A One Size Fits All Redemption

I don’t know Margaret’s story. I only know her critical spirit matched with a voice like a sharp-edged knife could make my shoulders scrunch with tension. It was our first pastorate. We were not what she expected. Their congregation of retired pastors and long-time members were entitled to more. She took it upon herself to let us know. Margaret let us know plenty in the two years we were there....

Redemption Stories {an introduction}

Jason stood up to share during our testimony time. “This is the best-kept secret in Broward County.” He was talking about this place, this program, this residential facility, a place I call Grace-land. He was talking about The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was talking about our ministry, our people, our heart, our prayers. He was talking about redemption. Granny and mama both saved Green...

Sweet Comfort {literally}

Comfort is a word with a double edge. We are urged to get out of our comfort zone and curb our indulgence in our comfort foods, the pint of Ben and Jerry’s we crave at the end of a hard day….not our best go-to. Comfort is familiar. It is routine and known and safe. It is also complacency and hiding and avoidance. When does the contentment that soothes your soul become...

Summer’s pull to let some things hang

They are gathering for Saturday breakfast in the back area of Panera Bread. This group of 10 or so are dressed in their church clothes; men wearing ties and most of the women are in dresses. Her hands were full as she held a plate in one hand and coffee in the other when another woman put her arms around her shoulders and whispered in her ear. The older woman...

If man’s best friend is a dog…

The phone call came from one of our truck drivers, a man who was a graduate of our program. A man with a long history of addiction. “We heard a sound from a box behind store 7 (one of our Family Stores in our county). There’s a puppy in it. Can we keep him?”   We’ve heard the saying that a dog is man’s best friend. I grew up in...

May – the month of memories and moms

When my brother and I were kids, May 1st was when we were allowed to go barefoot. I don’t know what it was that my brother liked about going barefoot through the cool, damp grass but he would peck at dad with his questioning of ‘when?’ like a hen pecks at the dirt.  Daddy’s answer was always the same: May 1st. I think if we’d had a freak snow storm...

When housework makes you think…too much

I still look for it to be hanging there next to the broom and sponge mop I don’t use anymore. Then I remember and grab the Swifter and fasten a dusting cloth to it. Do you remember dust mops? Do you even remember rag mops? They were nasty to use, reaching down to wring the thick cords of fiber with your bare hand, wringing out all of that dirty water....

Giving myself grace to linger

I tell myself it will wait. To linger a bit longer here where there is no office and the sunshine streams bright through the windows. The piped-in music is soft enough and generic enough to accompany and not conflict. A quiet tumble of voices nearby are speaking life and activity. Some are hurrying through and others lingering like me. I wonder what they are avoiding by the extra moments spent...

The grace of giving from enough

I can count on one hand the number of times we saw grandma Durham. I remember visiting her and grandpa in California when I was 5 or 6. We drove from Louisiana or Arkansas, wherever we were living at the time, in a station wagon that I think we slept in at least one night. My memory focuses on the cots spread out in the field behind their house, across the...