Friday, July 12, 2013


I reach up to tip the rearview mirror down, angling it so that I can catch her eyes in the back seat. I smile and wink at her reflection. She grins back. At the red light, I reach my hand behind me and wiggle my fingers, and she slaps me a high five.

We hold hands and swing them between us as we walk, and as we walk into the coffee shop to get her hot chocolate before school I sing silly songs with her name in them.

I teach my girls the "I love you" sign in ASL and flash it across the room.
I display their notes and pictures all over my house.
I make a big deal over every haircut or school event.

Every trick for connection,
for making a child feel special,
learned from my mother.


One of my girls is complaining how much she hates reading.
I ask her if she knows my rule. "What rule?"

Her friend jumps in. "Any time we want to go, Emily will take us to the library.
And if you need to do your 15 minutes a day for summer reading, any time,
if you call her she will make time to read to you, or you can read at her house.
It's her book rule."

Let your growing self be formed by these characters. By these morals shown through story. Learn to open your mind. Make friends with timelessness in a way that will stay important to you the rest of your life- I have the bookshelves wrapping their way around my tiny house and the heart that is strengthened and comforted by familiar words, to prove it. Experience them with me, my voice reading to you or yours to me, teach me about your favorite parts, because sharing a book connects people all the way down to their hearts.

My dad. All the way.


"I am the luckiest friend in the whole world," I exclaim to them as we start off on a date, as they bake in my kitchen, as I pick them up from school when their parents have to be somewhere.
"I am the luckiest girl that I live here where you are", "So lucky"
...that I get to be the one to do Bible study with you, to have you at my house, to see you in your school play.

Both of my parents. Always. It was the refrain of my childhood.

It is the knowledge underlying what I think when I look in the mirror or get my heart broken,

and it's the reason their numbers are dialed and answered multiple times a week by their 20-something children.

"I am such a lucky mom that you're my girl!"
"What a lucky dad I am, to be with you today!"
"We must be the luckiest parents in the whole world, that we got you."


"Can we get ice cream on the way home?", when we've already been out for something fun.
"Will you take me to the park today?", when I had been looking forward to a quiet afternoon at home.
"Let's have an adventure tonight!", when high schoolers mean "starting at nine" and I think, "I would love to be in bed by nine."

I think of Matt, with a full-time corporate job, spending his weekend nights driving an hour each way at 2 in the morning to take us to IHOP, even after hours of youth group games. I think of how loved and special I felt that adults would spend time with us, and what richness it is that I learned early to share memories of laughter with my spiritual community.

And I dig to find it in me,
to do just one more fun thing before going home today.


My little girls sleep over and when I tuck them in I pray over them. My big girls meet me for morning coffee and I pray over them as I drive them to the high school. We text prayer requests back and forth. I learn from their prayers, their struggles and joys, their conversations with Him. I hope so hard that they feel His love for them in mine.

Remembering always the warmth I knew from Mary Wolf as a college sophomore praying over my 14 year old heart and as a glowing new bride praying over my 17 year old heart and now I get to pray with her as she rocks her own babies 3000 miles away. And I think of her prayers and how they have carried me, and I text my girls just one more time.


"Can I come over? I'll bring homework."

I look around at my mess- dishes in the sink and fabric all over the floor and I'll have to be doing homework, too, while she's here.

I look around at my mess- I was sad deep in my heart today over old wounds, and jealous of a close friend, and there's too much dust on the cover of my Bible. 

Can she come over?
Could that really give anything to this girl, to nestle into this space, just a messy lived in space, to know a little better this heart, just a messy living heart?

And my smiling second family rises in my mind, their tumbling-over-each-other dinner table conversations and laundry basket on the couch and full calendar, their real marriage and real child-raising and real hugs and real prayers and real forgiveness and real relationships with a real God.

Come in. Make yourself at home in my house and my life, and may He offer you whatever He can out of my fearful opening.


to whom much is given, much is required.


Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.