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…

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…

Back to Reality

Last weekend I got to be part of a youth retreat called EPIC. EPIC is an acronym that stands for Every Person Is Crucial. The entire weekend is committed to helping youth understand that they matter and they are beautiful parts of God’s Kingdom and work here on earth. The weekend is full of spiritual highs, worshipful moments, and emotional life processing. This morning I was at the gym and I had a surreal moment where I realized, “This is it. We’re just back to reality, that quick.” I’m sitting there sweating and wishing I was literally anywhere but working…

Family

I live a pretty weird life. There’s nothing conventional about the way I do things and honestly, I’m okay with it. When I was four, I was involved in a freak pencil accident that blinded my left eye and caused me to wear glasses, eye patches, a contact lens, and a whole bunch of other stuff. My brothers started calling me “The Terminator” because of that scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face melts off and reveals a metal skull. Apparently my metal eye patch covered in stickers (I was four, what did you think I’d do with it?) reminded them of…

Mission and Reconciliation

Grad school is a lot. With every new assignment, my mind is stretched in ways that make my head spin, my faith grow, and my husband wonder if I’m still sane. I just wrapped up a final project for a course titled “Biblical Theology of Mission.” In my mind, this course was going to be cake. I’ve been working in the church/nonprofit/mission world for nearly ten years. My husband and I’s missional community for our church grew so rapidly in our city that we ended up as church planters. I’ve experienced so many wins and losses that my decade-long ministry…

Nameless Women // Acknowledged. Empowered. Remembered.

I’ve heard women say they cannot get behind Christianity because it is a religion that does not celebrate women. Nothing hits me like a dagger straight to the heart more than hearing this, because this means these women have not encountered men who are living as examples of Jesus Christ, nor have they been introduced to the bondage-breaking, public rebel Jesus who celebrated women everywhere. Some of the people most freed, most loved, and most protected by Jesus are the bold, brave, risk-taking women he came across. The Biblical view of women is one of respect, value, and invitation. When…