It was Sunday morning and much to my surprise I was not only on time for service, but I was early. I fumbled through the parking lot juggling my keys, water bottle, tumbler filled with hazelnut coffee, inhaling the last half of a cinnamon raisin bagel, and made my way to the front of the sanctuary. I remember sitting there eagerly anticipating worship. When our singer came on stage, these words poured out of her mouth and into my heart and time seemed to slow: It feels like an ocean of sorrow is under my skin. The song is called “You Hold It All Together” by All Sons & Daughters and when I heard it for the first time that morning it took away all the busyness I had built into my life to distract me and slowed my heart and mind in a way that acknowledged the sorrow in […]
“People ask me if I believe in God … people kept asking me that question, which I really don’t like. I don’t like that question, so I sat and thought about it for a good while and I tried to figure out why. And I thought, well … who would have the audacity to claim that they believed in God? If they examined the way they lived, who would dare say that?”–Jordan Peterson Growing up I was aware of how I carried myself in different circles– Joanna around non-Christian friends tried to fit in, be cool, stay relevant, and most importantly be liked. Joanna around Christian friends said “Oh my gosh” instead of “Oh my God” and “darn” instead of “damn.” I remember acutely as a teenager feeling this identity struggle inside of me. Was it okay that I was acting differently around my non-Christian friends? Did that mean I […]
My first stars in your eyes, goosebumps on your skin, giddy for days, butterflies in your stomach crush occurred when I was 18 years old. He liked me, and I liked him, and that simple truth lifted my emotions to a level of euphoria that I had not known before. But this story isn’t about that. It’s not even about the heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, feel-like-I’m-going-to-vomit moment when he told me he had fallen in love with someone else. This story begins with how I treated the woman he loved, whom we both worked with. It’s been 11 years, and I still think about the way I treated her, and I feel horrified at myself, ashamed, and compelled to ask for her forgiveness. Essentially, I held a grudge against her for stealing my crush. That grudge lasted about 4 years — the entire time I worked with her. I can safely say […]
The anxiety was crippling, to the point of nausea. I was trying to focus on my breathing– in for four seconds, out for four seconds. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Slow. It. Down. Hunched over, I stared at the worn, rusty brown fabric of the carpet in my office.
What do we know about spiritual gifts? Not a lot. A simple google search on “passages relating to spiritual gifts” pulled up about three passages from scripture. A little over a month ago I participated in a corporate fast with my church. Prior to the fast, we were asked to fast from something and to fast for something. The question being: “What distances you from God (that you could fast from) and what brings you closer to Him (that you could fast for)?”
It’s been one of those seasons. You know, the dry kind? The kind where my prayer life looks like 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at night, and maybe something at lunch if I remember. The kind where I lose my Bible somewhere underneath the stack of yet-to-be-folded laundry sitting on my bedroom floor. And the kind that leads a lackluster discipleship group because my own spiritual life has taken a hit.