Wednesday, September 21, 2016


We were at Disney's Magic Kingdom last week and I had finally convinced Tirzah and Zion to go with me on the 'log ride'.  I remember from our Wish trip 3 years ago that there were some surprises on the ride.

Well we made it on.  Zion was looking awfully nervous.  Tirzah was starting to regret it.

But just before we got on, we had counted in 1-1000's as people would go over the 40 foot plunge. We determined it was just a bit over 2 full seconds. That's it.  A great ride...with 2 seconds of terror.  We could do that.

What I forgot about was the first the dark.  So I already had kids clinging to me from behind...from the start of the ride.  The funny part about this all is that I...their not brave on rides. I don't do crazy roller coasters and I'm really not brave.

Yet in this moment...I'm the bravest one.  Funny how parenthood does that!

So we had finally come to the part in the ride...where the log climbed and climbed.  I turned around to see Azahria holding on tightly. Zion looking terrified and secretly begging for a way of escape.  Tirzah's eyes already closed. Zihao and Azlan were on either side of me.  I had time to catch most of their eyes and say one last time "2 seconds of courage, you guys, we can do this!".  I tried to keep my eyes open and I even tried to scream. Something happens at about the 20 ft mark where you literally...physcially...cannot.  You can't breathe. You cannot see.  And you just fall.  When we landed I looked back to see Zion let out a scream he had been unable to release...and then he started to sob.  Tirzah shook her head at me and said "never ever ever again".  I'm laughing more at the fact that I, Janice Walker, am consoling anyone since I'm the biggest wimp ever.  Azlan said he was fine til half way when he was sure we were dying. Azahria was a little pale.  Zihao said it was pretty scary.  And Zion is still sobbing.  Tirzah's head is still shaking.

I kept trying to get in there that we did it.  We did it. We didn't like it...but we did it. And to keep it in perspective it wasn't a scary ride, it was a very scary 2 seconds.

And yes...this thought is so powerful.  There was a Toby Mac quote on fb recently that said "was it a bad day? Or was it a bad 5 minutes that you let control your day?" (something to that effect).

We see what we look for.  I believe that with all my heart.

Right now? Our family is looking for gifts.  And we are seeing them. In abundance.  And in the grand scheme of our life...the big big picture...this trial is not our whole life. At the moment it feels like it. No question. But ... it's not.

What I have seen this week is so beautiful it's hard for me to express it here.  I've seen a little girl come alive.  Literally find her wings and fly.  Not even start to's flying.  And that...that was the purpose for this trip.  Our healing trip.

Courage.  There are many ways to describe it. One of my favorites is "being terrified and doing it anyway".  It's kind of like my "I can do hard things".  I think what resonates with people with that line is that we are acknowledging it's hard!  That's not a sign of weakness. No...that's just stating the facts. I'm a realist.  It's hard!! But it's the next part that the courage comes into play.  I CAN DO IT!  So it's hard. So what.  We got that out on the table. It's hard. Harder than I'd ever choose.  Harder than I wanted life to be.  Harder that I was prepared for.  Ok.  What next? No quitting. No throwing in the towel.  No burying myself under a mountain of blankets and curling into a fetal position until someone assures me that it's easy.  No.  No.  It's terrifying. It's hard. But let's do it.

Shortly after our world fell part early summer...I remember thinking very vividly that the tendency would be to just survive through this storm. And honestly..even that would take divine intervention. But I didn't want that to happen.  I didn't want our children to look back on those dark, horrific days as the darkest days in our lives.  I became fiercely intentional.


I didn't sleep a wink that first night. I sobbed ALL night.  At 7am I had a feast on the table and we went for a picnic that afternoon. The middle of a work day.  The next day we went out for a family movie...something we never do.  The next day we went to a friends house and had lunch in their back yard. The next day we played a 2plus hour game of Monopoly in the middle of the afternoon.  And every single day...there was something we did as a own that day.  When I could barely breathe.  And I mean that.  My chest hurts as I type just reliving those moments. That doesn't make me stronger. I assure you.  I'm so very weak. So very frail.

It's that childhood stubborness finally being channelled the right direction.  I will not quit. I will not roll over. I will let these days be destroyed on my watch. I am TERRIFIED.  But I will do it anyway.

One of the children recently said this past summer was the very best summer they can ever remember.  And I got goosebumps.  It was the worst months of my entire life.  No question.  I'm not a sugar coater.  They knew what was going on.  They came in to our room many times to see me sobbing and hitting my pillow.  They knew.  But they also saw determination and courage to be intentional.

When we absolutely didn't feel like it. When every part of us wanted to give up.

As we are sitting at the bottom of the log ride...Zion finally stops crying long enough to give me his attention.  I held his hand and told him to focus on the fact that he did it.  He did it. He had the 2 seconds of courage. He did it.  And to not sit there reliving the terror of that drop.

His face changed.  It was like I had just pulled him out of that place...into this place.  A place of defeat and regret to a place of victory.

As we got off the ride...I smiled.  Not because of the ride. But because I know one of the greatest battles is the battle of the mind.  And little does Zion know that i'm in the same fight. Every moment of the day.  In many areas of my life.  Do I sit reliving the horror and feel the weight of the terror and all the regret that comes with it...or do I look back and go "Ahhhh. God...we made it.  This far. We made it here. We are alive." Do I feel the victory or sit in the regret? And we are by no means in a place of where this is all behind us.

We were walking towards Dean and the other kids when Zion looked at me and said "ok I'm glad you named me Zion Courage, I need that".

Yes.  That is his name.  He's not the one that naturally has it. He's the one that needs the reminder that he can choose.



  1. Dear Janice... so many many times I've wanted to write to you these past months and I didn't. Why? Because I was scared for one. I didn't want to say the wrong thing. I especially didn't want to assume anything! And I didn't want to come across as some invasive, nosy stranger from across the country meddling in something I know nothing about. So I stayed quiet--and I prayed which essentially is all I can do anyway!
    But I want you to know whatever is going on, I think you are ALL courageous--even, no ESPECIALLY when you don't feel that way! I got teary eyed as I read of Zion's visible reaction to the ride and also as I learned through your words that you too have days when things seem soooo hard that you just want to hide under the covers until it becomes easy. But what if it doesn't become easy? What if we (as you have so eloquently have written about) are called to DO those hard things and NOT stay hidden away under the covers?
    This is so minor compared to whatever you guys are going through but I wanted to share with you that I had a job interview last Monday. I have been on disability for quite some time now. I HATE IT--it makes me feel unworthy, less than, ashamed, bad, lazy, weak, a failure and on and on it goes. I've wanted to return to the workforce for a long time and sometimes I get through an interview here and there, one time I even made it through 3 months or so of work before getting hit hard again by anxiety, panic attacks and depression. I retreated. I was a coward.
    Anyway, I am getting up and trying again! I went to my interview and even from MY perspective (very hard on myself) it went well. The gentleman said that I have "just the skill set we are looking for, Lori. Perfect!" He will be making his hiring decisions in 2 to 3 weeks. And already, the anxiety starts cycling...what if I don't get it? Then yes, if I am to be honest, a sweet initial relief--I don't have to stretch myself to do the hard, I can continue to believe I am nobody, less than etc. But then, what if I DO get it? I won't lie. It won't be easy. I will wake up that first morning to the ringing alarm clock and be sick to my stomach, shaking, asking myself over and over, can I do this, should I call and say I am unable to take the job? What if I can't do this? What if I have a panic attack? You see, usually (when I tried last time) it is that initial brief period--to get myself up, showered, dressed, out the door to the new job. Once I am there I can feel a tiny spark of "you did it!" Then, the first days have flares of anxiety...but those too I remind myself, will pass. Fear is a feeling and it won't kill me.
    You, Zion, Tirzah, Azahria and Azlan and your entire family LIVE this whenever trials present themselves. You are an inspiration and so if you can say it and DO it, if the kids can, then I am going to try that too. I CAN do hard things! Love u!

    1. Oh my heart Lori. I love you. I am so very proud of you for going to the interview and clearly doing amazing at it. I'm praying you get the job. It's just what you need to realize just how special YOU are and that YOU do have the skill set they need. You have so much to offer the world. You are important. You are beautiful. You are loved. XO

  2. I read your reply with both gratitude and tears... I have suffered such low self esteem since being (ill?)-advised to go on disability due to trauma not only from years of sexual abuse but also from the civil court case I filed against my former stepfather for the years of abuse and the damage it caused.
    I have so little belief in my own abilities now--despite years of working one to three jobs, earning two undergraduate degrees in social services and graduating summa cum laude, being as good of a person, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and Christian as I can possibly be. I know I need to work on that and remember who I am in God's eyes!
    I am so grateful for your friendship and encouragement in the midst of your storm. I had to smile when you wrote that I am important, beautiful and loved. No one has ever said I am beautiful or important so it brought tears. These are things parents should instill in their children and ever since I began reading your blog I have greatly admired you and Dean for that! It is obvious that you both have made it a priority to parent well, to give your children a strong foundation from which to build. They KNOW they are good, strong, beautiful/handsome and that they "can do hard things" and they BELIEVE it--because mommy and daddy believe it, teach it and live it!
    As I said I don't know what you guys are going through but I do know you have the Lord and you have what it takes to get through it. Don't doubt or second guess your decisions or the direction you have been led to. I don't even know why I typed that just now but it came out and so I will leave it just in case it speaks to you or anyone on any level, lol.
    I love you too my friend and I thank God for the gift that you, your family and your witness is to me and so many others!

    1. Lori, that is so very very sad :( Well I'm glad I said it, because it's true and you needed to hear it!

      This line that you didn't know why you said: Don't doubt or second guess your decisions or the direction you have been led to
      was so very applicable to what we are going through. So even though you don't know why you said it, God just used YOU my friend to remind me of that fact. XOXO

  3. As you head homeward today, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so grateful to God that you all were given this opportunity to get away as a family and take those first wobbly steps of faith toward healing. And I am honored that the words I spoke and didn't/don't know why were in some way applicable to you now as a reminder. (I'll admit I do have a feeling lately but I will not go there. It's not mine to open up and I MAY very well be wrong! The Lord knows I have been before lol!)
    I pray for a safe journey, traveling mercies, and that this trip continues to be a balm for your family's spirits. Love to you my friend.

  4. Some days we all need a little courage...Thanks for encouraging us today! With Christ, we can do hard! ❤ Psalm 18:1

  5. Some days we all need a little courage...Thanks for encouraging us today! With Christ, we can do hard! ❤ Psalm 18:1