Don’t Come Crying to Me

There was a lot of blood.

I fought back the tears as my brother helped me hobble inside. I knew I shouldn’t be playing on the folding chair that way, but I am not one to so quickly turn away from fun. And a little childlike rebellion.

“Kids, stop playing on those and when you get hurt, don’t come crying to me,” my dad hollered to us.


It’s funny how I didn’t care enough about obedience to stop playing, but decided to mind my father at the words, “Don’t come crying to me.”

Waiting for my mom to come home, I hid in the bathroom for what seemed like hours, balled up on the cool tile floor— pink tile like any good home built in the 50s. Chris helped me clean up the wound as best as two young kids could and we waited.

I couldn’t let him find me. I didn’t want my dad to know I hurt myself doing the very thing he warned me not to do.

When Mom finally came home, I lost all composure and collapsed into her arms. Between sniffles, I explained to her why I had an absurd amount of toilet paper and band-aids stuck to my right knee.

“Why didn’t you tell your dad you were bleeding?”

“He said not to.”

“He said what?!”

“He told us not to come crying to him when we got hurt. So I didn’t.”

I still have a giant scar on my knee from that backyard incident and this story is still at the top of the list of my family’s favorites about me.

But this scar reminds me of something all-too-familiar in my life today: I am caught in a battle between performance and grace.

I want to do the right thing. I do for a while. I inevitably fail. I am my toughest critic, lending little to no grace for myself.

A life motivated by performance is a life lived in fear. Fear of messing up, failing, disappointing. This is how I’ve lived most of my life whether I’d like to admit it or not.

A life motivated by performance is an effort to earn salvation, which is impossible, yet sometimes the thought of accepting all the grace that God has seems just as unlikely for me.

It’s a simple analogy, but a message I’ve long overlooked. I cut my knee. Because of my disobedience I hid from my father, the only one who could help me.

That day my dad didn’t scold me for my defiance, he held me close and made me promise never to hide my wounds from him again.

And I’m certain my heavenly father is doing the exact same.

We Will Never Have Tonight Again

It was one of those nights.

Nothing entirely epic or noteworthy took place, rather a string of beautiful, intimate moments like white lights twinkling on a dark strand. Moments that remind me to breathe in, live life fully and thank God for giving me such a precious gift.

Honestly, I wanted the night to be over before it ever started.

Like Cameron Diaz in the movie The Holiday I tried bawling my eyes out in the car on the drive home from work.

No tears. Not one.

I felt such a heaviness and restless spirit in me, but couldn’t conjure up a single tear. This was not looking good.

When I arrived at my apartment, I was greeted by some friends who stopped by to say goodbye before heading out to Cincinnati for the weekend.

I knew why they’d come.

They came to say goodbye to us for a weekend, but to my roommate it was goodbye for a while.

After all the events of that night, I found myself curled up on my roommate’s bed talking life.

I’ve spent many a moment in her bed or on our couch, at the kitchen table, swinging in the hammock, or sitting at the apartment upstairs talking life.

Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, and on the best nights we do both.

We talk about what God is doing, how he’s actively moving in our midst. We remember the past fondly and look expectantly toward the future. When bitterness or discouragement arises, we combat it with words of life. Sometimes we have to do some yelling and standing on things first, but life still comes.

These nights have taken me to deep, intimate, and raw places. It’s not always pretty in the moment, but in the end I’m convinced it’s beautiful. These nights have helped shape who I am and how I view life. These nights have changed me.

And then it hit me.

We will never have tonight again.

This night was bittersweet. Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but it helps when you believe in the reason why. Saying goodbye is difficult because two things, woven together by God, are now being separated.

Saying goodbye is something I’ve done a lot lately.

But I stand behind the goodbyes. Because greater things are ahead.

So we will never have tonight again because things are changing, people are moving, lives are growing. Sons and daughters are stepping out into their calling.

But I can only believe that even better days are ahead.

All we had was all we needed then, we will never have tonight again.

-Sandra McCracken, We Will Never Have Tonight Again

How Nail Polish Taught Me to Process

I am at a coffee shop. You know, the artsy, it’s hip-to-be-grunge type hang out.

I go to the ladies room.

Burglar bars. Burglar bars over the window.

What kind of neighborhood is this?

Deteriorated and rusted, I couldn’t tell if these bars were there for safety purposes or some kind of antique flair—or both. Either way, the sighting of these bars didn’t make me feel any safer. But then again, I’ve been in worse conditions in my life, involving much lower safety and restroom ratings.

This would not keep me from later enjoying my dirty almond chai.

I look up at the bars again.

The most recent layer of paint, which has to be about a decade old, was peeling enough to reveal the coat underneath.

This sight took me back to my adolescent years when I was too lazy to deal with the upkeep of my nail polish. Truthfully, I have very little patience when it comes to painting my nails, but love the way it looks too much not to do it. What a conundrum.

When I was younger, instead of removing the old, cracked polish before painting on a fresh new color, I simply painted right over any remaining polish. Eventually, this polish chipped revealing two or three different colors on my preteen fingers. Real cute.

Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

Clearly I was too busy waiting for the dial-up to connect so I could chat with my friends on AIM to ever take care of my nails.

Or maybe I was caring for my Tamagotchi pet.

It’s funny how we grow older and trick ourselves into believing that we handle our adult problems with adult solutions. Truth is, I take care of most of my issues now the same way I took care of my nail polish at 11 years old, only less glitter is involved.

Rather than deal with it, get out the nail polish remover and cotton balls, I just paint right over it with a new color.

Since returning home from the World Race, I have learned the importance of dealing with my stuff and how long I’ve just painted over it rather than process through it.

Processing takes time, discipline, intention.

I don’t wake up in the morning with a flashing light bulb over my head saying, “Eureka! That’s why I feel this way, what a deep-rooted wound!” or “Aha! That prophetic word makes perfect sense to me, I know exactly what to do now.”

Not so much.

The things worth knowing, understanding, and believing— those are the things worth digging around for, worth the time it takes to process. Worth the time it takes to get out the acetone and cotton balls and do some cleaning up before painting on that fresh, new color.