A blessing for a new beginning

This day,
Like all days,
Is an opportunity for
A new beginning.

May you have the courage to plunge
Into the wrestling and wonder
Of the formation of fresh life.

It will not be easy.
As the saying goes, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

First, the seed must get buried.
Once deep in the ground,
The seed must wait in silence. 
Until the day comes that it cracks.
And becomes broken enough
For something new to come forth from inside. 
The seedling.
Once that fragile seedling of life emerges,
It must push its way through darkness,
Before emerging into the light.
Only then can it grow the buds of the future, 
As the sun and rain nourish what was once the seed
Into what it has always been meant to become.

May you know that the fight for life is worth the cost.
That wrestling is where your strength is built.

May you experience the deep goodness
Of the Creator’s presence with you.
The God who breathed being into humans in the first days,
Is asking you to trust.

May your heart quiver with excitement, 
Knowing that no matter how old you are
Or how you have lived before this day,
It is never to late to begin anew.
The seeds in you will never expire.

May you experience the hope
Sculpted into your essence.
May you know the God
Who never tires of expanding life.

May you breathe. 
May you wrestle.
May you desire.
May you dream. 

the seeds in you will never expire

One way I experienced new life recently is through the experience of preaching a sermon at Genesis Covenant Church. I have had a long wrestling with teaching, and have often stepped onto the stage as someone other than myself. This experience was different. God helped me be me and bring what God had given me. It was a beautifully redemptive experience. If you want to listen, you can do so here.

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7 Lessons from a Car Accident

7 lessons from a car accident

About a week and a half ago, I was in a car accident. Someone ran a red light and smashed into the passenger side of my car. There's something about a car accident that feels like a microcosm of life, and I've been thinking about several lessons I'm learning from it. In no particular order, here they are:

1. A sudden change of direction can cause hidden pain. Get help. A side impact accordions the spine in crazy ways. I have only one bruise but will have weeks of chiropractic care. It is not something that would just go away without the help and advice of someone else. Yet, what we recognize physically, we often don't recognize emotionally. When life takes a sudden change of direction, like a death or illness or job change, there may be inner damage and trauma not immediately apparent. If you are one who bounces back quickly, and "can handle it," push yourself to allow others in. There may be things under the surface that you can't yet see, that someone else could help you work through.

2. Feelings are not one-dimensional. Life is often terrible and wonderful at the same time. My car was totaled, that sucks. I was out of town when it happened, which was a pain. My body is still sore, and that is annoying... But also... I was the only one in the car, which means no one was on the passenger side, thank God. I walked away with relatively minor injuries- I didn't even have head trauma, and that is amazing. The other guy owned his responsibility in the crash, so it didn't become a he said-she said argument, which is so helpful. I am hurt and grateful, frustrated and relieved, sore and happy, all at once.

3. Be careful with your theology in times of trouble. I have been a pastor for years, and to be honest, I don't know how to describe God's role in this. Because here's what I know: I was lucky and many others are not. To say that "God protected me" can feel good, but what about my friends who weren't protected? Who were hurt badly or had a loved one die in a car accident? Did God not protect them? That feels gross to me. Especially when victims are kids. The most I want to say is that God was with me then and God is with me now. In the midst of the trauma and pain, joy and gratefulness, God is there. God is feeling with me and walking beside me through it all.

4. People are awesome. So many people's first responses were those of concern and practical care. Do you need to borrow a car? Do you need any help with the kids? How are you feeling? Is there anything I can do? There are many things around us and in the news that can cause us to question the goodness of humanity. Watching how people respond in times of crisis (though honestly, this wasn't even a crisis, just trouble and inconvenience) reminds you how awesome and giving people can be.

5. One change leads to another. Be prepared for the process. Sometimes we think of decisions as existing in one moment of time. We forget how one change can begin a process that can go on for quite awhile. One car accident meant figuring out what to drive home, embarking on a search for a new vehicle, making decisions about our budget, scheduling appointments with a chiropractor, reorganizing the schedule to fit the aforementioned test-driving and appointments into it... And all these changes led to pushing and pulling on other parts of our lives. We often don't know the consequences of a decision until after we've made it. Don't be surprised if things take more time or more work than you thought they would. Process is normal.

6. It is okay to rest. This one might not be difficult for you, but it is difficult for me. I want to hang out with people. I want to get stuff done around the house. I want to write. I want to do fun stuff with and for my kids. I want to study Scripture for future socratic gatherings. I want to do a lot of things. And I feel like since I walked away with minor injuries, I still should be able to do them. I wrote a post awhile back about comparison being the thief of healing and that's true of me right now. I think about that person whose injuries were worse and that person who is so strong, and I think "why should I need a nap?" But I do. If I listen to my body, I do. And I can. And it is good for me to do so.

7. Take your time. But eventually, get back in the car. Some people take awhile after an accident before they are able to drive again. And that's okay. But eventually, life keeps moving forward and you have to make the choice to move with it. It's true that anything can happen, but if you stay in fear of that, you miss out on too much. In the last week, I've explored a museum with my kids, dreamed about future possibilities, and enjoyed great conversation with friends, because I got back in the car. Let change awake you to the possibilities of life, instead of trapping you in the fear of death.

I'm sure there are more lessons I could list, but that feels like enough, at least for now.... 

Wherever life finds you this week, I pray that you can experience and learn from the joy and sorrow of it all. 

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Seeds and Hydrangeas, a Guest Post

Today I have the honor of guest posting over at my friend Claire's blog, Single Christian Girls. If you fall into any of those three categories, or even you don't, you should totally follow her. She is hilarious. 

Not trying to compete with her humor, I kept my usual more serious tone, but hopefully on a topic that would feel applicable to her readers, as I hope it will to you.

It's a bit of a continuation of what I posted earlier this week about growing leaves. You can tell it's what I've been thinking about lately.

Here's an excerpt,

The early chapters of Genesis have gotten trapped in scientific arguments and children’s stories. It’s not often the place we turn when looking for some inspirational Bible reading. Yet, the poetry and images contained within these earliest chapters paint some stunning portraits of God and humanity, if we have the eyes to see them.

One of my favorites comes in Genesis 1:11,

“Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.”

How easy it is to jump to what God created, without pausing to notice how God created. Both the product and the process reveal things about the Lord’s character...
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