Category Archives: Uncategorized

Substack’s where it’s at.

My free e-newsletter, Good for You, has moved to Substack! It’s a twice-monthly ode to off-script spirituality, with a soft spot for the childless, childfree, and unlikely families. (Also, expect A LOT of alliteration.)

By subscribing, you’ll get word whenever I’ve written a fresh one. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. (You’ll tell me if it’s too much.)

The Good for You community doesn’t stop in your inbox, though, but includes opportunities to connect over free resources, online classes, and local events.

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, giddy-up on over to now.

You don’t have to buy the slime.

My chest hurt.

It was late last week when I was lying in bed and looking over our girls’ Christmas lists. One request for “squishies.” Two requests for Adidas Sneaks. Three requests for (and three different spellings of) money. I love when they ask for what they want. But I didn’t want to get any of it.

It all made me feel short of breath and stuffed by stuff. And it all made me feel like I was doing a bad job of, what did Plato preach?, teaching my peeps to desire the right things. But what could I do?

We had traditions, after all, there had to be Beanie Boos in the stockings, Legos under the tree, and sweaters in crisp, black boxes. Traditions are what kids who’ve experienced trauma live for. Traditions are what I am so terrible at. Just as soon as one starts I want to know WHY and DO WE HAVE TO and, everyone’s favorite, WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT OUR THEOLOGY???

You are not powerless.

My heart’s voice came so quick I nearly clasped my hand over my chest as if to keep a secret from spilling. I knew she was right; I always think I know. But the connection between my knowing and breathing gets clogged by the daily coffee grinds. And then the breathing shallows. And the knowing strains. And I become an automaton in my own life until something as small as a child’s Christmas list reminds me I am not a machine.

I don’t have to buy the slime, if I don’t want to.

Friends, I know a new year is upon us and you may already be scheming your word of the year, a new writing rhythm, or whether it’s possible to try something like a Half30. (Asking for a friend.) But I want to give you permission to stop buying the slime now, like today, if it’s making you sick.

You don’t have to send holiday cards if it’s more sweat than sweet.

You don’t have to be on social media if it’s more output than input.

You don’t have to scale your work if it’s more should than want.

You don’t have to put it in on the calendar if it’s more dread than delight.

You don’t have to get the gift if it’s more stuff than substance.

One of the most badass verses of the Bible, IMO, is when Jesus says, “No one takes [my life] from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again.” Get it, God. And bless you for modeling how to author a life in which Fierce Self-Love = Free Other-Love.

His words reminded me of something a very cool, very Jesus-sounding, mom said to me about (literal) slime. She doesn’t allow slime in her house. (You can do that?) She says no to anything and everything she wants. (Why didn’t I think of that?) And she always reserves the right to change her mind. (And your kids can recover from that?) I wanted to kiss her for telling me.

So, do whatever you need to do to give yourself freely this season. As for me and my house, there will no stuffies but some building blocks this year. No holiday photos cards but some kid-captured Polaroids sent to a random few. And no newsletter until the new year so I can catch my breath and savor my heart’s secrets.

Our hearts are never short on secrets.


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Saved you a seat.

unnamedIf you walked into a room and discovered that _________ had saved you a seat, who would you be most delighted to see?


Liz Gilbert?

Andrew Smoking-Hot Scott?

Janell and I were on the back porch of our host’s house, scribbling big questions onto small cards with each guests’s name. She had flown in from Denver just for this dinner, just for me. Our mission? To make eighteen women who were childless by choice, chance, or calling feel seen.

It worked. And it worked on me, too. It felt like a second wedding whereby a bunch of bad-ass adult women re-committed to doing our own work–and to each other. Janell and I got home, got into our hoodies, and stayed up savoring the night and wishing there were MORE.

More conversations on who shaped our desire to mother or not. More on what we feel and what we’re supposed to feel about children. More on how we find community when we find ourselves outside of convention. More on the risk of partnering with someone who may not partner our desire. More on how we re-parent ourselves.

When I posted an invitation to this MORE on Instagram, I was floored by the responses. One woman wondered if she was missing the mom gene. (She’s not. It doesn’t exist.) Another said she craved non-mom groups, but didn’t know of any in her neck of the woods. A handful said they felt like imposter moms–step-moms, foster-moms, and unlikely-moms–who are not exactly childless but are not exactly in childlove.

It reminded me of the first conversation covenant we named for the night: Live like you belong. It’s an old adage I adapted from Courage & Renewal retreats that reminds us that receiving welcome is just as important as giving it. (Did you know you can download my small group strategies for better belonging here?)

So, as the days darken and the holidays approach, please resist the urge to curl in. Walk into a room with your shoulders back. Pitch yourself with pride of work. Grab the mic of your own life because you are not too much, you are more than enough, everyone belongs. (And everyone is awkward at belonging.)

Don’t count yourself out before you‘ve ever been counted in.

The universe (and, if you‘re lucky, Janell) is saving you a seat.


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Friends forever.

“To be useful,” theologian Carolyn Jane Bohler writes, “a metaphor for God needs to evoke two reactions at the same time: ‘Oh, yes, God is like that,’ and ‘Well, no, God is not quite like that.’”

The metaphor of a divine friend has never really done it for me. Well, that’s not entirely true. When my mother told me I had a friend in Jesus, I felt like I’d struck “key influencer” gold, like becoming besties with the principal or Prince. But as I aged into evangelicalism, the relationship felt too chummy. Who were we to think we knew intimately what Jesus would do, let alone what he wanted for 1990’s pre-teens at any given moment?

And so I swung. From having lots to say about God to being able to say very little. Sure, there are love notes from time to time. But I imagine they have more to do with me than God. Most days, our communication is a simple, “Hi, God” followed by “Hey, Erin” as I go to bed and rise again. Resurrection grows unremarkable.

My pastor preached God’s friendship recently. And I realized it had been a long time since I allowed myself to consider how God “is like that.” More parts available than distant. Equal parts coffee shop and dance floor. Very much a fan of me.

It’s friendship that saves us, she proclaimed. In fact, in what’s called his Farewell Discourse, Jesus lifts it up as the greatest of all loves. When practiced for good, “it bears fruit that will last.” A revelation in plain sight.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending my days writing for women who aren’t feeling motherhood that I could finally feel the weight of these words.

Friendship is how we leave a legacy.

Friendship is how we multiply divine purpose.

Friendship is a democratic love that we can know and grow whether we ever partner, parent, or procreate.

No one is excluded from knowing “a love like this.”

Friendship is undervalued in a country who spouts “family first.” And yet spending time with friends ranks high on our pleasure scale. In fact, in one study cited in Jennifer Senior’s book, All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, the company of friends ranked highest in enjoyment, above spouses, relatives, acquaintances, and one’s own parents. Spending time with one’s children came in a distant place, along with strangers. I guffawed underlining this bit of research, glad to know that someone other than I might find dinner time conversation with kids as thrilling as a trip to the dry cleaner.

What would it feel like if friend was the role we prized most? What would it look like if we struggled to fend off Tiger Friends and Helicopter Pals who cared so fiercely for us as to become a caricature? What if we threw big parties for bestie anniversaries? The year my single mother posed with a friend for her annual Christmas card gave me a grin fatter than Santa.

Rekindling a focus on friendship, with others, with God, with ourselves even, won’t be easy. I want to be a better friend, in theory. I’m nothing if not hyper-intentional. But the truth is I can be an opportunistic friend. Present when I need something. Happily underground when I don’t. The same could be said about my friendship with God.

Th good news is friend love is better celebrated than chased. “Friendship is not to be sought, not to be dreamed, not to be desired; it is to be exercised (it is a virtue)” wrote Simone Weil. Friendship, like belonging, is not a privilege but a practice. It’s what Weil called a “gratuitous art.” We accept it as gift and offer it as gift, no strings attached.

So, today, maybe a text to say, You’re killing it.

And, tomorrow, maybe a meal to say, You feed me.

Some distant day, maybe a party that says, We belong together, and includes glow sticks, jelly shoes, and Zack Attack’s Friends Forever on repeat.

Unless your friend, like God, “is not quite like that.”

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Human is a good look on you.

Human is a good look on you. XO, GODThere’s nothing that knocks me off my game like a pimple. And not just the shy kind that’s easily disguised but the brazen bump that arrives on a chin or a cheek and refuses to budge as if to say, “And you thought you were going places, love?” and “Let’s order-in tonight.”

A pimple, an illness, a blow-up, a death, they all come bearing the same sly news: “Your humanity is showing.”

My humanity decided to throw a pageant for itself at a retreat I once led for young clergy. Everything was amiss. I had cried during a debrief. I had sworn during a debate. And now I had a giant pimple on my chin that could not be concealed with moisturizer, make-up, or the precise placement of my hand over my mouth. Every bathroom break, I weighed the pros and cons of popping, picking, or blotting. My ego flared over how it could literally save (my) face.

But, then, a funny turn. Eventually I got so tired of looking at my faceand the humanity so obviously oozing throughthat I decided to put an end to the charade. I decided to put a bandaid over my chin. A big, gauzy, not-my-skin-tone-really, sticker that said, “Don’t look at me,” and “But look at me?!?” in equal measure.

Human. Humiliation. Humor. They all share the same root word, from the Latin humus, meaning of the earth. When the sky is falling, the earth (your earthiness) is a safe place to press into.

Not to be outshined by the outsized bandage, I pressed in to our next session with a very important announcement.

“Yes, I have a bandaid on my face,” I deadpanned.

A bit of shock from the crowd. Then a couple snickers.

“And, I know you can see it!” I was losing it now, but what exactly was being lost besides my pride?

“But I don’t want to see it, or touch it, or even think about it anymore because I have more important things to do. We have more important things to do!”

The whole room was smiling now. Eyebrows lazed. Shoulders fell. The whole motion of the room was down toward holy ground.

A seed of trust was watered.

I’ve been thinking about that moment a lot these days as my humanity spills. I’m writing a book again, going to bed drunk on possibilities and waking up with vulnerability hangovers. I’m co-parenting still, flopping between when to hold to my values and when to yield to another’s (feminist quinceañera, anyone?). And I’m caring for aging parents, a weird life phase that makes me feel both very young and very grown. My ability to pretend it’s okay, I’m okay, is growing thin.

We spend so much time pretending to be fine that we don’t notice the ground beneath our feet drying up. We forget that the ground needs to break a little to breath. We forget that we need to show our cracks a little for life to grow.

I hate this fact of the universe. Because it undermines how good I am at getting by. Because it feels dangerous to court the cracks in my facade. Especially as a female who is rewarded for being that most dreadful of words: relatable.

But thin places, or those places where our earthiness takes on a divine face, can’t be courted. They are simply greeted when we come to the end of our hustling and the ground of our humanity. When we admit to a crowd we are scared. Or forgive ourselves for not writing better.

When we look a pimple in the face and say, “I’m taking you out tonight, love” and “We had better get dressed.”

Human, God coos, is a good look on you.

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“My daddy used to say if there’s breath in your lungs, there can be gratitude on your tongue,” Donna said—or something like it—as she shifted her weight on the altar, her jumpsuit rippling like stones across water.

That’s nice, I thought to myself from the pew. But I am too tired for thanks. And what would I give thanks for? Everything, right? And what good would that do? Nothing, almost. I’d still be here in this church, hands balled hard as sinking rocks.

Nothing was wrong, exactly, except that I felt nothing that morning. I had woken up after Rush left for a long day of doing good somewhere else. I had dropped a kid off at Sunday School, another at a different church, still another had stood beside me during our opening worship set, barely singing.

You know the feeling. It’s the feeling of not feeling your life.

I had tried to get out of this nothing day, knew it would feel too wide before it even began to yawn. I sent texts to friends. Rush sent texts to friends on my behalf. Can my girls glom on to your family for the afternoon? I want to get in a car and drive far to the mall and go shopping with my mom; I want to try on a pair of boyfriend jeans. But three kids is a hard ask. I settled on a pool date with an adult friend, emphasis on the Adult, my three noodles in tow.

“But my grandma used to say—,” Donna continued, and my attention shifted a sliver, along with my body. I leaned in for a woman’s wisdom. “My grandma used to say that God doesn’t need our words to pray; that sometimes, in those times, all we need is a holy hum. Hummm…,” Donna moaned, a sound both sweet and sad.

“Hummm…,” I heard beside me, held my breath, waited for more. Was that my child?

“Hum, hu-hu-hu-, hummm…,” she kept going. She kept humming. She kept talking. My fists unfurled. My nose twitched. My eyes teared. She was talking to God. Or God was talking to me.


I tried for awhile, to savor it, and her. But, later, I had to say something. It was too good not to say, “I heard you humming in church.”

“Yeah,” she blushed.

“Were you responding to what Donna said about prayer?” I prodded.

“No,” she said. “I was already humming.”

Well, damn. She was already humming.

Does it make it better to know they are talking even when we can’t hear their words? A little. Does it make it better to know God is humming even when we come to the end of ours? I think so. It got me through a day I didn’t want to do, a week where my writing has been weak, a season where I feel like something’s got to give.

She is already humming.

Even this noddle can hum.

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There’s still time to revise.

“How was your summer?” people ask, and I struggle to cut this too-big question down to bite-sized. Generalizations like “full but good” bore me before they even come out of my mouth. Stories about kids and camps sound more like a PSA when I add that payment wouldn’t be possible without government reimbursements. The only thing I can think to say is the thing that made me sing: “I died and went to writing camp.”

I loved everything about the ten-days I spent at the Collegeville Institute over the summer. The peace to write. The chats with friends in my field. And the feedback that’s helping me find my way to a more generous book. It was all pretty spectacular, made more so by afternoon tea ceremonies at the potters studio (where we learned you have to do it the same way a hundred times before you can improvise) and nighttime high jinks in the form of a murder mystery party (where we learned the best plot is not always the most logical plot.) Also, there were pickles in the lunch line everyday. And for some reason that felt like a luxury as sweet as an apartment all to myself.

The first day of the workshop we did what all plucky participants do: we shared why we were there, what we hoped to get out of it, and even–my favorite prompt–what we were most afraid of. That was an easy one for me. I was afraid of making something awkward, which I inevitably did when I told the program manager responsible for the pickles that pickles made me feel like I had a mom again. Not that she was my mom. Or that my mom wasn’t alive and well…

But by far the most common fear of my fellow participants, each of whom had brought a creative non-fiction manuscript to the workshop, was that they’d have to start over. That their work would be for naught. Their time trivialized. I didn’t share this particular fear, the possibility phase is what I live for, but I wondered if I should be a little more frightened after fourteen months revising my prologue alone.

Revision, our wise instructor soon reminded us, was not about making things better. In its truest sense it simply meant to see something again, from a different angle, in a new light. So the aim of our time together wouldn’t be perfecting our prose. It would be getting curious about the page.

With this revision of the word revision in place, we were off on an entirely new adventure, cutting up paragraphs and pasting them in new places, penning letters from minor characters and turning our plot into a three-act film. I can’t say much more about these prompts (proprietary reasons) other than to say that we were set free from our functional atheism and found something more like faithfulness.

There’s still time to revise is becoming my mantra for not just this slow book work, but this slow living work. So you already botched your back-to-school rhythm? There’s still time to revise. So you missed a deadline for that grant application?There’s still time to revise. So you stuck your foot in your mouth again talking about race?There’s still time to revise.

We can’t undo what’s been done but we can commit to doing something differently now. To seeing something again and asking others what they see. Maybe you’ll even have fun trying. Maybe, just once, you’ll answer the question “How was your summer?” from the perspective of your pinkie.

Remember practice, not progress, is the goal…

…if you’re into goals.

…which I’m obviously not.

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You’re not capable. But we are.

It was the last evening of a four-day Courage & Renewal retreat, and a broad-shouldered vocal coach had us singing with what she called “full voice.” We had already experimented with the concepts of consonance (singing with unified voices), dissonance (singing with diversified voices), and now we were starting a musical round (singing with one voice in three parts.) She went through each part quicker than lightening, and then gamely asked, “Got it?”

No. We absolutely did not “got it.” Looking around at the mostly wiser, grayer choir of participants beside me, I saw my fear face mirrored in theirs. She must be mistaken, we said with our eyebrows, or at the very least pressed for time.

But soon a Cheshire grin slinked across her face. “YOU may not have it yet. But, trust me, WE do.” She paused for only a blink to let the truth sink in. We promptly filled our lungs with breath to begin.

Last month, a member of my church took his last breath, accidentally and shockingly. He was thirty-seven with a good job, a good wife, and six young kids. I didn’t so much grieve for him—I hardly knew him—as I grieved for his wife, which is another way of saying I grieved for myself. I don’t have enough love to love our girls alone; I’m sure of it.

I admitted as much to a priest who was with me the day that I found out. “Will you be my priest for a minute or two?” I asked, as tears crept their way out of dry corners. I told her what had happened. I told her I was not capable of what this widow must now do. She told me I was right.

“You’re not capable,” she said to me, echoing the sentiment of that vocal coach some years ago. “But the church is. And God is.” My tears slowed, sure that she was right, unsure what it meant, exactly.

I don’t know what YOU feel incapable of right now. I don’t know if it’s leaving a partner who makes you feel small–or a church that does the same. Or if it’s finishing the book you know is in you but can’t get out. Maybe, like me, it has something to do with love, who you’re capable of loving and how much and for how long.

I do know, though, that taking on ONLY tasks you are capable of is cowardly. I do know that anything worth doing can’t be done alone, even if your collaborators are dead poets or a silent God. I do know that relationship grows your capacity to love.

The priest was on point. I am not capable of loving my girls like they deserve. But I am larger now than when I first started parenting some four years ago. Saturdays are no longer my least favorite day of the week. I do not mind being hugged before nine a.m.. When I use my daughter’s bath bomb without asking, I know to apologize, and am even proud of her for insisting. The recipe for loving them, by some strange magic, is actually baked into their bodies.

Still, I do not, by any measure, “got this.”

The metaphor of a musical round—where the failures of the one are easily covered by the voices of the many, where the strong note of another can carry your off-key cry, where you don’t have to know all the parts to play your part—is a reassuring one when your fear face takes over. When you’re having a vocational failure-to-launch problem. When you’re having a “I’m a terrible parent” problem. When you’re having a “There’s no way in hell I can bear this grief” problem.

You can’t.

But we can.

We can grow into our full voice together.

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We’re more alike than unalike.

I had surprised myself by saying yes, quickly and unscrupulously, to joining the new, all-female co-working space in Raleigh. Co-working made sense, in theory, but I had tried it once and failed. The small talk stalled out fast. My will to put pants on followed.

It was Em, the red-headed brains behind the launch, who convinced me this time would be different. Em is a professional hype girl. Seriously, this is what her Instagram profile says—professional hype girl—and it is one hundred percent true. Even on our fifteen minute informational interview, she said I was COOL no less than three times. Now, I know there are cooler words than cool these days. But when Em says it, you believe her.

And what woman doesn’t need to believe her own good hype?

It wasn’t just the idea of sharing space with strangers, though, that I thought would make me nervous. It was also the idea of sharing space with other women. It’s not that I don’t like other women. (And I am categorically against the category of people who do.) But big groups of them often made me nervous because I got the feeling that I made them nervous.

As the social sorting starts between moms and non-moms, at-homes and at-works, high heels and no heels, I end up somewhere in the uncomfortable middle. There are no easy boxes under which to build a fort, buddy up, and take shelter.

“I’m a formerly childfree mom of three,” I want to say, but who would believe me?

“I work from home to pursue my purpose not the kiddos’,” I want to offer but worry about coming off as callous.

And high heels or no heels? I’ve been living in my lavender Birkenstocks for months now but after turning thirty-five declared I was “bringing sexy back” and bought a pair of lavender wedges. Like the hue I can’t get enough of, I fall somewhere between primary colors.

If anyone could bring fifty women together in a room without walls, though, I thought it was Em. She had asked us to come prepared to our welcome dinner with a few prompts to introduce ourselves. Normal stuff like your name and what you do for work or fun. And not so normal stuff like what animal you would ride into battle if you could shrink or blow-up any species. (My dog Alvin, 500-lbs, BAREBACK.) As we went around the long, candle-lit table, I leaned in for each woman’s answers, listening for echoes of my own. And here’s what I heard:

I heard women who were excited to press into their purpose as jewelry makers and wedding photographers, parenting bloggers and social workers, pastors and yoga instructors.

I heard women who were craving a group of earnest entrepreneurs with whom they could swap stories of epic fails and tiny victories.

I also heard a few women list something called “wine walks” as one of their favorite pastimes (and made a mental note to connect with these folks later).

In other words, I heard a lot of women who were making a life beyond the binaries of what we call childless and childfull, work and home, shoulds and wants. These were my kind of women, and I was beginning to think we were legion.

I was beginning to think we were more alike than unalike.

We’re more alike than unlike, God’s love note said to me that gleaming evening. God must be talking to Maya Angelou again, I thought. God must be talking about the human family. God must be talking about me and the women. Everyone belongs.

But I also took God to mean that we are more alike than unalike, too. Me and the divine family. Me and God. I remembered that God is known in my tradition for calling himself “I am who I am” before identifying as “The Lord, the God of your fathers.” I remembered that, like God, I belong to myself (a soul) before I belong to anyone else (a role).

Second century church thinker Clement of Alexandria articulated this same point, arguing for a multiplicity of names for God since no single one could express his essence but taken together they could express his power. Why shouldn’t it be the same with us? We are not only and ever one thing or the other. We are made whole by the many things expressed within and among us.

So, enough with the sorting (COUGH, Erin). Enough with the sizing. Enough with the counting yourself out before you’ve ever been counted in. No one has your story but no one has a single story either.

Who needs a box to buddy up under when the roof is wide open?

As the night sky began to peer through the window, Em thanked us for taking a risk on this sisterhood we were desperate for but didn’t know was possible. Then, she mentioned the SWAG bag we could pick up on our way out.

I stopped listening so well after that.

Bike helmet still clipped to my hip, I barreled through the group of women, beaming from all the big talk, scheming to grab the lavender tumbler before it was gone.

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You can fall asleep first.

It’s the first episode of the Netflix series, Dead to Me, and newly-widowed Jen—played by the evergreen Christina Applegate—is tucking her son into bed when he says, “You have to wait until I’m asleep.”

“Hmmm,” she murmurs.

“All the way asleep,” he clarifies, his arm angled behind his head.

“I know, bud,” she says, as if she’s said it a billion times before. Night globe on? Check. Jen crawls into bed? Check. A need is met? Impossibly, check.

It’s a sweet scene, right? And yet, I had a Dana Carvey, “Well, isn’t that SPECIAL,” moment when I first saw it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve become a bit sardonic about the ability to get my needs met or meet the needs of my people.

Do any of these thoughts sounds familiar?
I hardly know what I need enough to ask for it.
It’s too painful to ask for what I need—and not be met in it.
If they really loved me, they’d know what I need without asking.
And, besides, I’ve learned to meet my own needs; and, ahem, you should, too.

That last one is SPECIAL.

My nightmares started young, and persisted. The usual stuff showed-up: Disney witches, men in trench coats, death. I’d wake the parents, and Mom would trade places with me, her spot beside Dad for my basement bedroom. His snoring didn’t help me sleep; instead I synced my breath to his, every inhale a prayer, every exhale a promise.

They tried to wean me off the late-night knocks, first by allowing me to sleep outside their room, then by giving me five bucks to sleep through the night in my own. Some nights, unable to stay but with nowhere to go, I tugged my Mickey Mouse comforter to the bathroom and made a bed in the tub, pulling the curtain closed so the scary couldn’t find me.

But nothing seemed to fix the feeling of being in my body, in my mind. The dawn was my only deliverer, and it could not be rushed anymore than GROWING UP.

This memory has returned to me in adulthood when I’ve felt the familiar gloom of “Nothing is working” and “I’ve asked too many times already” and “Nobody can live my life for me.” The last one? It’s totally true. And, yet, when I hear this hopeless self-talk, I’ve decided to try something new.

I’m starting to imagine God, sitting on the shag toilet cover and saying to me from the other side of the curtain, “You can fall asleep first.”

Do you ever wonder if there’s Someone who wants to say the same to you?
I know what you need.
I want to meet your need.
I may not fix it, but I can heal it.
You’ve done good, but let me take it from here. 

I am ALL for strategies for self-management. Our trouble-with-sleeping kiddo in the family has a “Sleepy Time Reminders” print-out tacked to her bulletin board that includes things like taking your Melatonin (yes, we’re not above medicating some zen zzz‘s), turning the lights on, looking around the room, and shaking something called a glitter jar. We even tell her exactly what we’ll say to her if she knocks on our door. Sometimes I think these lists are more for my meandering brain than hers.

It’s a good and worthy thing to teach our kiddos that they have what they need within them. I just also wonder if we forget to say more often, “You’ve done good, but let me take it from here.”

I’m digging this image of the toilet-sitting God who promises not to fall asleep until I do. This is no Father God nor Mother God for me, but rather what I call the Adult in the Room God. Who holds vigil for all my worries. Who may not fix it, but can heal it. Who does not say, as I once did, “You realize that when you wake me to tell me you can’t sleep, then I can’t sleep, right?” COLLECTIVE CRINGE.

I do not begrudge an Adult who sometimes sleeps. I recall the story about a God-Man who slept—with a pillow!—on a boat of fisherman bound for “the other side.” Woken by his crew when a storm closed in—Is it nothing to you that we’re going down?—he called them cowards, then calmed the wind. Sounds more like Captain Cranky Pants than Non-Anxious Presence at first. But if I read closer, I wonder if the offense was not that the fishermen freaked out, but that they assumed the God-Man didn’t care.

“Wait until I’m asleep?” I ask God when the waves rise high.

“Hmmm,” she murmurs.

“All the way asleep,” I clarify, but confident in what’s coming next.

“I know, babe,” she says as if she’s said it a billion times before. Night sky on? Check. Adult leans back on the bowl? Check. A need is met? Impossibly, check.

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