Waiting for Twilight

The summer before I got married Dave went away to teach at a program for brilliant young writers and I stayed in Pittsburgh, trying to finish my master’s thesis, which I hadn’t started. One night, there was a terrible thunderstorm, and my friend Rachael came over to keep me company. We drank mint juleps and […]

Overcoming “Not Enoughness”

Several years ago, we asked thousands of people from all across the world to pray for a very sick newborn child. We hoped with all our hearts that God would perform a miracle. But when my best friend’s curly-headed baby boy died in her arms, she was launched into a season of incapacitating sorrow. God […]

Revelation is Not a Guarantee

For a three-month stretch when I was seven or eight, I tried to learn how to pray. When I couldn’t sleep, I’d pull a children’s prayer book down from the shelf and move it to the crack of light that shone in from the hallway. I opened it up to the Lord’s Prayer and read […]

Why I’ll Never Put A Lily At My Mother’s Grave

When I was married, I gifted with great ceremony white lilies to three older women that I loved. My blood mother. My stepmother. My mother-in-law. I carried the long and elegant stems across the pebbles toward their wooden folding chairs. All three of them died young. Cancer, cancer, and a freakish surprise sort of thing […]


“White woman, why water full of sorrow flow from face?” The young woman’s Chenglish needed no translation and neither did my tears as she poured rosewater into a wooden bucket to soak my feet. She was wearing a Louis Vuitton jacket, sequined sweater and rice hat: a fashion style as common in Kunming, China as […]