• Birth,  Cancer,  death,  Grief,  life,  Love,  Worship

    And Own that Love is Heaven

    This time last year we knew. Another tumor had presented and Mom’s doctor just told us that the treatment wasn’t working. Mom realized without trying to that she would not be with us much longer and she made peace with it, mostly. She was ready for her pain to end, she was ready to be done fighting, she was ready to “be with Jesus.” She wasn’t ready to say goodbye; really, for us to mourn her. She didn’t want to be the cause of our grief. So as she laid down to get through another headache and imagined at any point she may not wake up, she made us promise her that this…

  • Christian Living,  Grief,  Jesus Christ,  life,  Worship

    Death, Where is your Sting?

    I sit in the back of the room because we are late – again – and because there is a table here with room for coffee and coloring books. I am tired. Deep tired. Tired of the platitudes and the things that are not working right now, but I come because I’m also hopeful. Because getting up on Sunday morning and walking into a church building is a liturgy in itself for me. It’s a pattern I am hoping will sync me into something (I’m not totally sure what yet). The message is about Jesus so the music is about Jesus and it’s lovely. But a lyric hits the screen…

  • Cancer,  death,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Worship

    When Those Songs Play

    There is a station on my Pandora account – I named it “My Nest” – which I have thumbed up and thumbed down to perfection. Just about every song is deeply meaningful to me because this station has played through 2 unique pregnancies and their furiously lovely births, a dying dog, 3 moving days, the cancer news from California, all the breath-holding and fervent praying, and now it plays over my mourning. When my mom had surgery to remove the tumor we still thought could be some sort of sinus infection, the music and lyrics matched every atom of my limbo. Peace and anxiety swirled around and up to a God…

  • Christian Living,  God,  Worship

    How Marvelous

    It smelled clean – cologne and clorox – and the adolescent pheromones ran high. Our carpet echoed our Sister Church in burgundy bold. The chairs interlocked and faced the altar where wide steps landed on a deep stage with room for the most important ones. We stared at the plexiglass protecting the bathtub under a comically tall, thin gold cross. We sang hymns projected on the screens between house-made graphics of giant hands and mountains and rays of sun through clouds. I preferred the hymnal and bobbed my eyes to the notes as we sang mostly on key to majestic piano chords. Home. I felt so at home. I didn’t know…

  • Christian Living,  creativity,  God,  Reading,  Worship

    Wilting Well

    ´╗┐The roses wilt and I let them stay here, dying in the dingy vase by the winter-dirtied window. They sit on the food-stained tablecloth in the kitchen I have nested into comfortable beauty – it’s home with dirt and all. Because roses die lovely and I catch them in my quotidian busy, find in them a small sabbath while I labor. May I die lovely, too. In the dingy vase of this imperfect life – full of pain and aches of still-not-getting-it, full of disasters most unnatural, winters that make my lenses foggy, too. When I miss the beauty in decomposing – didn’t he say he made all things new?…

  • Birth,  God,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  Love,  Pregnancy,  Worship

    Eve & Mary & A Baby Bump

    Life swells. Like a bruise, like a flower. It hiccups and blossoms and jolts about with new growth and this is never more clear than during pregnancy. And Mary’s swollen stomach wasn’t the start, wasn’t the end, but was in the middle of this growing, this death-becoming-life. We get word pictures of creation in labor at the moment of Jesus’ arrival. As this ordinary Jewish woman felt a miracle in her womb, every living cell felt it, too. But it wasn’t the beginning of a story toward redemption and it wasn’t the end of the work to be done. It was a climax. I love that image of Eve and…

  • Beauty,  Cancer,  Christian Living,  God,  Jesus Christ,  Kingdom,  Love,  Worship

    In The Likely Event that I Don't Get a Yearly Update In the Mail

    I didn’t get the Christmas New Year card out. Maybe I’ll squeeze it into the “Hey, we’re only a few days in and you know, life so it’s still acceptable for you to receive this” window. Probably not. I didn’t get the card out to tell everyone what a stupid, awesome, horrible, beautiful year we had. And I feel more compelled than I have in other years because this was a year. I mean, a damn year. This year earned her place in nostalgia – good and bad and ugly and lovely all swirling together in our memories. This year we saw God so.close. So up in our business that…

  • Christian Living,  Family,  God,  Holidays,  Home,  Love,  Worship

    Christmas Love

    In my home we eat the leftover Turkey while we give in to Christmas. I live by a strict code: no Holy or Silent Nights until after Thanksgiving. Honoring Autumn’s last hurrah is – to me – an ethical imperative. But come Black Friday I am ready. The pine-scented candles are lit, Bing and Co. serenade my living room on an endless loop, and I’m a sucker for Holiday-themed treats to share. And really this time of year is all about that to me. I am swept up in nostalgia, embracing every novelty of Christmas-past-come-now. It is not particularly about Jesus. Not particularly about his birth or his message. Not…

  • Family,  God,  Home,  Love,  Motherhood,  Worship

    When Baby Cries Make You Superwoman

    That feeling rises up from the gut. A fullness that tightens bones and organs and reaches my throat like a noose. Things are piling up and toppling over and my hands are far too small to catch it all. I am not big enough for this. I’m not mature enough. I’m not wise enough. I’m not disciplined enough and I don’t have enough. And just when my heart starts pounding he cries from the other room and I have to take a break from my worry to tend to his. Those delicious little arms wrap tight around his Momma’s neck while he forgets his nightmare and softens, whimpers, nuzzles in.…

  • Cancer,  Friends,  God,  Love,  Worship

    Because God Doesn't Always Make You Feel Better

    Today I am done. Today the kids win. The cancer crap wins. The pregnancy wins. Today life gets to cackle at the mess she’s made me. You win, life. I’m done. Gabe brought up Heidegger (even though he was a Nazi) and not caring about the “them” so much and living more genuinely which is one of the things I think my spirit has been learning the last few years – one of the preparations God was forming for this time now. And sometimes? Genuinely? I’m done. And I think God is meeting me here – in Done. I think Jesus is on the couch watching me cry and laugh…