Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why I edit my life . . . and other mysteries

Over New Year's, my husband and I spent time in a usual up-north location with our usual friends, Jack and Lahree. These friends of ours are priceless, really beautiful souls, and I've been spending the New Year's holiday with them for years.

These priceless friends are dear partly because of the hell they've experienced. I didn't expect to use "h-e-double hockey sticks," but there you have it. I got to know them just as their 17-year-old daughter experienced a traumatic accident that left her brain-injured for life. We heard more of the story this last weekend, in one of our long talks in the cabin, as we chewed over God's involvement in the most excruciating times.

The way they walked through this pain, and having to find care for her, etc., taught them how to live with a brokenness that continues to sting, how to be grateful for God's goodness while so many dreams were dashed. And because depression and physical challenges have brought me a fair share of brokenness, too, their journey has inspired me. But that's not the end of the story.

Just a month before I got married in 2008, something tragic happened on Easter morning. Jack, who is the most athletic man I know, collapsed of a massive heartache. He went without oxygen for quite a period of time until an ambulance rushed him to the hospital. Honestly, it didn't look good. There was a small chance he might make it. David and I were in shock. After losing my Dad the previous summer, Jack was on tap to walk me down the aisle at our wedding. Suffice it to say, in a twist that can only be termed miraculous, Jack woke up, had major bypass surgery, and recovered to walk me down the aisle ONE MONTH LATER. I still, to this day, cannot believe it. Lord, have mercy. The Lord had mercy!

But what stunned me again in all its plainness was something Jack said this last weekend. He talked about how joy and pain coexist in the same room for him, how they mingle together in all their intensity. And it got me thinking about life. How I'm afraid to blog because I might offend this group or that group. The people who believe women should minister and those who don't. The Nazarenes or the Baptists. Liberals and conservatives. The high school facebook friends who knew me in a former life or the seminary students who know me in this one. The addicts in recovery I minister to or the churchified people I've come to love.

And it all felt rather silly, to be honest. The story God calls each of us to is distinctive, filled with deep joy and often-times deep heart surgery that occurs through searing pain, but no matter what our stories look like, it feels as if they need to be told. It feels as though I need to let mine be aired out, understood, appreciated for the way God's movement runs through it, sometimes appearing clear and sometimes cloudy, but always for my good and the good of His Bigger Story.

So I'm praying for help in sharing more of my heart through this blog, through my teaching, through my writing, through my life. It might not always look pretty. It might at times even be shocking. But it will be true. And redemptive. I'd like to stop editing my life to please the masses. I'd like to believe that God gave me this particular story for a reason--and with His help and discernment, I'd like to allow Him to use it.

Are you with me? What have you "edited" in your life that might bring hope, resolve, comfort, or understanding to others? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. "joy and pain coexist in the same room" for all of us. I love this post! Glad to hear that you will keep writing it. I have been thinking about the same things as I reflected concerning my blog over the past couple weeks. It's my blog (and I desire for God to be glorified through it). So if people don't agree, let them get their own blog. I too have committed to writing more freely this year. Love you,

  2. P.S. Your wedding picture is amazing! Very Classy!

  3. Hey, Natasha: You know, it was our conversation last month that got me thinking about this--so, thanks! I read Nicole Unice's posts on honesty and also read the book Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson. Hopefully, I'll be posting more...and posting more freely.

  4. Your statement about being "afraid to blog because I might offend this group or that group" -- I'm right there with you. Not sure I can offer any insight or help, but I can offer support! Keep posting, and post freely!