hope writer life {follow} 9.26

The book of Acts opens at a really interesting point in the lives of the apostles. Jesus has been crucified, he’s been resurrected and has been moving among them again – as a resurrected body – for many days. To think what their minds have had to stretch to accommodate is beyond me. And then they then see Him raised up and ascended to Heaven. At this point they are so dumbstruck it takes two angels to rouse them. Days later they are all in a room together and tongues of fire come and sit on them and they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Each part of this story amazes me, but the part that I love the most is Peter.

Peter, who is so confident from the beginning when he is initially walking with the alive Jesus, declares boldly and yet Jesus knows all along that these things Peter declares will be his downfall. His boldness will lead him into a valley that he has to find bravery to move out of. The words he so confidently declares, that he would never deny Jesus, actually do happen. In the midst of Jesus’ arrest Peter finds himself doing the one thing he swore he would never do and instead of following Jesus, he follows his fear.

Days later, after the resurrection, Peter finds himself sitting with Jesus and that boldness returns…almost as exasperation. He now knows what it’s like to follow fear versus following Jesus and he finds forgiveness and grace in the words of Jesus.

Then Pentacost comes. He’s followed Jesus on both sides of the resurrection and he knows what it is to walk away from Him. He knows what it is to walk towards fear instead of grace. And he stands in front of a crowd, armed now with the Holy Spirit and a new kind of boldness enters. He stands with courage, but also with humbleness, as one who has walked through the valleys and also the peaks. He’s touched the scars, heard the words of love and now speaks them with confidence.

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hope writers {season} 9.25

In Tennessee we tend to enjoy the seasons and while we do have four distinct seasons they aren’t always long and aren’t always clear. Monday was the Autumnal Equinox, but today it is still going to been the 90s. We can feel in the mornings the touch of chill coming in the air, but the afternoon reminds us that Autumn really hasn’t arrived. We will celebrate the leaves turning and run into the mountains to catch the views and then blink and see our lawns littered with their remains. As much as I hate the cold, I love the crispness of it. I love opening the door to the bite and sting of that chill. I love bundling up in layers and quilts with a warm cup cradled in my hands. There is something in the coldness that settles my anxiousness. Perhaps it is the reality that life slows down in the winter. There is a hibernation that happens with all life; even the life of those with busy teenagers. Maybe it is the promise that even in the slumber of winter; the deadness of the world around us, there is life living under there. The trees and the plants are merely slumbering and building up their strength for the show they will display in the spring. A reminder that even in the desert places of my life, in the places where life seems frozen that there is work happening there. Aslan is always on the move.

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hope writer life {angle} 9.24

As a former math teacher, the one lesson I always loved to teach was about the different types of angles. Angles are simple. They are exact and they follow certain rules. They are easily defined and categorized. Follow the rules and the unknowns can be known.

Angles are completely opposite of real life. We can have all sorts of missing answers in our lives and there is rarely a simple formula to solve them.

I’m a control freak and I like nothing more than taking on a problem and figuring out the solution. Ask me to wait and not respond and I’m in a place that I do not find comfortable. We often find ourselves in situations where we can see some of the measurements and we just need to know this one other number and we can solve the problem. But oftentimes that number doesn’t make itself known.

In Acts the apostles had to wait. They waited 10 days between the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. Jesus had ordered them to wait; they were waiting for that missing measure so they could solve the equation. In this waiting, in this period of the missing angle, what did they do? Did the panic like I tend to do? Did the run through all the different scenarios? Did they wake up in the depths of the night freaking out?

They prayed. They were obedient to the command of Jesus to stay put.

Angles are interesting shapes. They have tiny spaces where you can crawl into and hide, but they also have wide open spaces where you have to be seen. I like to think the apostles crawled into that little space while they prayed and waited, but then when Pentacost came they walked out into the open parts of the angle and their mission started. The equation was solved.

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hope writer life {start} 9.23

I’m attempting to join in on this 10 day challenge to write every day based on a prompt from hopewriters on instagram.

Start.

I have a folder on my computer that is labeled “writing”. It is filled with a few journal files that I’ve contributed to off and on over the past few years, finished articles that have actually been submitted and published online in other places than this place and so many half starts. It is the half starts that are so interesting to read; like prayers that are lifted up and then forgotten I’d even prayed. Writing for me was always a way to respond to the thoughts and emotions spilling and mixing around in my head and heart. But then for a long block of time I couldn’t write at all. A season of life entered and I found that the thoughts and emotions were so confusing that I couldn’t make sense of them in any way. It’s taken years and so many half starts, so many half written lines even, to find my way back to the world of words. I feel this awakening starting to happen. I feel this fog starting to lift. I think I’ve been under a veil that I could only partially see through. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening even though I kept trying so hard to see through it. Finally, I’m brave enough to lift it and start looking out from under it again. Here’s to new starts.

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Reading Life – July/August 2019

I feel like my reading life the last few months has been pretty disjointed. I’ve been desperately trying to finish up some books and I’ve also had to start doing all my weekly pre-reading for the kid’s school. I’ve also found myself putting aside more books than I’ve ever done. Here’s a quick recap –

Currently:

Mere Christianity (pre-read) – I read this back in college as a pretty new believer and my son is reading it later on this year as part of his school. I’m about four chapters in and I’m sort of trying to figure it out honestly.

The Road Back to You – a pastor friend gifted this to us a while back and I just threw it on the shelf to read later. I’ve read a handful of “personality” books and some about the enneagram and I just couldn’t get into it. For whatever reason, I pulled it down about 2 weeks ago and I can’t stop reading it. It’s honestly the first book I’ve ever read that really does make sense when it comes to talking about your tendencies and sort of your make up.

Richard Halliburton’s Complete Book of Marvels (read aloud) – we’ve been reading through this since last year and it’s really fabulous. If you like anything about geography you would probably love it.

The Sea Around Us – (pre-read) We are reading the junior version of this and while it starts out super heavy with evolutionary ideas (some I’d never even heard of before) it’s moving into the world of the oceans and it’s really amazing so far.

Church History in Plain Language (pre-read) – my son is reading this for his history class this year. It’s a pretty readable history book and has been fascinating to see how church history weaves around “regular” history. As one who was educated with that great distinction between church and “state”, it’s really kind of neat to study history in light of the Bible – I can totally understand Paul’s letters to the new church in such a different light.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (pre-read) – I read this in high school and it’s pretty interesting. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Stevenson’s work.

The Inklings – this has been on my to-read list for like two years and I am determined to read it before the end of 2019. So far it’s totally fascinating.

Abandoned and/or set aside

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – I started this and then my Inklings book came in from the library so I had to set it aside since I own it. I was also reading two “nature” books at the same time and was getting both of them mixed up in my head.

Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal – I had to return this book to the library, but I’m hoping to get it back again soon. I really loved it and have learned so much – really just about paying attention to the world outside. The rotation of the seasons and the birds and insects that come along with those.

Everything that Rises Must Converge – this was on my to read list this year and I finally got it from the library. I made it about half way through before I decided I just couldn’t read it. I really, really want to love O’Connor, but this book was way too much for me. The stories are filled with such anger and frustration and then end when these horrible endings. It’s almost like reading stories of what people wish in their minds they could do in the midst of their anger and frustration – only they actually act on it.

Read

The Scarlet Pimpernel – this is up there as one of my favorite books ever. I really need to buy a copy to have and I want to re-read it again. It was so, so clever and just so good.

Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and Practices that Brought Peace – I really liked this book at first, but then after a while it sort of grated on me. There were some really good practices in there that I do think I’ll pick up in the midst of anxiety issues, but I’m sort of not sure what to do with this book.

Man, The Dwelling Place of God – This was a really great little book. The chapters are short, but rich and there was much to be gleaned from it. I read it over the course of a year – very slowly – and it is one to be picked up year after year and go through again. Tozer is one that can say really thought provoking and amazing things in two sentences.

Emily of New Moon – I was reading this because I wanted my daughter to read it and also because so many people say they love this series more than Anne. I’m not sure. I think I recognize more of myself in Anne and will always love those books – but I’m curious which way my daughter will lean as I see way more of Emily in her.

Beate Not the Poore Desk: A Writer to Young Writers – this was a super little book about writing. I really love reading Wangerin, he has such a conversational style of writing it is like he is sitting there with you.

I think that’s it for what I’ve been trudging through. I need to start Les Miserable, because I’m supposed to be reading it along with my son this year – he’s way ahead of me already. And I also need to start Watership Down to read along with my daughter.

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