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Like A Chicken

mom

I credit much of my understanding of God to my parents.  Neither are pastors leading churches, neither have masters degrees in theology, neither have the Bible memorized with verses at the ready for all of life’s struggles.  Yet, they showed me daily what God’s love looks like. Both modeled what it means to stand up for people who are in need of a friend, both modeled unconditionally love and acceptance for my sisters and I, and both trusted in God deeply in the good and tough times in our lives.

When thinking about who God is we often compare God’s being to our experience of fatherhood, due mainly to the Trinitarian language of God the Father.  Yet the Bible over and over uses feminine language as well to describe to us who God is and what God is doing in the world.  So as we approach mother’s day, I want to share with you how my own mother, Patti Marie Ashton, was and is a living parable for me of who God is and who God calls us to be.  Please understand, just like each of us my mother has her imperfections (not many though), the beauty of God is that God can work with those imperfections to create something truly amazing.  I believe her life testifies to that.

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Minivan

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Brandon and I are headed to a conference for a couple of days.  One of the joys of rural ministry is that attending conferences almost always includes a lengthy travel.  One of the joys of being a clergy couple and parents of toddlers, is that when we embark on our travels to said conferences, it almost always becomes a family affair, toting the toddlers to enjoy a couple of days in child care while we are fed spiritually and academically.

So today we set out on another adventure and I can’t help but be reminded as we face the 9+ hours between Miles City and Jackson Hole, of a book I adore by a woman named Denise Roy “My Monastery Is a Minivan: Where the Daily become Divine and the Routine Becomes Prayer.” Being absolutely honest, long road trips are TERRIFYING to me.  Hours upon hours sitting so close with not much to do.  Yet I am always surprised about how these trips end up being spiritual for our family. 

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

IMG_2381 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.Psalm 139:13-18

The Willett family is in Seattle.  The fun-filled 14 hour road trip was not what drew us to travel to the west coast.  Rather a new addition to the family, Brandon’s brother just received his first child into the world.  We seized the opportunity to spend a few days with Mike and his lovely wife and get to meet our newest niece who is just four weeks old.

As I sit with baby Lucca, I am in awe of God’s handy work.  The words of Psalm 139 above keep circling through my mind.  The entirety of the Psalm speaks of God’s presence and intimate involvement in our lives, from start to finish (I encourage you to grab your Bible and read the whole thing). As I look at her tiny little toes, I am humbled that God has known her long before I took this trip.

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