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teenTake a deep breath. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

I’m never sure what to expect out of this particular holiday.  I have been the oldest woman in my family for something like 12 years now. But I’ve got to tell you – the matriarch thing has never worked all that well for me.

This year in particular I find myself approaching the day with caution. My son is a high school junior and he’s facing some big decisions.  Okay, they aren’t life or death but they could be life defining.  Could be.

You see I’m not really sure that I buy into that.  I don’t think that God gives us one chance and one chance only to be the people that He means for us to be.  Read the Old Testament and you’ll see that he gave the Tribes of Israel opportunity after opportunity.  It wasn’t one chance and then the ground opened up and swallowed them.  Nope. They had a many opportunities to find their way.

But that’s how a lot of people view the decisions that teens have to make.  Inhale or say no?  Abstinence or safe sex? College or military? Make the wrong choice and you are doomed!

Next year is my son’s last year in high school.  He’s working on his schedule and trying to decide what he wants to do, what he wants to study. I’m not sure he’s struggling all that hard to make these decisions, but I do get the feeling that he is struggling to make his decisions heard.  He’s struggling to earn a little respect.

Me?  I’m struggling to give it to him. I pray for wisdom.  And I’ve asked other people to pray that I find this wisdom.  Yes, there are decisions that he is making that could have a huge impact. I should weigh in on these decisions.  But there are a lot more that seem big now but in the long run . . . not so much.

Lord, grant me the wisdom to know one from the other.
Lord, grant me the courage to keep my mouth shut.
Lord, help me to remember that it is only in silence that I can hear You.

Wisdom.  That would be the best thing I could receive this Mother’s Day.


A [choose one: a) genie b) fairy c) angel d) pink unicorn] suddenly appears right in front of you and asks, “If you could be anything, what would you be?” I imagine most people would choose a word like “rich” or “powerful,” or more specific words like “a pro football player” or “a rock star.” Who on earth would pick a word like “holy”?

Holiness gets a bum rap, mostly because few of us understand it. Holiness doesn’t separate a person from others; it draws people together. Holiness doesn’t demand complete self-abandonment. Holiness empowers total self-integration. To be holy is to be whole.

Imagine being wholly yourself — using all of your gifts to their fullest extent, allowing your personality to fully bloom, pursuing your passions utterly. That’s all part of being holy. Holy people aren’t partial people; they are the complete package. They know themselves, yet push themselves to always be more. When you meet a holy person — and so few of us do — you know it.

But holy people also embrace their holey-ness, that is, their brokenness. They know where they are lacking in physical and spiritual gifts. What they can work on, they do. But what cannot be changed, what is innately “holey” in them, they know to nurture. They love themselves, warts and all, as God loves them…and they extend the same love to other “holey” people. And let’s face it — we’re all holey.

If you’d asked me, back when I was a kid, what being holy looked like, you would have got a rather bland picture: Someone looking terribly serious, saintly and silent. I no longer think that. To be truly holy, one must constantly reach for action verbs — words like share, give, work, labor, protect, bless, and love. In other words, holiness is hard work. That may be the reason so few of us bother with it.

I am blessed to know a few truly holy people. They are the kind of people you want to be around. They seem at peace. They are attuned to others but don’t neglect themselves. People naturally gravitate toward them. And with good reason. Holy people are remembered, even centuries after their lives, not because they were dull do-gooders, but because they were vibrantly alive — vibrantly themselves.

Holiness is worth pursuing. Tell that to the next pink unicorn you meet.

path“In my heart, I just know that I’m going to be rich someday,” she said, with a faraway look in her eyes.

A friend had stopped over for a brief chat, and what she’d said really gave me pause.

It occurred to me that every one of us harbors a secret wish like that one – that, something rightfully ours hasn’t reached us yet, but it will. And once it does, all of our problems will be solved.

There’s a fine line between the firmament of faith and magical thinking. God isn’t sitting around, waiting for us to finally just ask already for that winning lottery ticket. There really isn’t one specific, out-of-this-world thing that will solve all our problems.

We think if we can finally get our hands on that one “open-sesame” thing we can finally:

  • Pay off the bills
  • Lose weight
  • Find true love

Or to sum it up…be happy.

But, of course, all of these things come with their own particular set of problems. If you do win the lottery, chances are, you’ll spend most of your money on things you really don’t need. Relatives will come out of the woodwork, asking you to bankroll their pet projects. And of course, the taxman cometh.

Maybe that one elusive thing can be accomplished over time, the way we pay off a bill. We could do one little thing every day that takes us from standing still to moving forward.

The American Delusion is that we’re destined to win the lottery, be an overnight success, or discover buried treasure at the beach.

The American Dream is appreciating the blessings you currently have, and taking whatever baby steps you can toward your soul’s goal. You’ll be amazed at how many times God shows up to walk with you when you light out on that path.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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