Hebrews 13:5

I have been spinning since last Monday’s…  um…  whatever that was.  Life crisis? Minor breakdown?

Whatever. It left me reeling a bit – my days are so busy that I don’t so much think about it, but I have felt this heaviness in my heart that goes with me through my days.  There’s moments where I recognize the disconnection I talked about – and try to consciously just “be” with Junior in a particular moment.  Mostly days are a blur.

But the nights….

I haven’t slept over an hour in a stretch since I wrote those words a week ago. Visions of what could be, and what will never be; dreams of an alternate reality; the heaviness rising up to a kind of pain consuming my feelings – all with me in and out this fitful sleep.  Such long, awful nights.

My sudden and overwhelming discontent is turning me into a zombie during the day and a haunted shell each night.

This morning, in the predawn hours after a night of prayer and tears and hurt,  I did what I so often do when all seems lost, I opened my Bible to whatever page it wanted to fall, and I search for words to soothe and guide.  It fell open to Hebrews 13, and I read:

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.

Oh. yeah.


I felt awful (I know – mission NOT accomplished there, Keri.)

I am in a spiral of anger and envy and want about all of the things my life is not, and I have been letting it drown out all of the amazing gifts He has given me.   I am not walking alone here – I am not where I am by accident. I haven’t been given some cosmic shaft (for lack of a nicer term.)  I am on the path God chose for me.

If this moment is a message put upon my heart by Him, then it is a flashlight at my feet, to perhaps guide me to a next step; not a glaring spotlight meant to highlight so many wrongs that have happened to get me here so far.  A tug on the heart in a different direction shouldn’t be ignored, but losing the joy that I find in my life as it is now because of it is foolish.

Throughout my day I have been reading that verse, again and again, and then finding something happening RIGHT THEN to thank God for.

-light traffic on the way to Junior’s school

-one of our current favorite songs playing while we drove (Breathe by Johnny Diaz – also a good reminder.

-coworker who brought in really good Green Chile to share today (can I get an amen, my fellow GC lovers?)

-beautiful weather when I walked Potter today

-our amazing neighborhood and the house that God guided us too almost 4 years ago

-Junior’s awesome school and teachers who adore the kiddos, and the amazing things he is learning and doing

-contract writing work that is allowing me to do what I love and secure our family’s financial future

-the world’s friendliest grocery store checker when I ran by for a few things

On and on….

Life is not so bad, Keri.  Even if it isn’t that IG picture you built into perceived perfection a week ago.

So I will do what I can, I will pray and keep my heart open to possibility. I will make a concentrated effort to fight back against envy and anger and other attacks – I know they are not from my Lord and they have no place in my heart.

I choose to see this moment as a door cracking open – showing me a glimpse of all that will be down the path He has chosen for me to walk.  I choose to be content in His way, AND His time.

I will choose it again anew each day.







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Legos and longing -second thoughts on working mom-dom.


“Mommy and me”  by Jr, age 4

Late this morning over a quick lunch break, I was diving down the rabbit hole of Instagram to let my mind wander from a project I was a bit stuck on for work. I stumbled on a simple post of an ADORABLE baby sitting in the sun in a chair, giggling at his mom off camera. SO CUTE! I clicked to read the caption of this cuteness.

Two minutes later I was broken, sobbing and groping for tissues in a haze of envy and guilt and sadness.

The cutie-patootie’s mom posted the smushy picture of him to celebrate her first day as a stay at home mom. It is a simple thing, upon first thought. It was the second wave of my mind’s wandering that kind of ripped me in two.

It was her first day of being with that smiling boy at home, completely on purpose. Not because she was on vacation and trying not to think about the email that must be piling up and the fires that will need putting out when she returns.

Not because the baby was sick, or because plans for his care fell through, or because she was working from home with him there as well due to a heavy snow storm. (The latter of which never truly works, resulting in guilt about sticking in a video and begging the kiddo to please be quiet for that conference call, followed by work guilt because productivity drops when you have one eye on the laptop and one eye on your offspring.)

It was her first day without division in her mind, her heart, and her time. No internal war to be everything to everyone. For the first time, she was all his. Concentrating on him, and his surroundings, and nothing else, is ok for her now.

Years ago, before Junior came along, I would daydream about that being my reality

It wasn’t in the cards, and I adored the lovely Christ-centered daycare Junior attended during his first year of life. I am so proud of all he learns and of the way he has found his place in his little community at the academic center he attends now, truly I am.

In our neighborhood, there are many moms who stay home with their children, and I think it has accentuated some of the things I fear Junior misses as a “day care kid.”

He misses the flexibility of schedule to try new activities, or have a play date with neighbors, or even stay in pajamas all day “just because.” There’s no chance to abandon an activity to head outside for a bike ride or snowman building or kite-flying, regardless of perfect weather conditions.

Days are full of hurrying out the door late, off to day care as mom worries over email and deadlines and trying to cram it all in, while also figuring out when doctor appointments and dentist visits and haircuts might fit in to the picture. Of course, always keeping fingers crossed that Junior doesn’t get sick and bring the whole precarious mess to a screeching halt.

It’s a tough realization to find that I am resentful of my child for getting sick, when he does, because it throws off the tightrope walk that I am barely pulling off with him healthy.

Evenings are a blur of pick-ups and meal prep and rushing toward bedtime routine to (hopefully) get him in bed before “tired” turns to “overtired meltdown madness.” Usually I am thinking of the To Do list I need to get started on once he is asleep and praying that he will drift off quickly. Then in a few short hours the whole scene plays out again.

It feels like our family, and especially Junior and I, are running and running to get to some place or goal or SOMETHING, but never getting there.

Suddenly today, while inhaling my lunch and trying to distract myself from the reality of my truth, it smacked me square in the face.

Today is the first day of a really great new normal for that mom and her sweet smiling son.

Today for Junior is just another day where his mom bustled him off to “school” early because she was stressed about looming deadlines and semi-dreading what the impending snowstorm would mean for her ability to work tomorrow (while trying to squeeze in some “one eye on each” activity with him, if possible.)

You know what? That sucks.

My proudest accomplishments lie not within deadlines met and task lists checked off. They are measured in the way he pulls my ear down close to his mouth and whispers “I love you mommy,” and in the joy on his face as we build a new incarnation of a superhero hideout out of legos.

I do imagine what it would be like to focus just on him.

I don’t know what a next step would be – Instagram mom’s new SAHM path can’t be mine right now.

Parents who do stay at home with their children have challenges and feel conflicted too, I am sure. I don’t mean to discount the mountains each person must climb each day.

But I think that the search for a new normal has begun today…. in my heart, and I pray also in my actions.



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What if He doesn’t answer?

Do you ever feel like you just can’t pray enough about a decision? Like even seemingly perpetual, unending prayer is just not bringing your heart, mind, or hands closer to a course of action?
That is very much where I find myself just now. There are all of these monumental, life-altering, WAY TOO BIG FOR JUST ME choices coming at me in lightning succession, and I feel frozen – unable to move at all. I talk to God. Ask for clarity, guidance, wisdom, understanding…. Even a literal SHOVE in the right direction at this point.
All stays murky. No light, even at my feet to confirm that the ground will be there when I take my next step.
My doubt is compounded by my inability to wait for a clearer path to develop. These are decisions that have to be made – time won’t wait. So I guess… and then I second guess myself.

A lot.


Is the quiet, the lack of resounding confirmation and positive occurrence some sort of message that all is not well, that I am faltering and endangering my family’s welfare? I wonder with each decision I am forced to make in the vacuum of seeming unanswered prayer… is this the thing that will ruin it all? Is this what I should do?
“Be still” is not an option here. Absence of response is not an option here.
Reflecting on the past, God’s answers, his direction, his plan – none of that has manifested as a whisper I had to strain to interpret. I guess God knows me well enough to know that he has to hit me over the head with it –I don’t do subtle.
I don’t do risk well either – and each choice lately seems so full of risk.
I literally tremble with the fear of potential harm/greatness when I sit here thinking of the wheels I have set in motion.
In the quiet, the uncertainty, and the magnitude – still I pray.
Please Father… Please God. Don’t let me ruin absolutely everything chasing fool’s errands.
What do you do when it feels like God isn’t listening? When His plan seems more unclear than ever before, and you can’t feel His hand guiding you?
(No really… if you are a Spirit of Power reader, I’d love to know. How then, do you make those choices, when prayer upon prayer bring you no closer to and understanding of which road to choose?)
The comments section is open… share, if your heart calls you to.

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His Purpose, not my own

I did a search looking for a particular post I’d written here long ago, but stumbled instead on to this one.  Much like it always seems that when you open your Bible, you always end up opening to just the perfect verse to speak to you where you are – this post was a gift to my heart and mind.

Building on my prayer and meditation regarding last week’s post – I have been contemplating a page in the “From God’s Words to a Woman’s Heart” devotional titled “You Have Purpose.”

I, like so many women probably would, thought immediately “my purpose in God’s eyes is to be a wife and a mother.  A caretaker and a supporting character in the stories of my family members.” That must be my purpose, because trying to move beyond that hasn’t resulted in any forward motion in years.

BUT WAIT – there was that post from the past saying BUT WAIT!

For years,  YEARS AND YEARS, I had struggled and pushed for some sort of promotion – in my job, in my finances, in my thinking…  IN ANYTHING.

Nothing had really come.  I had felt so helpless and stuck trying to make what I wanted to happen come to pass.

Then BOOM – I tried something different, something a little scary . We changed our plans from searching for a house in the city, and trying for a promotion within my then-employer; to searching for a house and a better job in my hometown.  Doors FLEW open, opportunities for employment were suddenly abundant and generous.  The perfect home at the perfect price presented itself practically wrapped up in a bow.   Every piece of the puzzle seemed to fit – custom designed for our family’s needs at that exact moment.

For over a year I had felt the calling in my heart to return home – but my pride kept me from listening, from hearing God’s direction for my life.  So I met with only closed doors and lack of opportunity.  There was nothing there to be offered for me – my gifts waited elsewhere for me to find when I could follow the plan of His purpose for me.

I find myself in a similar situation now – as our family comes into another season of change, I see now that I must be trying once again to force open a door of opportunity that is not meant for me.  I know from my own experience, written right there for all to see in that post, that fighting against His plan won’t work.  It leads to frustration and stagnation and wasted time and effort.

So I pray today on the verse provided in the devotional, PSALM 13:8:

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

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Goals and potholes

“You Can Accomplish Many Goals.”

This is the entry I came to this morning in the Janice Hanna Thomson devotional I am working with. (From God’s Word to a Woman’s Heart.)

The story she shares in this entry, of a woman named Jeannie who longs to branch out into her own interior design business was so familiar to me that it took my breath.

Jeannie didn’t really put a plan into action, she didn’t open her heart and her hands to the work that God could create within her.

Which could just as easily read “Keri didn’t really put a plan into action, she didn’t open her heart and her hands to the work that God could create within her.”

Jeannie was jealous of the success of other women, and scared that she would fail if she did try, and Jeannie didn’t really have faith in her skills and talents.

Yep… check check and check for Keri.

The chosen verse for this entry in the book is 2 Chronicles, 15:7

“But you take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

As soon as I read this entry, it occurred to me that I could probably spend the entirety of 2016 on this one page of the devotional, and perhaps never truly accomplish what it dares of the reader.    For someone who has failed as much as I have, I am still terrified of what any new failure would do to me.  To be frank, there are probably very few people around who doubt the value of their talents as deeply as I do.

This may be an entry that I spend some time on…  standing where I am in my life today, that small piece of scripture seems an almost impossible challenge.




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Loved in 2016.

Happy New Year!!

We were blessed with a wonderful trip to Texas for Christmas (and happily event-free airport excursions, ) and I came home to enjoy the last few days of 2015 nestled in with my little family.  When I re-read my last entry, I was struck by how downtrodden and dark I know my heart was as I wrote it.

It made me sad, and  also determined to do some heart work in the first few months of 2016.

I have had several friends express to me how much they enjoy Janice Hanna Thompson’s writings (both fiction and non fiction,) and her devotional “From God’s Word to a Woman’s Heart,” seemed a good counterbalance to the particular kind of doubt I had on my heart prior to our trip.

Working with devotionals can be an incredibly powerful and also personal experience, but I would like to share some of what I find and feel as I work through this one.

If you have read this particular book, or would like to share anything based on what you find here on Spirit of Power about it, please do –  so often the greatest revelations come in sharing and receiving from others.

The book’s first entry is “You are loved.” The quoted scripture is 1 John 4:9-12.

What a perfect start to a new year – a reminder of the greatest love ever known, and of the sense of purpose and gratitude that comes with knowing that love. Permission to “drop the act” of feeling fulfilled by external purpose when it isn’t true, (which it just so ISN’T for me of late.) A call to be filled with excitement and wonder in the light of the love that will guide my way- and the sense of purpose burning from inside from that love.

A lot to think about, to meditate on and pray about throughout my day. Such a blessed message for a New Year’s beginning, indeed.

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Failure and forgiveness

This year is what we refer to as “a Texas Christmas.” I love our every-other-year trips to spend the holidays with The Hub’s family, and I look forward to being there.
However, even as I fill the freezer with goodies for the housesitter and make my “over-prepared mom lists,” a shadow of a memory hangs over like a storm cloud in my soul.
On our last plane trip as we made our way through the airport, I was juggling the car seat on a wheelie, two backpacks, and Jr and rushing to keep up with The Hub.
We approached an escalator to decend to the trains to the concourses, and I hesitated, but felt pressure to be able,to handle it all, so I tried to put Jr, myself, and our stuff all on at once. His hand slipped from mine, and he fell down several steps before landing on his bottom 5 steps in front of me.
I felt every eye on me- the weight of judgement so heavy I was paralyzed by it. He, looked up at me, terrified, I forced a smile and told him everything was ok. Everything was not ok.

That moment is burned forever on my heart. The horror of what happened, and of what could’ve happened, plays over and over in my mind. All of the things I should’ve done differently and the many ways the fault was all mine overwhelm me still, over half a year from that day.
Again and again as I remember it, I have begged God for forgiveness for being so careless with the most precious gift he could ever give me.
But here’s the thing, I know in His eyes I am forgiven.  He pours out his love as a salve for the wound of guilt and shame that has left my heart raw and open.
It is me who cannot forgive myself. Truthfully, I don’t think I am ready to try.  It feels as if I let the shame go, I am somehow diminishing the gravity of what happened.
I know God wants to take that pain, I know he doesn’t want my heart growing dark from the ache.  I can’t bring myself to truly give it to him. I feel I have failed him, I am not worthy of that forgiveness. But none are worthy – it is a gift he gives.
I am sure there will be many prayerful moments as we travel… I hope a successful trip during the season of love and rebirth will allow me head to begin letting forgiveness into my heart.

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“You are in our prayers.”
Do you ever say that?
It has long been my go-to card notation or statement when a friend or family member (or acquaintance,) is going through a difficult time in life.
It is my favorite statement of comfort to give, because it has always meant so much for me to hear it from others during times of trial or hopelessness. The thought of others lifting me up in prayer is so reassuring and empowering – it is such a blessed gift to offer.
The thing is, it always USED TO, be true. Each night as I put the dog in his crate, and we said our prayers and things got quiet and calm, I would hold his little paws and whisper our prayer:
“Dear God – thank you for all that we have. Please keep us safe, and healthy, and together, and hold us in the palm of your hand.”
Then I would just kind of go through my list of people I knew were in need of a little extra support, or hope, or comfort…. People longing to feel His grace. It was a quiet, special time there in the dark – just me and my dog and our God.
Throw in an active kiddo, many more responsibilities, and an evening of bedtime routines that could be calm or crazy, and I find that time slipping away from me – whether it be with the dog, the kiddo, The Mr, or even just myself. Jr’s prayers get muttered so fast some nights I hardly realize they have been said.
When the house is FINALLY quiet, and I am curled up in my chair with the doggie and my Bible or a devotional or even my journal, I frequently find I am asleep within minutes. It makes me sad, but it also makes me wonder why I feel like I have to “save it all up” for some earmarked time. I know I have moments throughout the day where I feel like I either can’t or don’t even know what to say in prayer – so I just speak one of his names. (Emmanuel is my favorite one word prayer. A statement, a promise, and a calling to Him all in one word. God with us.) Why can’t all my prayers be that immediate. Continuously in prayer…
So this morning when I sent my friend a message saying that her husband ‘s family was in my prayers after a heartbreaking loss, I didn’t just write it – I prayed it. Right then and there.
Then a bit later I whispered in prayer again as I drove Jr to my mom’s house for the day – that their day would be blessed and happy and safe. I again prayed for comfort for the family of my friend.
No more of this “finding time to pray,” thought process. Today and throughout this blessed holiday season, I am actively seeking ways and spaces to be in prayer continuously each day.

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We Need A Little Christmas

Jr is earning stickers on his “good choices chart” toward the goal of setting the Christmas decorations up for the season.  The kid loves him some Christmas decorations, so the incentive to make good choices and fill that chart is strong.

I am glad, and I am being very generous in rewarding those good choices, because I REALLY want him to get there.

Frankly in this family, to borrow from one of my favorite Broadway show-tunes: We need a little Christmas, right this very minute.

Actually, I think we need a Christmas explosion to  spread throughout this house – we need every reminder of the joy of this season, and why we celebrate it.  We need the togetherness, the songs, the warmth, and the reason to recall and be consumed by the love of a God who sent his son to be born in a barn and save the whole world.

The last few months have been kind of a lot.  Heck, the last year has been kind of a lot.  Good and bad, but very fast paced and intense.  I feel like we are all on overload – puzzle pieces that should fit together, but we are all turned just slightly in opposite directions or something.  A kiddo who is growing up fast and parents who are trying to help him navigate big kid joys and frustrations, with varying degrees of success.  New interests and activities and friends intertwining with the older ones, changing schedules, all whirling around each other.

Like I said, it’s been a lot.

Christmas always brings the focus back to everything central and important – family, community, giving to others….  and most of all, the story of Christ’s birth.

I am ready to see my sweet boy playing with his manger, eager to hear him asking for us to read the Christmas story over and over, longing to see his sweet face by candlelight at Christmas eve service.   I am so ready to just bring it all back to that.

Have you seen Star From Afar ?

I love the idea of it, and I am considering adding it to our family Christmas traditions – too cute.  You hide the star in a different spot each day, and as your kiddos find it, they move the wisemen to it. You can share some scripture as a family each night, and on Christmas eve you move it to the top of the manger so that Christmas morning the wisemen come to the end of the journey.   Such a simple but powerful way to bring the story to life, isn’t it?

Come on kiddo – earn those last few stickers, I cannot bring myself to Respect The Turkey this year.  I am bursting to bring the light and the love and the healing of Christmas into our home, and our hearts.




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Each day, begin again.

I guess I have Timehop to thank for my being here now.
For months I have seen past SOP posts popping up on my TimeHop feed via links I had posted on Twitter or Facebook, and each time I sigh wistfully as I read a piece of my past. My heart has been so called to break the silence here – but self-doubt can be an unbelievably loud internal voice.
“It’s been too long. No one cares. Leave it as it is. Who are you, at this time above all others, to take on more and speak to a relationship with God?”

It is that last one that kept me most away – but also that finally today brings me back.

This week I found myself Googling “Praying for my angry son.”
Praying. For. My. Angry. Son. On GOOGLE. On THE INTERNET.

It isn’t laziness. It is desperation. It is also, I quickly realized, the ultimate expression of self-doubt.
In the past few weeks, my sweet son has been so often full anger; of something pent up and out of his four-and-a-half-year-old range to process. It is frustrating to deal with extreme tantrums, sure. It is also heartbreaking to not be able to help.

I have prayed. Oh how I have prayed – for insight into him, for peace within him, for a wine truck to crash in to a liquid cheese truck in front of my house and spill their contents on to my lawn after a particularly rough bedtime. (Just kidding…. No serious.) I have prayed with him, I have prayed while holding him on my lap so he didn’t hurt himself (or us) as he raged. Endlessly have I prayed.

Then I stopped. This week I stopped. Because all of the different practices and distractions and rewards and punishments I have tried have fallen short of helping my sweet, angry son. So why, WHY, would I think that my prayers would fall any less short. Now my heart knows that this is just not at all the way it works, but it was full of sadness and the shame of failing my child.
My head ? My head always goes right for Google.

My search showed I was not in a vacuum – there was a good amount of content out there. Being reminded that the human experience is not one of isolation is comforting. It snapped something inside of me as well – the cloud of shame lifted a bit, and I could see the light at my feet again. I could see that broken and praying for my son is enough. I could see that who I am now is enough to speak it here.
I don’t have to know the right way or the right time. It is His way. His time. Each moment is a chance for renewal. My prayer today has been about giving thanks for the possibilities.

So we begin again.

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