Even If

I left church early today, before the preaching even started. Not because I didn’t want to hear the message. We are in the middle of a series of message based on the book Home Run by Kevin Myers. Wait, that isn’t quite accurate. The messages aren’t based on the book. My pastor is showing a video series of Pastor Myers preaching the messages he used in this book. (We are also reading the book for a leadership series. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it.) I didn’t leave because I have a ton of homework to do. Though I do, and now that I think of it, if I am going to be writing I probably should be writing something about Jane Austen’s word choices in Pride and Prejudice. Good thing I like that book, because with the way I am struggling with that, if I didn’t like it I’d be ready to tear the pages out one by one to use as heating fuel this winter. I didn’t even leave because the temperature was too hot or too cold, because the sound was too loud or too quiet, or even because the people sitting nearest to me were completely annoying. (Considering those people were my husband and son, returning home would not have been the best way to rid myself of the annoyance if they were annoying, which they were not.)

No, I left because my body betrayed me.

I have a lot of physical issues. Over the past 3 years, I’ve talked about them on this blog. Some of them, anyway. Some of the issues are too embarrassing to name out loud. I know I don’t deal with a terminal illness. But I do deal with near constant pain and with issues that, well, are not expected of someone my age. Normally, when one of those issues rears its ugly little head at church, I know it is because there is something in the message that will really affect my life, something I need to hear that is going to have a profound impact on me. That makes me glad my pastor puts his messages on our church website, normally by Monday morning, so I can still listen to it. If satan wants to keep me from hearing what God has to say, I certainly do not want to give him the satisfaction!

There are times, though, when I am so frustrated it is hard to stay upbeat about it. Today I want to cry. My first instinct when I pulled out of the church parking lot was to pull into a fast food drive-thru and order chicken nuggets. I’m upset, and food will take away that feeling, right? Sure, for a moment or two. Until the food is gone, my tummy is aching from being so full, and my family looks at me strangely for not eating a meal with them. And then I step on the scale and see that I’ve gained even more weight. Lost 115 pounds with weight loss surgery 3 ½ years ago; I’ve gained back 60 of that. Part of the gain is because the near constant pain makes it very difficult to exercise. Most, however, is because I still have the emotional eating response. I celebrate with food, and I wallow in food. Neither is a good thing to do. Though my van was pointed toward that grinning redhead and her cue little pigtails, I prayed for strength to avoid pulling into her drive thru. That was the only fast food place directly between the church parking lot and my driveway, though I know me—if the urge is there, I will drive across to satisfy it. I prayed and prayed and prayed that I would not give in to the temptation for food I really did not need. And I thanked God when I got home empty handed.

I don’t know why this has happened to me. It’s not something I think I will ever understand. I’ve prayed for healing. I know others—family, friends, friends of family, family of friends—who have prayed for my healing. And yet God seems to be saying no. He could say yes later. I was going to say, “He could change His mind and say yes later,” but I don’t believe God changes His mind. If in six months I can move pain-free and all the dead and damaged nerves in my back are suddenly fully restored, it’s not because God changed his mind; it’s because He planned from the start for my healing to happen at that moment. I don’t think it’s going to. I think the “healing” He has in mind for me is not a physical one so much as a mental one. I think God wants me to be OK with my life is it, to understand that this is the plan He had for me and to adjust my desires and expectations to match. Not an easy thing, let me tell you. But I believe that is what He has been telling me.

That’s not to say I am giving up on the physical healing. I won’t stop asking. And if God offers it, I doubt that I will say no! But if that physical healing doesn’t happen, I am going to love Him anyway. Because I know He loves me.


Dear Tori

Dear Tori,

I heard a song this morning that reminded me of you. After I woke up singing Strong Enough, I thought Matthew West would be the perfect soundtrack to my writing. After selecting his playlist on my iPod, I settled into my chair to get to work. It’s not new music to me. I don’t know how many times I have heard it before. But today, the words meant something different. One song in particular, a song called To Me, caught my attention. The moment I heard him sing the words, “Well it breaks my heart every time I see the world break yours in two,” the story I wanted to write flew out of my head. All I could think about was my beautiful niece and how rough life has been on you lately.

I kept listening to the song, paying very close attention to each word. Maybe all of it isn’t about you. OK, so I suppose it is fair to say Mr. West probably didn’t have you in mind at all when he wrote the lyrics to this song. But there is so much in it that is just so YOU. If I were to write something about just how special you are (which I suppose I am doing with this letter) I couldn’t do much better than he did.

Your laughter really is one of my favorite sounds. You were the first baby I got to live with and see every day. I used to love coming home from work or school to hear you laughing as you played with your parents or grandparents. No matter how bad my day was, it was hard to be sad or upset with such a happy little girl in the house.

Ever since you were tiny, you have had a beautiful smile. Your smile fills up your whole face. It adds a special sparkle to your eyes. It has always shown the joy in your heart, the joy you find in life. Do you remember when my Rylee went to Heaven? I didn’t think I would smile ever again. But you kept smiling when you said, “Aunt Lynn, don’t be sad. Your baby is with Jesus. And you will always have me to play with.” Your smile helped to bring my smile back.

Now you are 17. Playing with your crazy aunt isn’t nearly as important as hanging out with your friends or boyfriend. And that’s OK. I know you had to grow up sooner or later. (Later would have been better for me….) You have grown into an absolutely beautiful young lady, both inside and out. How can I not be proud of that?

I know you have had your heart broken recently. More than once. I’ve cried right along with you. You probably want to hear that it will never happen again, that the next time you give your heart away it will be to the boy who will protect and treasure it the way your heart deserves to be protected and treasured. Oh how I wish I could promise you that. But I can’t see the future. And I can’t protect you from the pain and heartbreak that it might bring. If I could, I would. I’d happily take all of those bumps and bruises for you—without complaint—if that would keep the smile on your face and the laughter in your heart.

Some day you will find the right special someone for you. I don’t know when or where it will happen, or who that someone might be. But I have faith that it will happen.

Until then, I hope you realize how wonderful and very special you are. The world is a much more beautiful place because you are in it. I can’t say it any better than Matthew West did, so I will close this letter with the words from his song:

            To me you are

Heaven’s finest invention by far

So much brighter

Than the brightest star

What I’d give to make you see

Who you are to me

I love you, Miss Tori.

All my love forever,

Aunt Lynn


We Are DJ and Kimmy!

While doing some research for The Rylee Project, I came across an interview with Candace Cameron Bure.  At one point in the interview, she talked about a recent Full House reunion (in case you don’t know, Candace played DJ Tanner on the show) and the relationships she has with Andrea Barber (she played DJ’s best friend, Kimmy Gibbler.)  There were some things that Candace said about the two of them that sounded so much like a couple of ladies that I know!  Below is the quote from her interview that actually made me laugh out loud, along with a couple of pictures.

Does this remind YOU of anybody you know?

MD: In terms of the ones you do keep in touch with — I saw some fun pics on Twitter of you and the actress who played Kimmy Gibbler, Andrea Barber. Are you two still best friends?

CCB: [Laughs] We’re still good friends and we’re total goofball 30-year-old moms trying to relive our childhood, rock out to New Kids on the Block. That was us at the reunion. Yeah, we’re still close friends.

MD: That’s awesome.

CCB: We’ll still do stuff together and she’s a marathon runner now. She’s got me into stuff — we’ve done a couple of races together. And we have another one coming up that we’re doing. So we encourage and inspire each other fitness-wise and then through our mutual New Kids on the Block love.


Song Challenge, Day Thirty

Wow. I can hardly believe it. We have arrived at the end of this 30 day journey. I’ve had fun choosing songs and writing up why they mean so much to me. I hope you have enjoyed it as well.

The topic for today is “Your favorite song at this time last year.”

This one is easy for me, too. I am going to go right back to Day One. My favorite song for over a year has been “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless. It’s very comforting to think about what can happen in my life if I just hold on the faith I have in Christ Jesus.

Here is my favorite song. Enjoy.

Song Challenge, Day Twenty-Nine

A song from your childhood.

Oh, there are so many! But one that really makes me think of being a kid again is “Under the Sea” from the movie The Little Mermaid. Once upon a time, this was my favorite Disney movie. Right up until Aladdin was released. Oh, but I adore that movie!!

Still, I chose a song from The Little Mermaid because it’s one I haven’t really listened to outside of that movie. I owned the Aladdin soundtrack at one time. I used to listen to it all the time. “Under the Sea” just makes me think of easier, more carefree times in my life. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Song Challenge, Day Twenty-Eight

A song that makes you feel guilty.

“I Refuse” by Josh Wilson. This is a wonderful song, one that I love to listen to and sing along with. But it does make me feel guilty. It makes me feel like I am just not doing enough with the life God has entrusted to me.
Before I share the song with you, I’d like to share a video of Josh Wilson sharing the story behind the song.

This is too much like me. I don’t always go and do things to help others. Instead, I am good at praying, “God, help them. Lead them to someone who can give them what they need.” But maybe that is not what He wants. Maybe what He wants is for me to be the one who does something. No, I can’t do it all. But I refuse to do nothing at all.

Song Challenge, Day Twenty-Seven

A song you wish you could play

If I could learn to play any song, it would be “Lighthouse.” This is my mother’s favorite song. I would love to be able to play it for her.

Though I am sure if I could, she would likely say, “It’s good, but not as good as Roger or Owen could do.”

Love you, Mommy!!!

Song Challenge, Day Twenty-Six

A song you can play on an instrument

This is going to be short and easy. I don’t play an instrument. Tried the violin and cello when I was in 6th grade. Didn’t stick with either one, though. Mainly, because I couldn’t play as well as my older sister, at least that is what Mrs. Hammersly kept telling me. So I gave it up and never tried playing anything else.

Unless my stereo counts. I can play just about anything on that!!!!

Song Challenge, Day Twenty-Five

A song that makes you laugh

AH!! A fun one!!!

OK, so the first song I thought of was “Evolution Redefined” Geoff Moore and The Distance. It’s a great little song!

But the second one to come to mind REALLY makes me laugh! There is one thing I can say about Randy Stonehill—he either makes you laugh or makes you think. “Great Big Stupid World” is great for both.

Song Challenge, Day Twenty-Four

A song you want played at your funeral

“Victory In Jesus”

Yep, that’s the one. I don’t really want it played so much as I want the people gathered at my funeral to sing it. This the one thing I want remembered about my life—that it isn’t about me, that it is JESUS who made me who I have been and that He has brought victory into my life. I want my friends and family to think about me victoriously dancing down Heaven’s streets rather than crying because I am not in my physical body any longer.