We got our six little pigs this week. When I first saw them, my husband had already settled them into their pen. They snorted and grunted, nosing around a pile of straw. Their beady black eyes widened and their floppy ears rose a little higher when I approached their pen.
Approached, I say, because I wasn’t about to go in there with them.
No way. It’s mucky in there. It already smells a little stinky in there. You have to watch your step in there.
Those pigs didn’t even want my husband in there with them. They’d only met him once, of course, when he culled them from the truckload of pork-on-hoof delivered to our neighbor. Now, his chosen ones trotted nervously away from him. Multiple scratches on their pink sides witnessed to tussles with other pigs. No wonder they were skittish.
“They’re not drinking,” my husband muttered beside me. “They haven’t figured out the waterer yet.”
Sometimes we are simply besieged. Too many troubles all at once. Enemies too big to defeat alone. We want some sure-fire way to win. Some secret for making it through the darkness.
I know this is where you expect me to say something like “Christianity has all the answers.”
But actually, when it comes to dealing with trouble, Christianity doesn’t have answers.
Not plural answers.
There’s one answer. One secret for survival. Continue reading
Everyone I know is in transition.
Friends are transitioning from parenting to empty-nesting. My adult children are transitioning from school to the workforce, from singleness to marriage, from one child to two. My parents are transitioning from independence to dependence. And me? Still transitioning out of the parking lot.
All of these transitions look different. Some, we saw coming and started planning for. Some blind-sided us. Some we hoped to put off longer. As we describe our transitions, our voices twist with frustration, longing, anxiety. And I ache for us all, because we all want the same thing. Stabililty.
Stability. Yet we’re in flux, changing. Instability is “in.”
We all want our transitions—whether expected, unexpected, or inevitable–to be the same: quick, smooth, and easy. A brisk walk down a short hallway to an open door. A gentle turn guided by a crisp British GPS voice: “The destination is on your right. Arrived.” We want to steer, we want to control the speed, and we don’t want any bumps along the way.
Most of all, we want it to be over.
But transitions serve a bigger purpose than to merely come to pass. Continue reading
Why patch up a ragged old life when you could have an all-new one?
Jesus also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.” (Luke 5:36)
What is it about our familiar old rags that makes them so hard to part with?
I recently interviewed a man whose siblings have birth defects. What, I asked, would he tell expectant parents who have just learned their coming child may be born with defects? What if that’s not what they had planned?
He replied, “I don’t know anyone who can say that their life is what they planned.”
I’ve been pondering that remark ever since. How many of us live lives we didn’t plan? Continue reading
“There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers…” (Matthew 21:33, NIV)
Why does Jesus of Nazareth launch His brief parable with so much technical detail? Perhaps the Master Storyteller, keenly aware of His audience, knew that the set-up was essential. “This must be distinctly understood,” as Charles Dickens said in one of his famous introductions, “or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.”
Someone’s doing something good. Right here in rural Minnesota. This is a story in progress. Hope is forging ahead.
If you remember my post about Janine Kramer, founder of Olivia’s House of Hope, you’ll be excited to know the House is moving forward toward its goal of supporting women in transition to a better life.
Thursday, January 19, 2017, their Open House runs from 9:00am to 5:00pm, at 212 26th Street South in Olivia, Minnesota. I intend to go see how far they’ve come.
Interested? Learn more about the event on their Facebook page.
And thank God there is a whole lot of hope for women ready to leave the past behind.