March 27, 2015

My son broke a plate recently. It was a brand that was supposed to be unbreakable, but when it shattered, it broke into more pieces that I have ever seen any other plate have. We are still finding shards weeks later.

Sometimes life feels like that broken plate. Pieces, sometimes many pieces, scattered across the floor of the soul. Tiny shards that hide away in crevices to be found long after you’ve swept up the mess. Pieces that don’t make a whole anymore.

I found a broken piece hidden in a crack in my soul this week. It all started with an email from someone I used to know well. And suddenly, in those moments, I felt the prick of a broken piece of glass in my heart, long after- years after- I had swept up the shards. But it caused me to revisit that place of pain. To allow God to tend to it with the loving care that only Jesus can offer.

Some pieces of life just aren’t fixable. At least not this side of heaven. It’s a reality that sits heavy on many of us- no matter all our attempts to grow, to be in relationship, to love, to care- some things are not reconcilable. Some pieces never find their way back to the whole.

And so we live in that tension. I live in that tension.

And the thing about living in tension is this: in tension we can see God’s grace all the more. In the aching, shard-pricked parts of us that we long to be healed and whole and freed from. In the things that can be forgiven but never restored. In the moments when we accept the limits of others and at the same time, grieve because their limits mean you will not find fulfillment.

Acceptance of broken shards is grace. The ability to carry such heavy burdens and consistently find the strength of God helping us along, lifting it from us. There’s a lostness in the process; but in being lost we find Jesus. The Jesus who comes to us.

So whenever the tiny pricks of broken stories shift in our souls, making us jump as we realize their existence in us, we are prompted to lift our hands to the Lord, and trust his wide berth of grace. And continue to walk in the ways he would have for us.

Official News

March 17, 2015

My career in the Evangelical Covenant Church began with a late night phone call. It was 9:30 where I lived, 10:30 where the caller lived. I had been calling to find out how I could start working on staff in a covenant church. A woman named Doreen, who was new to her executive position over the department of Christian Formation, was finally able to return my numerous calls to her Chicago office… on her own time late a night. I was deeply impressed and moved by that fact- that she would call so late at night simply because she felt it was important. The rest is history, as some people say.

Tonight, I just hung up from aanother late night phone call from a doctor and have the same jittery feelings I did years ago. This doctor called us, at 10:30 pm his time, the night before he leaves on a trip… simply because he felt it was important.

And it is important because it’s about my son.  Read the rest of this entry »

Thank You

March 15, 2015

We have walked this road with our son for nearly 17 months. Not a week goes by that we haven’t been given the gift of someone who asks, who prays, who helps. Not only do we have this group of doctors and therapists who are all trying to help our son recover, but we have this large group that loves us, cares about us, asks about us, and support us.

When Ian was diagnosed with yet another gut infection and our doctor said we should try to see a specialist he recommends who works on hard cases like ours, we were distraught. So tired. So weary. So ready for this path to end and a new one to begin. And we had spent all our money. We did not have any funds available to add in a new doctor who required travel and wasn’t going to take our insurance and would be very costly. But doing nothing is unfathomable to this mama’s heart and head. And so we prayed.

And then we approached someone, asking for a loan.  Read the rest of this entry »

Too Long

March 8, 2015

I had a dream last night. I don’t remember much of it. In fact, I don’t remember any of it except one part, one piece, that stayed with me after I woke, annoying me like a cat weaving between unstable legs, demanding my careful attention.

The part of the dream I remember is this: A farmer and me. On a small hill, looking over the vast fields in front of us. The air was thick and heavy like the Nebraska stillness that comes right before a storm. It was hard to breathe. But this farmer and I stood, shoulder to shoulder, looking over the land. I don’t know why we were there. I don’t know what we were discussing. But I remember these words I said to the farmer: “The time from planting to harvest, the time it takes for this to grow, can seem like forever. It seems to take too long. From seed to harvest is way too long.” I looked at the farmer after speaking these words to see a far off look in his eyes and he simply said:

 “Yep. But that’s the only way it works.” 

And then I woke up. Read the rest of this entry »

Disorienting Faith

March 6, 2015

I was moved by the voice of a dear friend, someone I love so deeply, as he spoke into the phone miles away from me. “It’s disorienting,” he said.

“It’s disorienting to be given the news I was given this week.”

I nodded, though he couldn’t see, of course. The trouble with phone calls is that they are still a step away from the flesh and bone encounters, meeting in times of struggle. But that’s all we had, so I listened and nodded, knowing well the words being spoken.


I preached this Lent on the way in which we often feel over our heads. That the stuff we think we have figured out, the stuff we signed on for thinking it would go one way, suddenly shifts and we realize that we didn’t have anything figured out at all. That we were and are over our heads. The sure footing we once knew is ripped away and we free fall, or simply slide, downwards. The natural tendency is to grasp at anything and everything to slow the fall. And we experience that familiar place of disorientation.  Read the rest of this entry »