Tag Archive | love

The Parents – To Tell or Not to Tell

Please excuse me while I jump ahead in my story to something that hasn’t even happened yet. Tomorrow I get on a plane to visit my parents and my brother’s family. They do not know the events of the last two and a half years of my life recovering from a marriage ravaged by sex addiction. They also are not aware of the neglect and emotional abuse of the preceding twenty five years.

It has been easy to hide the truth from my family. I moved 3,000 km away from home two days after my wedding. In the early years, when our children were young and adorable, someone would make the trek once or twice a year for a family visit. Now that our children are young adults, the frequency of the visits with my parents has diminished to once a year or so. It has been relatively easy for my husband and I to wear smiley faces and play happy little family for one week every year. Besides that, I do come from a family content to hide its flaws from one another. It is more comfortable for everyone that way.

At forty eight years of age, I still fear disappointing my parents. Of messing up in their eyes. My therapist has assured me that they will love me no matter what. He asked me if anything my children did would affect my love for them. I know my mind was supposed to draw the parallel between the parental love I have for my children, and that my parents have for me. But I just can’t quite get there. It seems that I need more than love from my parents. I need acceptance and approval. Security and safety in my position in the family. And that comes from playing my part properly.

To be fair to my parents, I do believe they would wholeheartedly accept both myself and my husband if I dared to be authentic with them. Quite likely there would be tears over my pain. Guilt that they didn’t help me. Hurt that I didn’t trust them enough to share my heartache with them until now.

I have become skilled at justifying to myself why I have not and should not tell them my story. I have asked myself too many questions that don’t have answers. What exactly would I tell them? How much of my husband’s story? Of mine? What do I include and what do I leave out? Why stir things up now when they are getting older? I only see them once a year, wouldn’t it be better, or at least easier, to just keep things as they are?

I have come to realize there a few problems with maintaining the silence. Although my parents are getting older, they are only in their mid seventies. They could easily, and I hope they do, live another twenty years. That is a long time to continue feeling like I am lying and keeping secrets from them.

I would also be denying them the opportunity to celebrate the growth and healing in our lives and marriage. I would be intentionally withholding the story of the outpouring of God’s redemptive love upon us and the miracle after miracle that has become part of our testimony. Surely they would want to know of this amazing grace. Surely God would want them to.

As I sit here writing this, I am becoming mildly uncomfortable that I have chosen to openly share the struggles and victories of my life with nearly everyone but my parents. And yet……

Will this visit be the third time we are together since beginning recovery that I will succumb to my own fears and insecurities and talk about the weather? Will I be able to admit that yes, I am worried about hurting my parents, but it is really me I am trying to protect? Will I seek God’s boldness, strength, wisdom and guidance on the when, hows and whats of this conversation?  Or will I be afraid of the answer and keep waiting for another time?

And so I get on the plane tomorrow not knowing what the next week brings. But God knows. And I am trying to be okay with that.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6

Welcome a New Writer!

I have invited a guest writer to my blog and although she will introduce herself in the coming days and weeks and she shares her story and her heart, I would like to take a moment to say a few words about her and to welcome her to Tears in A Bottle. 

A few years ago when my life seemed to unravel I often thought; “I’m so alone! No one else gets it!”

And then God brought Cynthia into my life!! And though our stories may be different there is a common thread that runs through them.


Cynthia is a talented writer, a wife and mom and a dear friend. She sees, not only with her eyes, but with heart and spirit.

She writes about the invisible grit, the soul parts that we feel but can’t see. And she does so with gracefulness, honesty, and whispered words of faith.

She is a gift to me.

Cynthia’s honesty challenges me. Truly. And yet, her honesty shows me grace, not shame.

I am grateful for that about her. Over the last couple of years as I’ve come to know Cynthia and have read what she writes, I kept thinking; “this has got to be shared!”



And so from time to time I would mention this blog and ask if she would consider writing and sharing her story here…..because I know there are many who need her words of encouragement, life and yes, even challenge.

It’s a scary thing to write on a blog, but she was willing to listen to God’s voice…and in His timing move forward in faithful obedience…knowing He’s right there beside her.


Really, for all of us, whether it is with a pencil or a paintbrush or a mixing bowl or a microphone or a dust cloth, an empty page, a blank canvas or a sheet of music.

They are tools….and we are called create.

Friends, for each of us, it’s time to peel back the layers, remove the veil and find the art – the gifts – deep within. Uncover them. Dust them off. They are yours. Unique to you.

And like Cynthia, in His timing, we use them. I encourage each of you, use your gifts to influence those around you. This is your art.

You will find that Cynthia writes with feeling, depth and truth. You will see glimpses of her heart through her words, her writing is her art.



I hope that you will welcome Cynthia and read her words and hear her heart, because through them God will impact your life.

Thank you Cynthia for saying “Yes” to the invitation to share your heart.

Thank you for your obedience Cynthia and the legacy you’re leaving. Thank you for sharing with us your art. 

Our bottle of tears…..


Beloved, our Father God watches over you and me. His heart is tuned in to our cries, He hears the deep anguish of our spirit, He sees the burdens and wounds our hearts carry…. Our tears are precious to Him, stirring His very heart causing Him to respond to our tears.

There will come a day when our Heavenly Father will come for His children. He will embrace us in His comforting arms and He will forever wipe all our tears away .

And I wonder, will He show us those bottles of tears He has been collecting?

Will He whisper to our hearts~ “Do you see this bottle here? These are the tears you cried… You see my child, you were never forgotten or abandoned, you were never forsaken or left on your own. I heard your heart, I saw how broken it was, I felt your tears and I was there all along, comforting you.”

My friends, do you know that our tears speak a special language to the very heart of God…..

He loves you….He loves you….He loves you…. so let the tears flow… and know that our Father God cares for you intimately and with great passion beloved….

For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9

Isaiah 38:5 “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.”

Job 16:20 “My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God.”

Psalm 56:8
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

Psalm 126:5 “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.”

Setting our hearts on pilgrimage


Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7


noun \ˈpil-grə-mij\

Definition of PILGRIMAGE

1: a journey of a pilgrim; especially: one to a shrine or a sacred place as an act of religious devotion… a journey, esp. a long one,

2: the course of life on earth

For those who have followed my blog and know of my story you may remember that my mother was a war bride from England. She was the mother I never knew because she died when I was only 6 months old. As a child I would often cry myself to sleep, weeping for my mother. I needed a mother to comfort me, to hold me, to tell me I was loved and wanted…..I went to bed each night with a longing and an emptiness…..and a dream….someday I was going to go to England, to see the country of her birth.

 And now in my 50’s my lifelong dream of visiting the UK is finally coming to fruition.

20 some years ago I was at a Women’s conference when the Lord gave me these verses in Psalm 84.

I sensed in my spirit that these verses were a promise for me. God was making a covenant with me, this was my inheritance. God was going to do a work in my life, I needed to trust Him. And throughout the years these verses have come back to me, usually at a pivotal point in my life. I find myself remembering and reflecting on them once more as I prepare for this trip to the UK.

When the Lord first gave me these verses I had no idea that my journey of healing was about to begin. “Journey” implies a starting place, a place one leaves, and a destination…that place to which one goes.

Looking back I have seen the weaving of God’s hand upon my life. His healing is a thread that has been woven into my life, my journey of healing.

It was Debbie Milam who said: “When we embrace the many parts of our experience we discover a magnificent creation. . . Every moment is but a thread, a thread of consciousness embracing the very essence of life. Some threads are brilliant and dazzling while others are tattered and torn. When looked upon in isolation the tattered threads look inferior. Yet when woven together by the wondrous hands of the Creator, the light magically blends with the dark. As joy coalesces with pain, God creates the magnificent tapestry that is life.”

The tapestry of my life continues to be woven. In preparing for this trip I have looked back at the entire tapestry of my life, and I can see that every aspect of my journey was necessary and needed. Each step of my journey led to a new place, even though the steps often felt like obstacles or painful experiences.

 A pilgrimage can be described as a journey, set apart because of its reflective nature. It is a journey of movement, a journey of attentiveness, a journey hoped to transform. A pilgrimage cannot be embarked upon without a willingness to follow the path as it unfolds. This is what I sense in my spirit as I embark on this trip.

Psalm 84 speaks of one’s yearning for God’s dwelling place; could it be that the temple might come to mean for us a search for our heart’s full dwelling in His presence?

This is much more than just a sightseeing tour of the UK.  One can physically move themselves around the world and never set their heart on a journey towards His dwelling, just as one can remain physically at home and yet set their heart on pilgrimage.

Psalm 84 reminds me that I am not on pilgrimage to God’s temple, but I am on pilgrimage with God.This Psalm assures me that if I understand that God himself is my strength and if I set my heart on allowing Him to carry me in my journey, in my pilgrimage, then I am blessed indeed!! It is an adventure of magnitude, of significance, of love.

His love is a glorious thread that is woven throughout the Word of God, and finds it’s fulfillment through Jesus Christ in our hearts. When Jesus takes hold of our lives the entire fabric of our being is changed. I don’t accomplish anything in this life on my own….as the weavings of individual threads from one to another creates something; the result is a whole tapestry…as God weaves the threads into the fabric of our lives, He creates a beautiful tapestry.

Little did I know that the tattered and broken little girl who cried herself to sleep every night would set her heart on pilgrimage when she heard the wooing of Her heavenly Father. Little did I know she would respond to the longing in her heart and learn to rest beneath the shadow of His wings.

 Our lifelong journey is our pilgrimage toward the fulfillment of our inheritance that God Himself has given to us.

Do you, my friends, know what God’s inheritance is for you? Have you gone back to the place of covenant, the very place where God covenanted with you?

I am excited to see what God has for me in this next journey of my life, this next adventure. I know that this trip to the UK is the next part of my pilgrimage and I am trusting my Heavenly Father as He continues to weave the threads of healing and wholeness in my life….stay tuned….I’ll share the adventure when I get back!!


A Beautiful Funeral

Sometimes I think about my funeral.  Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to attend many funerals, some of people I knew well and some of people I barely knew at all.  Years ago I attended the saddest funeral ever.  My husband was there; he gave the eulogy.  I came and brought our young daughter.  An orderly from the hospital came and brought his wife and daughter with him.  That was it – six people – all strangers really.  I had met the deceased only one time.  We went to visit him when he called from the hospital.  I still wonder how he got our phone number.  We talked for about an hour; his story full of bitterness and regret.  It really makes you think about how you treat people.  This man lived a full life but left no one behind to honor and mourn him.  So sad.

This week I attended a beautiful funeral.  A healthy forty year old woman died unexpectedly.  I’ve never seen our little church building so crowded.  Every chair was filled and visitors stood along the walls and overflowed into the lobby.  While there were plenty of tears and grief at a life cut too short, we really came together to say goodbye and celebrate a wonderful woman’s life.  We shared stories, laughed, and remembered the many ways she had touched us before moving on.  I want to earn a funeral like that one.

 I sang two songs in front of all those people.  Three of us sang together, two old hymns.  For the first time in my life I didn’t feel nervous.  I didn’t think about how I looked or how I sounded.  I thought about my friend who had died and all the people there who had come to say goodbye.  And I thought about the words to the songs.  One of them went like this.

Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder,

Why it should be thus all the day long.

While there are others living about us,

Never molested though in the wrong.

Farther along we’ll know all about it.

Farther along we’ll understand why.

Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine.

We’ll understand it all by and by.


Don’t Waste Your Pain

The most helpful thing I’ve read lately is a four word quote from John Eldredge in Walking With God.  He said “don’t waste your pain”.

We all have our share of pain eventually.  It comes out of nowhere to slap us in the face when we least expect it.  It looks from the outside like some people get a free pass from pain, but looks are deceiving.  You need to know that this burden we all bear is so, so, so, so, so NOT God’s desire.  He has always wanted better for us.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, the most expensive thing in the universe is Love.  Love costs us and costs God dearly.  God pays an immeasurable price every day to buy us the right to Love.  Every day we have the right to choose and that choice opens the door to unspeakable consequences.  Our right to choose, our freedom to Love means that a father has the choice to rape his young daughter.  It means a drunk has the choice to sit behind the wheel.  It means a terrorist has the choice to detonate a bomb.

Pain wasn’t meant to be wasted.  It was meant to be redeemed with the very purchase it was spent on.  Because Love, too is a choice.  Spend Love generously, lavishly, wastefully on yourself, on your fellow humans, and on God.  Don’t waste your pain.

Love For What It’s Worth

Have you ever seen the ‘Antiques Roadshow’?  People wait in line for hours with their old musty trinkets to ask an expert in a big auditorium how much their stuff is worth.  Then an old guy with glasses comes on and says something like, ‘at auction this item could bring anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 dollars.’  It often leaves me wondering how close the guy’s estimate really was.  It’s not like we can go back and complain like we can with the weather report.  Hearing his guess is not very satisfying.  I’ve gotta know, how much is old Aunt Sally’s broach really worth?  The answer is (as I’ve heard many times) it’s worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

How much is love worth?  Love must be given freely or it is not love.  Love under compulsion is repackaged fear.  In order for true love to exist, we must be free.  And our freedom comes at a terrible cost.  Because if we are free to love we are also free to hate and from that hate flows every evil act that has been committed from the beginning of time.  In allowing evil to coexist with his beloved children God pays a terrible price for love.  That staggering price testifies to the truth that love is the most important, valuable, worthy, and precious commodity that exists in the universe.

We all pay for love everyday.  Every scar, every bruise, every dashed hope you’ve ever had is a payment you’ve made to allow love to exist in the world.  The price has been paid and the gift has been purchased and that gift has been placed in your hands to do with as you will.  What will you do with the gift of love?  Will you love for what it’s worth?

The Love Shield

My mom has a love shield.  It’s the most intricate contraption you could ever imagine.  I think about her spending her life sitting in a corner, surrounded by her narcissism and her happy self-messages, adding convoluted contrivances to her love shield.  With its whirring gears and rotating levers, her love shield is designed to deflect all forms of true Love.  It is amazingly effective.  Her love shield has finely tuned filters that keep out all but a few messages.  The only messages allowed in say ‘you are right, as usual’, ‘you always know what’s best’, and ‘people know how good you are’.  These messages sound nice, but they’re not true Love.  These messages aren’t what she needs, but what she needs she cannot hear.  When faced with true Love, I’ve seen Mom lie, storm out, hang up, and run away.  I’ve watched her literally put her fingers in her ears and yell, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!  I’M NOT LISTENING!!”

            I know this because I Love my mother.  In my imagination I walk over to my mom and pick her up like a small child.  I hold her in my arms and smooth her hair.  I promise her that everything is going to be alright, that I will take care of her.  In my waking dream, I see her for who she is and she sees, really sees me.  I hold out my heart full of true Love to her and she takes it.  My Love makes her strong and God puts his arms around us, one arm around her shoulder and one arm around mine.  He looks down at us, draws us close and smiles.

            Now that I know about love shields, I see them everywhere.  Babies are born without love shields, but few adults lack them.  The woman who talks too long and too fast has a love shield.  She keeps her listeners so lost along the path of her words that they are too confused to understand her message and make a true connection.  The man who works too much and comes home grumpy has a love shield.  More than anything, he fears that if he gives his family the chance to really know him, to really be with him, they might Love him.  I see teenagers carrying love shields.  Some even literally cover their hair, their clothes and their bodies with spikes.  Like barbed wire atop a security fence, the spikes say, “Keep Out!  Fear me.  Hate me.  Even laugh at me.  But whatever you do, don’t Love me!”

            I have my own love shield.  I drag it along after me like Linus’ security blanket.  Although it’s smaller and less effective than my mother’s, it’s there for me when I need it.  I use my love shield when I hear a true compliment and my head turns it into a lie.  I use it when I hear true, loving correction and my heart closes up too fast to let it in.  I use it when I read, or even memorize passages of Scripture that my spirit is not yet ready to understand.  You see, God is the most effective Love thrower of all.  He bombards me daily with true, straight, unbroken arrows of Love.  Sometimes my arm grows tired of holding up my shield.  I slip, and one of God’s arrows gets in.  I read something I’ve read a hundred times and suddenly get it.  Someone says something I’ve heard before and it miraculously makes sense.  I sing the same old song and the words unexpectedly jump off the page at me with a whole new meaning.  That’s God’s Love getting through.

            Because I am a practical person, I realize that I’ll probably have my love shield until I die.  But I am actively working to destroy it.  My hope is that by the time I leave this life my love shield will be so chipped, so abused, so cracked and so small that it lies neglected in a corner covered with dust.  I’ll gladly leave my love shield behind me here on earth.  I won’t need it anymore.