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Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part Three

Recovering from trauma is possible, necessary, and sometimes very hard.
Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part Three

I thought Rich’s death meant the end of my ministry dreams. He was my husband, and he was my ministry partner, part of every plan I had. I had leaned on his strengths heavily. He dealt with the people issues; I kept everything organized.

Once he was gone, I had no one to defer leadership to. The buck stopped with me. So as much as Rich’s death was the end ...

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Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part Two

Recovering from trauma is possible, necessary, and sometimes very hard.
Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part Two

The days immediately after Rich’s death were a blur. Hospital scans eased doctors’ fears about internal injuries, so they released me. My parents took me home. I looked around my room, feeling hollow until I walked into our closet. His smell, his essence, was all over his clothes. I buried my face in his shirts and cried for a long time.

My practical mother ...

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Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part One

Recovering from trauma is possible, necessary, and sometimes very hard.
Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part One

Millions of predictable seconds will tick by, marking out a lifetime for each of us. Just a handful of moments will stop us short, altering our future so completely that it’s not recognizable as connected to our past. Thirteen years ago, I was confronted by this kind of moment.

I had a happy childhood that was coming to a close when I met Rich Bourke. I was drawn ...

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God Lives in the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days

We need more leaders who are willing to say they don't have all the answers
God Lives in the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days

“It's been an Alexander day.”

I love that when I say that to my True Love, he knows exactly what I mean.

“Some days are like that. Even in Australia.”

...

But my Dear Friend also showed up, and we opted to go for a morning cup of coffee and chat. Maybe not endorphins, but something to get us through the day.

Only we got the text before ...

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Don’t Be Okay with Quitting

How to get in touch with your inner Navy SEAL
Don’t Be Okay with Quitting
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My husband has been in the SEAL teams for sixteen years. Over the ten years Steve and I have been married, I’ve heard great stories about his job. My very favorite, though, is a story from his days as a BUD/S student.

During the infamous “Hell Week,” the guys are intentionally sleep deprived and then made to accomplish physical tasks, usually in some ...

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Savor Advent, Feast on Christmas

My family’s new traditions made the season richer
Savor Advent, Feast on Christmas
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It may be easier to roll a boulder up hill than to change holiday traditions. Several years ago, when I declared to my family that we would start new practices in the month of December, their response was not thundering applause.

“Ugh,” grunted my firstborn. (Insert tween attitude, eye rolls, and drama here.) “Why do we have to be so different from every ...

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A Radical Idea for This Christmas

Spend the season on a mission
A Radical Idea for This Christmas
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A few years ago my children and I walked into a department store during the Christmas season. A lady working there stopped us and cheerfully asked if my children would like to write a Christmas list to Santa Claus. There was a statue of Santa by the entrance, with a big red mailbox for kids to drop their letters into. I politely told her I do not teach my children that ...

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Advent’s Knotty Family Tree

Jesus was born into a messy family too
Advent’s Knotty Family Tree
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On the first Sunday of Advent this season, my congregation’s sermon text was Matthew 1:1-17. Many of us likely don’t think too often about this passage: It is one of the dreaded genealogies, with hard-to-pronounce names and no storyline (or so it seems). Yet behind the sometimes unfamiliar names this text is jam-packed full of stories—stories of how God ...

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3 Questions to Ask Yourself before Letting Go

What keeps you hanging on?
3 Questions to Ask Yourself before Letting Go
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“The sheer volume embarrasses me,” I admit to my husband while standing over piles of clothes on my bedroom floor. Coats, shoes, shirts, and pants pulled from my closet on a Saturday like leaves letting go of sturdy branches and falling in a heap. Outside, sun slants through a canopy of changing colors with invitation, but I’m choosing a shift in perspective ...

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Lead Me On: Brave & Bawling

What happens when we give God a chance to use our relationships to change us?
Lead Me On: Brave & Bawling
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A few years ago, Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler delivered Harvard University’s Class Day speech. In a fake Bostonian dialect, she joked, “Just because yah wicked smaht doesn’t mean yah beddah than me.”

Then she got serious.

“All I can tell you today is what I’ve learned, what I have discovered as a person in this world, and ...

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