Monthly Archives: July 2014

practicing hope (part 4 of 4)

I’m not a particularly optimistic person (understatement of the year). Depression hasn’t helped. But I’m trying out this idea of allowing the dark times to teach me about myself and also about God.

I’ve written about how I believe that God uses our depression to teach us about our hearts and how we should use depression as a tool to examine what we worship. I’ve also written about how even though Edward Welch’s book on depression argues that suffering should bring us closer to God – because our world is broken and we are broken, often the opposite is true.

All of these things are helpful. Welch’s perspective on depression is profoundly shaping and changing my own. BUT. What I really want to know is what to do about the depression.  Continue reading

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a confession

I’m afraid to tell people that I’m a writer. I don’t feel like a writer. I want to be a writer – I’ve wanted it since I was about ten or eleven years old – but now, when I’m trying to focus on it with concentrated effort for the first time, trying to follow this longtime dream – I’m afraid to tell people.

Instead I say “I’ve got work to do” or I list the other half-dozen things that I might do during the two days that my son is in daycare. “You know, I’m cooking a meal for a friend that had surgery, and then I’m observing a bit of teaching for the girl I mentor and then I’m coaching a chamber music group and then I’m writing a proposal for a magazine. And then I’ve got to learn the music for that concert next week.” It’s never “I’m writing.”

Is it because I haven’t yet been published – outside the classical music realm and world? Is it because I feel like I’m just going through the motions – imitating what I imagine to be the life of a writer (who’s also essentially a full-time mom and in charge of everything in the home)? Is it because I’m afraid to tell people what I’m writing about?  Continue reading

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how can we respond? (part 3 of 4)

Last time, I waxed eloquent about God’s role in suffering (according to counselor and theologian Ed Welch) – God uses our suffering to teach us about our hearts. Welch also argues that suffering actually points us towards God – in two ways:

  1. We need God to endure our suffering.
  2. The life of God’s son, Jesus, helps us to understand our suffering.

Now silence that little voice in your head that might be saying, Okay, great, but I still have to believe in God to care about this perspective. I’m with you, friend. I’ve been there. But stick with me. Welch is simply saying that bad things can have a good purpose. And also that we shouldn’t expect life to be a bowl of cherries:

The cross says that life will not be easy. If Jesus serves, we will serve. If Jesus suffers, we, too, will experience hardships. . . Suffering is part of the path that leads to glory and beauty.

BUT. It seems to me that suffering doesn’t always do what it’s intended to do – it doesn’t always bring good, and it doesn’t always bring us closer to God. Continue reading

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looking under the hood (part 2 of 4)

In an ideal world, I endure suffering with grace and dignity, clinging to the Lord, quietly strong in my faith, exuding peace and composure even when faced with the hardest things. I am a poster child for how faith can help weather difficult times.

In reality, my suffering is ugly. I’m mean. I struggle with doubt and say sarcastic things to God and about God. I shut myself off from people and I shut people out. I scream and hit and cry angry tears. Sometimes I just feel numb. Sometimes I drink too much. Sometimes I eat too much. Sometimes I don’t eat enough. One thing is true – I’m no Mother Teresa.

But one other important thing is also true.

I’m willing to keep fighting, and I want to learn to do it better.  Continue reading

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letter to my son

written June 19, 2014

Dearest Jacob,

We are anxiously waiting to welcome your little sister into the world and our family. You are twenty months old, and a total delight – filled with tremendous energy and curiosity, you are an endless source of entertainment and laughter, and I can no longer imagine my life without you. These past twenty months have been some of the most difficult of my life, but I am thankful for you every single day, and I will always treasure this time we’ve had as a family of three.

You will probably never remember these days. You will never remember being an only child, the very center of my attention and my world (and vice versa!). Continue reading

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letter to my daughter

written June 19, 2014

To my sweet daughter,

You are already so precious to me and I cannot tell you how eager I am to meet you! I have always imagined myself the mama of a daughter, and I have always wanted a little girl of my own.

Hannah Grace, your name also has a special meaning. First, your name Hannah continues and honors your daddy’s family tradition of names that begin with the letter “H.” In the Bible, Hannah is a woman of devotion and faithfulness, as well as sorrow and sacrifice, and the Hebrew setting of Hannah has the beautiful meaning of “gracious” or “graciousness” or “favor.”

As you grow older, you will learn Hannah’s story and read about how Hannah is a beautiful example of the way that unpleasant and difficult circumstances can produce a strong character that blesses the world. She suffered much because of her initial barrenness (which means that she wanted to have children of her own but couldn’t), and she cried day and night to the Lord. She trusted that He heard her prayers and knew of her sadness. Because of her godliness, devotion, trust, patience, and self-sacrifice, she was especially blessed by God, and was given a son (Samuel) who brought great glory and honor to God.  Continue reading

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