Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Always Kiss Me Goodnight

Today is my Mom and Dad’s 59th Wedding Anniversary. I say “is” because it very much still feels like they’re married. I know the vows say ‘til death do us part,’ but if you were in this house, you would sense it…she is still definitely Gene’s bride.

 Most mornings, I wake up and lay in bed for a few minutes thanking God I woke up. It may sound morbid, but if there is one thing I’ve learned in this past few years, tomorrow is not promised. There’s something about waking up early in the morning in a quiet house with the sprinklers on outside and just a hint of the sun coming through the window. It’s like I’m thankful I get another chance to try this thing called life again. The world is my oyster, and for all I know, the day could be a big fat pearl waiting for me! A new chance. A new opportunity. It’s not hard to thank God for that…I mean His Word even says it. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

 On July 20,2019, as I was lying in bed thinking about the fact I got another day to give it the ol’ college try, I heard a whisper:

 “Always kiss me goodnight.”

 At first, I figured it was due to what I ate before I went to bed, paired with maybe a late night search on Pinterest. I knew I’d seen my share of photos of signs that say that under the “I Do” and “Wedding” boards! But then my mind started going to remembering the night before. I was super anxious for some reason. A lot had happened the day prior that left my mind racing and my nerves a bit frayed. But, before I turned on the house alarm and got into bed, I made sure to kiss my Mom on the cheek and say goodnight.

 It dawned on me, for the first time that morning, I had naturally fallen into the same pattern I had seen between my Mom and Dad my entire life. At the end of the day, whether it was a “good” day or a “bad” day, my Dad would make sure to kiss my Mom goodnight. I knew that was one of the many things my Mom missed in his sudden passing. I couldn’t remember whether I said goodnight to him the last night he was living. I had gotten home really late from work that night, and he was in his office on his computer. I was so exhausted, I’m not even sure if I stopped to say hello.

 I realized that the combination of remembering him in that nightly ritual with my mom, and the regret I had from the last night I saw him, I had taken on the habit. Every night since his passing, I make sure I say good night to my mom and give her a kiss on the cheek because tomorrow isn’t promised. So why this whisper on July 20, 2019? Always kiss me goodnight? I knew it was a God whisper, so I took some time to meditate on it. I started asking myself whether I was as thankful at night with my heavenly Father as I am with him in the morning. Do I “kiss” Him on the cheek before I go to sleep? Do I thank Him for the day, whether it was a day filled with old hurts or new beginnings? Or do I climb into bed, tired, hurt and let down, just wanting to get to another morning that if He allowed me to wake up again, I’d give it another try?

 I did what I always do when I get a word like this…I google all the things. I found myself at an article written for by Nadine Epstein. The article broke down the religious history of “X” and “O” which explained the religious background to why we sign letters with an XO. The article said:

 “Once it was a sacred symbol, the “x” represented “faith and fidelity,” says Marcel Danesi, a professor of linguistic anthropology and semiotics at the University of Toronto. It became the signature of choice in the Middle Ages, when few could write and documents were sealed with an x embossed in wax or lead. This may be when the “x” first became associated with the kiss: It was customary to close books with a kiss, and oaths of fealty to kings were sealed with a kiss.”

That was it. The King of all kings was asking me to seal my day, the day He had given me, with a kiss. No matter what did or did not happen in that day, would I seal the day with a kiss? However much I did or did not perceive Him working in my life, would I kiss Him goodnight? Even though I know that He promised me that joy came in the morning, my Heavenly Father was asking me to stop for a minute before I went to bed, and seal the day with a kiss.

 It’s not a practice I’ve gotten down perfectly. But on days like today, and nights like tonight, I am grateful again that I have another chance to kiss Him goodnight.

Thursday, November 12, 2020


I literally don’t know where to start. That seems to be the “norm” this year, if there could ever be a norm to 2020. At first, I thought I was receiving the tie up to a writing I had started but never finished. Then I thought I was getting some pretty package of what my words for 2020 really reflected. Then I sat and stared at the screen and read something that took me to a place where I could literally feel the “girl shrugging” emoticon rise up from my toes as the overarching gesture to God I’m feeling right now. 

I simply have no title to what is happening right now. 

I was drawn back to that thing I wrote about quicksand a couple years ago. Once again, an overwhelming feeling of being stuck, only to be reminded not to try to scurry out of it. Sure, there will be people who will tell me I’m stuck because I choose to be. Those people don’t know the eternal struggles I have on a daily. They aren’t with me in the midnight hour when all in me wants to run from this place. Those moments I want to pull my way out of a tough situation that seems to be swallowing me whole. The moment when what seems to be the “perfect solution” is placed in front of me…only to have the honest conversation with myself that I placed it in front of me, not God. What I’ve learned about quicksand, and more importantly, those places…the more I fight to escape, the more I am engulfed by the circumstance. 

What God taught me then, and He is ever so gently reminding me this morning…”Lean back into me. What’s the last thing I told you? When you find yourself stuck in the muck and mire of a circumstance? When you feel in your bones you are going under and this time for good? When you are fighting with all of your might to get out of something that you think I did not intend for you? My daughter, what is the last thing I told you?” 

It’s those moments that I’m not only reminded of the last thing He told me, but that also heard Him right. Just like the article said about quicksand, “Lay back and create a bigger footprint by allowing yourself to float. Yes, do the exact thing that sounds absolutely crazy. Lay yourself back and allow your body to float above the very thing trying to suck you in.” 

Fighting back in something He’s told me to release has always ended up with me even deeper into a circumstance I was not supposed to be in. A place I was not supposed to walk into. I was reminded of the last time I said yes to something that seemed like the perfect solution to me. One week in, and I had to make the painful realization that I had taken things into my own hands and walked into a place He had not prepared for me. It was hard to admit, but had I not made the hard decision to say, “This isn’t right, I need to leave,” I would have missed the last 4 years of the people I have met, the experiences I have had, the healing I have experienced, and the full understanding of how much my Father in heaven loves me. Even in circumstances that try to make me feel like I’m unseen and not valued, I have come to a place where I recognize I am fully known, seen and loved by God…and that is enough. 

Today’s Forecast: A story with no title. 
Silver Lining: God’s a better writer than me.