Forgiving = Freedom

The very moment John Ray began to speak words of wisdom, and words about forgiveness, I felt the lump in my throat like an unwanted house guest that won’t quit knocking at the front door. Forgiveness. Forgiveness. It even has a pleasant ring just typing it. But it’s hard to think about. Have you ever noticed that there will be weeks in a row where you have a specific problem, and that very Sunday John will talk about it? Because it’s happened to me more than one time. This time it was about a wound made many years ago, one that still haunts the branches of my family tree: my dad’s affair. When John began to talk about forgiveness, the topic of her surfaced. Her being the woman I used to hold

Undone at the Table

Thirty-five minutes into a sermon that was running a touch too long, it happened — unplanned and unprepared for. I turned to welcome people to the communion table, inviting them to bring their faith. Not the faith they thought they should have, or wish they had, or expect to have, but the faith they had at that moment. As I spoke, my voice started to crack. “Look at the response to your faith,” I choked out. “See the love that is given to us all, regardless.” I managed to make it out of the worship center and to shut the door to the office behind me before totally losing it, sobbing as an emotional wave of gratitude, sorrow, confusion and joyful knowing rolled through my body. I was overcome

Asthma, Anxiety and Altitude on the 401

September 7, 2016: Yesterday I began a nearly-vertical ascent on my mountain bike toward the famous 401 Trail outside Crested Butte. We parked the 4X4 at 8,500 feet; from there, the road climbed ever higher. Within minutes I was gasping, and at every turn of the track there was only more incline ahead. Jeeps and ATVs blew by us, kicking up dust to be sucked into my struggling lungs. I was already in my lowest possible gears, barely staying upright. The bone-dry air quickly evaporated my sweat and spit, while the altitude and my asthma conspired to leave me fighting for breath. Less than a quarter-mile from the start, and with five miles of strenuous climbing ahead of me, I was lightheaded, d

Mentoring: A Win-Win

When I was 12, our family relocated to a rural, small southern community. Previously we were a northeastern family traveling in the military. The relocation followed difficult and life-altering changes, and this was our new reality. Our new church congregation didn’t know how to relate to me, nor did I to them. I felt isolated for a time. Then one Sunday morning a dear lady of the church, Aunt Mert, brought a gift to me. It was a hand-knitted purse just for me! She graciously handed it to me and explained she’d made it because I was special to her. Through many years, Aunt Mert was a wonderful mentor as I watched her live in the community. She taught me through example as she lived a life fo

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