I have been in church my entire life, minus two rebellious years in college when my body was sometimes in church but my heart was a million miles away. The institution of church is a vital part of my life. My personality has been largely formed within this construct. My story didn’t just happen in church–it is church.
Church is all I know. When my mother died, I examined every part of my life and briefly thought I might leave church. But I did not. I am drawn to church because folks who love Jesus gather there and I love Jesus. Shared faith creates a sense of belonging, at least, until you learn beneath what drew you together are diversities which frequently aren’t honored. It would be ideal if the majority of us lived by a philosophy of love that inspired us to celebrate our differences. Instead, it’s more common that our attitudes which threaten unity sometimes urge us to war and destroy one another. I wonder if this breaks God’s heart.
I love the church. Yet, in the same way I imagine I might feel if I were romantically betrayed, I battle the urge to reject her and put distance between us. Especially when bad behavior is difficult to endure. I’ve heard it said the people you love most have the greatest power to anger you. My experience makes me believe it’s true. I have a hunch I’m not the only Christian who feels this way.
This would worry me except I know I am deeply devoted to my brothers and sisters–my fellow believers. Our relationship regularly feels complicated. That doesn’t scare me it compels me. It’s messy but it’s worth it.
I’m a proud mom of two pretty amazing, grown, college kids, Bethany and Isaiah. The fact that makes me most proud of them is that they are good to each other. Most days. This summer Bethany married her high school sweetheart, John. They grew up in youth group together. We love John and the way he loves our girl. I’m married to my babies daddy and my heart’s deepest love outside of Jesus, Tom. He’s my favorite worship leader. His voice pierces my soul and releases my emotions. His tender heart and his love for me undo me–knowing I’m second in his heart behind God is the best part of being married to him. I love our marriage with its equal parts glory and earth. They say you marry someone as sick as you. I don’t know why this always makes me laugh inside; maybe it’s because Tom and I navigate the tough stuff with humor. Sometimes that feels sick. True or not, I’m glad our sicknesses found one another. Here’s to 24 years strong with my equally sick love.
I am a part-time Middle School Pastor at my church in Nashville, TN where I have served the youth for the past eight years. I walked with the group through two youth pastor transitions; during the last transition I served as Interim Youth Pastor for a little over a year.
Teaching, training, and mentoring students is my passion. I especially love the transitional life stages. College is a favorite, which is a major contributor to my gratitude for my role as a Coach at CYMT (Center for Youth Ministry Training). I love encouraging our young youth pastors with a lot of I’ve been there’s and me too’s. Also, it feels purposeful to share what I have learned about youth ministry with these bright youth ministry grad students. They are true light in my life. It is so much fun.
New this year, I’m finishing a Psychology degree at Trevecca University. I’m enjoying every minute of the process. It’s a giant bright spot. I’m ordained, since 1995. I have a M.A. in Religion and a D.Div. from Tabernacle Bible College & Seminary. But, I bet it matters more to you to know if we have a conversation I’ll actually listen. I’m generally pretty good at that. So, let’s talk!