Hope

Digging Deep For the Promises

On the way home from church today we found trees blown down across the road. Huge branches blocking our path, dangerous obstacles getting in our way, preventing us from continuing our journey. One kid is ill and the wind howls outside. And all the leaves that had hung on until now, swirl in the air. […]

In Silence-My Advent Prayer

I am grateful, even at my most distracted.  Petulant, distant, or disagreeable, God is faithful. In these times (when I am a mess), I am reminded of God’s goodness, and the ways God works.    In silence.   As a way of centering me, as a way of recapturing my attention, God has recently been answering prayers […]

Las Posadas: Enacting the Paradox of Advent

Advent is a time of waiting, a longing for Messiah in a special way, looking back to the first coming of Jesus as a baby and forward to the second coming of Christ as King. Seasonal Scripture readings link both “advents,” making Advent a season of paradox. Christians celebrate an already-but-not-yet faith: Christ has come, […]

There is no integrity without GRIT

I considered writing about my wish to offer some magic bullet encouragement. About wishing that I could assure you that everything is going to be alright, and that if your prayers are fervent enough, you’ve lived sufficiently righteously, etc., essentially held your breath long enough, bearing your burdens in silence, then everything would be okay. […]

The Pain and the Joy of Rebirth

Birth is messy and beautiful, extraordinary and common; it’s loss and separation and connection and hope all at once. Rebirth, I’m learning, is much the same. I have always had a plan for my life: college in four years with a major in English, graduate school and more degrees in English, then a tenure track […]

When Houseplants Are Zombies of the Apocalypse

Last night, after I finished packing for a long trip, I decided to move all my succulents outside for the duration of our weeklong vacation. I have nine pots of various sizes on the bookshelves in our front room: one tiny barrel cacti, four plants that look like desert seaweed, and assorted echeveria in dark […]

Solitude: To Hear God I Have to Get Past My Own Junk

“Solitude is a crucible” my friend preaches. She’s paraphrasing Henri Nouwen from Way of the Heart, who calls solitude a “furnace of transformation.” The kind of solitude I imagine, a span of time spent outdoors, is compelling. But I’m about to realize that another kind of solitude I experience every day I often avoid. Finishing […]

Where Faith and Fear Collide

For a long time I thought that faith was the absence of fear. That if I had faith, I wouldn’t ever be afraid. That in my faith, my anxiety would be gone, my uncertainty would disappear and my crooked paths would all be made straight. But that has not been my experience. I look at […]

Finding Freedom from My Fears

I first read about the angel Gabriel’s exhortation to Fear Not! when I was in my early twenties. My initial thought was, Not fearing is an option? I didn’t know I had a choice. As far back as I have memory, I have memory of being afraid.  My fears did not attach to tangible objects […]