Young Life Capernaum

Dear Friends:

At this time of year — a season of thanks and giving — Steve and I are mindful that Young Life Capernaum couldn’t do the loving work that they do without the generosity of donors and friends like you.

You can give a present of hope to a child with disabilities, and a present of gratitude to those who serve them.

Steve and I serve on the Young Life Capernaum Mission Wide Committee and our hope and prayers are that you will give your financial support this season to help us reach out to more young people with disabilities in the coming year. By giving, you will experience the joy and satisfaction of helping them grow spiritually and experience life to the fullest. Please take a moment to watch the brief video that will inspire your decision.

We invite you to join with us to help reach a world of special kids! To give or learn more, I encourage you to contact our good friend, Pam Harmon, Executive Director of YL Capernaum Ministries. She would welcome hearing from you.

Thank you so much for caring and giving, and best wishes for a joyous Christmas and New Year!

Warm regards,
Karen Anderson

P.S. You can also make your donation online. Thank you.

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(This is a repost of what a wrote a few years ago about Peter and Peggy Borsay. Each year I remember…)

It was 44 years ago today (Memorial Day) that my brother-in-law, Peter Borsay, was killed in Vietnam. Peter was married to my husband’s older sister, Peggy. Unfortunately, I never met Peter.  Steve and I met three years after Peter died so it’s a bit strange for me to “remember” Peter since I never knew him.  But I wish I had known him.  I have always had a feeling that there was something incomplete in my history with Steve’s family since I never knew Peter.

Peter’s death was even more tragic (if there is such a thing) because he was killed by “friendly fire” during a cease fire: military speak for our side killed him by accident.  A helicopter still had its load of weapons and was told to discharge the load before returning to base by dumping it in an empty field. However, the field wasn’t empty. Five men were injured and Peter was killed — instantly, from what we were told. It was a horribly tragic communications glitch.

Peter was in his prime when he was killed; he was in graduate school with a budding academic career ahead of him. Peter and Peggy had only been married 17 months when she got the news the Peter was gone. She became a widow at 23 years old.  She never remarried or had children. She went on to get her doctorate and worked in the corporate world until she passed away in 2006  after losing a valiant fight with  breast cancer. But I think a part of her heart died that Memorial Day with Peter and there was always a sense that she never recovered from her broken heart.  On a cold December day, we buried Peg’s remains next to Peter’s, so many years later, in a family cemetery in West Virginia surrounded by Peter’s family.

I remember the first time I went to the Vietnam memorial in Washington and looked up Peter.  There is a large book with all the soldier’s names and I looked up Peter Borsay.  He is on Panel 23W – Line 25, pretty much
smack in the middle of the memorial.  The names are engraved in the granite and I remember touching the stone and running my hand over the indentation.  There was something almost comforting, if that makes sense,
about touching the name of this man who loved my sister-in-law, a womanI loved like a sister.

Peter and Peg are both gone now.  We don’t always understand or agree with “policy” but what I do know is this: Real people give real lives for our freedom. My life has been touched by a soldier I never knew and the world is different place because of his sacrifice.

I guess that’s the essence of Memorial Day: to remember those we knew, and those we never had the chance to know, who have served our country by giving their very lives — and also to remember those that loved them. For that, this Memorial Day, I am grateful.

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How I Saved My iPhone After It Went Swimming

by Karen on August 27, 2012

iphone-in-water1Okay, this may qualify as bragging…

A couple of months ago I was getting a pedicure and accidentally (duh) dropped my iPhone into the tub of water. It was like watching a scene in slow motion. I saw it start to fall and tried to grab it; time slowed down as I saw it plunge into the water while my hand was reaching out to try and prevent what in my mind I knew was going to happen.

I was not happy, to say the least. Crushed is more like it. And since I am waiting (not so patiently, I might add) for the 5 to come out, I didn’t want to get a new phone yet as it requires a new contract plan with AT&T. In fact, I had decided to forego the 4S (which I really wanted because it has a better camera) in order to get the 5 (I’m assuming the camera will be better yet). So the whole phone in the water thing was a bit of a crisis.

But I came home and dutifully did what I thought I remembered should be done if ever a catastrophe should occur (and this qualified, IMHO). I found a bag of rice (had a few weevils in it but I figured that wouldn’t make a big difference — and given how much I cook I wasn’t surprised). We had just gotten one of those food saver vacuum seal machines so I thought, why not? I got the little container and filled it with rice, put in my iPhone and sucked all the air out. I put it aside for about a week (since I thought it was dead anyway). I eventually dumped the rice out as I needed the container back and set my phone aside (RIP).

Fortunately, I had a friend come to my aid and loan me his old 4. (Good Samaritan that he is.)

There’s a new cell phone repair shop (cleverly called CPR) that opened in town so I took my phone in this morning to see if I could sell it for parts. The guy said he didn’t buy phones that had water damage but he’d look at it any way.

When he opened it up he notice a grain of rice and said I had done the right thing by putting it in rice. He asked me how long I had left it in there and then casually said most people only leave it in rice a few hours because they’re not patient enough but it really needs to be in at least 3 days.

Then he said if I hadn’t told him it had been dropped in water he wouldn’t have believed it. He said my phone was in perfect condition. No corrosion (which is what the problem is when water is involved) and that probably vacuum sealing it had helped as well.

He said it needed a new battery ($55) and he thought it would work fine. He fired it up and I have to say when the little Apple logo lit up, so did my heart (trust me, I’m not being melodramatic here).

I was able to sync it on my Mac so all my data is up to date and everything is working perfectly. Transferring sim cards was the last step and now I’m back to my old phone!

I’m still eagerly waiting for the 5 to come out but I’m thinking about getting a waterproof case when it does…

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DCA Admiral’s Club Amazing Bloody Marys!

by Karen on September 20, 2011

bloody mary

(The secret’s the Old Bay seasoning — having lived in Maryland, Old Bay is a staple that gives these drinks some added zip!)

  • Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix
  • Vodka (to taste)
  • ½ Lemon, squeezed w no seeds
  • 2 shakes of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Old Bay (or more!)
  • Splash Tabasco sauce
  • Squeeze of Lime Juice

Shake (or pour into another glass to mix) & enjoy!

Garnish with olives, celery, lime…. yum.

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What Are You Grateful For?

by Karen on August 2, 2010

One of our volunteer leaders and her friend who's helping her tie her shoe.

One of our volunteer leaders and her friend who's helping her tie her shoe.

My dear friend, Tom Davis, Pres of Children’s HopeChest, an international child advocacy organization, did a blog post today called What are You Grateful For?

He said, “Perspective. Today’s post really got me thinking about my life vs. the rest of the world. I thought I would make a top 10 list of the things I’m grateful for that most of the world doesn’t have access to. It’s helping me think differently about them and me. What would my life look like without these things? No particular order here. What would you add to this list?”

Top 10 Things Tom’s Grateful for:
  1. Clean water that comes out of my pipes and hot water.
  2. 24 hour access to doctors, medical facilities, and medicine.
  3. Grocery stores.
  4. Employment.
  5. Indoor plumbing, including toilet paper.
  6. Educational opportunities for my family.
  7. Electricity.
  8. Access to banks and loans.
  9. Opportunities for my children, athletic teams, artistic opportunities, field trips, etc.
  10. A vehicle and/or transportation.
Great list. I would totally agree with all of what Tom said.

My list is a little different. I think what we’re grateful for has a lot to do with where we are in the seasons and experiences of our life.

I’ve spent most of my last five months spending time helping my mom (& mother-in-law) both move into Assisted Living (one in PA and the other in VA) and helping out with Young Life Capernaum for high school kids with disabilities. Those experiences have  made me grateful for so many things I take for granted that impact every moment of every day.

This is my friend Koren and her sister Alexis, using her iPad so she can communicate.

This is my friend Koren and her sister Alexis, using her iPad so she can communicate.

So, here’s my list I posted on his site:

  • Speech – being able to say what’s in my head.
  • Mobility – to get where I want to go, when I want to.
  • Eating – feeding myself, whenever I want to eat.
  • Hearing – being able to communicate with sound and enjoy music.
  • Seeing – to enjoy all the colors of life.
  • Bathing – without needing someone to help me in the shower.
  • Toileting – without needing assistance.
  • Muscle control – to control my body, even to type this list.
  • Reading & Writing – to enter into other worlds, learn and travel in my mind.
  • Driving – taking myself wherever I want, when I want (it was really hard for my mom to finally give up driving).
  • Medicines – that help with pain and physical problems.
  • Independent living – to be on my own.
  • Friends – people who love me and don’t judge me by how I look or act (that’s a big one for me!).
  • Family – that loves me when I’m at my worst as well as my best.
  • Just Being – to be able to enjoy life and all that God has given me in whatever circumstance I’m in.

Okay, my list can go on and on. I’m grateful for so much. I usually take time at the end of the day to thank God for something I’m grateful for. Sometimes, it takes up the whole page. Sometimes, when I can’t see the forest for the trees because I’m so tired, I just say, “Thank you.”

God hears.

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Giving Up Worrying for Lent

by Karen on March 23, 2010

Have you ever had a conversation with God where you have your fingers crossed behind your back?

I have.

“Lord, I want to learn to be patient.” (Fingers doubled crossed behind my back!)

Fingers crossed!

(I always have this little kid inside of me that thinks I can hide what’s really going on from God.)

It’s a bit of a paradox. I truly want to be more patient… but I don’t really want to go though the frustrating, exasperating, annoying situations that are going to lead me to need to be patient. (Like that old saying, “Lord, make me patient… and do it right now.”)

That’s the same way I felt when I decided to give up worrying for Lent.

I told God that during Lent I was going to give up my worrying, focus on Him, and replace the false anxiety-producing pictures in my head with positive uplifting images.

The moment that offering went from my heart to God’s ears, I knew without a doubt that I was going to face circumstances that would show if I really was sincere or not about my “sacrifice.”

Now, I have to say that I really do believe that God has my best interest at heart… maybe not my most comfortable interest, or my most enjoyable interest, but I do believe He has my best interest at heart.

That said, do I believe God will always keep me from experiencing bad things? Of course not. (Although as I have said before, I did naively buy into this thinking at one point in time when I was younger.) We live in a fallen and broken world. God’s job is not to keep me comfortable.

But He purposes to conform me into His likeness, to love and serve well.

But I digress…

I had made this commitment to follow the three R’s in dealing with the anxious images in my head: refuse, replace, and repeat.

I was in a meeting where there were some very difficult matters being discussed when my phone rang. Well, it didn’t exactly ring. It quietly vibrated and flashed. I looked to see who was calling and it was my daughter, Steph.

Now it was the middle of the afternoon and she never calls me at that time of the day, especially while she’s at work. I felt this little creep of anxiety inching its way up. My mind went where it usually goes when she calls at unusual times… that she was by the side of the road in a car accident (this is my worse fear so it is the one that pops up the most).

As I said, the meeting I was in had a number of people in it who were discussing some very delicate issues. It would have been totally inconsiderate for me to excuse myself to take the call. So I didn’t.

I took a deep breath and let it go to voicemail. I said to myself, “No. I don’t want this horrible picture in my head. I’m going to think of her sitting at her desk, working at her computer, and she’s just fine.”

It was hard but I did it. “Okay,” I thought to myself, slightly smugly, “that wasn’t so bad.” And I went back to my meeting.

Five minutes later I looked down and saw the phone ring again. It was Steph.

Now, I was in an internal panic with lots of thoughts racing through my head and my heart starting to race.

“Why was she calling again so soon? I wonder if something really is wrong.” (There are lots of reasons I react this way and I’ll let you in on them at another point.)

My mind immediately had her in a disastrous situation calling with bad news.

Now I had a choice to make: Was I going to worry – would I give in, run out of the room and take her call? Or would I refuse the image and ask God to quiet my head and my heart?

(I hate to admit this but it wasn’t an easy choice.)

I decided to focus on the present, where I was right now, and not the imaginary – what could be happening.

I looked normal on the outside. Nobody in that meeting could tell by looking at me that there was a war going on in my head and my heart. But inside, I was really struggling.

I made a decision: I decided to choose to not worry; to be okay with the uncomfortable feeling and be present where I was. I truly was uncomfortable but I kept praying and repeating, “No. I don’t want this picture in my head. I am picturing her as okay.” And when I saw the bad picture pop into my head again, I changed it back to another good picture, like changing channels on TV.

Now, could there have been something tragically wrong? Absolutely. But this is where crazy thinking comes in: I usually think it is more likely that something bad is happening rather than something good. I decided to choose the opposite: if it were just as possible that she was calling about something good as something bad, I was going to focus on the good.

The 20 minutes until the meeting was over seemed like forever. I prayed and God helped me focus on the task at hand. When it finally (!) ended, I stepped (not ran) outside and listened to her voice message.

“Hey mom, it’s me. I wanted to see if I could borrow something for work so I didn’t leave a message. But then I thought of something else I wanted to tell you so call me when you get out of your meeting. Love you.”

I silently prayed a prayer of thanksgiving…and I decided next year I’m giving up chocolate for Lent.

(As my quest to give up worrying for Lent continues, I have had more circumstances where I have been challenged to not worry. I’ll tell you more about them next time. It’s been good but not easy! But I’m taking it one day at a time.)

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Breaking Free From My Addiction to Worrying

by Karen on March 12, 2010

Confession: I am a Worrier – with a capital W.

I think I might need a 12-step program.

“Hi. My name is Karen. I’m a Worrier.” “Hi, Karen.”

Because lately, I’ve begun to wonder if I’m not addicted to worry.

Over the years, there have been many unexpected crises that have impacted my life dramatically—my dad had a stroke when he was 53, my girls both were diagnosed with a bleeding disorder as babies, then Steve’s dad got cancer and died from AIDS he acquired from a blood transfusion. Crises continued to happen throughout my life. In recent years, my childhood best friend’s husband dropped dead of a heart attack, my sister-in-law died of breast cancer, another dear friend’s husband died of pancreatic cancer, etc.

Life events.

But somehow I wasn’t prepared for them.

Looking back, I realized I had been taught some bad theology early on by well meaning friends. I was told that once I gave my life to Christ then God had a “wonderful plan for my life.” I assumed (naively) that this meant my life would always be wonderful.

And in many ways it has been. But in many ways, it hasn’t seemed so wonderful when people I love have suffered and I have lost people very near and dear to my heart.

Add to that, I am a caregiver. By training I am a “helping professional” and by nature, I care for people who are hurting. That’s who I am and how I am gifted. And that’s a good thing.

But over time, I have sunk deeper and deeper into a “worry mindset” that permeates how I look at life and how I respond to situations. (And my worry mindset drives my family crazy!)

Now I know this is going to seem ridiculous to many people, but somehow worrying has become almost a comfort to me.

Let me explain.

Since I got that first phone call about my dad’s stroke when I was 22 years old, something gets triggered in me when I get bad news out of the blue. I’m happily going along with my life and suddenly, my life changes.

Somehow, that has developed into this crazy thought process that thinks…

…if I’m not thinking about anything and something bad is happening that I don’t know about,

…then, if I consciously think about it, maybe it won’t.

Hence, I worry.

I know that doesn’t make sense but that’s the way my little mind sometimes works.

The way this has evolved over the years is that my mind creates these horrific pictures of what might be happening. When I find out that nothing has happened, the little voice inside my head says, “See. What you imagined didn’t happen. Now you can relax.”

What does this really mean? It means I somehow think I can control what is happening. (Ha! This is so embarrassing to even write!)

Unfortunately, the downside of this is that there is this continual war between my mind and my body. And my body is acting out with symptoms of anxiety… like not being able to sleep, to a racing heart rate, to grinding my teeth at night, even to chest pains that lead me to the ER with a panic attack. (It happened the night of my birthday when I turned 53, the same age as my dad when he had his stroke. You don’t need a shrink to be able to analyze that one!)

My friend Mike Hyatt had a blog post that helped me think of this in a new way. He suggested that worry and imagination might be two sides of the same coin. That people who worry often have very active imaginations.

This idea began to take root and I started looking at what was happening in my head when I was worrying. And sure enough, I was seeing pictures of what might be happening that I didn’t know about…

  • My daughter bleeding out at the scene of a car accident.
  • My husband having a heart attack while he’s away on business.
  • My house being foreclosed.
  • My getting cancer and not living to see my grandchildren.

Not pretty pictures.

And the more I saw these kinds of pictures, the more they popped into my head. And the more anxious I got.

Until it felt like all I was doing was worrying. And yes, good things still happened and bad things still happened but there was no correlation between the intensity of my worrying and what was happening!

I was discussing this with my friend Patsy Clairmont and she told me when she struggled with anxiety, she used the three R’s: Refuse, Replace and Repeat.

Refuse to think about the picture that isn’t true. Just stop.

Immediately, Replace that picture with something positive (Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8)

Then Repeat. Over and over and over until your mind has shifted from the bad picture to a good one. (For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7)

Right after my conversation with Patsy, Lent was approaching. I was trying to decide what I could give up for Lent to remind me of Christ’s suffering. (Over the years, I have given up chocolate, wine, and romance novels—all things that I felt would help me to focus during the 40 days of Lent!)

Around this time I was talking with a friend and asking her to let me know when she arrived at her destination because I was a worrier.

She said, “Too bad you can’t give up worrying for Lent!”

I hung up and thought about it and decided, why not?

I would give up worrying for Lent. Whenever I found myself worrying (and creating these awful pictures in my mind) I would focus on Christ and create a new picture.

The problem was, I knew by definition, I would have situations occur that would normally cause me to worry where I would have to change my thinking.

And they did.

So, I’ll tell you in my next blog post the details of how it’s going but until then I’ll give you a hint: it hasn’t always been easy but it has been good.

Philippians 4: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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“Hi Mom. It’s Kel. I’m back in the States! We were transported out of Port Au Prince on an Air Force C-17 cargo transport plane to Charleston, SC. Oh, Mom, I have so much to tell you but I’ve been up for almost 36 hours so as soon as I get some sleep, I’ll let you know all the details. It was hard to leave but I’m glad to be home.”

Those were sweet words for this mama to hear! My daughter was home, safe and sound. I could hear in her voice that she was exhausted but she was also exhilarated at the same time.

Kelly and adorable Haitian baby boy, whom they suspect had pneumonia.

Kelly and adorable Haitian baby boy, whom they suspect had pneumonia.

Three days into their trip to Haiti, Kelly got sick with a GI bug (I, not surprisingly, was a wreck knowing she was sick) but she said she was really grateful it only lasted 24 hours and she was able to rejoin the team at the hospital (Kelly and her coworker, Erin, were the only ones who could start IVs so she was desperate to be able to help).

She told me later that the hardest thing for her during her time in Haiti was being sick herself and not only could she not serve, but someone on the team needed to stay with her and make sure she was okay (thank you MTW!). Kelly said she may never know why she got hit with whatever it was that made her ill.  It didn’t seem to be a virus or food poisoning since nobody else got sick.

Gratefully, when she was finally able to get back to work, she was able to jump in full force for some of the 16-hour shifts they worked until more relief help came.

A few nights after that, Kelly and I got into a short but interesting discussion when she called home one night to check in (thank you AT&T for free phone calls home from relief workers!).

I asked her how she was doing emotionally. She said she was okay and that the conditions were frustratingly primitive, but it wasn’t all that different from working in the emergency room and that she was really enjoying what she was doing.

“’Enjoying’ probably isn’t the right word for it, honey,” I said, in my usual mom/editor voice.

“Actually, Mom, I think it is the right word,” she said, with a hint of indignation in her voice.

She continued, “I’m not saying that I’m enjoying the circumstances the people are in, or enjoying the conditions here. But I am enjoying what I’m doing to help. It’s what I’ve trained for and what I’m called to do, so yes, I am enjoying it.”

Sigh. I just hate it sometimes when my kids are more mature than I am.

After some reflection, I decided she was right. She has grown up since childhood reciting the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Q: What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

She was enjoying God by using the skills, talents and gifts He has given her. She has gone to school for years, taken lots of specialty courses in crisis, wilderness and survival medicine so she can help in such a time as this.

I realized that it is okay to “enjoy” who you are and who you were created to be, even when the circumstances seem to be the most dark and discouraging.

And in this horrible, hot, heartbreaking situation that is Haiti, she was enjoying God, and who He is and I think, too, He was enjoying her. She was being His hands and feet in a situation that so desperately needs His hand and His touch.

When she got home and was finally up for sharing some of what went on, she said there was one incident that stood out that described the conditions at the hospital.

Kelly and Erin were working the night shift and they were trying to get an IV into an infant while sitting on the floor (there were no beds in the hospital). Suddenly, the power went out! She said they didn’t panic because since the lighting wasn’t great to begin with, they were both wearing their high intensity headlamps so they were able to continue working.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the room went pitch black and with their high beam headlamps cutting through the darkness, every bug in Haiti was instantly attracted to the light!

Erin had to keeping blowing in Kelly’s face to keep the bugs out of her eyes! Fortunately, they were able to complete the IV, but as soon as they got the IV going, Kelly said they looked at each other and burst out laughing! (She thought the poor patients must have thought they were completely nuts!)

After hearing her story, it hit home for me what a difference it makes to have light in a dark place. Yes, the bugs come and make life difficult but light gives life… and even joy in the midst of total darkness.

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Serving in Haiti: A Mother’s Peace of Mind

by Karen on February 5, 2010

“Hi, Mom. It’s Kel. Haiti is chaotic and crazy but I’m feeling so much better. I think I just had a 24-hour bug. You wouldn’t believe the horrible conditions here but I’m doing great now. Patients are all over the floor of the hospital and it’s total chaos, but we are making a difference and that’s what counts.”

I just got off the phone with Kelly, my daughter who is serving on a medical team with Mission to the World (MTW) in Haiti. She normally works as an Emergency Room nurse at Duke Hospital in North Carolina and has been on the MTW International Disaster Response team for the past year waiting to serve when a disaster occurs.

Not surprisingly, my sweet girl is an adrenaline junkie. She loves high adventure and has a heart for serving others. She loves kids and always wants to be in peds whenever she’s working. She seems especially gifted in pediatric trauma.

Sigh… For a mom like me who struggles with worry and anxiety, wouldn’t you know I’d get a kid like her?

Since the heart-wrenching crisis in Haiti began, my emotions have been off the charts. On a scale of 1-10, I’ve been at a -1 and a +11 and everywhere in between.

I knew she would go to Haiti. I knew she would want to serve.

She’s fine now, but when I got the message she was sick in Haiti, I really had to search my heart and see if I truly believed the words I wrote to her before she left. (And I had plenty of time to think, search and pray when I was tossing and turning all night long!)

So thankfully, the answer ended up being yes. Because God gives me the strength to trust Him, one moment at a time.

(When I asked her if I could share what I wrote she said, “Of course. I know you Mom!”)

Hey Sweetie,

All kidding aside, I want you to know how much I love you, how proud I am of you and how grateful I am to be your mom. You know, when you were put into my arms 28 years ago, it was truly love at first sight. You were so adorable… plump, inquisitive and ready to explore the world.

Obviously, you are still the same person (well, except for the plump part! ;-)) I truly did fall in love with you. You were a kid who jumped in with all your heart and soul. From those days when you were a year old and swinging from the canopy of your crib, I knew you had a zest for life and a determination to just “go for it.” You were such a strong-willed child; you know I covered the paddle with lots of batting so I wouldn’t hurt you trying to mold your little feisty, determined, temper-throwing behavior without breaking your focused, intent, exceedingly strong spirit in the meantime.

I know you spent a lot of years “sitting on the bench.” Volleyball was good for you but I can’t tell you how hard it was to watch you give your all and not get to play. But God produced in you endurance, patience, and teamwork where you contributed your all, even if you weren’t on the front line. But now, you are going to be on the front line and those lessons you learned along the way have made you who you are: a long-suffering, committed team player who is patient and caring, in spite of difficult circumstances. That, my sweet girl, is the mark of a true servant leader.

And so, like the day you were born, I put you again in God’s hands to guard and guide you. Young Life’s slogan, “You were made for this” seems to be appropriate for this day. I truly feel that this is a culmination of what you have been working for so diligently these past years. And I am so proud of you. I know that as you strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus, that there will be rough times. But if you keep your eyes focused on Him, I know He will be there with you.

So to be clear, I really do believe that God is sovereign. I do believe that He made you, He owns you, and He loves you even more than me.

Trust your instincts, trust your heart, and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you as you walk into a place where you will see the horrors of a fallen world. I pray you will be the answer to prayers when hurting people have cried out and asked God to send help.

And, of course, I want you to be safe but the bottom line is I trust you and trust the one who made you.

Go with my deep love and prayers that you will be able to help those who are hurting and so desperately need your touch.

I love you sweet girl.

Your Mama

P.S. And don’t forget your Go-Girl so you never have to take life sitting down.

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“Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

“Can you imagine your life without fear?”

For many years, my answer to this questions has been, “no”.

If there were an Olympic sport for worrying, I would be a Gold Medalist… just ask my family. “Oh my gosh Mom, if I don’t check in with you within 5 minutes of when I’m supposed to, you immediately think there’s been an accident.” “Honey, just go to sleep. It’s going to be fine. You worry all the time.”

In fact, last spring was really tough. I was taking some prescription medicine to help me sleep at night and come to find out, one of the side effects was: anxiety. I was having chest pains and my heart was thumping out of my chest. Should I go to the ER?

(Having had these same symptoms a few years ago – and now realizing I was on Ambien then, too –I did go to the hospital and they said I was having an anxiety attack.) So I was pretty confident that these symptoms were history repeating itself. But it was still scary.

I prayed a lot. “Please Lord, take these feelings and symptoms away. My head knows you’re in control of all things, but my body is feeling otherwise!”

After I stopped taking the medication, although I didn’t get much sleep, the anxiety decreased dramatically.

Still, the worrying plagues me.

Just for the sake of brevity, I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you two things that have helped me.

First, my friend Mike Hyatt wrote an excellent blogpost called Worry and Imagination: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

After reading it, I began to be able to not get sucked into the anxiety provoking image that was in my head, but step back from it a bit and look at it as an “imaginative scene”. Then I could be more objective about it and evaluate the likelihood of its occurrence.

Then, I just finished Max Lucado’s new book, Fearless.

Now, I was hoping that Max would just lay out the simple formula on how “not to be anxious for anything” and I would be “cured”.

But actually what he gave me was much more valuable.

He took me to a place, where I could wrestle honestly with my core questions… if God loves me, and He loves the world, why do bad things still happen? And do I really trust God with my life and the lives of those I love? Is there really a plan where “all things will work together for good?”

Yes, I knew there wasn’t a simple formula to make it all better. But, particularly in the discussion guide, Max gave me tools to make my worries “concrete.” He helped me focus on the One who says to the wind, rain and thunder, “Peace. Be still.” and all is quiet.

Does it mean that bad things won’t happen? Of course not.

But it does mean that I can trust the God of the universe with my life, my worries and my imagination.

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