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 »

Got Them

February 25, 2015

I smiled this week as I opened my email and saw the name of a couple I have not seen in years. They just contributed to our fund for our son, and it brought tears to my eyes to see that somehow they had heard of our situation and thought, after all these years, to give so graciously to what we are battling.

This couple is incredible. They are kind people with hearts that love Jesus. Richard with his quiet manner and Nancy with her heartfelt thoughts. They are gracious and kind, generous and honest. I have many memories of them- including one of my favorite dinnertime conversations of all time- but there is one that is at the top of the list. That memory goes like this:

When we had entered our Dark Night of the Soul, we had many people who said many things to us. Some meant more than others. No one in our lives at that time truly understood the magnitude of what we were managing at the time, but many tried their best to offer encouragement and strength.

One day, after worship was done, everyone was gathered in the odd-shaped space that held our coffee bar, talking and chatting and doing what they did every Sunday after we were done with prayers and preaching, songs and sermon. I was standing off to the side, tired. Most pastors are tired after preaching, but for me it was more than that. It took an large amount of work to preach during the Dark Night of the Soul season. No one really knew how much effort it required for me. No one, it seemed, except for Nancy. Read the rest of this entry »