Is God holding out on me?

person in blue and white hospital cap plaid shorts

The nature of my autoimmune disease means that some days, unbeknownst to me until that morning arrives, I am completely out of commission. You wouldn’t know by looking at me, but full-body exhaustion, severe pain, and otherwise unfortunate and unmentionable symptoms are a part of my everyday reality. Because of my weakened immune system and struggling digestive system, I have countless frameworks and coping mechanisms in place to ensure that I can engage and attempt to thrive in the world each day. As a habitual achiever, this bodily deficiency is hugely disruptive and discouraging. It’s been six long years of chronic disease, most of which has been defined by poorly controlled symptoms and by silently fighting (and failing) to get my body back to 100%. My gradual breaking is not the fault of any singular entity, occurring in part because of first, my initial slowness to act and lack of […]

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Where is God?

fireman wearing firesuit

Our world is on fire.  I mean this mostly figuratively, but I live in Northern California, and we currently have  several wildfires ravaging our terrain.  Their frequency and intensity are not like we’ve seen in this region before. In Haiti, a poor nation still reeling from the assassination of its president, a devastating earthquake struck in the same area that is still recovering from a paralyzing earthquake that happened eleven years ago. Hurricane Ida made landfall 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.  It ripped its way through the region again and this time made its way all the way northeast, causing record flooding in New York and New Jersey. As we come upon the twentieth anniversary of September 11th, there is renewed unrest in Afghanistan and a resulting humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.   Globally, there is the raging Delta variant overfilling our hospitals and […]

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Praising Through The Suffering

woman with hand over face

I sat down at the front of the chapel, alone, except for the worship team who was warming up. It was my turn to deliver a devotion to the college, yet I had nothing. After a few weeks of winter sickness hitting our home hard, I had nothing left. For devotions—or anything else, really. Like most winters, our family was all under the weather. Living in a college community doesn’t help with sickness, either. This time, however, my husband, already immuno-compromised, suffered a bout of debilitating migraines as well. I sat at the front of the chapel, almost feeling sorry for myself. My voice still sounded hoarse, my husband’s head was still groggy, and I just felt drained. The last thing I wanted to do was to compose myself to give an encouraging devotional message to the college I work at.  Sitting there, desperately trying to pray for some quick […]

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The God Who Loves Us Will Hold Us

perfect love casts out fear frame

I’m feeling a sense of sadness today. I work for Southwest Airlines, and I frequently have the chance to give out my buddy standby passes to those around me. So far, I’ve given them out to friends for adventures, mutual connections for birthday surprises, and refugees for their journeys home. This week, I gave out my first buddy passes to friends for funerals. There are no good answers for this, for why death comes to steal, kill, and destroy. There are no easy responses for why Jesus, who has come that we might have “life abundant,” doesn’t sustain earthly life for those we love. Does he not do so because he is unable? Because he is fake? Because he doesn’t care? We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of deaths due to COVID in America alone this year. More people have died from the coronavirus this year than from the flu the […]

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Healing when I’d lost hope

sad woman

Have you ever gone through a trial that seemed like it was just too much to bear?  I have.  Seven years ago, I had hit rock bottom. My marriage had completely fallen apart, and as a result, after five  “good years” I began to wrestle with self-harm again. To be honest, I was a complete mess. At that time in my life, I struggled a lot. The pain felt unbearable. I was having a hard time pushing through each day, and most nights I barely slept at all. I clearly remember one sleepless night when I was sitting at my kitchen table crying out to God, asking Him to help me get through it all. After praying about it for a while, I did what we all do when we can’t sleep and scrolled through Facebook. As it turned out, while I was praying for some words of hope to […]

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Let’s Make Space for Lament During Coronavirus, Too

In many ways, I’m wildly encouraged by the global Church’s response to this Coronavirus pandemic. I’m seeing innovative acts of love being given to neighbors. I’m watching buckets of grace be poured out as we all wade through these uncharted waters. I’m hearing about the selfless, consistent attempts to reach the most vulnerable and likely to become isolated. Praise God! Also: since COVID-19 began to spread, I have been surprised by how few Christians I have observed grieving right now. This unprecedented time has created life-altering shifts for everyone in the world – big and small. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, loss of employment, loss of safety at school for kids, or just an everyday loss of freedom, there is something for us all to grieve right now.  What’s Lament? This pandemic is bringing me back to my knees in prayer through the ancient spiritual discipline […]

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An Ocean of Sorrows

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 […]

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Remembering Whose Daughter I Am

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1-2)

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Christians Get Depressed Too – Part Two

If you read, my previous blog from a fews years ago regarding depression, you will know that depression is something I have struggled with on and off for more than half my lifetime. One thing you should know about me in particular, is that I tend to “hide” my depression and emotional turmoil from myself and my community. I put on the mask of having it all together. I go to work as a psychotherapist and convince myself that what I’m going through is not nearly as bad as what my clients are enduring and experiencing. (Which, I want to point out, is a lie. Regardless if you’ve had a simple life or if you’ve had many hardships and trials, your depression is very real and valid.)  I tell myself that the coping skills, encouragement, and advice that I provide my clients somehow does not apply to myself. After spending […]

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