Small Enough to Practice Gratitude

“Only with great difficulty does a shaft of light pierce the armor of self-righteousness.” Lois Wilson If you had told me five years ago that I would get to a place where I practiced gratitude, I would have laughed. I would have tossed my head back like Sarah, heavy with a heart of pain and cynicism, when God spoke His crazy promise to her. My heart has been old for much too long. It has seen long seasons of inexplicable barrenness both for me and people I love. For me,… Continue reading Small Enough to Practice Gratitude

Why Am I So Defensive?

“Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?” My friend kindly cut me with her question, because she wanted more for me than what I was choosing. We’d spent almost an hour sitting and talking, and I was using our time to explain that someone I cared about was hurting me. I had offered my case, qualifying each piece of my pain with a justification for why they needed to see things my way and change.  Right or happy? Were these mutually exclusive? Was my demand to… Continue reading Why Am I So Defensive?

A Closer Look at Parenting

I am in the throes of parenting a three year old little girl.  This girl has a kind and sensitive heart. She’s a watcher of people, and very aware of what her heart wants. She is also willful and intense. She comes by it honestly.  Though I am trained to help adults stumble to hope through conversation, I definitely have no training in how to be strong and bigger than she is when she is having a meltdown, or expressing the hundredth need of the hour. Many days, I feel… Continue reading A Closer Look at Parenting

Seeing In the Dark

I have always wanted to name things.  Friends laugh at how quickly I diagnose public personalities, and how hyper-aware I am of my own inner-workings. I name, I judge, I scramble to come up with the answer inside myself to try to face what I need to face. Seeing and speaking also flow from me, when I remember that the Spirit is running the show, in a way that blesses clients and friends in lonely and confused places. It’s a gift that saw me through a lot of confusion growing… Continue reading Seeing In the Dark

Naomi

. “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara [bitter]; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi when He has brought calamity upon me?” Ruth 1:20-21 It must take a lot of pain to bring a woman whose name means “sweet and delightful” to throw such a precious piece of identity aside. Her pain must have been crushing, buckling her to the ground and pushing her to take on another identity all… Continue reading Naomi

Longing for Strong Arms

 . We are standing out in the shallow surf, my dad and I, at the point where the waves break and meet the beach. It is a blessed summer, and we are on family vacation at Holden Beach, North Carolina.  I am six years old, and this is the time of year I get to have my dad’s undivided attention.  He is not working or managing life at home; he is resting and playing with me and my sister. I am tossing my head back as he throws me into… Continue reading Longing for Strong Arms

His Faithfulness

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 I find it daunting to stand up strong the last week of December, looking into the horizon of the new year.  I never quite know how to put away my cherished season of Advent wonder and frankly most years, I do not want to let go of the richness and security that the Christmas season brings me faithfully every year.  I know that for… Continue reading His Faithfulness

Unlikely Redemption

“When Emmanuel came, he disappointed expectations of many; they failed to see that the reality was better than their expectations…” Miroslav Volf I wonder how often I miss the Father’s redemptive intervention in my daily life because it doesn’t look like the salvation I expect.  My conversations with God usually go like this: I direct Him to the ache I most need Him to meet, but then keep my self-assured grip around what I believe would be best.  It’s funny how this kind of prayer does nothing to hush the… Continue reading Unlikely Redemption

Patience

Do you know where my mind goes when someone asks me to think about and write on the “Fruits of the Spirit?” I remember lemonade and animal crackers; sitting in my little Sunday school chair while my sweet teacher deftly places felt pieces of different fruits onto our green felt board. She asks her little flock of second graders where we have been able to demonstrate love, joy and self-control this past week. She encourages us to think about showing these qualities to our friends and family in the coming… Continue reading Patience

Show Up

It is hard for me to really show up in mutual conversations. I am sure this is not uncommon, but given that I make a living asking questions and listening to intimate places in women’s’ hearts, this shocks me a little. My job interview five years ago at Barnabas was intimidating: two counselors whom I respected (and feared a little), met with me for several hours. I left the interview in a fog. I remember only one question: “How do you relate to your friends as different than your clients?”… Continue reading Show Up