Between Monday’s eclipse and getting kids back to school, it’s already been a strange week. Now, with Hurricane Harvey bearing down on us here in Texas, we’re all throwing our schedules out the window and getting prepared.
Storm prep is a bit sobering—last year’s devastating floods are still fresh on people’s minds. However, one good thing that always happens in Houston is that people begin to focus on taking care of their families and neighbors. Grace starts to manifest itself in beautiful ways.
In my own life this week, I’ve needed a refresher on that amazing grace. What I wrote last week on forbearance and what I’ve wanted to write about forgiveness this week have been put to the test. There haven’t been any big upsets, but I’ve been an anxious, irritable mess and haven’t had a whole lot of grace for my family or myself. On top of that, every bit of sharp-tongued criticism I’ve directed at my family, every hurt feeling I’ve struggled to release—all of it has been on a replay loop in my brain. Forbearance? Forgiveness? Who can write about those when you can’t seem to extend either?
Now, a few of you other veteran parents just nodded knowingly because you are acutely aware that things get a little tense as the kids head back to school. In fact, my problem-solving husband was Googling articles on the August Blues, trying to help me gain perspective. (He was also trying to soothe me with science since I’m a sucker for good research—if nerd-speak isn’t an official love language, it should be.)
So yes, I’m aware that what I’ve been experiencing—the short temper, the frustration, and the angsty regrets over those feelings—isn’t that different from other moms in back-to-school mode, especially those who tend toward some anxiety and depression like me.
So do I dare write about things like forbearance and forgiveness? You bet I do.
This week I posted on Facebook with regards to events in Charlottesville, VA, “I pledge not to look away, not to offer the cop-out of “It’s complicated” as an excuse for doing nothing. This white supremacist garbage is straight out of hell, and we’ve got our work cut out for us as the body of Christ to unseat an ancient evil. But our Jesus will have the victory in the end.”
I truly believe we, the church, have an opportunity to respond to God’s call for unity within His body and then work shoulder-to-shoulder to fight what is ultimately a spiritual battle against racism, sexism, class-ism and any other “-ism” that’s not’s reflective of Who we serve. (If you need a starting place to understand that vision, check out Derwin Gray’s latest book The High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World. Both he and Trillia Newbill are leaders who are speaking and writing eloquently on the topic.) With that vision in mind, I want to remind us of two tools in our tool belts, forbearance and forgiveness, that will go a long way in helping as we dismantle old mindsets and walk in Christ’s will for His earth. I’ve written a few chapters about those two things in New Woman, New Clothes, so I’ll share some excerpts this week and next.
And sisters and brothers, hold tight to Galatians 6:9 and let’s not grow weary of doing the good things Christ is calling us to do, for in due time we will reap a harvest!
On Saturday I waited in a crowd at the airport International Arrivals gate. Our numbers grew, as did our wait time, but we weren’t unhappy. True, we were all a bit anxious—various members of our group kept popping up onto our toes and craning our necks to see down the corridor—but it was the good kind of anxious. Read More
We are creatures made for community. We have a longing to belong and experiences with rejection that shape decisions, relationships, and our willingness to take risks. This week, I’ve asked a friend to share her life-in-the-trenches parenting story of just how subtly the feelings of rejection and unworthiness can creep in. She and her husband have spent months encouraging and helping their lovely, talented daughter who found herself nearly wrecked by a constant barrage of social media content that left her feeling unworthy and unlovable. I think you’ll find what they’ve learned insightful and practical. Read More
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to belong.
About how the feeling of not belonging wounds deeply.
About how fear of rejection drives our decisions, relationships, and willingness to take risks.
Just ask someone about a time they felt rejected. Heck, just ask them about middle school. People’s faces still get a little pinched and emotions bleed into the narrative.
You just now thought about middle school, too, didn’t you?
The time you didn’t get invited and wished you hadn’t even known about that dumb party. The time your best friend said you weren’t best friends anymore.
The time you got on the bus and conversation stopped because they all knew about that desperately dumb thing you did, so you just sat down and stared at the gum on the floor while their disapproval rested on your shoulders like a 50-lb weight. Read More
This summer I’ve gotten the chance to know Victoria Adams, a senior religion major at Baylor University who is interning with the youth ministry at our church. She recently shared a message with our middle school group about how God can meet us in our place of weakness and remind us that we are His beloved children. That resonated with me, too, so I’ve asked her to guest blog this week with her story.
I was born deaf.
Not the “she hears me sometimes then ignores me others” type deaf but fully and completely without hearing. My parents found this out by cupping their hands and yelling at me while I was sleeping as a baby.
I would not flinch. Read More
It was unbelievably early one autumn morning, still dark outside, but I was wide awake. I was eight months pregnant with our second child and at that “happy but uncomfortable” stage—probably not sleeping because of my squashed bladder or my aching back. I wasn’t the only one awake, though. Two little feet were padding down the stairs. Two dark-chocolate eyes were looking for me. Read More