Grace Always Looks Good on You

Things got a little contentiously edgy at the Collie house recently.

Itchy. Irritable. It’s hard to find the right words but I think you know what I’m talking about.

We had a getaway road trip planned for just after the homeschool community year wrapped up… and then we had to cancel it because it involved a lot of hiking and I think maybe I mentioned a certain five-year-old has a broken ankle?

So Plan B became Plans B, C, and D. And then D got cancelled, because the boot still couldn’t come off… so we rolled with B, C and I don’t know E or F. 

The adventure turned into a vacation/staycation/vacation/staycation/vacation… three separate small trips happening with a day or two at home in between. 

Yep, we might be crazy.

When we got home from the first marvelous week of the staycation/vacation lineup, tensions seemed to be a little high. 

For example…

The contention of who got to ride in which seats in the car simmered close to boiling.

Someone wanted to be the only one to go pick up the dog, and refused to go since someone else was going.

And?

Someone’s half-finished drawing got slightly wet in a bookbag, and life as we knew it was over.

We sat down for lunch and began to try to process what was causing all the hullabaloo, and we finally acknowledged some elephants in the room: Everyone had a lot of excitement for several days. Everyone had a good bit less than their usual amount of sleep for several days.

Basically? Everyone was dang tired.

Sometimes when we have the least grace to give, we’re asked to give the most.

The Hero Hubs and I acknowledged that everyone was probably tired after a long week. We made some gentle requests about how our kiddos could show their appreciation for our efforts at planning a fun and special week for them. 

In a way, I think we mostly just talked about the elephant in the room, and covered it in a blanket of grace. 

Different translations of Psalm 103 change the word ‘pities’ to the word ‘has compassion.’ Either way – what a gift it is that God has compassion on us, takes pity on us, and remembers that we are dust. He remembers we’re fragile and flawed, and likely to fail.

Sometimes we need to be reminded: we’re all dust.

The gift we can give to each other, as we handle conflict and contentious edginess, is to do the same thing: remember that the person in front of us is fragile and flawed, and dust. Acknowledge the elephants in the room – human realities like tiredness, homesickness, or loneliness. 

Pull on a thick blanket of grace.

So, darling friend, as you’re interacting with your co-workers, or family, or friends this week, do you think you could practice seeing them the way the Father sees them… which is also the way the Father sees you? 

He sees our frame: fragile and flawed, yes. But He sees us as worthy of pity and compassion, too. 

Isn’t it incredible: Grace was always God’s Plan A for you and me?

P.S. If you missed our family’s miracle story on the 700 Club a few weeks ago, you can still watch it, AND grab the Crisis ebook I created out of a heart to share a little slice of what we learned in that hard place with others going through hard places. Both links are right here: https://www.carolinecollie.com/links/

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Our Family on TV Last Week

“How’d you feel about being on TV today?” 

“Kinda weird.” With a half grin, Blake answers. His post-bath-time wet hair is spiky in every direction.

Turns out I have a kid who has been on the front page of the New York Times. His face has graced the pages of our local newspaper and TV station, his voice has echoed across the air waves on the radio around here. 

And he couldn’t care less, but I’m beginning to recognize what he does care about.

Blake basically asks for the same thing just about every day. It’s something most kids ask for. It is something most human beings are asking for, but they don’t always know how to ask.

He brings me tiny Lego creations and wants my eyes to take in the creativity. 

He scribbles stick-figure comic strips that I’m not totally sure I “get.”

He draws folding surprise pictures, and wants me to open the flaps to see what’s inside.

He’s asking what we’re all asking: Do you see me?

When I stop what I’m doing to really look, I say yes.

When I stop what I’m doing to really listen, I say yes.

Yes, I see. Yes, I really see.

What an impact it made on Nathanael when he realized Jesus saw him before he knew he’d even been seen. Perhaps quiet and meditating under his own fig tree, in his own garden – Jesus commends Nathanael as ‘an Israelite in whom there is no deceit’ and between the lines it seems He says, “Before you were called, before you were willing to come, I saw you.” 

When we realize we are seen, we also begin to see a little more clearly.

So what can we learn from a kid who doesn’t care about his miracle story being told to the masses – but wants his Mama to see his Lego creations every day?

  1. We are all kids who want to be seen the most by the people who matter to us the most. So let’s pay attention to our people. Let’s turn our screens off, put our phones down, make eye contact, and really see, really hear, really be present for our spouses, our parents, our children, our friends. Your fully-here presence says Yes, I see.
  2. We are all kids with a Father who sees us. He isn’t distracted by a cosmic iPhone in His pocket. He really sees you, beloved. He really hears your prayers. His fully-here presence says, Yes, I see. Yes, I hear. Yes, I care.

This is loving God and loving your neighbor: to truly love, we have to truly see. And to receive God’s great love for us, we have to believe we are seen.

Can you slow down this week to see, darling? Dear one, precious child of God, can you hear El Roi whisper, “I see you?” You are fully seen and known, and miraculously – so loved, so so loved at the same time.

P.S. If you missed the 700 Club story this week, you can watch it, and grab the Crisis ebook I created out of a heart to share a little slice of what we learned in that hard place with others going through hard places. Both links are right here: https://www.carolinecollie.com/links/

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Me, Eating Humble Pie

Question.

Has anything happened lately that forced you to take on a little more humility than you’re generally interested in wearing?

There’s a comedian the Hero Hubs and I find very amusing, and he talks about going to parties and putting his foot in his mouth, because he steps into conversations he doesn’t know anything about. His conclusion was that he should probably join a group and say: 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Can I still stand here?”

Last week I started a conversation with my husband that felt urgent, but I didn’t handle it with care. And it was the type of conversation that deserved to be handled with care. Honestly, I timed it all wrong. I hadn’t really thought it through. His natural response was to be defensive.

When we began unpacking what the trouble was, I could see the poor choices I’d made. And a big fat heavy weight began sitting on my chest. I realized that owning a mistake, apologizing and working it out is every bit as challenging for adults as it is for toddlers – and perhaps even more so.

I was grateful Mark took the time to be honest with me about why he felt the way he felt, and I was reminded that admitting mistakes, talking and processing hurts, and finding a way forward to peace is really dang hard, but man, is it ever necessary!

That kind of communication isn’t just necessary for our marriages – it’s also a part of a vibrant faith.

The heavy weight that sat on my chest when I didn’t want to admit my mistake or apologize to my husband has a name: shame.

And shame likes to communicate its own unpleasant message: You’re a failure. Your mistakes are proof that you’re not good enough. You just plain downright stink. You’re a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

As that weight sat on my chest for a moment the other morning, though, I also heard a different whisper. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit communicates, too.

Yes, you make mistakes. But your mistakes are why Jesus died. They are covered by His grace. They do not define you. 

You are flawed, but not a failure. 

You are forgiven and redeemed.

Once I could turn my heart toward Jesus, it was easier to remember that admitting I’ve made a mistake does not equal admitting that I am a mistake.

Repentance is really just a fancy way of saying we’re admitting our mistakes and asking for forgiveness, right?

These days I think we are longing to plant flags and feel settled on something. A viewpoint on a particular issue. A side or a stance that we’ve taken on something. Even just an early morning conversation that didn’t go how we wanted it to.

Maybe Holy Spirit wants to gently whisper to you and me, “Darling, I want to show you a better way. You think you know what I’m like, what I like, and what I want. But I am so much more than you can possibly grasp. So walk humbly, child, walk humbly.”

I hope this week you’ll brave the waters of communicating with people you love, and with God, about things that really matter to you. Be brave enough to put yourself out there. Be willing to make big mistakes. And then be humble enough to apologize and know that God can use even your biggest flub-ups for His glory.

P.S. Our story will be on 700 Club tomorrow (April 30th) at 9 am and 11 pm on the Freeform channel!

P.P.S. Sign up for my Weekly Email and every Wednesday you’ll have a Scripture to ponder, a story to consider, and some fresh thoughts to improve your communication with God and your people delivered to your inbox!

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Can Better Communication Help You Sleep More Soundly?

Funny story I want to tell you. Our five-year-old (Catriana) fractured her ankle last week. (In case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced like a cat in a tree – CAT-tree-ah-nuh). 

So the fractures aren’t the funny part. Although, it is funny that she seemed only mildly phased, and we got x-rays the next day “just as a precaution” and then discovered two tiny fractures. Well, shucks.

After that big day of visiting the doctor and going for x-rays and being carted piggy-back hither and yon (thank you for letting me say hither and yon) I was settling Catriana in for bed. She sighed and commented: 

“I’m going to sleep very soundly tonight!” (and after a pause) “By the way, what is soundly?”

If you receive my weekly emails*, last week I shared a thought with you that had me pretty amped:

Jesus met people exactly where they were, and He aimed to speak their language.

But what does it look like for us to speak someone else’s language as a healthy communicator? 

When my darling precious little five-year-old decided to use a term she wasn’t quite sure she had a grasp of, she did something really insightful: she checked her own communication to make sure she was communicating what she intended to communicate. 

Like darling KittyCat, we can learn to ask good questions that help us make sure we understand, and we are understood. 

While speaking with our spouse, a friend, or even one of our children we can check to make sure we’re understanding them: “So I think what you’re telling me is _____, but I want to make sure I understand you correctly.” 

Or, “When I use the word, _______, I’m meaning this – I hope that makes sense.” In conversation, we can get immediate feedback to make sure we’re understanding and being understood. What a gift!

I’ve realized when I’m feeling rushed, I sometimes end a conversation with my kids with something like “Well whatever…” and then just walking off. (#momfail) 

Refusing to rush through a conversation or interaction, and slowing to take the time to understand and to be understood: this is a secret ingredient in the recipe for great communication. 

Now what does that look like in our relationship with God?

Surprisingly similar. If we’re communicating with God, we’re better off not rushing, or showing up with a checklist of things that we want to remember to mention before we get on with our day. 

Slowly and consistently bringing our thoughts, emotions and worship to God in prayer is one part of the equation. Reading the Word with the goal of understanding (again, not a checklist!) can also radically impact our relationship with God.

Another part of the equation is sitting still to listen quietly for the whisper of the Holy Spirit.  He isn’t going to shout or clamor for your attention, so it’s in the being still and knowing that some of the most wonderful communication can happen.

We also benefit from refusing to jump to conclusions. We can create space for God to confirm His leading by comparing what we sense in our hearts with what we know to be true in His Word. 

God uses His Word, prayer, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (that thing where you know it in your knower), and even our own circumstances to clarify and verify things He wants to communicate with us.

So, darling friend. Can I encourage you to not rush into a “well whatever” like me this week, and instead take your efforts at communication a little more slowly?

Take a deep breath. Give yourself the space to ponder the response to a question – your response and someone else’s. 

I hope the clarity that results is life-giving. And maybe? You’ll sleep a little more soundly, too.

Sign up for my Weekly Email and every Wednesday you’ll have a Scripture to ponder, a story to consider, and some fresh thoughts to improve your communication with God and your people delivered to your inbox! 

A New eBook For You! 

I created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. It’ll help you communicate with God and the people around you to help you walk through tough seasons.

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Heaven Working Backwards, and Childlike Faith

She squeezes a delicate flower between chubby fingers, and with a beaming smile and a twinkle in her eye, she declares:

“Look, Mama! I got a flower for you!”

Nevermind that the flower has come from a plant we painstakingly placed in our flower bed on hands and knees over the weekend. Nevermind us watering, and tending to it with care.

She has found a gift, and she is proud to give it.

I tend to think my life, my work, and how I fill my days, are of the utmost importance. I can have a self-inflated view of the value of my work.

Everything inside of me doesn’t want to admit this, and wants to scream: No, you’re fine! You don’t have an overinflated view at all!

But when I consider the way I can get so terribly flustered with a long to-do list and a short amount of time, the way I can get frustrated with my own children because this homeschool lesson just has to be done or these chores just have to get finished… I see in myself the belief that these things really are – um, rather a big deal. To me.

When my daughter brought me a flower, and felt so proud of her efforts, bringing me something I planted and watered, I felt like I was seeing a glimpse of my life and efforts in light of the vast and incredible, eternal love of God. 

What can I offer the God who created everything? 

Only the joyful return of what He has given me.

But maybe I need reminding that this is all I can do – and maybe it’s a gift to recognize it in this way. 

If we become like children, then we see that whether we are the CEOs of Amazon or the street sweepers of small town America, humility will help us to see: it is all temporary. 

In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis describes a dream which was a glimpse of Hell and of Heaven. And in the dream, to help him understand what he was seeing he met a favorite author of his, George Macdonald, who was already in heaven.

Lewis was struck by his struggle to understand how the life we now lead on Earth fits into the eternal. Macdonald explains to Lewis:

“Ye cannot in your present state understand eternity… But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damed to have been Hell. This is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing Heaven, once attained will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, ‘Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences’: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin.”

Yes – that was a lot to unpack and I hope you’ll come back and read it again. 

But consider the possibility! Once we have the perspective of eternity, when we are as we were created to be, in union with the Father and in heaven, we will know what we now only glimpse in a mirror dimly: 

This world was just a tiny glimpse, a flash in the pan, a speck in the curtain on the edge of the stage of eternity. 

The souls we touch with the time we have matter immensely. But we are children – and we ought not to think more highly of our efforts than we ought. 

We can only look for ways to bring beauty to our Father. We can only pluck flowers from His garden and joyfully deliver them to Him.

Perhaps becoming like a child will mean I take myself considerably less seriously… and take the words and the will of my Father considerably more.

As you face this day, this month, this hard place, this struggle, this hardship – hold onto the Truth that Heaven can work backward, and that someday even these dark-colored strands will be part of the beautiful tapestry the Father is weaving with your life.

Knowing this, you can give it all, friend. The hurt and the hope. The gifts and talents. The smiles and the grief. Everyone and everything. Give it all to God.

And when it’s all said and done, like a child, you’ll be able to say:

“Look, Father! I found this for You! I did this for You! I gave that cup of cold water, that gift, big or small, those years of service, that friendly smile, this flower I found in Your garden! It is all to You and for You!”

A New eBook For You! 

I JUST created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. I’ve already had such lovely responses to it!

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Lessons on the Soul From My Brother’s Dog

My brother has a big, handsome, rather laid-back dog. 

Duke’s been known to lie down in the middle of a busy Atlanta street, because, well, it was hot, he’d been walking for a while, and he just needed a quick breather.

My favorite of his nicknames, besides “Sir Duke of Buckhead” is Big Sleepy.

If you’ve ever watched an anxious human trying to take a not-so-hurried dog for a walk, you might be getting a decent picture of what our souls are feeling like these days.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a book called Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge. It is water to a weary soul – and offers help for those of us who are feeling frenzied but just can’t put our finger the reason.

One of the ideas that really struck me as I read this book was that the door of our souls opens from the inside. That Jesus stands at the door and knocks, and we choose (or don’t) to let him in. 

Maybe you’ve heard it said before: 

Everyone has about as much of God as they really want. 

God is available and eager to meet us where we are, to help us to find our way into the vine, abiding and in union with Him.

But perhaps a big part of our struggle is that we are forcing ourselves to run at such a hurried pace, we’re leaving our souls behind. 

We aren’t grieving when things hurt.
We aren’t processing situations that have impacted what we think or believe.
We aren’t listening to what our souls are saying about our lives.

Could this be why some people wake up one day and say, “I’m just not sure I believe anymore?” Because their soul was too-hurt-to-care six months ago – and they’ve just been numbly going through the motions, ignoring it all this time? 

Years ago, the Hero Hubs and I tried to adopt and live by a simple axiom:

Hurry hurts.

And, even now, I recognize that hurry is the default state my patterns and personality want to drive me toward. 

Can you relate? Do you:

+ Think about what else you can do with your time while you brush your teeth? 

+ Find yourself struggling to fully listen to someone in conversation without also looking at something else, or checking email, or eagerly planning what you will say next?

+ Constantly look for creative ways to multi-task and squeeze 26 hours of work out of a 24 hour day?

Dallas Willard wrote, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

And when I find in myself the urge to fuss at a child instead of processing a choice together, nine times out of ten, the clock is ticking for me. We need to leave in 20 minutes. Or I need to start dinner in half an hour. 

We have to get through this now, because this is the time I’ve allowed.

Now here’s a crazy thought:

What if God created a beautiful world like this, with a million shades of green and a new sky every morning, because He wanted us to enjoy it?

What if His plan is for us to do the work He created us to do, but also, to enjoy Him, in His creation? As the Westminster Catechism put it, what if our chief end really is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?

What do you think, darling friend? Could your life use a change of pace? Does your soul need some time to taste and see that the Lord is good?

Does the idea of trying to answer that question fill you with dread because you don’t feel like you’ve got time for it? 

Bingo.

We have to take time, friends. The next Zoom call can wait. The world will keep on turning without you. 

But you cannot rightly discern what to do with this one precious life of yours, if you’re too busy spinning wheels to actually observe what you are doing with this one precious life of yours.

Take some time out, friend. And take it as soon as you can. 

Get outside. Slow down. Look at the sky. Remember what it feels like to rub your fingers along the veins of a leaf.

Go for a long walk. And while I don’t want you to lie down on any busy city streets, still, I’d say let’s all take it a little more like Duke. Don’t rush yourself into a frenzy to do the next, and next and next thing.

Live this moment to the fullest. And then you can move on to the next.

A New eBook For You! 

I JUST created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. I’ve already had such lovely responses to it!

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

I See You. I See You. I See You.

I sat in the dealership with my hands crossed over the purse in my lap, willing myself not to burst into tears.

It was time to sell the boat.

When my Dad passed away, my first inheritance was a messy and complicated estate – mountains of work to do with no definitive records. It was nothing short of arduous.

He bought a boat when we moved back to North Carolina – so excited to take his first grandchild out on the river, so looking forward to taking the water-route down to the ocean for the weekend.

It wasn’t a particularly special vessel – but it represented all these hopes and moments cut short, and all the things that weren’t going to be, because he was gone.

I crossed my legs the other way, and a song came on the radio, and I knew I had to get out of there as quickly as I could.

Did you know Bono wrote a song about his Dad after he died

Being a U2 fan, I knew it well. Bono crooned over the radio:

“Listen to me now… I need to let you know…
You don’t have to go it alone….

And it’s you when I look in the mirror, 
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone…

Sometimes you can’t make it, on your own.”

Those lyrics wouldn’t have meant anything to the sales guy standing at the door, or the guy behind the desk – but they spoke to my soul.

That song on the radio, at that moment was a whisper from my Father in heaven: I see you.

Sometimes I think life gets so challenging, so frustrating, so hard we just need to be reminded God sees us. 

He really sees. And He really cares.

When Hagar ran away from Sarah, so rejected and filled with despair, her situation seemed completely hopeless. But God cared so much He sent an Angel to give her the courage to carry on.  

He let her know she was seen, and He let her know He had a plan.

If we can quiet our hearts a little, in our hardest places we can hear God’s whisper: You are seen, and I have a plan.

He may not tell us all that He has in mind. He may not tell us how He is going to bring about His promises. But He invites us to trust Him, to know that He is sovereign and good.

In the years that followed, I continued the journey of settling my Dad’s estate, and learned more about my inheritance in the kingdom of God, and the love of my Heavenly Father, than I ever could’ve imagined He would teach me in those hard days. 

What once felt like such a heavy, heavy burden, I look back on as a treasure, a gift.

Let’s keep carrying our burdens to Jesus, friends. Let’s accept that invitation we talked about to walk freely and lightly, knowing we are seen, and He has a plan.

At the moment it may seem so hard, and so heavy. But darling friend, you are seen. God is always in the business of taking suffering and sorrow, and transforming them into deep peace and great joy.

Keep walking with Him.

A New eBook For You! 

I JUST created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking through a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Blake’s Story

What began as a typical Sunday afternoon at the swimming pool ended with our world turned upside down. Our eight-year-old, Blake, came to us with a headache that quickly escalated from “my head hurts” to our precious boy clutching the sides of his head and weeping, “I’m gonna die!” 

We rushed to the ER and doctors discovered a severe intracranial hemmorhage — Blake’s brain was full of blood. He was eventually diagnosed with an Arterioventricular Malformation, or AVM, for short. This tiny tangle of vessels had ruptured, causing significant bleeding which drained into his ventricles. 

In the days that followed, we held our breath as Blake underwent surgery to stop the bleeding, and then was placed in a medically-induced coma to allow the excess blood to slowly drain and the swelling to reduce. 

We’re a family of faith, and from the first moment in the ER, we began asking friends to pray for our boy to survive. Our community supported us so beautifully, and prayed so fervently for Blake. There were very, very discouraging diagnoses, and very dark nights of the soul, but after 23 days in the Pediatric ICU, Blake was discharged to Pediatric Inpatient Rehabilitation, where for another 25 days his healing journey continued as he re-learned to walk, talk, eat, and use his left side (among other things!) 

We were overwhelmingly blessed by the incredible care Blake received (and truly, our whole family received). We have never been through something so hard, and yet somehow felt so, so held.

I’ve been writing for over a decade, and writing became both a source of quiet and peace in the midst of our hardest season, and a way to share what we were going through with our friends and family (and eventually even strangers around the world) who joined in prayer for Blake. Every evening, I shared an update on what was happening during Blake’s hospital stay — except for one night where we received very, very difficult news, which we decided to share with our families first.

After that very dark night of the soul, we found joy in the morning, as Blake gave his first thumbs-up, and we began to see signs that there was the very real possibility he would be okay.

After the hardest 48 days of our lives, it was a joy like no other to drive home from the hospital with our son. We were given a gift we don’t deserve, and we will never stop being grateful.

 

We’re grateful to report that Blake is a happy, healthy, growing ten-year-old at present. While he has experienced some visual field loss as a result of the aneurism, his recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. He is living the life of a typical ten-year-old, and loves playing with his brother and sisters, reading goofy books, drawing, and laughing. A lot.

There is so much more of this story to tell — so many unexpected places where God showed up. An angel in the form of a nurse practitioner changed our lives forever, so many hospital staff members and friends carried us through this fiery trial — we look back and smile with so much gratitude at a special custodian kneeling by Blake’s bed to pray for him.

I’ve written a screenplay to tell the story because it truly does feel more like a movie than an actual story from everyday life. (If you’re a screenwriting agent, please get in touch!) Blake’s story was also featured on the 700 Club in April of 2021.

If you’d like more of the behind-the-scenes of our life while Blake was in the hospital, these blog posts will give you a taste of those hard days:

Faith Like a Ketchup Packet

How to Keep Your Eyes Above the Waves (Even in the ICU)

Piecing Together Who’s Behind the Curtain When Affliction is on the Stage

 

Dear friend, if you are experiencing a crisis of your own, I’d love to welcome you to click the button below to receive the ebook I created, It Won’t Feel Like this Forever,  to encourage you through your own hard place. We didn’t handle the fight of our lives perfectly, but we did learn a lot in the battle, and I’d love to share what we learned. I believe you’ll find a deep sense of hope and very practical help in this free book. Whatever story you’re living right now, I believe God can work it out for good, so hold tightly to Him, and stay in the story. It Won’t Feel Like this Forever.