Stories that Matter

Struggles

Observations From The Back Row

Ever been in car, just coasting along and then BAM! A tire blows. You’re forced to pull over. If you’ve got a spare, you can replace the blown tire and get on your way. But if you don’t for some weird reason have a spare or you just have no earthly clue how to change…
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When You Don't Know What To Say

In the quiet of the morning, after two days of rain, calm crests over the ocean beyond my window. I watch gentle waves and wonder why it feels so impossible to make a difference in this world. Wonder why so many are hurting in a season supposed to be filled with joy. Where is the…
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Where We Dwell …

It came down to this. These words. You have a choice. You can stay in this place of despair and despondency, waiting for things that may never happen … or you can move on. Find another place to dwell.  A moment like that, if you’ve ever had one, can be life changing. And once you’ve…
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If You Don't Know Me By Now …

We’re almost at the mid-point of the year and I’m … re-grouping. Breathing deep and re-evaluating, sorting boxes in my head and sticking to what is true. Discarding what is not. Figuring out who this girl really is. I haven’t always known for sure. Fear of failure and self-doubt swirl like monster waves and I’ve…
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Secrets And Second Chances

I shared this post over at INSPY Romance last week, thought it was worth the repost. “I didn’t lie, exactly, I just didn’t tell you the truth.” Ever heard that before? Ever thought it? Said it? Done it? You don’t have to raise your hand. We’re all friends here, right? Secrets are funny things. Sometimes…
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What If … ?

What if? That’s how you start a story. Did you know? What if? It’s such a simple theory, yet so often hard to grasp. Because there are a million what-ifs, and how do you know which one fits? How do you know which one is just right, for you? Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the story…
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We Are More …

Why does it have to be so hard? I wonder what the final count would be, were I to tally up all the times I’ve asked that question. And heard it. And felt it. Felt it so deep in my soul that it becomes a searing pain. One I have no idea what to do…
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The Painful Insignificance, Chocolate Cake and A Bottle of Wine …

You’ve had days like that. Days when for whatever reason, and it doesn’t matter why, you misjudge, miscalculate, miss the mark, make a snap decision and just do something utterly stupid. But then it’s done and it can’t be undone and so you pray and hope that one day, a week from now or a…
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So Sometimes We Get Stuck …

Ever been stuck? Like really stuck. Like, there is no way I’m getting out of this alive, stuck? Stuck, like tires spinning. No way out. Stuck, middle of the night in a silent house, staring into darkness, mind spinning. No way out. If you’re not there now, you will be. Or you have been. We…
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And Why, Exactly, Do We Break So Easily?

2015. I was so ready for it. Anticipating writing a very different blog post right about now. One in which I would share some good news I’d been given quite some time ago. But I can’t do that. And I’m not sure if or when I will be able to. Things changed and before I…
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What Am I Afraid Of?

January 29, 2018 | 2 Comments

Words fail me. Lately. When I try to sum up what this thing is that I do and why I do it and why I can’t not do it and why some days the words won’t come . . .  words fail me. And the question rattles hard in my head. Is it . .…

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Is It Supposed To Hurt This Much?

June 8, 2017 | 7 Comments

That was a text I got from my daughter a few hours into labour. “Is it supposed to hurt this much?” I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t. Because, yes. It is. And it does. And it will continue to. With every challenge that comes with being a parent. Being a mother or father or…

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Being The Grown-Up In The Room

February 13, 2017 | 8 Comments

I read this excellent post on Jen Hatmaker’s Facbook page yesterday. She talked about looking for the grown-up in the room, i.e. the person not arguing, not using childish banter to go on the attack, the person others look to because they’re talking sense. Sometimes you have to be that person. Sometimes you have to…

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Get Back Up ~ Dedicated To My Friend Sandie

December 2, 2016 | 34 Comments

You should know, I am a die-hard GWTW fan. I’ve lost track now exactly how many times I’ve watched the movie. But I have read the book only once. I’m thinking I need to rectify that. The GWTW experience for me began as a lonely and homesick thirteen-year old wandering the musty maze of books…

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Things I'm Learning From The US Election

November 12, 2016 | 10 Comments

I’ve been unable to write the past few days. Unable to trust that I’d use my words wisely. And I don’t know for sure I can do that today. Don’t know for sure I’ll hit that publish button when I’m done. But I do know I need to write the words down. Because that’s what…

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The Crash

October 31, 2016 | 4 Comments

Ever been in a spot where you’re all prepared for one thing and then, before you can take your next breath, something happens to flip the entire day upside down? Sure you have. I think we’ve all been there at some point. Maybe you’re there right now. That’s okay. Grab a coffee. Put your feet…

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Running on Empty

September 9, 2016 | 3 Comments

It was one of those nights last night. Sporadic sleep. Sound one minute, wide awake the next. It’s something I’ve learned to live with over the last couple of years, but it isn’t easy. Fortunately, I don’t have to be out the door at o’dark thirty, so when I have one of those nights, I…

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Why I Love Me Before You

June 3, 2016 | 24 Comments

I’m not going to bother with the SPOILER ALERT or DISCLAIMER tags because, face it, if you don’t want to read this, why’d you click the link? I don’t generally jump into these arguments, but yesterday I read something that made me cringe. And I’d had enough. I’m an author. I have been writing fiction…

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And This Is Why The Words Matter …

May 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

So I wrote a piece about Guarding The Writer’s Heart – and it’s true. It’s tough out there. You’re going to get criticism no matter what. It’s just a given. Kinda like running for President. But not. And we won’t go there. But you know . . . this year so far . . .…

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Flashback Friday – Facing Fear

April 29, 2016 | 2 Comments

I was a scared kid. Scared of being alone, scared of being left/abandoned. I think I was scared of the dark for awhile. Timid, shy and terrified of anything that would have me step out of my comfort zone. I had a lovely visual for this blog, an old photo, but I can’t for the…

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Observations From The Back Row

Ever been in car, just coasting along and then BAM! A tire blows. You’re forced to pull over. If you’ve got a spare, you can replace the blown tire and get on your way. But if you don’t for some weird reason have a spare or you just have no earthly clue how to change a tire, (that would be me), then you’ve got to wait.

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You’re forced to pull over.

It happens so quick sometimes. The abrupt slamming of brakes, stopping and knowing there’s no place else to go. And you’re kind of mad because you had that day all planned out and now it’s ruined and you’re thrown off your schedule and . . . yeah. 

Life’s like that.

God works like that.

I’ve been forced to pull over a few times. Coasting along, tunes blaring, doing it all my way, road clear ahead and it’s all so good, except it’s not. And He knows it. So I get pulled over and we have these chats, God and I, and usually I sulk and yell some, but I come around eventually because you know . . . you can’t exactly argue with God and win.

These days I drive slow because I almost see it coming. There’s a bend in the road ahead. I’ve sensed it for a while now, in this waiting, this wondering. And in the silence of it all, there’s been an equipping. A time of preparation.

And I have the distinct impression of being called out.

And you know I just want to keep on driving. Drive that broken rubber right down to rim and watch the sparks fly. But I know where that gets me.

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The ditch is no fun. Ask me how I know.

Things really came into focus recently. I got slammed again. Faced with feelings I thought I was doing pretty well with. Well, doing a good job of ignoring them anyway. You know, those ones that show up when life just hurls crap and you have to deal . . . anger, frustration and sadness, disbelief. The kinds of feelings that make you want to pull out your voodoo doll and . . . okay . . . nobody panic, I don’t actually have a voodoo doll.

I know I’m supposed to relax and let God take care of this stuff. But I’ve already asked Him if I can come along and watch when He does. Probs not, but it was worth a shot. Oh, I know. I’m wretched. When somebody hurts me, when somebody hurts people I love? And I can’t do anything about it and the worst of it all is they’re getting away with it . . . I loathe injustice.

But so does God.

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So I’m sitting on the side of the road again.

Processing. Wondering where forgiveness is and when I’ll find it, and really, I’m just a bit player in all this. It shouldn’t matter this much, yet it does. So I search for wisdom. I go back to those who appear to have it all together. I listen, read and watch when I know all I really need to do is pray. But that’s so hard some days.

So I’ve just been watching.

Living on a tiny island gives one an interesting vantage point. For years I’ve watched the North American church. Envied it. Probably coveted it a little. Always wanting what we never seemed to have. And now I wonder would we ever really have belonged there? If we lived someplace else, would we belong to one of those mega-churches with thousands of people, and life groups and programs a plenty . . . I don’t know. I’ve always been more of a back row kind of gal.

And as I sit here on the side of the road, I’m trying to figure out why.

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I was introduced to religion before it was a bad word. Church was part of Sunday. We got dressed up, we went. We sang some hymns, said some prayers, talked to a few folk and then we went home. Nobody got crazy. It was all very organized and nobody ever thought about doing anything different. You just blended in.

For this very shy off the charts introvert, blending suits. But when I was almost 16, I went to Young Life camp. And I really met Jesus. And there was no blending in. You had to stand up that night and tell all those kids about it, a room of maybe a hundred or more people I didn’t really know. (My worst nightmare). Well, I suppose I could have sat through that meeting. Sat on my hands and told myself it was okay. God would probably still take me anyway. But I didn’t know that. I didn’t know much. So I stood.

That’s how I know it was real. 

Because only God could have made me do that. I can’t imagine anything worse than drawing attention to myself. But I couldn’t deny what was happening either.

So that was my beginning.

And now, years on, I’m feeling a little tired. I’ve been through worship wars, small church politics and crazy stuff that makes you want to stay home for days. I’ve watched the evangelical evolution from afar and found it fascinating.

We don’t go to church now, we do church. There are huge gatherings with loud music and flashing lights and words I can’t really understand because they’re sung so fast but they’re up on a screen so it’s okay, and you don’t need to lug your Bible around with you anymore because it’s up on a screen too, up front or on your phone or iPad. Church speak means using words like radical and extravagant and scandalous. We gather and we send out and we do justice and mercy and love and it all looks and sounds so dang near perfect it makes me want to cry.

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And honest? I don’t know where I’d fit in all that glorious community.

Our church is small. Our lights don’t flash except when they’re about to burn out, and sometimes someone forgets to put the words up and you have to open a book. I spent a lot of years there doing things I thought were good. Maybe I wanted to be one of those young, all put together hipster chicks I see out there today – I don’t know. Maybe I sincerely believed that all the programs and the bible studies and the worship nights and the meetings would make God show up more powerfully than if we just did life together. What if we just loved? 

But I didn’t know and when it starts to feel like work, when you’re tired and feeling like you just can’t do it anymore . . .

You get pulled over.

So I sat back for a few years, and watched. And listened. And prayed. And wrote books.

Truthfully, I’m still kind of hovering near the back. Still not comfortable calling attention to myself. But I’m playing on a different field now, and stupidly perhaps, I used my real name on the cover of my book. People will know who I am.

But this is the path I chose and the path He has blessed.

So I’m waiting. Waiting for God only knows what. The scary thing is, I think He’s about to tell me. And I probably won’t like it.

But whatever it is, wherever I have to go on this new journey, I know now He’ll give me the strength and the courage to do it. And do it well.

Because out of darkness, there is light. Through pain, healing. Hopelessness creates longing. Longing creates a spark that eventually bursts into flame.

And then you know.

You know you’re still in it. You still want it. You’re still a part.

And even in spite of it all, you are still so, so, so loved. 

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