If you know me well, you know that I am not an overly Christmassy person. I still have pumpkins on my mantle because I like to carry Halloween on through to Thanksgiving. I love my house to be decorated, but I do not enjoy any part of putting up the tree. We don’t do matching PJs or mall Santas. I have literally never sent a Christmas card in my life. And no matter how much I love you, I have ZERO desire to watch Elf with you. Spike my eggnog and put on college football, please.
But as much as I could take or leave a lot of the Christmas merriment, I absolutely love and cherish advent. I love the lingering expectation of our coming King. I get so caught up in the ritual of playing out a story that we have already seen unfold. The intentionality of waiting, the preparation of our hearts, the worship and excitement found in the symbolism of our whole Christian lives. The magic of Christmas is not found in Santa or in twinkle lights or a shimmering star atop the tree. It is found, instead, in another star – a distant star over a lowly stable that beckons us again and again. Continue reading →
When he was in his early 20s, my husband woke up at a party to find a woman he did not know having un-consented sex with him. He was passed out drunk in a back bedroom alone when it happened. The next morning, he woke up to find her still in bed with him, brazen and shameless as if she had done him a great favor.
Recently millions of women – strong, beautiful, brave women – came together in cities across the country to march for equality and empowerment. They were passionate, unified, and got a lot of things right. And they were loud.
And yesterday morning as I laid there watching you sleep peacefully, I was wondering exactly what kind of world you’re going to grow up in. I was thinking about the full set of values that these women were marching for, and I was wondering how they ended up grouped together so firmly. Many of them are values I hope you have, goals I hope you march for – many, but not all. But it can get so loud in the world sometimes that suddenly it can be hard to even make sense of who you are through all the clamor. And it struck me that I’m going to really have to get my act together if I’m going to teach you to stand apart from it. Because if not me, then who? Continue reading →
That ugly, faded, worn so many times before me, hospital gown. After 45 hours of labor, I stepped into a sterile hospital room and looked around at everything I hated about that place. I took a deep breath and tolerated the machines, the curtains, the cold bassinet they intended to put my baby in, the harsh lighting, the vinyl floors, the IV drip I’d soon be hooked up to, the mechanical bed with scratchy sheets. But when my eyes fell upon that gown – that hideous cotton drape that was going to turn me into a patient – my heart gave one final plunge into despair.
For me, the hospital gown was the final step to making my birth medical and I feared that it would strip away everything primal that had risen up inside of me. It symbolized everything I was losing. I was never supposed to be in this room, never supposed to be told what to wear. I was supposed to give birth naked in my bedroom, in a pool in my husband’s arms. No needles. No machines. No nurses. No vaginal exams. No cold bassinet and no harsh lighting. No freaking rules. I was supposed to be at home where it was safe and peaceful – where I was in control. However, after two days at home my baby was getting weak and my plan needed to change. I walked into that hospital terrified, my body quaking with contractions and grief. But half an hour earlier I was told that my daughter’s heart tones were no longer varying, and I became a mom. So with tears pouring from my eyes, I sat down on that horrible bed and put on the stupid gown.