A Manifesto For Hurting People (and those who don’t know what to do with them)

The song Stereo Hearts shuffled into the mix today – that’s the one where Adam Levine sings the hook. These lyrics jumped out at me:

Furthermore, I apologize for any skipping tracks
It’s just the last girl that played me left a couple cracks
I used to, used to, used to, used to, now I’m over that
‘Cause holding grudges over love is ancient artifacts

These lyrics caught my attention because of 1) people around me who are hurting, and 2) people around me who are inconsiderate of hurting people.

It’s just the last church that played me left a couple cracks.

1) People who are hurting.

Please guard your vulnerability. Don’t close it off or shut it down, but guard it carefully. I recently saw Brene Brown interview with Chase Jarvis and she talked about her List. She carries a list in her wallet of people whose opinion matters to her, and when she starts to feel the weight of criticism and shame from others, she pulls out her list to remember who her Truth-tellers are.

If you have been hurt by someone and choose to tell your story, there will be some people who don’t believe you, who don’t think it’s that big a deal, who think you’re crazy, and/or think you should just let it go or otherwise be quiet about it.

If these people are not in the trenches with you or on your List of trusted Truth tellers, fight for your sanity and let go of their criticisms.

If you’re hurting, your record is gonna gonna gonna gonna skip a little for awhile, and some people just won’t get it.

2) People who are inconsiderate of hurting people.

Stop it.

Just… stop it.

Stop telling people that it’s gossip to share their personal story.

Stop cultivating a culture of shame and suspicion around people who are hurting.

Stop dismissing the pain hurting people feel without listening to their story first hand.

Stop assuming that hurting people have a divisive agenda.

Stop minimizing the pain of hurting people by explaining away the circumstances of their experience.

If you are in the presence of a hurting person, you have the opportunity to:

show compassion,
express empathy,
point them to the healing work of Jesus and his holy spirit,
…and shut up about everything else.

If you overhear the story of someone’s pain, you have the opportunity to:

call or write that person to ask how they’re doing,
show compassion,
express empathy,
point them to the healing work of Jesus and his holy spirit,
…and shut up about everything else.

Hurting people are gonna gonna gonna gonna skip a little for awhile. What they need most is your patience and presence while the cracks smooth out.

Here’s the Brene Brown video in full (with Bryan being a total fanboi in the front row):

On Being Understood (or not)


This Sunday in church, some friends read Psalm 139 as a meditation to start the service. It was a friendly reminder from the Lord that even when I feel misunderstood and unheard, he knows my thoughts even before I say them out loud.

I struggle with a child-like need to be understood, and nothing derails my day more than the inner turmoil that comes from being unable to explain myself.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be understood — especially by those close to me — but the lie I believe in the midst of it is that I have the power to win people over to my point of view if I could just make them understand.

Sometimes I can’t see that my point of view is wrong. Sometimes I can’t convince a listener that their point of view is wrong. Sometimes I can’t get anyone to listen at all. But I’m learning to say what I feel needs to be said, then release it into God’s hands.

I’m learning that, for me, the hardest part of following Jesus is being content that his unconditional love and intimate knowledge of my inner thought-life is enough.

It’s a painful, heart wrenching lesson, and each time I release the burden I feel like a child who wails in that instant her hand opens up to release the string of a balloon. She panics as it floats away, but then is mesmerized by the way it dances in the wind and floats against the blue sky.

It really is a beautiful thing to let go of a burden, if we can just open our hand and trust the wind.

Hearing Psalm 139 read out loud on Sunday felt like Jesus speaking audibly to me. I know your heart, he said. Let me heal it for you. Trust me that I can comfort you more than you realize.

Here’s an excerpt of the full passage:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord , you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Peace Over Pieces


The other day I learned (from Tim Keller!) that the Greek word for anxiety – marimna – means “to be in pieces” or to have a divided mind with too many goals.

One example of its use is in the Mary and Martha story. I always hear this passage preached with the warning to not be too busy to enjoy Jesus. These sermons irritate me because I wonder: Who’s going to do All The Things if everyone’s sitting around appreciating the presence of Jesus?!

People like to focus on Mary and Martha’s behavior, but in the context of “marimna,” Jesus is addressing their hearts. It’s not about all the things Martha is doing; he’s saying she has too many priorities – her heart is divided.

If anxiousness is to have a divided heart and mind, then peace, the opposite of anxiety, is to be single-minded.

But peace doesn’t come merely in choosing one goal to chase over all the others; true peace comes when we are single-minded toward Jesus and let everything else gravitate around him.

According to the passage, Mary is single-minded toward Jesus. This doesn’t mean she neglects all the work – it just means she finds peace in Jesus, not in her to-do list.

Two years ago I wrote about this same thing in a post called, Restful Worship. Here’s an excerpt…

Whatever circumstances I find myself in – whether emotional turmoil, financial hardship, or even just a busy schedule – God will not only sustain me in the midst of it, but he will provide a season of peace.

But it’s not the sort of peace where I catch up on laundry, sleep, and 30Rock episodes, but a peace that’s intended to remind me of who God is and how he sustained me through the day (or week, or month, or however long I’ve been slogging along).

He provides an opportunity for restful worship.

This Fall I was feeling very anxious again and, quite frankly, a little cray-cray. My heart was in pieces, divided. I was worrying about all the circumstances around me, which led me to be controlling and argumentative, then despairing when I couldn’t control or argue my desires into existence.

Thankfully, my heart and mind are at peace again – single-minded toward Jesus.

How do you struggle with marimna? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

That’s Not My Name, Dammit.


Lately I’ve been struggling to sort out in my head what is Truth and what is a Lie. It’s been a deep, debilitating struggle, actually, in which I feel like I’m going insane.

This is obviously putting stress on my family relationships. After all, if I assume you’re lying to me, then it stands to reason I should crush you with my anger.

I am thankful for a patient husband and friends who come to the rescue with chicken pot pie and conversation at 10:00pm.

This morning I interrupted a death spiral of lies and went for a walk to clear my head in the fresh air and bright sun. As I walked briskly with music in my ears, The Ting Tings shuffled into my mix.

They call me Elle
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane

That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my…name

I’m known around the office for getting lost in my music and accidentally singing out loud while co-workers are on a conference call, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that as I hiked through the Seattle Center I shouted, “THAT’S NOT MY NAME” over and over again.

It felt good to get it out: to shout THAT’S NOT MY NAME at Satan, or my brain, or my heart, or whatever it is that’s trying to separate me from reality.

My name is Daughter, and I belong to Jesus. Everything else is a lie.

How to Break an INFP

The kids stay up until 10:00 now, and since Ruthie wakes up around 6:30 or 7:00, they’re always awake when I am.


This makes for a very long day of people asking me for things and/or making noise around me.

The CIA calls this Sensory Overload Torture.

Google it if you don’t believe me. You’ll see a video of my kids engaged in a conversation like this:

Thomas: Ruthie, look at this cool thing I made.

Ruthie: …

Thomas: Ruthie! Look at this cool thing I made!

Ruthie: …


Ruthie: …

Thomas: ***RUTHIE!***




Ruthie: *cry-screaming* *running away from Thomas*

Thomas: RU!! THIE!!! *runs after her*

*door slams*

*banging on door*


*fade to black*


I usually make them go to bed at 9:00, but they can read or do something quiet as long as they stay in their room.

This works for awhile, but pretty soon their “quiet activity” turns into make-believe play, which turns into getting really wound up at 9:30, which turns into a lot of yelling about GO TO BED ALREADY WE’RE TRYING TO WATCH GAME OF THRONES.

My goal this summer is to run them so hard all afternoon that one of them falls asleep in the middle of an argument.

Which reminds me… I’m hatching a plan for my summer of juggling work and kids, partially inspired by a blogging friend. Stay tuned for the deets.

The Amazing Race: Cupcakes or Die Edition

I stayed in bed forever on Friday morning, trying to figure out how I could manage to bring cupcakes to school for Ruthie’s birthday.

Because Ruthie told her teacher I was bringing cupcakes to school for her birthday… and didn’t tell me.

But truth be told, it wouldn’t have mattered if she told me days in advance. I’d still be laying in bed on Friday morning wondering how the cupcakes would arrive at school in time for the party.

I’m terrible at planning things. I wait until the last minute, throw stuff together haphazardly, and hope for the best.

Like today, for instance. I had forty-five minutes to find two and a half dozen cupcakes, but apparently I live in a cupcake blackout zone. Two neighborhood grocery stores didn’t have cupcakes at all, a third had enough bite-sized cupcakes for $50, and the place I called in Belltown was happy to sell me cupcakes for $35 a dozen.

What the WHAT?

Bryan and I finally drove (all the way out!) to Ballard (practically the suburbs!) and bought two and a half dozen cupcakes for $18, drove (all the way!) back to Queen Anne, and made it to the party with five minutes to spare.


These are the adult beverages we consumed at 2:30 in the afternoon following our harrowing adventure.

Earlier in the day, while still hiding in my blankets and wondering how it was all going to work out, I read this:

Long, long ago [God] decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. (Ephesians 1:3-6 MSG)

What a pleasure he took in planning it!

He wanted to celebrate with lavish gift-giving!

I always end up turning happy occasions into a stressful obstacle course of doom, but God provides a great example of celebration and generosity. This birthday season (March Madness!), I want to take pleasure in planning a lavish gift-giving celebration for my kids!

Jesus Is Bigger Than The Pile I’m Standing In


Life is good at the ZugHaus. Not rainbows-and-puppies good, but I-have-a-basement-during-a-tornado good. I’m continually encouraged that Jesus trumps All Things Shitty, which leads me to complain less when circumstances are less than desirable.

Our car broke down again, for instance. We were on our way home from the Folk Life Festival – tired, hungry, thirsty, and cranky. We have a knack for breaking down late on Sunday afternoons, by the way.


Usually I’m a glass-half-empty kinda girl, and I’m also likely to complain that the glass has a piece of food stuck to it or is the wrong color. “Fuck you and your stupid glass metaphor!” is what I often think (and occasionally say out loud).

But I can’t deny the miracle that is happening in my heart. Specifically, the miracle that happened in my heart as we sat on the side of the road while I tried to keep my kids from running onto the highway. As my mind clicked through all the events our car was needed for in the coming week – a school play, hauling video gear to an event, grocery shopping – my heart kept not freaking out.


The miracle in my heart that week was not that I saw the glass half full for once, but that I found it SO AMAZING THAT I HAVE THIS AWESOME GLASS!

At the time, I didn’t know how the week was going to come together, but as it played out I realized…

  • I got to snuggle on the bus commute home from an event with Bryan
  • We got to ride the bus as a family to a school event, and my kids thought they were on a roller coaster adventure
  • A friend was able to serve and bless our family by replacing the broken hose in our car
  • Grocery shopping became a social event when a friend let me tag along with her to the store

When I’m in my Eeyore mindset I see those things as burdens, not blessings; disruptions, not adventures. But a changed perspective and open heart made a stressful week so much more fun.

I’m curious… How has your perspective toward shitty circumstances been challenged?

Momageddon: The Helpful Advice Edition (please disregard).

Sometimes I get really clingy about my advice books. As a new mother, I remember frantically reading every book about sleeping babies while nursing a 6 week old who decided to stop sleeping. I was frantic, and exhausted, and livid that she was not sticking to The Plan.

The Plan which included sleeping.

I was so beyond the end of my wits that I wasn’t even reading books straight through. I was skimming chapter titles and bolded sentences, and copying bulleted lists and charts with pen on paper.

My brain became like those videos on David Letterman where they edit together random words from a speech so it sounds like a Presidential candidate says, “I bork Sarah Palin every Thursday.”

Recently I read a couple books that were helpful and encouraging to me as a parent, but I found myself hoarding facts again like I tend to do. Only now I’m older and displaying signs of hereditary dementia and start to panic because I can’t remember what to say when it’s the moment of truth and I need to say something really… parental.

A few weeks ago as I contemplated making a list or pie chart to help me remember a few methods (has anyone seen Memento? Reminder tattoos, anyone?), I started approaching despair again as I wondered how I would keep it all straight.

And then it hit me: Jesus has already given me everything I need to raise my kids.

I’m not dissing all the practical knowledge available in books, but I was giving methods more weight than grace. I realized that practical teaching is a great supplement, but what I really need to do is read my bible & pray for wisdom, get over my fear & selfishness, and teach my kids about Jesus.

The Long View

When I lose my temper and yell at the kids, I take the short view. I just want them to shut up, or sit the fuck down, or put on their jacket, or quit antagonizing each other.

When I eat poorly to satisfy a craving, I take the short view. A bowl of cereal will get my blood sugar back up, chips and salsa are easy to grab, and I looooove a good charbroiled hamburger with a side of fries to fill my belly.

When I delay a task because I’m having “me time,” I take the short view. I want to read just one more blog post, refresh Pinterest one more time, read another chapter, or lay in bed a few extra minutes.

When I do the chore myself rather than put up with their whining, I take the short view. I’m tired, they’ve been fighting me all day, it’s so peaceful when they’re not in the room, I’m just not up for being the bad guy.

I could go on an on, but these are my hot spots, my most frequent offenses.

So many decisions I make are based on what I want in that moment, and I’m continually amazed by how short-sighted I am. I’m less surprised by how selfish.

In everything I do, Christ beckons me to take the long view.

I hate the long view because it doesn’t allow for my selfishness or laziness. I’d rather lay on the couch and yell at the kids than get up and walk them through their conflict.

The long view is harder. It tries my patience. It interrupts me.

I hate the long view so much I’ve been staring at this post for days trying to figure out a way to wrap it up in a neat little bow of cheeriness. But since that’s not going to happen, I’ll talk about Jesus…

God had a plan – a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.

You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children – with a Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him – lost children yearning for their home.

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!”

And he would. One day, God himself would come.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Jesus is the ultimate long viewer. He is patient and long suffering. That’s a Bible word: long suffering. Looooong suffering. As in, a loooong time of watching me do the same thing over and over again.

Compare that to what I am: short tempered. As in, NOT long suffering.

Jesus models the long view for me every day.

He modeled the long view for me twenty minutes ago when I “nudged” Ruthie off the bed with my foot because she played dead after I asked her to brush her teeth. If I were God, I would have rolled my eyes at me and said, “Dude, you can’t be serious! AGAIN?! Where is your PATIENCE, yo?”

Because apparently if I were God, I would talk like Jesse Pinkman.

Thank God I’m not God.

Friday Link Love: The Danger of Moralistic Parenting

The Danger of Moralistic Parenting | The Resurgence.
I loved everything about this post, then realized at the very end that it’s an excerpt from a book I just ordered on the Kindle. WIN!

An excerpt from the post:

Certainly the faith that has empowered the persecuted church for two millennia isn’t as thin and boring as “Say you’re sorry,” “Be nice,” and “Don’t be like them.” Why would anyone want to deny himself, lay down his life, or suffer for something as inane as that?

I really struggle in sorting out my role vs the Holy Spirit’s role when it comes to my children’s conscience. My parenting style is built on a solid foundation of being a control freak, so I end up requiring some sort of proof that the kids are really truly sorry for what they’ve done.

This has turned them into great actors – Ruthie especially. She gets that striking George Clooney gaze from the top of her eyes thing down really well. And sadly, this often satisfies me. I know it’s highly possible she’s just telling me what I want to hear, but in my lazy moments I’m okay with that.

(If I haven’t mentioned this before, parenting is hard. It requires effort. I don’t always feel like doing it).

It’s only recently that I’ve admitted to myself I’m not actually the Holy Spirit.

I wrote that last sentence before I found this post from THREE YEARS ago, so I guess this is something I’m fairly slow at learning (ya think?!). Here’s an excerpt:

My first instinct when Ruthie gets this stubborn is to make her life as miserable as possible until she cries UNCLE and repents. In my imagination we play a game of chicken to see who lasts longer – me or her. Forcing behavior seems to be what I am most comfortable with, though I know intellectually it’s the worst way to parent.

I had a revelation awhile ago. I realized that Ruthie is a person, not merely an object I own or control. She is a person with a conscience who can feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Or not. I realized there are more consequences to our actions than just the circumstantial ones, that she is growing up not only in body, but also in faith. I realized that I won’t always be able to make her feel sorry, that sometimes she will rebel against repentance and have a hard heart, and that there’s not really anything I can do about it in the moment.

I’m ready to be over the whole control freak thing. It’s what makes me take things so personally and respond with unholy anger. I’d much rather just parent obediently and trust Jesus with the outcome.

I can’t wait to read the whole book!

First World Problems


Today technology is not bowing down to me. In fact, it is quite certainly giving me The Finger. My trick to getting work done in the afternoon is for Thomas to watch a movie, but guess what? The DVD player is crapping out, and for an unknown reason movies won’t play from the laptop.

No problem! I’ll just put the movie on Bryan’s computer in the office and wear headphones to keep The Clone Wars from distracting me. Right?

Of course not. You knew that wouldn’t work, though, didn’t you?

For some reason iTunes can’t find my music library. And I can’t plug the headphones into my iPhone because of that stupid jack issue with first generation phones.

So here I sit half an hour later, wearing headphones that won’t play music but will at least muffle the distractions.

Oh who are we kidding – they’re just keeping my ears warm.