In The Middle: Where Healing, Conversation, and Change Happen

Tyler Perry’s acceptance speech resonated with me because his story and language align with an affirmation God gave me last week.

Not everyone is called to be in the middle. One could argue that, so maybe a better way to put it is not everyone is ready to come to the middle.

If you are in the middle, know that your hope isn’t in victories. Your hope can’t be but in one person, the One who put you in the middle. He has lifted you up. Keep pointing people to the One that can lift them up.

Storytelling: Finding Joy

My ongoing search to find podcasts that interest me has recently delivered a gem. The podcast is Being Known Podcast with Curt Thompson and Pepper Sweeney. Here’s their description of their podcast’s purpose:

In a world in which we experience such deep desire and such great grief, we find coursing through all of it our unquenchable longing to be known. But we don’t want to stop there, for we know in our bones and blood that we desire to be known in order for us to create and curate beauty and goodness in the world — together with our friends and, in our best moments, even our enemies — in every domain of life that we occupy.

I just finished listening to episode #4: Story. So many good thoughts-some new and some reminders-about what story is, how we tell ours, and why we need to.

A lot of what I’m doing in life in my storytelling is I’m looking for ways to find joy in a world that I know is not easy to live in. -Curt Thompson

This week I’ve had to find joy in a world not easy to live in. The story told about me, that I told myself, and that I shared with others led me to renewed joy. Thank you, Curt and Pepper, for conversation affirming my joy.

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Lessons from “When Mama Can’t Kiss It Better”

Finally finished book #6 for the year.

And did I learn a lot. The challenges this family dealt with due to adopting a child eventually diagnosed with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) are astonishing. How this played out through the adoption, health care, and education systems sheds light on the many challenges of families trying to love and care for their mentally ill children.

This story is a good reminder of three lessons:

You never know what is going on in a stranger’s life. You may witness something you think you understand, but it’s impossible to know the full story.

Media can get it wrong also. Just because the headline says it doesn’t make it true.

Grace goes a long way. Give it as much as you need it.

They Knew Not

The kiss meant to betray honored

The arrest meant to end began

The words meant to charge freed

The stripes meant to wound healed

The crown meant to mock heralded

The cries meant to doom lifted

The cross meant to burden unleashed

The sign meant to accuse declared

The nails meant to torture identified

The sword meant to pierce solidified

The stone meant to secure revealed

The cloth meant to cover displayed

The tomb meant to hide announced

The death meant to squelch ignited

Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

Pilate Got It Right

I read John 19 this morning, Good Friday. Here are two interesting verses to contrast:

15 They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”

“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.

19 Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

So many questions. Did the chief priests really mean what they said? Did they really view Caesar as their king? If so, what did they say to the people around them when they spoke about their God, their loyalty to him? Seems contradictory. Feels familiar in 2021 America.

Of course, one could understand from Jesus’ teachings that the chief priests didn’t really get it. When Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, his language and teaching may have even gone over their heads, too. They either didn’t understand it or they rejected it. Either is tragic for them and the people they led. Seems that what we continue to witness happen in religious circles when leaders focus their eyes on the wrong king isn’t anything new.

As a follower of Jesus, to declare allegiance to any created being over their Creator declares citizenship in an earthly kingdom. Some scholars teach that Pilate’s note on his sign wasn’t so much a personal declaration as a statement of charge-that Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews. Interesting that, regardless of his intent, Pilate-the non-Jew, the one not looking for a Messiah, the one who was simply trying to do justice for the accused man-declared the truth.

May we all on this Good Friday declare that Jesus is King.

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

This Easter

I started this Thursday listening to my Easter playlist. In that, Lauren Daigle’s “How Can It Be” played. These lyrics from verse two stuck in my ears, mind, and heart.

The main reason they stuck is the contrast between the doubting of love and the exchanging of grace. Been on my mind for several weeks now, so these lyrics heard through the lens of Easter stopped me in my morning routine.

That’s what grace does. Makes you pause. Humbles your expectations. Erases your doubts. Brings you back.

May we all pause in humility to be brought back from our wandering through the erasing of our doubts of God’s love this Easter!