Goodbye, My Friend

Posted by on Friday, Aug 19, 2016 in Blog | 5 comments

The last couple of nights I’ve awoken with this song playing in my head. Over the past four years our friend Traci bravely battled multiple myeloma. On Tuesday, August 9th, at the age of 52 with her dad cupping her face, she took her last breath. Kelly, Traci’s sister and one of my closest friends, called with the news. I showed up at the hospital 15 minutes after Traci took her last breath. Seeing her body was a profound experience. I know that sounds weird, but what I’m trying to say is it was so evident her spirit had departed. Whether you believe in a soul or not, seeing her was evidence there is a soul. The soul had departed. Her body was present, but Traci was not there. It was a profound moment. Over the next seven hours, family and friends streamed into the room. As a friend and pastor, I was asked to lay hands on Traci and pray. What a privilege to be present with those I love at such a time as this. Seven hours later Traci’s body left the hospital to be taken to a crematory. Traci’s death has provoked all kinds of thoughts, emotions, and evaluations – most of which are too sacred to share publicly. I’m grateful for death in that it causes us to question life. My life. How I live. What I live for. Who and what I find important. Death helps us recalibrate. On Sunday, August 14th, I officiated my first memorial service, the memorial service of a friend and a sister of one of my closest friends.  It was hard, and it was a privilege. I spoke of how every human being images our Creator. (Genesis 1:26-28) If I had to attribute one characteristic in which Traci imaged God, it would be beauty. She was physically beautiful (she frequently reminded us she had superior facial bone structure to which we admittedly agreed), but she also created beauty within her relationships and in her work as one of the leading floral designers in Dallas. Traci reflected God’s beauty to the world and back to her Creator. I’m grateful for Traci’s life and for what her death continues to teach me about my life. Goodbye, my friend; it’s hard to...

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My Friend Kelly

Posted by on Tuesday, Apr 19, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

I met Kelly at a leaders meeting at church. She stood out because she was tall, elegant, and well dressed. I was intrigued by her so I asked, “What do you do for a living?” She responded, “I drag the bags.”  (I was clueless about what that meant. For those of you who don’t know, it means she is a fundraiser.) Currently she fundraises for an organization called New Friends New Life. It’s a nonprofit committed to helping women get out of the sex industry. The statistics on sex trafficking are unsettling. I’ve heard them before, but I can’t get my head around them. And my heart aches, literally – when I hear the shocking statistics or a woman’s heartbreaking story. It’s just not right. I recently attended  their big Wings Luncheon fundraiser. The room was packed with women and men committed to saying “NOT OUR CHILDREN. NOT OUR CITY.” They wanted to be clear that our girls are NOT for sale! The statement has been posted on the internet and plastered around our city. I’ve heard it before, but each time I see it again my heart screams for justice. They said it at the luncheon, and I wanted to literally scream it out loud as a charge for us to kick some butt. I didn’t. After all, it was a fancy luncheon, and I didn’t want to embarrass my friend. Amal Clooney spoke about her work for the voiceless in the world. I appreciated that the focus remained on her work which is far more interesting than her marriage to George or the latest gossip from Hollywood. Nevertheless, this post isn’t about Amal; it’s about my friend Kelly. I’ve known Kelly for about ten years, and I have such respect for her work. For years she dragged the bags for the largest women’s abuse shelter in Dallas, and now she fundraises to help women get out of the sex industry. Her work, although very rewarding, also can take a toll on the soul. Hearing the shattered stories of women and girls over and over does something to a person. You are not left unmarked by the darkness. In her spare time she helped launch and develop the foundations of my ministry, The Marcella Project. She was our first chair, and I am grateful for her leadership, insight, and skills. This year during Kelly’s biggest fundraising event, she has moved her sister, Traci, into her home. Traci and Kelly are what I call “twins” even though they aren’t. They are twins in the sense that they are highly intuitive and extremely connected  to each other, like twins tend to be.  You can be sure if one of them moves to the...

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A Lime Green Kind of Day

Posted by on Thursday, Sep 17, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Lime Green discussion in Austin We’ve created a church culture where fear of moral failure trumps men and women serving as the Blessed Alliance. Does the Scripture support our danger/romance narrative? Is there another option? It’s time we go back to Scripture to find out. George W. Truett Theological Seminary – Dean Still Dean Still is a new testament scholar who gave me an hour of his time to discuss women and men in the Church. I was pleasantly surprised to find this Baptist seminary leader is an advocate for the Blessed Alliance.  Just a reminder that there’s a movement of the Spirit happening in all corners of God’s globe. A detour from work. We stop at the Waco Mammoth National museum Podcast with Vintage Faith – Grand Rapids Back to work. We pull the car off the highway to do a Skype interview with Jeremy of Vintage Faith. Even though my vocation is centers around speaking I have found podcast interviews challenging. Trying to be at ease and learning how to speak in sound bites has been hard. We get back on highway 35 towards Dallas. I make several calls to women ministers who need an ear to help them process. Finally home. Fish tacos for dinner. Tired but extremely grateful for the days work God has given me to...

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26 Men & Me – The Blessed Alliance

Posted by on Thursday, Feb 26, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

“Your Life Story is not your testimony, it is the story of formative experiences that God has brought into your life. It is not just the facts of your story, but, a record of experiences that God used to form you. “Formative experiences” are experiences that impacted you strongly. As a result of such an experience, you were changed in some way.” There have been a “record of experiences that God has used” to form my passion for the Blessed Alliance. Here’s just one … Housing for my second year residency was a continued reminder that my female body was “a problem.” As the only woman in our doctoral program I would have to be housed in a separate place from the other pastors (26 male pastors). I stayed in a big, old, musty smelling inn with dark hallways just outside of the Boston city limits – alone, all by my self. The rest of the students stayed together in the yellow house adjacent from the inn. To attend class we would have to drive about fifteen minutes into the city to a building located in an area of town deemed not “all that safe.” At least that was the warning given by the seminary, which turned out to be warranted – a man was murdered outside our building during our residency. The night I arrived at the inn I made up my mind I was going to catch a ride with one of the guys, at least the first day or until I felt secure driving by myself. The next morning I walked into the breakfast area where all the guys were eating and immediately noticed Lou (not his real name), one of my cohorts, sitting a few tables back to my right. The fear of feeling unsafe must have been building because while standing at the entrance I blurted, “Lou can you give me a ride to class?” Suddenly the room was like a movie where everyone stops mid motion. Guys with spoons and coffee cups just suspended in mid air. I stood there thinking, “Oh brother you’ve got to be kidding me?” Once again I was facing down that damn romantic –danger narrative. You know that narrative that says, “Women tempt men, whether they intend it or not, and men by nature are lascivious.” I had it. I wasn’t going to let it dominant the landscape anymore. I wanted more for me – and them. So I did what I learned to do growing up – I called it out. Isn’t that what we teach, communication is key to relationships. I decided it was time to communicate a new narrative. Hopefully my narrative would put them...

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Hello Goodbye

Posted by on Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014 in Blog | 8 comments

Steve was fired on a Sunday. That Wednesday my son called to inform me he was leaving college mid-semester. Twenty thousand dollars down the drain – no credits to show for it. I felt overwhelmed, so I decided to go to Wal-Mart to get some canning supplies to can spicy cauliflower (sometimes going back to my roots is all I know to do). In the middle of Wal-Mart, I collapsed on the floor and began crying hysterically. I lost perception of time, space and place. Basically, I had a breakdown. (Not a very flattering picture, is it?) My son, Hunter, came to get me up and take me home. Looking back now, I realize how freaked out he must have been. He called my friend Krista. She immediately came over, fed me, and then gave me some drug that knocked me out cold. I slept off my hysteria. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a sister is born for adversity.” Proverbs 18:24 reiterates the sentiment: “There is a friend who sticks closer than a sister.” We see this played out in David and Jonathan’s relationship. When Jonathan stood beside David during difficulty (like the king trying to kill him kind of difficulty), David started to refer to Jonathan as “brother.” Authentic friendships are built when a friend sticks by during tough times. That’s Krista. It took a while before I caught my balance and started dreaming again. Krista dreamed with me. In 2012, we birthed The Marcella Project, an organization committed to improving the view of women through the Scriptures. As Executive Director, Krista oversaw the organization (she saved me again!) so that I could focus on teaching, writing, speaking and shepherding women. This winter Krista opened her home to a foster child, a two-year-old curly blonde boy named Christian. As her responsibilities as mother and wife increased, her time for Marcella waned. We both knew our time as the dynamic duo was coming to an end. She officially stepped down as Executive Director in March. I’m grateful for the time, energy, and talent she gave to the ministry. I’m thankful she continues on our board and as my dear friend. I am better because of her. It’s scary to be on your own. I don’t know how to do a lot of things: QuickBooks, strategic planning, marketing, Constant Contact, computers. Actually, if I’m honest I pretty much stink at most things – even turning on the TV can be difficult for me. So you can imagine my fear and anxt at running Marcella by myself – like NOT a good idea. I’m so thankful I don’t journey these times alone – Jesus is present....

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