letting go…

My firstborn recently got married. Having already waved a son and his new bride off to their honeymoon, I didn’t expect this one to be any different.

But it was.

Because this was my DAUGHTER. And, double standard or not, we look at our little girls just a little bit differently than we do our sons. We hold them just a little tighter; we protect them just a little more.

Releasing your baby girl to someone else feels a little like severing off a body part. You aren’t sure how you are going to function without it even though you know that somehow, someway you will.

It’s just going to be different.

Walking into her reception, filled with friends and family, I was slightly discombobulated at the number of people in my daughter’s life that I’d never met. For years it was MY handwriting on the invitations, my notes next to the RSVP lists for birthday parties and graduation announcements. And now, I’m staring at strangers who know and love my daughter like I do.

It was bittersweet.

On one hand, the pure delight on these stranger’s faces as they learned I was her mother made my heart swell up with pride. They adored her. On the other, I was acutely aware that the amputation had taken place long before she said “I do.”

My little girl had grown up.

Of course, I knew it. I’d watched the graduation cap toss. Twice. I’d watched her career skyrocket. I’d seen the accolades; I’d heard the accomplishments.

But until she stood at the altar exchanging vows, she was still mine.

Now she’s his and I must say, I couldn’t have picked a better husband for her. I know God’s Hand was in their union and, as a bonus, she got an incredible set of in-laws.

I also know that our relationship will only grow stronger when she becomes a mother herself.

That softens the blow.

I think I’m always going to long for a machine to go back in time to when my kids were little. When I was the center of their universe and they were my world. But since that’s not going to happen, I need to focus on the future.

And my wish for the future is simple: that my daughter and her new husband have a life rooted in laughter and love, putting God first always.

…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him….Deuteronomy 13:4

Elliot and Callie Varney, May 2019

Advice is so much easier to give than receive….

My daughter called me yesterday and she was feeling a little stressed. She was learning some new programs at work and frustrated because she wanted to reach that mastery level without going through the learning curve.

Halfway through my pep talk (“You learn from your mistakes.” “One day this will be second nature to you.”) I realized that I should’ve been standing in front of the mirror while giving that advice.

I am the absolute worst at wanting the mountaintop experiences without the valleys. I want the victory without the battle. And I want to cross the finish line without having to run the race.

It doesn’t work that way.

The sad thing is, what I’m doing is for the Lord. At least, it’s supposed to be. I don’t think He is going to pleased with the end result if I’m a crab through the whole journey.

So I’m committing to doing better.

It isn’t easy. I’m trying to build both a church and a ministry website. I know nothing of website building, by the way, so I liken this to learning French. I’d finally started to understand a little when summer came (aka completing our new house) and I took a break. Now I’m in French 2, not really remembering French 1, and never knowing a drop of French before I started, save for the numbers 1-10. So I’m basically a toddler in the deep end with floaties.
The floaties being the Help Desk at Word Press. Who I just snapped at after they sent me an article on setting up my WooCommerce settings.

“Do you think I just didn’t bother trying on my own first before BOTHERING you?” was my uncharacteristically caustic reply. Obviously it hadn’t worked and I had actually copy/pasted that article in my query to begin with to show them what I’d already done! But that wasn’t the point. I’m sure if they looked at the website they thought, “Hmmm…devotions? maybe she should read them instead of writing them.”

And they’d be right. It isn’t their fault I don’t understand code. I DO understand Jesus…and His word…and I most certainly wasn’t exhibiting that. Yes, this is stressful. I’ve put off blogging because I was trying to get the websites launched first. But that may take longer than expected and I know how to blog.

Come to think of it, I was pretty clueless about blogging when I started as well. And now, it’s easy. Second nature, you could say, daughter dear. So that’s encouraging. To me and hopefully to you.

In the meantime, I’m starting each day in my front porch rocker, reading the Word of God before I even turn the computer on.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10


Originally published on Tents, Tarps, and Tears  in June 2016  original post 

When someone commits suicide there are usually two distinct groups that emerge in the aftermath:

…the ones that have experienced similar turmoil firsthand and know exactly why someone could take their own life…   and

…the ones who cannot imagine what could be so bad, or how a person could be so selfish, as to take this “easy” way out…

I’m going to share my story in the hopes that BOTH groups will understand suicide a little better and that together we can fight this battle.

Driving home to Louisiana this week to take my mom to have a little minor surgery, I crossed the familiar bridge that goes into Krotz Springs. I’ve probably traveled over that bridge a thousand times in my lifetime, white-knuckling over half of them.

Quite simply, it was all I could do to not drive my car off the side of it.

I could never understand why.

The desire to drive off the bridge would completely overwhelm me and it didn’t matter if I was happy, sad, sober, or high…from the time I could drive, bridges brought about a pounding in my heart so severe I’d literally hold my breath until I reached the other side.

Even after salvation, the feeling was there, albeit not as strong.

It confused me.

By then I was happy, healthy, and serving God.

So why was that still in the back of my mind?

It would finally become clear.

As a child I had nightmares about bridges. I also was molested. I believe that those two events were no mere coincidences in my subsequent battle with suicidal thoughts over bridges; however, even if I was an innocent victim when that door was opened, I later blew it off the hinges.

Sin and manipulation go hand in hand, and as a young teenager, I was well-versed in both.

When caught doing something wrong by my parents, I’d threaten to commit suicide to lessen my punishment.

I wasn’t suicidal at all. Just conniving.

But life and death are in the power of the tongue and you can’t profess something without it taking root.

Soon enough, the suicide battle became real.

Break-ups, failed projects, financial struggles…suicidal thoughts began to enter more freely.

Drug-induced states fueled the fire.

I wrote poetry about suicide.

I fantasized about it.

It was ALWAYS the last resort.

There were a few half-hearted attempts.

Less a cry for attention than a desire to “temporarily” die.

There were two full-out attempts that didn’t succeed only by the grace of God.

Then my life changed.

The drugs were gone.

The depression was gone.

I was serving God.

Yet I still panicked a little going over bridges.

And sometimes, especially after a fight with one of my loved ones, those suicidal thoughts were still so strong.

A decade in the wilderness didn’t do much for my relationship with the Lord.

I was, at best, a lukewarm Christian. One with his hand to the plow.

And the house that had been swept clean was getting filthy again.

Then came complete surrender.

And another house cleaning.

I let go of everything. Guilt, anger, hurt, resentment…

Some of those things I’d let back in.

But some had never left the first time.

I was feeling free indeed.

And then my husband and I had a small spat over something so insignificant that I can’t remember what it was.

I walked outside.

I remember thinking how glad I was that taking a pill hadn’t been my first thought. (For years it was and I hated that. Realizing that was a spiritual battle had been the first step to overcoming it.)

But just then a car came by and the urge to throw myself in front of it was so strong that it literally dropped me to my knees.

In that instant, I understood.

It was a spirit of suicide and it had been with me almost my entire life.

The dreams, the bridges, the thoughts, the attempts…it all made sense.

I immediately spoke to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus, I rebuke the spirit of suicide in my life. You have no place, you have no rights. You have to leave.”

There was no show, no commotion…just a quiet conversation between me and what had sought to destroy me my whole life. What came in through sin done TO me but grew in power by choices I made on my own.

There was no evidence that it left right then.

But I had faith.

So I moved on and didn’t even think about it again.

Until the next time I went over a bridge.

And nothing happened.


It wasn’t until I reached the other side that I realized the gripping fear or even the slightest inkling to veer off was gone.

I realized then that I had lived with a spirit of suicide almost my entire life.

I knew that the bridge nightmares were planted by the devil as well.

And I understood why, even in times of joy, there was always that little nagging thought. Especially when I encountered bridges.

Suicide isn’t something people like to talk about.

Loved ones left behind are angry and confused.

Those contemplating suicide are lost in a myriad of emotions.

They either don’t talk about it or they talk about it so much that no-one wants to hear anymore.

We must recognize suicide for what it is, a tool of the devil to destroy lives. An evil spirit trying to take lost people out of this world before they are saved and to take Christians out so that they cannot spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Satan is no respector of persons either. He will take out ANYONE he can. All he needs is someone to open the door.

And those doors can be opened easily…unforgiveness, guilt, shame, anger…you can be a victim of wrongdoing and still open the doors to sin by harboring anger and hate in your heart.

Desperate situations cause desperate thoughts.

Desperate thoughts leads to desperate actions.

We need to guard our hearts, our thoughts, our minds.

We need to pray for those who are struggling, particularly with depression.

And if you, or someone you know, has suicidal thoughts or tendencies, you need to rebuke the spirit in the name of Jesus.

As always, I can be reached by private or public message in the comments section below. Feel free to send prayer needs or to ask questions.

No-one should suffer in silence.

Because there is always hope.

On that I will claim to be an expert. Because I was sure that my life was completely hopeless and would never, ever be okay again.

Yet, here I am today with a heart so full of joy it literally feels like it could burst open.

Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.

It might still be night for you, but morning is just around the corner.

Throw open the curtains!