Dear Friends,

This may be a record, even for me, sixteen weeks without a word. I apologize. My commitment to this space is waning, has been waning for a year now. I have no vision for it, and without a vision, I find it very difficult to keep walking the road. I see glimmers of… something… along the horizon, but they’re faint, and I can’t quite make them out yet. I’ve been standing still for a long time, squinting into the darkness and hoping to see more clearly. It’s not working. I think this way is made by walking. Dang it.

For those of you who have been faithfully hanging out here and reading my words for lo these many years, I once again say thank you. Thank you for reading what I write, for encouraging me, for sticking around even when I don’t, and for giving me a reason to keep coming back.

Though I have been silent here, I have been writing elsewhere, and I wanted to pop in and let you know. That feels presumptuous. But I am setting aside my fear of presumption (I’m working on setting aside fear entirely, but God has a lot more work to do in that department!) and letting you know anyway:

First, an essay about Ordinary Time for Velvet Ashes. It’s a celebration of small victories…though I begin to glimpse that no true victory is small.

Second, a revised version of my essay “The Stories Are True” has been published at The Cultivating Project. I have wrestled with this essay for three years, and I am still not happy with it; it does not crackle with the life and light that infused the experience about which I write. After so much rewriting and revising, I am afraid I may have leached out what life was in it, but I let it go imperfectly into the interwebs and pray for the grace to become a better writer.

Third, a sermon I preached back in July on the parables of the treasure and the pearl, which talks about anxiety and small (and not so small) victories (along with a few other things).

But if I were you, I’d skip that sermon, and listen instead to “Go,” the sermon that Jeff VanDuzer preached the week after I did. I’ve been listening to his sermons for 24 years now, and they never fail to point me to God and exhort me to action. This particular sermon resonated with me on so many levels, starting with the one-word title right through to the promise from Revelation with which it ends. Especially if you’re feeling stuck or discouraged, please listen to it.

In closing, I want to share one of my favorite quotes ever, from Lilias Trotter, who gave up a promising artistic career in the late 1800’s to become a missionary to Algeria (if you’ve not read her story, you really should). It’s been a touchstone for me for the past two years, and it fits perfectly with Jeff’s sermon (which you really need to listen to!):

When it comes to prayer for the personal needs of our souls, we do not come again and again to wring an unwilling answer out of our Father but to search in His Word till He gives a promise which meets our case and then to step out on it in the bare faith which believes that it receives.

My friends, on this late summer day, may the sun warm you and breezes cool you and God be always in your heart and mind. And may we all step out on God’s promises in the bare faith that believes that it receives.

With gratitude,