Sins of the Father

Many times, I’ve told myself that I’m my own worst enemy–my own harshest critic. Perfection has been my goal for as long as I can remember. Sometimes this exaggerated need compels me to stop short of completing a task because I know, just know, it won’t be perfect. The roots of this behavior are multi-generational.

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The Cold Metal Scissors

I was proud of my long hair. I was noticed, and I received comments on the “pretty blonde” color which had grown almost to my waist. I bragged about how it had never been “officially” cut, but only trimmed at home. One way my mom showed care for me was with my hair. When I…

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Out of Hiding

Lottie Hillard wrote an article called “The Shame of Needing” that could have been written about me. Fifteen years ago when I was in graduate school for counseling, I recall one of the advisors saying that my shame was gregarious. I carried an air of confidence, moving in relationships with classmates and clients with charm and…

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To Withstand One’s Own Wrath

Entering the office today, before saying hello to anyone, addressing the day’s agenda, or even putting down my bag, I internally itemized a long list of things askew. Pillows awry in room 7. Table decor down in room 3. Side table off center in room 1.  Dirty plate and to-go box in kitchen. And in…

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The Road of Forgiveness

It was my senior year of college, and I was one month into my walk with God. I had a fresh sense of awe and gratitude tangled with curiosity. I retreated to a coffee shop where I snuggled into some pillows on a stoop in front of a large window. Next to me was my…

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Turning Away

I grew up in the paradox of an abusive Christian home. It’s a surprise, then, that my siblings and I each clung to Jesus in our own ways. We were desperate for stability and truth.  When I became a mother, I reinvented the parenting wheel. I prayed for inspiration, for wisdom, for the ability to…

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When I Can’t Feel Christmas

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 5:34 p.m. on Black Friday and everything was right on schedule. The tree was set up, lights lit, and boxes of ornaments ready for unpacking. Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas played in the background, as was tradition, and Mom had just slid the…

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Rewriting the Story of “Too Much”

I heard him wailing, as he ran down the street toward home. Him, looking for comfort and someone to notice his small-but-big pain; me, rolling my eyes a little with a sigh in my breath. Still, I ready my arms to wrap around his three-year-old body, and, as the door bursts open, all the cries…

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Between Joy and Sadness

“Can I watch Joy’s movie, Mama?” “Joy’s movie?” “Yeah! The yellow lady with the blue hair!” Frantically searching my memory bank for the missing puzzle pieces, I stare confusedly into space until a bright light blinks into existence above my head. “Aha! Joy! You mean Inside Out.” My sweet boy, with swollen eyes and a…

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Dance

I’ve always found myself in the dance of caretaking, waiting for my partner to take the lead, whether my mom, my dad, or a friend. When I found myself disappointed or let down, I’d lead instead. It was exhausting, but necessary to get my needs met. Occasionally I would have moments when I could float…

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