Papa // Joy & Grief

I started writing a book. I can’t believe I just wrote those words, honestly. It seems a little crazy. But, as we are approaching Christmas, it just felt fitting to share this chapter about Christmas, grieving, and my beloved Papa. I hope this resonates with you. It did my heart well to write this. — Chapter 4 – Papa             I was 23 years old when I found out my grandfather was Santa Claus. My grandfather, or “Papa” as he was most commonly and affectionately known, loved Christmas with every fiber of his being. The only things Papa loved more…

An Open Letter to the Church

Dear Church, My heart aches after seeing events this past weekend and the words that have followed. This hate, fighting, and venom remind me of the words the drove me away from you 14 years ago. When I was 18 years old, I walked away from you, Church. You don’t remember our break-up, but I know the people closest to me do. I was baptized within your walls as a child and I loved God with all my heart, but I had poor experiences with your people. Your people told me I was not enough. They told me that God…

No Side to the Tracks

“That’s on the wrong side of the tracks.” I’ve been hearing this phrase for years. I was first introduced to this idiom as a kid when people would toss it out flippantly as a phrase describing a location they felt was dangerous or undesirable. As an adult, it became regularly said when we opened the Martin Center and people were coming for basketball or volunteering. Then, a few years later when we opened 3rd Street Community Church. It’s surfaced again more recently since we’ve opened the ONE Center and people are attending events. Both buildings have the unfortunate coincidence of…

Nameless Women // The Woman Who Anoints Jesus

“I have to get there,” she thinks to herself. Sweating a bit from the run back to her house, she grabs the jar and stares at it for a moment. She rolls it around in her hands to admire the way the alabaster creates a marble swirl and feels cool to the touch. “I have never seen something so beautiful,” she mumbles out loud. “He is deserving of this and so much more.” She tucks the jar under her arm and runs out of the house. She races down the dirt road with so much haste that her head covering…

Nameless Women // Talitha Koum

He has never felt so helpless in his life. In twelve years of parenting, fear has never run so deep and failure has never felt so close. She’s been laying in this bed for what seems like an eternity, and each day she’s gotten worse. He is a leader in the local synagogue, a man of deep devotion and faith, but he hasn’t left her bedside for days. In the early days of her illness, he spent hours on end at the altar on his knees in prayer; but lately, he cannot drag himself from her side. His prayer feels…

Nameless Women // The Bleeding Woman

She steps her toe out of the tent. The sunlight hits her foot, and as she leans the rest of her body forward, she feels the magnitude of her movement in the pit of her stomach. Before her weight can move from the ball of her right foot to fill her heel, she shifts to her left and pulls herself back into the tent. Back under her covering. Back into the shade. Back into the darkness. She dances forward and back two more times before she pauses with her eyes closed. “Let all that I am praise the Lord. With…

I left the church, too.

For the past ten years, I have been working in the church and faith-based non-profit world. I also grew up in the church, making the decision to be baptized when I was in the second grade. I have loved the church and, for the most part, it has loved me right back. However, when I was about fifteen years old, I started to feel some frustrations. My once small church had become a mega-church and I was feeling lost in the shuffle. I felt like no one cared and like no one saw me; I was a number and nothing…

Reflecting on the Process

A few days ago, Corey preached from the book of Esther. He commissioned women to step into the leadership roles God has called us toward, and he challenged men to start calling up the women in their lives. As he spoke and shared a bit if our own story, I remembered something I wrote about three years ago. I was struggling to discover the kind of wife, mother, and leader I am. I was struggling to discern my gifts and who God made me to be. This journal entry is a bit of my processing. I dug this out of…

The Wilderness

It’s dark. Not literally, but no amount of sunlight or celebratory life events can seem to shake this looming feeling. It seems unending. You know the light is there because your life experience tells you the sun rises and sets each day; no season and no night lasts for eternity. But, regardless of reason, you cannot see an end in sight. You’ve been stuck here, waiting as patiently as you’re capable of, and now you’re starting to feel… trapped. Punished. Confused. Angry. Sometimes you want to cry, other times you want to scream. There’s no one particular person you want…

Mary

It’s late. She is surrounded in darkness, laying on her pallet begging sleep to come but unable to quiet the restlessness in her spirit. She’s unsure the reason but certain of the feeling: something evil is stirring. As dawn breaks, a familiar face bursts through the door. It’s one of the men her son has been spending most of his time with. Of all the people in her son’s life, by far he is her favorite among them. “Mary!” John shouts. Had it been any other night she would have been startled awake, but not today. Sleep never came. “It’s…