Posts Tagged: "Pain"

The Great Stripping Away (or—how I lost some of my faith)

- - Life With God, Uncategorized

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Thankful Notes

I will always think of this past year as the Great Stripping Away. There were things I intentionally chose to remove from my life, there were things that just happened naturally and in their season, and there were things that felt more forceful, not in my control… more like a taking rather than a giving or letting go.

This past year…

We sold our big 3,000sf home of 10 years in the neighborhood where Ashah grew up

We gave away most of our furniture

I gave away 3/4 of my clothing

My dad started having memory problems

Ashah graduated / turned 18 / has boyfriend / is heading to college – including a study abroad program

We began a complete gut-and-remodel of our little lake house while living in it… which included no heat or water during the snow storm and power outage this winter

We had to move out for some days when the staircase was gutted (leaving no access to bedrooms and the only remaining usable bathroom)

The main level of our house had no walls, no insulation, no lights, etc. for a while

I slept on a cot in the construction zone for a month or two

We had no kitchen, no way to prepare food at home other than with a microwave

We ran out of money to pay contractors and had to borrow in order to keep going

We began a remodel on our rental house so we could sell it

We sold our rental house

We decided to close our Kent campus after some significant setbacks – the youth pastor left to work at another church and took much of the band and our workforce with him; at the same time, an elder/pastor left because of a pending divorce

The church I grew up in, now a multi-site megachurch in our community, hired our youth pastor without any prior contact or conversation with me. Our youth pastor left to work at one of their campuses and took… Read More

Through Eyes That Have Cried

There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried. —Oscar Romero

Divorce

Diagnosis of cancer

Husband who is not a believer

A child who is addicted to drugs

An unplanned pregnancy

Crippling anxiety

Losing a job

Being homeless, living in a car

Physical abuse in the home

Depression

Death of a child

Chronic pain

Dependency on… Read More

Pain & Protest

- - Uncategorized

I returned to work today. It’s been a week now that I have been suffering from debilitating back pain. Over the past week, I’ve measured success by whether or not I could sit on the toilet, get into the bath tub, and put on clothing by myself without causing further damage to my back. Life has been pretty basic while dealing with this pain.

About 12 years ago, I went to… Read More

Open Wounds

picture above: balloons being released by the grandkids after my mom’s memorial service this past August – yellow is my mom’s favorite color.

Note—this post is by Debie Thomas, originally posted on the Journey with Jesus blog.

*     *     *

A few days ago, my daughter and I were looking at the websites of colleges she’ll apply to next year, noticing the buzzwords admissions committees use to highlight qualities they value.  “High achievement.”  “Determination.”  “Initiative.”  After a few minutes, my daughter frowned and moved away from the computer.

“They want battle scars,” she said bitterly.  “Not open wounds.”

Her sentence stopped me cold.  I don’t know if it’s an accurate assessment of college admissions in the U.S right now — I suspect it is.  But what struck me about her remark is how painfully relevant it is to the Church.  In my experience, Christians put a lot of stock in triumph and victory.  We value the race won, the mountain scaled, the enemy defeated,  the obstacle overcome.  Sure, we welcome stories of sin and struggle, but only when those stories are shared in retrospect, long after the sordid worst is over.  Sin that has surrendered to righteousness?  That’s a Christian story.  But sin that clings?  Challenges that won’t ease up?  A wound — physical, psychological, or relational — that festers?  We squirm.  We turn our eyes away.  We worry.  Battle scars, not open wounds.

I’d like to understand better why we do this.  I’m sure there are several reasons, but here are a few I’ve been thinking about… Read More

Maybe The Worst Days Are The Most Important Ones

I’ve been playing around with this idea… what if our worst days – the ones we would cancel if we had the power or ability to – were, in fact, the most important days?

There’s a growing trend with churches in our area to cancel services on the Sunday following Christmas. One leading church has been doing this for years – they now call it “Volunteer Appreciation Sunday.” I think what they’re saying is: thank you for volunteering all year – our gift to you is a Sunday off.

I’ll be honest. I’m skeptical.

I think the real reason for cancelling services isn’t gratitude. I think it’s… Read More

The Beauty Of The Flaw

Some dear friends of mine have recently gone though an incredibly tragic and painful experience. Along with them, I want to know “Why?” I want answers. Conclusions. Resolutions. And I know there are none.

Although there are no satisfying answers, I do believe beauty rises from our suffering – but just not quickly.

It will come, in its own time. So in the meantime, we sit in the pain and learn how to manage with it.

While reading Beauty —The Invisible Embrace I was reminded again of the promise from God that beauty will rise from our ashes.

In the words of John O’Donohue… Read More