how i finally found spiritual peace (and why studying never helped)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Four years ago, I joined a Catholic Bible study.

It was one of the most interesting and meaningful small groups I've ever attended.  I loved the women I met there, and I found the Catholic faith to be beautiful.  As I studied with them, my understanding of church, history, and faith communities broke wide open.  It was the first time I considered the ancient nature of Christianity, just how big and unchanging God's love  really is.  But at the time my husband was in leadership in a conservative neo-reformed church.  It was terribly disorienting, taking a Reformed approach to a Catholic study.  For a year or so, I was the baby in Solomon's court, straddling two worlds and carting around the tension of a centuries-old conflict as though I could personally resolve it.  Eventually I split in two.  I stepped away - first from the Catholic study, then the Reformed tradition.  

when christmas just isn't fun

Friday, December 20, 2013

Today's guest post is by Maria, one of my favorite people I have met this year.  Maria moderates Middle Places, and she also has a blog.  She is humble and focused and leads with so much grace.  I have loved working with her, and I love her voice.  I think you will too.

Hi, my name is Maria, and I am a recovering perfectionist.

I recognize my problem, and I have identified my patterns, but like any addict I will never truly eliminate my desire for it.  And perfectionism is a heavy load to carry in December.

on classrooms, homeschooling, and loving your choice

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recently I read a piece I loved on Momastery.  She talked about the magic of learning, how teachers are magicians and deserve so much more credit than they're given.  If you haven't read it, please do.  You won't regret it.  But as she reflected on a larger life lesson, I smiled inwardly at something completely different.  While she made another point, it was obvious she loves her choice about how to educate her children.

I love it when people love their choice.

Sometimes parenting feels impossible.  So many decisions, so many right answers and wrong ones, depending on your individual child and the specific complexities of your family.  For a few years, I spent most of my time questioning my choices.  Was this really the best thing?  How could I know?  I never fully trusted myself, which meant I never fully enjoyed the fruit of any decision I made.  The question always gnawed at my confidence:  "Should I have done this other thing instead?"

on fire trucks and ebenezers

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nothing is the same as it was a year ago.
That’s good, but it is also disorienting.  Recently I realized I need an ebenezer.  I know God loves me, and I know He has been faithful to my family.   But in a season with no familiar landmarks, I need a physical reminder, something concrete to help me remember His grace to us in the last year.
This past week I have asked God several times, what would mark this year?  What would remind me of Your goodness, and would orient my heart toward  grace when I’m feeling uncertain and disconnected?
It took a few days, but I think I have the answer.  I’m going to need a fire truck.

the one thing I won't do this Christmas

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's the Christmas season.

How are you holding up?

For me, it's only the second time since 2006 when I have not been either nine months  pregnant or caring for a brand new baby in December.  It's nice.  I have the energy to function this year, and the work of Christmas is finally enjoyable again.  I feel like I'm doing more than just surviving the holidays for the first time in a long time, thanks be to God.

But now that I can think, I am wrestling through a problem that, in previous years, I didn't have the energy to question.  Until now, I just accepted it as the truth, but now I'm not so sure.  Everywhere you go online, you see pictures, ideas, suggestions, and images of others' Christmas traditions.  Why does it all make me feel like I'm flunking Christmas?  


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