When You Forget Who You Are

The rhythmic lap of water on sandy shore outside my window calls to me. I close my blurry eyes, hear the sqauwk of duck flying overhead and pretend I lay in bed drenched in early morning glow peeking shy underneath the window shade swinging back and forth in the breeze.

My mind travels there when life feels uncertain and answers hide. It’s a mental escape to the family cottage on a lake of glass, where generations of laughter wallpapers rooms and musty reminds me of joy.

It’s been weeks of sitting in medicinal waiting rooms next to my son like a boat adrift on glassy water reflecting incandescent sunrise.  We’re waiting to knock into shore, awaken with answers.

Sometimes life forces a rest, an interruption from busyness, in order to resurrect perspective, remember who we are.  Because who we are, it isn’t what we do.

I sit on white vinyl bench beside the potted tree in the pharmacy of locals, chat with the woman who asks me if I am cold, as she wraps sweater around her shoulders and compliments my hat, the one I bought for my trip to England.

The pharmacist and I, we talk about how my grandfather used to fill prescriptions behind a high counter like his; right after the man they know by name says he celebrates fifty-four years of marriage and it’s been a good ride.

Oddly, these minute conversations remind me of who I am like wiping off a mirror in a steamy bathroom to see myself.

While we wait for answers to why my son breathes shallow and arms dangle limp, I collect words from others like postcards to remember truth, in books, on blogs, on my own sites.

But in the collecting, my mind muddles in the eloquence of others and the numbers in the box labeled Feedburner. I compare my refrigerator of leftovers and lactose free milk with their rich desserts and party trays.

Shame waves her bony finger index finger of accusation over the list of things I must do. While rest, it whispers truth loud.

That Jesus doesn’t love me less if my stomach is flabby, or my hair turns gray. His love isn’t dependent on the amount of friends, followers, views and comments I get, or don’t.  He doesn’t love me more if my house is tidy and I make banana bread for my kids. He doesn’t love me more if I volunteer at the school and church; love me less if I don’t. His love is steady and sure even when that of my own parents is not.

I trade those post cards to walk with Jesus. My arm looped through his, under a canopy of trees on a clear day, and beside the vast expanse of seawater, where the breeze whispers peace.

I know His voice because I walked with him when my fingers wrapped around his thumb and my doll drug the floor in the other hand. We walked arm and arm through the prayers gardens of college by day, sat cross-legged on a grassy hill above city lights at night.

And like the Ethiopian eunuch intersecting with Philip on the dusty road of busyness, Jesus shows up at just the right time to remind me of who I am in the slowing down of forced stillness. Baptizes me in the truth and puts me back on the road pointing toward home. (Acts 8:26-40)

Have you lost your way in busyness? It’s time to stop and remember who you are.

It’s time to count the Multitudes on Monday, this way in which we give thank and see differently. I give thanks for:

  •  a husband who tells me the truth, continually
  • the lavender roses he brought home from work
  • a shopping trip in preparation to celebrate our 22nd anniversary in Europe this week
  • a mother in law, the nurse, who makes her way here on Tuesday, to spend May with us
  • dinner with girlfriends at a new restaurant where the food made us say yum over and over again
  •  my son who makes me laugh every day, even when he is not feeling the best
  • for the prayers of friends and family all over the world for him as we wait to understand what makes him feel so tired.
  • the way we all thought about Winston around the dinner table last night, how much we still miss him.

Linking with Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Playdates with God, Miscellany Monday, Just Write, On Your Heart Tuesday, Soli Deo Gloria.

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77 Responses to When You Forget Who You Are

  1. Julie says:

    This was so very moving and words to soothe my soul. Glad to find your blog.

  2. Elaine says:

    You write so beautifully and straight from you heart. The comparison to the conversations helping you find yourself like the steamy mirror is amazing. My favorite part of this eloquent and enlightening post. :)

  3. what joy it brings me to read your heart on the screen…
    Praying for your son here, friend. Enjoy your time away!

    • Thanks so much Nikki. He is still battling something in his body. I had to pick him up early from school today and he slept for awhile this afternoon. Appreciate your prayers for him, and for this mama’s anxiety about leaving him tomorrow.

  4. Denise says:

    You are such an inspiration.

  5. ljbmom says:

    loving you from here. feeling those days when i need to remember. i’m so grateful you are YOU. you tell a story that splashes grace over this tired world. such gift.

  6. kd sullivan says:

    Your courage and hope through difficulties (en)courages me. You are an example of who we should all be when facing giants…I’ll miss you while you are on your break…

  7. Joan says:

    Shelly – I needed to hear this today…just to be reminded of who I am in (and because of) Jesus.

    Beautiful post!


  8. Deborah says:

    I echo what’s already been said – such a lovely, heartfelt post. Wish I could memorise it and carry it about with me as a reminder. His love is steady and sure indeed.
    Have a safe trip over here in the UK – we’ve had the wettest April in 100 years, but hoping and praying for a spot of sunshine now it’s May.
    Looking forward to seeing the UK through your eyes when you post again :)

    • Oh my Deborah, just read your comment out loud to the hubs. We are packing warm clothes, even though we are in shorts here. It’s gonna be a shocker but we are so up for it. Can’t wait to get to your side of the world with my camera!

  9. christine says:

    Stopping by from Just Write and my, what beautiful writing it is. Such beautiful words so thoughtfully put together. It’s magical.

  10. Poetry, poetry, poetry. You write pure poetry.

  11. Nics Cahill says:

    Your blog is beautiful. Upon opening I felt a serenity, that is so often asmiss in the internet. I visited South Carolina last year, and long to return again. What a beautiful blog, what wonderful photographs. Thank you.

  12. Sarah Koci Scheilz says:

    Shelly, so eloquently put. Cherishing your faith in all of this.

  13. Theresa says:

    This is stunning. Beautiful words, once again. Praying for your son!

  14. stephprecourt says:

    Oh, so true. I’m down again, my second head cold in two weeks- so strange for me but I know it’s more than my body telling me to take it easy already.


  15. Dea says:

    Hey my friend, love the themes of grace interwoven in the beauty of words that speak the truth about our Love. So thankful for your upcoming trip. I never ever dreamed I would see past these hills where I live. It is a thrilling gift each time God has allowed me to go see his world—and especially the people of the world He made, those created in his image. I am happy for you. Twenty-two years is calling out for celebration!

    Prayers going up for your son. I wish I could send my favorite doctor/husband over to see him. I think he’s pretty special and with 20 plus years of seeing “stuff” in kids, he’s figured out a lot of mystery sickness. I pray for wisdom for the docs and healing from the Physician.

    • So glad you can hear the grace Dea, since its what I am focused on during Eastertide. And we are so excited about this trip. The first like this one for 12 years so we are long overdue.
      Thanks for the prayers for Harrison, wish your husband were here. They cannot figure out what is wrong and he is yet to make it through a full day of school this week. I picked him up at aroun 11am and he slept this afternoon. So thankful my mother in law is a nurse otherwise I wouldn’t feel good about leaving him.

      • Dea says:

        I will keep Harrison and your mother in law on my prayer list. God knows and we need to ask him to reveal what this is if it needs medical attention. Don’t go chasing things in your mind while your gone. Of course, I understand your concern—I am a Momma.

      • Love you and thanks so much Dea. You bless me so.

  16. shellyfaust says:

    Beautiful words to my soul this evening…and a gentle reminder of love unending. So glad this trail of blogs I walked today lead me to yours.

  17. Susan DiMickele says:

    Wow, what a lovely community you have here. Thanks for including me. I needed to hear this today.
    Because who we are, it isn’t what we do.

  18. joepote01 says:

    I love this post, Shelly!

    So sorry to read about your son’s illness, but so encouraged by the reminder of the need to remember who I am, in Christ.

    Praying for you and your family!

  19. Court says:

    So rich this rest of love you spoke of here and to see it played out in a hard thing in life. Praying for your son and for swift answers for you all.

  20. Does it get old that I say the same thing every time I come by here, Shelly? This is beautiful, eloquent, graceful, true – I sound like a broken record every time. But it’s true – your writing takes my breath away. And it’s especially resonating with me today as I am home sick, not able to do much, frustrated by deadlines and to-do lists. Thanks for givng me some much-needed perspective.

    And I really do hope and pray that your boy is feeling better soon.

    • Well, I don’t know about you Michelle, but I need to hear it frequently. Because every single time I press publish I doubt myself. So thanks for saying it again, I needed to know it today too. So sorry you are sick, praying you feel better soon. The to-do lists will get done, they always do and usually we don’t even remember what was on them a week later. And Harrison is feeling better, thanks for your prayers.

  21. This is really beautiful, even as you’re struggling with your son’s illness (praying here, by the way!) you wrote it with such tenderness and beauty in the struggle… Thank you, my friend.

  22. HopeUnbroken says:

    so very beautiful. i find a real balm in your words when i read here. thank you for that.
    “i trade those postcards to walk with Jesus.” i just love that mental image. trading the lies to just walk and rest in His presence. basking in His sweet love. the tender embrace. knowing He loves me unlike anyone else ever can.
    it is sweetness. absolute, precious, sweetness. life with our Savior. He is good, isn’t He?
    have a wonderful trip.

  23. tereasamansfield says:

    Here you are, right before me in Multitudes on Mondays, bringing a smile my day once again. I always look forward to your words speaking truth into my heart. I especially love it when another blogger writes exactly what I’ve been thinking. It’s another whisper from our Friend. “See? I love you. I’m here for you. Yes, YOU!” Thank you, friend.

    • And I look forward to your words in the comment box. Like sitting at the kitchen table over a cup of tea. So thankful for you. And glad He is speaking love to you in the words here. That is the best gift of my day.

  24. Christina says:

    I absolutely loved this. Who we are is not what we do. I need to remember who I am in His eyes, not the worlds. Beautiful pictures too!

  25. Beth says:

    Even reading your post helped me to relax. You have a way with words, Shelly, and the truth resonates throughout your post. I don’t know what you’re facing with your son, but I will certainly lift him up in my prayers. That alone–having a sick child–would trigger me to run around, trying to stay busy so I could avoid the quietness. But you are chosing to rest in God’s perfect peace. Thanks for this great post!

    • Beth, my humble thanks for your kind words about my writing. It truly is all grace, oh my. And thanks for praying. He has actually turned a corner tonight. So grateful for the blogging community lifting him up today.

  26. no – nothing you can do to make Him love you any more or any less than He already does! Beautiful pictures – my grandfather filled prescriptions behind the counter at the corner drug store too – the town has now grown up all around it and we live far away. Praying for your son right now!

    • Those pictures are from our family cottage in Canada. Love it there. And how cool that your grandfather was a pharmacist too! Thanks for the prayers for Harrison. He has felt them and things are turning around for him tonight. So thankful.

  27. Shelly, we’re on a parallel path! I appreciate the reminder – again! – to not get caught up in numbers, followers, etc – AND – to not compare myself to others (a struggle when you evaluate home schoolers at the end of the year!!). That’s not what’s important. Keeping my eyes on Jesus and what He thinks is what’s important. I was blessed today with your post. Blessings to you!

  28. Alicia says:

    Oh, how I am praying for your sweet son.. and for you.. and loving the way you’re allowing this detour to teach you, shape you, remind you of who you are. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  29. Fran Rashbrook says:

    I just love your blogs, Shelly, your insights and honesty touch my heart. Have a wonderful trip to the UK and we’re so sorry we aren’t here to welcome you. I look forward to hearing how it all goes …

    • Oh Fran, I am so excited that you commented! Just knowing you are reading makes me smile. So wish we could have seen your lovely face and hugged everyone. Maybe next time. Hope your trip to France is restfully divine.

  30. kelly says:

    just loving you and missing you, Shelly! and DO take time off from normal responsibilities while in Britain!

    • So missing you too Kelly. Thanks for all the info on Edinburgh, we are so excited. I am taking a blogging break but hope to share some photos and a post if I have time, without pressure. Its good to break away from routine and get perspective. Maybe we can have a phone call afterward! Love you loads.

  31. Pamela says:

    Busyness. It’s invaded my home! I’m working toward a more peaceful week. More time with God, more time just being, more time enjoying the three days I have with my Emily before she leaves for Haiti. Your writing always makes me wish for more.

    I join my prayers in praying for you son. Have a wonderful trip being alone with the one you love.

    • Pamela, praying you find some of that time to be with your Father and hear His loving words over you amidst the busyness. Sometimes its just in the shower for me! Thanks for your prayers for Harrison and look forward to sharing a slice of my time away with everyone here.

  32. r.elliott says:

    First…I too am glad that Jesus doesn’t love us less when we are flabby and gray:) Oh yes we do get lost sometimes…wandering and losing sight of Him. So glad you found a sweet time to just walk with Him.
    Sorry to hear about your son not feeling well…prayers lifted right now for you all….

    • Me too Ro! :)
      Glad to be back to myself after a few hard days of feeling like someone else. I know we all have those seasons and they usually give me clarity and perspecitve in a way I didn’t have before. So really, they are a gift, even though they don’t feel that way at the time.
      Thanks for your prayers. I know he will be fine, in my mothers knower.

  33. wolfsrosebud says:

    Shelly, such a gentle pen you write with filled with pain, hope, and love. What a beautiful place you’ve taken us to today. Thanks for honestly sharing… that grey hair a crown of glory!

  34. And here I thought, “Man! If I could write like Shelly, I’d never have to worry about stats!” You’re just that good. But we do have an enemy who likes to mess with us and cast doubt, true? I love that you can so easily escape to the salt air for a walk with Jesus. And, those minute waiting room conversations really do unearth some gold.

    Have an amazing, amazing trip, Shelly.

    • Well perception isn’t the same as reality . . . for most things in life I am afraid. (I think I’m writing about that later this week.) Your stats are probably better than mine. But as my husband says, the stats don’t really tell the truth about the big picture. And the big picture, His big picture, is where I am trying to live, not in the minutia of today. It’s a struggle some days. And I can’t wait to get to Europe with my man. Hope to share some pictures and thoughts along the way but planning a blogging break for the most part.

  35. Sherri says:

    You’re so good at imagery. Prose like poetry. Great message today. I’m praying for Harrison.

    • Thanks Sherri. I see things before I write them and I often think about the “show, don’t tell” principle in writing during the process. It’s how the parables are written, they don’t exactly tell how to live, they show us. Appreciate your prayers for my little man.

  36. Amy says:

    “Shame waves her bony finger index finger of accusation over the list of things I must do. While rest, it whispers truth loud.” She points at me too! This is a beautifully written sentence.

  37. caallyn says:

    Hey Shelly,
    Just sitting here in Ontario right now doing nothing and it feels pretty good not to be busy. This past week as I scurried around preparing for the possibility of a longer stay in Ethiopia, the words from a friend in our study group came back to me. As I talked about getting things ready and first appearances, he spoke through gentle eyes and told me not to worry about those things and simply enjoy this moment.
    His words centered me and helped me to realize what was really important. We are here for two short days before we begin the next leg of a journey that has/ will change our lives. Thanks for ÿour thoughts. Thinking of you while you are away in England.

    • There is something I love about having to wait in airports and on planes because I can’t be busy with anything else. Just me and my reading material. Praying you feel his peace as you make your way to Africa. Thinking of you too. Can’t wait to hear about your trip in a couple of weeks. Keep me posted.

  38. pastordt says:

    Oh, Shelly, this is so poignant, so rich with the push/pull of this life we lead. I am sorry for your boy’s struggles and for the extra layers of concern and scheduling and questions those struggles bring into your daily life. Praying blessings on your time away – and answers to the concerns and questions. I’ve been there with the doctor visits up the wazoo and the attempts to figure things out. Sometimes, we don’t get answers – but I am praying that you do. And that they will be clear and unequivocal and that treatment will be easy and helpful. Enjoy your anniversary trip!

    • My husband went through something similar to what my son is experiencing, they even hospitalized him to run a myriad of tests with the final diagnosis of “recurring strep infections”. I am wondering if we might be in the same boat a few years later. Thanks for your encouragement Diana, and for caring. We can’t wait to get to Europe and I hope to share some of our time with readers, although I plan to take a blogging break.

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