Monthly Archives: January 2022


“The voices of the vast majority of Christians throughout history have had no hearing outside their immediate and very limited sphere. Their theological contributions are out of sight, out of mind, difficult if not impossible to recover, except as they have affected the spiritual lives of those people close to them, perhaps their children and their children’s children through oral tradition.”
~How to Think Theologically, Stone & Duke~

One of the ongoing assignments in our Intro to God’s word class is something the professor calls Living the Story. We were to take up a practice to continue throughout the semester in which we participate in the mission of God. One of the books we’re currently reading for the class is Brad Kelle’s Telling the Old Testament Story: God’s Mission and God’s People. One of the homework assignments for this week is to describe God’s mission in my own words. For right now, I’m just looking at his:

“As we’ll see, God’s mission is to restore the originally-intended right-relationships and blessing by becoming a covenant partner engaged in a relationship with all living beings that will overcome human evil and heal creation.”

A previous paragraph says this:

“The first eleven chapters move from creation to Abraham, the one from whom Israel’s story will emerge. Most importantly for telling the larger OT story, however, these opening chapters move toward the introduction of God’s mission by first showing the initial picture of God’s intentions for creation–a creation made perfect as an ideal existence marked by the right-relationships of mutual blessing among God, humans, and the world. We then see the distortion of this divinely intended good reality by human misdeeds that lead to the introduction of God’s mission to heal and restore creation.

I am drawn to words that talk about healing. More than any other word I can presently think of, the concept of healing seems to finally, forever, and once and for all finally address what what my problem is, what my absolute greatest human need of all time is.

By why? Why this word?

Why is this word so much easier to hear than words like sin and rebellion? Why do I want healing from God so much more than I seem to want the forgiveness of God?

When I was looking into more about the above book’s author, I saw that he (Brad Kelle) has written another more recent book called The Bible and Moral Injury: Reading Scripture Alongside War’s Unseen Wounds. So then I looked up the term “moral injury”:

(Don’t ask me why it helps to write this all out)

Moral injury is the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct.” (

Wikipedia says this:

“Moral injury refers to an injury to an individual’s moral conscience and values resulting from an act of perceived moral transgression, which produces profound emotional guilt and shame, and in some cases a profound sense of betrayal and anger.

And also this:

“The concept of moral injury emphasizes the psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of trauma. Distinct from psychopathology, moral injury is a normal human response to an abnormal traumatic event.”

When mankind sinned, they were fatally wounded.

When we transgress the law of God, it is we who are broken.

This is why words about healing resonate with me so much.

He sees my injuries. He sees my wounds.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed, Isaiah 53:5

For our Living the Story assignment, I chose the seemingly doable and knowingly enjoyable practice of writing letters to whoever God puts on my heart for that week. God gives us voices to speak of our Savior, help us connect with others, and hopefully serve to build up the church and humanity even in some small healing way. God speaks to us through words and uses words to communicate his story and his love for us.

Faith comes through hearing the word.

Words are the agents of love and change. 


Something that’s become somewhat of a budding concern of mine (passion doesn’t seem like quite the right word at this point) is wondering how to provide more support for marriages within the local church setting. In the past year, just in our nearby Lutheran school/church community, there have been five divorces. Those are just the ones that we’ve heard of. Another marriage closer to our personal inner circle is in currently in critical condition.

Because I think education is important in building and sustaining healthy marriages, something I’ve been wanting to do is identify and begin to articulate the beliefs I had going into marriage, as well as ones I adopted along the way earlier on, that proved to be unhelpful and even damaging to myself, my husband, and/or our relationship. It is important for our beliefs to be based on what is true, as our beliefs will influence our thoughts and behaviors.

Much of the information I sought out that shaped my own beliefs, thoughts, and actions in marriage came from books sold by Christian resource ministries. Over the years, women have begun to speak up about the relational damage caused by the teachings in these at one-time popular marriage books, most of which I have read. As more and more time passes, and I’ve had time to reflect on how the application of these teachings played out in my life, I have been able to see how many of my personal and marital relationship struggles can be traced back to false things I believed to be true.


Yesterday the boys and I spent the morning at a friend’s house. For nearly two hours the kids played with Legos and ran around outside while the mothers sat in our rocking chairs keeping warm by the space heater. One of the things we talked about was wondering if life would’ve been easier had we known or been better at certain things while we were younger. Examples included conflict resolution, emotional regulation, recognizing true and untrue thoughts, and awareness of our bodies and how its cyclical nature affects us personally. The biggest thing for both of us was self-acceptance.

One of the things I remember my 2017-2019 counselor saying to me was that he noticed I had a tendency to search for and analyze negative characteristics about myself. “I know this was probably my pride…” or “Maybe I’m just blind here”. I said, “Well isn’t that normal?” He said it wasn’t. I said, “Well isn’t that what we as Christians are supposed to do? Isn’t being able to admit our own faults the way we show we’re humble and open?” He also was Lutheran so he understood what I meant when I asked how we’re supposed to say or believe good things about ourselves when every week in church we’re forced to repeat what poor, miserable, sinners we are? Yes, I’m a sinner, but not so much of a sinner that I constantly need to be bringing it up week after week.

But the whole thing is kind of a radical thought. What would it be like to be okay with myself? To not be assessing and trying to identify what it is I need to change, where I could be or could’ve been better at something, what foods might help me achieve the results I am wanting, where my attitude needs an adjustment, where I am needing to give myself some grace and others too, where I need to swallow my pride and walk in humility. Self-acceptance is for the pagans, the ones who don’t believe they are sinners. Any term with the word “self” involved isn’t fitting for the vocabulary of a godly woman. Self is selfish. There is no self. Who I am as myself is not important and doesn’t matter.

See Through Ice

My daughter and I walked down to the lake yesterday. She wanted to show me a beaver den, which we viewed from afar. It was getting late to take the time to walk the border, and I didn’t feel comfortable crossing the lake to get there. When she asked me why, I told her the same thing I told my son while at the beach in September, right after I sighed and said, “Be careful”. The boys wanted shovels, but the beach shed’s garage door is broke and doesn’t open from the outside. The only way to open it and reach the greatly desired shovels is to go in the side door, climb up the lifejacket wall into the roof rafters, and slide down the canoes. Whether it’s true or not, I do not know, but it hurts even now again to say it out loud: “Because I wouldn’t be able to rescue you.”

I took a walking stick with me to use as a weapon if needed. The last time she and I walked down there, we were startled by two foxes running from the beach and into the woods. Most of the time I walk here free from the fear of wild animals. I can’t imagine having to think about wolves, bobcats, or poisonous snakes. A few weeks ago we all watched several episodes of Life Below Zero, a show about people living in the northern parts of Canada. Because of the aggressive bears, one woman carried a firearm anytime she went outside. The foxes were neat, but I wasn’t particularly happy to see them. This is the first time we’ve seen foxes here. They looked about the size of a medium dog.

The adjustment continues with the school changes. For our Bible class we had to turn in a “worksheet” assignment by midnight Sunday. I knew we had to answer four questions with written answers of 300 words, which didn’t seem too bad. I didn’t know that 1200 words equals about 4.8 pages double-spaced according to Google. That made the 4-5 page paper due in the other class seem much more doable. Once again I was thankful the teacher had given me that extra time to finish it. The 1200 words still took longer than I thought it would, but between Saturday to Monday I ended up writing nearly 10 pages worth of words about something else besides just my personal thoughts.

I was proud of myself for accomplishing that, but truth be told, it took a toll. I’ve felt a bit paralyzed over the past few days feeling like I already wore myself out when I haven’t even barely started. Then I started fearing I’d overscheduled myself. I texted three different people trying to schedule get-togethers. There’s the new pastor’s wife who is currently homeschooling, and the other two homeschooling moms I haven’t seen since before the holidays. I emailed the family from church that we’re trying to get back in the monthly habit of getting together with. I write these things down on my calendar so I can see what I’m supposed to do and remember on paper, but then feel overwhelmed seeing everything written, like it’s this cluttered page of squares that isn’t making any sense.

This sounds like one long rambling anxiety mess. It reminds me a little bit of having a newborn. You have your life and your routine and then welcome a tiny person into the mix. In the early months, when I’d added hours a day of nursing and infant care, I wondered how I’d ever have time again to do all the things that were needing to be done, when even before there hadn’t been enough time. By God’s grace, however, somehow it works, and this is the blessing of added decades and years. You have points of reference and experiences to look back on. You’d never go back and relive the hard times, but the hard times are the ones that have gotten you here, to this place where you can look up and see there is nothing to fear here. You and God are together.

Daily Bread

The boys and I had a good visit this weekend. We arrived home a little after noon for a sit-down family lunch of chicken soup and crackers. Eating meals together at the dining room table has been a regular occurrence since our family began. Growing up this wasn’t as much of a practice for us, at least not in the junior high and high school years. When I first started getting to know Josh’s family one of the first things I noticed was the way they did their meals. They had meat, potatoes, a vegetable, and bread nearly every night. On Sunday afternoons they went out for lunch with my father-in-law’s side of the family. Sunday evenings were at my husband’s grandparents’ house with my mother-in-law’s family. At home they ate their supper at the dining room table.

Sometimes we ate at the table, and sometimes we didn’t. My favorite place to eat was in the living room just casually sitting around. We sometimes had supper together as a family with a meal, and other times it was whatever you could find after coming home from games or practice. My favorite meal to make was a bowl of spaghetti, with no sauce and lots of butter. We didn’t even own a dining room table at that time. For years we ate off a borrowed table from church. I remember as a kid eating off of an upside-down box, but that was because we’d just moved to a new apartment. Sometimes Dad would leave the house long after suppertime and come home from the store with steak and tator tots and eat a meal at 10PM. I didn’t like steak back then. It was too hard.

With the exception of the first year or so, it took a while after being married, probably 8-10 years, before I could visit my parents house and not be deeply annoyed by something. When you’re living with someone else, establishing your own life together and new ways of doing things, it can be jarring to return to a former way, especially if those ways seem out of line with your redeveloping standard of normal. I was angry with my parents for a lot of years as I wrestled with flaws I did not understand. My dad has said this about his relationship with his dad, that he too was angry with his own father until he was able to look at his dad and his father’s life with more compassion. For some I think this takes more time. For yet others, they seem to come away from childhood without much needing to be worked out. It isn’t something they think about.

I can still remember the day I wasn’t angry anymore. These years I’m truly just happy to see them. I’ve sometimes wondered if at least one of the reasons God put the commandment to honor our father and our mother is because he knew just how much the human heart could be angry. He knew how much time could be wasted and lost. I know that isn’t everybody’s situation, but it was mine. My second life revealed to me things about my first life that were good and rare. It also opened my eyes to significant areas of weakness. When it comes to something like marital communication, I’ve come to think of it as an exchange taking place between two people, one of whom is deaf, and the other who is blind. It makes any talk of a healing Jesus all the more beautiful. (Oh no, not hope, not that…) And though God painfully doesn’t heal everything in this life, it doesn’t change the word of life that in him the eyes of the blind are opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

The table my parents have now isn’t big. It was just right enough for the boys to sit down and eat their breakfast this morning. It seems these days Mom and Dad take turns cooking. This morning Mom made scrambled eggs, waffles, and beef bacon. I took my plate and carried it into the living room to eat where Mom and Grandma were.

Happiness Is

When my dad turned 34, I remember him saying he still felt like he was 20. When I was 34, I definitely would’ve been able to say the same thing on some days. Five years later, I definitely don’t feel like I’m 20, and find it hard to recall what exactly 20 felt like.

I walked around the house feeling motherly today. Motherly to me means kind, gentle, and patient. In the 26-34ish age range, motherly is what I wanted to be, along with a few other things. Motherly and fun. Motherly and (seen as) wise. Motherly but still a woman.

But today it was motherly. Making breakfast for the big kids. Folding laundry during school. Answering questions about math. Going over calendars. Enjoying supper as a family. Drying dishes with the child on dish duty. From here I could be okay with this.

Kind, gentle, patient.

There was nothing else I was wanting.

Baby Steps

On the first night of class our teacher encouraged us to talk to her if we ever needed different arrangements for a due date. She said she understood we had lives outside of school and would work with us and be flexible. I thought of this yesterday when I was looking over the upcoming assignments and realized our first paper, due the 22nd, wasn’t due a few weeks from now but rather at the end of this week. When I first looked at the syllabus I saw the 22nd and thought, “Oh that’s still a while away. I’ve got time.”

Later this week I’m scheduled to be staying with my grandma up at my parents’ house. They’re taking my sister on a college visit to Michigan. I would be gone from Thursday morning to Saturday afternoon, with the paper (4-5 pages) due on Saturday night. The math was not adding up in my head when I considered that the paper is on a book that I still need to finish reading so I can write the paper on it. I didn’t want to count on working on it or stressing about it during the 2 1/2 days I’m with my grandma. I also didn’t want to arrive home Saturday afternoon to be lost for hours rushing to write a paper due at midnight. Long story short, I asked last night about altering the due date.

“How much time do you need?”, she asked. All I’d gotten out was something like, “Um, you know how you mentioned asking about if we needed to work something out for a different due date? So, with the paper we have due on the 22nd–.” I didn’t even tell her my reason for asking. I started to then thought, “Wait, that’s not what she asked. Stick to the question.” I said if I could have until the end of the weekend that would be better.

She said to have it before class on Monday, almost a whole other day than what I had asked for. I walked away feeling extremely relieved, and grateful this teacher’s arrangement had been possible. I’ve decided now that I need to get my calendar back out, write stuff down on it, and look at it, the looking at it being the major next step. I’ve gotten better about writing stuff down, but I’m learning that writing stuff down on your calendar so you don’t forget things still doesn’t help unless you look at your calendar.

Even with the adjustments taking place with getting used to this new ball I am juggling, I’m loving my classes. Last night we had to pair up with a classmate and practice once being the counselor and once being the client. Emotionally Focused Therapy based on the currently popular Attachment Theory was the one we were supposed to practice. I was so moved by the life-story shared with me by my “client”, as he told me a little about the past two years of his life and what had led him there. I kept wanting to ask him even more questions, fueled not by the process of EFT, but solely by my own curiosity. I didn’t. I asked if there was anything he was looking forward to, even in his uncertainty.

Church Growth

Earlier this month our church installed a new pastor. His arrival ended the vacancy that lasted almost exactly two years. During that time our church was well taken care of by our two part-time pastors, my husband being one of them. Considering the circumstances of them both having other jobs along with navigating the various covid challenges, I can see how God sustained and took care of his people there.

We’ve shrunk dramatically in size over the past four to five years. What I liked about our church when we started is that they had families and kids there. With the kids homeschooling, I wanted a church where they could have church friends. We had an active youth group, a full pre-k through high school Sunday School classes, and a decent-sized rotation of teachers. I can still see hallways busy with kids. It isn’t like that now.

I’ve been down and unenthused about it for a while, not where it’s completely taking over my life, but in affecting my time investments and emotional involvement when it came to church. What frustrated me most was that we couldn’t just leave and go somewhere else. By the time the loss in members had become painfully obvious, Josh had already taken a part-time call there. There were issues that I do not fully understand and stayed out of, but from the little I picked up on here and there, it didn’t seem like anything big enough to justify such a loss of people.

They’re trying to revive the once a month family nights. We went last night and it was okay. I’ve had a bad attitude about things like family nights because I don’t like things that seem superficial and pointless. I just keep wanting richer and deeper relationships with people, to grow spiritually with others through fellowship, and playing “Minute to Win-It” on a Saturday evening isn’t how I imagine doing those things.

We had fun at the game night. It seemed like others did too, like we were all at least attempting to be present in the moment and make the most of what we had. With our family there were nine other people. I simultaneously feel convicted for not valuing the ones who’ve been there this whole time, and like God is opening my heart to be able to love more people again. I feel love for our church and know that God does too.

Orange and Clove

The snow accumulated for the second time last night. The first snow did not arrive until after Christmas, which made the entire month of December feel off. What fell last night was enough to play in, so after lunch, the kids bundled up for about an hour of sledding. When I stepped outside myself, I was surprised by the wind’s bitterness, and the way the kids didn’t even seem to notice how cold it was. I checked my phone expecting a below zero wind-chill, but the “feels like” temperature was only 12 degrees.

It’s been a good week here. My first week of classes went well. The homework assignments have been minimal thus far, but next week the reading really starts to pick up. For my online class, I had to write a 200-300 word response to one of three prompts from this week’s reading requirement. We’re supposed to reply to two classmates by midnight tonight, which I still need to do. I was also prepared to answer multiple questions for our quiz this week, but when I clicked on the link for it, there was only one True or False statement: I have completed the reading for this week’s assignment.

My night class on Monday became comfortable quickly. I arrived early enough to find a seat in the back row, except there were no rows, only chairs on wheels scattered like giant spiders across the lecture room. They’re like those chairs with the desks on one side, but with five or six spokes at the bottom, with wheels. I chose and rolled a chair to be nearer to the back wall since I don’t like sitting in class with people behind me. We have a paper and 20-30 minute presentation due in a few weeks, but I’m not going to worry about those yet. This week I just enjoyed the experience of being there.

On Redeeming Love

I posted yesterday but ended up deleting it at 4AM. I had written about some buzzing I’d heard on Instagram about a controversial movie coming out called Redeeming Love. It’s based on a popular Christian fiction book by Francine Rivers. There are dissenting options about the book and whether or not it’s appropriate for Christian women to read. From some women the book comes highly recommended, with them saying it’s an amazing story of God’s redemption and healing. Others say it is the equivalent of an erotic romance novel, but with a Christian disguise. They say that the book was damaging because of the way it opened the door to sexual temptation, body insecurities, and/or caused relational discontent because they were not being so wildly loved and pursued like Angel was by Michael Hosea.

I haven’t read the book so I don’t feel like I can comment on the content. It did make me curious about the book and the movie. I haven’t read Redeeming Love, which is supposed to be a retelling of the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer, but I do vaguely remember reading parts of another Francine Rivers book called A Lineage of Grace. That book is a collection of stories about each of the women mentioned in the family line of Jesus. At some point the book was passed along to me as being one of those books I needed to read. In adulthood I haven’t been much of a fiction reader, so I wasn’t particularly interested in it. But I must have at least looked through it at one point, because I do remember thinking that the writing had probably become a bit much when describing Bathsheba’s apparent feelings for David.

Not that I need to keep explaining all this, but I deleted the post because I felt like I had brought up a potentially sensitive topic without giving much thought to what it was I was saying. I don’t want to do that with sensitive topics. These are issues that I think need to be talked about, and are being talked about well in many places I’ve seen. The church is receiving a lot of criticism these days, much of it being, sadly, warranted. But while “the church” is quickly becoming another one of those loosely thrown around terms that I do think needs to be better defined, I still consider myself part of the church. As I’m sitting here thinking about it, being a part of the church has to be one of the greatest, if not the absolute greatest joys of my life. I used to think joy was the key marker of a Christian. Now I would say that Jesus is.

Math Facts

I bit the bullet and went back to the math books this morning. This first semester we did math a little differently. My idea was to spend some time with all the boys working on multiplication tables. I feel like the multiplication tables were one of the most helpful and lasting things I learned in all my years of elementary school, and I’ve wanted my kids to have that same math foundation, though I haven’t necessarily known the best or most helpful way to facilitate the learning of it. Math came very easy to me. My first child is the same way and taught himself his own math. With the others it’s been an occasional challenge. For some reason I’ve been avoiding long-division for years.

Today though, we faced it. There were tears and even a crumpled up book. But after that, it wasn’t bad. I’m not interested in torturing anybody, or even insisting people do every problem in their lesson. The Christian Light Education LightUnits are thorough and assure me they’re working through the stuff they need to learn, but their thoroughness can also be frustratingly repetitive with certain types of problems. I remember some teachers when assigning math homework would have you do the odd’s one lesson and then the even’s for the next lesson. I always appreciated that. I haven’t done the even and odd thing, but I consciously try to lighten the math load.

Working all together is nice in theory, and works for a while. It simplifies things and makes sure we’re all on the same page. But especially in a subject like math, there comes a point where trying to keep everyone at the same level for the sake of simplicity starts to hold people back. I also seem to have limits as far as how long I can be consistent with things, such as printing out multiplication sheets each day to practice. So while I think the past few months working on multiplication facts was helpful, and while we all enjoyed the break from the normal math routine, ultimately the math books are a valuable parts to a wheel that is highly unnecessary for me to re-invent.