Word of the Week

Did you know that I wrote a devotional for Advent this year?

So thankful for the opportunity to be the writer for Chalice Press' (the same folks who published my book, Birthed) Partners in Prayer Advent devotion this year.

It was a lot of fun to start with a blank slate back in January and think about what kind of words we'd all need by the time that December rolled around.

I knew so many of us would be weary. I knew so many of would be longing for a new narrative in this crazy world we find ourselves living in. I knew that we'd be searching for fresh glasses to put on-- to see the world differently.

Thus, Seeing a Different World came to be, a devotion for this Advent season sticking close to prophetic texts in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, all texts that cause us to stop and see the world as God sees it. It's an opportunity to re-see this December.

What's even better about this devotion is that a FREE candlelight service guide is available. You can download it here.  It's a service plan for your congregations or for personal reflection time throughout the Advent season. I've heard that Sunday School classes are even using it for their discussions. And at my church, The Palisades Community Church in Washington, DC, we'll be hosting Vesper Services the first three Wednesdays in December following the candlelight service guide. So many possibilities abound.

To give you a preview of what you might find if you order this book here's an expert one devotion you can read in Seeing a Different World taken from Isaiah 32:1–5

The texts of Advent, this one included, remind us that all is not as it should be in this world.

Those appointed to rule over us don’t always lead with righteousness. The wrong people are exalted. We forget the sick, the imprisoned, and the lonely. The rich get richer.

But as much as Isaiah’s words tell us what is not right in the world, they also help us see differently. What is will not always be! Why? God wants US to be part of the change: to open eyes, to invite ears to listen to new conversations, and to open our mouths in ways that include others.

A friend of mine leads a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness. Her faith compels her to use her education, intellect, and God-given courage to speak for those caught in endless cycles of poverty. Many call the goal of her work unattainable. Yet she’s quick to fire back: If we don’t believe in and work toward the empowerment of all people, who will? Her advocacy shines a bright light into the new world that God wants to create.

It would be easy to write off hope in action as a pie-in-the-sky dream, saying, Well, that’s nice but it’s never going to happen. But as people of faith, God gave us this work!

You can read more by ordering your own copy on Amazon by clicking here.

Or you can order them over at Chalice Press. There's a special deal for bulk orders. (Buy 25 to 249, save 15%, Or buy at least 250, save 25%)

I can't wait to hear what you think as you read! Happy (almost) Advent.

Courage comes in steps, you know?

No one does a hard thing all at once.  Life's big dreams are rarely fulfilled in giant leaps.

In the early months of 2011, I started to get a hunch that I wanted to write a book.

A hard thing. A seemingly impossible thing. Me, an author? Who would believe that?

I wasn't so sure I had the discipline to pound out all those words on the screen. I wasn't sure I had the savvy to convince a publisher to take me, a young pastor, on. Or, even that I had the guts to tell the truth the way I admired it in the works of others.

Not only this but . . .

I wanted to write a book about the one thing I didn't want anyone to know about me at the time: the I word.


Through the lens of "Elizabeth the infertile" pastor,  I knew I wanted to tell the truth about the intense physical and emotional pain of miscarriage, child loss all while being a solo pastor.

I knew I wanted to tell the truth about all of the unwanted side effects of such a struggle: depression, loss of friendships and ugly marriage moments.

I knew I wanted to tell the truth about the great mysteries of God, how hope finds us through friendship, second chances and prayer.

Most of all, I wanted to be a resource for other women, other couples or other spiritual seekers who like me faced their "dark night of the soul"  by telling my story-- that even when the worst possible things happened (and kept happening) to us I was still ok. And maybe even more than ok sometimes too.

So with all of this true: I only had one choice.  Write the book.

In the wisdom of Anne Lamott this was my plan: "Keep your butt in the chair." (Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.) And I did!  But, life is often more complicated than our intentions.

And the best things, I believe take time to unfold, especially when it comes to writing and even more when you're writing about your own life!

I completed the manuscript for this infertility memoir back in April 2013.

80,000 words on a page. My goodness, I was proud!

I thought that 2013 was my time to show it to the world. But it wasn't. And this fact was SO difficult to accept on top of so many other failures. "Jesus, you're killing me . . ." was my prayer back then. (And maybe he was but that's another story for later!)

Yet, in the early months of 2014 with new inspiration, I decided I needed to re-write the draft from scratch. Yes, THE. WHOLE. THING! I even blogged about why here. I'll tell you it's no small thing to start over, but I did and loved the new framework.

But then, life got hard. Real hard. My courage went away. Infertility and adoption failure came to bite my husband and me in the ass (again).

So the manuscript goes to live on a shelf to live for 15 months. I could not bear to look at it. It was all I could do to get out of bed each morning and try to connect with other meaningful work and people.

I might not even complete this project after all . . .

But, thank goodness for stones of help along the way. Voices who said, "Don't give up!"

Thank goodness for friends who read a draft last April and told me "The world needs your story. You must share it."

Thank goodness for this new season of life and all its unexpected joys and the gift of knowing I more than just survived a really hard chapter but I'm thriving through it.

And most of all thank goodness for this good news I have to share with you today.

I am happy to announce that my manuscript (tentatively titled) Unsilencing the Grief: A Pastor's Fertile Infertility Story is now under CONTRACT with Chalice Press, due out by February 2017.

I couldn't be happier to have found a publishing home with Chalice: a respected and forward thinking press committed to giving the church and spiritual seekers resources for the joys and sorrows of real life (my kind of people!).

I would be lying if I didn't say there's a part of me still nervous to be sharing such a personal story with the world, but I couldn't be more excited either. I'm tired of this manuscript being a computer file on my computer.

For, I want those of you who've faced seasons of deep disappointment, pain and anger to know you have a soul sister in me!

Stay tuned for updates about publication but for now, join me in saying "Thanks be to God!" that such a joyous day has come.

January 13, 2016 goes down in our household as a very good day! Let the editing begin.