Survivor Guilt

There were three of us in our congregation desperately ill at the same time: Liz, Lora, and Lori.  None of us saw it coming.  All of us thought we’d beat it when it did arrive. We are all believers. We all had hundreds of people praying for us. We all have husbands and children who ...

Muddy, But Not Alone

A thought that has been distinct in my world the last few years mirrors the story of a child frightened to sleep alone in her room.  Her worn-out mom reassured her, “Have you tried praying?  Jesus is always with you.  Don’t you believe that?”  The little girl replied, “Sure, I do.  But right now I ...

Sinking Into the Mud

Kansas heat can kill farm animals if they run out of water.  So in third grade, I was given the job of watering the hogs twice a day during the summer.  Everyone else was in the field or working in town.  I was honored to have a job that carried so much weight, that Dad ...

Absence with a Presence

Last week, we were all in awe as we saw images of a new planet being born:  PDS 70, the new baby in the solar system.  It was incredible to see the world focused on our God, still at work on His world, creatively honing and adding, when often all we see are the things ...

Absence with a Purpose

Letting go of kids exposes a raw place in my soul, and an unyielding lump in my throat.  I cried every time they started a new phase of life:  preschool, kindergarten, high school, college, marriage.  Something inside a parent dies a little every time a child crosses another threshold.  And yet, deep down, we know ...

The Presence of Absence

After an unusually wet spring and a strong windstorm, a 40-foot oak tree fell in our front yard.  We were able to find a tree guy nearby to cut it up and haul it away, and even grind the stump that same day.  To the neighbor walking her dog, or the occasional visitor from across ...

When Facts Fail Us

We recited the numbers every day in 5th grade science class as soon as we entered Mr. Vickers’ classroom.  He would ask, “How far away is the sun?”  We would respond in singsong unison, “93 million miles.”  Then, “How fast does light travel?”  Followed by, “186,000 miles per second.”   I had no idea what those ...

A Surprise Party

I don’t like surprises.  I like to pick out my own gifts, plan my pregnancies, and I despise surprise parties if they’re for me.  I am a control freak at heart, and I am in recovery from that more than any health issue I have.  Somehow that tendency lends itself to doubting the God who ...

Widening the Margin

It is critical in life to maintain margin.  I have been a poor ambassador for this concept most of my life.  I have filled every page to the maximum space and word count. I have loaded every minute and every day with whatever I personally deemed most worthy.  And in the process I have lost focus, ...

The Investigator

I’ve always known myself to be a visual learner.  I recently learned my Enneagram and if you’ve been reading along for awhile, you’ll shake your head knowingly:  I am a “Five with a Four Wing.”  The recent Enneagram trend identifies this as the Investigator. I am cerebral and intense, easily fixated on mastering something, an information ...