Subscribe to the BlogFollow Me on TwitterFollow My PinsEmail Me Directly

Drink this cup.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Sometimes the clouds part a little and I experience the gift of hearing an old story as if for the first time.

We were at church last Sunday (I think we might have found a church) and the visiting pastor took off on a little bit of a tangent to talk about the wedding at Cana.

A wedding. And at this wedding, they ran out of wine. The guests had already been there for ages; they’d had plenty to drink. But Mary queried and Jesus raised his eyebrow (the pastor surmised), and then he turned the water in 6 large jugs–each holding 20 or 30 gallons–into wine. Really excellent wine.

I’ve heard many interpretations of this miracle, many nuances. This was a shame-based society and Jesus saved the host from great embarrassment; Jesus turned ceremonial water into wine to foreshadow his death for our sins; Jesus cares deeply about love and marriage and what his mother asks of him. Etcetera.

But this day, I was struck–as if for the first time–by its ridiculous generosity. Jesus turned water into fine wine for wedding guests who’d already had plenty.

How lavish. I can’t stop thinking about it.

photo credit

Comments (5)
Categories : Uncategorized

On the Bridge

Monday, June 10th, 2013

There’s a spot in Chicago I’ve always loved. It’s a popular place–a cliché, really–but I adore the DuSable Bridge that spans the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue. That spot feels quintessentially Chicago to me–with its views of the river and the Wrigley Building (my favorite), the briskness and bustle of the Mag Mile, the knowledge that the Loop and the lake are nearby but just out of sight.

I love that bridge, and I think of it when I think of Chicago. But I forget what the bridge means to me when I’m not standing on it. Last week, I found myself standing on it again, and I remembered.

Years ago, I was pregnant for the second time. I woke up in Seattle on the first day of my second trimester bleeding heavily. I was supposed to board a plane that morning.

I called my obstetrician, panicked. He said just get on the plane: what will happen, will happen, regardless of whether or not my feet were on the ground. And so I did, but I couldn’t think of anywhere worse to have a miscarriage than at 30,000 feet.

My husband and I were headed to Chicago for our college homecoming, but all I wanted to do was go home. But the plane landed and we headed into the city to pick up our car and at least think about staying, because we had plans and reservations and friends to meet.

We were walking across the DuSable bridge, talking over our options, when the couple a little ways ahead stopped, and doubled back to us, and said, “You’re Anne, right? And Will? We recognize you from church. How funny to see you here!”

We didn’t talk about anything important on that bridge; we just made chit chat. But that friendly little conversation with familiar faces–on my bridge, my favorite place in Chicago–snapped me out of my panic bubble. We said goodbye and went to get some coffee. We talked and prayed and decided to stay.

I stopped bleeding; the baby would prove to be fine. It was a good trip: a trip we might never have taken were it not for that moment on the bridge.

And as I stood on it last weekend, I remembered.

Comments (6)
Categories : Uncategorized

Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives

Friday, March 8th, 2013


Today I’m joining in with Sarah Bessey’s synchroblog for International Women’s Day. The topic: our patron saints and spiritual midwives. 

As a reader I’m so inspired by women of history who have done great things–or small things, recorded well–to inspire and encourage the generations to come to live this Christian life well. I’ve been on the lookout for these inspiring women for nearly half of my life, ever since a college professor drove home the importance of seeking “Great God People” wherever you can, be that at your dinner table or in the pew or in the pages of books.

And I’ve found so many to inspire, especially in the pages of books: I look up to St Theresé of Lesieux and Madeleine L’Engle, Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Lamott.

And yet the woman that’s encouraging me the most right now doesn’t live on the page.

I know her, but not well. I see her, but not often.

But she inspires me so because she’s making my own path–which seems so difficult at times–seem doable, and worth doing.

As a writer, she’s wrestled through the same issues I struggle with in my own writing: being not “Christian enough” for some, and “too Christian” for others.

As a mom, she’s managing to homeschool her 4 kids. And those kids seem to actually like her, and she likes them.

As a mom, she’s structured her life in such a way that she is there for her family, and she’s doing great in her chosen profession.

As a Christian, she’s struggled. She’s doubted. She’s had some tough times. But she’s still standing.

This woman I admire so is ten years ahead of me. She was born 10 years before I was, her firstborn is a decade older than mine. Our lives aren’t carbon copies but I feel like our tracks are similar, and watching the way she’s walked her path has helped me so much. So much.

I’m grateful for the women of history, the women of the page–those women who make my soul soar and sing with possibility, who seem larger than life.

But I am also grateful beyond words for this ordinary friend. She’s no famous saint but she has been my patron. She has helped me find my life and my faith.

And for that, I am grateful.

Comments (4)
Categories : Uncategorized

The Resistance

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A month ago I received word that, after several delays, the What a Woman is Worth compilation is finally going to press. All I had to do was give my contribution a title and write up a 50 word author’s bio to go with it.

Easier said than done.

This small, simple task elicited Resistance like I haven’t felt in….maybe ever.

I just could not write the thing. I don’t know how else to describe it, except to say that I.just.couldn’t.

It’s true that as an INFP, I’m not great at concise summaries of anything, and I hate writing little snippets about myself. But the difficulty of the task surpassed any rational explanation I could supply.

Finally, after realizing that I’d put this task on my “must do” list every day for a month (yes, seriously, and yes, that’s horrible), I realized that something else might be going on.

Resistance.

Steven Pressfield coined this term in The War of Art (read it, if you haven’t–it’s great) to describe that thing that comes between you and your work. Resistance is what keeps you from sitting down to write. Resistance is invisible, internal, insidious, implacable. Resistance never sleeps; resistance plays for keeps.

As Pressfield says, “Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine.” And when it gets us, “We don’t even know what hit us.”

It got me good this time.

I’m usually pretty good at putting my head down and doing my work, but resistance walloped me last month. I don’t know why, but I have a theory, and it has everything to do with my contribution to the book.

It’s a brave piece. Maybe when you read it it won’t seem like a big deal to you, but it was a really big deal to me. And sure, I could be brave  when I was writing it just for the editor, but now that it’s actually going out into the great wide world? In print?

Resistance.

If you’ve ever heard Brené Brown talk about the vulnerability hangover she endured after her amazing TED talk, you may have an idea what I’m talking about. Let me just say I feel one coming on.

Once I finally identified my obstacle as Resistance, I could do the work. On Saturday, I stationed myself at my writing desk, put my seatbelt on, and resolved not to get up until it was done. I re-read my essay for the first time in nearly a year. I gave it a title. I wrote my bio. I put it all in an email and hit “send.”

I beat it. But God Almighty, send somebody to hold my hand.

 

Comments (7)
Categories : Uncategorized

There Is No Excuse

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

blonde Anne of Green Gables new cover

This post is not about faith, but since it is about the original Anne-with-an-”e”, I’m gonna run with it.

Have you seen this cover for the new edition of Anne of Green Gables?

There is no excuse.

Right?

Comments (14)
Categories : Uncategorized