Everyday Grace

Searching for goodness in the ordinary

When Father’s Day is Hard

Jun
11

photo: Miguel Á. Padriñán

My first father was Danny Tanner. Kind but firm, wise, and good at cleaning up messes both physical and emotional, he was who I sometimes pictured as a kid when I thought about what fathers were like. In case you didn’t grow up in the 90s watching basic cable after school, I’m talking about DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle’s dad on the TV show Full House. He always had the answers when his girls got into trouble, and even when they really screwed up, he always let them know he loved them and would always be there for them. This was a far cry from my own father experience. Maybe I gravitated toward Mr. Tanner because my own concept of what a father was was blurry and ungraspable, sort of like trying to remember what someone looked like in a dream. I had a vague outline, but the details never came together. Mr. Tanner was a concrete figure, an example that made sense. (As a little girl, I thought he was a real person, a real dad, so you can imagine my shock later in life when I watched Bob Saget do some standup and my beloved TV dad evaporated into thin air.)

I’ve never met my biological dad. I think the first time I remember realizing this loss was in kindergarten, when the time came to make Father’s Day cards and crafts. Everyone around me had a dad to make something for but me. I don’t say this to get you to feel sorry for me, but to get you to understand that this is when it hit me that I was different from the other kids in this way. I knew what a dad was, I guess, but I had never really thought about where mine was until that point. I went home and asked my mom, and after a long pause, she told me he “ran away.” I’m sure she was just trying to find simple words to explain a complicated thing to a little kid, but I remember thinking, from what? I began to internalize the idea that I was something to run from, or at the very least, not worth sticking around for. (more…)

You Can Sit With Us

May
14

A couple of years ago, I got into an intense theological fight with my closest friend. We are both Jesus girls with big bleeding hearts, and though we have a lot in common, we don’t share exactly the same passions and callings (which is perfectly okay!). We were discussing helping and serving others, but the conversation shifted when we started drawing lines between fellow believers and those outside the church. My friend mentioned that she thought it was more important to take care of other Christians than it was to take care of others outside the church, and that the church should be our priority. I totally disagreed with her, saying that those without Jesus to rely on needed our help more. I imagine Jesus looking in on our disagreement and facepalming. Here we were, arguing over how best to love others – instead of just doing it, just loving whomever was in reach as often as we could and in whatever ways we were able. We eventually realized that it’s okay for us to have different passions in this area – my calling might be to reach beyond the walls of the church to those who are suffering and introduce them to my friend Jesus, and my friend’s calling might be to build up the church from the inside so that we will have a healthy home to bring those hurting ones into. Both are needed, both are important. Neither is greater than the other. Both the believer and the unbeliever are precious to Jesus. He still leaves 99 to find the one, but the 99 are still just as important to Him. And as someone who has been both the 99 and the one, I am so grateful.

What if we can even take this a step further? In addition to acknowledging both needs as valid – reaching out to welcome people into Jesus, and making a welcoming place for them to come home to – what if we could blend these actions together? What if the church as a whole began intentionally and radically welcoming those who have historically felt pushed away or marginalized in our society? (more…)

Our Spirit // Unstuck

Apr
23

photo: Josh Willink

Once, in high school, I was babysitting for a brother/sister toddler duo and their mom had asked that I make the kids pancakes for lunch. Sounds great – except for one thing: I had never made pancakes. And this was not a Bisquick house, y’all – they were the type that had avocados and steel cut oats around the place before it was cool. No easy box mix with a recipe on the back in sight. To complicate matters, this was pre-iPhone, so I could not easily google a recipe and go on with my life. I began silently freaking out and thinking through my options. Okay, pancakes have…flour, right? As I gathered ingredients, I spied the best part of the situation – their mom had set out a CAST IRON skillet for me to use. Y’all. Let’s go over this recipe for disaster:

  1. Never made pancakes before
  2. Cast iron skillet
  3. No idea how to use one of those
  4. No recipe

All aboard the hot mess express. As I tried to figure out what should and should not go into pancakes, the kids of course were beginning to starve. I’m sure their parents had made them breakfast like three hours earlier, but to hear their version, you’d think they had not been fed for approximately 87 years. “In the Arms of the Angels” began to play in the background. I had to figure something out before these kids resorted to eating their plastic play fruit.  (more…)

Our Home // Unstuck

Apr
09

photo: Matthew Henry

Like many women who live a life on planet earth, I have questions. Why do people want to eat every day? Like, I just made dinner last night, and now you’re telling me you’re hungry again today? Calm down. Also, why does my apartment hate me and refuse to stay clean? I JUST mopped the floor like three months ago. CAN I LIVE? The worst part is the shame. Social media, I’m looking at you. It can be really easy to feel like my life is a pile of garbage when I have my eyes on a constant feed of lovely homes that look like Joanna Gaines comes over every day to tidy up and put muffins in the oven. I have spent so many days looking around at my space thinking about what a failure I am at this whole cooking/cleaning/home/life thing. I know I’m not alone in this, either, because I’ve heard the exact same thing from so many women. But – just guessing here – I’m reasonably sure a spirit of defeat and failure is not what God wants for us.

The secret truth is that just about everyone struggles with keeping their home to some degree, even if it doesn’t look like it on Instagram. Lack of time, lack of motivation, the presence of other people who share our space and mess it up again once it’s clean (we love them, though, just keep repeating to ourselves that we LOVE THEM)…all of these can easily derail us and make us feel like we’ll never have a nice home or have our ish together. (more…)