Inhaling deeply, I stepped on the swinging tire that hung above the water. The hole in the middle appeared HUGE and the tire rim that was my step target looked thin and inadequate.

That first step overwhelmed my being.

Then I heard my nephew calling encouragement from behind. “You can do this, Aunt Julie. Just step on the tire and don’t look down. You can do this.”


We are in the thick of the Mother’s Day season. In fact, Mother’s Day is tomorrow and for some reason this post has taken a while to come forth.

For many, this season delights the senses and stirs overwhelming joy and affirmation.

For many, this season stokes the internal voice of shame, sadness, or profound depth of loss.

When this time of year overwhelms, confusion and pain cause us to turn every direction searching for a sure step.

Today, I’d like to speak with those in the thick of the acrid, dense air of depression over loss and frustration.

 – A caveat: If you are in the middle of raw grief over recent loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, child loss, or adult child passing) please stop reading here. What follows does not apply to you in this part of your timeline nor should it be used by friends or loved ones to “encourage” others to move on in their grief. Sometimes, for a time, you must sit in the puddles of life pain and just be, one breath at a time. – 


For those of you further along the way of grief and disappointment, may I ask you to try something this year?

You see, I know well the timid, fearful anticipation of gasping internal reminders of not only loss, but also the reality of never-to-be, life-giving childbirth.

It stinks.

Enough time has passed that I have experienced the emotional spectrum and have spent time building what life can be in this ongoing new reality.

Maybe you have as well.

If not…if you are weary, not only of the not-yet pain but also the inability to move, will you allow me to encourage you to take your first step through the Mother’s Day obstacle? Will you choose to move offensively this Mother’s Day by reaching OUT for what you can do for yourself this weekend instead of waiting for others to reach in?

So often I hear people express concern and uncertainty on what to do for you; their friend, their co-worker, their loved one.

They fear saying or doing the wrong thing and end up doing nothing, which leads to loved ones feeling alone and misunderstood.

One way to alleviate this confusion is for you and me to reach out – to step out onto this obstacle course of life and begin to move through. Shaky steps they may be, but once a step is in motion a way opens up for strength to begin to seep its way through our being.


Make a plan for the weekend – call someone for lunch or dinner and a movie. Ask a friend on a nature walk and talk about ways you feel thankful in life and use this time to thank God for what you do have.

Reach out to someone who was a mothering influence in your life – your own mother, a relative, former teacher, aunt, cousin, or a neighbor who spoke life into your younger child-self. Send a note or make a phone call and give them the gift of appreciation for ways their lives had positive impact. They probably have no idea the gift of their presence in a season of your life.

Take a deep breath.

Take a step.

I’m encouraging you from behind.

“You can do this! Reach out. Take a step. Begin to move through.”

The first step I took on the swinging tire (one of several tires) scared me but I had a loved one behind me encouraging me the whole way. I made it through that entire obstacle course above the pool and then did a second round.

It was exhilarating and I felt a sense of accomplishment.

I pray that you will step out, reach out to someone close in your life this weekend. Take a baby step toward positive action in your reality.

You can do this.