Giving Up, Gaining More: An Unexpected Gift

Never in all my life did I think I would be able to travel to the Middle East, to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. To walk where Jesus walked, to be in the place where he lived is the most amazing dream. And unless something crazy happens, it is going to come true.

When Dave and I got married, he was an intern at a church. I was a child care worker. To this day, I look back and marvel at how God provided for our daily needs on such little income. Year after year I learned to live on less, with less. You see, I grew up in an upper middle class family. My parents didn’t start out there though. My Dad and a few partners built, from the ground up, a successful home building company. They valued quality, integrity and hard work. It paid off. I will be forever thankful for my Dad’s hard work and integrity through which he provided for us.

The reality of being a newly married couple in church ministry proved challenging for my default comfort level. Dave joked I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. “That’s not true!” I would answer back. But to be honest, he had a point. Growing up, I wanted for little. In all of my memories as a child we lived a very comfortable life materially. Early on in marriage I had to engage the process of giving up stuff. I gave up having nice, new cars. I gave up on having new furniture. You can find amazing things at yard sales! I gave up on being able to buy what I wanted when I wanted. I gave up on having a brand new house. Back in Akron by the grace of God, and I mean that, we were able to buy a 100 year old house which had a long “needs fixing” list. I gave up on getting our kitchen remodeled. As the years went by, we realized we didn’t have the time or money to do what we dreamed with the house. But what I personally gained was so much better.

There in lies the grace of it all. God, attentive to my needs, met me left and right as I came face to face with my longings for the stuff of this earth. He gave me more than I ever could have imagined in relationships with others in the great neighborhood of Highland Square. He gave me more than I could imagine in himself. Jesus met me in every square inch of giving up material things and expectations. Jesus became my water and my bread, everything I needed. Jesus became my very real breath as I navigated being a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids 5 and under in that old house living far away from family. I cried many tears in the night longing for sleep. I cried many tears of frustration with myself and my impatient, yelling ways.

In the land of less I gained more than what I originally could see.

I met Jesus at the cross in ways I never had before. I began to see his birth in totally new ways. I sat with him in the garden where he wept sharing in his suffering, even if only slightly. I fell in love with Jesus anew in the land of less.

An overseas trip like the one I will take this Wednesday is something I gave up on ever doing, removed from my radar. The desire within in me to travel and meet people from other cultures has recently been reawakened. When I was a child I heard a female missionary tell of her adventure and calling in a far away country. Something stirred in my heart. At another time I imagined myself in Zimbabwe, excited by the possibility of new and different. It’s funny how you forget certain childhood memories and ideas. It was in El Salvador a few years back when I was alerted to this forgotten familiar heartbeat. My heart is now skipping a beat at the thought of what I get to do.

Through the gift of another I get to take a trip to the land where it all happened. I get to go on pilgrimage to see the places Jesus lived. Every time I think of it, I cry. Never in all my life did I imagine I would be able to do this. I am completely in awe.

I will travel with a group from my church. I will see some of the places where Jesus lived. But this is not a tourist trip. This is a pilgrimage. The number one reason for our travel is to listen and learn. There are brave women and men who engage in the peacemaking process every day in the middle of one of the most challenging conflicts around the world.

We, in America, only hear a small slice of the story through the media. Some of us Christians only know bits and pieces of the history of the land and the people of Israel and Palestine. I hope to share some of what I learn from my pilgrimage in upcoming blog posts.

Stay tuned.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  Matthew 7:11

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

“Going a little farther, he (Jesus) fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39 


A Mama’s Heart when her Baby Takes Flight

There was a collision today. Excitement and sadness met up in a way like never before. When your baby grows up and leaves, when he follows God to find his way to soar on his own, it is quite the occurrence. What do we dream for our kiddos when they’re little? What are the deepest longings of our heart as a mama? What makes up the insides of a mama heart?

For them to be safe. For them to know they are loved. For them to learn, grow and flourish. To become all God created them to be. For them to be themselves and not try to be someone else. To one day be able to leave you, their mama. Hold on, a huge lump just formed in my throat. It’s hard to get these words out. Yes, one day we do want them not to need us but to venture out on their own and live and love and have adventures. To find their calling in life.

But the day it gets here you might find yourself screaming to yourself, “No, not yet! Can I have a little more time? Can we go back in time just for a little bit?” You may feel like you just want to curl up in a ball and cry and be sad because things are forever going to be different. Forever changed.

When the day gets here, you may realize, “I really like this person, and not because he is my child. I really like him and enjoy being around him.” It is not as if he doesn’t annoy you at times, make you angry, but you simply enjoy talking and being together like never before. The sight of him coming into his own before your very eyes is stunning and marvelous, a miracle of sorts, knowing some of the places you’ve both been.

Today is the day. My first born took flight, both literally and figuratively. He is in the sky as we speak on his way to Germany. He decided to take a gap year before college. We encouraged it as one of his options. But he alone was the one who decided. He was drawn to go overseas. I think it started in El Salvador, a country he grew to love after a couple of trips. He wants to explore ministry, specifically church and non-profit ministry.

And so I am left here in the States, far from my son. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. What just happened to me? Suddenly, and yet not so suddenly he is 18 and a gazillion miles away. This one, not long ago, had to be convinced to go to overnight camp 30 minutes away for a week.

A few of my friends texted me to tell me they were praying for my mama’s heart. Then two friends posted on social media, “praying for your mama’s heart.” Yes, my mama heart, my mama heart. This mama’s heart is filled to the brim with sadness it spills out at the slightest of memory or worry or ache.

Yet this mama’s heart is simultaneously filled with pride and anticipation to see and hear what will transpire, how her son will grow even more while away. It is all so much, too much at times.

A few nights leading up to this departure I found myself unable to sleep. Tossing and turning, wondering and questioning, “Will he be ok? How will he eat? Is he really ready? What am I forgetting? What haven’t I taught him? Told him? What if he needs us?”

Like the driver of a car gripping the wheel to stay steady in bad weather, in the middle of the night I grip the truths God has shown me. It is God who is in charge. I grip the grace of the past to take hold of the grace for these days. God has led me and helped me and met me and He will my son also. I grip the scripture I have tucked away in my heart. Our lives are not only for now and not only for us but for eternity and for others and for His kingdom. Also in this mama’s heart are the words and ideas learned along the road of these 18 years. My first mama friends and I figured out together the importance of seeking “first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” My first mama friends and I discovered through both the joy and pain of mothering how sometimes we have no idea what we are doing but we can get to know the One who does.

So you will find this Mama holding her heart some days, unable to breathe as she thinks of her baby halfway across the world, sad for her and overwhelmed for him. But you will see her turning to God every time, learning new ways to breathe, trusting in the One who created that child. Learning to cling to God on this unknown path. When the way is dark she will remember the One to whom darkness is not dark. She will marvel at the One to whom the night shines like the day, knowing deep within it is God who holds her baby and her mama’s heart.

Matthew 6:33

Psalm 139:12



It was almost time for me to walk up on stage to speak briefly to about 600 women and men. 4 1/2 minutes to be exact, not long at all! Adrenaline pumped through my body nonetheless. I was extremely nervous and scared. This was the first time I would be in front of the congregation of my church. It was Mother’s Day, a day filled with strong emotions for so many. I would acknowledge both joy and sorrow related to the holiday.

I did not want to mess up. I did not want to turn into a sobbing mess, which I did, by the way, on my first rehearsal! I wanted to honor the women in the room well. Truth be told, I wanted to be excellent.

God prepped me for this. God used people around me and scripture to encourage me. God reminded me,

“This isn’t about you and your performance.”

“This is my message you are delivering, not your own.”

“I am with you.”

In my daily reading of the Bible that morning I read about Gideon. God calls on Gideon to do something. Gideon pushes back. Gideon felt abandoned by God. Gideon was an Israelite, and Israel was being oppressed by their enemies. The situation for him and his people was dire, extremely dire. In the Bible, in Judges chapter 6, God basically says, the Lord is Peace, I am with you mighty warrior. God wanted me to know He was with me. I could have peace because I wasn’t alone in this stepping out, doing something new and stretching. And I was convinced God wanted me to do it.

Right before I went up on stage, I was bothered by how nervous I was. I thought, “am I trusting God or not right now? Is this nervousness a sign I was not.” I realized although I was super scared, I wasn’t gripped by fear. Fear did not have a hold on me. This is hard to explain but there was a difference. The phrase coming to mind was “on the edge.” I was on the edge. It was scary but good. I was nervous but I was depending on God.

Afterward, a friend of mine gave me her bracelet. She said, “I sensed God tell me to give this to you.” It was her own bracelet with the word “brave” on it. My eyes filled with tears. “Wow, thank you so much,” I said. In my spirit God spoke to me, “Yes, brave, remember this. On the edge, this is where I want you to be and I will keep you and I will come through for you.” Scary and brave happen in many ways. What is scary to you right now? How is God asking you to be brave?

Remembering my Grandmom Conner

Today we celebrated and remembered my Grandmom Conner in New Jersey. Here is what I shared at her funeral.

I remember jumping up on the stool at my Grandmom’s house when I was young. I knew I was about to receive something yummy. What is it about candy and treats and good food when you see your Grandmother? Her movements were slow and careful. Her house was quiet and orderly. Every single thing had its place. But you always knew you were cared for.

I remember swinging on the hammock in the trees near the marsh at her house not too far from the shore. I remember now. I had forgotten. This was one of my favorite places to quietly sway back and forth. Just like my Grandmom, peaceful and dependable.

I remember gathering as a family at the shore over the summer or at my house or my other Grandmom’s house on every holiday. Every time Grandmom Conner would be with us. Christmases, Easters, birthdays and celebrations, we were always together. More often than not, these times were full and loud. She would go with the flow of our sometimes crazy. Prep the meal beside my Mom or clean up the meal beside my Mom, always asking what she could do to help. This was the behind-the-scenes work she did without fail. Her presence was quiet but her work and love were loud and large.

Speaking of quiet, she was reserved and shy for sure, choosing to observe more often than speaking her mind. I appreciate this, the power of observing and being quiet, more now as I get older.

But if you had the chance to be at her house without a lot of people around you would hear much more. She beamed over her latest creations, whether it was her glorious flowers or a hand knit scarf. She would talk of her latest joys and activities, line dancing, card games, or her friends. She loved to work her brain, her body and her hands. She loved to create beauty. I remember her giddiness when she showed what her hard work, time and patience paid off creating. It was fun to see this side of her.

I have lived far away from my Grandmom my whole adult life. Every time we would leave New Jersey I knew she was sad. We were too, but it is different when you have a young, big, active family to take care of. Sadness is different when you are younger. You look forward to so much. You’re busier. As you get older you start looking back a little more. You grieve a little more. You slow down out of necessity and reflect more. I wish I could sit down with her and ask her questions again. I wish I could draw out of her those observations and reflections one last time. I think I am going to miss her more as time goes on.

I want to take with me what I have learned from her-hard work, quietness, and creating beauty. I hope I can be strong like her and be active and take care of myself the way she did. We’ll see, 104 is no easy goal.

Today I rest in hope. For I know I will sit with her again someday. I will see her again. I am full of thanks for Jesus who makes this possible. There are days I have wondered if this is really true, if death is really defeated and we will live forever after we die here. But our faith wouldn’t be faith of we saw every part of it with our eyes. And God has so revealed himself to me throughout my life, I do believe he is present here with us and Grandmom is with him right now. Words can’t contain the joy this truth holds.

‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’                                                                     John 11:25-26

Why I am Bursting

Sometimes I dream so big I don’t know what to do. My mind stretches far and wide thinking of some grand idea. These days my dreaming involves the women at my church and the women who may come to my church. I am bursting with hope for the future because not only do I see dreams in my head, I also see women who share the heartbeat. These women are willing to serve, work, and lead to create a honest, welcoming, and engaging atmosphere in which we can all grow to become and do all God has for us.

I recently said yes to a volunteer position at church. Previously the position was called “Director of Women’s Ministry.” But I think I want to change the title. Something like “Point Leader for Women’s Ministries” suits me better. Director sounds too administrative for me. I am more of a big picture gal, full of vision and ideas. I will certainly need women around me who have gifts and strengths I do not possess in order for women’s ministries at our church to soar. And really what I mean is I want each and every woman who steps into one our gatherings to soar. I believe God has some women in mind to partner with me or I would have never said yes. He is answering this need amazingly.

I believe our women’s ministry is at a fork in the road. It is time to decide which direction we will go. Forging a new path is never easy. Will we make the necessary changes? Will we have courage to make the right decisions? Will we work to “beef it up?” Are we ready to have more women “get on the bus?” Are we willing to forge a new path?

Teeming. I believe God wants teeming. The picture I saw was of a field. This field was full and green. Life was abundant. At first I did not think this picture was directly related to women’s ministry at our church. I saw this stunning picture as a promise from God for my life. I quietly soaked the image in, wondering if this really was from God or just my own imagination. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the desert in the last 6 years and I am ready for some green.

But today I am convinced the picture is for us.

The women I have been getting to know more since taking this position are blowing me out of the water. Their hearts. Their work. Their honesty. Their love. Their ideas. Their passion. Their gifts. Their experience. Their stories. Pieces of a puzzle God is creating. It is a slow process, but it is exciting none-the-less. I am learning to follow and be patient. “Vision is discovered, not invented,” says Reggie McNeal, in his book The Present Future. I am finding this to be true. Here’s to the future, my bus-mates!


Oh Orlando

Oh Orlando, you are heavy on my heart.

On my normal Monday run I think how nothing is normal for you, citizens of Orlando. When tragedy strikes, nothing is normal and nothing is as it should be. We, as a country, are shaken again. Tears come. How can this be?

On my normal Monday run I bring you, Orlando, and you, families of the slain and injured to God. It is the only place I know to go. To God.

As I run I come across a deer in the path
Right there in front of me, plain as day
Stared me down
I slowed to take in God’s creation
In a flash she was gone
Nowhere to be seen
Into the forest I peered, I scanned
Yet I could not see her with my eyes
I knew she was there
I had just laid my eyes upon her

Oh the beauty and the majesty of God’s creation
Oh when He lets us get a glimpse of his creativity, power, and glory
It can be like that
We see it and then it’s gone


Jesus’ disciples must’ve felt like that.
Jesus was there with them, teaching them and doing miracles. In flesh and blood He spoke to them, touched them, met them in the reality of their daily lives. They saw his body, his eyes, God in human form.
Then, poof he was gone.
The faith it took to start the early church. The faith it took to believe God was still at work. The faith it took to follow someone they could no longer see with their eyes. When tragedy struck, what were they thinking? What were they feeling? They must have thought, “I just saw Him. He was just here. Now what?”

As plainly as I saw the deer on the path, they saw Jesus. When I could not see that deer through those trees, the deer was there, doing what deer do. Today we cannot see Jesus in human form, but He is here. He is at work. He loves with an endless love. He searches and rescues with persistence and strength.

For those of us who’ve experienced Jesus’ love, strength, compassion, and glory our call is to cling to our faith, believing he is here and working in the midst of the forest of evil and death and unfathomable tragedy. As Jesus longs to show compassion, we can love and serve sharing His compassion. I am thankful for those who are doing this on the ground there. He weeps right now with you, Orlando, as you are overcome with the gamut of emotions this tragedy brings. He weeps with us, as a country, as we reel with anger, helplessness, and deep sadness.


True, deep humility
requires a secret place,
a closet,
a forest,
a quiet-alone place
God and you
You and God
face to the ground
remembering your nothingness without him
He comes rushing in like a flood
filling the space with love
with overwhelming acceptance
He has done it first
He stoops low to make us great
Jesus made himself
for you
for me
We are fully accepted
fully clean
fully his
because he made us his
secure until the end of time

Fresh Snow (When Relationships are Hard pt. 2)

Relationships change over time. Sometimes this is welcomed, other times it is unsettling and disturbing. Just when we get into a groove, comfortably relating, knowing one another with ease suddenly we look around and find ourselves in an unfamiliar landscape. There are hills we haven’t encountered, unexpected turns, and new curves. It can make us long for what was.

This is what happened with us. We were in a groove, hence getting surprise pregnant with identical twin boys after we were mentally “done” having children. For the record, the birth control we had always used in the past just didn’t work one day. Enter God, the one who does shake up our lives at times. This pregnant news came about a month after Dave had told his boss he thought it was time to work on his exit strategy. Dave and I had come to the realization as we looked toward the future it was time for a change. But we did not know what was next, there was not a plan.

Fast forward almost nine months, after much discussion, prayer and fighting for faith we moved to a new state so Dave could start his new job. I was about 37 weeks pregnant with the twins. My other kids were in 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 2nd grade. We left our home of 16 years, our incredible friends who were more like family to us and a city we loved.

Talk about a landscape change. Just about everything was different. I felt like I was in an upside-down snow globe floating around with no footing. It was awful, for me. But not for Dave, he was so excited about his new position. He was thrilled to join the incredible staff. His position of executive pastor was a perfect fit for who he was. I, on the other hand, went back to babyland, a place in which I had no desire to return. I decided to nurse my baby boys. Looking back now, I wonder if it was the best decision, but I was so committed to it because I deeply believe in the benefits. This decision deepened the isolation I felt. I fell into depression and darkness in which I had not ever experienced. Meanwhile Dave was head-over-heels in love (that might not be how he would say it but it is pretty much true) with his new job and our new church. I was not. I became lost.

I longed for what was. I longed for my come-in-without-knocking friends. I longed for connection with Dave, it felt impossible because our experiences were so different. I longed for how “in love” and “on the same page” we were before we moved. I hated the pain in which I was drowning. I began to resent how he got to leave everyday for work to a job he loved. This for sure was difficult territory to navigate. And it was the first time we were having totally opposite experiences. I longed for the perceived comfort and ease of the past.

During one of my times with God on the trail this winter another picture came. It was mid-winter, snow and ice had been on the ground for a while.   It was turning ugly grey-brown. The trees were bare and dingy looking. What once was beautiful when it first fell was now old and stale. Then one day, new snow began to fall, covering the trees, covering the ground, bringing new beauty to the landscape. Boom, this is it, “what we need is fresh snow.” On our relationship, “God bring fresh snow and help me see it. Give us new things to connect over, new experiences to draw us close, new, fresh, beautiful. Please God, this is what we need, this is what I need.” God brought a perspective shift yet again. I have been looking for fresh snow ever since. Do I see it every day? No. Has God brought fresh snow? Yes.

God is the God of new, of fresh, of renewal, of restoration. He creates beauty where there is none. I love the picture in Isaiah 35 where it says, “waters will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.”

This scripture is not directly about marriage but it reflects his character. He is one who, over time, brings beauty to the broken and dark places of our lives. And he can cause fresh snow to fall over a relationship in a difficult, unfamiliar landscape.

Small Patches (When Relationships are Hard pt. 1)

Every relationship, if it is long and enduring, will go through tough seasons. The past 5 years have been tough on my husband and I. Thankfully we became aware of the need to make changes and to get support in order to not only survive but to actually become stronger. Seeing a counselor these past 6 months has helped bring fresh air to our pressured relationship. More fresh air came for me personally as I decided to run on a consistent basis again.

I ran outside on the trails all winter long. It was a matter of life or death for me. I had to hear from God. I was desperate. I became done with the ups and downs of my finicky heart. I had to get off the roller coaster so I ran. To hear from God. I have 6 kids, for those of you who don’t know me. I have 5 boys and 1 girl. My oldest is about to turn 18! The rest are 16, 14, 12 and my youngest boys are 5 year old identical twins getting ready to fly the coop and go to Kindergarten this fall. Currently I am a stay-at-home mom. So you see, I need time away by myself to recharge and to be alone with my God, the only one who loves me perfectly.

God often speaks to me in pictures, I need visual aids to learn and grow. He has used the running trail time and time again to speak volumes to me. This winter we had snow, ice with intermittent warmer temps causing the trails to become extremely icy. I had to avoid the ice often. As I brought my marriage and my mind before God, he reminded me to find the small patches in our relationship, just like I had to find the small dry patches on the trail to be able to run.

When a relationship is strained I wonder if we get so discouraged because in the depth of our hearts we have a suspicion it can be better. In the depth of our hearts we long for peace and harmony. We long for understanding and unconditional love. We long to know and be known. We want the best there is. But we are usually so different and those differences between us can get magnified especially in difficult circumstances. We can suddenly find a deep chasm between us where there used to be multiple bridges and connections. We look at the chasm and begin to think, “It is no more and I have no idea how to bring it back. I can’t figure out how to get back to healthy, good connection.” Our hearts begin to despair because we can’t see it. We can not see how we can possibly fall in love again. We can not see how we can possibly draw near again.

But God said, “small patches.” Wait,” I thought, “I can do small patches.” I think I can look and find something small thing to appreciate about my husband. I think I can look for small ways to connect with him. I can put something out there and hope for small understanding. And so began the search for small in my marriage and it has made all the difference. God has been putting us back together one small patch at a time.


“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Peace in the midst

I keep cards on my window sill above my kitchen sink. The cards usually have scriptures or quotes I am turning over and over in my mind. They make the cut because they have struck me in some sort of way regarding the reality of my life. I read them over as I stand at the sink. I ask God questions about them. There is usually something I don’t understand about the words, the meaning. Many times my life and the promise of the scripture are not lining up to be quite frank.

I get plenty of time with these words above my sink because I am at my kitchen sink for ridiculous amounts of time. And let me tell you, I am not a big fan of the kitchen sink, the dishes, the mess which never ends in this family of 8. Every day my family needs to eat you know. And the way we have our family set up, this responsibility is mine most days, most meals. I have a love-hate relationship with this but that’s another topic for another day.

One of the scriptures sitting there currently is John 20:26-27,

“Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas. ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'”

I’m still not sure what first motivated me to put it on the window. Maybe it was because of the many doubts lingering in me. Maybe it was because I have used the word “locked” to describe myself in recent years. Maybe it was because I could feel the tenderness in this exchange. Maybe it was because I have many friends who doubt. Maybe it is because I want peace so badly but it seems elusive in the tension between my responsibilities and my dreams. Maybe it is because I can relate to having unmet expectations like Thomas and the others had after their leader and teacher, Jesus, died.

No matter the original reason I chose this scripture, I have sensed it speaking to me deeply without words to articulate it.

Then all of a sudden, Jesus used it to speak more clearly. I was running recently on a calm day, one of the “lamb days” of March, spring trying to push through the cold of winter.

As I ran I saw ripples from a duck swimming across the calm water. My thoughts immediately returned to a time when God reawakened my faith, when God’s grace exploded across the pages of scripture and into every part of my heart. At that time I became smitten again, like when I was a child first falling in love with Jesus. But this time it compelled me to pray things like “wherever, Lord, I will go wherever,” and “I want to surrender my whole life, every single part” and “I will do whatever you want me to do.” God gave me the picture of how we can have a ripple effect on the lives around us. I was so excited for my life to create ripples for God’s love and glory, for them to reach further than ever, far beyond my own family. I was ready for anything, or so I thought.

As I continued to run I lamented what hasn’t happened in my life, the ripples I had imagined. I couldn’t help but notice the calmness of the water. Peace. There it was in 3-D right in front of me. Then the scene with Jesus and Thomas flashed on the screen of my mind. Jesus was offering peace before Thomas believed. This is what struck me, the order. I stir and stir on some days over what I am not doing. I toss and turn looking for what’s next for me in terms of job, ministry or role. I churn thinking I need to figure it out, the who, the how, the what beyond my family and this house. Then when I figure it out I can believe God for it and act on it. Belief, action and then peace. I am not so sure this is the order every time.


I wonder if sometimes peace comes before belief. I don’t know. What I do know is: I want peace. I want this stirring and tossing and churning to end. I want rest. I want to be settled. He’s like, “Jen, you have heard me before but you need to come back to this….I am your rest. I am your peace. This is what I give. This is what I do. Peace. Live from there. I know you want to do all this stuff for me but it will be so much better if it is from a place of peace.”

It’s not like Jesus stands outside of our lives with the offer. Jesus came through locked doors to get to Thomas and gently addressed his pain and doubt. He gets behind our locked doors and stands in the midst of us. He stands in the middle of our fear, of our doubt, of our anger, of our questions, and of our shame and he offers straight up peace. This is what he does. This is who he is. Peace in the midst. Peace be with you. Peace be with me. This is what is possible even when we don’t know what our next steps are. Words of peace on a card describing 3-D action over 2,000 years ago coming to life here and now in the midst.