Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thoughts on Hope and Sadness


Photo credit: Southern Grace Photography

I sometimes wonder why others don’t see it or feel it. Life is sad. People are hurting. Why aren’t more people sad? But sadness doesn’t sell well, and it doesn’t seem to preach well either. But it’s there. It’s there in our families and ministries. It’s there in our churches and friendships. ~ Jonathan Trotter

I stared at the screen, smarting at the editorial suggestion: “I am not sure about these details. People who don’t know the whole story may wonder what you did wrong to experience these things.”

To tell the truth means to tell it naked, the story unprotected by modesty’s embellishments. I had described uncomfortable truths about the Christian dating scene, and my editor sent reality back. It wouldn’t sell. It may not even be believed. 

The preferred narrative is positive. God doesn’t lead people into pain.

So I took out lines to blur the story, allowing the imagination to smudge hard facts. Things may be bad, but we don't have to know they are that bad.

Isn’t this how we live -- dressing up our realities and not naming the evil we co-exist with every day?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wandering 2017: Across the Wide Missouri

Hwy 41, crossing the Missouri river

We drove out of Them Hills yesterday, as my Grammy used to call the Ozark mountains long after she had left them for good. We went north, driving until the waves of rock became ripples of earth, until the tangled forests gave way to rows of corn and soy. We went until the sky grew bigger than my no-longer-little brother can ever remember seeing it.

There are six of us packed into my mom's Ford Explorer, almost my whole family (excepting the married brother), plus Dolly and Rascal, our mildly neurotic Jack Russell Terriers. Our ten-day tour of the Midwest is going to be an adventure, but if there is one thing my family has always done well, it's adventuring.


Monday, January 30, 2017

The Wordless Year

When 2016 began, I didn't intend to take a year off writing. But I did. As each month folded in on itself, I simply lost the will to fight my mounting writer's block.

The year 2015 had been difficult, ushering unexpected changes into the path I thought I was meant to be walking. Plans faded. Foundations crumbled. Relationships snapped under the pressure of truth. And as 2016 began, I found my thoughts so confused there seemed to be no words that could make sense out of them.

I've written before about disorientation. I just didn't expect it to come so severely into my life once again from such a surprising direction. But it did, and lacking answers to my mind-numbing questions, I found myself unable to write.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Who Can You Trust?

"Everybody lies."

My nineteen-year-old eyes widened as I listened, speechless. How could my fiancé excuse his dishonesty like that? How could he think that way? He was a Christian. We read the Bible together. I trusted him.

How could he lie to me?

In the aftermath of my teenage betrayal, I was baptized into adulthood in a pool of tears. It felt shocking and terrible, but it was only the beginning. Months and then years began to normalize the experience. Best friends stab you in the back. Boyfriends are never who they appear to be. Pastors let you down. Churches are full of hypocrites. I felt like the psalmist lamenting in Psalm 14:2-3, "The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one."

Eventually, cynicism eclipsed joy as I began to see life as a game of survival. There was only one rule: Trust no one.

Read more at Boundless.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Love is a Tree in Winter

Photo credit


Love is a tree that shimmers verdant light on those who rest in its green shade. It is safety and rest. Love is the home we always long for, even when we sit in our living rooms, feet propped up on the coffee table.

Sometimes, love finds us. We open our closet doors one morning to discover Narnia in the spring. We nestle our toes into the cool grass and lean our heads back against the rough of bark. Like the fabled Mary, we doze beside sweet Afton’s bank -- fearless. Until we wake up in the waste land, alone and haunted by taunting memories.