Hold Me Jesus

I began writing this in 2016 and just discovered it. Oops. I don’t know how to bring it to a conclusion so what you see is what you get.

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains are so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, cuz I’m shaking like a leaf
You’ve been King of my glory
Won’t you be my Prince of Peace?
(Hold Me Jesus, Rich Mullins)

Those eight lines describe how my life has been the past several months.

It was one thing after another.

Attack. Rejection. Anxiety. Depression.

Trying to cope.
Every person and place I turned was a dead end.

I went through all the options and found no comfort.
At times it has seemed too much to bear.
The things that are supposed to help didn’t.

I cried a lot.
I was numb a lot.

I have cried through church so many times.

Through all the times I’ve cried “WHY??” and tried to give up on my faith and my convictions, I can’t. I’ve wanted to. There are lots of things I’ve wanted to do through the tortuous fog of pain. Convictions I thought I no longer cared about.

But I can’t.

Because no matter what anyone does, Jesus holds me.
When my life makes no sense, He is holding me.
When it’s too hard and too big, He is holding me.
When my faith is almost gone, He is holding me.
He sees my small and broken self, searching desperately for a place of rest and safety.
He holds me even then — even when I’m convinced that there is no rest and no safety, even with Him.

Through the pain, He is the Prince of Peace.
The nights I toss and turn, my mind and stomach twisted in anxious knots, He is the Prince of Peace.
The days that I’m overwhelmed by dirty dishes and snow and bills and having to go grocery shopping, He is the Prince of Peace.
The times I’ve tried to go to church and, He is the Prince of Peace

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Posted by on February 16, 2018 in Current Events


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When Your Safe Place is No Longer Safe

I used to love to write.

Words were my safe place.

In the peaceful solitude of the written word, I found comfort in my darkest moments. In the midst of chaos and upheaval, words grounded me. They allowed me to push through the hardest moments of my life.

Then something went horribly, awfully wrong.

My professors in college suggested that since I could express thoughts and emotions so beautifully in writing, I should consider pursuing a degree in writing.

Let me begin by saying that I do not regret exposing myself any of the valuable ideas and concepts I learned while pursuing this degree. Let me also say that I have utmost respect for my professors and I am grateful for everything they poured into me. I am absolutely grateful for them and for all of the things I learned.


There is always a “but.”

I want to continue by saying that everything I’m about to say is a “me” thing. It is my problem and I have to be responsible for solving it.

Emotionally, I was a wreck when I entered the program.

That’s ok. Things happen, but “things” don’t have to paralyze you. Even if you’re an emotional wreck, education is good. It is helpful. It is meant to be a growing experience.

But for me, it wasn’t.

I entered the program having only ever written privately. I wrote for myself, which means that 100% of the time, everyone who read what I wrote loved every word, every sentence, every punctuation mark. I’d never been critiqued or offered guidance on how to be better.

I took Freshman English Comp and I loved it. For the first time in my life, someone wanted to read what I had to say and my professor loved every word.

It was September 2002 and we were given the assignment to write a reflection regarding September 11, 2001. I wrote mine and turned it in and then we were told that each group would be given one random paper for each person in the group and we had to read them and choose one to read to the class and comment on why we chose that one.

My group consisted of myself and a bunch of teenage boys and I did not enjoy this part of the assignment because they insisted on reading the one in which every other word was an expletive. This rankled my sensitive spirit.

Really, fellas? Really?

But then…. someone read mine. They said they liked it because it was so different from everyone else’ experience and that they thought there were many striking things about it.

Afterward, the teacher asked me to stay after class and she invited me to enter the writing program.

It was a difficult decision for me because I was very religious and felt that everything I did should have some sort of spiritual meaning. How do you get spiritual meaning out of putting words on the page to make pretty sentences?

I put this idea on the back burner for a couple of years. I wanted to be a nurse and I was going to do everything I could to realize that dream. But then there was Microbiology. I didn’t have a good grasp of biology to begin with and the class was hard for even those who had done well in previous science classes.

It was finals week and I was supposed to be studying for the Microbiology final. I could not focus. I knew I wouldn’t do well enough on the final and I wasn’t going to be getting into a nursing program. I tried to study. I gave up and I prayed instead.

I remember exactly where I was, sitting in my dorm room, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do now.

God, what do I do? I have nowhere to go….

And then I heard an inaudible voice. A searing of my soul. The words “You have a story to tell….” etched in my spirit. And peace, because I finally knew what I was supposed to do.

A few weeks later, I began my writing career. The first few classes were terrific. I learned a lot. I enjoyed reading everyone else’ work and providing feedback.

The problem came when it was my turn to be critiqued. I don’t know how other programs work, but at my school, during each class period, one or two students would sign up to provide a piece for the class to read and critique. You produced 2-4 pieces each semester and then you had to take the information you got during your session and use it to rework your piece for your final portfolio.

I’m not saying that this is bad or wrong.

I’m saying it ought to be done with utmost care.

No matter what your genre, you write from your experience and everything you write is very, very personal.

The feedback process felt, to me, like I had produced a baby and it was being stabbed repeatedly by people who didn’t realize that it was a baby.

But it went deeper. The “baby” was part of my soul.

Every negative comment tore me apart.

After 4 semesters of writing workshops, I produced my final portfolio, I participated in my Senior Reading event (which was actually really fun!) and then I was done.

I was so done.

I couldn’t even write for myself anymore. My words were gone.

Prior to graduation, I told myself that I was going to write a memoir one day. I gave myself a timeline. I developed a title and a rough idea of what the cover would look like. Four years later, I started this blog as a way to get my creative side going again and to brainstorm my stories.

I wrote what I believe will become part of my book. But the thing about memoir is that you have to be ok with your story. If telling your story traumatizes you, you aren’t going to get very far, very fast.

I hit a brick wall when I got to the part about going off to college. My story really begins in college and I didn’t have words for it. So, I gave up.

I have not written at all for the past several years. Not in this format, nor in any other. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do so because it doesn’t feel safe.

You have a story to tell….

It echoes in my soul in a tortuous way. The story is there, but it won’t come out.

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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Uncategorized


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One Man’s Drama is Another Man’s Trauma

This afternoon, I was thinking about how certain people would respond if I told them some of the things I’ve experienced.

You know. Like, “this is gossip.”

Or “I don’t need to know that.”

Or, my favorite, “you’re such a drama queen.”

I realized that just because someone classifies something as “drama,” doesn’t mean that they’re right.

One man’s drama is another man’s trauma.

Victims of abuse and trauma are sometimes accused of exploiting their situation for attention. And yes, sometimes that happens. Sometimes people don’t want to be responsible for themselves and their problems. But not everyone is looking for a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

Many of us just want someone to acknowledge that what we experienced was real, it was painful, it was unequivocally wrong and it should never have happened. We need someone to acknowledge that it affected us then and it affects us now and it’s just not fair.

We don’t need or want anybody to walk on eggshells around us. We just need to be treated with respect in spite of it.

Some people are genuine drama queens. But the rest of us? We live in pain, hoping and wishing that someone begins to see us for the lovely people that we are.

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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in Uncategorized


Ideologies and Things

The other day I posted something on Facebook that some people find controversial. I stated that I wasn’t posting because I wanted to debate the topic. I just found parts of it interesting and whether anybody agreed with it was irrelevent to me. I understand that not everyone agrees with me and as far as I’m concerned, if somebody believes wrongly about something, in the scheme of things, it probably doesn’t matter very much.

Some things do matter. They really do. But, a post on Facebook is not the place to expect someone to experience a revelation that will cause an ideological change. I reserve those expectations for personal, private conversations in which the person I’m talking with feels as if they’re swimming in grace and love. You don’t get ideological change without drowning a person in love. It just doesn’t happen.

I posted the content with a statement that I don’t care what people believe about the rest of the content. Just consider this one thing that is absolutely, unequivocally true.

And somebody commented on it.

And commented….

And commented.

I told her that I had no desire to engage in a debate.

I told her that 3 times. Then she said “well maybe you don’t want to debate, but everyone who reads your wall deserves to know what I’m saying.”


I know the people who read my wall. I know that the ones who agree with her viewpoint already know what she has to say. I also know that those who don’t agree with her are not going to be swayed by words that are not backed up with solid scientific facts and that most will not be swayed even with solid scientific facts (with links to relevant studies) because they trust the truth of the Bible more than they trust the falliability of mere scientists. I’m sorry folks, but no matter what you say and do, you’re not going to convince someone with strong religious convictions of anything, unless you’re using the Bible, prayer, humility and mostly, a heaping helping of love to get it done.

She unfriended me.

Life isn’t about being right and because life isn’t about being right, debates have no meaning in the scheme of things. It’s ok if someone is wrong. It really, really is.

And, if you feel strongly that someone is so far off that you have to say something, do it gently. Do it privately. Do it with humility. And most of all, do it with love.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths (or through your fingertips), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (or read). Ephesians 4:29 (NIV with itallics from Mari’s Culturally Relevant Version)

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Posted by on February 6, 2018 in Uncategorized


Matters of The Heart

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9)

We’ve heard it a thousand times.

I really like that house. I want to find a way to buy it.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

But I want a cookie!
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

It would be nice to be friends with him….
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

That’s a really nice car!
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

I want to be someone’s mom….
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

I need to take some time to rest.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

The verse from Jeremiah 17 often gets applied in ways that make a person doubt their hopes, desires and needs. Applied incorrectly, it can cause a person to push themselves beyond what is healthy and good.

If something is dear to you, that means it’s a bad thing because The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

Applied incorrectly, this verse leads a person to strive in ways that are unhealthy.

Brownies….. Love me some chocolate! But…. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked! I guess my snack is going to be a glass of water today….

As I’ve been thinking about this verse, it occurred to me that, that was then. Then, as in, at a time in history when people trusted themselves and did not trust God. Jeremiah 17:5 says “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.”

That — deceitful and wicked hearts — that was then.

This is now.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

There was a time in history when hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked.

Before Jesus and the gospel of Grace.

The Old Testament is full of examples of deceit and wickedness.
Think Amnon and Tamar.
David and the incident involving Bathsheeba.
Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery.
Haman trying to kill all the Jewish people.
Jonah refusing to warn the people of Ninevah.

And in our own personal lives, yes, at one time, our hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked.
At one time, we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7


Jesus makes all things new.

All things. Including our hearts.

If Jesus is in you and you are truly seeking Him, it is impossible for your heart to remain “deceitful and desperately wicked.”

I encourage you to trust Jesus in you instead of worrying about what your heart used to be without Him.


Posted by on June 12, 2016 in Profundities


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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 29

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#29. Get back into the letter-writing habit again. You know — the snail-mail kind.

When I was younger, I liked to write letters.

Some of my friends can testify to that. I think my longest one was about 19 pages (front and back).

These letters were probably really, really boring.

Like, “On Wednesday, I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Speaking of sandwiches, do you know anything about The Earl of Sandwich? Or The Sandwich Islands? Our car is way too small. When we go somewhere, I end up sandwiched between my brothers in the back seat and it’s just not very appealing. Speaking of peels, I had a banana with that sandwich I mentioned a minute ago. Apparently some people like having banana slices on their peanut butter sandwiches? Inconceivable! Peanut butter and banana? Say what? No, no. Bananas are better left on the side.

“Speaking of left sides, spiral bound notebooks are not cool at all, on account of the spiral being on the left side. Terribly inconvenient for us lefties. Who came up with that idea anyway? Know what else is terribly inconvenient? I was trying to do my penmanship lesson the other day, and because I’m left-handed, the letters got all smudged and I got an inky pinky in the process.

“I got a pack of new pens with pink ink the other day. I just love pink ink. It makes me as happy as any [*moody pre-adolescent*] girl could possibly be. I’ve been writing in my journal with pink ink every third day because I have some pens with purple ink and green ink too, and equality and civil rights and all that jazz. It just wouldn’t do to have the purple and green feel like I was a raging racist…..

A couple of weeks ago, I went to this meeting and they had this funny prayer thing at the end where everyone was supposed to hold hands with someone. This big African American guy grabbed my hand. I’m 11 and this guy is holding my hand. But, I’m not a racist so I just stood there and thought about how brave I am for letting this stranger hold my hand.”

You get the idea….. Blibber-blabber about everything and nothing. Probably none of it made a whole lot of sense. And I tried very hard to be an equal opportunity writer so my inks wouldn’t feel left out. (Just kidding!)

Nowadays, I don’t send a whole lot of letters. I pretty much flunked out on this one, except for the occasional “Hi, how are you?” note or a thank you note.

I really, really like this goal because a few days ago, I got this in the mail:

Receiving this note was so encouraging and it made me smile on the inside. I’m all about encouraging people and making people smile, and that is a good enough reason to get going on this goal.

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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in 30 Things


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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 28

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#28. Visit at least one family member per month — unless the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Let’s say that the weather has been rather uncooperative.

Or, I could just tell the truth and say that since I work a lot of weekends, it’s hard to get out of town much these days.

That and the fact that I do live in South Dakota where it’s blustery, cold, rainy, snowy or icy about 8-9 months of the year and that doesn’t help matters much either.

When I wrote this goal, I thought it would be nice to have a family dinner once a month. They’re all in the same general area and I’d just have to drive 2 hours north, stop at that Pizza Ranch or one of my brothers’ houses, have dinner and chit-chat or play a game or something. Maybe I’d stay the weekend. Maybe I’d just stay the day.

It was a lovely idea, really.

Why did I not actually do this one?

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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in 30 Things


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Sharing my learnings of being a mother

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Mindy Peltier

In the Write Moment


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

Just a few things I've been thinking about....