But, Don’t Ask Why

I don’t want to be a whiner.



Have you ever looked at your life and thought “Why does it have to be this way?”

Of course you have. Everyone has moments of wondering.

Or days.

Or years.

Some of us have had a lifetime of wondering.

Then I saw all that God has done.
No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun.
Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning.
Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.
Ecclesiastes 8:17

People have questioned their circumstances for millennia. In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon writes that even though we search out the reasons and the meaning behind our circumstances, no one can truly know.

Perhaps there are better questions to be asking than simply asking “Why?”

For those questioning your circumstances, I offer several questions that might help you view your life a little differently than you have until now:

  • How can I live through these circumstances in a way that honors those around me and brings glory to God?
  • What does my life look like from God’s perspective?
  • What does God see when He looks at me in these circumstances? What emotion does He feel when He sees my struggle?
  • How could this situation actually be for my good?
  • Are there any steps I can take to change my circumstances? What are they? Do I need support to carry them out? Who can help me?

As long as we seek to understand the “why” of our circumstances, we will be in constant search for meaning. We can’t fully know why. But we can seek to understand God’s love for us. That changes everything.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7(a)

He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36

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Posted by on March 9, 2018 in Profundities


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What is Your Calling?

Have you ever thought about the concept of your calling in life?

I was asked to ponder that question recently. What exactly does “calling” mean? What is my calling in life? What does it look like?

Calling and vocation are not the same thing. Everyone has a different vocation, but everyone who follows Jesus has the exact same calling.

Our calling, as followers of Christ, is to simply do everything we do with the same kind of love and compassion as Jesus. Our calling is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our calling is to meet people where they are and love them in that place in the same way that Jesus loves us.

This means two things. First, we are called to sacrifice of ourselves. Jesus gave up His very life for us. Most of us are not going to be asked to make that kind of a sacrifice, but we are asked to serve others at times when it’s not convenient. (Hint: it’s almost never convenient.) Most of what it means to sacrificially love people involves service. It might involve helping them pay a bill they don’t have money for. It could also involve easier things like taking the time to have coffee with them. Basically, it’s being mentally and emotionally present, even if it’s hard.

Secondly, we are called to extend grace. We are called to embrace people we don’t agree with and people who are difficult to love. Jesus did this so beautifully when He chose to extend grace to each of us.

We are called to be like Jesus.

Several years ago, I read the New Testament with the intention of taking note of the things Jesus did, why He did them and the attitude He did them with. He did things like hanging out with people that no one liked. You know — the tax collectors (thieves), the prostitutes, the disabled, the people with contagious diseases, the people possessed by demons and the people that no one wanted. Jesus chose those people. The ones who needed Him the most. The ones most lost. He picked them and then he provided for their needs. He healed them. He delivered them. He set them free. He talked with them and helped them see a better way. And he did it all with humble love and compassion. That is what we are called to do.

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Posted by on March 6, 2018 in Current Events, Profundities


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Even very good things can sometimes become very bad for you.

I’ve been thinking lately about how full my life is. And I’ve noticed a pattern.

I fill my life to the brim in an effort to not have to think about how my life is void of everything I’ve ever desired in life.

When I was growing up, I dared to dream of having a husband and children. I knew it wasn’t likely to happen, but I thought maybe, if I played the cards right, things could work out.

As much as I want the desire to go away, it just won’t.

So I try to drown the sorrow of disappointment in a flood of activity.

Volunteering for every opportunity to serve at church.

Taking on every friend’s sorrows and trials.

Picking up every open shift at work.

Pursuing degrees, certifications and other educational opportunities.

Studying voraciously any number of topics. Health. Natural wellness. Oils, oils, oils. Psychology.

Reading everything I can get my hands on. Books. Magazines. Textbooks. Fiction and non-fiction. Then giving up fiction because the fantasy world in many works of fiction hurts my heart.

This past holiday season, I worked tirelessly because I could. It was holiday pay and overtime and it made everyone else feel good about their situation so there I was. It wasn’t bad. I love my job and if I can’t do holidays with my family, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than at my job. It doesn’t feel too much like a job so it was ok. (For the record, I asked to work a lot because I couldn’t get enough time off to go anywhere. I figured that if my options were to sit at home alone or to be at work, I’d rather be at work where I’d at least have someone to talk to.)

But they gave me several days before New Year’s off.

I had a mini crisis during my time off because for the first time in months, I had time to think and I felt like I was losing it. I cried for like 4 days straight.

It was then that I realized that for the past (roughly) 15 years, I’d crammed my life so full of good things that it numbed the pain of disappointment. As long as I was doing something or going somewhere, I was ok because I didn’t have to face how empty my life was.

I don’t think busy-ness is bad or wrong. I think sometimes God works through us in our deepest pain. Sometimes we need the activity just to give us a reason to get out of bed and sometimes many beautiful and lovely things can come out of those places of sorrow. Sometimes, for short periods of time, keeping busy is necessary and good. It helps us and it helps our families and friends, our churches and schools. Sometimes, busy-ness is a good thing.

But when it goes on…. for 15…. years….

That is when it becomes unhealthy.

Well, maybe it becomes unhealthy many years sooner than that. My point is, if you have to be that busy for a long time (longer than a few weeks to a few months), something is wrong and you need to address it.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what to tell anyone who might be struggling with this. I don’t even know how to help myself with this.

I’ve been thinking in the weeks since New Year’s about faith and how it pertains to the concept of busy-ness.

For many years, I was at church every time the door was open. I prayed. I read the Bible. I volunteered in ministries. I did everything I could. I did it to numb the pain and forget the sorrow. I found joy and laughter in it (sometimes) but it did nothing to heal the ache that no one saw.

I think it’s easy for us to think that if we’re focusing on God, we are doing good. It’s especially easy to think that by praying, serving and seeking God, we are moving in the direction of healing. Jesus is the healer, right? If we’re seeking Jesus, the Healer, we’re bound to find healing and restoration eventually, right?

Looking back on it, I can tell you that is not always the case. There have been times when I’ve used the words “I’ll pray about that” as a way to avoid making difficult decisions that would propel me into freedom. Sometimes I used church or ministry opportunities as an excuse to not do the things that would bring true restoration to my soul. Sometimes very good things — like prayer, ministry opportunities, church meetings and Bible studies — are the reason we stay stuck.

Don’t let good things come in the way of the best things.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

I’m not saying that everything a person does to keep busy is bad. I’m not saying that church and Christianity are bad. I’m saying that busy-ness can be the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy. I’m saying that sometimes the thief (Satan) uses very good things to destroy us or to keep us in places of pain. Our job is to honestly assess the motives behind what we are doing and only do those things that will bring us abundant life.

If the Son sets you free, you are free, indeed!
John 8:36

Jesus has already set us free. We have only to figure out how to live free. We aren’t living free if we’re filling our lives to the brim with things that are designed to numb our pain.

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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Current Events, Profundities


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The Presence of God

I’ve been to a lot of church services. I’ve been to many different churches and many different kinds of churches. You know — there’s your typical evangelical church and the charismatic church. There’s the go-with-the-flow kind of church where whatever happens, happens and there really isn’t a preplanned way that things are supposed to be. There are churches that are more liturgical and planned out.

Some churches that I’ve been to focus a lot on getting “more of God.” The idea is that if you pray more, fast more, read the Bible more…. basically, work harder, be more devout and sort of prove your seriousness about it, God will grace you with His presence.

I have never been a fan of the concept of striving for God. I have never really agreed that God responds to the formulas that we create. In fact, when I’ve been presented with that doctrine in church settings, I’ve been the person who was sort of “civilly disobedient.” They would say “God will come if we shout.” (Or dance, sing, speak in tongues, evangelize, raise our hands, turn around in circles 3 times and say boo, or any number of other things.) Most of the time I would not do it. These things didn’t feel “right” to me.

I recently came across this quote from Richard Rohr:

We’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.

It’s true. God is omnipresent. That means that God is present everywhere at the same time. To say that you have to strive for God’s presence is to say that God left that place at some point and you have to do something to make Him come back.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there, your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say “surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:7-12

He is present everywhere. We can’t get more of Him. We can only become more aware of Him. All the striving is useless. Awareness comes with stillness.

Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10

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Posted by on February 27, 2018 in Profundities


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A Moment of Epiphany (From 8 Years Ago)

Note: This is copied from something I wrote in 2010.

Yesterday, my head hurt so badly that I couldn’t think straight and everything looked funny because of pressure on my eyes. But, I needed to make an effort in spite of it all because my neighbor and her baby had stopped by. My neighbor was sweeping up the crumbs on the floor and I was getting ready to take the trash out. My neighbor is nice like that — she knew I didn’t feel good so she swept the floor so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

I was gathering up the trash and having this inner monologue directed at God….

(Note from 8 years later: Please give me a little grace here — I’m not this childish and self-centered when I’m not sick — or else maybe I really did used to be this way and this incident really did have a profound impact. I don’t know. I don’t enjoy thinking about this portion of my life very much. All I know is I read this and shook my head at how self-centered this sounds.)

“You know, trash isn’t my thing. It’s cold and snowy and I’m a girl. I shouldn’t have to do this. Seriously…. I need a man here…. God, either You need to give me a man or You’ll need to do this for me cuz this is so not my thing.”

It was basically one of those “God, you have to do something” moments.

And He said, “Hold it right there, Missy.”

I knew it was God because everything — my brain, my eyes, my face — ached and I couldn’t put a philosophical thought together on my own if I had wanted to, which I didn’t want to. I just wanted to take the medicine my doctor prescribed and go to bed.

“Hold it right there, Missy,” He said. If you want my blessings, you have to submit to me and the things I put — or haven’t put — in your life.” Submission and passivity are not the same. Submission does not mean accepting things simply because you can’t change them. Submission is agreeing to not wallow in misery because your circumstances aren’t ideal.


“Submission is being open and honest enough to invite me into every area of your life,” He went on, “even the areas that hurt and don’t make sense and that you would give anything to be able to change.”

By this time, I had realized that what I had always thought submission to be — which was basically just sitting there and waiting for God to do something — was entirely wrong.

“Many people think they’ve submitted to me when they invite me into their lives. But I don’t make them submit. I prompt. ‘Hey, are you sure you really want to keep that part of your life in the dark away from the light of my love?’ The choice is yours. You can not experience me and my love completely until you allow me to permeate every area of your heart, mind and will. Even the broken and hurting parts.”

As far as I’m concerned, it’s so much easier to just let it lie and live the lie that everything is just fine. (I mean, except for the part where you lie in bed at night and think about how miserable you are because all that stuff is trapped inside and no one really understands because you’re afraid to even let God see it — as if He doesn’t already know, in spite of your amazing coping mechanisms.)

I guess God felt a little chatty, because He went on, “The key is in inviting. All of it — even the most hurtful and illogical parts — make sense to me. And as I walk through the pain and hardship and loneliness with you (after you invite me along on the journey), I will teach you the meaning and the purpose of it. I will teach you things you would never understand otherwise. As I walk through the valleys with you, joy will spring out of places of pain. I will draw you to myself, and as our hearts are cemented together, I will make you whole. This is what spiritual wholeness looks like.

“But, there’s a reason why that must happen. It’s easier to be emotionally whole when you’ve become spiritually whole first. It’s very hard to find emotional fulfillment — which is what you’re looking for when you ask for someone to take out the trash — if you’re not first spiritually fulfilled.”

That must be why Jesus said “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” I get it now.

And He concluded, “But it all starts with submission. It is a choice that involves being really honest. It’s praying stuff like ‘Lord, this is hard and I need You to walk with me or I just can’t do it. I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.’ It’s about asking me to be part of it, even though you hate it. There isn’t a valley in your life that is so dark that i don’t want to go there with you. If you invite me along, it will change and it will get better. I want to help.

With that, the garbage was bagged and ready to go and I felt like some of my internal garbage — some of the lies I had been believing about how dark and hopeless my life was — had been taken out too.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Old News, Uncategorized


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Being a Boat in a Storm

Now, when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:36-41

Sometimes we are like that boat.

Tossed about on uncontrollable and unpredictable waves.

Drowning in the Sea of The Unknown.

It’s easy to focus on the storm raging about us. Noise and chaos grab our attention and drown out any hope of sweet rest and peace.

But the Truth. Jesus dwells within my boat. He lives there. He is intimately acquainted with every minute detail of my boat. He knows exactly what kind of storm rages within and around me. He knows when to whisper “peace” and He knows when I need Him to shout “PEACE” at the chaos raging within. He knows the struggles. He knows the storms. The Prince of Peace, the One who made all that is with just the words from His mouth, calms it all with just one word. Peace. Be still.

Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46:10-11

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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in Profundities


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In the span of two days, I had two conversations with people about how and why I’m not going to get married.

The first conversation took place after someone introduced me to an eligible bachelor. Several hours later, she asked why I didn’t talk about him after he left.

There comes a point in life when you know that no matter what you do, nothing is going to change and you just don’t try anymore because every effort you put into it just breaks your heart a little more.

I’m reminded of a time when my friend called me and said “My car won’t start! Can you fix it?”

It was so cold that day. I gave it my best shot and tears froze on my cheeks as I banged around trying to get that dang car going. By the time I gave up in frustration, I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes anymore. I cussed out her worthless husband who had more important things to do than to be tied down by his wife and children and their needs. I told her to tell him to get his good-for-nothin derrière over there and fix it. I took my tools and went home.

I sat there and shivered and cried and God said, “Some things are not meant for you. Fixing cars is one of those things.”

It was such a freeing moment for me. I wanted to help but nothing I could do would make a difference. And God said, “It’s ok. This trial is not meant for you.” I took a few minutes to brainstorm with my friend to develop a plan for next time — because there will be a next time. And fixing cars will never be a task that is meant for me. But that was the last time I worried about somebody else’ car — because that stuff isn’t meant for me and we have a plan for next time.

Marriage is another of those things. I will never be married. I’ve known this since I was 3 years old. Sometimes you just know these things.

I told my friend that I have no reason to think this will ever change because there was the guy who just wanted a place to live without having to put any money into it. She laughed and said he wasn’t worth my time anyway. Unequivocally.

Then there was the guy who told me I was hot while he was drunk, in front of the girl who had had a crush on him for years and years and she destroyed my life because of it. (Because it’s my fault he was more interested in me than he was in her?)

There was the other one who never showed up for most of the dates he scheduled with me because he slept through them.

My friend chuckled at these anecdotes.

There was the guy that my “friends” tried to hook me up with but I said no because I didn’t much feel like being a nice little doormat for him to wipe his shoes on for the rest of my life and when I asked why they were so convinced that he and I should be a thing, they said, “Because if you were together, he’d talk to you instead of bugging us all the time.”


There was the guy who monopolized my time for 8 months and then I found out that he had a girlfriend in another state the whole time.

My friend had stopped laughing by this time.

The guy who kept giving vague promises of “maybe….. Someday…..” and ended up breaking up with me 4 times in the same restaurant over the course of about a year. Two of the breakups happened in the same booth at that restaurant.

The guy who hadn’t been employed for 4 years and was content to not talk about it until after I confronted him with the evidence I found 2 days before he came to meet me in person. It turned out that he looked like he was at least 25 years older than he said he was and he was looking for someone to be his mother or nurse or something. He was very disappointed when I told him that his dishonesty was a deal-breaker for me. Maybe I was a jerk, but I thought it should go without saying that no girl wants to be stuck with an old man who won’t work.

The guy who asked me to commit to seeing him not less than 4 times before deciding for sure about him. He emotionally and mentally checked out about halfway through the second date and although he was physically present for the other two, he never emotionally or mentally returned. He was shocked when I told him I knew half-way through the second date that he wasn’t into it and I had seriously contemplated telling him he didn’t need to come for #3 or #4. (Oh, why did I waste my time on that one?)

With a history like that, what reason do I have to think anything will ever be different?

Her response was “You need therapy.”

(I’m getting used to being told that I need therapy. It happens approximately 3 times a week these days.)

What reason do I have to dream of ever being something more than a pile of garbage to anyone? It just doesn’t seem worth it to make an effort toward this anymore.

A few days later, I talked to my grandma. My grandma is amazing. I love her so much.

Grandma was telling me about gifts she had made for my cousins and brothers for their weddings and I said in a dry, sarcastic tone, “I’m not going to get married so I guess I don’t get any.”

Grandma knows my heart. She knows I wasn’t asking for anything. I was just stating a fact. We’ve talked about the state of my life before and she understands better than anyone.

The next day, I drove the 3+ hours to her home. Last year, she and I and several other family members had gone on a genealogical expedition in which we had visited dead relatives in several cemeteries. My family likes studying genealogy and whenever we get together, Grandma tells me about the latest pieces of information she has found. It’s really fascinating and I love hearing stories about my people.

But it’s also really, really heartbreaking. There will come a day when no one is going to care about whether I had ever existed. No one will care where my grave is. No one is ever going to say “And this was my great, great grandmother Mari…..”

I cry about this sometimes.

Actually, I cry every time I think about it.

Some of my family members think I need to be part of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Mayflower Society or some such thing that I really don’t care about. Those things are for people who have children and people who have the possibility of having children. That will never be me. I wish they would stop asking me. It’s just another reminder of how insignificant I am.

Grandma told me a story about when someone wanted to get me into those clubs and I reiterated that I don’t see a point in it because I’m never going to have children.

We went about our business. You know, playing cards, fixing the stapler, and failing miserably at trying to fix the showerhead — apparently staplers aren’t the right tool for that. And, showerhead fixing isn’t meant for me either, apparently.

A little while later, Grandma brought in a soft, patchwork baby blanket she had started making. She said, “Would you like this to put in your hope chest for when you get to adopt a baby? I can finish it for you if you want it.”

I almost cried.

Yes! Yes, I want it!

I want it because it’s a symbol that someone believes there is hope, even when I just can’t.

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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Current Events, My Story, Uncategorized


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Mindy Peltier

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Stretching out to touch His hem with 6 kids in tow:)

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