A Woman in Leadership

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Since being in a leadership role at my church, a question I’m frequently asked is: “What’s it like being a woman in leadership?” It almost always catches me off-guard, but I’m quickly reminded of what my role must look like from a distance.

Many days, I’m often the only one at meetings without a Y chromosome. As the first woman in my position, I had to be approved by a roomful of suits. I have an office, a title, and a team.

But I really don’t feel like a leader, to be honest. Maybe because I’m still relatively new in my role. Maybe because I was promoted from within and my co-workers are also my long-time friends. Maybe because the word “leader” seems to imply that I should know where to go, what to do, and how. I don’t.

Sometimes I get caught up in “improving my leadership skills”. I read the blogs and listen to the podcasts about “casting a vision” and “inspiring the team”. Apparently, I’m supposed to think more about “empowerment” and “innovation”. Occasionally, I take notes and make flow-charts. I set agendas and SMART goals. And eventually, I make myself sick… Continue reading

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Blessed Unassurance

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I used to know things. I mean really know them. As a child, I knew dads got ready for work while kids watched The Lone Ranger at 6:00am. I knew moms always bought girls new outfits for picture day. I knew homework would be returned with a star and a smiley face from the teacher.

I also had a solid grasp on marriage and parenting, but that was way before I had a husband and kids.

Then, as an adult, there were other things I became so sure about: Continue reading

The Irony of Saying So

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On Sunday, my pastor preached from Psalm 107 and challenged us to more boldly tell our personal experiences of God’s goodness. We are “the redeemed of the Lord”, he reminded us, “let us say so.”

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble

“We need to share our stories”, he said, “because there are plenty of folks who need to hear about a good God.”

We listened from our pews. We shook our heads and took notes. I noticed some folks even cried. The redeemed-est, I guessed. Continue reading

When Real Life Sneaks Into Sunday School

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I’m a licensed and experienced teacher, mom of four, former homeschooler, and have taught Sunday school too many times to count.

And I’m actually nervous about this week’s elementary lesson.

The scheduled text is on Peter and the Beggar. It’s the story where Peter and John approach the temple to pray and meet a beggar at the gate. They heal him in the name of Jesus, and send him off  “walking and leaping and praising God.”

I’ve taught this group several times. I’ve even presented this story before. But like all teachers , I’m anticipating my students’ questions, and this is where the nerves are kicking in…

I’m imagining a few raised hands this week… Continue reading

When the Pew is Just Too Hard

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At the Call to Worship, I stood and sighed.

The calendar was on its last page and I was on my last leg, tired from holiday prep, tired from my work, and honestly, too tired for church.

Don’t get me wrong… I love my job. I love ministry. I love my church. But there are times when the pew is just too hard.

Continue reading

In the Company of Cast and Crew

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Theologian Stanley Hauerwas argues that to truly learn a story, we must act it out.

In my experience, Hauerwas is spot-on, but I’d like to apply his theory a step further. I believe the real, most-important learning comes not only from the acting out, but in the company of the actors.

Every Christmas at pageant time, the kids act and I direct, but it’s the company that changes us. The kids come to that first rehearsal either struggling against or showing off their part. They come clutching their scripts and focused on their own small scene.

No, we can’t have the shepherds use a GPS to find the manger. No, you can’t ask Joseph if he made a reservation. No, the Angel of the Lord can’t wear a gun and holster…

The irony isn’t lost on me that I’m the one who must lead them. Continue reading

2017: Off and On

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Man, I didn’t write much this year. And I can feel the effects of that, for sure.

Ever since childhood, I’ve turned to pen and paper for organizing, processing, and expressing my thoughts and feelings. Each day of every year brings many words, and I do better when I pay attention to them; helping them to find their place so I can find mine. Next year, I vow to pay closer attention…

But I hold on loosely, asking God to make me just as content to receive words as I am to offer them.

Though it’s meager, here is my 2017 offering -or its highlights, anyway: Continue reading