They say that time heals all wounds, but I don’t think I believe that. I think it takes time for wounds to heal, but I don’t think time itself is the healer. I’ve read a lot of the internet, and I’ve come across a whole slew of message boards where women who’ve lost a child to PPROM discuss their struggles. And there are plenty of ladies out there who seem no better off after two years than other ladies after two months. But then there are ladies who seem further along in their healing process at six months than ladies who’ve waited six years. I’m very careful to use the word “seem” in this discussion because I clearly have no idea what’s really going on in their hearts. I can only see what gets typed on the internet. But everyone is different, so I think there must be more at play than just time alone.

As a Christian, I believe that God is the best healer there is, but I think I also play a role in my own healing, so the whole process is a sort of dance, a cooperative effort, a give and take that eventually results in acceptance of my situation and myself in it.

Everyone participates in this process in their own way, so it can take more or less time depending on who you are, and it looks different for everyone because God relates to unique people in unique ways designed to best engage them. For some people, reading about God’s loving nature and promises in scripture is the only thing that helps them feel better. Other people connect with God more through music. Some of us need to feel a physical presence, and for that, God gives us people to hug. Some of us need to feel peace in the midst of turmoil, and for that, he gives sleep. Some of us need chocolate cake for a week, and for that, God gives us old high school friends who own a bakery and are willing to make deliveries.

My temptation is to say that your healing will only go as quickly as the extent to which you engage with God in his healing offerings, but I don’t know if that’s true. I just don’t know. And I won’t attempt to box up healing in a tidy 3-step process because it’s not that simple. What I have experienced, though, is that when I acknowledge the good things in my life – our friends and family, the support they’ve shown us, my cuddly husband, the love I feel for others, the love they show me, the freedom I feel to be myself knowing that God accepts me completely, good sleep, good music, a great job with amazing coworkers and students, chocolate cake, etc. – when I acknowledge all these good things, it feels like they replace little bits of the bad.

Maybe that’s what Isaiah was getting at when he said that the Lord had anointed him to provide for those who grieve, to give them “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61:3). Maybe everyone who has loved and supported us through the loss of our daughter has been anointed by God to provide for us, to switch out the bad for the good, little by little. And maybe very slowly, I’ll even start to find good things in what right now feels like an entirely bad situation. I’ll let you know if/when that happens, but in the meantime, thank you for everything. I hope you know how big a part of my healing you’ve been so far, and I want you to know that I see it, and I appreciate it more than I can say.

Reality Check: A Follow-Up (Part 2)

I was just looking through the list of deadly sins, and it hit me: They’re all based on what we shouldn’t do, where we fail. This is a very common message – we’re sinners, we’re depraved, we’re unrighteous, our very nature is against the nature of God, and our only hope is Jesus. I don’t disagree with this idea, but I think the emphasis of it is misplaced. It’s not the church’s fault, really. What they want is to emphasize Jesus, to make him the hero, which he is, and that’s a great message. But what happens practically is that it sets our default thought pattern to, “I am bad. I am depraved. My very nature is wrong.” This leads us very easily to, “I am unlovable. All of this ‘God-is-love’ business is absurd and cruel.” Do you see what’s happened? We are still emphasized in this thought pattern. We are emphasized, but negatively and without the Good News part of the story.

Here’s my truth: I don’t think God has ever been disgusted with you. I don’t think he’s ever seen you as evil. I don’t think he’s ever been angry, upset, or disappointed in you. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” on the cross, I think he meant it and had the authority to make it true. I think he saved everyone in that moment, and the only thing left for us to do is/was to accept the reality of it and live in that reality. And when we say, “Yes, I like this. This feels real and loving and freeing. I’m on board,” Jesus says, “Cool. Welcome.”

Living in reality is a struggle sometimes, but if your default belief is “I’m bad,” the struggle is even greater, and for some people, this thought pattern will sadly always prevent them from being able to live in it. But when you live in the reality that Jesus established, there is no condemnation for you, even if you struggle. God is not surprised or angry with you because you struggle. He is sad, not because he’s disappointed in you, but because he wants freedom for you.

Imagine you have a friend who is addicted to heroin. My guess is you are not angry with your friend for having an addiction. Rather, you hate seeing your friend in pain and are sad to see your friend make decisions that hurt him/her. I think it’s the same way with God. He hurts for us because we make decisions that hurt us and take him up on so little of what he offers.

With that in mind, let’s talk about greed and sloth.


Greed is wanting stuff, more and more stuff, as much stuff as you can get, and getting it by any means necessary. You do this because you don’t know that you are loved, that who you are is exactly who you were meant to be, that you are accepted and cared for. In your mind, you are unworthy of receiving anything, so you take it for yourself, or you stew about not having it until it makes you depressed or drives you to go out and get it. You want more stuff because that means you have more money, and in almost every culture ever, having more money meant having more power, and having more power means you are worthy of more respect, and respect means people love you. Having not much stuff means you are poor or a hippie, and historically, poor people and hippies don’t have much power (although arguably the hippies have a lot of love anyway).

I’m going to start sounding like a broken record here in a second, but the message doesn’t change. You are loved. You can’t even imagine how loved you are. You are loved like crazy. You are loved immensely. You are loved beyond your ability to conceive of love. You don’t have to collect stuff to show the world how much they ought to love you. We can tell by looking at Donald Trump that it doesn’t work anyway.

You are free from that burden. You don’t have to keep up. You already have the love you desire. You already have the acceptance and respect and dignity you’re looking for. They are yours for the taking. God is yours for the taking.


My old roommates, the Joshes (Whitney and Lauren), used to say that sloth was my deadly sin of choice. It’s true. I was off work for snow last week and didn’t change out of jabambas for two whole days. I got tired from sitting around all day, so I took a nap.

But sloth as a spiritual issue is not about physical laziness. It’s about either not growing spiritually or not using your gifts to do the things you know are meant for you to do. It is not contributing to the world. It is not bringing to the table what you have to offer. It is about withholding the image of God you bear from the world. And a big reason why we do this is because we don’t think we have anything to offer.

Hear me well on this one, friends. When God created you, he didn’t look at you and go, “Well crap. I screwed that one up.” No, he made you in his image so that the world could see him through you and know that they are loved too. Who you are is exactly who you are supposed to be. You are a unique mixture of the attributes of God that he weaved together with your personality to make you you.

You have love to offer. You have grace, peace, kindness, service, strength, joy, justice, creativity, hope, art, encouragement and beauty in you, and we need it. Please don’t hide your joy from me because you think it’s too loud. Please don’t hold your creativity back because you think it’s not good enough. Please don’t keep your peace to yourself because you think it’s weak. Ladies, please don’t stifle your strength because you think it’s not feminine. We need the image of God you bear to the world. We need to see him. We need to see you.

I know this one is hard because it’s dangerous to let yourself be seen by the world. It’s risky to be vulnerable and to let people in, and you should definitely be cautious and wise about who you open up to because there are people out there who will take advantage of you or disrespect the gift you are offering to them. But with people who love you, it’s worth the risk, and you can take it knowing that you are already completely loved, that you are perfectly accepted, and that the God in you is good.

I’ll try to wrap this up next time with wrath, envy and pride. It might be spring break before I can get around to that, but I promise I’ll do it when I can. Love y’all.

Reality Check: A Follow-Up (Part 1)

Let’s start with a list. God is:

love, loving, lovely, kind, gracious, generous, helpful, a healer, good, merciful, funny, just, our protector, light, life, salvation, strong, joyful, holy, perfect, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, at hand, sovereign, righteous, unchanging, active, caring, concerned, eternal, impartial, wise, true, transcendent, imminent, free, freedom, freeing, pure, unfailing, never-tiring, rejuvenating, life-giving, inspiring, available, powerful, sacrificial, sufficient, one who sanctifies, peace, our provider, our healer, victorious, accepting of people, against evil, our comforter, almighty, a good father, trustworthy, real, reality, trinity, one, beautiful, author and perfecter of our faith, creator, creative, happy, for us, crazy about us, hope, hopeful, encouraging, tender, warm-hearted, patient, honorable, a good listener, a good communicator, dignified, necessary, an artist, individual, universal, humble, glorious, welcoming… (feel free to add to the list)

All of these things are available to you (yes, you) always. God is available to you (yes, you) always. If you want him, he’s yours. It’s that easy. You don’t have to fix yourself up first. You don’t have to make amends first. You don’t have to kill a goat first. You just have to say, “Hey, I’m on board,” and Jesus responds, “Welcome.”

A friend asked me to do a follow-up to the last post with some more examples of what freedom from sin looks like in the reality of God. I’ll do my best. And just for funsies, let’s talk about the 7 Deadly Sins (that’s fun, right?). We won’t get through all of them in one post because nobody has time for that, but I’ll do a few today and a few next week, and we’ll see how it goes.


Oh wow, we’re just jumping right into the deep end here, aren’t we? Deep breaths, aaaaaaaaand go…

Lust is an excessive desire, usually for another person sexually, but not always. It could be about power or fame or other things as well. But just because it’s familiar as a term (and probably as an experience for most of us), we’ll talk about it in terms of sex. Sex is about connection, love, acceptance and knowing/being known. There is a very real physical element to it that I won’t go into right now because there are just so many rabbit holes that could lead us down, but spiritually and emotionally, when you want to have sex with someone, you’re looking for connection, love, and acceptance. You want someone to know you completely and love and accept all of you. You want to show love and acceptance to someone you know completely.

Here is truth and freedom: You are already known better than any other human will ever be able to know you, loved more perfectly and more completely than any other person will be able to love you, and accepted as  you are – warts, skin tags, body hair, cellulite, fat, morning breath, dandruff, freckles, moles, worries, recklessness, volume, size, emotions, baggage, neediness and all. Sex will not make your body image issues go away. It will not manufacture the deep connection you long for. It will not make you confident that you are a lovable person. Even in a marriage that is safe, loving and happy, sex is not a magical thing that satisfies your desire for love and acceptance completely. And thank God, you don’t have to rely on sex for any of that. He provides it generously. Love and acceptance are yours for the taking. They are gifts God is holding out to you like an excited kid at a birthday party saying, “Open this one next; it’s from me!”


Thomas Aquinas broke gluttony down into six different sins:

  1. eating too soon
  2. eating too much
  3. eating too expensively
  4. eating too wildly
  5. eating too daintily
  6. eating too eagerly

I think these are kind of funny. Could someone please explain to me the difference between eating too wildly and eating too eagerly? Either way, I’m definitely guilty of that one around Girl Scout cookie time. And how dainty is too dainty? Are little girls everywhere going to hell for having tea parties?

Essentially, what it comes down to is using food (or money or other resources) for something more than just a tool to meet a basic need. I think we are meant to enjoy food (because come on…basil exists), but when we trust in food or money to satisfy us, and when we withhold food or money from others who need it, we are fending for ourselves. We are believing the lie that God is not for us, that he cannot or will not provide for us, and ultimately, that he does not love us. We are trying to get love and provision for ourselves, but we don’t have to do that.

Here is truth and freedom: God loves you. He just does. That’s what love does. And the confidence that we are loved is freeing. It frees me to enjoy food because it tastes good and fuels my body. And it frees me to give some of my resources away so that other people can enjoy food as well.

That might be enough for today. Next week, we’ll try to tackle greed, sloth (my favorite), wrath, envy, and pride. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! You are loved beyond your capacity to understand it.

Reality Check

This is going to be a very Christiany post. If you’re not into that sort of thing, I’d encourage you to read it anyway. It’s something new for me, so maybe it will be something new for you as well. If Christiany posts are exactly what you’re into, this one might make you nervous. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts either way.

Anyone who knows me well has likely heard a little about the mentoring group I’ve been a part of for the past three years. After three years, it’s still hard to explain. When I go to meetings now, Will says, “Have fun at group. Enjoy listening and responding and crying.” That’s pretty much how it goes. There’s not always crying, but the listening and responding part is the best description I can give you. It’s deeper than that, though. It’s not the same listening and responding that we tend to do in life and relationships. It’s listening without judgment or agenda and responding with truth and love. It’s pointing out God in others. It’s reflecting the character of God by telling others how we see the character of God reflected in them. It’s naming and encouraging and truth-telling. It’s hard work, and it’s good.

A couple of weeks ago, we went on our annual retreat, and one of the exercises we did was to brainstorm attributes of God that we’ve experienced. Among them were love, peace, acceptance, grace, hope, and protection.

In another exercise, we were encouraged to consider why we do the things we do that are not loving, peaceful, accepting, gracious, hopeful, and protective, and I had a realization. When I choose to do something that goes against the character of God, it is because, in that moment, I want some aspect of God’s character, but I don’t believe he gives it to me freely. I believe instead that I must take it for myself.

Take vanity, for example (no really, take it – Ha! See what I did there? Comic relief). I care about my appearance because I want people to think I’m beautiful because I want them to accept me, to love me. I want to be loved so desperately, and I think the way to get that love is to make myself look good. Then people will compliment me, and I’ll feel good about myself. I’ll feel loved.

Or falsehood. When I tell a lie (or don’t tell the whole truth), I am protecting myself from something, probably shame. I’m not believing that grace, acceptance and protection are available to me, so I’m getting the closest thing to them – avoiding shame and punishment while believing I deserve them both.

What about gossip? When I gossip, let’s be honest, it’s probably because I’m either jealous or self-righteous (or both). I believe that someone else is loved while I am not. I believe that someone else is getting grace that they don’t deserve. I want to be loved. I want the grace that person is receiving. When I gossip, I knock the other person down a notch in my mind so that I feel more loved/lovable.

But here’s the truth. We live, currently (not sometime in the future), in an actual, physical, real world where God loves us perfectly, completely, and unconditionally. And he gives all of himself freely, liberally, without limit to anyone who’s interested. He gives us love, peace, acceptance, grace, hope, and protection.

The only requirement from us is that we accept this as reality. And I’ll be honest – sometimes that’s really hard.

Sometimes I don’t want a handout. I just want to do it myself. Sometimes I don’t trust that there are no strings attached, and my skepticism pushes my own agenda forward. Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies come out. I’ve made a mistake, and in my mind, grace is unacceptable. I know I don’t deserve it, and I can’t bring myself to accept that I’m fully loved and accepted, so I choose to punish myself rather than let grace in.

But when I can remember what’s real – that love, peace, acceptance, grace, hope, and protection are mine for the taking because the source of them gives them to me freely – I don’t have to fight for myself. I don’t have to take love at someone else’s expense. I don’t have to fend off shame by withholding truth. I don’t have to knock other people down so I feel built up.

This is not about behavior management. It’s not about behavior at all so much as it is about belief. I’ve been in church all my life, and I’ve heard theology, justification, sanctification, atonement, sin, redemption, and repentance described in a hundred different ways that never impacted me like this has. I thought for a long time that the message was, “Stop sinning.” Then I heard, “No, it’s not about your actions. It’s about your heart. Make your heart right.” Then it was, “No, you can’t make your heart right. Only God can do that. You have to surrender to him.” But the explanations for how to surrender to God, if existent at all, are always either vague or based on ME doing a prescribed set of spiritual activities, which doesn’t seem like surrendering very much at all.

But recognizing true reality (redundant, but you understand) and false reality (oxymoron, but you understand) for what they are and choosing truth has made things much clearer for me.

This is what I think Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection were all about. I think he came to open up this reality for all people in all places and all times who would accept it. It’s not about what we do; it’s about what’s true and real and available to us all.

Elaine’s Truth

I have only met my friend Elaine a handful of times in person. We both happened to be available on a weekday once, so we took a road trip together to WILKESBORO!!!!! to see Zach Galifianakis lead story time at the Wilkes County Public Library. It was awesome. We were also briefly involved in a writing group together where I admired her honesty and courage with words. Other than that, we’ve just stalked followed each other on blogs and social media for the last several years. Here she is to tell us her truth.

When I was invited to write a “That’s my Truth” blog post, at first I thought I might write something about motherhood. But life intruded with a more pressing issue: The question of the Law, and how much of it we as Christians are expected to keep.

Here’s the thing. I’m not going to make a theological argument. Paul did that very eloquently 2000 years ago, and wise and intelligent people have been dissecting his argument ever since. When I was in high school, reading the New Testament, I couldn’t reconcile Paul’s arguments with what my church was teaching me. Free from the law? How could that be? Everyone knew that you had to be a good person – no illegal activities, no sex, no smoking, no lying, etc. So what on earth did Paul mean by being free from the Law? It didn’t make sense because Paul was teaching something very different from what my parents and church were teaching.

I chose to avoid my confusion by doing the “safe” thing and obeying the Law, at least the parts of the Law that I had been taught applied to me. That meant I could eat bacon, but I couldn’t have premarital sex. I could drink alcohol, but I couldn’t get drunk. I could go out in public while menstruating and not worry about making a bunch of people unclean by sitting in public seats, but I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be in authority over men.

But after college, as I meditated again on Paul’s words, I came to a startling conclusion: He really meant them. We are free from the Law. And not just the parts of the Law that Jesus addressed (like food), or the parts of the Law explicitly mentioned by Paul (like circumcision). The whole shebang.

The very first church council ever recorded was about this very issue – how much of the Torah were non Jews required to follow? (An aside: At the time, this meant the first five books of the Bible, along with all the rabbinical laws, known as the Mishnah. It didn’t just mean the 10 Commandments, or the literal Hebrew text in isolation.) In Acts 15, we see a group of new Christians struggling with this issue. And after much thought and prayer, they decided to pick 3 laws for the non Jews to follow. Three. Out of over 600 written Hebrew laws and countless additions and interpretations. And they weren’t chosen from the 10 Commandments either. Just avoid food sacrificed to idols, don’t get involved in sexual sin, and don’t eat meat that was strangled and still has blood in it.

Here’s my truth. When Paul said we are not under the Law, he meant all of it. We live under grace. The Law is valuable because it gives us insight into God’s will and God’s preferences. But it is no longer binding on Christians. We can choose to disobey any Law we wish, because we are not under it. We are not slaves; we are free heirs with Christ. We have already been purified and are holy in God’s eyes.

When we pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones to disregard, we are committing idolatry. Instead of putting our faith in the Holy Spirit and developing a sensitivity to His voice, we put our faith in a system of rules interpreted for us by other fallible humans. We seek knowledge rather than wisdom. Wisdom is life by the Spirit. It requires us to meditate on God’s word (yes, even on the Torah), and to spend time in prayer, and to learn how to hear God’s voice.

Many Christians are threatened by this and I have been condemned for it. But thank God, I live under grace. So even if I’m wrong, I am forgiven, I am free from condemnation, and I will stand justified in God’s eyes, no matter what. THAT is the good news of Jesus. That we are truly free from the entire Law. We live under grace.

To read more from Elaine, check out her blog or her other blog. Thanks, Elaine!

Scattered Thoughts on the Bible Judgment

Two things happened this morning. First, I was reading the latest in Rob Bell‘s “What Is the Bible?” series (which is very good, and I suggest you check it out). And second, I was reading back through the past few months of my own Twitter feed because I’m just that vain.

I realized as I was reading Rob Bell that SO often when it comes to theology, either I read and make an immediate judgment about what I’ve just read, or I read with judgment already in mind (or how I think the author wants me to judge). And a few times in the latest post, he’d say something, and I’d think, Yeah, that’s terrible, only for him to then say, “but that’s not a bad thing.”

Oh. Yeah, um, that’s what I said.

I seem to have trouble reading, just reading, anything theological, including the Bible. The problem with this is that when you read looking for flaws, truths, meaning, things you can apply to your life, things you can use to argue a point, or anything else, you risk missing out on the actual point. You also can’t enjoy it.

Friends I’ve been in Bible studies with tell me that I read the Bible aloud very well. Part of this ability is that I practice reading aloud A LOT in class, sometimes even doing accents and voices. The other part is that I hate hearing anything read all monotonously. I used to think other people were trying to read the Bible reverently and it just accidentally came out sounding boring, but now I think people are just reading it the way they read it in their heads.

When I read the Bible silently, it sounds boring in my head. It sounds dry and monotonous, and I feel like I should be “getting something out of it,” but I don’t. I feel like it should be magical and immediately transform my heart, but it isn’t and it doesn’t. When I read a fictional story, I get lost in it, and the words and characters stick in my brain for hours. When I read history or biography, I am fascinated by people that really existed and places and events that were real. I think about how they affected the future, how our world would be so different if not for them. When I read poetry or listen to music, I let the words flow off the page or out of the speakers, and sometimes out of my own mouth, and they are beautiful. And if I like the sound of a particular phrase or tune, I play it on repeat, in my car or my head, for the next two weeks.

But when I read the Bible, it is very serious business. And the serious-business-ness of it blocks my ability to get lost in it, to be fascinated by it, or to recognize the beauty in it. I don’t like this.

I think I make it more serious in my mind because I’ve been told all my life that God wrote it. You don’t get more serious than that. But even though I now know God to be completely loving, always interesting, and often playful, funny or silly, and even though I now believe the Bible to be a collection of stories, poems, letters and songs written about God by his people, I still read the Bible as though it were written by a stodgy old God who demands respect.

I think about God lecturing in the Bible like a very strict high school teacher, but I would like to come to see God engaging me in Scripture like Hilary Swank inThe Freedom Writers.

Which brings me back to my twitter feed. I re-tweeted a Love Does tweet a few months ago that said, “We try to figure out who’s right; God’s interested in who’s loved.” And I feel like this is related to my struggle. I’m reading the Bible trying to figure it out. I see it as some kind of theological challenge – to get all the right answers and justify my life choices based on them. But the whole point of the Bible is that God is real and here among us, loving us like crazy even though throughout the history of humanity, people have done weird and sometimes terrible things and used God to justify their life choices. We still do it today, and he still loves us.

This, I find fascinating and beautiful. This, I could get lost in.

Complementarianism, Secularism, Sexism, and Vocabulary

Note: These thoughts may be a bit scattered. I haven’t put them all together yet in logical string. Forgive me. Also please know that when I talk about what rubs me the wrong way about complementarianism, I don’t want to offend or put anyone down. I have complementarian friends whom I love, and I mean nothing against them. They’re my friends for a reason. I’ve just been having some thoughts, and I’d like to get them out so I can start to process them better.

In class last week, somehow the word “slut” came up. It’s an advanced class. You just never know what’s going to happen. Yesterday, during an open Q/A session, the word “fellatio” came up, and I am not ashamed to say I let another student handle that one. So anyway, we were talking about the word “slut,” and they understood and wanted to know what you would call a man who was sexually promiscuous. And I realized that there is no male equivalent to it. Sure, there are words – man-whore, player, womanizer – but none of them inherently carries the same connotation and shame as “slut.” It all depends on how the man being called these things takes it, and men always have the option of taking it as a compliment if they are proud of their sexual conquests. Women don’t. This led me to an astonishing revelation (astonishing to me anyway):

We don’t shame men for being sexual or having sex (or even masturbating, for that matter). We just don’t. Men are supposed to go out and sow their wild oats, “boys will be boys,” and all that jazz while women are supposed to protect their chastity at all times with an iron belt (figuratively or literally) until they get married.

The really big problem with this way of thinking is that it has crept its way into the church in what we’re calling “complementarianism.” Women, in the complementarian way of thinking, are supposed to be delicate flowers, standing quietly beside their husbands, taking care of the children. Men, on the other hand, are supposed to be the leaders, the deciders, the enforcers, the conquerors. This is probably an over-generalization, and the truth is that folks who subscribe to complementarianism all have a slightly different brand, and nobody can really agree on exactly what it is. To read more about that, check out this post by Rachel Held Evans. The point is that in this school of thought, men and women have separate roles in the world, in the church, and in the family based solely on gender.

My first point of frustration with the general complementarian way of thinking is that it seems to me to be largely secular. It is presented as a biblical concept even though there are numerous places in the Bible where women are considered equally as important/strong/valuable/reliable/capable/intelligent as men (yes, even at a time in the world when a woman’s testimony was not valid in a court of law). Furthermore, masculinity as defined by complementarianism seems to be the same as modern Western masculinity. As far as I know, there is no mention in the Bible of Jesus watching Ultimate Fighting and working on his truck, yet that is what one complementarian pastor says “real men” should be doing.

My other major issue with complementarianism is that it presumes to know what people have to offer to the church and the family based almost entirely on their gender, and only a tiny, secondary bit on who God made them individually to be. This is not a culture of calling or equality or giftedness; it is a culture of power. It’s not a question of who might be the best fit for the job; it’s a question of who gets to be in charge. And in complementarian churches, men are the ones with the power.

Now, I’m not saying to want to take power away from men just for the sake of equality, and I’m most definitely not looking for a complete reversal of power. If a man is better suited for a particular job, then by all means, he should do it. But the key word there is particular. If we start making blanket statements about which gender is better suited for what, we ignore the beauty of God’s individual creations. When we make boys blue and girls pink, we miss out on all the other colors that make the world wonderful and interesting. And more dangerously, we silence voices that have a right to be heard because they come from image-bearers of God. (If you’re ready to dismiss that last statement or get defensive about it, please ask yourself why.)

I believe we are all necessary in the world because each of us uniquely bears the image of God. I also believe that we are all in the time and place we are for a purpose. When Scripture talks about the church as the body of Christ, it does not differentiate between men and women. In fact, it says we are all one in Christ, that the labels of this world (position, gender, race) do not exist. Can we please act like we are one, function as one, and help each other find and foster our gifts and purposes instead of broadly prescribing them for entire gender groups? And can we have the courage to allow people to be who they are even though doing so might threaten our positions of power? I think we’ll all function better that way – when we give ourselves and others permission and grace and an open invitation to offer our true selves to the world.

Oh Golly Gee

There is SO much to tell you. I want to do a birthday post because this past year has been quite the journey, and I have learned a LOT. I want to tell you all about my travels thus far (For those who do not know, I am in Spain at the moment, going to Italy on Wednesday). I want to explain that I am not using contractions in this post because I am on a Spanish keyboard that uses a funky one I am not sure will translate properly. Oh hey, I did one! Success!

But I also want to go to bed because it is after midnight, and I have to get on a bus to Madrid in the morning. So I will keep it short. The people I have met so far are amazing, and I have had so much fun seeing the country and hanging out with them. They have been extremely welcoming and taken excellent care of me. And I am pretty sure I am allergic to my apartment because when I am not there, I feel fine, but when I go back, I start coughing, and my nose starts running. Mold? I am suspicious. When I left, I had chest and head congestion, but after running through the airport to catch a 6-hour flight, sitting in recycled air for all that time, barely sleeping for the past four nights and traveling to a foreign place with foreign germs, I feel totally fine. You are suspicious too.

Anyhoe, tomorrow, I head back to Madrid to meet up with Amaris (!!!!!), and then I head to ITALY!!!!!! Then back to Madrid to hang out with Ana!!!!!!! Then back home. (!?) I will be happy to fill you all in on the whole trip when I get back, but for now I would just like to close with this…

When I got on the bus, I opened up my journal to jot down some thoughts. It has a Bible verse on every page, and this was what I saw today:
“I am teaching you the way of wisdom;
I am guiding you on straight paths.” Prov. 4:11

Not bad, huh?


A lot of things have come together today to form these thoughts, and while they’re not yet fully coherent, I wanted to share with you what I’ve got so far.

We are not polliwogs. Wait, you already knew that? That’s because you’re brilliant. But allow me to explain. We come into the world as fully formed human beings. We’re not born in some other form to become human beings later on. We grow and change, but that’s just the development of what we already are.

I won’t tell you what to believe, but I’ll tell you what I believe to be true, and that’s that we were created uniquely by God, which is pretty cool because that means that our “wiring” has already been created when we’re born. If you have kids (especially if you have more than one), you can attest to the fact that they are different from the get-go. I think about my friend Rachel’s two kiddos, and really, there was a big difference in them even during the two pregnancies. I’m not enough of an expert on that to go into any more detail, but I’m sure y’all have seen it for yourselves. So just think, God created you, not just your body, but your personality as well. He came up with the way you relate to the world around you, the ways you like to be loved, the ways you demonstrate love to others, the things that break your heart, the things that stir your soul.

My friend Carla is easily startled, and she told me once that her mother said that even when she was in the womb, when the creepy theme music of a crime drama TV show came on, she would wriggle around like crazy, making her poor mama very uncomfortable. And I don’t remember a time ever in my life that I didn’t love music. Maybe my mom can shed more light on that, but for as long as I can remember, it’s been my favorite thing.

I realize there are all kinds of scientific arguments you could make to explain these things, but I don’t think any of them negate the idea of a creator. In fact, I think they support it, but that is beside the point.

We’ve been created. We were born with the basics fully formed and only in need of development, yet we still allow ourselves to be re-created by things that are not our creator. We let the media tell us that our bodies were formed incorrectly and should be adjusted to adapt to society’s standard of beauty. We let our teachers tell us that if we don’t follow the right 5-paragraph formula, our way of communicating is wrong. We let boys tell us that if we were more like so-and-so, we’d be worthy of their adoration. We let a lack of curiosity in others create in us the sense that we’re not worth pursuing or being known. We let laziness in others tell us that we are too much (too fill-in-the-blank). We let men who don’t want to understand us tell us that we’re crazy. We let so many things tell us that we are in some way shameful.

But just like God asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11), he asks us, “Who told you that you were malformed/unacceptable/unworthy/not valuable/too much/crazy/shameful?” Why do we allow someone who is not our creator to tell us who we are? What do they know? And what gives them the right? Yes, Adam and Eve were naked, but Genesis 2:25 says they felt no shame about it. The shame was added later.

So what if you don’t look like Scarlett Johansson? It doesn’t matter. There’s no shame there. And say you’re really, really organized or boisterous or intense or tall or talkative or bold. Who told you those were bad things? I’ll tell you who: Jerks who were too lazy to find a way to use those things to benefit everyone, so they told you to be less of yourself to make things easier on them in that moment. And if you’re 30 years old and have never even held hands with a boy, it is not because you’re unlovable, unworthy, or in any way not completely special. Here’s who you are:

  • a unique creation of God
  • someone God knows and loves (yes, at the same time)
  • someone Jesus died to set free

Y’all, don’t let anyone or anything in the world re-create you to be anyone other than who God made you to be. You are already loved, and that’s enough.


A Few Unrelated Things

1. I’m totally addicted to Pinterest. I love it, and I want to spend more time browsing the internet looking for things to pin, but I just don’t have that much time to waste. I think it’s probably for the best.

2. I’m in the middle of the second Bible test, and so far, I think I’m doing much better on this one. It’s essay questions, though, so that is not shocking for anyone.

3. In my slang class, I’ve been teaching them lists of words that all mean the same thing. They’re usually 10, 15 or 20 words/phrases/expressions for something. I’ve done words for “easy,” “great,” “good-bye,” “money,” “crazy,” “nothing” and “vomit.” These lists have been QUITE a hit, and they’re pretty fun for me to come up with as well. The words we use for vomit, especially, are just so descriptive. If you have an idea for a future list, please share. I’m open to suggestions, and my students will love you for it.

4. I’m going to Wilmington this weekend, and I am super-excited about it.

The end.