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 […]

Revival Is Already Happening: An Interview with Carly Gelsinger

I’ve long appreciated Carly Gelsinger’s honesty about spiritual abuse and recovering from try-hard, never-enough Christianity. She wrote a memoir about her experience with radical faith, called Once You Go In, and I was eager to interview her. With so many revelations about abusive leaders coming out, I think it’s important we talk honestly about the appeal toxic […]

A Mutt, a Boxing Ring, and a Fight for Forgiveness

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb…. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in […]

I have fear. I have faith.

I have fear. I have faith. I wrote those two short sentences this morning in the “I Am” section of my journal. Yes, I do positive affirmations. No, it’s not corny & yes, it really does work. It stuck out to me today because first, it felt out of the blue. I.e. where did that […]

Your Fear Will Make You Strong…a Lesson in Faith and Trust (or first feeling broken and then redeemed)

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace … 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV) My Beloved lets me sleep late some mornings. It is one of the many gifts he gives me…rest. I tried committing to resting my temple this weekend, I promised the people who love me that I would, and have mostly […]

Fear and Faith in the Desert Places

I love Robert Frost’s poem “Desert Places.” Typical of Frost, the speaker in this poem describes a natural environment of forests, fields, and snow. But this isn’t a beautiful or peaceful place. Quite the opposite: it’s a place of darkness, cold, and isolation–it’s a menacing and threatening place. For me, the genius of the poem […]

Fears of Writing Books and Belonging to a Place

“Religion starts, as Frost said poems do, with a lump in the throat, to put it mildly, or with the bush going up in flames, the rain of flowers, the dove coming down out to the sky.” “Each of them responds to Something for which words like shalom, oneness, God even, are only pallid souvenirs” […]

Dear Portia: The Spiraling Journey of Forgiveness

How Do We Know When We’re Done Forgiving? Dear Portia, What does forgiveness look like when you work through the process and do your best, but either the offender never acknowledges their sin or they continue to offend? Not asking about boundaries, that’s pretty clear to me, but how do we know when we’re done? […]

A Good Like That

I love to re-read books. Familiar stories refresh my tired soul like a cool stream. So when I picked up C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra once again, I expected comfort. I hoped the book would distract my mind from the knifelike pains that endometriosis has been delivering to my pelvis since January. Instead, Perelandra bowled me […]

The Climb

“You cannot stay on the summit forever. You have to come down again… So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below; But what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, But one has seen. There is […]

Why My Family Reads Books with Working Class Characters

I’m driving down Lexington to drop off my daughter at her morning park and recreation camp. We pass over the railroad, and for the first time she notices the mobile homes to the right. It’s a “trailer court,” I tell her, and then I search for its synonyms: “trailer park…mobile home park.” “What’s it like […]