Honor and Lung Cancer


My Dearest Mom and Dad,

I know you remember this moment, you dreamt of it long after you let all of your own dreams die. YOUR child, a COLLEGE graduate and the first one in our family. Your expressions say it all, and so does mine. You both are beaming and I was just happy I could bring you both such joy. I didn’t understand at 21 what I think I might today, and I am wondering if you both see it more clearly now too?

Dad, you started working after junior high, and mom you never got the chance to finish high school, parenthood arrived early in your journey and changed everything. I thought on graduation day you both were living a bit through me, and while a sliver of that may be true I now see the heartbeat of your dream more clearly. It wasn’t about college as much as it was you two believing that was a ticket to a better life. But if your peel back all those layers the better life really wasn’t about college, it was always about breaking the cycle, wanting better and more for your children as you grappled with navigating your own lives. It was about freedom, a freedom that seemed elusive to you but you wanted desperately for your kids and it just dressed itself up like “college.”

And so tonight as I wonder what I most need to say, it is this:

You did succeed. Because Mom and Dad, this little girl grew up to be a warrior who walks in more freedom then the two of you ever dreamed. You DID succeed, not because of the career I chose or because of how much money I have but because you taught me to run my race, to never quit, to dream bigger dreams then I could ever do alone, and a thousand other lessons you never thought you could teach.

And now we enter what I think may be the most important chapter of our earthly story, the nearing of the finish line. And I have to say to you both that this space is far more important to me to do well then getting any college degree. It is far more important that I do THIS season well more than any before it. It is MY turn to show up in the hard spaces, to cheer YOU on, to be YOUR shoulder to lean on, to pour out MY love in all the everyday ways, and to remind you that you are not alone in this journey.

Today was a hard day Mom and Dad, but you have known many.
Mom, you tried not to cry as you told me the news and I held you.
Mom, it is ok to cry.
Dad, it is ok to be emotional too.

Lung cancer.
Congestive Heart Failure and COPD.
Today is a hard day but none of this gets to win because God ALREADY HAS.
He formed you, He loves you, He holds you and He will NEVER leave you.
I pray that you both would lean in with every fiber of your being and find just how sweet He is, especially in the gut wrenchingly hard spaces.
I confess I am not sure I will do this chapter well, I want to do a throwback to age three when tantrums were acceptable, I want to be selfish and I want to fight the fallenness of this world because I am certain I will never feel ready to even think about the earthly story ending with you.
But I will keep showing up, imperfectly, loving you and lifting you up the the God who delights in you.

Your “Baby”

Conversation with a Sexual Predator


I had just entered Costco with my husband and kids when I saw you. You are older, heavier, and balder then you were 23 years ago but your features are burned into my memory like a scared wound.  The revulsion I felt in my body was rapid. Just the sight of you made my stomach turn, my fists curl, and my pulse race. The bile that raised up burned my throat as I willed it back in place. 23 years since you robbed me, groomed me and violated me. Do you remember me?

My husband said we could leave the store, that I didn’t have to put myself through this- the seeing of you.  But you see, I am not who I once was and I don’t run away or cower down or submit to evil anymore. I would not be the one to retreat today.

I saw the woman at your side and I wondered if she knew who you really were. Did you tell her you are a sexual predator? Does she have kids? Have you changed? The bile rose in my throat again. I didn’t fight back before, I never stood up for myself, for I was utterly convinced (despite the few who learned of what happened saying otherwise) that I had somehow caused it all.  Me, “a stupid, seductress, teenage slut” was responsible for what you did… I even planned on taking my own life after you attempted to rape me and failed because of the shame that enveloped me, the knowing that I couldn’t wash away your fingerprints on my flesh.

But not today. I am no longer her.

I thought it was time you meet me.

I feared I may have missed my opportunity while I regained myself, so I whispered silently to the God who has redeemed all you stole, “give me another chance…”

I stood in the middle of the aisle as my husband grabbed some butter and you rounded the corner with the woman.  You looked up, you recognized me, and you quickly looked away. I stood there, arms crossed, and invited my children to gather around as I explained that this is what a predator can look like. And then, after what felt like too long, I willed my feet to move. I walked right up to you and leaned in a bit, you turned with a smile. That smile made it clear what I needed to say.

I wonder what you expected.

“Have you told her who you really are T**?” You looked at me with disdain before you looked away.

Again, I grew a bit louder, bolder, and unwavering– with one look I knew you had not changed.

“Does she know you are a sexual predator? Does she, T**? If not, she really deserves to know who you are and what you have done.”

At this, behind you, I heard her asking who I was, and then when my words registered, I saw her eyes grow big and heard her exclaim, “WHAT?” I faintly heard my husband behind me say, “I don’t think she knew.” And as you started to walk silently away I drew one last breath to say, “Who better to know than me, your victim!” And the chain fragments that were still being carried by me, fell. Did you hear them? It sounded like a surge of my power coming home, where it always belonged.

And walking away to a clammer of sounds between you and that poor woman, that my mind just could not be bothered with, I realized that I had finished taking back my power- power you once robbed me of.

Were you surprised to find yourself before one you once overpowered now standing before you fiercely, unflinching, a warrior?

I turned the corner of the aisle and fist pumped the air, then turned to look at my daughters who had watched it all.  And I realized again, it is NEVER too late to take back your power, to fight for your freedom, and to land in the beautiful, bountiful land of victory.

Dear T**, I wish you knew my Jesus.


A Birthday Message


We met mid-October, just 4 months before this picture was taken on your 15th birthday.

I can still picture it like it was yesterday, you standing there wearing that black boa wrapped around your neck while your sister sat at the table. Me 25, you just shy of 15.



Mom number 6, I believe they said.

I can still remember how the goosbumps rippled across my flesh when the whisper echoed through my mind-

“Meet your daughters.”

In fact, just thinking about that moment brings tears to my eyes- every. time.

Impossible, God!

Absolutely crazy!

No way! I immediately started to argue back…

Not because of you and your sister not being worthy of being chosen, you both have ALWAYS been worthy, but because I felt so unworthy, so ill equipped. And I was.

But then God did something only He can, he knit you both deeply into our hearts.

Forever and always.

Nothing and no one can shatter what God bound.

I know, it feels impossible to understand but one day I fervently hope you do.

So today, on your 29th birthday, just over 14 years later, here is what I long for you to know:

I pray that one day you will see and understand…

you were chosen then, you are chosen now, and you will always be chosen by us.

us choosing you is NEVER contingent on you choosing us.

you are loved deeply and passionately, imperfectly but ALWAYS.


I pray that one day you will walk in total freedom…

that the wounds of the past will heal.

you will believe your worth.

you will walk in victory, for that which the enemy meant to destroy you God can redeem and use powerfully.


I pray that one day you will see…

how God has always loved you.

how God has always pursued you.

how God is the only way to the healing place and the land of fulfillment.

how God has created you and sustained you and has great plans for you.


I pray that you would know…

that we understand our love can’t fix everything or maybe anything at all, but we are still here loving you anyways.

that we understand we can’t ever fully understand.

that we know we can never take the place of another.

that we are always fighting for you, no matter where, no matter what, we are fighting for you in the only way we can: we remain and we are lifting you up to the God who is able.

that we long to see the day where you are walking in freedom, enslaved by nothing.

that we still believe that your birth mom is remembering you today, if able.


Happy Birthday to our dearly loved and precious oldest.

We remain here, still loving you, still choosing you, imperfectly but always.

You are worthy.