Good morning from a hotel room in Arkansas!

I’m supposed to be up and showering and packing so I can be on time for meetings this morning and instead I’m here with my computer balanced on a pillow on my lap writing to you. Because sometimes you wake up and all you can think about is getting a pen or a keyboard in your hand to scribble down the thing that’s burning in your chest.

I love to write. Writing is like finger painting for me. But sometimes writing becomes drudgery and work and it can sap the joy out of the art. But yesterday I sat across the lunch table from women who reminded me of the joy that lives in the work of writing.

Maybe you also struggle to find the joy at the end of long weeks?

We had a platter of fried green beans and mushrooms between us as we talked about the world we live in these days that seems angrier and more afraid than I can remember. Where we use our words to accuse and measure and judge and people who were once our friends or our family fall short. And because they’ve cut us we cut them out.

The sun is rising in my hotel room and we had fried green beans for lunch yesterday and just because you write down the sharp edges of what’s happening in our friendships doesn’t fix it. I blog stories and sometimes I wonder if it matters because stories aren’t policies or conventions or rallies or meetings. But maybe they are a way to woo women back to remembering how loved they are. In my experience fear shouts where love listens. 

It’s the remembering that we’re loved that can sometimes be difficult.

So that brings me back to my laptop here in this glorious hotel room where for 2 days I didn’t pick up anyone’s dirty laundry or was the dishes. In between meetings and deadlines here I remembered my tiny daughter last weekend and the moment she flung convention off and danced in front of 5,000 people because she is so convinced of her own worth and state of being beloved.

So I’m scribbling down these sentences as fast as I can to send them off to you — to slip under your door, into your laptop, across your phone over lunch with this story. Because stories are the bridges that connect us and help us walk into each other’s lives.

Zoe has wanted to go on a work trip with me for months now. And when we got invited to go hear Beth Moore teach in Norther Virginia it was the perfect opportunity to tell me tiny girl that she should pack her own suitcase because I was taking her “on a business trip” with me. A trip that meant we stayed close to home, could spend the night with dear friends, and fill up her love tank with the dedicated hours of my undivided attention.

She was hooked. 

She was packing weeks before the trip.

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And when we finally rolled into Northern Virginia she launched herself out of the mini van and rolled her suitcase right up to the front door of Connie’s house while I was still fumbling for coats, pounded on the door and announced her arrival. Girlfriend was 100% in and 100% convinced she was as grown up as the rest of the “girls” as she called me and 4 of my best friends all weekend.

We went out to a darling little restaurant for Thai food, she sat and ate and chatted and was out of her skin excited to finally leave for the arena and the big event. It was freezing out and she held our hands and kept yelling — “C’mon girls, we can DO it!” And we howled with laughter and delighted and sprinted across the cold parking lot to find our tickets at will call and our seats on the arena floor.

And Friday night and Saturday morning my girl sat in the second row as grown up as could be with her pencils and papers and drawings and when she wasn’t making art she was napping on my lap. And between sessions Friday night she pushed her face close up to mine until our noses were smushed together and said, “Mama isn’t this SO great! It’s just you and me and no one’s interrupting us. ESPECIALLY NOT Micah!” I laughed so hard and wrapped my arms around her tiny torso and we were back at it Saturday morning both with arms raised high in worship.

But her one disappointment was that she couldn’t give “Miss Beth” a hug. And she didn’t understand how the pretty and funny “Miss Beth” wasn’t going to be meeting us for lunch afterwards. And I tried to explain it to her. How Miss Beth was teaching and in a massive room this big she couldn’t possibly hug everyone. And still Zoe shrugged disappointed and there is no telling a six year old she isn’t the most important person in the room.

So I held her in my arms and sang the worship songs over her and prayed they soaked into her soul and the years to come. That the Holy Spirit would knit his DNA with her’s and wrap His favor and protection around her. Like Hannah I held my small miracle close and worshipped the God who had given me this gift all wrapped up in blonde hair and the biggest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.

And as the morning came to a close the worship band kicked into high gear channeling old school Gospel and the place went wild There was clapping and stomping of feet and my daughter — well, she loves her some dancing. Out of my arms she climbed and out into the aisle next to us directly in front of the stage. She danced with abandon. With conviction. With the freedom of a six year old who loves music and can kick her boots with the best of them.

And on the stage Miss Beth leaned over from the stool where she sat and I saw her spy my baby. And then she got up and moved over to the edge of the stage where Zoe was and what do you know but Miss Beth joined her in the dance! And the two of them were laughing and dancing and praising and it was too much for this mama’s heart. Miss Beth blew Zoe kisses and Zoe’s eyes grew two sizes and the music caught us all up in the beauty of being seen and celebrated. 

And when it was all over and the music trickled out of the place along with the performers I took my tiny human in my arms and said, “See! Did you see! Miss Beth danced with you!”

And my daughter said, “Yes! Of course she did!”

Just like that. The conviction of being loved and seen. Of knowing you are worthy of being loved and seen.

So from a hotel room in Arkansas I wanted to write a note to the six year old girl in each of you and ask you — do you know that you are loved and seen?

That our divine Father painted the sunrise over you in love this morning while having been up all night singing over you. 

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

Singing. Not rebuking.

Here’s to dancing. Here’s to knowing and believing in the very marrow of our bones that we are His beloved and He is ours.

OK, that’s all I wanted to dash off to you. Gotta go pack up my suitcase and get ready to fly home to my girl.

Much love, beloved friend.