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When we first cam back from Africa in 2008 I remember having conversations with many friends about the abundance of things that the church (as a whole in America) was lacking.  I was bruised and limping, and angry about being back in the States, so my views on things were more than a little warped.  Though I enjoyed visiting people and churches that we had missed while gone, I felt such an emptiness.  (That is not meant to be a reflection necessarily on those churches, but rather my state of mind at the time!)

As we got to Troy and settled in to the business that is involved in church redevelopment, that view stuck around for a while.  I had a hard time connecting, and easily found fault with church rather than taking time to see the good things. I was tired and angry, and wanted to be in a big church where I could hide and get whatever I though I wanted and needed, yet God decided to place me in a small, struggling church with a handful of people who were probably even more tired than me!  Here I was the pastor's wife, and supposedly helping to rebuild the church, yet I had nothing good to say about church in general!  Me, I , Myself - that seemed to be the point of view of was stuck on.  God has such a sense of humor.

But God did a work in my heart, and I have grown to fiercely love that church.  We have faults and problems - it is a place filled with broken people trying to figure this thing out together.  Yet God has opened my eyes to what I believe the church is.  He calls us his bride.  Yes, that means Christians a whole.  But I think there is something special and holy and sanctified about the church as individual bodies- working all around the world in their own imperfect way, yet loving Jesus and desiring that truth and love to be spread.

I'm not naive.  I know that is not true of all the churches out there.  Yet in this time of fundraising, God has brought us to many, many different churches in various places - even different denominations (gasp), and we have worshiped together.  And in that worship, I have seen the face of Christ reflected in his bride.

We have worshipped with an Episcopal church in the Adirondacks that has embraced and loved our kids (and whole family) as they have decided to partner with us.  We have danced and sang with some some new Jamaican friends at another. (I loved the African feel of that service!) We have gone to several CMA churches in the area and been welcomed and prayed over and given to.  We have met pastors who are men and women of all backgrounds and struggles - yet are speaking the truth of the gospel each week - and living it out before their congregations.  We live in a house provided for us free of charge from a church that did not know us until a few months ago!  And just this morning we went to a church here Port Wentworth, GA where we were welcomed and hugged on by both the people who remembered us, and the ones that didn't.  Prayer cards were asked for, and since we had spent some time here before Malawi and I went to a few Alliance Women's prayer time - I know that when they say they will pray - they mean they are doing battle!

I'm thankful for my own healing, and that God has used me in whatever small way to show his love for his bride, and to remind people of how beautiful - even in our brokenness (especially in our brokenness?) that we are.  And that through celebrating him each week with these churches we are getting a glimpse of eternity.  


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I know that many of you reading this have seen the ugly, the broken, the spiteful.  It has been aimed at you or someone you love and the hurt has caused so much pain that you ran.  Maybe you are still physically present, but your heart is not fully in.  I understand.  We've been in full time ministry for 23 years now.  You can't be in this type of life without experiencing some of that ugliness - or handing it our yourself. 

However, I have been reminded again recently how beautiful it can be when it is done as a picture of Him. 

In the last few churches that we have been at where Shawn has pastored we have had a point in our time there where we had to admit that we couldn't do it anymore.  These churches in the States were ones that were under redevelopment - meaning on the brink of closing for one reason or another - and we were brought in to see if there was any health left and to push it in that direction if the answer was yes.  That means …

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I feel like the last several weeks I have been on auto pilot - doing the things I needed to do to wrap up work well and get things in place.  This week we had a lot of goodbyes, however my eyes stayed dry and my emotions in check.

But today...

What a hard, beautiful, honoring, loving, joy and sorrow filled day.

I was standing and looking out the window tonight and feeling like this chapter has come to a close.  I don't just mean Kenya - though that is the immediate, in-your-face thing.  But this dream of living in Africa.  Ever since we spent the year in Malawi I have longed to come back and live.  We lived in the most rural you possibly could in South Sudan to the crazy chaos of Nairobi in Kenya, as well as the in-between in Blantyre.  I've seen poverty I could never have imagined, and money that I never knew existed.  I've lived on the brink of war and through insane elections.  And I've shown off this life I've loved …


Listening to music always speaks to my heart in ways that seem to break through even my most grumpy, tired, or distant flesh.  I have a current favorite right now that I could listen to non-stop, and whenever I hear it I feel like my emotions explode to the surface. 

"Peace, bring it all to peace
The storm surrounding me
Let it break at your name..."

If you've listened to Christian radio or worship in a place in with contemporary music at all you've probably heard the song "Tremble."  It's not new.  Nor is it filled with a truth I have not heard before.  But something in these lyrics touches me deeply in this time of my life.

Right before we left Kenya I spoke at our church ladies retreat.  One of the things we talked about the first night was how we are in a battle.  We so often and so easily believe the lies that are whispered to us from Satan and shouted to us from the world about who we are, our worth, and our identity.  The longer we allow these l…