Holy Saturday Moments

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It’s Holy Week, and while for many people it is a time of sacred reflection, I would describe it more as a time of sacred chaos.  When you work in a church, Holy Week is full and the to-do lists are endless.  So I’m choosing to take a few quiet moments as I sit in my office today to reflect on this season.

It has been silent around here, and all I can say about it is that this year has been hard. 2018—all three months of it—has felt long and heavy with burdens and grief.  But as I sit here thinking about Holy week, I’m reminded of Saturday.

Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, is the time in between. Jesus has been crucified but not resurrected—he is simply dead. It is a silent space. There is no rejoicing, no hallelujahs. There are no cries of pain, either, but the quiet can be deafening.

I think there are moments in our lives that feel like Holy Saturday moments.  The moments after the hurt when we feel broken and lost, the moments before resurrection comes. The Holy Saturday moments can leave us feeling even more alone and wounded than Good Friday.

But, of course, we know something that the disciples of Jesus may not have fully understood on that first Holy Saturday.  We know that while the tomb is very real, it is not the most real thing. We are witnesses to a God who redeems, who brings life from death. We have seen that joy and tragedy don’t cancel each other out, and despite all evidence to the contrary there is hope and mercy for us all. We know that Easter Sunday is coming. And thank God for that.

*Photo Credit

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2017: A Year of Grace

It’s really not right to ring in a new year without taking a few moments to pause and reflect on the year we’re leaving behind. 2017 brought us adventures, new friendships, difficult challenges, and profound joy. Most of all, though, 2017 taught me A LOT—about myself, about how I relate to others, and about God.  I’m walking away from it deeply grateful for the lessons learned and the grace I experienced. Cheers, 2017!

January: The most incredible week in Hawaii, snow days, getting settled into our new home, Bachelor nights with the girls, and ice skating with my kiddos.

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February: A weekend in Asheville, pizza nights, more unpacking, a trip to Florida, Saturdays catching up with good friends, and binge watching The West Wing.

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March: A women’s retreat with church, exploring Raleigh with friends, and all the basketball.

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April: A UNC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, Something Rotten at DPAC, Saturdays in Chapel Hill, and birthday parties.

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May: A trip to Indianapolis for work, a Cinco de Mayo wedding, Aislinn’s baby shower, Bark in the Park, celebrating four years of marriage, and Finley’s first trip to the beach.

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June: Lacey’s wedding, Summer Arts Camp at church, celebrating Bryan’s birthday in Chicago, camp with my kiddos, and a conference in Atlanta.

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July: Turning 29, a surprise birthday celebration, meeting Scout, beach days, dinners under market lights, lots of books, and a mission trip to Romania.

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August: Finley’s first birthday, hiking and breweries in Asheville, John Mayer under the stars, and lots of writing.

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September: Hanson at the Ritz, finally getting to sing “Go Cubs Go” at Wrigley Field, Finley’s first tailgate, and a whirlwind of a month at church.

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October: Family Retreat, a super fun trip to Nashville, hosting nights around the fire pit, football Saturdays, and Halloween costumes featuring Thor and the world’s cutest lion.

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November: Bon Iver in Charlottesville, a wedding in Virginia, Memaw’s 93rd birthday, Thanksgiving festivities, our annual family photo shoot, and the most glorious week in Costa Rica.

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December: Picking out a Christmas tree, parties, annual holiday dinner at Angus Barn, time with family, celebrating Hannah and Justin’s engagement, and reflecting on 2017—a hard, bizarre, wonderful year that taught us so much about grace and courage and speaking up. And for that I’m thankful.

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2017 Family Photo Shoot

I’m taking a break from the radio silence around here to share some favorites from this year’s family photo shoot. We try our best to find the time to take family pictures every year. Bryan hates this, I love it, and Finley’s somewhere in between (she hates posing but adores all the loving she gets from the other people at the park). Still, I’m always so glad we have these memories…and we do just so happen to have the world’s cutest dog!

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On Being Human

I few weeks ago a colleague of mine wrote something in an email that has stuck with me.  She said, “Being human is not perfection. Being human is being.” I loved that, and it’s truth and simplicity has been on my heart ever since. Here’s why I think it’s so powerful:

It reminds me that I am not alone.

Her words were an important reminder me that everyone else feels it too—the pressure to keep pushing, keep striving, keep rushing. There’s this constant need to do more, be better, move faster, and we all feel that. We all struggle under the weight of that.

But that’s not what we were created to do.

Being human offers us the freedom to just be, to just rest in the promise that we already are exactly who we were created to be—children of God made in the image of God. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re totally off the hook. We’re still called to use our gifts and talents to do God’s work in the world and to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. But perfection is not the goal. Not even close.

I’m in Chicago this week for a conference on transformative churches.  A large part of the conference is dedicated to retreat—to rest, renewal, and solitude. In other words, just being.

As I go into this week, I’m thinking about this notion of being human. I’m choosing to allow myself to just be and to rest in the truth that I am already a beloved child of God. Because that is who I was created to be.

 

 

Currently: September

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Reading: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I’ve been reading a lot of girly beach reads this summer, so a thriller/suspense novel is a nice change. It’s by the same author as Girl on the Train, and so far I’m really enjoying it!

Listening: Elysium/Love and War. My husband’s band released a new album recently, and (in my totally unbiased opinion) it’s wonderful. Give it a listen—The World is Alright is my favorite!

Planning: Lots of travel. I’m heading to Chicago and Nashville in the next couple weeks for work and taking my kiddos to camp. We also have a fun trip in the works for late November. Stay tuned!

Anticipating: Fall! I know it still feels like summer outside, but I’m getting excited for fall. As much as I love summer, I always look forward to fall. I love the cooler temps that allow for longer walks with Finley and dinners outside. I love football and changing colors and decorating with pumpkins. Plus, I’m just ready for a change in seasons. Bring it on, fall!

Praying: For Texas. The images coming out of Houston are heartbreaking, but the responses of so many volunteers who have gone there to help with clean up and rescue are pretty remarkable. There are some ideas of ways you can help or donate here.

From Grave to Groove

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The other night our youth minister shared a message in which he talked about the power of love. He referenced the U2 song Window in the Skies which talks about the beauty and wonder of what love can do in the world. I was struck by this particular line:

The grave is now a groove. 

For Christians, we’re familiar with the notion of love overcoming the grave. But something about hearing those particular words in this particular season is still resonating with me days later.

The Psalmist wrote, “You have turned my mourning to dancing” (Psalm 30:11).  In other words, God can turn our sadness into joy, our despair into hope, our grave into a groove.

Our world feels dark these days, and mourning seems to be the general state of things. There is a heaviness that is hard to shake. I’m thinking about Texas. I’m thinking about Charlottesville. I’m thinking about the refugee crisis. I’m thinking about all those who feel rejected, discriminated against, and marginalized. And it feels like too much.

Maybe you’ve felt it, too. Maybe you feel it on a more personal level. Maybe it’s an illness or the loss of a loved one that’s weighing on your heart. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s slowly breaking you. Maybe it’s the pressure to always do more, be more. Maybe you just feel tired.

It’s easy, these days, to feel like all there is and all there will be is mourning. But the story of God reminds us to look and remember what love can do. Love can change hearts, mend relationships, heal pain. Love is a force bigger than hate, and love doesn’t run out. Because of love the grave doesn’t get to have the last word.

From grave to groove. Look what love can do, indeed. Look what God can do.

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web. 

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Hey friends! It’s Friday, and I have a full weekend of work ahead of me. But we’ve also got some fun things planned, like a very special first birthday party for our sweet girl. There were a lot of important things on the internet this week, so I’m sharing some of the posts that have been particularly meaningful to me. Let’s love loud this weekend! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…