Being prayer

prayer bead

"But, for me, in that moment, on that particular evening, the words simply would not come" As a spiritual director, you might expect that I spend a fair amount of time thinking about prayer, talking about prayer, and actually praying. Lately I’ve been reflecting on how varied my experiences of prayer have been throughout my life.  The most poignant moment of change happened when our son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  This is how I wrote about it in Sacred Healing: MRIs , marigolds, and … [Read more...]

Not the Lent I intended

poppy cross

Some years, we elect our Lenten discipline, thoughtfully chosen to strategically open or soften parts of our hearts that feel more like stone than like flesh. This year my heart got a different kind of  journey than I had plotted. The Lent I had planned included a series of 40 reflections, 31 already thought through and outlined…. All focused on feminine spirituality and why we as church seem determined to avoid this reality of gender different spirituality in favor of being insistent … [Read more...]

Repentance redefined: Giving up exhaustion and opening to change

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Day 4: Repentance redefined: Giving up exhaustion and opening to change “exhaustion was not fertile soil for growth and change” We had been meeting for about two years when my directee said to me: “You know the most helpful thing you’ve said to me since we’ve been meeting is “God is not in favor of exhaustion.”” As a woman who struggles with over-work, conversation about balance and spiritual practice were a large part of our conversations together.  But it wasn’t until we … [Read more...]

Repentance redefined: standing tall

St. Hildegard

" Not one more day did Jesus want this woman to live bent over." As I was completing work on my third book, My Own Worst Enemy,  I encountered the story of the woman bent over. Listening once more to this Jesus-initiated, compassion-driven, Sabbath day healing of a woman bent over for 18 years, I was suddenly overwhelmed with all the ways that we as women may live bent over: We tend to the needs of others while neglecting our own. We exist in life as a “living apology,” seeking to … [Read more...]

Messy and connected

Mainz

“If I don’t know how to connect in my mess, I miss a lot of loving. “ It is an odd moment to be a favorite. But it’s mine. My favorite liturgical moment of the church year happens today, Ash Wednesday, in the middle of the service. It is the moment when I exchange the peace of Christ with my neighbors in the midst of ashes on my head and theirs. It is an experience somewhat foreign to me: connection in the middle of mess. For most of my life, I lived in the context of a … [Read more...]

“M” is for mystery and for mystic

cloud dump

"The more I listened, the more I recognized within myself a deep hunger to be more aware of the Mystery all around me." I don’t know why it is that when I attempt to meditate, my mind resorts to Dr. Seuss. It has been more than 30 years since I was first read Dr. Seuss’s ABCs to our son, but it is still stuck deep in the crevasses of my neural folds. Big “A” little “a”, what begins with “A”? Aunt Annie’s alligator “A”, “A”, “A.” Big “B” little “b” what … [Read more...]

A Holy Rant

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Why is it that most Christians assume that spirituality is a unisex reality? Why have I, in 55 years of church attendance, never heard a sermon on gender differences in spirituality and only one that even acknowledged it as real (thanks Bob C.)? Why is it that in a culture where we talk more and more about gender difference in how we shop and have heart attacks and think, we neglect to talk about how we experience God differently? Why is there not a course in gender different … [Read more...]

Focusing Self-compassion on Limitations

St v

I admit it: I’ve not bought a single Christmas gift yet. My husband, God bless him, has ordered a few things.  My guess is that Amazon is going to become my best friend over these next few weeks. My work schedule has been full as well as continuing to make doctor and physical therapy appointments and block off several whole days for injections. Oh, and my husband had some minor surgery this month, too. There are only 15 more days until Christmas (all of them shopping days online!) As I … [Read more...]

Sex, lies, and simplistic thinking

direct

"life doesn’t follow the rules and when it doesn’t, we scramble to make sense of it…  " Unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape is an impossibly complex reality and even more painful than it is complex.  How could something so precious and innocent and wonderful as a new baby come from an act of violence so horrific?  It seems to deny the very laws of nature that we rely on every day: By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from … [Read more...]

Self-compassion and unconditional love

oregon wet

“...will we dare to grow up… into the one who extends the unconditional love and deep compassion of Jesus to ourselves?” I have recently been re-reading The Return of the Prodigal by Henri Nouwen, a thoughtful book reflecting on the story of the prodigal son through the lens of Rembrandt’s painting of the same.  Nouwen places himself inside each of the characters in that story and offers some wonderful reflections on the love of God. The part of the book that has caught my … [Read more...]


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