17 Jul 2014

When the storms come, keep writing

Sometimes we sit in the dark and wonder if what we write matters.

Of if how we parent matters. This life of writing a legacy with our kids.

So today I wanted to remember a post I pecked out on my cell phone one night in the middle of a hurricane warning two years ago. Because storms will always rage, airplanes will crash and the kids we love will run into tornadoes and some days we won’t be able to stop them.

Write on, regardless.

Press on.

Even if all you’ve got is five minutes.

I sit in the dark as Sandy rages outside and our family sleeps in one room tonight. I sit in the old white rocker listening to Zoe breathe and the winds howl and I know why we need your words. Even in a storm.


Especially in a storm.

Because if no one wrote it down how would we know about small boats and fishermen who lose control and their nets and their minds with fear even when they sail with Saviors.



How would we know about Saviors who teach us how to sleep on unafraid in this dark, cold house?

How would we know about faith small as a mustard seed or the size of an acorn a rattling around our deck porch.

How would we know about Kingdoms that come quietly with Truth that walks beside us in dirty feet and sandals.

How would we know about lions and dark caves and men who just kept right on praying. How would we know about small girls who stood up when he called them by name. How would we know about fellowship and courage and the acts of believing in the face of the Impossible.

How would we know that when the clouds bear down and the rains crack heaven right open and the waters wash into the metro systems that morning still comes?

How will we know if the people who’ve lived it don’t leave a testimony.



Tonight Jackson tells me we need to build an altar.

I’m stacking 24 packs of bottled water and my first born turns away from the storm tracker to tell me it is time for an altar.

I’m not sure what to say. My head is racing with the meat I want to cook, the laundry I still need to dry, the phone calls I should make. I look at him, those glasses so solemnly staring. And I agree. Yes an altar of remembrance for the God who can do great things seems a good idea.

They eat their tacos and I turn to the story of a flood that could shame even this one. We read it again. The man, the family, the calling to build a boat bigger than their history would have even been able to make sense of. The days of darkness and fear and frustration. Why hadn’t I paid that part attention before.

The squabbling kids and tired, confined animals. The much longer than 40 days of waiting. We read this story not just because someone lived it. But because someone faithfully wrote it down.

They’re getting restless and there are still lists to be made and I turn the last page and there it is. God’s own writing in the heavens. Plastered from side to side the oath that He won’t let it happen again. The ultimate flood.

Trials may buffet and waters may rise. Roads may wash away and trees ache low over this house of ours. But I believe because someone else wrote it down and left a road map. I believe because of the altars left by the storytellers who came before me and these two boys who won’t sleep in their bunks tonight.

So I type my testimony in the dark while the house sleeps and my glasses are reflected in this small phone’s screen. I type and I tell because how can I not?

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

From a small, white rental house in Northern Virginia where we are so grateful to have baked all the cookie dough, this is my testimony.

And so I write it down.

As good men and women have always done before me.


Today’s writing prompt is BLOOM.

Click here to find out how to link up your writing or simply leave it as a comment below.



She picks flower petals. In the vast green of a Michigan farm she picks petals. And my heart.

I hear her lisping, “wuv me, wuv me” — she hasn’t gotten the whole, “not” part yet. I want to magic a cocoon around her heart so that she never gets to that part.

Love you, love you, love you Zoe-girl.

It’s ridiculous this level of infatuation. As if every time I look at her God has only just then invented the word, “Daughter.” Weaving together strands of delight and my own blue eyes and her brother’s goofiness and her father’s gentleness and a wild passion for fearlessly leaping off wild edges of tomorrow that is all her own.

She picks at all the tender places in my heart and I lean in and listen and all I hear are echoes of delight. A melody that rings around the cavern of my inside and memory and it’s all this beautiful harmony and all because a three-year-old leans back from the bench where she’s eating with all the cousins and yells out for God, me and everyone else to hear, “I wuv you, mama!”

And it’s good. So good.

This being her mother and rediscovering my own mother and making peace with all her mistakes.

Because of course I couldn’t see what she could see – this love that colors in all the blind spots. This love that can’t be plucked off petal by petal. This love that gets it right even when it gets it wrong because by my word this love won’t quit.

This never-giving-up, always-chasing love.

This love that sweats a Michigan afternoon away among the daisies.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I can’t explain it… how I love little Zoe-girl too…. how your writing stirs up the ‘good ol days’ for me and my girlie and oh my goodness those eyes and that smile and all that love in such a tiny growing bundle! Lord – let her always know she is picked and she is always ‘wuv me’d too! I can assure you – even through the hard parts and the breaking and putting hearts back together… it just keeps getting better, my friend!

  2. 2

    Such a poetic, heartfelt post. Each syllable beating of mommy love for a girls who’s very name means “life”. I hope, also, that she never learns the “love me not” part. Thanks, Lisa-Jo, for sharing your amazing gift here. Your writing is like music….

  3. 3

    I hope I’m doing this right. Here is my first FMP attempt:
    All she wanted for as long as she could remember was to be pretty.
    “You’ll grow into it,” her mother would say.
    Oh . . . how many times she had read the story of the ugly duckling and wished it to be true, to be so, for her.
    And then, one day, it was.
    It wasn’t overnight like Cinderella. But . . .
    Then the clock struck twelve, and she was once again plain . . . in a used-to-be-pretty-but-too-tired-to-feel-very-sorry-for-herself kind of way.
    And she found herself wondering . . . in the land of big girl panties and starter wrinkles:
    what next?

    • 4

      What next? Oh, this big girl here asks herself that almost daily!

      What a wonderful post! So glad to have you join this absolutely happy encouraging beautiful community! Welcome!

  4. 5

    Ok – also, I couldn’t figure out who to encourage, so I will encourage you Lisa-Jo. I love how you give your gifts and don’t just hold on to them or use them for your own gain. I think that is really beautiful and inspirational. And this FMF thing is pretty cool too. :)

  5. 6

    “So I type my testimony in the dark while the house sleeps and my glasses are reflected in this small phone’s screen. I type and I tell because how can I not?”

    Thank you for this. This reminder that writing is for my soul to release. It is for my story to be told. It is to be used to encourage. To breather life. To whisper hope. And to remind myself of His faithfulness. Again and again.

    And the “wuv me, wuv me” part? Oh, My. Word. That is what makes me want to go back to the twirls! LOVE!

  6. 7

    Beautiful post, Lisa-Jo! As I read it this morning, I realized just how much I appreciated the God moved on men to put pen to paper & record His thoughts toward me. On days like yesterday, when there is so much happening in the world, it is His Word which brings hope to my soul and peace to my mind. And I love FMF as we come to each other & bring encouragement to keep on! Blessings!

  7. 8

    Thank you for the encouragement to both write and to bloom–both activities are feeling a little hard right now!

  8. 9

    Beautiful. I think I love the pictures almost as much as the words.

  9. 10

    Lisa Jo, Ann, Glennon,

    You all have saved my life.

    Beautiful women who look like they have it all together: books, television shows, thousands of readers. But yet you open up your hearts and are honest and tell the rest of us how much it hurts sometimes, this thing called life.

  10. 11

    What a lovely story about writing during the storms, Lisa-Jo! I’m so glad you pecked it out on your phone. How wonderful to think that someone’s faith might be enlarged by reading your words set down during a hurricane, just as your faith was helped by a disciple writing down the story of the boat in the storm.

    On a lighter note: I misread “Kingdoms” in this sentence (“How would we know about Kingdoms that come quietly with Truth that walks beside us in dirty feet and sandals.”) and mistakenly put in “Klingons” instead. What an image that is: Klingons in sandals quietly bringing the truth!

  11. 12

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  12. 13

    Thank you for encouraging others to write.

    I am trying to start up again. I had a pretty consistent following on my blog a couple of years ago and then I got pregnant with my second coupled with extreme fatigue, nausea and trying to keep up my part time job I just did not have the ability to write. But I’m trying and I’m facing so many nay-sayers who “correct” what I say or tell me that “everyone” is writing so why should I start. Those words just cling to me like the spider’s web I walked through up at our family cabin and I can’t shake them.

    But you always encourage others to write and I so appreciate that about you, about Five Minute Friday. I still struggle with time, but I’m moving forward and trying again. Thanks.

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