If you knew me in person, you’d know my laugh. That’s what other people have told me. “I knew you were hear, I heard your laugh.”
If you knew me a little more, knew my heart beats, you’d also know my tears. I’d rather you hear my laugh than see my tears but sometimes they leak out no matter how hard I try to hold them back. They form little pools in my eyes and my voice will creak if I try to talk and it’s usually when I’m talking about God’s amazing grace and love that the tears puddle up.
My husband and I are ordained ministers. It’s very easy for me to say that as I’m a firm believer that God’s gifts are shared without discrimination. But, preaching and teaching aren’t my comfort areas so I leave those most often to my husband who God-given gifts of teaching are evident. This man is a quiet leader, who uses his example more than his words. He’s done that with our two children and now with our granddaughter.
My greatest joy and privilege is being mama to Heather and Jonathan and seeing them become wonderful adults with loving spouses and one delightful granddaughter. Our family is big and small, strewn across the country and I miss them all too much. We laugh and cry together and find ourselves in the arms of a loving God sitting with us through it all.
In our 23 years of ordained ministry, the past 12 have been spent as Administrators and pastors to men in residential recovery programs. These men have helped me find my voice and to recognize that God uses me too through speaking and sharing both laughter and tears. They’ve shown me grace that I hadn’t seen clearly. They are my people.
Brennan Manning, author of Ragamuffin Gospel, Abba’s Child and many more, says, “To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”
I stumbled the first couple of years we found ourselves ministering in the recovery community. But they have helped me acknowledge the light side and the dark, as Manning says, of my whole life story. They have revealed my shadow side and welcomed me to Graceland. You’re welcome too. Welcome to share the light and dark, and to know there is always grace.