About Settling Down . . . A Deeper Story

Every month, I share a story at one of my favorite websites ever, A Deeper Story. This month, I am once again writing for the Family Channel. Here’s a piece of this month’s story and a link so you can read the rest:



You think you know so much when you’re twenty years old. When that third decade begins, you’re a little bit full of yourself, impressed with what you’ve learned in school and in life, and convinced that you’ll be able to handle whatever life throws your way.

And, if you were a 20-year-old raised in the 50s and 60s, you also understood the order of things, especially if you were a female. Even more especially if you were a female raised in the conservative wing of the Christian church. Your life was pretty well mapped out for you: childhood, adolescence, a little bit of young adulthood, marriage, motherhood.

Being an eldest child with a strong sense of propriety and extraordinarily overactive responsibility glands, you did exactly what was expected of you. So, in the year you turned 20, you got yourself married. You found a good, Christian man, dated him (carefully!) for a good long time, got engaged and then, of course, you “settled down.”

Well, five out of six ain’t bad, right? The meeting, finding, dating, engaging, marrying thing you did according to plan. It’s the settling down part you’ve struggled with for the last — how many is it now? — FORTY-EIGHT years.

I chalk it up to delayed and extended adolescent rebellion, that’s what. As an eager-to-please, hyper-obedient child and youth, you never truly rebelled against anything or anyone. And that remarkable man you married? He wasn’t exactly a rabble-rouser, either, was he?

Yet somehow, you’ve traveled this wild and wooly, sometimes adventurous, always unique journey-through-life that began with an afternoon of “I do’s” at the end of 1965. Now you’re taking a gander at 2014, as it rises out of the fog and begins to take shape. Holy crap, next year, you’ll hit the big 5-0. Can you believe it? Doesn’t that happen to old people?

I look at the pictures from this most recent anniversary and I still see those kids in there, those good kids who so wanted to do ‘the right thing,’ whatever the heck that was. Yes, the years have added pounds to our frames and lines to our faces and a whole lotta white hair to the head of at least one of us.

But you know what else I see? A couple of undercover rebels, that’s what. We obeyed the rules, we followed the protocol, yet somehow, we never managed to settle down, did we? At least, not in the way our parents envisioned settling.

Please click on this line to read the rest over at A Deeper Story. . .

A Safe Place: A Deeper Story


As I began to wade into the waters of the internet at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, I wound my way over to this remarkable place called “A Deeper Story.” I was in transit at that point in my life, moving into retirement, giving up an identity I had happily filled for fourteen years as pastor and leader in my church. I wondered what was next for me, where God would have me thinking and working. And the only thing I knew, in those early days, was that I had a clear and direct call from God to write, and that call had the word ‘stories’ in it.

I’ve done a lot of exegetical, theological, spiritual and psychological work to become the person I am at this juncture of my life. And I could, if I chose to, make a good ‘argument’ for what I believe and why I believe it. But I was increasingly convinced, as I read all around the blogosphere, that I did not want to argue; I wanted to tell my story.

All of my stories, to be more precise. The fun ones, the adventurous ones, the love-filled ones — of course, yes, hooray. But I also wanted to tell the stories of wondering and wandering, of doubting and wrestling. And I wanted to read stories like that, too.

And “A Deeper Story” was the very best place I found to do that. The reading part, at least. And I read them all. Every single one.

And then, lo and behold! Just over a year ago, an invitation came for me to tell my stories in that rich space — a gift straight from the hand of God, courtesy of Megan Tietz. And this place has been a good, welcoming, wrestling place for me.

And here’s why.

All the people who write regularly or guest post at this site are starting from different places along the journey. We do not all agree on theology or politics or child-raising or any other topic you might care to mention. We do agree that we’re following hard after Jesus, and some days that’s a lot harder to do than others.

And that right there has been a tremendous gift. We care about one another, we encourage one another, we listen, we welcome. And our regular readers do that, too. The entire experience has been gift.

Right now, the site is in the midst of a pretty massive overhaul. It’s a necessary part of the growing process. And Nish Weiseth, whose brainchild ADS is, has been paying ALL of the costs connected to keeping this site going up to this point. Now, however, we’re turning a corner of sorts.

We’re growing up.

And as any parent will readily agree, growing up is expensive. So we’re asking for some help.

There is a Fundly campaign going on right now, today. And the goal is $4,000.

I am confident that the readers of ADS will help us reach that goal and, in addition, will give Nish a nice, comfy cushion to keep us afloat for a good, long time. I’ve already made a gift and may very well do so again.

Can I invite you over to the website today to read all about this from Nish’s perspective? You’ll find a link to the campaign over there.

Thanks so much for being a friend of mine and of this blog — and for following me over to ADS when one of my posts is up over there.


Ta Da! The Final Piece of the (in)Mercy Journey!


Back in September, I was privileged to be a participant in the very first project from (in)Courage magazine’s commitment to raise funds for Mercy House in Kenya.

The beautiful brainchild of Kristin Welch and her family, this home provides safety, security, education, healthcare and spiritual input for twelve moms and their babies — beautiful babies whose lives have been saved from destruction because of this place, this house of mercy.

We had a total of FIVE projects to raise funds for – and the first four have been completely funded, with almost eight thousand dollars already raised for the last, and most ambitious of them all.

Project Number Five is a SECOND HOME, another living space for unwed moms and their babies, a sacred space where we can double the impact of this life-changing ministry

It’s a big challenge, a big idea, a GOD idea! And we believe that our goal can be met between now and Christmas. When you’re making out your Christmas lists this year, would  you consider putting the (in)Courage (in)Mercy Phase Five home somewhere near the top?

For the last several years, the gift-exchange in our family of sixteen has included gifts purchased in honor of one another, with funds going to a variety of peace and justice causes around the world. Everything from our denominational catalog of gift ideas to World Vision to Heifer International. In addition, I purchase jewelry for loved ones from sources that provide a living wage to sisters living in poverty in Haiti, Mexico and Indonesia. And this year, I will also be making a donation in all of our names to this remarkable ministry. 

Please check out the links below for more information about how you, too, can participate in this gift of love. I cannot think of a better way to honor that baby in the manger than to help provide care for moms and babies in Kenya.

You can make donations by clicking on this line, which will take you directly to the great people over at PureCharity, who have a video to watch, some of the most adorable photos you’ve ever seen in your life, and options for you to give for this final phase of our big fall project. What a challenge – and what a gift!

If you are interested in purchasing any of the (in)Mercy materials from Dayspring, you can find their webpage by clicking on this link.

31 Days of Giving Permission . . . TO TELL YOUR STORY

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And so, we come to the end of these 31 days.
These days of giving/finding/taking permission:
to disconnect,
to learn,
to lean,
to laugh,
to listen,
to lament,
to let loose,
to re-connect,
to sleep, perchance to dream,
to change,
to say no,
to take a break,
to see,
to be seen,
to read, read, read (1)
to dive in deep,
to remember,
to create,
to stop,
to dance,
to imagine,
to read, read, read (2) 
to take a day off,
to get angry,
to be outrageous,
to breathe deeply,
to surrender,
to write a psalm,
to read, read, read (3) 
to tell the truth,
and now,


Because, when it comes right down to it,
that’s our job on this planet:

to tell the story only we can tell.

To speak of the extraordinary ordinary,
to trace the ins and outs of
and being found. 

Ah, yes.
That last piece,

that being found.
That unique way in which we link arms
with every other person,
across time and geography,
who has known the love of God. 

Because no one else’s story looks like ours.
We know the same God,
we serve the same Savior,
but our stories are our own.

And they need to be told.

So. May I give you permission,
if you need it,
to speak out your life?
To tell the tales that show us the truth?

My own is long and full of twists and turns.
Yours is, too.
But there is a thread that connects them all,
a scarlet thread,
that shimmers in the light,
and whistles in the wind,
and takes every abuse we can hurl at it
as we struggle our way to maturity.

That Thread is strong beyond measure,
tensile, tough, unyielding
and yet so very forgiving.

Right now, the Scarlet Thread of my story
weaves its way along the central California coastline,
and these palm trees mark it out.
These long shadows help me know
who I am,
this mighty sea reminds me
of Whose I am.

And  the people I love,
the neighbors I live with,
the work I do —
these are the hooks that hold me
in place and through which
this part of my story is being told.

What about you?
How is your story being told right now? 

31 Days of Giving Permission . . . to SLEEP, perchance to DREAM

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SO . . . I may be putting that re-connection thing on hold for another day.
Because I am tired.
GOOD tired, but tired, nonetheless.

And I do believe in sleep,
yes, I do.
Even though I am a night-owl,
even though I have trouble getting to sleep at night,
even though I wish I didn’t need quite so much of it,
quite so often as I do,
I believe in sleep.

Sleep is where some of the most important work of our lives is done.
Our bodies heal and rest,
our spirits quiet themselves,
and our minds and hearts?

Well, they become a working canvas for the Holy Spirit,
the place where dreams happen,
where God helps us work through things
in ways that are unique to us,
yet shared by people around the globe. 

Have you ever kept a dream journal?

I highly recommend it,
especially when you’re going through a time of transition,
stress, or grief.
Just jot down the basics –
what you were feeling during the dream,
what happened,
who was there.
Try to give it a title, if you can.
Then take that journal note to prayer,
during  your daily time, whenever you manage to squeeze that in.

Remember that 95+% or the people in our dreams
are pieces of ourselves.
So, if you recognize someone,
ask yourself which part of yourself you see
in that person.

You might begin to have clarity about  
an upcoming decision,
or a tension you’ve been carrying,
or a puzzle you’re working out.

Sleep is good.
Dreams are even better.

Give yourself permission to dream a little!