God doesn’t need to show up.

With the recent acts of injustice that are being shared all over social media right now, there is an outcry from pastors and believers to see God move. My Facebook and Instagram timelines are filled with people crying out for the God of justice to show up and do something in our world. This cry of lament is a healthy practice of the Christian faith. We see it from prophets like Jeremiah, kings like David, and in an entire Old Testament book called Lamentations. And, while it’s important to seek God in times of trouble and lay our burdens out…

For such a time as this // Isolation and Esther

I still remember being in my 9th grade science class and my teacher turning on the TV while saying, “Remember this moment. Someday, your kids are going to ask you where you were when 9/11 happened. You’ll be shocked how you remember every detail.” He’s right. I remember leaving English and seeing the panic on my teacher’s face as someone told her what happened. I remember seeing my classmates freaking out in the hallways and I didn’t believe what they were saying. I remember going to science and Mr. McGraw turning on the TV. I remember Edison Jr. High, the…

Papa // Joy & Grief

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 than Christmas were Grandma and his family. Papa grew up in-and-out of the foster system, and when he met my Grandma he vowed that their family would never experience what he did growing up. Papa did things like winning a guy’s suit in a poker game and then wearing that suit to a job interview…

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…

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…

Corey

He is 19 years old. He’s as thin as he stands tall and his confidence is unwavering from his lips but fragile in his heart. His mind believes in his purpose, but his spirit is afraid to give his all. He walks to the court, joins the crowd, and waits to be chosen. He’s the last man standing. Chosen by default. The game begins and his back and forth jog resembles a cardio workout more than a basketball game. The first quarter passes; he never touches the ball. Finally, he finds himself wide open on the 3-point arc. With no…