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Mary: Rising Above Shame

Seen and not Heard
My grandma had the most beautiful penmanship I have ever seen. As a little girl, I remember watching her write so slowly and so methodically and wishing that someday I would be able to write as neatly and beautifully as she did.

Sadly, that never happened.

Now, as I think back over those times, it isn’t only her penmanship I admire; it is what she was writing. My grandma was an encourager. I remember her spending hours sitting and writing cards and notes of encouragement. She never really talked about. She didn’t announce that she was going to the mailbox so she could mail her 20 cards for the day. She didn’t lament the time she spent or even mention it in passing. For years, she quietly wrote her notes and mailed them.

My grandma was a woman whose actions spoke more loudly than any words ever could. My grandpa was a bit of a fiery, angry little man. I remember him standing at the edge of our dirt road yelling at the drivers of cars he thought were driving too fa…
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Teaching Grace: Jesus Must Have Been a "Kid Person"

Kid People:
I’m not a kid person.

I know.  I know.  I’m a woman.  I’m a mom.  Statistically speaking, I should be a kid person; however, I can absolutely assure you that I am, in fact, not a kid person.  

I like my own kid, so I feel like that should count for something, but I’ve also raised that kid and talked to her like a little adult since she was...well...born.  I don’t do baby talk.  I feel like a complete moron when I even attempt to talk like that.  It’s not natural to me AT ALL, and it has to be obvious to even the youngest audience that it is not my forte.  

And to all of you kid people out there:  God bless you.  I don’t know how you do it, but God bless your souls.  You have a gift.  Seriously, an amazing gift that God did not bless me with!

My brother has 4 kids: an 11 year old daughter and sons that are 9, 4, and 2 (God bless his soul as well).  I spent the weekend with them, and I didn’t even lock myself in a bathroom or bedroom one time, so I consider that a complete win!  …

More than I can Handle

“If God closes a door” and Other Cliches that should be Retired:
I grew up on Christian cliches. They were plastered on posters in my Sunday School rooms, tossed around freely at church camp, and generally spouted every time the church doors were open.

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
“If he leads you to it, he’ll lead you through it.”
“When God closes a door, he opens a window.”
“Let go and let God.”
“God helps those who helps themselves.”
“If it’s God’s will…”
“Jesus, take the wheel.”

Okay, that last one might be a country song and not a Christian cliche, but it fits, right?!

I’d love to take apart each one of these cliches, and maybe someday I’ll do a series on them, but today, today I just want to think about one of them. The first one. The biggest offender. “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

False.
Not true.
Bold-faced lie.

“God will never give you more than you can handle,” but...

I’m not entirely sure where this cliche originated, but I think it is fr…

You are Enough

Middle School Angst
I met her in 7th grade. Her name was Angie. And she hated me. And that is a problem when your class is a whopping 100 kids, and you only have one honors class for each subject. Thank God she wasn’t musical at all, or we probably would have had every single class together in junior high and maybe even high school. She didn’t go out of her way to be mean to me; she just made it blatantly obvious that she hated me whenever she got the chance. You know, run of the mill 90s girl drama before social media (thank you, Jesus, for that small blessing).
I survived middle school with Angie, and we moved on to high school. We had many of the same friends, but I took more of the sporty, involved route, and she took more of the rebel, party route. We still had tons of classes together, and she still expressed her hatred of me whenever she had the chance, still with no explanation.

Finally, during my junior year, we were in a club together, and we were elected President a…

The Whisper: Remembering to Listen for God in the Stillness

Monday Morning Confessional:
I have a confession:

Sometimes I go to random churches by myself to worship anonymously.

Hear me out here: I love my church (and no I don’t have that tshirt). My church is amazing. I’m not sure where else you could go and find such a grace-filled group of broken misfits who are allowing God to work through them in absolutely incredible ways.

But sometimes, sometimes I just need to be in a place where I can worship alone and anonymously, where no one knows me, where no one is looking at me, and where I can just blend in.

If you’ve ever worked or served front and center in a church, I think you know what I mean.

Grandma’s Wisdom:
I was fortunate enough to grow up right up the road from my grandparents. During the summer, my brother and I would ride our bikes down the road and sit on their porch with them, drinking coke out of glass bottles (no, I’m not throwing him under the bus today. You’re welcome, Jeremy). We spent our holidays there, mornings before school…

Not Today, Satan: Remembering the Truth in the Midst of Satan's Lies

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Other Lies we tell Kids: I’m not sure if I ever believed in Santa.

Growing up, my family members were professional sarcasm slingers and outstanding kings of creativity.  Consequently, it took immense amounts of discernment to actually know when the truth was being told. I spent years with my brother telling me I was adopted and from a different planet.  I think it might have been his sole purpose in life to destroy every one of my childhood paradigms!

So, you can imagine what he did with Santa.  

I was probably around five or six when he systematically tore apart every detail of the Santa myth for me.  I don’t know how much I actually believed in Santa at that point, but I know that I was done after that! What’s funny about this, is that he spent hours of our childhood trying to convince me of all of these random tales my parents would have killed him for, but when he had the opportunity to expand on the Santa tale, he chose to break it apart and tell…

Knowing your Limits: Confessions of a Recovering "Do-it-All"

Limits

There was one day of volleyball tryouts that I dreaded more than any others.  The thought of that day gave me anxiety, caused me to lose sleep, and was almost enough to make me forego playing volleyball in high school.

The 2 mile run.

I loathed running in middle school, high school, and, honestly, throughout the first 37 years of my life.  Running represented all of my weaknesses and limitations. I was never a skinny girl. In fact, throughout my late elementary years, I was a bit on the round side.  I hit puberty between 5th and 6th grade and shot up, but I still didn’t “thin out.” And, I don’t know if you ever really get over being the “fat kid” in elementary school.  So, when I was forced to do a timed run for volleyball tryouts, every insecurity and all of my limits dominated my thoughts.

We had 20 minutes to run 2 miles.  The reality of this was that I never had a problem actually making my 2 miles in 20 minutes, but the fear that I wouldn’t was almost paralyzing to me.  O…


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