What I Can Say? I don’t know. I know. No. Yes.


71ZaiJTp0+LThere is so much uncertainty, overwhelming fear, and disconnection during this global pandemic, that I am resolving to remain more curious than certain.  I hope to spend these weeks considering all the big questions, but I also have to live with contentment so that I don’t lose my mind in the process.

Inspired by Kelly Corrigan’s brilliant, Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say, here’s what I’m learning that I can say to keep me grounded and free. Continue reading

Christmas Eve: Divine Interruption is Nigh


While the world swirled around her in their daily rhythms and weekly routines, her life was interrupted and never returned back to its course. Her experience with divine interruption would grow slowly, from a seed to a plum, avocado to cantaloupe, watermelon to skies alight with heavenly hosts, and “Alleluias.”

In the most unlikely of places in the most unlikely of times, she ushered in the divine interruption through her own physical power and determination. She interrupted the world the way that the angel had interrupted her world.

Shepherds could no longer watch the sheep. Kingdoms had to do without their kings (whether because they followed the star or because they were too busy plotting evil plans). The skies could no longer rest for peace had broken forth in the stars.

Her life’s interruption became the interrupting story that still wields its power over our own daily rhythms and weekly routines. I hear the story again, and I must ask the question: am I willing to forgo my sheep, my kingdom, and my quiet to allow the angel’s message to disrupt all the conclusions I had carefully crafted?

This Christmas Eve, the skies prepare to burst forth in glory. A pregnant woman sighs with great pain and expectation. The divine interruption is nigh. Come, Holy One, come.

Nine Years of Learned Tenderness


Over the past few days, I have found myself talking with my former self. Cradling her first newborn in the hospital, she is recovering from her first c-section and beginning her adventure into the great unknown. Here are the words we have shared:

Fear not: the weakness you feel right now does not forebode some great disaster looming. This overwhelming sense of fragility and ignorance is the working of tenderness as it welcomes you into a new Way of Being in a Whole New World.

Tenderness might trigger fear within you, and it might make others around you uncomfortable, but tenderness is the birthplace of courage. It is from tenderness that courage will emerge as you need it.  Trust that it is only from within this tenderness that you will be able to find strength. In the trusting, you will find that the human body, yours and his, is pure miracle, breath by breath. Continue reading

Hand-to-Heart Moments


Rain falling on the final morning of summer, I feel the impulse to reach out and cup it in my hands as if any gesture might allow summer to be saved. What can we do on summer’s last day that could make permanent summer’s freedom?

When I speed through my days, life changes at a rate that is incomprehensible.
When I am present and breathe the moment in, life changes at a rate that is miraculous.

I do not ask for a life that is only the latter, for the former allows for life to thrive and for bodies to move and grow. But I do ask for a few moments every morning when I can stand still and see, as if from a distance, the coming and going, hunting and gathering, nurturing and sending, dismantling and creating, connecting and separating of our days. We live days as if they will go on forever, but the meaningful moments ping within us the reality that they cannot. Continue reading

Claiming my (ir)relevancy


the blurry mess of a photo that one of my boys once took in the office on a Sunday morning…an accurate depiction of real life in the church office.

On a plane in conversation with a seat-partner or in a line at the grocery store when I introduce myself and my profession, I notice the surprise that breaks across the face of my conversation partner.  Sometimes, the surprise holds a twinge of disapproval, but most of the time it reflects general disorientation.  I know my gender and age have a significant part of their reaction: I am not what they expected.  As a blonde thirty-five-year-old mother of three, I am not the typical ordained Baptist pastor.

But an article I read this week caused me to wonder if the reaction might be, instead, a reaction to this ancient profession to which I have been called.

Survey shows: clergy irrelevant.

While the article is written hyperbolically, I know it attests to a real perception amongst our culture. “What do you do during the week?” is asked with some regularity. If someone has longer than a few moments with me, they seek some details of what keeps me busy, with an underlying sense of judgment or disbelief.

I discussed the article with my husband last night as we cleaned up the kitchen. My oldest son listened as he was playing Legos at the table. I know he is listening in on our conversations more lately. I look over and wonder, what will he think of me one day? What will be left of this clergy tradition? Will he understand this vocation to which I give my life? Will he know what I do in the office each week? Will he know what I labor over and whether it was all worth it?

Continue reading

35: Give Me a Patient Heart


Walking back from getting coffee this past Thursday, a prayer appeared within me that took me by surprise.  “Give me a patient heart,” I prayed.  Curious about the phrase, I rolled it around my mind and have been doing so ever since.  This 35th birthday, this is the present I seek from the divine:  Give me a patient heart.

Give: let me not assume that patience is some natural trait, but rather that it is something that I must continually request; something I must receive rather than manufacture

me: as a person, a mother, a wife, a minister, a colleague, a friend, a citizen, a mortal being

a: not the but just a – the one that you seek to give me

patient: trusting not only in the end result of anything but in the process that leads to it; at peace with the absence of this desire in the now for I am trusting of the presence of this desire in the yet-to-be.

heart: the soul part of me – deeper than thought, more than just body, but the entirety of me in relation to God, others, my past self, present self, future self

As I embark upon a new year, what does it look like to pray this type of prayer for a whole year? Patience is often sought in the immediacy of the moment, when frustrations or annoyances overwhelm. Patience over a long period seems like a different kind of prayer.

Long-term patience trusts in a final completion – the hope for which one is waiting. Patience trusts in an end, a telos, a wholeness to all that we desire. Patience believes that we will ultimately see, taste, and know the glory of God revealed among us – glory that looks like justice, grace, mercy, and love. Patience trusts in our recent lectionary passage from Romans 5:1-5. It is a passage that I memorized a few weeks ago so that the words might soak into the crevices within me.  Indeed, the phrases have emerged in the moments when I needed them most…

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have obtained access to the grace in which we stand;
and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and hope does not disappoint us,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit
that has been given to us.”

Peace with God looks like patience – no longer fearing what God might do to us or not do to us, but trusting in a God who dwells with us and is revealing a goodness of which we could never plumb the depths or reach its end.

This is what I seek. This is what I wait patiently to witness.  With a job to do in the waiting, but done without a posture of urgency… except in prayer that sends me back to whispering to myself as I head back to the office, “Give me a patient heart.”

How Unnerving It Is


Composed while out on a run this morning reflecting upon…
– Teaching our oldest to ride a bike
– Walter Brueggemann’s article, “The Company of the Unafraid: God’s peculiar hope offers a way to keep fear from overpowering us”” in the July 2019 edition of Sojourners magazine

– Krista Tippett’s conversation with Elizabeth Alexander and the power of words that shimmer.

How unnerving it is
to move
through the world
in a new way. Continue reading

There is an ache in God’s Glory


There are mornings when my quiet time pushes me to the limits of my imagination. It is not every morning. It is not every season. But when it comes, I can see God alive in all of creation – in every creak of steps as boys come down in the morning, in the birds whose songs fill the room through a cracked window, in the heart that still beats in my chest after all these years.

My chest fills with an awareness of the divine-saturated beauty of all things and of the human ignorance of its participation within it. I feel surrounded, overwhelmed, saturated in the Divine Life. Yesterday morning, I continued reading Richard Rohr’s latest, The Universal Christ, and I was struck again by the glory of God – an understanding of the ridiculously extravagant presence of the divine that is just within reach enough to knock me to my knees.

If life really is this rich, it is nearly too decadent. The glory of God can feel like a decadent chocolate cake that cannot be consumed in one sitting. Continue reading

This Is the Self God Loves


IMG_4576I breathe and let the pressure release –
deflating the overblown self until it is only the
real, true, small, mortal self.

This is the self God loves.
This is the self that is able to love.
This is the self who can love another.

This is the self that is finite in its form
but infinite in Your glory

For this small, mortal self is Yours –

Yours, for You originated it with your creative force
Yours, for You have and will continue to redeem it
Yours, for You breathe meaningful life into it.

In our vast world where human beings chase after immortality, this small, mortal self is my greatest gift. It is the greatest privilege. It is the vessel for Your glory – a technicolor beauty unable to behold without covering our eyes or looking away in discomfort.

So as the morning sun rises and a full day awaits,
I breathe Your air
and I release all the pressure.

I am Yours again,
and I am alive
for another day in Your world.

I pause.
I give thanks.
I go forward to bless the world.