I like the idea of practicing because it extends freedom. I find grace in practicing. There is room for mistakes and room for improvement in practicing. In time, the mistakes are fewer and expertise yields beauty. I need that: grace and room for mistakes but also a kind of learning that leaves me with something worthwhile, something beautiful.
Who am I? Do I matter? Where do I belong?
Over the summer, our Jennersville pastors Doug Walker (student ministry) and Johnny Johnston (campus pastor) taught on these questions adolescents strive to answer before entering their adulthood. As they popped up on the screen, I thought, “as an adult, I still ask these questions!” In my twenties I struggled with depression, mostly because my answer to these questions were:
In the years I’ve spent in camp ministry, I’ve had the privilege of meeting a variety of people from all over the world, who have encouraged me personally and professionally. One particular camp volunteer offered clarity and hope to me in the midst of a confusing, difficult season as a twentysomething working in ministry.
My husband and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary later this month. This Brad Paisley song with the words “I thought I loved you then” has been our theme song for many years. (It was not the song we danced to at our wedding…we eloped…a fact he has not lived down in 35 years!) Young love is wonderful and exciting, but “old” love is even richer and has so much more depth.
As I sit here in my cozy spot in my kitchen, I look outside at the vast greenery and splashes of bright colors from the many summer flowers. But soon those colors will be replaced by the more subtle hues of fall bringing another splendid scene out my window, similar in some ways but different in others. My life is a reflection of these beautiful seasons: so many cherished memories and moments but many changes along the way.
My toddler learned a Vacation Bible School song that we’ve all been singing frequently over the past couple of weeks from the Roar! VBS program called I’m Trusting You.
The setting was perfect. It was a lovely cool summer evening. The yard was beautifully landscaped, and all of the details had fallen into place. At the end of the wedding ceremony, the bride sat in a chair, lifted up the edge of that beautiful gown, and her groom began to wash her feet. It felt incredibly intimate and in a way I felt I had no right to witness it. This couple understood that God doesn’t just want us to act like a servant from time to time. God wants us to BE a servant all the time both in our deeds and in our hearts.
A few months ago, I was at a pulmonologist appointment with my four year-old son, Sam. If you’ve ever turned on a blender and forgotten to put the lid on, then you’ll know what those 90 minutes in that office were like for me. Containing my active, essentially non-verbal kiddo with Down syndrome in a 6x6 square foot area is both a joy and a Crossfit workout. “No touch. Please don’t lick that. Put those back. Close the door.” Repeat.
My family and I are gearing up to head to the shore for our annual vacation with my husband’s side of the family. I have been joining them on this trip since we began dating nine years ago. It’s where we were married and where I find some of my greatest memories - memories I look back on now to see some of God’s most splendid creations
I grew up in the heart of the Catskill Park in upstate New York. I swam in the Esopus Creek and hiked up Wittenberg Mountain. Whenever I walked the two miles along Route 28 from my house to Kirk’s Market in Phoenicia, I always ran into a neighbor I knew. The natural beauty of the Catskill Mountains and the friendly community made it a wonderful place to be a kid. I can’t possibly tell you what a childhood in that park means to me.
I also grew up with schizophrenia in my family…
One of my earliest memories was taking a road trip alone with my father. With his long work hours and my multiple siblings, time alone with my dad was a treasure. I vividly remember him buying me a toy at a truck stop along the way and “showing me off” to the couple that we were visiting. To spend time alone with my dad was a gift. a
Psalm 104:34 “May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.”
Summer brings out the relaxation in all of us, with heading to the beach, dangling our feet in the pool, or sleeping in a little longer. It is one of the times of the year I treasure most because I get to spend so much time with family and friends.