Five Minute Friday: Comfort

My kids ran everywhere. Racing the shoreline and dipping their toes in the shallow pools that collected when the tide went out. Sun, hot and foreign to the Oregon coast danced on my bare shoulders.

Our coast is a fickle mistress, quick to turn frigid in wind and wave. So when she beckoned at 80 degrees with full sun I scoured the internet for a rental house and last-minute deals. We packed for the trip at 9pm as the kids skipped along happily, the four and eight year old lugging their suitcases up from the garage and neatly folding too many of the wrong things.

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We had no agenda. No lines to stand in or tickets to buy. No events or places to go. No internet or television. Just the comfort of an old beach house and the slow roll of days in the sunshine.

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And I breathed deep salt air and my legs burned red in the icy waves as we plucked sand dollars from the incoming waves, stacking them high like pancakes on an overturned frisbee. And we made sand cars and mermaid friends. Carving out features with our imaginations, finding seaweed hair and mollusk necklaces. Josh took Judah out on boogie boards and they could be seen bobbing up and down on the horizon.

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And each of my family needed me to be there.

I wish I was different. I wish my capacity was larger, my mind less fragile. But that is like wishing I were someone else. I don’t even know who I would be without the ebb and flow of depression, the pain and the empathy I feel when I am at my weakest.

I cannot imagine I would be able to say “me too” and “I know”, had I  not scraped along the ruts in that road. I cannot imagine I would know and long for God the way I do had I not feared I would never feel him again.

I know that I can’t do as much as some, maybe even as much as many.

I realized something on this trip. I am afforded small grace. Just enough for the moment and often nothing more. And sometimes that means my path may be different.

I may be scraping by on knees, my blog silent as a grave, but I am holding my children to me. Breathing in the honey haired scent of my girl, reaching arms to catch my son as he launches himself towards me, boundless energy and charisma, or leaning into my oldest boy, wiping s’mores off his chin now speckled with downy hair.

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My house may be a wreck with a maze of piles and things I am planning to get to but the words are flowing. I may be flushed red at the stove, pans simmering and lids clanging happily as my feet track across crumbs and feel the sticky spot where orange juice didn’t get wiped up properly. And I never get it all done. Never.

I am afforded small grace. I find comfort in knowing there is always enough. My portion for the day.


And sometimes I need to remember to sink down in the sand. To purge the voices that tell me I have to do this or that to get there. It is all in His hands. Every word and post, every small obedience  measured in eternity and sometimes all I can do is show up and take my portion.

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I’ve missed you all. My five minute Friday friends. In the words of Monty Python, “I’m not dead yet.” even though my blog might be. ;) If you’ve never played along it’s easy. Just set the timer for 5 minutes, the word this week is : Comfort

No editing, not over thinking, no making it all perfect. Just write. 

Then link back up with Lisa Jo and the Five Minute Friday gang, and  join in the community. 


    • says

      Thanks for reading Stacey and while it sucks that you get it, it does help to know that I’m not the only one and sometimes you just need to step back and admit that it will never all get done and that’s just fine.

  1. says

    Oh my friend – how you have been missed! And girl – those pictures of the beach? We spend summer vacations in Manzanita… walking along Cannon and Seaside… hanging out at Hug Point and Short Sands… and the therapy of chlldren at play and toes in sand cannot be overlooked!

    • says

      Thank you. I’m so glad to be back because even though I needed the break, I missed y’all too! My husband love seaside for the surfing but really anywhere we can get as a family where we can play is a major bonus for us. Therapy indeed. ;)

      • says

        FYI… Short Sands is where the locals go to surf… a nice little cove area that – you know, for the area, gets pretty good surfable waves plus its warmer! It;s between Manzanita and Cannon

  2. says

    Oh sweet friend how I have missed your heart on a page and yet I am so pleased that you walked towards your family in this moment you’ve shared. To see the smiles in that picture that come from hearts overflowing…beautiful. Love you much.

    • says

      I’ve missed you too! I think I’m getting better at just letting things go when I can’t hold on anymore and sometimes that means this blog. I’m glad to see I haven’t killed it completely and that all my loves are still around. ;)

  3. Karen Sandford says

    This is beautiful Alia. I can relate so much to your words. The ebb and flow of depression. The odd blip where every muscle tenses wondering if another crash is imminent. The joy of family life. Thank you. And bless you x

    • says

      I am in a good place right now. Like RIGHT NOW. But yeah, I never know what tomorrow will hold and I wish I didn’t live with the tension that life may hit more rough patches, maybe many more with depression but I rejoice in the now. But like I said, I don’t know who I’d be without it all and I trust God knows what He’s doing even when I sure don’t. Thank you for always being a voice of understanding and grace.

  4. says

    Dear sweet Alia
    Thank you that you have added me back on google-plus! I also wish at times that I can go on hikes, mountain climbing and do all those yummiest things with my family, but the aFm/CFS doesn’t allow me that luxury. But our Pappa comforts me in so many other ways that I also cannot think of myself as healed!
    Blessings fromFMF

    • says

      Thanks for adding me too, Mia! I loved your post this week about comfort and I am amazed at the beauty and grace you find in the midst of your own suffering and pain. We serve a mighty God indeed.

  5. says

    Love this Alia, the honesty and gratitude in your life. You took good care of yourself and went off to the beach on a sunny day. And I think that is possibly a form of worship. He is smiling over you.

    • says

      I think so too, Shelly. Sometimes I convince myself that to get where my dreams are I have to just work harder. Writing, linking, striving in so many ways… but really I just can’t. I know I can’t so this is what it is. I do what I can each day with the grace that’s there and call it good. And yes, I think I felt that smile in the sunshine and squeals from my children.

  6. says

    Beautifully written as always and so open. Even in your struggles, you bring so much hope to the table. An inspiration to me (one who also knoes that ebb and flow) :-)

    • says

      Thank you Ruth for sharing about your own struggles. I am so glad you are inspired because I really do believe there is so much beauty when we just tell the truth and let God shine.

  7. says

    So glad to see you back here again :) And next time you head out to the beach with that amazing family, pretend I live on the same coast and will be joining you? Mama could use an old beach house and a day in the sunshine :)

    • says

      Yes, I will! I loved my time there and I kept thinking about the beachhouse and how I’d love to do it again with all my close writer friends. A real life weekend. Maybe someday. ;) Until then, I’ll be counting the days till Allume.

  8. says

    Reading your words felt like a full body sigh, like slipping into cool sheets when one is bone-tired, like coming home. You’ve captured the essence of grace at its very best–comfort wrapped in love shaped forms. And to think how perfect that you would come to this poignant acceptance on the shoreline, as the mighty waters ebb and flow, crash and smooth.
    Your life is beautiful, Alia, even when you don’t “feel” like it is. You are beautiful, Alia.
    Thank you for this.

    • says

      I am always just blown away by your comments. They’re like poetry in themselves. You’re an artist in every sense of the word. And you lift up. Always lifting. Love you, Holly. Thank you.

  9. says

    I’ve been out of the loop for a few weeks too. I am pleased to meet you. Just from this little sample, I know I will be back. I also have suffered from depression… and so much more. Love the honesty!

    • says

      Thanks AJ. That was my nickname for a short while in middle school. Someone started calling me AJ and I have a band jacket with that on it. Sorry, random train of thought. Anyhow, so glad to meet you too! I’m sorry you have also suffered from depression because it really stinks but glad you know you are in the fellowship of someone who totally gets it. Thanks for visiting and sharing with me here.

    • says

      Yes, sometimes I forget and think it’s about all the wrong things. Glad to be reminded that small grace is all I need for each day and the portion I’m given is enough even with sticky floors and a dead blog. ;)

  10. says

    There is such an open honesty is in your words today. I too have a life that has followed the ebb and flow of depression so I appreciate your need to go silent and just hold your children to you. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • says

      Thank you Amy, for understanding and for being here for me when I came back. It means so much to see all of you here and the support and grace poured out when I just have to step back for a bit. You guys are amazing.

  11. says

    Love hearing: seeing, all the joy you and your family experienced on this get-away, Alia! To find beauty, ie., God, in each moment of time, is our gift indeed! Here’s to unwrapping this gift each moment of the day!!!

    Love you, Friend.

    • says

      Thank you, friend. It was a joyful time of beauty and rest and deep soul breaths. And letting go and sinking in to the sand. All good things, much needed things. Grateful to come back to an abundance of grace, love and support.

    • says

      Sometimes I want it to overflow so I can do all things. But then maybe I haven’t consider that those things are not for me to do or not in this season or not on my own. SO yes, grace for the moment. I think that is indeed enough when you really get down to it. Just enough.

  12. says

    “I don’t even know who I would be without the ebb and flow of depression, the pain and the empathy I feel when I am at my weakest . . I cannot imagine I would be able to say “me too” and “I know”, had I not scraped along the ruts in that road.” Thank you for your sacrifice. Your words bleed and give life. You are a wounded healer, Alia. The best kind.

    • says

      Thank you Annie. It was gorgeous and restful and everything I needed. Love you too. Saw your chalkboard art on Facebook with Holly Grantham’s words. So amazingly beautiful. Love!

  13. says

    wow. look at all these comments you’ve racked up here. you are one loved girl, you know that?

    honest posts like this make me just so tender and warm. they make me feel like i’m not alone, counting those grains of sand as more than just a nuisance. small is all i have, too, Alia. but you’re right. it’s enough. dig your heels in and wiggle your toes – enough.

    • says

      I am beginning to believe it and I am overwhelmed. I was feeling discouraged when I came back from Jumping Tandem so inspired and full of words and then I could feel myself slipping a bit, and things just got hard again and the days just went on without me and this blog died a bit but I am beginning to realize that is ok. I can let it go and it’s not the end of the world and I don’t have to strive. Maybe this is all it’ll ever be and that doesn’t mean I don’t have God sized dreams or even that I’m not chasing them down. It just may mean that the road to get there will look a little windier. I’m thinking Isrealites in the desert windy. ;) And that’s okay too. I’ll always have enough.
      Sorry for the mini post on your comment. I just felt all loved and decided to gush all over the place.

  14. says

    Oh I am so happy to read your words friend. So glad! This–> I cannot imagine I would know and long for God the way I do had I not feared I would never feel him again.–> this has me feeling washed in truth because those very words are the single most impactful thing God has shown me this year… That despite the mess of my depression and anxiety He has pursued me and that my love for Him and desire to seek Him, on my face if need be, has been my sanity. I love you! I am so glad that you walked into the embrace of your family and spent time to “just be”

    • says

      I am so glad to see you coming alive and claiming it all. To know that despite it all there is so much love for you. I love you too, Tonya and am constantly blessed by your grace and understanding, your support and care of me when I just plain drop the ball. And I’m so glad to be back and connecting again.

    • says

      Thank you Debi! I haven’t run into you at Costco or the doctors office or any of the other random places I tend to see you around town. But I’m glad for the prayers! We missed you at the #inRL mini meetup we had.

  15. says

    Alia, your words touch raw places and smooth them right over. There is therapy to be had in the sand and surf. That ebb and flow cannot keep those knees scraped up forever. Your words are beautiful to read.

    • says

      Thank you Missy. It did feel a bit like therapy and the rough patched on my knees have just made it easier to kneel when I need to. Thank you.

    • says

      Oh thank you. I missed it. I can’t imagine not writing either. I have felt loss the past two weeks when I was struggling through emotions and thoughts and didn’t have this outlet. So grateful to have you back here and to be back myself. Missed you.

  16. says

    This post got to me. Why? It was in the part you were saying you are allotted small grace, grace for the moment. And then you go on to tell of depression (something I know too much about) and how because of who you are, you can now relate to people in similar situations.

    I appreciate your heart so much. Thank you for writing this.

    • says

      Thank you Duane. I read a post on depression on your site a while back and knew you had struggled with it too. It doesn’t make it suck less but it does make me very much who I am, it’s true. God has worked healing through the most broken places during some of the worst depressions in me and in others who’ve been along on my journey. I love your heart as well and am thankful that you get it even though I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  17. says

    Beautiful! Makes me want to go to the beach now! ;) But alas, I live in Michigan, and it’s much too cold to visit the beach today. :( Thanks for visiting my blog!

  18. says

    ” I am afforded small grace. Just enough for the moment and often nothing more. And sometimes that means my path may be different.” I love that…and it’s really all we need, isn’t it? Grace for today, for the moment. Love your story of the beach. I grew up in Washington and now in Northern CA near the beach….yes, these beaches can be fickle. Love how you just packed up and rented a house just to go for a few days with the nice weather. That is awesome. Making memories. Found you at FMF.

  19. says

    Oh, Alia, goodness gracious, girl it was as if you were writing my life, my thoughts. I have dealt with the same things– depression, chronic illness, trying to figure out the balance in my ambitious dreams and my limited physical/mental abilities. You described it so poignantly, so beautifully and fully, how it is, how it can be, how grace can seem small and elusive, hard to grasp in our desperate moments, and then we look back in the sand and realize it was carrying us. You *are* loved, by many and by me. You are not forgotten when you aren’t able to write. You’ve been on my mind almost constantly. Your dreams are not going to leave you behind, you damaged and severed and bleeding in the wake. I’m so glad that you know this grace, that you aren’t alone, that I’m not alone, you are beloved and you are held. Love to you, sweet girl.

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