Suffering

Simplicity and Justice

I remember Tom and Jerry, Leave it to Beaver, and Sunday paper with comics mom cut out and taped on the refrigerator door. I remember Laurel & Hardy, The Rifleman, and watching boxing or NFL with Dad in between Sunday services when I was supposed to be napping on the bed or on the floor. […]

Sleepless in Spring

I took a walk today and I looked up at the bright blue spring sky popping against bright green leaves on old oak trees and I cried because today my fourth child is eighteen months old, and WE ARE STILL HERE. Pandemic, homeschooling, batshit crazy world but here we are.  Almost two and a half […]

Enduring Patience

Patience. We wait. We wait for deliverance. We wait for the moment we are saved from trials.   And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4 KJV   My father waited patiently for that moment of deliverance. He lay face down […]

These Three Lines

Creepy Lines His classmates trickle into school, trapped Brady-Bunch style in their respective squares. Each boasts a customized backdrop: outer space, Minecraft, background blur, a zoo . . . and Mom-zilla fixing to eat her offspring for breakfast. “Your mom must be thrilled with your background!” my son’s teacher types in the chat. I read […]

Tree Hugger

I am a literal tree hugger, and my husband can vouch for it. I’ve embarrassed him often by curling my arms and cheek around a gnarly old trunk. My favorite trees are the sprawling, ancient live oaks that grow where I grew up. We planted one in our backyard a few summers ago, a tiny […]

Hope Feed

  I saw a picture on social media the other day, and it read, “Are we sure 2020 is gone?” I chuckled, like most, with a sense of sobriety  especially after the events at the Capitol,  so we’re all asking, “What is going on?”   We used to go on social media to get a […]

Prayer in the Night Review

After the success of Tish Harrison Warren’s bestseller, Liturgy of the Ordinary, her new book, Prayer in the Night comes out January 26. Combination memoir, rich theological work, and cultural commentary, this book is truly remarkable. It is about the very real and common human struggle with theodicy (the problem of evil) and anxiety in […]

Hurting Yet Whole

Adaptation from Hurting Yet Whole: Reconciling Body and Spirit in Chronic Pain and Illness  by Liuan Huska Chapter 10, “A Community of Wounded Healers” We are not a few weeks post-Advent, but I am ready to repent and lament again. Call me melancholy, but Advent and Lent are my favorite seasons in the church calendar. […]

The Hope of Remembering

In art class one day, I was attempting to paint a landscape with oil colors. I couldn’t get a particular area just right. It seemed off. I began to pull my canvas off the easel when my teacher stopped me. “What are you doing, Paula Frances?” “I’m going to start over. It doesn’t look right.” […]

Will You Drink?

  And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;     for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation     through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God,     by which the rising sun […]

Steadfast in the Seasons

I the Lord do not change. -Malachi 3:6 The sky has hardened into an iron atmosphere, layering itself with blankets of clouds thick and full of snow, which will no doubt spill to earth within days. As I inhale the heavy air into my lungs, it no longer soothes; it stings. I dig my hands […]

W(hole)

With summer in the rearview mirror, Christmas in the U.S. officially begins. I pretend to be disgusted with this premature nod to my favorite holiday. I may even roll my eyes and heave out a very audible sigh as I push past the seasonal aisle at Target (where green and red replaced sequins study pillows […]

How We Remember Matters

When I was in my early 20s I had a few opportunities to go up in a small plane. Jets are fine, but have you been up in a small plane? I mean a real small plane that’s got you just feet above the cracked tarmac: A plane with windows you crank to open so […]

All That Remains

The two of them stand in the shadows—shoulder to shoulder, side by side. I gaze at their backsides, for their faces are fixed on the black and white images moving on the screen before them. I sense sadness in their shadows. I am very young, for as I reflect on the date it is November […]

Loosening My Grip

The klaxon sound of the motion detector alarm rouses me unceremoniously. My adrenaline is immediately pumping. I narrowly miss stepping on the dog in her little bed as I rush to get to mom’s bedroom. I need to reach her before she takes too many steps on her own. One night I didn’t make it […]

The Freedom of Dependence

Two years ago I stepped back into “normal” life after brain surgery.  In May of 2018, I was in a hospital room needing help to sit up in the bed. In August of 2018, just two and 1/2 months later, I was walking back into work as if nothing had happened . . . but […]