Being real hurts

I have been thinking a great deal about the hard stuff of life lately. Instead of waiting for the next shoe to drop, I am trying to keep walking forward with my chin up. In my younger years (can I say that only being 30?) I did a fairly adequate job of protecting my heart. Not getting too attached to people, places, things-life definitely hurts less that way. It seemed like a good idea.

In the last three years I have felt more pain than all the rest of my life combined. Pain from all sides, all parts of life. Things far too deep to list out here, but great pain. Along with the feeling of my heart being split to pieces many times, interestingly, I have encountered a capacity to love and to feel that I did not know existed.

**I found this old post unfinished in my ‘drafts’ this week.  Above is what I’d written in January of this year.  We had just moved on from pastoring at the church that was our home (mine for 20 years, Chris’ for 12 years).

In January my pain and broken heart was more raw.  Now its October and I am able to see so much more of the good that has come out of changes that were beyond our control.  God has brought peace and healing and freedom that are indescribable.

On the flip side, I’m also able to see the jaded, cynical attitude that masks itself as pride.  It is ugly.  I also see sprouts of bitterness that though I tell myself they aren’t there-and really don’t want them to exist-their presence in the soil that is my life is undeniable.

This summer as we lugged our kids to church after church, I found myself wondering many things.

Because of where we’d been had I set some kind of ideal in my mind that would be impossible to find? (probably yes)

How would I know when we’d found a community of people we wanted to be a part of? (I might not…)

Why can’t our kids be part of our worship experience on Sundays?  Why do they have to be sent away to ‘kid time’-at one church there is even a sign posted explaining children are not allowed in the main room? (I haven’t figured this out, I’ve only got more questions about it)

How could we possibly start over after being connected so deeply with so many amazing people in one place for so long?

That last one is where my heart has struggled to answer and still has so far to go.  The process of dealing with change is so SLOW sometimes!  In the many months that have passed since January when I started this post, I can say for certain that it’s hard to stay open and vulnerable for a long time.  Maintaining that raw, authentic, open-to-anything state of existing is really difficult.

It was good to read those words and to be reminded of what I want to aim for.  Bitter and jaded with witty cynicism  isn’t my goal.  Grace and gratitude with words of love is much more the direction I want to head.

At least I’ve got one thing straight (lately, I think this may be the ONLY thing I’ve got figured out)…I may not be able to manage that tall order but I know Someone who can.

And God is able to make ALL grace abound to you, so that in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8



Tell me if I’m prodding too much but, why can’t you worship at your old Church? I know Chris doesn’t work there, but can’t you still worship where you feel comfortable?


A fair and good question Jennifer, we could. But the reality is we don’t feel comfortable there any more, we just really miss the people.


Amazing thoughts, karissa. It’s a very good reminder to me of how I look at life and what kind of perspective I should aim for.


One of the things James and I are working on these days is living more purposefully. A tall order if you ask me, but at the same time, funny how life is so much easier when we try not to fight it and go with the flow, and do what’s good for our family. Thank you for sharing.

Jon Sween

Wonderful insights from a heart that loves Jesus so deeply. Love you my dear daughter and am so proud of the women of God you continue to become via the painful processes God uses to shape our character.