Search Results for: broken limb

Going Out on a Broken Limb

I was listening to a conversation between my husband and his mom tonight as she continues to try to figure out why she fell so hard to the colds that were running around our house, and why it’s taking her so long to get her strength back. Her bottom line? She went  out on a limb, going beyond what God had called her to do, and that limb broke beneath her.

If we feel overwhelmed, it’s not because God made us so; it’s because we’re not giving Him the burden, or it’s because, like my mother-in-law, we’ve taken on things we had no business taking on.

“Oh, but I love doing things for other people!” You might say. And doing things for other people is a good thing. But there are a lot of people out there who need things done for them. Does that mean you have to do it all?

“But God has given me the gift of (fill in the blank),” you might say. “I’m not fully using the gift He gave me if I don’t do (fill in the blank).”

But, but, but. We can always come up with good reasons to do the good things that we do. My mother-in-law is a piano teacher. Teaching kids how to make music is certainly not a bad thing. Nobody would say it was.

Bottom line, though, is that it was for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1); not for slavery to “good deeds.” He sets the boundaries, He makes the calls, He directs our steps. We’ve got to ask Him what He wants and then listen to the response. If we don’t, we risk burnout.

Just ask my mother-in-law. She’s knows how that feels. And it doesn’t feel very good.

Thankful today for:

148. the beach

149. aloe

150. ibuprofen

Chapter 8—Comfort

Welcome to chapter 8! As always, remember this is an unedited free write. Comments, critiques, questions are welcomed. You can read previous chapters by clicking the link to the left on the bottom of the post. I’d love to hear from you! Enjoy!


Chapter 8



Since Cory had an early class before he went to work at the bookstore, they called it a night after taking a leisurely stroll around the Village and then back to the parking garage where Erin had parked just that morning. Somehow it seems so much longer ago than that. A lot had happened in one day.

“Try not to worry,” Cory comforted with a hug. “We really can’t do anything more for awhile.”

“I’ll really try,” Erin answered as she unlocked the driver’s door of the Bug. “But you know how my head works. I can’t stop it if it wants to go running off in different directions. Kinda like herding cats, you know?” She laughed as she settled into the driver’s seat and stuck the key in the ignition.

Cory closed the door and waved her away as she backed out of her parking spot and drove away.

Knowing she probably shouldn’t, but unable to stop herself, instead of heading home, she turned the Bug toward Hazel’s house. It’s not that she didn’t trust Scott, she reasoned, quite the opposite, in fact. But sometimes a woman is just a tad more observant. That estrogen locator device and all. It would make her feel better if she looked around for herself. As she wound around the hilly roads, she replayed the voicemail message in her head again. What had she said? She thinks she knew what happened? She didn’t think it was an accident? She was afraid?

What could she possibly have found out after 20 years? And why hadn’t she called Erin’s cell phone? The questions just kept coming. Soon, she pulled her car into the short driveway in front of Hazel’s dilapidated house. She couldn’t understand Hazel’s hesitation to let people come and help her keep it up. Landscaping was hard to maintain in the hills as rocky ground and steep drops were common.

To look at the outside of the 70s home, one would think it was abandoned. Plywood covered windows and the brown paint was chipping so badly there were more bare places than there were painted ones. Erin grabbed the flashlight her father always insisted she carry in her glove box, and stepped out of the car.

She didn’t really know what she was looking for, but she started with going up to the front door. Maybe she had come home between Scott’s visit and now. Erin pounded loudly on the door and yelled for good measure, “Hazel! Hazel, are you in there? It’s Erin Harrison!” She stopped to listen for anything from the interior, but was met by stone silence.

She stepped to one side and tried to shine her light in a small crack in the plywood over the front window, but she couldn’t see a thing. Careful to watch her footing through the tall weeds and broken pots from long-abandoned plants that were once carefully tended, Erin tried to make her way around to the back yard. In the darkness, even with the flashlight, she feared injury, so she turned back and headed to the detached garage.

Suddenly her cell phone chirped with Pepper’s text tone: “You home?”

Erin knew she couldn’t lie to her friend, so she responded, “umm, not exactly.”

“What does that mean?” Came the quick reply.

Erin debated how much to say. She decided prevarication was the way to go: “made a stop on my way home. Be there soon.”

“I’m coming over” came the reply.

Knowing she was on a fool’s mission anyway, Erin turned aside from her path to the garage, climbed back in her car and headed for home, no more wiser than when she came.



Hands: A Guest Post Poem

My 15-year-old daughter, Morgan, is quite an incredible writer. I have posted essays of hers before (see this one from when she was 10, and this one from when she was 13). Once again, I share her work with you.

As I lie here in the new year, I reflect on my past, and as I do so, my eyes slowly fall to my hands.

baby hand

Morgan’s baby hand with Momma’s.

These hands, that have done so much. These hands that have helped build houses, and destroy them. These hands that have held both monstrous and precious things. These hands that have written poems and painted masterpieces (at least in my mind). These hands that have drawn stick figures of best friends in a park.

These hands have done so much. They have wiped away tears, caused comfort and hurt. They are both yin and yang as they fold together for prayer. The things they have done, the monuments they have touched.

You wouldn’t think it at first glance, but they are the most experienced part of our bodies. They have realized things that our brains did not record. They have felt things that our feet could not reach. They have done things that the rest of our body could never deem possible.

sand hand

Morgan’s hand, 4th grade

These hands that have broken objects, and fixed them. These hands that can carry a gun in one hand and a child in another. These hands that are so complex, they require more bones than the rest of our body. These hands that so often go unnoticed, yet hold the most fascinating stories. These hands that have seen sorrows, hardships, joys, and triumphs.

Hands that have helped me climb mountains and explore caverns. Hands that have helped me beat a punching bag and hold a small kitten. These hands that hold so many memories and trials.

These hands are God’s. He holds them as you lift them for praise. He holds them as you raise fists in the air, as you ask Him why? He holds them as you cry. He holds them as you laugh. Because like your hands, He is always there by your side no matter what it is you are going through.


Morgan’s hands hold a sleeping Linus.

Because like your hands, He is with you through hardships and successes. Because like your hands, He will help you build what needs to be built in your life, and tear down the walls that you had so foolishly built.

God holds the whole world, but He also holds your hands. He places his hands on your face as you melt into His presence. Take a look at your hands, and wonder what stories they hold, and how God has been with you, every step of the way.

Helicopter Parenting, part 2

helicopter momLast time, I shared some thoughts about what happened to a mom who left her 4-year-old son in her car on a cool day while she went in to purchase one item at a store. (Read that here.) This post is a continuation of those thoughts about what it means to keep our kids safe.

Have you ever willingly fed your child GMO-laced foods? Have you been so busy you just didn’t have time to make dinner, so you ran by McDonald’s instead? What? Do you know how terrible that stuff is for you? Have you never seen “Super-Size Me?”

Have you used chemical cleaners in your home? Have you fed your family meats laden with hormones? These things are supremely bad for your health, and yet people eat them every day, and feed them to their children. Considering the circumstances, the above-mentioned mom’s lapse of judgement did not put her child in immediate danger. It wasn’t boiling hot; she locked the car and set the alarm; she was gone a few minutes. Dumb idea? Yes. Endangering her child? Sure. Nearly everything we do endangers our children to some degree. I let my kids play with our dog. Did I know that at any moment she wouldn’t bite one of them? No. How could I be totally sure of that? She was an animal. But I considered the circumstances, I had a history with this animal, and I instructed my kids not to get right in her face.

I tend toward helicopterness. I admit it. My teenage boys hate it. My 11-year-old daughter has never even crossed the moderately busy two-lane road by our house on her own. She’s never really had to. She’s always had someone to go with her. Next year, I’ll probably let her go on her own. She might be late to school as she tends to wait until there’s no car visible on the straight stretch of road, but so be it. She’ll get better as she does it. I let my kids climb the big magnolia tree in our backyard. Could they fall out? Oh yeah. Does that mean I don’t let them climb?

Our media-saturated, internet-addicted, child-centric society sometimes goes too far. We hear more stories than were ever heard of before because we have immediate access to those stories from all across the nation. It used to only be on the nightly news. And yet, from what I understand, crime rates are actually down compared to the 70s and 80s. So why do we fear the worst could happen? Because it could. That’s just the way it is. And no matter how much we try to protect our kids, something could still happen.

Are there people out there who really are bad parents and should have their kids taken away? Absolutely. I just watched a news story about a 15-month old girl who wandered more than 300 feet away from her home and ended up on the side of a highway. What? Where were her parents then? I also just read a story about a dad who forgot his baby in the backseat of his truck for a couple of hours in the Florida heat. The baby died.

That story and Kim’s, I believe, are very different situations. Kim weighed the circumstances and deemed it OK to leave her 4-year-old for a few minutes. Again, was it a bad decision? Maybe. But under the circumstances, it wasn’t over-the-top dangerous. Am I advocating leaving young kids in the car? No. In this case, avoiding possible tragedy is easy (even if you have to take a kicking and screaming child) and sensible.

The dad in Florida, well, he’ll have to live with his error for the rest of his life. Apparently, he forgot he had the child with him that day.

Kids die falling out of trees. Kids die waiting for their school bus on the side of the road. Kids die from dog bites. Kids die from automobile accidents. Every day. It’s tragic, I get that. But vilifying everyone who does something that you think poses too much of a threat, or keeping your child locked up in a bubble because you’re afraid the worst could happen really isn’t helping matters. It’s a broken world; bad things happen.

Ultimately, we make hundreds of little and big decisions every day about our kids. We can only do our best and the rest is in God’s hands.

My 17-year-old will drive himself to school and work. All three of my kids will climb that tree in our yard. My daughter will walk across the street by herself. It’s called living. I can’t protect them forever.

I’m willing to engage in polite debate on the subject. Comment below.


illustration by Jan von Holleben via