Small group and wineskins

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast,[a] but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:14-17


Another day of small group another night where my thoughts came together  light years after the conversation had moved forward. Oh well, at least with writing I can try and be coherent afterwards.

I think this passage, when reflecting upon the law, provides some interesting context. The disciples of John and the pharisees both were ardent followers of the  Mosiac law to their own understanding. Rituals such as fasting and sacrifice were key to being right with God. It seems like the disciples of John were curious as to the  “how’s” of righteousness when it came to Jesus’ disciples.

Jesus, responds  with pictures and what a story they tell. To flip the order, let’s start with the  wine skins. Notice  the one similarity, wine. The wine was good. The law is good. In fact, Jesus told everyone he came to fulfill the law not to abolish it, however, he also knew we humans are incredibly slow and simplified the law down to two commands, love the lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself. Note he says “your God” the relationship comes before the law.

However, thanks to Jesus earthly ministry, his death and resurrection, the intimate grace and mercy of a relational God whose holiness was no longer locked away in the Holy of Holies but provided redemption to any who approached and repented, the forms of the old law no longer fit. Just like  the new wine would bubble and burst the brittle forms of the old wineskin but deepen and mature in  the new, the law no longer fully fit in the old forms of ritual and sacrifice but needed the space of Christ’s relational grace.

This throws us back to the garment analogy. While faith still flourishes with disciplines to help grow our relationship with God, sometimes the forced rigidity regarding grey areas and the mindless  repetition of vacant religious practice done for the  sake of doing or human tradition can cause wounded souls. When we try to force a patch of  this ritualistic law on those in the church while our souls long for grace, redemption, and relationship the “tear[ing] away from the garment, and a worse tear is made” occurs not with a garment but with real people causing deep spiritual wounds. We don’t need to look far to find those who have been hurt by the church.



I haven’t written in awhile.

It’s hard to write when life feels more like drowning and the reality that, sometimes, even good things can feel overwhelming and out of your league.

We’ve made the decision to home school now that we have a final date for IBI therapy.  Nothing to make sure you aren’t overconfident or proud like having to defend and explain your decision to four branches of therapy . . . repeatedly. I find it interesting how all these groups, while obviously wanting the text book best for your kid, can struggle to see that a parent might not want the absolute best for their kid too, regardless of what the textbook says.

What I’ve found as I’ve researched one curriculum after another, read homeschooling article after article, and made my list of pros and cons is that there isn’t a textbook that is the be all and end all. Also my kid doesn’t fit into a textbook and that’s perfectly fine, he has so much muchness a book couldn’t hold him anyway but neither  could a classroom. That’s not how he learns.

My homeschooling may not look like anyone else’s we may be a little messier than I like and a little more random than a textbook would like but we are going to strive to provide an environment where our kids are able to learn how to learn and how to be solid people.

Now, if only I could find a textbook on how to convince my son’s therapists it’s okay to toss out the textbook sometimes . ..

The Law


I’m not one who speaks up much in groups, I never have been. When  thoughts and topics bounce around, there isn’t the time and space to process and weigh what’s been said and I often find my brain has taken me off the path of the group anyway.

Tonight, was another one of those situations  where I found my brain taking a more serendipitous route so I sat and listened  .  . . until my husband challenged me to get my thoughts out in text and who can resist a free pass to write?

Tonight, our group was looking at the role of the law laid out in the Old Testament. Needless  to say, this is often a topic that brings out opinions. I remember, before college, finding the topic utterly boring. Mainly because I (a) found it confusing and (b) came from a New Testament focused tradition.

Then came college and two professors in particular who wanted their students  to catch the beauty, the intentionality, and the interconnected nature present within the greater story.

I was introduced to narrative and suddenly things made more sense. It shouldn’t surprise me, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book before I could read. I love finding people’s hearts and stories. History was my nemesis because  I could never remember dates but give me the stories.

When these professors took the Bible and reconnected it into one great meta-narrative rather than the bits and pieces I had  previously been shown all of a sudden the law took on purpose  (other than the insomnia cure I had treated it as in high school).

Under the narrative the law enters the picture as hope.
The narrative has not been overly hopeful until this point.
Creation has fallen and fallen again necessitating a restart within the events of the flood. The people of promise have been enslaved and their children culled.
The law enters into this narrative as hope.
The people have been rescued, their rescue isn’t reliant on following the law, it’s already  happened- the law speaks to grace and  the promise of right relationship with the  God who must have felt distant during those long years in Egypt.

But we are creatures of habit and the people fall again, and again.
The narrative continues and things are bleak.
The  hope of the law becomes twisted into a lifeline that people cling too and expand beyond it’s original structures, working for their salvation through strict obedience to a system that is impossible to fulfill on one’s own.
Now the hope of the law becomes a beacon pointing to the need for grace and salvation, the sacrificial system points to the need for a better sacrifice that will heal the  wound rather than merely replacing the band-aids temple sacrifice were providing.

Then comes the climax – Jesus.

He didn’t come to abolish but to fulfill because he is the sacrifice that heals, the hope that brings  the grace and mercy  as he restores right relationship. He can’t abolish the law because he embodies it. But without the Old Testament, without the understanding of Creation’s brokenness, the law’s role, the prophets calls, and the years of silence that  preceded  Christ’s arrival, we cheapen the story of the cross by removing it from it’s climactic role.

And what a cool climax. Honestly, I love this because in movies you get the climax and then an ending (maybe some after credit scenes if you’re into Marvel). Here, the climax continues to crescendo and build because there’s still another chapter coming. The story’s still building.

Narrative allows  the different genres and stories to take their place in relationship increasing their depth, their breadth, and their impact.

Law on it’s own still is a hard read to slog through (sorry professors!) but in their context within the  larger narrative the law takes on a living, breathing role.

An Invitation

It’s funny.

In church we  were often told about sin  (anything that separates us from God). It’s a  popular topic and rightly holds some importance.As I grow older, however, I’m beginning to wonder if shame isn’t our bigger problem. In the back of our minds, most of us are aware of our separation from God or at least from a bigger plan, a greater connection. Shame drives us away from community, our purpose, ourselves. Shame is no respecter of persons and it always seeks to harm through its isolation. Somehow, we don’t talk much about shame though. Instead, you have to learn to find it through  stories and, hopefully, see its resolution through grace.

I wish we talked more about shame and grace.

I know so many people  these days who are lonely, isolated, and alone. I wonder how many of them would claim life or the plights of being busy when really their shame drives them to hide from the vulnerability of connection?

It’s funny, I can’t remember a single spoken lesson on shame or grace and  yet I can tell you that shame, itself, is a lesson I learned with the same passion I tackle most things from an early age. Shame is the voice that speaks to me in the dark hours  of the day or the dark nights of the soul.

The cannot, the never, and the how could you.

It can be hard in those hours to remember the lessons of grace which seem so much more powerful and yet elusive at the same time. I think that makes it so much more imperative that we share those stories, those lessons of grace that we encounter. To help us combat the shame and drown its voice with love, compassion, and grace.

In the fast  and furiousness of life it’s  hard to bring up fleeting images  of those unspoken lessons. It’s in those moments when I steady myself in  the quiet  that the stories come flooding back. The church may forget about grace  sometimes  but I’m pretty convinced God loves it and pours it out whenever we let him.

I remember a pastor inviting me to communion with both of us still acutely aware of the just scabbed over wounds on my arms.

I remember someone standing beside me while I cried even though we had butted heads in the past.

I remember people who sat in dark spaces, unsure and probably uncomfortable, but willing to show love despite that.

Grace can be uncomfortable  to receive thanks to shame but sometimes it can be equally uncomfortable to give  in light of potential discomfort, rejection, or  memories of past shame.

Community  calls us out and dares us to be bold in the face of rejection and shame and shame bids us to cocoon ourselves against alone and withering. Community gives  us space to remember and share when we  cannot find our way to grab  hold of grace on our own. Grace give us room to be the messy works in progress we are. Honestly, I think we could do with much more grace on Sunday mornings.



Laughter, a safe place, and a tear

His face lit up with laughter, his eyes dancing as he eagerly tried to climb up and bring the story closer and closer to himself.

A gentle reminder from the librarian and he was down again, at least, until the next page when he sprung back to life, eager and excited by the room buzzing around him.

I’m not sure if anyone noticed me, standing off to the side, wound tighter than a spring, ready  to intervene. I’m fairly certain no one noticed as I wiped a stray tear or two away when my little one jumped up and enthusiastically clapped his hands a full measure behind the rest of the group during songs.

To the few who noticed me, I probably appeared half mom, half helicopter, buzzing around until I took our youngest back out to the  fish tank which has left his imagination abuzz and let my husband step in to watch our oldest who was enjoying story time with the passion he so often brings to  things . .  . on good days.

You see, while the hovering was noticeable there was so much that wasn’t.  The sensory issues we’ve fought for 2 years to have recognized because we “coped” better than others that give him his high energy but also contribute to ground shaking meltdowns. Our son’s lack of boundaries that allows him to open  up to strangers as well as family. The communication delays that can leave him struggling to follow the fast moving rhythms of a group.

I shed a tear that busy, messy Saturday because after months of work we had a normal family outing. My boys  joined in with the group games and songs, they came home and told their grandparents about their grand adventures,and went to bed with smiles on their faces.

The library has become a safe space. When your child has an invisible condition, the safety, the ability to sit and watch your child’s, and in some cases your own, world expand even slightly is such a monumental victory wrapped up in such an inconsequential package to  the unknowing eye, that you  want to shout it  from the rooftops.

Yet, it still begs the question,how many in those scenarios, see the child who has overcome and how many see a child taking away from their experience. How do  we change


I’ve always loved words.

As a child, my parents used to give my word games to keep me occupied. I’d always try and follow through but, inevitably, I would get lost within the stories that would come pouring out of my imagination, straining to run once they  were given the chance to break free. I suppose, in some aspects, my parents were more successful in their attempts.

Later on I found my escape in words. Whether streaming on a page, flowing through lyrics, or being brought to life through actors in scenes, words continued to touch and shape my inner world and filling it to the brim with colours and sights  fantastical. Ironically, my own words started to grow silent as life and circumstance taught me the safety in silence. Honestly, who was I too care, it was loud enough in my head without increasing it through my own voice.

Isn’t it true, as we grow older we all learn how violent words can be to the soul when handled maliciously or without  care? Words, once a friend, became a foe, and my spirit shrank as people used their words to  attack my faith, my abilities, and my soul until I could no longer tell if there was anything left of myself left to salvage or the validity of trying to salvage in the first place.

It’s funny the effect of words.

Even now as I do attempt to salvage and rebuild, grabbing a scrap of colour from here, some joy from there, and clumsily trying to wrap it in hope I recognize my own inadequacy for the task. After all, I didn’t build myself, I am created and I need the creator to restore what was broken.




By all accounts 2016 has been a rough year.

I’m told if you turn on the news you’re faced with obituaries of beloved stars, wars tearing apart lives and countries, and mother nature wrecking havoc on those caught in between. Add to that personal struggles: illness, finances, relational, etc. . .

I know so many who have simply stopped watching the news (myself included) and so many eagerly awaiting the advent of 2017 solely for the blank slate it offers.

This makes sense to me.The eagerness for a new start, the hungriness for hope, the longing for the  world made right again. The other day I saw someone posting a link to a news article referencing the crisis in Syria. A commented,  unknown by me, lashed out at our mutual friend for posting the article full of dire statistics and heartbreaking images, angry at what they deemed another guilt inducing post. This made sense to me too.

Thanks to social media, 24 hour a day news service, and our constant connectivity doom and gloom is always threatening to encroach upon the bubbles we build up for ourselves, our carefully constructed walls of self-care and “positivity”, walls we build up lest our mental health crack under the strain and crack it does.

Secondary trauma is real and it’s becoming more apparent in my everyday life how much a role media plays in that.  Social media and all hours newscasts give us access  to the horror, meant to inform but often does little more than shock, entertain, and close off it’s audience to the need, relegating user participation to little more than a like or emote to show our response to a world gone mad.

and hence enters our problem, we were made for more.

According to my  own understanding of theology and scripture the church is meant to be the hands  and feet of Christ in the world. We are meant to grieve with this who grieve and bear one another’s burdens.  This are almost impossible to accomplish through a disconnected screen in our  own little worlds.

To  enter in, to bear, to love these are all actions they require response and actions to truly be brought to fruition and to stunt these natural responses leads to increased hopelessness, isolation,  and shutting down.

If we are truly to see 2017 as a better year it is not going to be due to less celebrity deaths, happier news, or less severe weather (though all those would be a nice bonus). To truly see a better  2017 we must embrace a riskier form of love that calls us out from behind our screens and seeking out ways to embrace  and bear with our neighbours and brothers who are suffering whether it is in person or collecting supplies and information from afar. If we really want a better 2017 it’s up to us to risk.

Writing is a path to the soul, the innermost thoughts and, as an introvert, it has often been my friend. The chance to see the words flow out through my hands rather than stumble and trip out of a red tinged face while my social awkwardness betrays me once again.

But writing, at least pre-publishing, doesn’t give much grace or space to  hide behind as you examine the heart  and soul of who you are and for these last few years, there’s just been too much pain to let the words run loose out my finger tips and into the world to been seen and shared. It’s  too  exposing, too much vulnerability to a world that often seems harsh.

So I haven’t written, I let myself curl in and hide in an attempt to heal as dream after dream has continued to die before my eyes leaving me picking up the pieces only to watch new dreams shatter.

I’m still watching my dreams shatter, dreams that once seemed so good and hope filled now in a million pieces.

I’ve done myself  a disservice though because writing gives a voice when mine’s been taken away. What I thought was protective was actually silencing. Where I thought I was curling in to heal. I’ve actually been caging in behind walls of my own devising.

So I write.

Not with any elegance or theme but to give a voice where none has been allowed to sing and hopefully find my song once again

So, I fell off the side of the earth and landed in Wonderland . . . or is it Neverland? These days I’m not quite sure.

I used to write to explore a world I was anchored in. I was a student who was passionate about academics. I was a single woman striking out. Then I got married. New world, less writing.

To find myself, I also needed to learn the relationship and that left less time for writing out my thoughts.

Then I stopped writing. Did you notice?

I did.

Here’s the thing.

I’ve lost my anchor.

I don’t know who I am anymore because my life has done a 180.

I’m a stay at home mama now and I have no clue what that means but I’m willing to explore it. Eager, maybe, amid the fear.

A wise woman I know called motherhood “kingdom work” and it is, but it’s the most terrifying call I could have been given. As I look into little dude’s sleeping face I’m amazed that we were entrusted with this special gift, blessed beyond measure as I watch him walk through even these first few weeks. Yet, I grieve the loss of who I was. I’m no longer the woman I was and that’s okay but her passing needs to be noted, worked through, celebrated even and then we move on.

Now, if I can just figure out how to get a little more sleep maybe I can come back here and write 🙂


Relationships are the source of life’s greatest blessings  . . .

They are also the source of some of life’s greatest wounds and here’s the fun part, those wounds, they can only finding healing in community.


I know community is a blessing, even for this, finally, self-acknowledged introvert. I rejoice to see what God is doing in the lives of those around me and I grieve with those who walk through difficult times. Today, I am weary. Weary of relationships that hurt and recoiling to protect a heart I know i can’t protect on my own.

I’m not sure how it seems to happen that relationship complexities seem to happen in droves. No, I realize life is messy. I realize good and bad come together but oh, some days, it just is hard.

Lately I’ve noticed an unexpected part of growing up. Life away from your childhood home is a good thing. You get new experiences, new opportunities, and, for me, it introduced me to much beloved husband. However, on the flip side, I didn’t expect the cost of childhood and adolescent relationships.

People who were my friends, I thought, those who comprised those formative years, in an almost synchronized fashion went from catching up on holidays, to cutting off conversations, to no longer responding at all. It’s one thing to deal with one such loss when you’re already considered to sensitive for this society. It’s another when they all do it inside a month.  Talk about getting a slap upside the head with self-doubt and self-worth issues. It’s enough to make a girl wonder if maybe those relationships were projects, if that’s all i ever was. . .

My conscious side says that’s ridiculous but . . . old wounds die hard sometimes.


I wish I could say it was just old relationships, those are hard enough to mourn, the pain of an adolescence cut off abruptly from the present life. I wish I could but why lie when you already hide behind a penname in the anonymous world of blogging.

I’ve had two significant relationships currently go much the same way. My highschool friend and cousin recently cut off contact. Citing a desire to retreat from online things, cause anyone important can text what they need. I don’t have a cell phone. Yeah, that smarts.

The other is more complicated and the reason i’m writing tonight. I don’t know how to find the words to figure out where it went wrong, but I know he’s hurting and so am I. Maybe I’m writing more to figure out my own heart. Text always has come easier than the written.  I know life changes as are circumstances do. I knew getting married would change the dynamics between my friend group. We were no longer “students” (we still are we just don’t quite live that lifestyle anymore). However, I didn’t expect the friend who encouraged us to start dating to recoil so badly, depression alone doesn’t explain his behaviour.

Where we once talked, he now actively avoids me, seeking my husband’s company alone when he comes over, his behaviour and body language telling me i’m more a time killer until my hubby’s free.

Where he once listened, being a brother and one of my closest friends, instead, he used those secrets to hurt me. Something, the friendship we shared hopes was accidental and not malicious.

There are few guys i’m comfortable around, if I’m honest, I no longer count him as one of them.

So here’s my question? What do I do?

As Christians, we are called to love. However, that love does not necessitate an active  relationship. In fact, in some cases the most loving thing to do is to step away so that one does not continue to be harmful but how do you know when it is your fear and when it is simply time?


I think this musing requires another hot drink…