Monday, April 28, 2014

Sometimes you hit send and then think, Wait, what did I just do?

I feel that way this morning, as I share a very personal part of my life with the big wide world.  Today I am sharing how I've met Jesus through the years over at Venn magazine.  I would love it if you'd follow the link.  Your kindness makes me brave.

If you are here from Venn, welcome!  So glad you stopped by.  If you connect with what you read on A Wide Mercy, shoot me an email at and join our weekly email to get regular updates.

How a passionate woman made peace with the Bible Belt: Give Peace a Chance

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Good morning!  This is the next installment in our series, "Give Peace a Chance."  Dana is an evangelical pastor's wife in the Bible Belt.  I asked her to share how she has found peace within the church specifically because Dana does not fit that stereotype.  She is passionate, full of big thoughts and wild dreams.  If Dana is on your side, you're going to be just fine.  You can read more from Dana at MoJoy blog.  You can also follow her on Facebook or through email.

I am not Southern.

This sign is posted in the Alabama town where I grew up
I live in Georgia, spent sixteen years in Florida and grew up in Tennessee, but geography doesn't make one Southern.  It's only in the past few years that my eyes have been opened to the reality of church culture in the Bible Belt.  On the short road where my congregation meets, there are six other churches. This is typical of the region.  There is a church for every kind of opinion, and because there are so many choices, it's easy to hole up with a group of entirely like-minded people and convince one another of your rightness.  There is no need to tolerate differing opinions when you can just go to the church down the road.  About my own church family, I have heard everything from "I hear ya'll don't wear ties in the pulpit," (not true - we don't have a pulpit) to "I hear ya'll don't preach the Bible or believe in the Old Testament" (also not true).

on messes, success, and how we spend our days

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He walks in to a mess.

I'm working on laundry.  I've already folded and put away four loads, and now the final basket waits for me on the couch, beside a heap of clothes needing hangers.  The kids opened a box from their grandma this afternoon; paper and new outfits for each of them litter the opposing couch.  Breakfast dishes sit heaped to one side of the kitchen counter, Legos and empty plastic eggs are strewn on the floor.  All of us have been busy with other projects today, and it shows.

5 things I learned from my husband's brain injury: my messy beautiful story

Friday, April 18, 2014

Healing takes a long, long time.  That's the first thing I learned from my husband's brain injury.

The second is this:  I can do hard things.  I can take four children under seven years old to a liturgical service, where there is little childcare.  I can deal with insurance companies myself, I can parent and be married in new ways.  I can do hard things.  But I can't do them alone, and I will rarely look cute while they happen.

Last May my husband wrecked his bike on the most unassuming dirt path in Boulder, Colorado, while our six-year-old son rode behind him. He split his helmet and was knocked unconscious. My son gave a stranger my number, who called the paramedics, then called me. By the time I made the hour's drive to the hospital, my husband was awake. He had some internal injuries, but he was alert - giving his social security number and asking about our son when I arrived. He's okay, see? We dodged a bullet.  He's okay, I told myself over and over.

We didn't dodge that bullet - we took it square in the gut. But not all wounds are fatal.

It feels like going home.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Don't try to replace our old dog, he said.  Just sit with the sadness, he said.  Remember?

But then spring came.  Everywhere we went people were walking their pets, and he remembered how much fun our old pup was, back when he was healthy.  He softened, and began watching rescue sites and animal shelters' "I'm adoptable!" pages. Until, on Friday, he said, "I think I found the right dog for us."

He was right.  The dog was a perfect fit for our family.  But when we went back to introduce the kids and fill out paperwork, something unexpected happened.

Our little boys grieved.

They'd said good-bye to our old dog before he died, they'd sat and cried with us after he was gone.  Still, the idea of a new pet brought a fresh wave of sadness I did not see coming.  One son insisted we name the new dog after our old one.  The other grew edgy and uncertain, springing quick tears all weekend.  Were they not ready?  Or was their sadness inevitable?

When I asked God for the future I want

Monday, April 7, 2014

Right now, my two "big" boys are 7 and 5 1/2.  They are followed by my little girl, who is 3, and my toddling boy, who is 17 months old.    During all the lunacy of bringing home a newborn with a toddler on my hip, or the crazy-making of raising two preschoolers at the same time, or even the insanity of moving four tiny kids across the country ... in all of the crazy seasons having four kids in five years has brought to my life, never has my home so closely resembled a zoo as it does right now.

Essentially, early elementary boys are puppies.  They wake up playing, eat while playing, fall asleep playing.  And they seem to be continually living out some sort of Despicable Me-style battle scene that includes death by bodily function.  They never stop talking - ever, ever, ever - and they prefer to talk at the same time.

death in a time of facebook

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Then I see a news article that stops my breath. "Victim in fatal crash identified as head pastor of …' Above the headline is the name of a dear family friend. He officiated my wedding, buried my husband’s grandmother. He was my husband’s first boss and remained his mentor. For almost 20 years they had met for lunch and talked on the phone a few times a year. Now he was dead, killed this morning on a highway in our hometown.
And I find this out on Facebook."
Today I am over at Converge Magazine, sharing how social media affects the way we think, talk, and even grieve.  You can read the rest here.
If you followed the link from Converge, welcome!  You may be interested in what Legos taught me about Lent, or how my faith grew when I gave up searching for God's will.  Don't forget to follow along on Facebook or Twitter for new posts!


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