22 October 2018

Running, Retreating, and Why It Matters to Dress for the Weather

It feels like for many of us these fall months can be some of the busiest.

Back to school for kids, sports teams begin again, and getting ready for the holidays and colder months, it seems to be a full time.

This weekend was just that for me.
Friday and all day Saturday was the first (hopefully annual) Radiant Light Conference here in SE Michigan. It has been the prayers and a lot of hard work from friends of mine in ministry. Seeing a need, we jumped and took a risk to make it happen.

We had 130 women of all ages show up, and overall I think it was a beautiful and fun weekend.

We had a fancy social gathering on Friday night. Saturday morning started with Eucharistic Adoration. 

Women arrived to a beautiful space, legit swag bags, lots of amazing vendors, and opportunities for reconnecting with friends while time to meet new women. There were keynotes from local women and break-out workshops in the afternoon on everything from finding holy rest, finding joy in transition, and finding God in creativity/art.

I think Mary (the brains behind this project) really tapped into a need in our local community for women to have more of these types of things: for community, sisterhood, and learning and growing together.

It was a long day, but I was so happy to be part of this good work.

Sunday morning I ran my second marathon in Detroit. 

I will be honest and say my training was less committed, and I felt that in both my mental game and in my physical body at times. My time did not really improve at all, but I think going in I knew that.

I was disappointed I had to walk a little bit. But as I finished, I didn't want to be shaming myself. I ended really convicted of a few things.

First, I need to train smarter and be consistent with my running group. 
And second, I need to be committed to strength training. Like a lot.

Every life experience is a teaching moment and this race was no different.

It was so wonderful to see my cheering squad at the half-way point. But even better right as I crossed the finish line, and after for some big bear hugs.

I also learned the valuable lesson of why it really matters to dress properly for the weather. With running, I typically tend to overdress in worry I may get too cold. Wellllll yesterday I could've dressed warmer.

When I started seeing everyone else in their running tights, I knew this was going to be a longggg morning. Case in point, be prepared and dress for the weather. #themoreyouknow

It is not always about the race, but the journey.

Yesterday's race was harder than I planned, but I know I can do hard things.

All of us can.
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16 October 2018

What a Broken Crucifix Teaches Me

We meet in the old convent basement. 

The couches don't match the faded pillows and the carpet is worn. It sometimes floods when a heavy rain comes and that musty basement smell hangs around.

This is where we meet on Thursday evenings for a divorce support group from now through January.

On the wall across from where I sit hangs a broken crucifix, literally.

I cannot help but find it to be rich of meaning, especially as I gather with a handful of other women going through a divorce.

One of Jesus' arms is busted clean off, while the remaining arm hangs on the cross.

It takes me back to a tearful conversation I had with my parents a few years ago.

I was still living with my parents as I waited for my divorce to be finalized.

It was one of those no-good, very awful days. I was a mess and hot tears ran down my face.

I wept over the loss of my marriage, wailing to my parents wondering in fear what would become of the new reality of my life: Would I always be alone? How could I trust men again? How would I make it financially on my own?

I was overwhelmed and afraid.

I distinctly remember crying and saying to my Dad (a deacon), "Dad where is Jesus in all of this? I don't feel His presence. The pain of it all feels like I am being nailed to a cross. Where is He?!"

My Dad, a very quiet man of faith, looked at me with tears in his eyes, his voice shaking said: "Well He's getting nailed to the cross next to you."

It made me stop and think.

I recall that conversation now as I gaze on a broken crucifix, helping to lead other women through their own pain and grief.

That broken crucifix is a reminder of the pain I was in at one time of my life, and how my Dad helped remind me to believe that Jesus was in it with me.

One the the things I most deeply love about Christianity is the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ all rolled into one. Jesus knew the human experience in all things except sin.

He knew what it was to be afraid, anxious, angry, confused, joyful, depressed, and even silly. Jesus of all people knows what it is to suffer. And looking at that little broken crucifix is a gentle reminder of that to me.
My God understands and can relate to the pain in my life, in your life.

I easily forget about God's presence or faithfulness when life is all hunky dory. 

All too often, I take for granted the people or blessings in my life. I forget to thank God for all that I have, all that He has done in my life and how He has restored me.

Every Thursday evening, I glance up at the wall and look at Jesus. I smile, grateful for the reminder of His nearness in the most messy and painful experiences of our lives.

The next time your gaze lands on a crucifix in your home or church, linger there a little bit longer. Savor the image.

And remind yourself (especially when you don't believe it), that the presence of the living God is nearer than you realize.

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09 October 2018

An Epidemic Only Whispered About?

I recently came across a Gallup poll that said in 2018 43% of Americans believe that pornography is "morally acceptable."

That is up from 36% just one year ago. And the reality that percentage will only grow is heart breaking to me.

I am deeply convicted that pornography is the greatest killer to healthy relationships between women and men. It leads us to treat other people as objects, merely used for personal sexual satisfaction. 

I recently was on an episode of Certifiably Catholic hosted by some of my favorite humans.

In it, we talk honestly about a conversation too often I find the Church only whispers about, pornography and sexual addiction. 

You can listen here

In the interview, I share about a ministry my friend Danielle and I have developed over the last year called Whispered in the Dark.  We work to offer resources, counselors, and hope to people whose lives, relationships, or marriages have been impacted by pornography and sexual addiction.

On November 10th, we are offering a day conference in Detroit, Michigan. 

If you are in or near the SE Michigan area, we would so greatly appreciate your support and help in getting the word out.

Its time to stop whispering.

Let's start to have honest, real conversations about the biggest relationship epidemic in modern culture.

Thank you for your support.

It means so much to me. 

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