Faith

Christian Fiction Permitted Me to Desire

My twin brother and I survived high school by reading. Home life was fundamentalist and chaotic: a father recovering from once-secret chemical abuse and a mother undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Some of the books were my father’s books. I read all of the Sherlock Holme’s mysteries. Some of the books were my brother’s: science […]

Responding to the Brokenness

When I was in high school my mom found out I was having sex. I was 16. And to make matters worse, it was with a boyfriend she didn’t approve of. And rightly so, he was no good for me. I was a broken teenager looking for love. When I found out she knew I […]

The Math of Friendship

Math has always been my hardest subject. I still count on my fingers and only know my times table by rote. If my life depended on solving a quadratic equation, I would be absent in the body and present with the Lord. But no math vexes me quite like the math of friendship with my […]

Does God Love My Body?

I’m half-crouched on grass at the base of a wood pile. As an eleven-year-old, I take care of the chickens in the nearby coop. I’m sucking in breaths, and so is my little sister as we stumble over the knobs of black walnuts fallen from the tree above and make occasional lunges at the pile. […]

Sexual Redemption in Community

Not many of us can find strength to resist temptation, perseverance in purity, and lasting forgiveness without community. Shepherds, teachers, mentors, leaders: You have people under your care who are engaging in self harm and dangerous behavior to externalize pain, and contemplating suicide to end pain because they are being crushed beneath suffering and sin. […]

New Life Starts in the Dark

Ok, God. I’m ready. I’ve been in the tomb for a while now and, FYI, as I lie here, struck down by chronic illness, unable to get out of bed for hour after hour, day after day, week after week . . . year after year . . . I am MORE than ready to […]

How Truth-Telling Overcomes Shame

In my mid-twenties, a fabulously handsome and wealthy man pursued me. He picked me up in his Jaguar, took me to expensive restaurants, and always called the next day to express how much he enjoyed our time together. While I appreciated the attention and affirmation, I felt somewhat ambivalent because I knew I was working overtime […]

Waiting in the Graveyard

In the first half of 2017, I was restless. I’d left my job as a teacher the previous year to write full time and though I’d written countless words, nothing seemed to be going anywhere. My blog was still a regular thing, but the book I thought I had in me wasn’t taking shape. There […]

“You Can Try to Bury Power, but it Won’t Stay There.”

This year’s Lenten season held special meaning for me, as I experienced it as the beginning of personal resurrection. I Had Become Completely Undone. I was as close to complete destruction as I have ever been. It was the final step in a death march of a journey, as I employed every method known to […]

Transformation and Resurrection

I don’t often feel sweaty hands or pit-in-the-stomach nerves, but when I do, I know it must be time for the bi-annual sectional rehearsal of the church choir. It is a much-anticipated evening where I stand in front of sixty sopranos and answer all of their most difficult questions. Will I sing measure 81 for […]

When Narrow Bends Wide

“Devil’s Backbone Trail?” I smirked to myself. How strange the ink read on the church bulletin, announcing the hike. “How ironically appropriate.” A gentle wind scurries past us at the trail head, whispering rumors of spring. She stirs drowsy-eyed in a valley that is barely awake. We tread lightly, least we summon the slumbering rattlesnakes […]

Breakthrough After Breakdown

This was my resurrection day. The day when all the pain would be redeemed. The day when I would stand and proclaim to the world what God has done. To release my pain to God’s will, for His use. Rewind to the previous night. I was on the bathroom floor, pen and journal in hand, […]