The Remaining 89 Seconds

I was a senior in high school, waiting to begin what could potentially be my final balance beam routine in my final competition of my 10-year gymnastics career. If I scored high enough on the beam—my strongest event—I would advance to the state competition. If not, my decade-long involvement in the sport would come to…

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Drawn to Grace

In early 2020, while Covid and civil unrest engulfed our country, an ongoing conflict with an abusive pastor came to a climax when my husband and I were shown the door at a church we had served for over fifteen years. I was  untethered, wondering what life in the world would look like in the…

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Complicated Love

When I was young, my faith was expansive. I listened as friends told desperate stories of an unplanned pregnancy; of the fear of deportation; of the explosive anger of a boyfriend she couldn’t stop loving; of the courage it took to tell parents of a same-sex attraction. I shared my own fears, desperations, and foibles,…

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To the Prodigal’s Brother

I know your story well a familiar blend of nurture and nature— but I don’t know you, not really. Not your name, your interests, your fears (well, I can guess at them). Just your birth order– firstborn, a millstone. You don’t come out well in your story sad to say—not at all. Resentful, ungracious, even…

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Our Better Angels

“Please stop watching.”   The round, green eyes of my traveling companion flash as she whispers these words toward me. We are sitting in a crowded, delayed airplane stuck on the runway. Hot, stuffy, and impossibly close. Bodies of all sizes are wadded into same-sized seats like so many sausage parts stuffed into casings. The man next to me,…

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Lavish Affection

I don’t remember the exact moment I decided to stop regularly reading the Bible. Ironically, I think it was around the time I finished a “read the Bible in a year” plan, faithfully executed out of a sense of duty. This time through, something shifted for me, and I began to realize that scripture was…

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Grace Is the Way

She looked at me with tears in her eyes, as if she was seen for the first time. Between the tissue sopping up her wet face and deep sighs, she said, “I don’t know what I did wrong. I can’t escape his mental and emotional manipulation even though we aren’t even together anymore. I’ve been…

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Tailor-Made Grace

I hadn’t met her before this cold January night when we were sitting in a terribly outdated conference room on the fourth floor of a downtown hospital. She kept fidgeting with her hands, and her eyes darted between her text messages and the clock on the wall. Her bright red sweatshirt was the loudest color…

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A Gracious Pace

Eighth graders at my former middle school were asked to memorize Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” in English class. To be honest, I wondered why. Why was this poem required instead of Frost’s popular, oft-quoted “The Road Not Taken”? However, I didn’t create the syllabus, so I held my…

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