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…)

Finding Your Brave and Living Yourself

Apr
30

photo: Tobi Dami

Can I be really honest and tender with you, friends? Sometimes I worry.

With each new thing I write, I worry that if I am my authentic self, it will offend you. I worry that I am not enough, and at the same time somehow, too much. I worry that I, not just the content of what I say, will be criticized for being too liberal, too conservative, too Christian, too heretical, not in line with this or that particular interpretation of the Scriptures. As a woman, I worry that even using my voice at all to teach or speak on God and the Bible will invite criticism from people who believe God only gives that ability to men. I worry that what I see in the Bible – an upside-down Gospel and a God who is impossibly in love with us, all of us, no exceptions – might contrast so sharply with what some folks have been taught that it will cause backlash and division if I speak up. I worry that I won’t be able to stand up for truth under the scrutiny. (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 Relationships // Unstuck

Apr
16

photo: Brooke Cagle

Christopher and I have been together for five-plus years. Though we haven’t yet entered the season of marriage, we have been through a lot together and some of the challenges we have faced are ones we share with our married friends. I think if you are in any kind of authentic relationship with anyone and you spend several years together, you absolutely WILL go through something hard at some point – probably multiple somethings. It’s what we do to weather these storms that defines the quality of our relationships, and the quality of ourselves as people. One thing that is really important to us in our relationship is being intentional about showing love in the small things, because what we’ve learned is that there is no such thing as a small thing. The small things are really the big things in disguise. (more…)