deep and wide

Wait, Mom, we’re going to drive six hours round trip?

To only be there for less than three hours?




Kids, this is equation for joy.


You’ve gotta be willing to work things out.

You’re gonna have to do some hard and uncomfortable things.

It’s going to feel awfully imbalanced at times

like the work outweighs the reward

like the bad outweighs the good.


I know, it doesn’t make sense.


But wait and see.


And wait some more…


You’ll be surprised.


begin again


I cried the first time we finished the Divine Service.

The move was as fresh as yesterday.  We were in a new place, a new church, a new pastor, a new life. There was no way to separate relief from the grief.  For all the times I’d cried in the former life, I couldn’t deny the pain of our parting. A near decade of past pain couldn’t undo the present bond that had to break.

Our first church has found a new pastor.  God has brought a new shepherd into their lives. It felt like a punch in the gut when I heard.  We looked him up on Facebook right away. I’ve been saddened on and off all weekend thinking about it.  I’m so happy he said yes.  I’m happy the loved ones have a pastor now.

I’m  glad they have another chance to be loved.



true colors


“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
~2 Corinthians 1:5~

To know God’s suffering is to know God’s comfort.

To know God’s pain is to know God’s peace.

To see God’s Savior is to find God’s favor.

against all odds

This was one of those days, where for the sake of the soul, I had to go driving around.  You know when you come down with the stomach flu, and you feel sick, but you know you’d feel better if only you could throw up and get it all out of you?  That’s how i feel.  It’s a sadness stuck inside somewhere.  There’s something that needs to get out of me.

Following my period i usually bounce back for two solid weeks of inner peace.  For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened this time…yet.  Sorrow lingers.  Tears feel trapped.  My head has the strange feeling of heat without fever, and this time it isn’t the pain of an ache, it’s the flood of a memory, the scar of an injury, the unforgettable burn of a loss.

With every live baby I birthed, I experienced severe pain in the first two months of breastfeeding.  The doctor said if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt.  My nipples were cracked and raw from the fissures.  The latch of their mouths sent shock waves of pain through my torso, down and out through the deepest and most sensitive parts of me.

The special cream in the purple tube didn’t help.  The plastic breast shields would scratch against my skin.  The nursing tanks from Target were sticking to my breasts, which meant the only way to feed the baby again was to bite down and sing really loud as I pulled the shirt apart from the dried blood.  I supplemented with formula to give my breasts a break.

My body told me to leave my modesty open to air. I was living in my husband’s flannel button down shirt.  It was softer on my broken skin and wasn’t tight against my stretched out body.  I had to keep my breasts untouched.   I cried and wished the wounds would heal. On a desperate afternoon, in the sanctity of nap time, I left the house and went outside.

I had read somewhere that the sun has healing powers.  I believed.  I lowered myself to the concrete patio, covered my back and sides with an afghan, and turned my back against the wind.  The school was right there, but between us stood a white picket fence, the hedge of protection between me and the seers.  The sun shined there where it needed to be.

My peace returned.

And healing came.



the shadow side


there is a conflict in my soul as of late that i have not been able to put words to.  my words here have slowed as i wait and navigate through whatever it is i’m having trouble saying, or am afraid to say.  i write, i publish, and then i delete.

this morning i found the words, but they didn’t come from inside of me.  they came from another kindred soul who took the time to stop and ponder, to search the heart, to write this down.  here is what she said:

“By the time we show up at conferences, feet padding the plush carpet of yet another hotel, we strive to look grown up in our Sunday clothes and polite (if not well-rested) faces. We do, of course, try to have good things to say. We strive to articulate all we believe and present a gracious face to the world. But a whirlwind of hard work and sore shoulders, heartache and heart-searching lies behind us. Imperfect attitudes, impatient words, and discouragement are the shadow side of the inspiration that propels us forward. We struggle, we grapple, we cry. We also laugh and cook and sing. We wash a thousand dishes and cook a thousand good meals and light the candles every evening and play our classical music. Behind every conference we throw or speech we give are countless quiet days of hard work and hard choices. I’m not saying that we live differently than the ideals we hold forth. I’m saying that we fight like wild men to attain them and we have been fighting for as long as I can remember.”  Read more here:  ~Good and Hard, Lifegiving Home Series~

i don’t know how to write the balance.  i also know it needs to be written, because the shadow makes the light shine true.  the shadow is where our humanity bonds.  without the shadow, words become merely a manmade fluorescent imposter. without love, i create nothing but an idolatrous shrine for myself.

there is fine line between too much good and too much hard.  i live daily in the temptation and fall into sin.  i live daily in the redemption and joy of God’s gifts. i live daily in the tension of a paradox that i’d rather not admit because i cannot fully understand.

The truth I find is that every good thing I know requires hard work. It requires, not just a dose of effort to get it started, but the grit to hold fast and keep on when the inspiration fails. Day in and day out, a life that is in any way good requires steady labor, something I don’t always factor in when I am dreaming about the lovely things I’ll make and the heroic deeds I’ll accomplish. The good life – here in a fallen world where what was meant to be good was broken – is a hard life. We fight fallenness in every atom of existence. But every bit of the goodness we we make proclaims the someday new heaven and earth. And somehow, brings the kingdom come, even amidst the shadows.”

“They who fight much, who endure each other’s quirks, who ride out the tempests of difficult circumstances and personalities, who laugh and weep and watch each other’s creation know a comradeship that can only come from the brotherhood of battle. The victory we have, the love that knits us close was only to be forged in struggle...

The truth is that we have wrestled with God over and over again, every one of us, just like Jacob in the wilderness grappling with sin and pain and the strange presence of the Almighty. In striving to create new things, to live our ideals, to keep communion, we wrestled with God in our hearts and we wrestled with God in each other. Every inch of ground we gained in love came with years of hard battle. But we fought forward, knowing that to fight was to hope and even to love, because it was a kind of journey. We were fighting our way back to each other and not away. We were grappling toward beauty and we wrestled until we were blessed. We strove until we overcame.

That, I suppose, it at heart of what I am striving to understand, to tell myself here and as I do, tell you too. If love is to be formed, if families are to stay close, if  stories or songs are to be made, if ideals are ever to be kept, hard work is the high and never-ending cost. In a fallen world, where the good that was meant to be was broken, we have to wrestle every day to love God, to do justice, to love mercy, to make beauty. But God wrestles with us. His Spirit incites us to the fight with visions of the good that was meant to be. His Son joins us in the battle, brother and lover who suffers so that we may overcome. And the Father waits at the end of our battle, the “great rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Tears are flooding my eyes as i write, as i realize this labor i’ve so often bemoaned and despised and rejected and fled from, this hard work she speaks of–there’s another word for it:


God is disciplining me.

He is binding me to Himself.

He is wooing me deeper into His love.