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The Words My Pa Gave to Me, Before He Died

I wasn't always so great at talking to my Dad. Especially during those teenage years, you know, it was so very awkward. I would have these things I needed to tell him though, some struggles I was going through, and so I would tell my Mom first. And then she'd have me and Dad sit down together in the living room, and somehow, we'd stumble it out. I'd tell him my hard things. And he'd challenge me in some areas where I was stuck.  And give me advice. Good grief, it was excruciating to work through. I hated it. And I loved it. And now, I'm so glad my Mom had us do that. At some point, a few years ago, I decided to call my Dad on Saturdays. Because it was always easy to talk to my Mom. I'd call and we could talk for an hour, no problem. But, I realized after years of this, tha[...]

When My Pa Went to Heaven

My Pa went on to be with Jesus, and I try hard to remember everything. I scratch around for everything I can possibly recall about him, for days. I lay down at night, and search the memories, the colors, the moving pictures, the snapshots in my head, because if I can just remember all the things, then somehow I can hold on to him. There I am again, about 10 or 11. It's Thanksgiving Day and we live down a dusty dirt road. Family is coming over for lunch and my Pa is down at the culvert, trying to clear out the dam that the beavers built, that's making the water flood over the road. My Mom tells me to take Dad coffee, in that plastic cup that we kept from Hardee's. Or was it McDonald's? Either way, I set out down the stretch of road, with a warm cup of coffee for my Pa, and I feel so [...]

Trailer Life

We're at this RV park in Arkansas. (My Pa has been sick, so since we were already driving through, we decided to take a week to be close to him and my family.) We usually live in church parking lots, so this is our first time to stay in an RV park. There's this fun and interesting community here. That's us, in Gigantor. When you drive Gigantor into an RV park, everyone comes out to meet you. There was the retired Marine driving by in his Jeep who stopped to chat for a bit. He was cussin' until we told him what we do. (Ministers to the church.) And then he was like, "Let me tell you something! I'm real proud of what you guys are doing. Real proud." And we were like, "Well, we're really proud of you, for serving our country." And he was like, "But, not as proud as I am of you." The[...]

How To Listen To What Your Life is Telling You

You never know what a year will bring. But, later, when those 365 revolutions around the sun, spin to a close, you can look back and see what the year was trying to tell you. I thumb through the pages of this last year and put my ear up closely to the pictures, the scribbling down of my days, to see if I can hear what my life is saying. To listen for what my Maker is telling me, through the reverberation of all those light-speeding moments. Just before the new year had birthed out new again, Haven was born. Haven, whose name means, "safe place." And "a refuge." We whispered into her that the One who made her is our safe place. He's our true Home. And that all of us are meant to be safe places for others. We prayed that she would become that sort of human, walking around[...]

If I Could Sit Down and Chat With My Younger Self

When I was carrying my first babe, I decided that about six months in, of my belly growing out big, that I would shut the computer down at the office, and clean out my desk drawers and just work from home. Only, I didn't have a boss anymore. And I didn't have any deadlines. Or a paycheck. Or emails to keep me busy. I just had me and my little babe stretching me out, and my house to clean and some food to cook. Honestly, it was overwhelming. I was so tired already. And how was I supposed to know what to do everyday? No one was there to assign me any tasks. No one was around to tell me if I was being successful or not. Well, there was Brent. But, he was figuring out what it meant to have a stay at home wife, so he encouraged me as best as he could, but I still felt a bit lost. [...]

How To Break Free From Fear And Angst

A little while ago, my friend told me the world is pretty much doomed. I used to walk around believing that. Like, it's just a matter of time, before the ground beneath us quakes and we all go under. But, then I prayed. Like, a thousand times that I wouldn't be so afraid. And I talked to my friends and mentors about my fears. And we prayed together. And I began to rebuke all the spirits of fear in my life. Fear of the future. Fear of scary things happening to my kids. Fear of persecution. Fear of shooters. Fear of bad guys breaking in. I started soaking my mind in some comforting Scriptures. Things like, The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all the universe! (Psalm 103: 19) God, You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your win[...]

On Motherhood and Marriage and Finding God

I love being a Momma. All of it. I love all of it. All the joy. The learning. The growing. The stretching. Yes, even the struggle and strain. I find that it's the hard parts of motherhood that help me most become like Jesus. When I was in my early twenties, I remember going on a bike ride in my neighborhood. (I was still living at home with my parents because I was afraid to leave home and there were other factors weighing in on that, but I won't get into that now.) Anyways, I remember passing this empty house. I stopped in my tracks and paused there on the road and wondered if I'd ever buy a house. Or marry a best friend. Or have any children. And I decided then, on that patch of pavement, that all of that was impossible. It wasn't that it was impossible for anybody else, it[...]

When You Feel A Hollowed Out Lonely Feeling

I feel a hollowed out lonely feeling today. The kind of feeling that doesn't budge. It just sits, glum, in the corner, scrunched over, like a dead weight. Is it because winter is here in Minnesota, where we sit on this asphalt parking lot next to this church? Is it because the days are shorter and the sun has only peeked out once this week, for a shy minute? Is it because of the shooting at that little country church in Texas? Where those people went to seek God together and they didn't know they wouldn't go out to eat afterwards? I feel the ache of that community. Weeping with those who weep. Is my hollowed out feeling because churches are meant to be safe places? Hospitals for souls? And yet it happens so little. This week, I got to witness this first hand, though. At th[...]

In Case You Never Had a Good, Good Daddy

Do you know what Jesus called God? He called Him, "Abba." It means "Daddy, my Daddy." Because that's who God is. He's a close, close Father. Now, maybe you didn't have a good daddy. Maybe your dad wasn't there. Or maybe he was there but he was always mad. Or busy. Or stressed. Or too tired to wrestle or talk. Maybe you always wanted to go on walks with your daddy but you felt like you were "too in the way" to ask. Or maybe your dad wasn't quite safe. God isn't that kind of daddy. All of us here, we're all prodigals. We're all a bit reckless at times. We don't trust our Father's heart. So, we run away. We get lost. But, God is the kind of Daddy who waits out on the front porch at sunrise and at dusk, and strains to catch a glimpse of us coming down that dusty dirt r[...]

The Lady With the Trampled Heart: A Story From the Road

I met this one lady. She made me coffee and I asked her about her life. She's had a hard one. Her parents were alcoholics. They never were really there for her, growing up. They eventually got a divorce. But, then when her daddy grew old, he got sick and her momma decided to take care of him. Her momma, who came to know Jesus later in life, overcame all the crud that her daddy had dished out, and she drove to his house everyday and took care of her ex-husband. But, then one day, that momma got sick. And this lady I met, she overcame all the hurts from her momma not really being there for her, when she was growing up, and she took care of her momma. Of all the siblings, she was the only one. She took care of her momma in that hospital bed, till eventually her momma wore plu[...]

How Road Life is Helping Us.

We've only been traveling for a couple weeks, but already we have these rhythms. We were hoping for a new cadence to our days. It's easy to get stuck in old ruts and old ways and patterns of thinking, and it's been nice for us to have this life-change to break those things up a little. A surprising answer to all my begging prayers, really. God, with His sense of humor. "Oh, you're overwhelmed with your house?" I can almost hear Him chuckling. "Let me give you something smaller, more manageable." "Remember how you wanted to read to the kids at night and calm their little hearts down at the end of the wild day?  Well, you can start now." We're almost done reading through Treasure Island. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is next. When we first get to the church parking lot, wher[...]

So This is What it Feels Like To Travel

We've been talking about traveling for over two months. And when we decidedly said, "yes," that we would pack up our things and go live in a pull along trailer, I imagined it, every spare minute. I packed in my head, while I was washing the dishes and while I was laying down at night. I imagined what it would be like to put our belongings in totes and how to velcro pictures on the walls of the RV and where we'd put the toys. I think this was my mind's way of preparing myself. Then we moved in, two weeks before we began traveling, because our friends  said that it's always good to move in, while you're still close to home, just in case you forget things. And while we were living in the trailer, that was parked out at our ministry's family camp, I imagined what it would be like to [...]

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