Uh oh! What a Mess!

I’ve always known the question would come. But I certainly didn’t expect it from a 1-year-old. I had plans of initiating an official conversation. You know–someday when she was ready. Or…when I was ready.

Annie pressed her baby tightly under her chin and “shhh-shh”d it to nigh-nigh. Audrey rummaged through her doctor kit declaring to be a savior of babies like Annie (how’s that for a 3yo’s career aspiration?). I sifted through the dresser for a comfy outfit to dress Annie in that might last an hour before covered in paint, glitter, milk, peepee, or some other mess.

Annie’s humming and shushing turned to an announcement, “Uh oh! Mess! Mess! Uh oh, Momma! Mess!” Already?, I thought. At least she wasn’t dressed yet!  I knew we’d left the breakfast in the kitchen, so what could it be?

I turned around to find Annie wiping at her bare chest. She repeatedly rubbed and swiped to rid the “uh oh”–a permanent mess that can’t be rubbed clean.

She had finally found them. For the first time, Annie noticed her scars. And she worked agressively to clean herself up.


I wasn’t ready! I didn’t have my Bible in hand open to Psalm 139. I hadn’t prayed first and sat her down to explain God’s goodness in her suffering and faithfulness in her present stability. I hadn’t defined survivor and chosen or shown her the thousands of prayer cards offered on her behalf. I hadn’t even brushed my teeth!

But I kissed her and clothed her and began to tell her of the beauty that she bears. Of the miracles that her precious marks declare. Of the Person who will always be known because of a purple line twice cut, a jagged white x cinched tight when the draining stopped, fading dots that once held pacing wires just in case, another white x pulled taut once the tube ran dry, dots on her wrists from continuous monitoring, the circle in her thigh so the meds could squeeze her heart, the oval on her foot from an IV gone wrong.

And many more scars are yet to join the troops. Still, we can celebrate!

We’ve been reading a bedtime book that talks about looking for God everywhere because He’s easy to find. I excitedly explained that because of her perfect “uh oh mess” we even find God in Annie. We pray that others will too!

Later in the car together we danced and sang along to our usual storytime CD. Audrey belted out the lyrics, “God made all of me, so that I can praise Him.” Annie stumbled along “God…me…I pays ’em.”

Yes, dear one, even that heart that doesn’t seem right. Even those scars that don’t feel pretty. Even a lifelong sickness that doesn’t seem fair. God knows all about you  (Psalm 139:1) and made every part of you so that you can praise Him.

Always be prepared






Who made you: you?

Who has had the  biggest positive influence on your life, making you the quality person you are today?

I shouldn’t have been surprised by my recent answer to our department round table question. Several names and precious faces warmed my memories:

-my 7th grade Sunday school teacher who loved me the entire year I grew out my bangs and subsequently turned cool because I made cheerleader

-my high school huddle group leader who loved me when I ran away twice… or was it three times?…I hope no one else remembers either!

-my high school bestie who shared all my secrets, created all my inside jokes, loaned me the perfect outfit for every occasion, and modeled how to secretly watch MTV by switching to two channels before her parents got home so they couldn’t check the remote’s “last selection” Daddy Doug and Mommy Vick, now you know.

-my sophomore English teacher who told me I should be a writer and then taught me how

-my college counseling professor who taught me about listening and empathy and the science of family

-my grandmother who has been the primary person through whom God has made Himself known to our family so that He is the God of multiple generations

-my mom who spent every morning studying her scribbled-over, marked up, crinkled-pages-falling-apart Bible so that she’d know what to teach us and how to love us

But still there was another name, another face, another memory that overflowed.

There’s still one person who has made the single biggest impact in my life, making me better, making me stronger, making me braver, making me less of me and more of God:


19 months of loving and fighting and dreaming and hoping and praying and believing and asking and trusting make me the quality person I am still becoming.

What a gift she is!

“If my life is surrendered to God, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!” -Elisabeth Elliott