May was an amazing month for me (and it’s not even over yet!) I was invited to share my gifts throughout the Midwest in so many different ways, and it is that great variety that is giving me so much joy. My first stop was Concordia Seminary St. Louis, where I presented my thesis work on Man Turned in on Himself to an eager lecture hall of young seminarians and faculty. From there I went on to the “anchor” stop of this mini-tour: St. Paul’s in Decatur, IL, where I was the Guest Speaker for Mother’s Day, speaking on a Saturday night (my birthday!), and twice on Sunday, with a Q & A in between services. I returned to St. Louis for Mother’s Day dinner with a beautiful, noisy, young family, and got to spend a few days walking alongside a young friend in great need of an older mother’s love. I was then spirited away to a lake house in Kentucky to rest and pray and prepare my thoughts on the Psalms. During that time, Stories from Selma was getting ready to go live, and I was excited to share the story behind that important work online as I headed to St. Andrew, Cape Girardeau, MO. There, I got to teach on Man Turned In and Loaded Words with the staff, share meals with many wonderful families in the congregation, and be interviewed in three services by Pastor John Dehne as the church kicks off a summer study on the Psalms with my book happy are those. It was Pentecost Sunday—the day we celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His ability to communicate to all people in a language they’ll understand— and that “cute, little book” is a perfect example of that sort of cultural translation. My journey was made complete that night when I had the privilege of working with Kristin Schweain to introduce Taize worship and the practice of lectio divina in a coffee house run with love by the church. It was seven years from the day I sat on the floor in Church of Reconciliation in Taize on Pentecost, and I was mindful of how those moments connected. How all the moments connected, even now as I’ve returned. As Blake Flattley and I finalize a new compline liturgy we’ve been working on together called Fear Not! As I mentor a young female leader in the church about some big talks she’s about to give. And now, for the rest of the summer, to return to my truest heart work, a new memoir.
I guess you could say that I am the “mom” of all these projects, but to me I am simply living out the truth of Ephesians 2:10. “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”
Although each moment of the trip was a gift to me—including so many divine appointments—the Mother’s Day talk in Decatur is charged with special meaning. Because of my friendship with Pastor Eric Trickey. Because of his circumstances, literally living each moment by the Grace of God as we all pray for a miraculous recovery from a cancer that has moved beyond human solutions. And because I would speak on the topic of women, something I rarely do.
I’m glad I had the opportunity.
If you’ve never seen me speak, I should warn you: I am often moved to tears, and this weekend was no exception. I’ve learned to come to the mic with tissues.