An Epiphany Miracle (of Sorts)

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We’re now two days away from the electronic release of Being Called Chaplain: How I Lost My Name and (Eventually) Found My Faith. In another post (which I am still trying to recover from the internet abyss), I explained how I ended up publishing with Harrelson Press and how smoothly everything was going, right up until the last minute. This is the rest of that story. My editor, Merianna, and I set a timeline for publication. We wanted to release the ebook in January and the print version in March. Merianna suggested Epiphany as a good and theologically interesting date for the ebook launch. She began formatting the book for 6×8 pages and quickly realized that, even after my initial edits, it was still way too long. Even when she changed to 6×9 formatting, we were looking at a book the length of a historical epic or late entry in the Harry Potter series — far too lengthy for the spiritual memoir genre for which we were aiming. Mere days before Epiphany, she emailed me the sad news that there was just no way we could print the complete book in this form. I was devastated. Continue reading “An Epiphany Miracle (of Sorts)”

Spoken in a Touch

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A touch can speak beyond words. Many times in the hospital, a patient or family member will grab my hand and hold on so tightly that I know it isn’t really me they’re holding on to in that moment. A spinal cord injury patient who was paralyzed from the neck down always insisted that I hold his hand while I prayed with him, and I wondered why, when he couldn’t even feel it. During some visits, when there is nothing to be said, I will place my hand on someone’s shoulder, or rub calming circles on his back as he is bent with weeping. Sometimes this is still scary to me, and my touch is tentative, uncertain of the recipient’s response. A few times I have felt the person stiffen, or shrug away my hand, and I immediately retract it. But most of the time, the touch is welcomed for what it is — a means of connection. Continue reading “Spoken in a Touch”

Why We Still Need to Have This Conversation

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This month marks the one-year anniversary of the release of The Modern Magnificat: Women Responding to the Call of God.  I’m proud to be one of the women who contributed a ministerial calling story to this collection edited by Jennifer Harris Dault.  I was discussing the book, and my calling, with a friend recently, as we were both reading Sarah Bessey’s new book, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of WomenAn acquaintance walked by and overheard us.  “Another book about women?” he said laughingly.  “Didn’t you just go hear some other author talk about this same thing?”  He was referring to a convocation with Rachel Held Evans I attended in September, at which she discussed her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood.  “That’s an important issue, I know.  But there are other things the church needs to focus on,” he said.  “Why do we need to keep having the same conversation?” Continue reading “Why We Still Need to Have This Conversation”

Why You’ll Never Hear Me Say “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle”

I was sitting at the bedside of a tearful patient, a woman hospitalized with pain and bleeding after her fifth consecutive miscarriage.  A few hours after she checked in, she got a phone call from a family member telling her that her youngest sister had been killed in a car crash.  Her nurse asked me to visit her that evening, and so I sat, holding her hand, telling her how sorry I was.  Then she said it.  “I know they say God won’t put on us any more than we can handle, but I . . . I just . . .”  She fell back against the bed, sobbing too hard to speak.

“But it feels like more than you can handle right now,” I offered.  She nodded and squeezed my hand. Continue reading “Why You’ll Never Hear Me Say “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle””

About the title, part 3: Lady

I’ve never been a big fan of the word “Lady.”  In my mind (having been raised in the American south), I picture ladies sipping tea on the front porch, quiet, genteel, not a hair out of place.  When I was growing up, all I heard about ladies was that they didn’t do whatever it was that I was doing.  A lady doesn’t run indoors.  A lady doesn’t slouch.  A lady doesn’t talk with her mouth full.  A lady doesn’t interrupt.  A lady doesn’t jump on the bed.  Being a lady sounded like no fun at all! Continue reading “About the title, part 3: Lady”