Messy Faith

When The Flowers Take the Pulpit

It takes longer up here, on the mountain, for the flowers to emerge. The valley has double rows of blossoming trees, yards full of daffodils, riches unregarded. Up here, Stella scours our three acres for a handful of snow lilies and bursts in, holding them high, beaming with the victory. "Look. Look. Mama! The flowers have come."

By |April 4th, 2015|Messy Faith|5 Comments

The Christian Sisterhood, For Better and For Worse

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve heard that I’m making a great deal too much fuss about inequalities for women. Usually I hear this from other women. Usually I hear it from women who long for me to embrace my femininity and love the role that God has written for me. Sometimes it has an air of wanting to move me forward into spiritual maturity. As in, the whole reason Esther is a feminist is because one time she didn’t get some thing that she wanted, and she’s still mad about that.

By |March 26th, 2015|Messy Faith|17 Comments

Hungry For Beautiful, Can’t Get Full Up

Sometimes I don't realize how hungry I've become. I don't realize it until I notice I have stopped working, dropped the rake right out of my hands, let all the thoughts fall right out of my head. I don't notice it, until I've gone right away, on a journey into my surroundings. Sometimes not until someone notices that I have failed to come back.

By |March 23rd, 2015|Messy Faith|4 Comments

Sometimes I’m Not In the Mood To Be Young and Beautiful

About half the blog posts I write lately have some mention of my age. I am not so old, yet. Or so young. But there are gaps you move through, where time matters. I am in a moment where time matters. I find myself trying to hold on to my age, trying to find a way to mark myself with it. It feels at risk, somehow, as if entering my late 30’s (and after that my middle age, I think) will be something I won’t be allowed to own.

By |March 16th, 2015|Messy Faith|9 Comments

Because the Moon Can See the Sun (and Other Reasons Not To Be Afraid)

"Mommy, is the moon on fire, like the sun?" That's my middle daughter, talking. "Nope. It's just a big rock." We're on the way to the bathroom, as we always are at bedtime. We live in a yurt with no indoor plumbing, so our bathroom is outside. "How is it lit up, then?"

To Grow As Tall a Tree As God Has Planted

I was far away from home when a friend of a friend said she had a word from God for me. She had been praying about it for weeks. I sat on a tall stool in her friendly kitchen with my hands in my lap. Mostly she wanted to talk to me about the stars. My name means "star." I have a star tattoo on my shoulder. I have the word "star" in my email address. She told me about the beauty of the stars. She told me about their brilliance, and their mystery. Their capacity to inspire wonder, the way [...]

By |February 25th, 2015|Messy Faith|1 Comment

The Hungry Gap

The hungriest time for true country folk is in the spring. Larders empty, stores thin, and nothing yet producing, unless you’ve got a few winter cabbages or a very well attended greenhouse. This is the gap between the last stored apples and the strawberries of May. I’m not telling you a story that I’m living. I go to the grocery store to stock my shelves, and this late winter I’m not yet out of applesauce, or grape or even rosehip jelly. Nobody here is risking deprivation, let alone starvation. But I have plotted out my spring garden, and started the first [...]

By |February 23rd, 2015|Messy Faith|2 Comments

To Catch the Wind

My friend was whispering when she said it to me, because of laryngitis. I rolled up my car windows and pressed the plastic of my phone hard against my cheek so I could hear. She whispered, "Sometimes you put your sail up, and all of a sudden you're going really fast." When I get spiritual instruction it's usually very heavy-handed. Very plain. Like a reader board on the side of the highway. But how often am I receiving subtle messages as well and just not hearing them? There could be butterflies every which way screaming at me with their sweet, gentle silences. But I [...]

By |February 19th, 2015|Messy Faith|6 Comments

A God With Teeth

I never sat in a church and heard the pastor say, “You should quit your job and move to the woods and try to grow your own food.” I did it anyway. I never had a pastor say, “It says it right here, on page three. We were charged to steward the earth. Now get to stewarding." I did it anyway. I never had a pastor say, “Your privilege is the mechanism of someone else’s poverty. Give up the pursuit of wealth. Give up financial security. (Or the illusion of it, anyway.) Stop acting like you have to be rich [...]

By |February 9th, 2015|Messy Faith|1 Comment

Interrogating Whiteness: Why I Teach My Kids That They Are (And Are Not) White

It started with an argument about our DVD drawer. Being accused by my son of watching the same two movies over and over again, my daughter shot back that his stupid movies don’t have enough girls in them. This is a particular pet peeve of mine, which is why I jumped into the DVD drawer (and the conversation) and started tossing out examples. Star Wars. Harry Potter. Just do a count, okay? Princess Bride…? I know, she’s got great dresses, but the whole joke of the movie is that she is entirely ineffectual, across the board, while her male counterpart [...]

By |January 29th, 2015|Messy Faith|0 Comments

A Plea For Grace, and Some Discussion of What Grace Really Is

Do you all know about me that I have an eating disorder? Have I ever told you that? I found myself wondering that, this weekend, as I was triggered by something, some perception of scarcity, and I temporarily lost impulse control. I thought…would my blog readers even believe this? That a person who has made such a public stand for healthy living, food self-sufficiency, and communion with the natural world is right at this moment binging on frosting left over from a child's birthday party? This is my history. I picked up binging and purging when I was fifteen years old. [...]

By |January 10th, 2015|Messy Faith|33 Comments

(With Some Trepidation) I Announce My One Word 2015

I'm completely superstitious about words. Unscientifically, illogically superstitious. I'm not sure I can think of anything more powerful than a word. Especially a word unmoored from syntax, released from context...made free to float. Both of these last two years, shortly after announcing my one word resolution, I have had that word working in my life. Some things about this I liked and some I didn't. The best I can explain it is that I kept seeing my world through the lens of that word, and processing things through that filter…whether or not I even realized I was doing it. That's all you're [...]

By |January 4th, 2015|Messy Faith|9 Comments