Friday, October 25, 2013

For the Perfectionists

I've been doing a lot of failing lately. 
Or at least coming up seriously short.
Or at least-est feeling incredibly insecure. 

Anyone else ever been so suddenly confronted by your own lack? By your inability to be enough, seemingly in every sphere of your life? It seems to me that I've entered such a season. My job, my hobbies, my relationships, my writing, my speaking, my appearance, my house, all things I've felt relatively sure of myself in most of the time, or for some just from time to time, feel...shaken. Every where I look I'm coming up short and my best efforts don't seem to be cutting it.

I wake up at four in the morning and run this list of failures over and over in my head. Something stupid I said that day, something I missed, something someone misunderstood, something I could have done better, something I should have known that I didn't. Even typing this I feel a little sick about it. I could type lists and lists if it would be helpful at all, but it won't be.

There is a worship song by Hillsong United we've been singing at my church lately, and I really liked it when I first heard it. It's called "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)", and the bridge of it, which I sang at least twenty five times the first few days after discovering it, goes like this: 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the water, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. 

It's a prayer. It's a prayer I prayed at least twenty five times in a few days. 

This hit me one day, in this middle of all this insecurity, that this was the prayer I had prayed. How funny that God listens to things like this and takes it seriously. To be honest, I think God took it a little more seriously than I did. But yes, I guess this is what it would feel like to be taken to a place where my trust is without borders. Yes, this is precisely what it would feel like to put my feet out onto something that will not hold me. To leave my little boat of self-assuredness. 

I cannot be a perfect person. Why do I run after this like it's a thing? It's not a thing. Why do I look at the holes in my boat and think that my salvation lies in my patching them? We weren't made this way-- to hold our own weight, to save our own selves or anyone else, to be gods. The call was not to be perfect people, the call was to be faithful people.

Faithful is a race worth running--to keep showing up after I make mistakes instead of hiding, to turn and go the other way when I've taken the wrong road yet again, to remember when I've forgotten, to return when I've run away, to trust God when I cannot trust myself, to look to Him when I'm out of myself and ideas. Faithful is a thing.

Take me deeper than I could, would go on my own.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Turning 29

It's almost my birthday, and I'm almost thirty. It's one of those markers, a before and after. I'm sitting in the middle of what I hope to be very different decades of myself, old enough now to say I'm "reflecting on my twenties" and trying to determine the course for what's next.

I would say that most of twenties were spent learning how to stand up. What does it mean to live my own life and be my own person? What does it mean to be different, to think differently, to react differently, to have had a different experience than those around me? I formed my own thoughts and strong opinions. I made my own plan and I worked it. I got married and we struck out together. So much newness and trying things for the first time. My first real jobs, my first real failures, my first real disappointments and triumphs. There are so many choices to make in your twenties. So much adventure and drama and so much learning about the world and yourself and God. And in all of this, the slow rise of my own voice. There has been a lot of anger and cries for justice. There has been a lot of asserting myself, creating boundaries, and work towards forming a community of people I love who love me. In this last decade, I have made the choices, built the foundation, set the course. Stood up. There was a lot to learning the act of getting up.

And then, the last few years have been about staying up. Standing still. Standing firm. Standing on God when everything I worked so hard to make for myself falls away. Leaning on others when I can't take it another moment by myself.

And now, in this year on the brink of 30, a new phrase has entered entirely. Not get up or stay up, but, bow down. Bend the knee.

Phil and I took a trip to Minnesota a few weeks ago to attend my college roommate's wedding. We walked around my college campus one afternoon. Being with Laura at her wedding, seeing how far and different our lives had come from those days in our dorm rooms, walking sidewalks I walked as a nineteen year old, I couldn't help but reflect on how different my life might have been in a million ways. I might have picked a different major, different friends, boyfriends, social groups, activities, housing, jobs. It all could have been so different. I thought about how I didn't know any of this at the time. I thought about how then, all those doors were wide open and there was this tremendous and exciting energy and boundlessness about the future. It struck me how different it is now. I still, obviously, have choices. But it is not the same. I have set the course.

This is my life.
This is my life!

It is something I've both had to grieve and celebrate. Maybe this is what every turning of the decade should be for a person: an acknowledgement that many doors are shut, and a celebration that I love the doors I've walked through.

I look around my devastatingly messy house as I write this, and I think, this is my house. This is no longer some duplex I am renting for 3 months and passing through. This is my chosen, beautiful, gift of a house. I think about my husband and I think, this is my husband. My chosen, incredibly talented and kind, gift of a husband. I think about my church, my family, my friends, my LIFE, and I think, okay. The time for always thinking of change and what the next door is, that time is over somewhat. Now, the task is not to make my way or create something new. The task is gratitude. The task is taking care of what I have. The task is worship, acceptance, and daily service and maintenance to this life I have been given and have made.

My twenty year old self would be in full scale eye roll to read this, but I seriously think that a large part of my thirties will be about discipline and housework and loving my husband and friends well. It will be less about opinions and more about community. Less about making my own way in the world and more about allowing God and people space in my life, as they come and not as I would have them. Hopefully I can learn to offer myself this grace as well. Less demanding, more inviting. Bowing down, not in oppression or fear, but in gratitude and graciousness and worship.

I am amazed that this sounds good and right to me. God is strange and surprising, and I am up to follow. Let it be so.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

That's a Fine Looking Kneeler

There are these really nice kneelers at my church.
Someone made them out of pew wood when the pews got taken out and chairs got put in.

You might not be a kneeling or appreciative-of-kneelers type, but it's okay, just go with it for a minute. I grew up in up in a church of altar calls and lots of kneeling, so, I have an eye for this sort of thing.

Last week, I felt like God was saying, hey- you should go kneel up there. And I totally saw God's point. I could finally pray (It's been awhile). I could finally get unstuck (I've been a little stuck). I could finally confess all that pride I've been writing blogs about and talking about and thinking about and admitting to everyone (but God).

Here's what stopped me and stops me quite often: I do not like being told what to do. By God or you or anyone else. 

Last blog post, my pride had been made known to me. And it was like, oh my gosh, yes, this is what we are dealing with here: I have a pride problem. I understood something I hadn't understood and I agreed with it. Veil lifted.

Thing is, I am still quite stuck with my pride problem.

Turns out, understanding and agreeing with something does not equal believing it or changing because of it.

Today, I drew a diagram. I will recreate it for you:

Understanding the truth and agreeing with the truth is an important and necessary beginning, but it is not faith. It does not lead to new life. Faith is harder. Faith is pushing past my “Don't tell me what to do” wall. Faith is pushing past this pride in my rebellious side (I really enjoy being a punk). Why? Because I'm afraid and that has kept me safe.

Here's the thing: it's not working.
And God is saying there is more for me. 

What's that? You'd like another diagram? Sure. 

Come to me, Kylee. Pray to me. Seek my face. Be quiet. Sit still. Bow down. Follow. (IF YOU'RE FEELING IT OR NOT). 

There is no resurrection without death. 

I confess because He tells me to, not because it's easy. I worship because He tells me to, not because I am an excellent singer or I like the song or the person singing it or feel the moment. I kneel because He told me to, not because I feel an emotion and want to respond to it. I do what He tells me to, because I signed up to follow Him. And this bowing down, this laying down of my refusal, is the path to the cross. To life. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Forgiveness: Stage 3

I have five blogs. I realize this is excessive.

I start a new blog any time a really hard thing happens in my life. This one started after I lost my job. I meant for it to be about grace, but really it's been about forgiveness. Maybe they are the same thing. Almost two years later and I am still trying to figure this out—forgiving. Here's the rundown of what this process has been like for me:

1. At first, I felt hurt and graceful. I was sure I was right, the offender was wrong, and that this was so obvious to everyone involved that all would be repented of and forgiven quickly. 

2. Then, that didn't happen. Nothing happened. So then I felt hurt and pissed. The anthem of my hurt and pissed stage has been, “I can't even imagine ever treating anyone like that and then doing nothing.” This comes in variations, but overwhelmingly, “that person is scum.”

3. Next, I started writing this blog post (stage 2 has lasted a long time).

In-between and during all of these stages, there has been one thing that has made the movement to whatever this new phase is possible: gratitude. Gratitude is saving me from a life of hurt-pissed-off-ness.

Gratitude for what I have (easy):

I am grateful for my husband. I am grateful for how much closer we are than we ever were before. I am grateful that he is in a workplace and community where he is celebrated and respected and able to bring every good part of himself to the table. I am grateful for my job. I get to write Bible studies and shop at Hobby Lobby and cry with people and braid their hair and celebrate success and say “me too” and watch God do what God does. I do that every day. I work with dedicated, genuine people. I am grateful for my dog, who is perfect. I am grateful for my church. I am grateful for the wise and beautiful women there who teach me, who love me, who welcome me, who say “me too.”

Gratitude for what I had (harder):

Cynicism steals the glory of God. The glory of God being this: He works a perfect plan through an imperfect people. It is easy, in the pissed stage, the only see the imperfections. Focusing there, I was missing the point. God was working his perfect plan. Isn't it amazing that he could do it through them? The person-who-is-scum? There were good days. I was loved and I loved. God did amazing things. We found so much of ourselves and so much healing in that place, with those people, because of our God. I can be grateful most days now.

Gratitude for my own forgiveness (hardest):

I have written a lot of other things in order to get to this—the one thing I wanted to say. This is the newest thing. It was pointed out to me that—despite my raging anthem otherwise, I am very capable of treating someone that terribly and then doing nothing.

I have held it against the offender—his pride. “How proud would you have to be not to apologize?” I say this in an incredulous tone.

And now, I confront my own. Because the next sentence in that line of thought is, “I would never do that. I am so much better than you.”

We become the things we hate.

I am a prideful person. An arrogant, angry one. I thought maybe, “I'd never act like that” would solve the problem for me—make me into a different sort of person from “them” but it doesn't work at all. It isn't true. That thought, in itself, is me being part of the exact same cycle of pride and anger that I was so wounded by. No thank you. I need a new way.

Gratitude, again, helps me find it. I've asked so long now, “how?” How am I supposed to forgive this? Stage 3: Realizing forgiveness for others flows out of my own forgiven-ness.  Stage 3: I take my pride and say, yes, me too. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Today, I Was a Beast (Not In a Good Way)

This morning, faced with a room full of love, a woman filled with shame said the old words, "If you knew who I am and what I've done, you wouldn't love me."

I heard off my own lips the new words that have been so graciously and faithfully offered to me, "you have a good heart, and we see it."

Her shame answered me. Her guilt. More old words.

"It is your good heart that feels the pain of what you've done; it is your good heart that is turning itself in; it is your good heart that wants a new way," I said and I've heard said to me.

It's funny how you can say good things when you aren't feeling good at all. Praise God.

I've been having a tough time lately. In fact, I was sort of a beast today (not in a good way).

It's amazing how fast the old ways come back: how quickly the darts start flying and the earthquakes shake me and all the sudden I am back to the old scared, lonely, self-protecting, proud, offended, balled up self.

I hate this self. I hear words coming out of my mouth and I hate them. I feel anger and anxiety and arrogance and violence rising up in me and I hate it and I can't stop it and I'm naming myself names and telling myself lies: nothing lasts, no one cares, you were tricked, you can't trust, you are alone, you are bad, wrong, worthless, and everyone knows it, or they soon will.

All day I lived like this.

Then I came home and let Hashbrown, my dog, out of his crate.

He grabbed his yellow blanket in his mouth, whole backside waving in greeting. He leaned against my legs. He waited for me to start walking, led me into the living room. He rolled onto his back on the rug, looked at me and waited for his belly rub. He licked my hand. This lasted a long time.

If I could go back, today, I would have given myself a time out. I would have been kinder to myself. I would have asked myself what I was scared of, and I would have thought about the old words and the new words. I would have told myself I have a good heart, even when I'm being a monster, and that it is this good heart that will melt when my puppy licks my hand. It is a good heart that repents. It is a good heart that remembers and is grateful. I would have taken a moment to realize I wasn't okay, that I needed to ask for a hug, a break, some more coffee and a quiet room. This is the new thing: not perfect, faithful. Faithful to return, to God, to others, to myself.

"Keep me gentle with myself. Keep me kind in disappointment." -Kathleen Norris

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Firefly Seas and Rock Hunting

Once, my friend Justine and I laid on the hood of my car on the side of a country road. We listened to Mumford & Sons and watched the sun set and the fireflies light up the soy bean fields until it was waves of lights, an ocean.

Once, my friend Marcia and I went on a rock hunt at Shadyside park in the rain. We climbed river banks like we were ten years old, shouting to each other, "look at this one!" as we waved them in the air. We made piles of rocks and only took home one each.

Justine lives in Texas now. Marcia is moving to Oklahoma.

I wish I could keep these soap bubbles of joy in my hands forever. Stay there in the light sea and river rain. Joy comes and then joy goes and I am left in the between trying to keep my hands open to the next happiness, trying to give thanks for this grief and that there was joy to be had. Trying not to miss what is here now. My heart is breaking but I am trying to whisper blessings. Trying to ignore the old lies that nothing lasts.

Communion cup in my hand, the wine and the bread, I eat and remember. This symbol becomes part of me in this act. His body part of my body, His blood part of my blood. "We cannot be separated," He whispers to me. I nod and I try to remember.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Child in the Battle

I've worked in a lot of ministry positions. I have never had to look the Enemy in the face as often as I do in this job. There is constant evidence of his attempts to steal, kill, and destroy. The battles are frightening, traumatic, bloody. And sometimes, I feel defeated. Sometimes (more than once lately), I walk off the floor mid-shift and go upstairs and lay down. I just lay face down on the floor. Not in surrender or faithfulness or anything beautiful-- just plain defeat and exhaustion and anger. And swearing. This job makes me cuss. A lot.

On a particularly bad day, I left work completely numb. I felt beaten up. I went to volunteer at youth group. I was a crappy volunteer that day. There was a time of worship. The youth pastor, Mike Snyder, asked the students a question. No one answered. And then Mike said, "Are you afraid to answer? You don't need to be afraid. You are powerful." And then he played music and talked simultaneously, because as you know, all the coolest youth pastors are also musicians. And he said, "You don't have to walk around like you are powerless. You have incredible power." Oh yeah.

I don't know how many more blogs I am going to write on this topic. Maybe a million. Maybe you will get tired of reading them. But I will write them until I know it by heart: the battles will be bloody, but the war is won. There is a great force of evil in this world, but our enemy is not of equal power to our great God. 

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1 John 4:4

I am afraid when I see the battles raging because I know the truth: I am a little child, and I am very, very afraid. I hold up my own abilities and quickly realize that they are dwarfed by the task and the Enemy. My small body cannot withstand these blows. I start fighting battles that don't matter just so I can win something. I freeze in my fear. I run away upstairs and lock the door and throw myself down in frustration.

"My battles," He whispers, "My armor, my people, my healing, my Son, my solution." And finally, "My daughter."

And He holds my small scared self, there on the floor. Here in this chair. Whispering again that He made me with Himself in mind. It is okay to be small and scared, I can make it, I can do this, with Him because He is big and strong and knows the ending. I praise this God, strong and kind and mysteriously in love with us.

Over and over on repeat:  "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)", Chris Tomlin

Friday, February 1, 2013

My First Love

I fell in love on the wooden floor between the second row of pews (right side if you're looking from the door) in the United Methodist church in Barnum, Minnesota. I remember everything about that place.

I fell in love and I stood and I sang and I lifted my hands and danced. I played guitar in my bedroom late at night and I sang love songs and I meant them. I cried and I wrote songs to Him and He heard me and we danced together. I saw it once, a vision of His feet, dancing over us, and I laughed for joy that He was with me and I knew it.

Restless this morning, I found my guitar and dusted it off, tuned it up. And I sang the old songs. The first songs. Jesus, Lover of My Soul.

I miss this love, this first love, unashamed and unselfconscious. I wasn't worried about my spiritual gifts or my best gifts. I was a gift. All of me poured out and I didn't think to do otherwise until later. Didn't think to hold back or be embarrassed.

And His love, it is so sweet to remember it. How we met each other in those moments of worship. How He whispered to me. How He loved and healed and held me.

Lately, I've been longing. It's the best word I have for what I feel. Wanting so much. I want adventure. I want passion. I want something new and brave and exciting, and I want to be alive. I've been looking everywhere trying to find an object, a solution, a next step forward. Maybe it's a step back instead. A returning.

A return to curiosity. Freedom from self-criticism. Permission to stop assessing what the people around me need me to be. A return to kneeling and hand raising, song writing and the untalented, passionate singing of songs. Maybe my longing is a reminder that I have been full before.

I have been empty and straining. Working. Trying so hard to love. So scared to do it wrong, not fit, not be good enough. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Teach me from your lap, Father, how to sing again. How to rest. How to be filled up.  

Friday, January 25, 2013


I have never had to look into someone's eyes before who thinks I am going to hurt them.
It was the strangest, most desperate feeling.
"I'm not going to hurt you." Over and over. "No one is going to hurt you here."
I could see that she did not believe me.

Some days I want to give up. 

Awhile ago, in my own pain, I was asking God for answers. And he kept answering me the same way, with the same words from Isaiah 61. 

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." 

When Jesus tells the people what He's about in Luke chapter 4, that is what he tells them. Those words.
They have been important words to me before, when I was asking who God was, and what he was doing. 
They are a lifeline, now, as I join in carrying the pain of others. Asking with them, or more often, for them, who God is and what he is doing. 

I hesitated while typing "carrying the pain of others." How very codependent. How very over-responsible. How very exactly what I am trying to figure out how to do. It is precisely the struggle of my particular humanness. I can't believe that I am to do nothing, to take on none of it, to be indifferent or unaffected. But, how am I to bear it? What can I even do? It's crushing and I feel crushed. 

My friend Marcia was leading worship at church a couple weeks ago. She sang one of my favorite songs. The bridge of the song is, "Take my life, take all that I have. With all that I am, I will love you. Take my heart take all that I am. Jesus, how I adore you." And as her beautiful voice led me, the Spirit joined me, and I lifted my hands and surrendered and confessed. 

I confessed that I forget sometimes that the deep desire to bind up, to proclaim freedom, to release from darkness, to comfort, to bring beauty joy and praise, that desire does not originate in me. I didn't come up with it on my own. Therefore, I am not equipped to do it on my own either. I confessed that it is easy for me to think that God is a tool of mine. He is my gift to give people. My solution to a problem I am fixing.

I surrendered to Him, because it is quite the other way around. The desire, planted in my heart, is His and He planted it there. I am a tool of HIS. I am a gift HE gives. I am a small part of a solution to a problem HE is fixing. A wound HE is healing. A fight HE is fighting. Has fought. Has won.

Ah, yes. My God is for the brokenhearted! Take my heart, take all that I am, with all that I am, I will join.

I prayed it as I looked into her eyes. 
He is for our broken hearts.
"Come Lord Jesus," on repeat. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bold Love (Course Correcting)

I've been increasingly angry lately. Did you read my last blog post? I've been getting really angry at the violence in this world. I've been listening to angry poets, saying angry words, and writing angry blogs. I have been naming this anger "passion" and and I've been wielding it is a tool to inspire action and conversation. This has been a disappointing quest. Disappointing and dissatisfying and ineffective.

The question I keep asking is, “why aren't we (me, you, someone, anyone) doing anything about this?” I hear so many stories of senseless pain and there are no answers. No one seems to see. No one seems to be doing anything. And sure, some people are doing something, but it isn't enough. It isn't enough! This has been the battle cry of my last weeks.

One of my favorite things about how God loves me is that he gives me good books. Not just good books, right books at the right time. I picked up one the other day off a shelf at work. Bold Love, by Dan Allender. It was a direct answer to my current struggle, and to be honest, quite a blow to my pride and arrogance.

I don't know how to sum up what I'm reading. It's a lesson I'm learning and it's new to my heart. But I'm offering this half-thought as a course correction to my last post, as quickly as I can offer it, because God is clearly telling me to turn and go the other way. I'm sorry for the tremendous amount of quoting, but this book is so good and these aren't quite my words yet.

I read this: “Who wants to struggle with God as one looks at the blight of injustice? There are days when I talk to a young child who was physically and emotionally bloodied and torn into pieces by a man's sexual and power lust, and I want out. I want relief. I frankly don't care how I find it, but I want wings to fly above the countryside littered with crushed souls.” Yes, I thought. That is what I want if I'm honest—relief and a way out of feeling the pain of a fallen world. Allender goes on to write of himself in these situations, “[I felt] a distant and protective possessiveness toward those who were suffering. I wanted to ease their pain (and mine) by striking dead their Egyptian abusers and leading them through the desert to the Promised Land.”

I've been angry and I knew that. What I didn't realize is that I am angry at God. My cries for the action of people around me are masked cries for his action. My energy toward my own action has been an angry, anxious, arrogant effort to do what God (seemingly) will not. If he will not act on behalf of these women, then I will. If he will not stir the passion of his people, then I will. Behind my anger at God, my mistrust and disbelief in God. It is this place I've lived the past several weeks.

My convictions against injustice are not wrong and have not changed. But the energy behind them, to relieve my own suffering, to act out of mistrust in God, well, He is calling me elsewhere.

Away from anger and arrogance, but not toward passivity or numbness. I've been asking the question, “what is the third way?” And with Allender's words, God has begun to answer:

It is possible to face injustice and suffering and work for its demise as a response to the gospel. The consequence of my injustice has been paid for by His death and resurrection; therefore, I long to see others who are unjust come to taste the humbling delight of His kindness. Or injustice can be fought as a screaming protest to God's silent inactivity. ...The difference may not be easily noted, but in time the energy of hatred versus gratitude will be sensed in those who receive their strength and kindness. One will serve with humble, quiet grace and the other with angry, demanding assertion. One fights for a General who has already won, and the other for a revolution that is in question. One hates injustice, and the other hates God who has not dealt with injustice according to our timetable. (I paused a long time after reading this. On this sentence, I asked forgiveness) The latter enters the fray with a frenetic, scrambling energy that is busily in control; the former with a centeredness that is strong and passionate, but that is never inconsistent with a deep concern for the one with whom the battle for justice and love is fought.

In the face of injustice—which is daily and monstrous—one either learns to aggressively ask the hateful question, “Where is God?” or ask, “Who is God, that He bears His own sorrow as the unjust succeed and the just suffer?” The enraged assertion attacks injustice with furious self-will; the struggling question waits honestly in trusting silence for God's perspective. This kind of trust is not a passive, other-worldly asceticism that smothers present groanings beneath a pious futuristic hope. Rather it is a passionate, pregnant confidence in a God who will enfold an honest struggler in strong arms of comfort and love.

I am correcting my statement. I needed a reminder. This is who I want to be for my someday daughter, my someday son: a passionate, honest struggler. One who has patient and expectant confidence in a God who enfolds me in strong arms of comfort and love. A woman who is strong and passionate and full of humble, quiet grace. A woman in love, wanting to know more of who He is, why He does what He does. Not accusing. Pursuing. I offer this as a confession and a stake in the ground. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What to Tell My Someday Daughters, What to Teach My Someday Sons

Phil and I have been thinking about having children someday soonish. I checked out What to Expect Before You're Expecting at the library because I fully intend on being crazy like that. Marcia bought me a baby names book for Christmas. I flip through it and I find a name for my son. It's easy. I can see myself holding him. I can picture him crawling in our house. I can imagine him playing touch football with his friends. I am committed to trying to teach him a life of nonviolence, though everyone says this impossible. People laugh at me when I say I won't buy him toy guns and tanks and swords. “You can't do it, Kylee,” multiple moms who know have told me, “boys will be boys.”

I cannot find a name for my daughter. There are beautiful names. But I can't see myself actually having a baby girl named anything. I'm afraid to have daughter. To imagine her as a real person is to imagine how beautiful she will be. How precious and complex and unique and wonderful. And to imagine that at all is to imagine the heart wrenching truth that this beauty will be wounded. I don't know what to say to her about it. I don't know how to teach her about this world or how to be in it. 

I am surrounded by women most days. The large majority of my coworkers are women. All my clients are women. And each of these women, to varying extents, carries with her a story of violence visited upon her because of her gender. These stories change us. 

And every time I hear another story of violence, something grows in me. I don't know what to call it. It is largely composed of anger. How does this continue to be something so unaddressed in our society? Worse, in our churches? How is it that millions of people rally around abortion issues or equal job opportunities for women, but so little is done about this violence that is everywhere? Where the hell are those bumper stickers? Where is this education program? Who is preaching this sermon? And how are we supposed to do anything about this in a world that has made an ethic of nonviolence “impossible” to teach? I'm not typically an outspoken person on political issues, or really any issues. But maybe I'm just sick of that. Maybe that's not the person I want to be for my daughter, my son. 

Things that I believe that I am scared to say I believe:  I believe in the sanctity of life. All lives. I believe unborn children have a right to live, and so do children who die in war campaigns. I believe in nonviolence. I actually don't think it's impossible. I believe that the church has done a terrible disservice to its daughters. I believe it's time to do something different. I believe there is another way. 

I know that anger is not the answer. I know that hate does not solve hate. I know that “love” is the answer. I know that God redeems all things and can make broken things beautiful. But I am tired of “love” equaling out to doing nothing. To staying silent. To acceptance. I am tired of God's redemption being an excuse for our lack of real love, passion, action, and boldness. I am tired of people throwing up their hands and saying nothing can be done, and I'm tired of joining. It simply isn't true that the issue is bigger than the solution we have. It can't be true that our God is powerless or has no ideas. I don't know what the answer is, but I want to be a person looking, praying, crying out for one, or at least something closer.