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A Simple Revelation

If everything that has come before, when it felt equally chaotic and uncertain in the present, has resulted in something that has shaped me into the woman I am today, then there is hope that this present moment will also join with all of the past and future “present moments” to make something beautiful.  God is here, shaping us and forming us, working in our midst, and inviting us to abundant life.

A Simple Revelation

I have found that in my life it is hard to make sense of how the present moment fits into the larger picture that is my journey. But if taken in chunks, say looking back over five years or a decade, general themes quickly emerge.  The clarity, or maybe more precisely the cohesion, that I yearned for in the moment and appeared illusive then, seems to have been there all along.  Something bigger seems to have been at work orchestrating the progression of something beautiful.

I am at one of those junctures right now, where my life seems to be in absolute chaos as I juggle the demands of pastoring a congregation and parenting three young boys. Yet in the midst of the chaos and the sense of feeling lost and directionless at times, I can look back on where I have been and see themes and currents that have led me to this point exactly. 

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Season of…

christmas tree

This season of the year is a time of lights and music, a season when we celebrate the love we have in our lives and exchange gifts with those we hold dear, a season of merriment… or at least it seems like it is supposed to be.  The reality is that for many this season is characterized instead by loss, grief, confusion, loneliness, and doubt.

Maybe the reality falls more in the middle for the majority of us.  As we approach Christmas we are mindful of the many gifts around us. Not just those wrapped up in bows, but the gifts of smiling children, the magic of anticipation, the joy shared in community gathering.  Yet as we open our eyes to the joy and hope around us, we are also more aware of our own brokenness, the losses we have endured and still ache for, the relationships that are crippled and in need of healing, the sadness and loneliness that we feel deep within.

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Deep Sadness

FW33Recently my name was added to the list of countless women who have lived through the trauma of a miscarriage. Sadly I won’t be the last name added, as the statistics suggest one out of every four women will become a part of this group that no one wants admission to.

My miscarriage took place during the first trimester, so we weren’t quite “out of the woods” so to speak. Yet going through this has been one of the hardest chapters of my life thus far, honestly maybe the hardest. The moment Brandon and I found out we were pregnant, my reality shifted. I was no longer a mother of three, there were going to be four. Every decision I made from that moment forward was with that new reality in mind. Beyond that I loved our baby. With the birth of each of our sons, I felt that there was no way that I could love any more, all of it had been divvied out. But when we found out about the next addition it was as if all of the sudden more love materialized. As soon as we found out about this baby, I loved him/her with my whole heart.

Now I know there are all sorts of biological reasons why miscarriages happen, especially those that take place in the first trimester. I also know that it happens far more often than most of us are aware of since for some reason it has become taboo to share news of experiencing this trauma. All of this knowledge didn’t ease the grief I felt, nor did it keep my heart from breaking. Regardless of all the “good” reasons that miscarriages happen, the only thing that matters to me at this point is that the future I had envisioned, the life that was going to be added to our family, the baby we expected to welcome to the world in July… well all of those dreams are gone.

Just as my reality shifted when we found out we were expecting, it did again this morning when we found out officially that we miscarried. The last week has changed me and exposed me to a pain that I wish I didn’t know existed. So why share this sadness? The world tells us that it is “private” and our burden to bare alone. While in a way that is an unavoidable truth— I know what it is like to feel completely alone even when surrounded by people who love me, I know what it is like to feel responsible for something that was completely beyond anyone’s control— I also know the truth is that we are not supposed to do life in that way. This whole process started as I preached a sermon on the story of the Good Samaritan, calling others to strive to love each other and to realize that sometimes that love means inviting each other into the most vulnerable times of our lives, the messy icky stuff that we want to pretend didn’t happen, the times when everything seems broken. Well here I am, this is the mess of life and we are called to do it together. There are no wounds that can be bandaged, but we do find strength in the support of each other. Thank you for lending your strength, thank you for loving the mess that is me.

To all those men and women who have walked this road before me, I know your pain is not over, I expect that it never really goes away, the “what ifs” will always remain. Your are in my thoughts and prayers and thank you for the strength that you display as you live life to the fullest even in the midst of that burden. To those who may join the ranks of this type of loss in the future, I will be here to love you through the mess and pain. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

So why the picture? There are no appropriate pictures to illustrate this chapter, but these three boys don’t understand at all what has been going on, yet they love me and provide me with the strength to move forward. I will continue to make peace with this reality and I am more grateful for them now (if that is even possible) than I ever have been.