Skip to main content

God Gives Life

“…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” Romans 4:17
This weekend, I took some students and adults on a spring retreat.  As I prepared, I doubted the value of such a feat.  I personally put in 50-60 hours of prep work to get us there, and I’m not the only one who contributed to making the retreat happen.  It costs the church a significant amount of money to rent vans, purchase the supplies, and pay for the band, the speaker, etc.  Only 40 students went.  We have more than that at our 7th-9th grade group every Wednesday night.  I knew it would be a fun weekend away for most everybody; I just wondered if it was the best use of the church’s money and volunteer time.  I also felt crummy the first day of the retreat, which undoubtedly contributed to my uncertainty.
Now that I’ve spent almost 3 hours reflecting today, I’m feeling God’s blessing on the use of money, skills, time, and emotional energy. I’m reminded of a God who gives life to the dead—quite literally in some cases—but also to the spiritually and emotionally dead.  I’m a zero on a scale from one to ten on risk-taking.  I’m safe, predictable, cautious, and conscientious.  This weekend my sister talked me into doing a “giant swing”—think harness, pully, helmet, safety glasses.  Yeah.  I screamed before I ever let go and started swinging.  And then I did…talk about feeling alive.
Even more spectacular for me was watching an overweight 7th grade girl overcome her fear of the swing.  She freaked out moments before; we talked her into going through with it.  She doubted we could get her in the air; we recruited the strongest young men there to hoist her high into the air.  Then she let go—and she laughed and smiled and yelled.  It was beautiful.  She was full of life, not hiding behind hair or weight or a book.
“The God who…calls things that are not as though they were” references when God calls Abram to be the father of many and changes his name to Abraham, even though he’s old and hasn’t had kids yet.  This weekend God called things into being that were not.  “Outsider” became “insider.”  “Stranger” became “authentic woman.” “12th grader” became “man.”  “Fool” became “wise.”  “Teacher” became “pastor.”  “Singer” became “leader.”  “Sinner” became “forgiven.” 


  1. Best post yet. Your honesty is powerful.

    So glad to catch this glimpse of how God is working.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Response to Charlottesville

Visiting our nation’s capital is an easy day trip for us, and how I chose to spend a precious vacation day this week.  I took pride in explaining the buildings and icons of my country to my children.  I am proud to be an American.  

But today, I am not proud.  
Today, I weep.

Four days ago, I saw the beautiful, infamous words “We the People” with my own eyes for the first time.  
Four days later, I am reminded of how far we still have to go to fully live into those words:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What has happened 63 miles from my home, in Jefferson’s beautifully-domed, colonnaded city, is far from perfect, just, or tranquil.
This is not what our founding fathers wanted for our country, nor is …

A Message to Graduates

I have been a Pastor to Students (The title has changed numerous times; the role remains.) in Powhatan, Virginia for roughly 12 years.  I daresay I've been ministering to teenagers in this community longer than many.

Over the last dozen years, I've gotten lots of cool opportunities to minister to teenagers in this area.   But one had always eluded me--speaking at a baccalaureate service.  My husband had done the honors.  Other great pastors in the area had as well.  Once, I'd offered the closing prayer.  

This week, that changed.  I had the distinct honor to share with the PHS Class of 2016 at their baccalaureate service.  It was a wonderful experience working with great students, parents, and school leaders.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity!!!

A few people missed it and have asked to see what I said, so here it is, ALL of it:

June 1999 I sat in this space for my Baccalaureate service.  Before I was a pastor at PCC, before I moved back to Powhatan to raise my family, …

Disillusionment of Adulthood

Now that I’m in my 30’s, I must confess to disillusionment.  Growing up, I had ideas of what adulthood would be like.  I’m here, and it’s not entirely what I’d imagined.
For starters, I remember growing up amidst all the drama that comes with, well, growing up.  The gossip.  The hurt feelings.  The misunderstandings.  The fights between friends.  The back-stabbing.  And I remember being told that it would get better.  I’m not sure who told me that, but they were clearly wrong.
The drama may look a little different.  The words may sound a little different.  But the anguish of relationships remains.
Adults hurt each other’s feelings—intentionally and unintentionally. Adults nitpick and cause fights over inconsequential issues. Adults gossip. Adults cry, scream, and pitch fits. Adults build relational alliances, competing in “us vs. them” relational war. Adults let issues build and exponentially swell until they explode. Adults rarely identify the actual issue instead of the presenting issue. Adul…