny nerves to be exposed to extreme levels. Her senses are raw. She doesn’t like it, and neither do I.  I don’t understand why it has to be this way, but I respect God, so I can respect it.

I can’t fix it, but I can accept it.

I can’t always smile through it, but I can sometimes. And sometimes I can even laugh about it.

And whether you are a mom of a child with sensory issues, anxiety, and depression, or not….you have your own battles. They may look different, but in so many ways they are the same.

So we respect, accept, cry at times, but smile and laugh through the tears …because in the end we know God is good. He is sovreighn, and as long as we walk with Him, there is no obstacle to great. We can keep going. We will keep going. And we will praise His name.


Our emotions don’t have to define our actions, but sometimes it feels that way…



Our emotions don’t have to define our actions, but sometimes it feels that way. Over the past week there has been a lot of emotion in my home. Having a 10 year old girl will do that for you. Her emotional storm starts brewing, and it seems mine inevitably follows. And the thing is, emotions are gifts. All of them. The positive ones and the negative ones. The clear ones and the muddy ones. They all serve a purpose, but at times they get annoying.

I find myself wishing I was one of those stoic people who could go around making decisions based off data and not let my feelings or fears get in the way. But that’s not me. It’s not how God wired me, and apparently not how he wired my child. He made us both deep thinkers and feelers, which I love…and I hate.

I hate to see her worry about things I know won’t matter 10 years from now. It’s hard to see her hurt. And I desperately want her to know even though her emotions overwhelm her at times, if she will channel them in a positive direction – she will find they are a blessing. But she’s 10…and these things take time. I’m 34 and just now figuring out my emotions don’t have to define my actions.

And maybe you are a deep feeler too. Things that breeze past other people settle into your bones. No matter how hard you try to shake, emotions just stay and sit. They come in and have coffee. They nest themselves deep into the sinews of your bones and the muscles of your heart. Emotions come to you and find a home. And this is good. We need to feel. And we need to connect.

In fact, the most emotional turmoil often arises when we decide to push our emotions away and tell ourselves it’s not okay to feel what we feel. Because here’s the thing, a feeling is what it is. We might be able to change it eventually by working on our thoughts, changing the environment, and altering our expectations – but these things take time. And in the moment – well – a feeling just is…and sometimes we just need to feel it. Not act on it…not shame ourselves for having it…not try and push it away…but just feel it – for ALL that it is. And then, when we are ready, we can let it go. And maybe even think about moving on.






because what should have happened did…but sometimes that feels really painful…


There is so much in life we have very little control over. We can blame, and shame, and throw could’s, should’s and would’s at a situation – but it doesn’t change what happened. What should have happened did. And that’s it.

Maybe it doesn’t feel like what should have happened did. Maybe it felt horribly awful. Maybe there is no conceivable way of making sense or meaning out of actions that are just senseless…but we try to. Because if we can, well that would mean we had some element of control. And let’s face it, we all hate feeling out of control.

I hate it so much I can hardly stomach it…literally. When I feel out of control, I don’t just walk, I run to the bathroom over and over again because my insides just want to get all the painful crap out – in whatever means possible!

And it pains me to think about it…that there is nothing I could have done. That I had limited control.  But I did the best I could with what I had at the time.

And isn’t that just who we are? Humans muddling through life doing the very best we can. Hoping and praying He gives us the knowledge we need to love well and that God’s complete sovreighnty will reign over the rest.

Because we don’t always know what we are doing. Sometimes we make bad decisions without even realizing what we did. Blinded by past hurt and pain we react out of broken places. Sometimes it turns out well. Other times it doesn’t.

In the end, we just have to keep going, knowing humanity isn’t all there is. That there is a God that loves us beyond our ability to even recognize what true love is. That He loves us in a way that never wants to be separated. So much He sent His son to die WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS.

He didn’t die for perfect us, or healed us…

He died for sinner us.

On your worst day He died for you.

On your best day He died for you.

On every day He died for you because that is who He is.

He would die a thousand deaths over and over again if it meant getting to bring you into His eternal presence. Because He loves you. That is all.

No should, could, or would because that stuff doesn’t matter to Him. He sees you not as you are, but as He would have us be. Who He made us to be. And we can choose to see ourselves that way too, because if that is how Christ sees us, well that’s good enough for me.

what if I stopped trying to be, and just allowed Him to be in me…


Because sometimes I don’t feel like I can be. That no matter how hard I try, I will not measure up.

And it scares me. How am I supposed to do God’s will when I can’t remember to buy toilet paper at the grocery store? How can He use such a hot mess? It seems dang near impossible.

And it’s in times like these that I prop up my sails and set out on a journey. Maybe the original revelation I experienced wasn’t true. Maybe when God was passing out vision for the future He accidentally sent me someone else’s. Someone much stronger and smarter. Someone more gifted. A talented poised woman who lives down the street. There must have been a mix up.

And I search and search for a more appropriate vision, but all that sits on the horizon are empty waters. And I get frustrated.

God show me where and how I need to be?

I see nothing.

All the while, the original vision God placed with purpose sits on the deck of my life, veiled in blanket after blanket of insecurity. It is readily available, but out of fear I leave it untouched. Afraid of what looking at it might mean.

Have you ever felt this way? Like you seek vision after vision from God – direction – a big flashing light – yet you see nothing? I wonder what would happen if instead of seeking to discover, we sought to uncover the greatness of what is already present? Would we find that what we are looking for sits right under out noses?

Because that vision He gave you may look frightening, and masking it with insecurity may seem less threatening. But until we look at what God truly has for us, even the parts we might be afraid of, we will continue to feel unfulfilled and empty. He set each of us out for a purpose and it’s not a cruel joke. He has already given us everything we need to survive and thrive.

His purpose remains. It hasn’t changed just because of our feelings. The way we feel about our purpose has nothing to do with what He offers us. We decide if we will accept it with grace and empowered strength, or run away in fear. Either way, His purpose remains unchanged.

What if I stopped trying to be, and just allowed Him to be in me?

anxiety and hope…



Hopes are often expectations that don’t yet have a voice. Sometimes we think they sound silly. Other times we just don’t want to speak them because then they gain life – and when they gain life – it might hurt too bad if they don’t come to fruition.

Here is what I have learned about hope. Hope is amazing. Without it, people become suicidal. It’s true. Hopelessness is a huge indicator for a person completing suicide. With hope, life seems to have purpose and meaning.

But if you are like me, hope can also cause you a great deal of anxiety.

And what particularly causes me anxiety is when I choose to place my hopes in someone else. I wonder if they can deliver? And what if they don’t? I’m so empathetic that I usually understand, but it hurts me none the less. Dashed hope can cause a brutal amount of sadness and unrest.

And here is the thing. Anxiety flourishes when hope is built on an expectation that can only be fulfilled by someone else. Because no matter how hard we try, we cannot control another person’s actions. We just can’t. So what do we do?

Our expectation, our hope, must shift to becoming our own – knowing that whatever choices are made outside of ourselves – we can handle it with Christ’s dignity, peace, grace, mercy and strength. When we actively accept these qualities from Him as part of the hope process-our anxiety melts into rest and hopelessness simply ceases to exist.

I have high hopes going into this school year. But as a parent of a special needs child, there is a part of me that must know there is going to be difficulty. I have to accept this – or I am setting myself up for an emotional roller coaster ride that makes me want to puke. So I have high hopes, but they are not dependent on my son’s behavior – the teacher’s skill – the recommendations that come out of an ARD – or how he will be treated by other students – my hope rests inside of me. And inside of me lives Christ. I can speak this hope, I can give it life, because I know it’s true. I can handle all things with Christ inside of me. And even when my insides feel like they are being ripped to shreds – I know I will get through it with Him.

He has to be the center of our hope. There is no other way. He is the creator of our peace. We must choose to accept Him as our enough.