He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

When all is right with my world, its easy for me to believe that God loves me. Birds are singing, blue skies up above, perfect hair day, its pure bliss and man, I am favored of the Lord. Then my tire goes flat, or the account is overdrawn, or my kids act up and I'm certain that I must have done something wrong. We all experience good days and trying days, and for most of us, the trying days are more difficult to navigate than the examples I gave, but I find that on the difficult days, that's when my trust that He loves me is truly evident.

The hard days are the ones that shape us when we really think about it. They reveal who we really are, what we are made of. They are those hard parts of the Bible, like the Book of Job, and that long dissertation Paul gives about all the things he went through for the sake of the Gospel. We are reminded that we should count ourselves blessed when we go through things.

A few years ago a movie came out, The Kingdom of Heaven, in which an old knight finds his illegitimate heir and right before dying from wounds received from defending this heir, he props himself up in front of his son and charges him with the Knight's Oath. Just as he's finishing, he says, "And that's so you'll remember it" as he hauls back and backhands the boy. That scene has always stuck with me. These amazing last words over a son, mingled with the shock of a surprise blow.

How many times have I walked into things gung ho and full of zeal, promising this and that and not even realizing the weight of my words? Not understanding the truth that I'm speaking, and the road I must walk to bring it about is not what I am expecting. Only the love of a father can seek us out, remind us of who we are and charge us with our destiny. It is a good father who reminds his children to never forget.

Throughout scripture the Lord instructs His people to not forget, to remember, to set up memorial stones, to write words on their hearts. Remember what I've already done for you, so that when the hard times come you won't go slinking back to your old ways, you'll stand firm and not question my goodness and my heart for you. Without the struggle there would be nothing to remember, no place to draw a line and say that is done, it is overcome. Would I forget too easily without the loss, without the remembered sting of pain? When I am tempted to think that He doesn't really love me, I can look at what He's already done and remind myself.


Egg Cartons

I'm finding myself in a brand new season of life. For the first time in a long time, I'm able to stay home and away from a "job," and its pretty weird. The Goodman and I are still trudging through the outskirts of our old life and entering into the new one and trying our hardest to find our new "normal." Over the past month we've faced some pretty interesting challenges and plot twists and I find that I'm still not sure of what to do with myself. Our Rebecca got married the beginning of August and with that came family visits and wedding drama and all that it entails. Anthony went and moved almost as far away from me as he could and I still find myself wanting to just jump in the car and drive to wherever he is, but that would take a few days now. I am making myself into a nice little stay at home mommy, the one I wish I could have been twenty years ago. Cooking breakfast and arranging schedules and appointments and practices.

Joshua has been preaching about living intentionally. I've always been a list maker and schedule follower and nowadays, I'm having to intentionally set my heart on being flexible with whatever God has for the day. I came home from work this season with the intention of being focused on our family. There are some tent flaps that need to be tied back down.

When we made the decision to bring me home this year, I had the image in my mind of coffee and books and a clean house and projects being finished finally. But what I'm facing is so much bigger than that. The projects that need my attention are so much more important than an organized closet or clean stove top. Now that my eyes are inclined here at home, there are things I'm noticing that I was too busy to see before.

I posted recently about the things that I do for my children that they don't see. Well, the other day I was walking around the grocery store with my oldest daughter and she was sharing with me how she had a friend who never knew why people checked their eggs in the carton before they purchased them. She was pretty shocked that her friend didn't know why.  My daughter said that she never really remembered me telling her why we checked, but she knew that she had watched me so many times and deduced that I was checking for broken eggs. My girl must have been watching carefully to come to that conclusion, if I never came right out and explained what I was doing. It just goes to show that when we aren't distracted we see things in more clarity.

So here's to a season of remembering to pay attention. Checking the eggs in the carton and knowing why. Understanding that hindsight is always 20/20, but this new prescription is pretty groovy too.



God is good, all the time.

That's what I was taught, that's what I say in church, that's what I believe.

But, what about those moments when you are forced to question? When the enemy steals in and takes something from you. When you lose. When the victory doesn't come.

What about then?

Can you still say it with the same conviction?

You know, I can say something and say something, I can think I believe, I can train and practice, but none of it matters until the moment comes when that thing I've been saying, that belief that I had, all comes into question. When the training is no longer practice but it is used and shown as an acquired skill. Mastery comes in usage.

Can I believe that He still has the best in mind for me, when I don't get what I've been praying for?

Can I trust that He's working it out even when the report is negative?

When my soul is seared with the pain

When the trouble comes

When the darkness falls and I can still say:

All the time, God is good.


What They Didn't See

The whole Goodman clan attended a wedding together last night. We all got gussified and took over a whole row at the ceremony and then a whole table at the reception. It was probably one of the last events we will ever do as a complete family and it was terribly bittersweet. The coolest thing about it was that the venue was a special place for Josh and I, it was the locale of our very first date almost 23 years ago. Crazy to think that my 18 year old self had not one inkling of what was to come. Two decades and six kids later I sat there feeling all the normal feels you get at a wedding, but mingled in was just a tad bit of sadness too. About halfway through the toasts my little Zion decided he wanted to sit in my lap and his older brother was running around snapping photos and it was all I could do not to run out of the place yelling for a do-over.

This is it.

A few weeks ago we were all carousing in a friend's pool and my kids all started teasing me about not being able to swim. Its not true, but they all insisted that since they had never seen me swim, I therefore could not. They never stopped to think that I had always been the one hovering warily beside one of them to assure that nobody drowned. There was no allowance for swimming laps during the times we spent in the water or diving into the deep end while one of them was always needing to use the bathroom or have a snack or need another application of sunscreen. Aside from that it got me thinking of what other things they have never "seen" me do that they are taking for granted. Do they know my heart breaks when they hurt? Or that my stomach is in knots while they waited for that job offer or acceptance letter or each time they delivered a speech or spelled a word or buzzed in at the Battle of the Books? When I walked away from our discussion and cried my eyeballs out because they thought I just didn't "get" it? My silent prayers, my sleepless nights and early mornings, all confirming my unseen devotion and love for each one of my babies.

And this is it.

All the love, sacrifices, mistakes, lessons learned, culminating into this new era of living for each one of us. Let us enter into it with a renewed grace for the things we don't see, silently and invisibly working on our behalf. Trust, believe, hope, that its all moving us together toward the glorious finish.



Sometimes life takes your breath away like floating peacefully on your back in the pool, right on the borderline between sleep and wakefulness, when suddenly somebody's rogue cannonball dive lands right on your gut. Other times it is so beautiful and serene like toes at the edge of the shoreline, watching the tide suck back in while all the time noticing that its slowly building into a ginormous wave, but the beauty of it just keeps you there, motionless.

This has been the season of all seasons for difficulties. Those trials that don't just last one day, but keep you on your knees, one moment praising God, the next asking Him why. But I have to be encouraged in the knowledge that all that has passed before now, all the trials I've made it through with Him as my ever present help, as my comforter, as my Guide, have prepared me, built up my faith that He won't let me down now.

When the timing couldn't be worse...yet I will trust Him.

When the answer is no...yet I will trust Him.

When I just can't wrap my mind around how He can possibly turn this mess around...yet I will trust Him.

Because He hasn't failed me yet.


Ready or Not, There They Go

Its inevitable, this growing up and leaving mommy thing. This is what its all been about. The potty training, the lessons in manners, the regular trips to the dentist. Every guitar lesson, homework session, late night talk. Just like my response to the pregnancy test that revealed their imminent arrival, I find myself protesting, "I'm not ready!" They each came in and totally overturned my life and with their departure its no different.

We accumulated these children slowly. Every two to three years adding to the collection of little people we could shape and mold and enjoy life with. The collection is complete and now I'm having to face giving it away and sharing it. I'm not ready for the release of two of my beloveds back into nature. One to the wilds of Los Angeles and the rigors of film making and the other to married life and all that is entailed therein. It seems like only yesterday I was holding hands with their daddy looking down over the edge of the cliff we were about to jump off together and here we stand watching them.

There is no manual for this. No "What to Expect When They Actually Grow Up and Move Away." What do I do? How should I feel? Is it ok to get used to them not being in my everyday life anymore? Life is so much more complicated than I thought it would be, but I rest on the truth that daddy and I gave them a great foundation. We have given our lives for them to build on top of. We taught them to love Jesus and each other and others. What more is there?


Know Now

There are times when words just won't come. There is so much to think about, mull over, contemplate. When life gets difficult my tendency is to turn inward and upward. I find myself spending more and more time in quiet situations, which if you know anything about my husband and kids, you know that is a rare commodity around the parsonage. Two months of no writing, just sitting and thinking and praying.

When I start feeling the urge to write, I jot down some ideas, and then I let them stew for a few days. I wait to see if those thoughts stick and are still relevant to share. In these past two difficult months, I've felt stretched further than I thought I could be. At times I am reminded of delivering my babies and those moments when I was quite sure I was gonna die right there on the hospital bed. As natural as child birth is supposed to be its incredibly scary and painful and so much longer than you can possibly imagine when you're in the midst of it. There is no hiding the blood and sweat and tears and the very personal nature of it.

That's where I'm at. I know that all things are working for the good of those that love Him, and man, I love Him. I know that I'm called according to His purpose. I know that my life is to be lived for His glory. I know that He is good and He loves me. I know that He is God.

And right now I'm reminding myself to just be still and KNOW.


When Words Escape Me

My husband would recognize that as a rare phenomenon. Everyone else sees me as quiet and reserved and he is the only one who has to hear me, all the time. Well my husband and God. There are times in life that just bring you to your knees. You might have pulled off a 360 aerial flip and landed it. But no one notices that you're not quite walking away without a limp. I tend to like to recover in seclusion, nursing my wounds in the silence. Victory and tragedy, both can take some time to recover from. There are things you work so hard to achieve, put so much work and thought and energy into and when you finally reach the goal, the only thing you can do is sit down and catch your breath. There are some life events that knock the breath out of you with the force of their sudden impact. Glory, sorrow, winning and losing, can all be word stealers.

These are the times when I'm so very glad that God allows me to just stand on His Word. Joshua and I preached a rare sermon together a few Wednesdays ago. I actually stood in front of a group of people and shared from the written Word using the spoken words that God had given to me. Little did I know that even as I was speaking from past victories I would be speaking forward into the coming challenges. This past week has given me both some opportunities to fight and to revel in the glory of victory in battles well fought. Not many words this week. My armor feels a bit heavy and well worn. But I'm still standing.

Ephesians 6:13 ...and having done all, to stand firm.


To All the Sherlock Holmes Lovers

It's almost here, and set to release tomorrow if you haven't already pre-ordered your copy, take my word for it and get one...

I have already reviewed The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie King over here, but let me tell you that this book is a great read. If you love Sherlock Holmes as I do, you'll enjoy the entire series. Its the same Mr. Holmes you love, but with even more to fall hopelessly in love with. The characters are well written and as you read along, you begin to feel like family. True to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved character, this Holmes is just as difficult to follow on all his many rabbit trails and diversions, but with the new character, Mary Russell thrown in you will fall right into line with the adventures they pursue. The newest installment is just as wonderful as the rest of the stories.

If you would like a sample of the book, check it out here.


His Mercies Are {K}New Every Morning

On March 25, my husband and I celebrated 21 years of marriage. That same week, he had a dress rehearsal for the Easter production, conducted both a wedding and a funeral, catered the school banquet and spoke at the self same banquet to raise funds for the school, and acted in two performances of the church's Easter play. Did I mention it was also Easter week, so he got up before the sun and held the Sunrise service? Sometime in that mess, we went out for our anniversary and had an elegant dinner, and reminisced and spoke about our future and our kids and all the things we've lived through together. Most mornings I'm up and out of bed before anybody else because of school and work and all the things that I have to handle at home, but starting on that Friday morning I didn't. I stayed in my bed and reveled in the luxury of sleeping in a bit longer. Every morning starting with that anniversary morning, I would wake up as my husband rolled over and holding me in his arms told me "Happy anniversary," or today we were in Winston Salem or whatever. It was silly and sweet and even though our lives are crazy, just for a moment it took me back to where we started. Just the two of us.

This week has been very restful for me. I had the whole week off from work and school and for the most part I didn't allow any commitments to shackle my time. I spent time with my kids and read books and sipped tea and just chilled. Then somewhere this weekend I went ahead and let my feelings get hurt. Somebody said something sometime somewhere and I was wounded. It made my heart hurt, and made me wanna run away and never look back and I cried and cried like a baby. The offense escalated in my mind and pretty soon I was done. I spent all day Saturday laying in bed. I read books in bed. I ate in bed. I slept a lot. I cried some more and when my husband unbeknownst to him made the mistake of asking what was wrong, I let him know. Like the wise man he is, he took a minute and tried to talk me down off the ledge and then he took the kids and went off to fix something. He's learned that sometimes all I need is quiet to myself. I was overreacting and I knew it, but man my feelings were hurting something fierce. I went through my day without seeking the said perpetrator of my hurt and letting them have it. My sweet husband checked in with me again before bed and I assured him that I wasn't gonna leave the state or quit church or anything. I'd get over it like a big girl. Then this morning I woke up and before even lifting my head up from the pillow, there He was. He had His arms wrapped tightly around me and He was whispering in my ear exactly what had happened when my feelings were trampled. I realized that what the person said, was not what I heard and it all made sense. At that quiet time, just me and God, He bent down and reminded me of who He was willing to be for me. He let me rant and rage all day yesterday and when I finally calmed down enough to hear Him, He spoke. And in that moment I remembered that He's always been there for me. Just the two of us.


When Running Away Isn't an Option

As a kid I only thought about running away a couple of times. I'd pack my bag with a few essentials, mainly food and ride my bike around until my head was cleared. Even then I knew that giving up was not an option. I resolved to stay and fight. The road to the end I desired and away from my current situation, just didn't seem as good as the victory I knew I could achieve if I fought it out.

All grown up, I often feel the same way. Like maybe things would just go away if I could go bury my head in the sand somewhere or drop everything and run off to an island paradise. But that's not me, I keep jumping back in the ring, and keep getting dropped by another punch. Battered and discouraged but still fighting. This too shall pass. The higher the mountain I climb, the more majestic the view.


Hang Up and Dial 911

We've all heard the message. Trying to get an appointment with the doctor and a recorded reminder comes on, "If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911..." There are some things you go to the doctor for and others that need a little more immediate attention. And then there's the flip side, like when you actually have to go to the emergency room and its packed out with people that probably could wait for the next business day, right?

The same thing happens with us in our relationships with others. You get upset, somebody really hurts your feelings, and you wanna let them know, now. These are the kinds of conversations that start in your head and keep you from sleeping. You feel justified by Scripture. I mean doesn't it say that if your brother offends you to go and talk to him about it? The thinking is alright, but when your first words are something along the lines of "I thought you should know..." you are speaking out of your hurt. Plus its probably not a good sign if you can't discuss this situation during "normal operating hours." Early morning and late night texting are not good means of communicating your need to help your brother.

There is something to be said for allowing yourself to wait it out. Maybe this situation is eating at you in order for you to take it before God and allow Him to give you the words that will help to restore the relationship with your brother.

This might be one of those moments that you're not seeing the picture clearly since you are so close to the situation, or you misunderstood, or that person made an honest mistake and didn't mean to hurt you in the slightest. Forgive, let it go, give it to God. If it needs to be addressed, ask your Father for the right words and the right time, and even then understand that not all things are resolved according to our individual liking or even in our lifetime for that matter. Don't rush in, full of unkempt emotion, creating an even bigger problem.
Hip Homeschool Moms
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