loss

I think the most interesting thing about loss is the way each one is different. I lost my Mom suddenly in a car accident in 2006 and my Dad slowly through cancer starting in 2017.  And a month ago today we lost our baby in the womb to miscarriage. It is so weird to me to even type those words. Regardless of the different types of loss the main theme to me is how the rest of the world keeps going. Summer is rolling strong here in Missouri with trips to the pool and camp starting today. If you look outside its as if nothing even changed. But for me I am no longer pregnant, no longer looking forward to our “Christmas baby.” 

When we found out we were pregnant with our first baby I asked my husband, “Should we share so early?” Our first was our honeymoon baby and so I knew for sure when I was pregnant. I had never had my body feel quite like that so I knew for sure I was pregnant. Of course I got the test and took it and we celebrated. Right away my husband wanted to tell the world and I was more cautious. “Well, what if we lose the baby, then what we will do?” He just said so confidently. “Then we will tell everyone and those same people who celebrated with us will then support us. We don’t get to decide if the the baby will grow to a full term baby, God decides that.” Or something to that effect. I love my husband. I love his thoughts on things. But I thought he was slightly wrong, yet I still went along with it! So each of our babies we have shared pretty much as soon as we knew. 

So as soon as we saw the positive pregnancy test with number four we put a BIG SISTER shirt on our youngest and had her wear it around her 3rd birthday party! What a sweet day to celebrate! We felt surges of Joy to be having another Wick baby around here. It was just the kindest gift from the Lord! I didn’t always want to have another baby in all honesty. The year after my third was born was probably the hardest year of my life or at least of my motherhood and marriage. I had three kiddos 4 and under and almost all in diapers in some way shape and form. I was juggling a lot and to top it off my husband had three wrist surgeries that fall and couldn’t even lift our three month old. To say I was stressed was a complete understatement. 

The Lord might have asked me to consider another baby at that time but I was for sure not listening. But in the last year He had been putting it on my heart. I called this season a time of weakness and surrender. I was trying to come to a place of YES in my heart but it was a struggle. Most of my struggle was a harsh judgement against my motherhood. I have fought self-hatred deeply in my life. I was in a court of my own doing accusing myself and holding against myself every failure of my mothering. It really boiled down to “Why? Why would you give me another baby when I failing so massively with these ones I already have.” I guess I was not very convincing in my arguments. He had shown me areas where He wanted me to shift to kindness and gentleness. Areas where I had failed and He had forgiven me. But He wasn’t holding these things over my head. He tenderly told me. “I want you to see what I see when I look at you!” Just like a song I wrote years ago and the line says “Let me give you My eyes for just a minute so you can see what I see!” (https://music.apple.com/us/album/untold-stories-ep/1304662440)

So at the beginning of 2022 I said Yes and gave up my case against myself. I sat in some of what He wanted to tell me about me. He is so KIND and GRACIOUS. He is LOVE! By March I had given my full yes and we found out we were pregnant at the beginning of April! We took the kids and even saw the heartbeat on the screen all together! I then posted that video on social media and everyone rejoiced with us! We spent all of those weeks celebrating Baby Girl or Baby Boy as our daughter referred to the baby.  I had a sweet name of “Joyfilled Surrender” as a name for the baby since it had been such a wrestle to get to this place for me. I was pretty sick during the pregnancy which wasn’t completely unusual for me but it seemed a bit extra. But I am also 3+ years older than I was since last time I carried a baby. In complete transparency this time was marked for me by small hints that I may miscarry the baby. Little whispers that I wasn’t sure where they were from or even a knowing. I was encouraged to pray against them or to stand in faith (and this was not bad advice) but I also wondered if God was preparing me. 

In May I went to the OB with all three kiddos while my husband was at a meeting.  The doctor wanted a more detailed sonogram and then it was confirmed. The baby had stopped developing at 8 weeks. I was supposed to be 10 weeks along at that point. I cried all the way to ChicFila and cried at the table with my husband while my children played in the play place. But something shifted as we talked again about why we share early. And again he reminded me about how God decides. I thought it would offend me and make a unbridgable chasm between us. But it surprisingly comforted me and reminded me that God had been telling me this whole sick, stuck on the couch time that this pregnancy that I had wept for would not go full term. I had never even spotted during a pregnancy let alone lost one of my babies. 

I was surrounded. We started sharing with people and meals were brought and prayers were prayed. Again just like he said. The very people who rejoiced with us were now the ones crying with us. It was just stunning and I love the body of Christ! I mentioned in the beginning of this post that each grief is different. Losing my mom was devastating. I could barely function for the longest time. I was single and absolutely lost without her. But this grief I felt surrounded and prepared in a way that I just can not explain. I am also 41 and not 25, so that may have something to do with it. Am I grieving? Yes, very much but its been a very gentle grief that sweeps me up in moments.  Grief is honestly a mystery. I feel like I have a grip on it some days and then I acknowledge I know very little and every single persons story is different. 

The Sunday after I found out about our baby not developing I decided to go and sing on my team anyways. I felt like that was where I was supposed to be. And I sang a spontaneous song that just really described where I was at during this whole process. I want to share it with you and let you hear my heart before the Lord! 

Surrender Video

I am going to have to make this a two part post because I ran out of time to share about everything else. God bless you for reading this far. Please check out the Youtube video and reach out to me if you want to talk about grief, loss, Jesus, or miscarriage. I know so many people have lost loved ones and babies and I hope this blessed you! 

vulnerable

Where do you go when you are in pain, sad, frustrated, hurting. Who do you run to? I often run to food, send a voice mail, numb out on my phone. Last week I spoke at a conference and found the words tumbling out of my mouth. I challenged everyone listening to pause in those moments of grief and anger. Just stop and go to God. Tell Him about it first. Invite Him into the hard of it all. Now here I am with waves of grief hitting my heart being tested by my own challenge and instead I ate an extra cookie and muffin. But there was still a little reach in my heart. “Help…God…” I say at the sink as I load the dishwasher. I heard Him say in response. “Worship me.” So as I moved to the bedroom and folded the big pile of laundry I sang the song that literally carried me through my Dad’s death last year. 

“All my life you have been faithful. All my life you have been so so good!” And my 5 year old came in and started singing with me. I saw the ripple. An hour before that I had been laying on the couch searching info about something on my phone. My face mostly covered and not looking available. But here in my room I was weakly singing and folding and he joined me. What happened when I reached out to God. Something shifted. I think though my self -pity/victim rut often makes it even harder for me. (Not that I am the only one who struggles with that but it runs deep with me.) Because when I am hurting I do not want to work for healing. I want to hide. I want to tuck in and protect. It takes effort and work to reach out and be known. Be vulnerable. 

Eating my feelings has been a timeless way to hide. Intermittent fasting has been a beautifully exposing way to find freedom and to know God in the hard. (More on that in another blog, but I will say I started IF to lose baby weight and God 100% highjacked it and it has been one of my favorite gifts from Him!). “Come of out hiding and know Me. Know true comfort. Know the only one who can heal Your heart.” We can talk, declutter, read books and try and try and “do” all the right things to heal these hearts of ours. But I can attest to the little reach of my heart saying “God…help… I am hurting, I am mad, I am sad.” And every time if I let Him I am met by the Holy Spirit. Often I am challenged to find higher ground with Him. “Let’s do something different sweet girl. These things and ways are not serving you anymore. Let it go.” I hear Him when I let Him speak into the challenging places.

I promise seeking Him with a holy heart is the way to go. So today as Mother’s Day causes pain for some of us I know He is waiting to talk about it with us. Patiently present in the hard  moments. I have been just counting the wins. When I do not get angry about something ridiculous. Because those angry moments have a ripple affect too. They mark and hurt others, especially those we live day to day with. Who will still love us after but still what if we have. a part in changing the story.

Today I ache with the thought that it has been almost 16 years since I physically saw and hugged my Mom! That kind of separation leaves a mark, an ache. Death is so permanent. In some ways it does not hurt on the daily like it used to. But when it hurts it can sometimes catch me off guard and knock the wind right out of me. Then I can be cranky instead of vulnerable and tender. “God, I’m hurting. I miss her.” Simple prayers that change things. “I know.”  For years I honestly did not even know how to do this or even that it was so necessary. I was a push through and do it myself kind of gal. But when you find yourself married with three little kids and you are just yelling and you do not even remember why anymore you start getting desperate for a change. 

2019 was my hardest year of marriage and motherhood. But I have learned so much from that year. And I mean that. I have also learned I do not want to go back there. But I know what shifted more for me than anything else. The little prayers. “God help…” 

“Michelle, do you know that I love you, even like you right now. Right now in your hardest moment. I see you and know you even in this moment and I delight in you.”

“So you can come to me any way you are, every way you are. I am here. I will give you rest. I am what you need. No post, hack, suggestion, friendship, program can do what this can. Just you and me. Me and you.” 

Maybe you don’t hear God talk back to you when you pray those prayers of help. I had to delete social media apps for a season and turn off the YouTube shows I watched. Resist the initial urge to voice memo or Marco my friend. I had to get a little bored and uncomfortable. I had to read a chapter or more of my Bible everyday (I did and do miss days). I had to make space for His voice. Read His word to know what to listen for. Tune into His frequency to be able to hear more clearly. Let’s make space for His healing to flood in or drip in. However it happens I KNOW He will meet us in these vulnerable, weak moments. I have set my heart to not just invite Him or talk to Him when it is easy or makes sense. But in all the difficult moments when I just hid or muscled through before. 

For 7 years after I lost my mom I stumbled with this seemingly gaping hole in my heart. I longed to be healed from grief and immature decisions and just ached to be whole. I didn’t know as a single woman in ministry if I would ever get married or get to become a mom myself. But I decided to take things into my own hands. During a season of raising up partners for my ministry. I honestly stopped caring if I raised up financial partners (although I did need to pay rent and all that.) But I reached out to the ones who were willing to meet with me and said “would you pray for my husband?” Everyone I asked seemed excited to pray with me and many of them are dear friends to us today as a couple. I had to do something. I had to change my story. I couldn’t just wait and hope for something to change. And honestly the minute I started praying and asking for prayer my life changed forever. 

But guess what?? That awesome husband God gave me. He didn’t heal the hole in my heart. I know its a bummer. But its true. And he honestly doesn’t want that job either. I have tried to give it to him. (lol). Only these bit by bit prayers and invitations of weakness have healed my heart. It has a been a journey of healing and obviously its still ongoing! Let’s make a change! Be the change we want to see! No one can make my negatively go away! No one can help me ask God for help. But I know I can do it! I can change my family tree in this way. These little moments really are where all the difference is made! “Help God…” I would venture to say me crying out to God when I feel achy, broken, weak, angry, etc are His favorite moments with me. 

Let’s pray for ourselves!

Father of Glory, give to me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of your Son. Open the eyes of my heart. God give me wisdom on how to bring my pain and anger to you. Give me revelation on how You see me and who You say I am. Give me a legacy of healing and intimacy with you to pass to my children. Write a new story for them. A story of knowing You in every moment of their lives. Give us the Fear of the Lord. I love you and I am so thankful to be growing into love everyday! Meesch

weakness

This has been my theme this past season. We got the “big sickness” on Thanksgiving this and I just could not fully get back to myself for many months after. Each month I would find myself battling a head cold. And with a full schedule of homeschool, singing, and life it was frustrating at times. I prayed and asked the Lord to heal me. Others prayed. But in the midst of it there was a sweetness. His voice cutting through the noise, His love carrying me. 

I posted something on my Instagram one day knowing that some might misunderstand. But it was a risk worth taking to share with those who feel this constant weakness. (post here) He said to me “I want you weak.” Over and over I have felt His invitation to come to Him for the answers. There is something that intimacy with God can do that Google or your best friends can not give you. It may seem ridiculous to think that God has the recipe to the meal you need to figure out tonight. But He is waiting, longing for you to come to Him with all of your needs, cares, wants, challenges. Your weakness. 

I can not tell you how deeply I feel this right now. A call to my friends, especially mommas to take our questions to God. There have been shakings. There are more to come. We have to work this weakness muscle. Not just to get answers. But to realign our hearts and minds to the source. The source of peace. The source of true love. The source of wisdom. So when we feel these tremblings and others are scrambling to find steady ground we are not shaken. We may be weak but we are rooted. 

Let Him remove the excuses for not reading your Bible or taking time to sit at His feet. Put the first things back in first place. The every day devotion that will not always be glamorous or filled with emotion experiences. But He knows what you need. His word, His voice, His leadership. Fully submitted. He might even surprise you and tell you what He sees when He looks at you. This can be your foundation of life versus your list of failures and unfulfilled expectations. 

Permission to be weak. To not have it all together but yet walk out life with joy and purpose. I can not even explain how good it feels to be in this place. Although I warn you I am so tempted to go back to pushing against this place. As if worry and anxiety will keep the world going and will solve the problems in my life. I was singing on a set last week and after a bit of worship our chorus leader, Miha, started singing out of Isaiah 40.  I had just written in my journal, “Weakness” and I had written down all of the verses in the back of my Bible’s concordance under the it. I had written that word because once again I was feeling weak and decided to turn to the Lord and acknowledge my need. He answered so quickly. 

She sang this chorus “I shall run and not be weary, I shall walk and not faint.” And then she sang an oracle about it. Then Andrew added his own song. As we sat there in this sweet moment I heard this revelation drop into my heart. I heard the Lord say that when I choose to trust Him in my weakness that is a HOLY decision. Not only does it move His heart but like intercession it brings heaven to earth. It shifts things not just in my heart, my life, my family, my home, but it shifts things on more levels here on earth than I understand. So as we soaked in that moment I felt to release it in a chorus. I heard the lyrics and melody from my heart but it seems more from Him than from me. So sweet to me. 

Here is the full moment with Miha and Andrew: https://youtu.be/F3EO-RRpxj4

Here is my chorus on it’s own: https://youtu.be/mS2ZGcKHm5k

Then last night my 3 year old woke up crying around 3am which is not usual for her. She had a bad dream about dragons and so I brought her to my bed. I realized that a song was in my heart as I comforted her. I had tried to remember the chorus I had sang on but just couldn’t get the melody locked in. But here I was at 3am in the morning and I heard the Lord singing it over me. It really was His song all along. I love when that happens. 

“When you trust Me in your weakness, your doing something holy, your bringing heaven to earth, when you let go of fear.”

I can phone a friend, I can google it, I can try to process it with a friend, I can push through and try to ignore it, but our hearts are crying out for God! The source of life that never runs dry! There is not a planner out there that can stop this weakness and need we have for Him!  Be blessed! God is with you and for you!! 

Full set from that night is here: https://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/#asset/event_site_68FBe1c2dE_9271_5118/auto/true

planned encounter

We just finished a day of mom’s meeting together for encouragement. Specifically homeschool Mom’s. I like to call it for me. A day of planned encounter. Like a going to church camp. There is an expectancy that God will meet with me, teach me, transform me in more like a moment than the slowness of every day life. On the normal day to day I am starting to see the subtle changes in me. The subtle answers to prayer. I see the progress but it is seriously so small and so slow. I am more of the extremist type. My prayers are sometimes like “God can’t you just change me right now, completely, no need for the process.” But he loves the process and the slowness. Drawing me to repentance with his daily, moment by moment kindness. “I see you. I am doing this. You can trust me” kind of process. 

I am honestly starting to accept and appreciate the slowness of his work in my heart and life. Its like losing weight slowly. IT stays off easier. The slow work God is doing in my life is incredibly valuable. And so necessary. It is completely an answer to my prayers. “God help me love my children. Help me love my husband well. Help me not say horrible things. Help me love my friends. Help me love people I do not understand better.” These are the day to day. Moment by moment things. The dishes, the laundry, the legos, the toy everywhere. The serving and wanting to complain. These are the things He is working in my heart and I almost can not even see it. As I yield to the Holy Spirit in these simple yet often hard things I can see His work in me. Tiny little movements of my heart. 

Oh but I do love the encounter. Being changed in a moment. The aha that shifts something quickly. The breakthrough. On my face crying out the Lord, asking Him to move and then suddenly He speaks and something changes forever. I love those moments! What grace! I can not even tell you how many altar calls and ministry times, how many instant moments I lived by at church camp or CIY conferences as a teenager. I have always loved the presence of God. Even before I understand much about it! The spirit fell often at our Christian Church (non-denominational) church camp! I would be weeping in my seat and the next thing you new the whole row was wailing! God would move and we would all get to the altar and just weep there and God would touch us. It wasn’t even a spirit filled space. I didn’t even honestly know the Holy Spirit BUT God isn’t stressed about that!

I believe in and love these moments of encounter. BUT, in it I feel a weight of responsibility. His special grace has fallen and changed you in this moment. Now you get to walk it out. Whatever you repented of, start now to make habits/changes to not go back to that thing. The instant transformation requires partnership! God will honor your part if you honor yours! Today, they did not have any altar calls but I went up front anyways. I found a little spot and I got on my face (during the break) and talked to GOd. And guess what? HE met me! He moved on my heart. He talked so loudly to me. I repented of saying NO to Him on a few things and He lifted a burden in my heart. It was sweet! Just like old times! But I had to plan it. I bought a ticket this this mom’s day, I drove here, I sat through the teaching (which was inspiring) and I bonded with some friends. But then I had to answer the pressure in my heart. I had to say yes to “come away” with my Beloved one. To listen to the Holy Spirit and repent of my kicking and screaming ways! 

It was the best of “planned encounters!” It was clear and powerful and so needed! I am so thankful and somewhat inspired to do it again! Set a date, run to the altar! Its nice to have an invitation. But make your own if you don’t have one. God is waiting with open arms to receive you! His love is home to me. His love is my safety. I am nothing with out Him! 

seasonal devotion

I am struck today with the beautiful fall stormy day. These are the days I long for a hot chai latte and a good book or time with Jesus! But I felt Him stir my heart today and say to me “I am not looking for your seasonal devotion!” Whew that really knocked the wind out of my Fall Lovin sails! I would say this is a weakness of my devotion to God. And I would venture to say I am not alone in this. 

Where is our devotion in the “in between?” After the 40 day fast or amazing conference? What about the longing to wake up early or read the word long into the night? Where is our consistency even in the mundane or the challenging seasons. I believe there is always something going on in the background but the Lord longs for time with us everyday of our lives. What about when I am cranky or I forgetting what He said to do? I believe this is where I have been derailed every single time in my life. Not knowing how to maintain devotion in the “in between” has taken me out more times than I would like to admit.

I believe this is why I writing today. The Lord is challenging me to see every single day the same. Every single season the exact same. As if they were stripped of all of the glory and the mundane and they were the same day. Get up, seek me, seek me, seek me, and go to bed. Repeat. I know some will see this as religious or too simplistic. But if this were my goal everyday then I could make it through the good, bad, and ugly. I can see success so much easier. I have been taught practicing the presence of God. I know how to talk to Him in the middle minutes of my day. I have not always had hours in His presence during these past seven years of motherhood. And even before that I did not always make time to seek Him or read His word. So here I am saying YES! I will seek you first Lord. No matter if the leaves are falling or the sun is shining or it seems like a good time to take a picture of my journal and latte. 

Every day is a good day to seek you. I am going to strip it all back. Simplify my imagination. Make it easy for myself. Today is a good day to seek the Lord and tomorrow will be more of the same. Until I breath my last breath! I am setting to love the Lord in normal every day no matter what. I will not love Fall more than I love Jesus! I will set my heart to not have any idols or any other lovers above Him! He is my one thing! 

Psalms 63:1 NKJV. “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.”

I wrote this chorus one day a year or so ago and sang it into my “mini recording studio” as a someone called it recently. Aka my smart phone lol. And this past week I put some chords and more words to it. It is still a work in process. Enjoy! And God bless you as you seek Him first! 

i’m a process

I am not sure why it takes me soo long to “get with the program” as they say. (insert emoji with the girl with her hands flipped up) I am as my mom used to tell me “a process.” I shared in November that God had told me to lay everything down in early 2018. So I did. Some things were obvious and then others where more of a “oh this too.” It was honestly relieving to just “let it all go.” (Read this blog to find out more details.) But then in 2019 He began speaking to me about picking it back up and the first thing He asked me to do was share about my mom’s death. Then when I didn’t do it (I still haven’t) he gave me a dream with my mom in it telling me to basically obey and be myself. It was a very specific dream and I honestly do not get many dreams with my mom in them anymore.

Then He sent friends to cheer me on. One friend in particular told me to do the very thing that God had shown me. Not about the accident but about other things. But yet still here I am in 2021 dragging my feet. Before my mom died she told me a story about me that I will never forget. Especially because she was helping me to see how I work. How I am a process.

When I was 7 my dad decided that it was time to take off my training wheels on my purple Huffy bike. Without explaining at all he took them off and had me get on. He hung on for a minute and then just let go without any communication at all. I would get upset with him and then he would say let’s try again. We were really missing each other in this ordeal and I finally told him I was done and did not want him to teach me. The big problem was that I loved riding my bike and now I couldn’t. And that my dad probably didn’t know that it would be a good idea to say extra words like “okay now we are going to ride for a minute and then I will let go… on the count of three… one … two.. three…” Just had to say that because I realize now as a mom that I needed those extra words and instructions. Bless his heart. He did not have those extra words growing up either so it makes sense.

My mom says that the next day she looked out the kitchen window and saw me riding my bike down the very slight hill that let to our tree house. It was barely a hill but I went down with my legs dragging along the sides of the bike and then I would walk it back up and do it all again. By the end of the day I was riding all over and had found my balance “all by myself.” It took years and years for me to stop riding that bike. My knees were way over the handle bars before I finally retired it. I loved that bike and since we lived in a small town I rode it to school and to church and to the pool. No truer friend did I find during that time in my life and I am so glad. But that was her story to explain why it takes me so long to get where I am going. I am the turtle watching the world while the cars fly by.

In fact, that is how Facebook and Instagram felt for me when I returned to them a couple months ago. Fast paced and full of “people” doing what I felt I was supposed to do. But its just not true. I am me and they are well, them. They can not tell my story or give my perspective or even obey God for me. It just isn’t possible. So here I am. In fact one of the songs I recorded in 2013 really speaks to how unique and special each one of us is. So my process is actually precious to God. It is important to Him and He even speaks my language. He knows how to talk to me. He isn’t frustrated with me about how long it takes me to get to where He is asking me to go. I can really learn from His ways with me. Especially as a Mom!

Do I wish my process was different? Ummm… Heck Yes!!! I am often outside of myself mocking my lengthy process. It’s actually called “self hatred” and it is something I have struggled with my whole life. Embracing who I really am and not wishing I was a different way is 100 percent helpful for me. Radical acceptance. It helps me to see the good things about my process and myself.

When I was 14 my dad bought me a car. I was super excited until I found out it was a stick shift without power steering. We went out to my grandparents farm and dad put that old Yugo (yep! Here is pic of one that looks like it). He pulled it into a field with decent sized ruts or terraces. He then proceded to try and teach me how to drive a standard in terraces that were almost half as tall as this tiny car. It was horrible. For reals!! I cried and walked back to the farmhouse and told him to sell it. About four months later my dad came to pick me up and said we were going to learn how to drive it again. Thankfully he hadn’t sold it yet and he had a better idea. He took me to a big parking lot north of town and there he taught me to drive it. Once a week or so he would come and pick me up in it and I actually learned how to drive standard. It was such a fun first car (when it worked lol). I am so proud of my dad and me for not giving up. It was definitely a process but I learned so much. And I can not wait for my kids to learn how to drive stick shift. I think it should be required! Just like cursive! IF you can drive standard you can drive anything. At least I think so!

So embrace who you are! What about yourself is frustrating you? How can you use it as an assett versus a deficit? God knows I will get there when I get there. And with three kiddos under 6 and homeschooling on top of that Lord knows it takes me even longer than before! Be yourself! Be who God made you to be! He knew you from before the foundation of the earth! He made you in His image! He made you to reflect a part of Him that no one else can! We need you! Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing! Ask God what He thinks and feels about you! Get alone with Him and listen to what He says back to you! Cherish His thoughts about you! And walk out who He says you are! You won’t regret it! 

 

Journal of my heart

Today starts a new journey for me. Over seven year free from shame and guilt. I get to sing. And sing at the house of prayer. I get to give my gift to you with nothing hindering. God thank you for your long suffering with me. You have truly suffered LONG with me. You have given me your grace, you have lifted me up from the pit, the miry clay! There is no one like you. No one. I am no longer bound to sin or to shame. To wonder should I, could I, what if and what about. I just have you to cling to. Nothing more! Nothing less! Just you!

I am gazing at you and running to the throne room wishing I could take back all the hesitation and fear. But you see my heart. You told me. “I see it all and I know it all.” You sent my husband home to help me. And it saved my life. I thought at one time I could do it all on my own. I thought I had to. It wasn’t even a fault of my own. It was just all I knew. But you set my heart free. To dream and desire and to test your delight. You delight to give us the desires of our hearts. And I questioned that delight. I accused myself even. I tried to negotiate your delight away. But you also have desires. You have calls and destiny’s. I had to test it. I had to question it. After meeting with grief and devastation. I had to test you. I want to apologize for doing it but at the same time I had to know. I had to know if these words were just cliche or if they were from your heart.

You have truly chased me down and now I know. Now I know the Father. Who “knows the plans He has for me.” And I know you will bless me if I obey. And you will test me if I don’t. The pressure I have been under has been intense and I caved under it. If only I had just obeyed earlier. But I learned so much in the midst of it. I want to be under your covering. Not outside of it. Not far from you thinking I am close or thinking you are disappointed. I drawing closer, leaning into you and finding you safe and peaceful. God translate that peace to my soul. Give me your rest. I long to be with you. To lean into your everlasting arms. There is no one like you.

God let this season change us forever. People may think this is dramatic and will be short lived but I am ready to give all and to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I know my mom is cheering me on, fighting for me to be myself. You sent her in a dream last year to tell me. Thank you! It was so good to see her face. I remember after she died when I asked you to take away the dreams of her because the grief was so painful. But when you did I regretted it.

I am giving you my life and my love. All of my affections. I am yielding to you my mind. My busy mind. You know how challenging it is to slow it down. But I give it to you. I lean on your Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me. Let this radical love heal the deep places of my heart. I love you! I love you! I love you! Nothing can take that away. That is forever.

Help me to write again. Give me time, capacity, and an obedient heart. Help me to do all you have asked. Lord thank you for your grace that gives it all. You have friends here. You are worthy of it all! I give you my life! I surrender my song to you!

I believe in what I can not see! I believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:7) The only way! No doubt about it! And my life has been forever changed by this man! Thank you God! This is the prayer of my heart! In Jesus’ name Amen!

*To watch today go to https://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/ at 8pm central time.

Grief Blog – Losing my mom

Yesterday I worked on organizing all of our books. And in one of my mom’s books that I inherited from her collection I found some of her journals. She had put them in a book she was reading in January of 2006. Which was 6 months before she died. Some of the words she wrote were pretty normal for her but other things she wrote about were hard to read. So many layers of things that I am not going to go into massive detail about here but there were struggles in her marriage, in her motherhood, in her heart. There was even an email from me in the little stack of things folded into this book. It was very special to say the least to find this treasure cove. What it did for me in a big way was confirm how similar to and different from my mom. And maybe her journals can help me grow. Fifteen years later and I know this past six months for me has been about growing up, maturing, owning my past and moving on. Slowly but surely. Maturity is not about a one and done. Its a long process but you have to keep at it for it to work. I believe so many issues in our lives or arguments we get into are stunted maturity. We are clinging to our immaturity, our entitlement, our selfishness.

My mom was not a selfish person. She was a hard worker and went through so much in her life. She prayed so hard for her kids and felt deeply about everything. Wore her heart on her sleeve. My aunt reminded me the other day how “fearless” my mom was, she said “it was as if she was not afraid of anything.” I find myself quite the opposite lately. I feel to share her story and mine but I am also comfortable without having to share anything. I used to just do it. Rip the bandaid and not look back. But now as I get older I find myself more calculated and careful versus carefree.

Connie. Who was she. Losing her at 25 I feel so gipped of an actual friendship with her. Really getting to know her and what she was like. Don’t get me wrong I knew my mom and spent hours talking with her. But I mostly talked and she mostly listened. When she did talk she would say…”let’s pray!” But I know and for sure the Lord knows that there was so much more than that going on. She was 50 when she died. 50. Her year of Jubilee.

Those four pages of journal that I found revealed some deep things she was praying into. In her 50 years she saw her first husband (my dad) and her son (my brother) experience for the first time their mental illness. And then she stood alongside them while they tried to get a diagnosis and how that changed their daily life. She went through that twice. 20 years apart. I can not even imagine how she did that. I know when the second time came around she really battled. The guilt, the disillusionment, the pain. Why. And then she was gone. Just like that. When we needed her most. It seemed. Why.

And now here I am 15 years later. I honestly did not plan to go on an unraveling grief journey today. I was trying to declutter and organize our bookshelves. But God knows. He knows when its time to unravel. He knows when its time. When our hearts need it.

I got Discovery Plus two days ago and its hard to not just lay here on the couch and binge watch Magnolia Network from start to finish. I love it all. I just watched the one about Chip and his marathon. It is in honor of a professional runner named Gabe who lost her race with cancer. It really touched my heart. Before she died she started Brave like Gabe to inspire people to run and to raise money for research of rare cancer cures. I was so moved by this and the crazy way Chip met Gabe and her husband Justin. I know God was in this story for sure.

It stirred my heart to believe I can grieve through the totes of things I have from my mom’s house. I haven’t touched them in almost 15 years. I think it is time. I know its not running a marathon but its time to unlock my 25 year old heart and let her grow up. Let her fly. Maybe I will start a grieving nonprofit called PRAY LIKE CONNIE. Who knows?? She was a lover of Jesus and a marathon intercessor. I have an inheritance in her prayers like I have no idea about. I know I will be a better mom and a better wife as I learn the lessons from her journals and things. I honestly wish I had more things. But God knows and He sees it all!

My mom loved life. She cracked me up. She wanted to live it to the fullest and she didn’t even have cancer. She was taken from us in an instant with NO warning! It truly still knocks the absolute wind out of me. But I know I have a legacy in her love and deep belly laugh. She loved me big and I love to tell my kids about her. I was also reminded while I read her journals yesterday that we are not to make the dead our idols. I am certainly at times guilty of thinking of her as this perfect person. I know that is not true and I was reminded of her humanity. We can become to focused on ourselves and unaware of others. This is not my hope either as I unravel. I didn’t get to pick this season but I am going to embrace it and surrender to all God has for me in it.

http://www.michellewick.com/a-letter-to-my-mom-after-10-years-losing-my-mom-part-4

i took a break

I took a break. Why? God told me too. Seems like a good reason right? Why did He do that? Well I am not completely sure. But I can see the fruit of it. I will admit, its been some of the hardest years of my life. But I would never take them back. I had just started to blog about maturity. And then boom He had me walk out all of the things I was blogging about and it was not easy!

One of the things I wrestled with a lot during this break was the word “calling.” One day my husband and I were talking about it and I got so angry and then I broke down crying. I trained for this calling, I went to bible college, I trained in missions and went overseas to walk it out. I was all in. It was my calling, my assignment. I was called to “the ministry” as they say. I have committed a lot of my time, effort, and energy into this calling. I am not trying to be mean to anyone who talks like this. In fact most people use this language and do not think anything about it. It started even in high school for me, I went forward at a missions conference. I knew God spoke to my heart to do missions, to minister to people.

To even try to put words to what has been mulling around in my heart feels pretty complicated. I used to just sit down and type for 15 minutes or so and a message or blog would just spill out. But now it feels more challenging to choose my words. That is probably a good thing though. Some deep things have healed in my heart and some other deep things have been unearthed as well.

A lot of people would call motherhood my calling now. My ministry, my disciples. I totally agree and totally disagree all at the same time. If I focus all of my energy and training just on these three precious little people I think there will be trouble. It was scary to pause sharing and singing and all that to focus on them in some ways. But I really do think that is because SO MUCH focus and pressure is put on “calling.” Depression and purposeless can come when you aren’t “doing” something for the Lord. What about those people that were in ministry full time and then had to go get a full time job to support their families. Are they out of the “will of God” making that change and no longer serving a ministry or church in that capacity. I am honestly not trying to start any fights. It’s just kind of my way of spilling out what has been churning in my heart for a couple years.

In all honesty I was actually in some ways very happy with my break. Don’t get me wrong I really love singing, leading worship, well… just singing to Jesus in general! That is my favorite! Prophe-singing over people. I just love it. So yes I miss it! But… I was pretty content in just being a momma, a wifey and taking care of my dad who has been on hospice. I was so happy to be out of under that heavy burden of trying to fulfill the assignment for God, be inside His will, or making sure I was walking out my calling. (deep sigh, wow that felt good!). I think that is all of the language of ministry that I have been detoxing from. So then, what is left. Doing none of it?? That is the teenage version of Michelle saying “Yahoo, that means I don’t have to do it anymore!!!”

Nope… after almost two years I heard that familiar whisper. See, this whisper has been my best friend since I was three years old. That’s a long time to be hearing this sweet friend. But, I have ignored Him before. I am VERY slow to obey these days. I am hesitant to get back into that mentality. Striving to please even God!

Now I don’t say that to to nullify any ministry I have done up to this point! I truly believe I have a sincere heart and desire to walk out anything that God has put in my heart. Up until now I just didn’t know how much pressure the body of Christ puts on those in ministry. So much pressure to perform, to do ministry. There can be manipulation and it can seem like you are doing something for the right reasons but in reality… blah blah blah… it seems complicated.

All I know is I am tempted to not even start again. I have been avoiding it even after He whispered. Dragging my feet basically lol. You see, its hard to put your blinders on and just do what He tells you to. Especially when there are so many pretty shiny people on the inter webs doing their thing. And when you are wrestling with why the words calling, ministry, assignment, etc… its hard to want to jump back out. Okay so I will stop rambling about this and do a video. When I do it I will link it here…

My love for God has always been constant. No matter what I “do” or “don’t do” for Him. I think that is the point of this lesson in my life! His love for me is constant too. I am so thankful for this deep work in my life! And this burden that has lifted in some ways! Now on to the next challenge. Walking it out.

be yourself (series on maturity part 3)

I am an artist. But the funniest thing about that statement is that I never knew it until the past year or so. I have sang since I can remember but that word never crossed my mind. I was classically trained in voice and piano and flute for that matter and it honestly didn’t seem like a very artistic thing. It was more about perfecting what I was taught to match and create beautiful music in the process. I have always loved it. But here is a funny story about me.

My grandma (my dad’s mom) would pick me up after she got off work and take me home for the weekend. When I was younger she would take both my brother and I but once we got a little older we got to go by ourselves for the whole weekend. I would dig around in her car as we drove and find her snow sweeper thingy. I would pretend to play it and make up songs. It is such a sweet memory for me because she has now gone to be with Jesus. But also because I didn’t start playing the guitar until I was 25. I was the singer. That was the thing I knew how to do. The thing I could do well. I stuck to that. There were enough people who wanted to play the guitar while I sang the songs. I also knew all the words to all the songs! So we were a great team. I did not need to play the guitar. Nope. No need. So those songs from little Michelle got all locked up. My words were captured in a space of time that I could not access. But my Grandma knew.  You should have seen her face when she first got to see me play and sing at the same time. She knew the little Michelle and her desire to sing her songs.

But until I was 25 it was just SO safe to sing other people’s songs. But there is another problem with that situation. God gave me a beautiful voice. It is mine to steward but it was His first. I didn’t have to take voice lessons and try really hard. I just opened my mouth. It is a gift He gave to me. So I bear that weight on my shoulders. What am I going to do with it? The summer I turned 25 I was on a outreach as a staff member with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) staffing a School of Worship (SOW). One night we need to split our team into two groups and lead worship at two different churches. I was given the task of leading one of the teams. So I sat down with our song binder and waited on the Lord. “God, what do you want me to sing tonight!” I immediately had a picture of me leading worship with a guitar in front of a lot of people. I was instantly convicted. “Okay God. I will learn to play the guitar.”  The funniest part of this for me was that for years people had been asking me. “Michelle, when are you going to play an instrument while you lead worship?” I hadn’t needed to because there was always a willing person to play. And it wasn’t really that popular as it is now for the leader to have to play while they sang. But I would always say “when God tells me to learn to play I will.” Ha! Don’t worry I am not one of those miraculous people who strapped on a guitar that night on outreach and could play the guitar by divine intervention. I would have loved to have been given that gift. But no. I had to learn. Slow and steady. I would not even consider myself a good guitar player. But I get the job done almost 13 years later.

The biggest issue or maybe blessing with learning the guitar is that it gave me an avenue for my own words that had been locked up for 25 years to come spilling out. It gave me a VOICE. I started to sing my own words or add my own melodies to Scripture (one of my favorite things to do). I remember my first song was from Psalm 86.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.

It was a beautiful day and I took the three chords I was taught on that outreach after I had that vision of me playing. I slowly played, struggling to transition while I sang and I sang through the Scripture and made up my own little song.

The next day we had a meeting at our YWAM base and I felt God nudge me “go up on the stage and play your song.” “WHATTTTTTT???? No way. I just learned how to play these three chords. That is not even a real song. Please God no.”  “Go.” So I went. And I still remember that song to this day. I will post it on my Youtube sometime soon I promise. Then you can hear it too. Those melodies were mine. No one else wrote them. And I still didn’t see myself as an artist. But God had another thought about that. He had been waiting to hear my voice. I had been singing for years and I know it touched his heart but there is something about when we sing our song to His heart. Even if we do not consider ourselves a good singer at all. He longs to hear our voice. It’s kind of like fingerprints. There is no other voice just like yours. None. So if you don’t sing your song. No one will. It will just not ever happen. God longs for it. He beckons it to happen. I will never regret the years I spent singing His word to him in the house of prayer and part of me longs for it again. (but I also love my babies!!) But good news. You do not need a prayer room, a worship team, or even a guitar to sing to God. Just you, Him, His word, and time. Thats it. Easier said than done. Honestly its nice to just read what I am writing and be reminded myself.

Another interesting part about being an “artist” is that it is VUNERABLE. It takes guts. To do something different, new, created by you. You are unique and special, created for a specific purpose. No one can take your place. And when you do that thing it is vulnerable. People have so many opinions. Really, we have opinions about ourselves. We don’t even really need anyone else to stop us. We will stop ourselves. “No that’s dumb, I don’t need to do it, she is already doing it.” And so on and so on. But what about you? Who will sing your song? Who will release your voice, your thoughts? It is hard. I won’t pretend like it isn’t.

I remember the first time I sang on a team at the house of prayer. They threw me into “the deep end” on a set with the whole staff there. It was only about 100 people but it was still intimidating as the new person. They take a scripture and sing about it. Like a singing bible study or devotional. Instead of saying the thoughts you have about a passage or paraphrasing it for more understanding. You will sing your thoughts or interpretation in short phrases while other singers join in. There are a lot of mechanics to it too. The hardest part for me honestly was the singing. I know shocking right. Me. The singer. That was thing I was supposed to be able to do. BUT NO!!!! I opened my mouth and it was all wonky, missing notes, squawking a bit. It was crazy. I was so embarrassed. I felt set up. This was so new to me and hard. It was like learning to play the guitar all over again. Ahhh! It did not make me excited to do it again. All my years in choir, band, and singing worship songs I knew. That was safe. My happy place.

Thankfully I pushed through the initial struggle with it. It helps that each time I sang with the house of prayer it was for two hours. Gives you a lot of time to practice. And I realized that I was the only one that cared about how bad I sounded. No one was paying attention to my drama! So I grew up a bit in that too. I started growing in confidence in singing the word with other people and I grew to love it. I found out who I was in it. I found my voice. And I wrote some songs. The songs on my new CD were actually written before I even embarked on my house of prayer journey. They were two chord/three chord songs as I processed the grief of losing my mom. In fact before I showed up to the recording studio the first day of planning for my CD I was freaking out. The voices in my head said “these are not real songs, you don’t even know how to play the guitar.” But when I got there and shared them I knew they were real and they were mine. And guess what? There are more!

So there is power in being you. There is maturity in realizing that  no one else can do it for you. And that God has you here, right now for a reason. A reason that no one else can fulfill. Ask Him what it is. Don’t be surprised if He answers.

My biggest awkwardness now is figuring out how to sing the word with my boys. But you know what. After writing this tonight I think its time to figure it out. I have done it. I have tried to pull out the guitar. IF you have been around 1 or 3 year olds you know exactly what happens. They wanna play it. So let it be. But I am gonna sing. The end.

Stop looking and seeing people singing, speaking, doing the thing that He asked you to do and saying “well I guess I don’t need to do it then.” That is not a reason to STOP. Its hard. I will be honest. Seeing other people doing what you feel to do. It can feel discouraging and you want to compare yourself. You don’t to stick your neck out there and be vulnerable. Ask God if you can not do what He asked you do because you can see that its already covered. I am not sure He will care for your excuses. I am not sure they will matter much to Him. He wants your voice, your songs, your thoughts, your service. What is burning on your heart. Make it known. Keep your eyes on the Lord. What else matters really. At the end of the day. Nothing else. His love is the fuel for your obedience. Then you get the peace. “Look Lord I did it. I did it all for you. I poured it all out. Even when I was scared. I did something I never knew I could do and I did it for you!” And that is what growing up is like. It’s hard. It feels awkward. But its builds history, it writes stories. God sees it all and knows it all. Nothing is wasted. Even if NO ONE understands. He knows. He sees. So do not lose heart.