Forgive Us

Forgive Us

We Christians can be trundlers, clumsy with our heavy feet and careless steps. We can be tanglers of words, crushers and blinders of tender minds. We Christians can be foolish dancers to the tunes of snake charmers, the music of lie peddlers who steal and sell the name of Christ. We can hide behind our I-would-nevers and hold no mercy for those who would, turning a broken heart inward to cut itself again.   Forgive us, Jesus, whose scarred hands are strong enough to hold gently.   We Christians can be pride-deaf, tuned to hear voices of power over the Word of God. We can welcome idol shackles, chain our hearts to politics and positions and possessions. We Christians, we are contradictions, owning freedom and flirting with slavery, too often closing our fresh...

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Open Letter to My World Weary Sister

Open Letter to My World Weary Sister

Dear Lovely Friend, I saw it in your eyes today, that exhaustion that comes from dangling with all your loose ends for so long. Yesterday you weren’t sure how you would do today, and today you’re not sure how you’ll do tomorrow. You hoped it would all be over by now, but it’s not, and it may not be for a long while. And there you are, finding the courage to put your feet on the floor in the morning and move forward into another day of living in the not-yet. Another day of letting go, another day of hard choices, another day of white knuckling truth that doesn’t always feel so true. Sometimes the again and again-ness of all of it sits like a boulder on your aching chest, and you can feel it pressing a hole into your tired, tender heart. It’s no wonder you’re...

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What We Wouldn’t Know

What We Wouldn’t Know

A friend of mine stepped out of her skin last week, right out of a body worn down by 17 years of tumors and treatments. She was beautiful, and cancer is an evil mockery of creation. But here’s the thing – she wouldn’t have been who she was without it. Every day my friend chose joy, some days easily and some days more like a desperate wrestling match. But she wouldn’t have known the value of joy if she hadn’t felt the lure of hopelessness. Isn’t it true that the light always shines brightest against the darkest backdrop? Courage is most courageous when the fear is strongest. Hope is greatest when it defies the deepest despair. Redemption is most obvious where stories are the hardest. I don’t believe God caused my friend’s cancer. He didn’t cause my mom’s...

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One Foot, Two Foot, Sure Foot, True Foot

One Foot, Two Foot, Sure Foot, True Foot

I wonder how they felt there perched on the edge, those men and women and little ones getting ready to put themselves between impossible walls of water. I wonder if that first step down the bank was hard, with the unnatural path ahead stretching long and dark. The line must have been slow, all those people and animals carrying everything they owned, plodding on through the night hours. There was the pillar of fire back behind, a bright and terrifying promise of rescue from an army bent on their destruction, but up ahead all they could see were people’s backs and a flood piled high on either side. Safety was still a long walk away. That night the Israelites’ faith looked like footsteps. They were scared and angry at Moses, not sure they believed that God was...

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Ground Grief

Ground Grief

“Do we have any ground grief? I mean ground beef?” My daughter laughed at her verbal slip-up before pausing and tilting her head thoughtfully. “Ground grief. Hmm. I wonder what that would look like.” She shrugged, laughed again, and left me standing there with an unexpected lump in my throat and an unbidden series of scenes trundling through my head. A still image on the ultrasound screen, no heartbeat where there had been one before. A needle in my mom’s chest, pumping chemo through her weakening body, and then a box with her ashes laid shallow in Kentucky clay. My grandfather’s wide-mouthed laugh. My youngest wailing in my arms when we told her we would not be returning home to Papua New Guinea. Rocking my long-legged teenager as she sobbed while her classmates...

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Learning to Dance

Learning to Dance

A little leaf hitched a ride in the door on the bottom of my sock. It’s one of those days when the sky is just gray enough to make the rusts and yellows of the trees look a bit other-worldly, and I couldn’t make myself pause to put my shoes on. It wasn’t long ago that it was honeysuckle and fireflies pulling me outside, and before that it was dogwoods uncurling their petals like victory flags. Every day it’s easier to trace the branches that are letting go of their leaves, bare and unafraid and standing just as tall as ever. They settle in for another time of rest, because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Nature swings and sways its way through the rhythm of seasons like it’s slow dancing to a melody we can’t hear yet. It’s my fortieth November, and maybe I’m...

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