Monday, October 10, 2016

34 Episodes You Need to Watch Before the Gilmore Girls Reboot on Netflix

I admit it, the second I saw this Netflix trailer, my heart soared. I love Gilmore Girls and it’s always my go-to binge watch show when I need some joy. 

Because the creators of the show left before Season 7, I always felt cheated out of a great ending. So that is my explanation for my heart soaring. I’ve been watching the show on and off for the last couple of months, and when the November 25 date was announced, I read some pieces in the vein of , “Episodes you must watch for the reboot comes out.” But they were all subpar and clearly not written by true fans of the show. Yes, I’m that fan.

If you have already seen all the episodes, but want a refresher before November 25, this list is for you. There are episodes that are needed for plot points, but I didn’t include them if they weren't at the very top of the Gilmore Girl game. If I included episodes that help with major plots points, you might as well just re-watch the whole show. Plus, Netflix was great to put the “previouslys” on the episodes to help with this.

If you haven’t see the show yet, just watch them all. I could maybe create a list for those unfamiliar with the show, with a couple of episodes a season where you don’t miss much, but let’s face it. It’s just best to see the whole thing. The show is that good. And don’t read this list if you haven’t already seen the show, because spoilers. 

Season 1
1.) Pilot .The opening scene of this show is unparalleled in it's outstanding introduction to what the show will be like, despite how slooooow they are talking. Amy hadn’t quite found her writing voice for the show just yet, and the actors hadn’t reached Gilmore-pace yet. But it’s such a strong pilot.

2.) Forgiveness and Stuff. From Luke's inability to be in a hospital to Lorelai's almost speech to her dad, this episode is a can't miss. Plus, grossest hamburger ever.

3.) The Break Up, Part 2. You get a full dose of Lane, which always makes an episode better. Plus you start to see glimmer of Paris and Rory’s friendship starting.

Season 2
It’s my personal belief that this season of this show is one of the finest pieces of pop culture to ever grace the world’s stage.

4.) Nick & Nora/Sid and Nancy. The introduction of Jess and some epic scenes and fights with Luke and Lorelai.

5.) The Bracebridge Dinner. This show is at it’s finest with the background characters in Star Hollow are allowed to shine. This crazy and weird episode provides lots of fodder, plus some awesome stuff with Lorelai and her parents.

6.) A-Tisket, A-Tasket. The first episode I ever watched, which made me fall in love with the show. This is really just added for sentimental reasons, but that’s of sweet things happen here.

7.) There’s the Rub. More incredible scenes with Lorelai and her mother, where they both learn so much about each other. Plus Rory, Jess and Paris together? Great stuff.

8.) Help Wanted. This is one of my favorite episodes, because you finally see some real bonding with Lorelai and her father.

8.) Lorelai's Gradulation Day. Despite the ridiculous storyline of "Lorelai's the rich kid" at community college, everything else here is Gilmore Girls perfect.

9.) I Can’t Get Started. While I despise a lot of what is happening with the main characters in this episode, it’s Sookie and Jackson’s wedding. Enough said.

Season 3
10.) They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? It’s the Star Hollow Dance marathon and more ridiculousness ensues. Again, the best episodes highlight the townspeople. Plus one epic breakup scene.

11.) A Deep Friend Korean Thanksgiving. Lane’s first kiss. Thunder dome on Sookie’s lawn. And a fight with Lorelai and Emily. So much goodness. and laugh out loud moments.

I would like to include “Dear Emily and Richard” at this point, but this episodes looses major points because of the appearance of Sherri. She is one annoying character. It’s not because she took Christopher away from Lorelai. Nope. Couldn’t care less about it. Simple fact: she’s annoying. That said, if you watch it fast-forwarding most of her scenes, it’s pretty great. You get a glimpse of what it was like when Lorelai’s was pregnant, (the parallel with Shari’s labor experience was very well done.) and you see Emily and Lorelai bond in the sweetest way. Bridges are being built as Lorelai’s reflects on how they burned in the first place. I would also include "That’ll Do, Pig," except that I can’t stand Gran. (Actually, it’s more the actress I can’t stand to watch then the character of Gran.) But Lorelai explaining how she deals with her mother’s criticism is gold. Then watching her mother use that on her mother-in-law, platinum. Which really just goes to show that I should do a top scenes list, too. Because some of the best scenes aren’t in the best episodes because other plot lines are weak. And maybe I should do a “best lines” list, too. #popculturenerd

12.) A Tale of Poes and Fire. The inn catches fire and we have the sweetest and saddest endings of an episode (save the series finale) ever.

13.) Those are Strings, Pinocchio. Rory graduates and the Inn becomes a reality. Plus Brad sings.

Season 4
I realized after reviewing all the seasons that this is surprisingly one of my favorites. Though we are first introduced to Liz and TJ in season 4, they hadn’t reached the level of annoying (that broke me) until much later.  I’m also not really a fan of Digger, but watching Lorelai and Sookie pursue their dream of opening an inn is awesome. I also think I enjoy it so much because Rory is completely boyfriend-less, and so that drama isn’t there, so yay. 

14.) Ballrooms and Biscotti. Everything about this episode is perfect. I mean everything. It might be my all-time favorite episode.

15.) The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale. Save the annoying freshman counselor, watching Lorelai try to drive Luke’s truck and helping Rory adjust to college is particularly wonderful.

16.) An Affair to Remember. Watching Lorelai defend her mother to a childhood friend? Priceless. Plus I really need to have some of Sookie’s Lobster Pot Pie.

17.) In the Clamor and the Clangor. The Star Hollow bells get fixed and drive everyone crazy. Lorelai wears the best winter white sweater ever and her and Luke have another epic fight and then make up. And Lane finally fesses up to her double life with her mother.

18.) Scene in a Mall. The bulk of this episode involves shopping so it’s no wonder I like it. Emily has the best meltdown ever. But the sweetness of the episode (and why I am including it) lies in a moment in the food court.

19.) The Reigning Lorelai. Gran dies (finally) and the breakdown of this family unit is quite epic. Richard, Emily and Lorelei all have equally fantastic meltdowns and it’s a sight to behold.

20.) Last Week's Fight, This Week's Tights. Lane's mom finally meets Zach and Brian and  it's awesome. Luke and Lorelai go on their first date, even though Lorelei doesn't know it. The rest of the episode is just "meh" but the moment. You know what I'm talking about. THE MOMENT.

21.) Raincoats and Recipes. It’s finally time to open the Inn, and of course, much ridiculousness ensues because the practice weekend involves Sookie and Lorelai inviting the town to stay there to work out the kinks. I don’t need to say anymore except that we finally get to see a first kiss between Luke and Lorelei, and it involves Kirk running around naked. Yep. 

Season 5
22.) Written in the Stars. Stars Hollow is all a flutter now that the two townspeople who run eating establishments are in a relationship. But the real story is what in Luke’s wallet.

23.) Wedding Bell Blues. This episode is awesome because Lorelai reveals that despite all her and her parents have done to repair their relationship, that she is still willing to cut them off if they cross the line. Plus Ed Herman is a gem and Emily’s bachelorette party is hysterical. Plus, Cop Rock.

24.) Say Something. As self-indulgent as this episode really is, I love it. I guess because we’ve all felt this way at some point. Plus watching Lane (as a surrogate daughter) and Rory do everything she does for Lorelai is amazing to see.

25.) A House is Not A Home. A “need to see” episode plot-wise in order to understand the whole of Season 6, as Rory deals with the consequences of her stupid decision to listen to her boyfriend’s father. Lorelai is once again stabbed in the back by her parents, and as a huge bonus, Mrs. Kim gets Hep Alien on tour.

Season 6
This season is rough because the first half has our two Gilmore Girls apart and the show just felt wrong. Also, April. When the second half of the show shifts focus to the relationship between Luke and April, it’s so hard to watch Lorelai suffer. My next to least favorite season.

26.) Welcome to the Dollhouse. Actually, welcome to Sores and Boils Ave, the new address for the Dragonfly. And finally, Richard admits his daughter was right and Rory has made a huge mistake quitting Yale. Emily tries to smoke out Lorelai by sending her random things from her childhood. Plus, any episode that starts with a town meeting is awesome.

27.) Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ring Out. Jess knocks a little sense into Rory and murderously cute soccer girls get sponsored by Luke. Lorelai breaks and becomes all of us when Paul Anka gets sick.

28.) Friday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Rory finally tells her grandparents that her dad is paying for Yale, which means all of pandora’s box is opened from their relationships and even all of Lorelai’s stuff, too. Culminating in an epic Friday Night Dinner menagerie of fight scenes. Plus, Paris has the breakdowns of all breakdowns and Rory rallies the staff to get the paper out. Also, best final line of a episode ever.

29.) I Get a Sidekick Out of You. Lane gets married, and the reception is epic. We also meet her grandmother, and she’s scarier than Lane’s mom.

Season 7
The problem with Season 7, besides the obvious that Amy and Daniel left the show, is mainly two things: first, the scenes are painstakingly long. Waaaaaay longer than they needed to be, and way longer than the show had typically done before. It’s borderline painful because the writing is just not Gilmore. Second, the constant presence of Liz and TJ. Ugh. I CAN’T STAND THEM, and without Amy’s writing, they are even worse. I mean, Andrew’s acting isn’t stellar, but at least his personality is palatable. The acting and the personality of both Liz and TJ is just. so. painful.

30.) ’S Wonderful ’S Marvelous. Emily lands herself in jail. ‘Nuff said.

31.) I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia. Richard’s in the hospital again, Christopher fails to come through once again, and we see all three Gilmore Girls be real with each other sans humor. Pretty sure there is nary an obscure pop culture reference to be found (for shame) but it’s heartfelt. So it works for me, only because of Richard.

32.) Will You Be My Lorelei Gilmore? It’s the big baby shower for Lane and Zack, and for once in Season 7, the writers hit the right note.

33.) Hay Bale Maze. Rory makes a pro and con list about a job offer, Taylor is allergic to hay, which is unfortunate, because he decides to take over the town with a hay bale maze, and Logan and Lorelei come to an uneasy truce.

34.) Bon Voyage. “You’ve given me everything I need” Yep. I bawl like a BABY every time she says it.

Thursday, July 07, 2016


How do you know?

When it’s time to build? Time to tear down? Time to repair? Time to start over?

My own life feels like a series of tearing down and tearing down. Then building part of something. 

Then tearing it down again.

(You always build it better the second time around)

Some things need to be destroyed in order for the world to be better. For your family to be better. For you to be better. But there is something so sacred about what you built that tearing it down feels like you are ripping your heart right out of your chest. Because you don’t build something that doesn’t matter to you. Good or bad.

You build it precisely because you believe it’s important. Necessary. Key to your life’s happiness. So to tear that down means more then just tear it down.

It means tearing yourself down.

Which means you have to build something else. Which was hard enough the first time, right? But when what you built must be torn down it means so much of what you thought to be good and true and right is no longer good and true and right. So you must rediscover what else is good.

And true. And right.

Then build from there. Hoping that each brick that you take from a memory or experience or a person will not be torn down next time because it’s like taking pieces of your heart and building something new.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

of gentleness... and anvils

I've always wished I was one of those "soft" people.

Not weak, of course. But tender. With no rough edges. The kind of person whose presence makes you feel calm. The kind of soft that responds carefully and with compassion, rather than jumping to judgement and self-righteousness and a "my way is right" way of thinking. Without defense and thought of how it all affects me, but considers what else might be going on in the situation.

A very soft person has come into my life recently. I'm in awe of her. She responds to everything in love. She is always concerned for me and how I am adjusting to a whole new life. She is ready to jump in and help whenever it's needed, and often anticipates needs I could never foresee. When a difficult situation arises, she has this way of making it all better without compromise for what is best.

She is modeling to me the great fruit of the spirit: gentleness.

I've far too often felt like a bull in a china shop. Stumbling over people with my agenda. Running wild and free with a grand plan ignoring everyone else's. And any warning signs along the way. My clumsiness has gotten me in trouble so many times, I'm not sure numbers go high enough to count.

But also isn't even about "getting into trouble," honestly. That would be as if I just didn't want to get caught in my sin, rather than actually not want to sin... to be changed from the inside out. To not "appear" like this bull is like the Pharisees with their shiny and polished cups on the outside. To actually not be the bull is to have a fully clean cup. 

Matthew 23: 25-26

For years, I've tried so hard to be the gentle and wise person on the outside (with varying degrees of success.) I make so much of trying to appear soft, that I think if I fix that part, the actually being soft will follow. It's just like trying to glue the fruit onto the branch. So I know, deep down in my heart that I am going the wrong direction... so why do I keep going back to doing instead of learning about the being? For the task is so much easier for me to understand and grasp then the abstract idea of being present and considering everything holistically.

Deep-seeded in this sin of mine, and it may even be that all-important root (i.e.the idol, not just the surface sin) is self-righteousness. It's a very strange thing knowing that I have a very low self-esteem, but realizing one of greatest sins I struggle with is self-righteousness. But it makes sense. I'm

simply looking for other ways to make myself feel better, and I am looking externally for those things. How I appear to the world is one of the ways I do that. And believing I know better than so many others is my sick and twisted way of trying to feel better about myself, forgetting how this causes me to view others as less than.

I don't know how to be gentle. Maybe I never will. But I guess I can take some solace in the anvil. Knowing that I am being reshaped and formed into God's image. An instrument is only useful if it's the right shape for the task set before it. If I'm on the anvil, it means God still see me as worth reshaping.

Friday, March 25, 2016

of sorrow and joy [good friday hurts]

There are many reasons Good Friday is a sad day for me.

It’s the day I lost my grandfather when I was 14 years old.

It’s the day my Savior died.

It’s the last day I spoke to one of my best friends.

So… not my favorite day.

The sorrow of the day is only compounded by my tradition of watching The Passion of the Christ. Why do I torture myself when the day is already sad? Because I believe that in order to fully experience the joy of Sunday I must enter into sorrow of Good Friday.

We need Good Friday, or Easter Sunday just becomes a day of eggs hunts and dressing up in our Sunday best. We need Good Friday because of our sin, not just our salvation. (We simply can’t have one without the other.) We need Good Friday because God’s wrath is fully expressed on this day, so his mercy means all the more in the days following.

We need Good Friday because we needed a Savior.

And God gave us one.

I wish this day didn’t have so many painful memories attached to it. They distract from the true meaning of God’s sacrifice for me. But I also realize these painful memories speak loudly the pain of this life. Death and loss are realities of this world, because of sin. And one man entered into that mess and came to redeem.

The tragedy of this day is no longer just about Jesus for me. It’s about the brokenness in the world around me, the people around me, the brokenness in me. It’s because of me he died. It’s because of me that I lost a friend. The weight of that is simply… massive.

I suppose that’s why this day I feel all the feels. I cry all the tears. I reflect on my sin. I think about His sacrifice. I mourn my loss. I miss my friend. I just…


I guess I understand why they call it Good Friday. It is a good day. It doesn’t feel good this year.

But Sunday is coming. I will rejoice.

Monday, January 11, 2016

on moving, goodbyes, and community

I went through those double doors for the last time, and briefly paused as I heard the glass door rattle behind me as they latched. From what seemed out of nowhere, my heart filled with sadness and tears threatened to brim over as I realized the chapter I was closing in my life.

For the last two and half years, this place was my Monday night home. I would go there for over two hours and wrestle with God’s word. And I got to do it with women who were wrestling just like me. This had become a sweet community, and especially in the last year, the community I desperately  needed to get through some extremely tough times. And this community that was a large part of why I chose to stay in Arizona when faced with that choice last summer.

But now this is all coming to a close.

I don’t know why the Lord wanted me in Tucson for the last 6 months. I don’t know why, when faced with the choice of Tucson or Kansas, that I felt like God wanted me to stay. But now I can tell you, that whatever the reason, healing was done in this time. It was done through the wise and challenging counsel of a pastor leading blessed and tiny church on Overton Rd. It was done through phone conversations (and one face to face meeting) with a Memphis counselor who understood painful ministry transitions. And understood Tucson. It was done through mountain views and long commutes to work and friends who became my family when they took me in. 

It was also done through this community of Monday night women who knew me, loved me, and for some reason thought I was awesome.

Before I left the church tonight, one of the BSF leaders held me tight, in a full-on hug, and prayed for my transition and thanked the Lord she got to know me. How humbling. I don’t deserve that.

Whatever God’s specific plan was for these last six months, all I know is the result was me finally able to move on and say, “Arizona, I’m done with you. You’ve both blessed and hurt me these last five and half years. And while I’m thankful for so many things you gave me, I believe we’re finished. I’m not only ready but excited to move on.”

If you’ve been reading my blog for a few years, you may recall how, when I drove away from St. Louis to come here, I just didn’t feel done with that town yet. And maybe I’m not. But I’m done here. The Lord knew that I wasn’t ready to go last summer, and perhaps these six months were simply his grace to me. I do know that I learned so much about myself. I saw my failures and my pain in a totally different light. I was able to see I cannot control where amends are refused. I learned what more of my deal breakers are. I learned how grief alters you. I learned what real friendship looks like, and how in ministry, those friends don’t always stay (and this truth really hurts). I learned how easy it is to be a bad friend when you are self-absorbed. I learned that sometimes all it takes is one mistake and the refusal to forgive to ruin a beautiful thing (this also really hurts).

…and so much more. In six months. It was awful. But still I learned, and that is never a waste.

I am thankful for the last few years of BSF and the women I grew to love and somehow grew to love me back. I am thankful for this community. Thank you, Jesus, for knowing what I needed and providing. I am undeserving.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

no longer and not yet

The last six months have been about the space between the “no longer” and the “not yet” for me. Have I honored that space? Not hardly. I screwed a lot of things up. Perhaps I handled it as best as I could have expected to handle it, without ignoring what I was going through completely. I could have compartmentalized it, moved on without grieving and just pulled myself up by my boot straps and plowed forward.

But I didn’t.

I think I fell somewhere in between honoring it and ignoring it. I was very aware of the place, and I tried on some level to grieve. The hard part for me was that life still had to go on, and things still happened around me. And I was not in any kind of emotional place to deal with them well. I sought counseling from a few places and people. I tried to be aware of my emotions and my pain without trying to give them more attention then they needed. The last thing I wanted was to become a martyr. The counseling helped… but time ultimately was the most effective thing in helping me through the grief.

There were a lot of layers to my emotions and what I went through. And as life continued to happen around me, more layers were added. I didn’t deal with things as myself, because I simply wasn’t myself. I was a new version of myself, almost a hollow version of who I had become, beaten down by so many things that caused me pain.

One day in the car, I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by everything I had to deal with and I remember having this image of me sitting on a chair in the middle of a tornado.  I felt like everything was happening around me, and everything was happening to me. I was not in control of a single thing – things were just happening to me. It was all I could do to merely react to this tornado, rather than act with any kind of intentionality.

And that’s what it was like. For months, all I did was react. There was an overwhelming amount of change in my life – and only about two things in my life were stable. When your life is in an uproar like this, acting doesn’t feel possible. For me, reacting was all I was emotionally capable of. As things ended: a job, a home, a friendship… as those thing become the “no longer” in my life, I am still looking ahead to what is “not yet,” hoping it will be better than what no longer is. Because honestly, going through all of that was really awful. It was a lot of loss that I had to go through alone.

I am moving on to another season in my life. I am looking forward to this one, and may I be ever mindful of the space between where I just was and what is to come.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

the "INFJ Door Slam"

One thing that INFJs tend to do is read a lot about their personality type. Because we are rare, that also means we are difficult to figure out. So reading to try and understand ourselves simply goes with the territory.  Today I was reading about the “INFJ Door Slam”. Here is part of what I read:

There’s this thing called the “INFJ Door Slam.”  People talk about it.  Other personality types trash it, but few people try to explain it in simple terms.  It’s different for everyone, no doubt, but in simple terms…
The INFJ door slam is what happens when we are burned out by unresolved emotions, so we resolve the issue by deciding that the relationship is over.
INFJs are deeply emotional creatures.  We don’t feel as much as it looks like we do (that’s mirroring, which is a whole other topic), but when we feel…we feel deeply and fully.  That means that we burn out.  If we are emotionally toyed with, abused, or overloaded, and there is no end to the emotional assault in sight, we have to do something.  Unlike some other types, we cannot simply live with or ignore that emotional onslaught.  We crave resolution.  If we cannot get it - whether it is denied or the situation is just ignored - we resolve it ourselves.  Frequently, we resolve it by ending the emotional ties that overloaded us in the first place.  The INFJ door slam is not some abusive act of anger.  It is not an act of revenge.  It is an act of self-preservation, and once those emotional ties are severed, it is almost impossible to re-attach them.  If your INFJ is angry or crying, things can be repaired.  If they’re coolly friendly and ambivalent…you may have a door slam problem. 

I’m not one to burn bridges. I find that idea lacking grace – and I don’t see that in the gospel. So the attitude of this door slam, almost a “you are dead to me” mentality is part of my personality type I don’t particularly identify with. Most of this is because I find it difficult to connect with people, so when I do connect I don’t want to let that go easily. I have a small amount of friends I am close with, not a large amount of friends I share everything with. I invest in that small number of people, and to slam the door to them after investing all that emotional energy seems like a terrible thing to do, to them and to myself.

However, if you read between the lines of this short description, you will see that the door slam is about resolution. I really zeroed in on this today, because when there is something in my life that is open-ended, it feels like torture (for a first world basic white girl, anyway). There have been times in my life where there is no resolution and it actually feels like tiny bugs are crawling under my skin when I think about it: this lack of knowing – this lack of understanding. It’s emotionally painful for me when something isn’t resolved, and especially when I can do nothing to resolve it myself.

So in a way, forcing a resolution is like a door slam for me. I did this a few months ago, hoping for very different results than I got. It wasn’t intended to be a door slam – it was actually an act of reaching out, meant to reassure but also to elicit a reaction when nothing I’d done up to then had garnered one. This type of reaching out was extreme for me, but I was desperate. The tiny little bugs of an unresolved friendship were crawling and crawling and one night I just couldn’t take it anymore. The other person held all the control and I was frustrated that I was being held in limbo, when the last words said to me were, “I just need some time to figure this out.”

I was in a holding pattern for a long time, and I honored that request for time for months. And then my INFJ door slam came in the form of a forced resolution, which resulted in a lot of misunderstanding. But when a person refuses to communicate and I, the over-communicator, is communicating too much, I felt I had one last choice. So I resorted to it.

I regret it, because it hurt the other person, and they are refusing to allow me to make it right. But on the other hand, I was so relieved when it was all over. I finally had an answer I’d been waiting for months to get… and a 1,000 pound weight lifted from my shoulders. 

I still don’t believe in burning bridges. I believe in grace, and I am still learning what it looks like to extend it the same way Jesus does to me every day. But I’ve learned the unfairness of making someone live in limbo, and so in a way, the door slam is still about grace. For myself.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

i was wrong [portrait of an apology]

It’s hard to be remembered for something you did wrong. I’m sure a lot of people in the public eye feel this way… presidents, artists, CEOs. When you’ve filled your life with a lot of rights (and a lot of wrongs) it’s hard to think that you’ll always be remembered for the wrong… And not the rights.

I was wrong. I am sorry. (I’ll be honest, I just can’t say the third part of this statement right now.)  I could say a lot of things to try to explain myself and defend myself, but what would the point of that be? It matters not what my intent was, what the misunderstanding was, what the miscommunication was. What matters is that I undid a heart. That’s never ok.

I will never get the chance to make this right. That bothered me at first, but it’s settled (if somewhat uneasily) in my mind now. Because that is a measure of control you wish to have over the situation. I completely understand that. I wish it didn’t mean you remembering me for the wrong I did. But I can’t do anything about that. I can only pray that the hurt I caused will fade in your heart someday.

I wish I could say that I never meant to hurt you. But I think maybe I did. I was hurt, and trying to be kind and gracious didn’t work for a very long time. So I tried another tactic. It got a response, just not the one I wanted. What was meant to reassure ended up in despair. I can never take that back.

There is a lot I’m still confused by. But none of that matters, because I am not confused about how I made you feel. I will never forgive myself for that.

They say that when a person goes through a trauma the way they behave is significantly altered. I wish I could just blame the trauma, but the fact remains is that my choices are still my choices. While I used to be an Elinor, I suddenly became a Marianne. What I did made you never want me in your life ever again. While that has not been hard to accept - it felt like it was a long time coming - it has been heartbreaking to know that reconciliation is the heart of the gospel, yet I will never be able to reconcile with you or redeem what I did.


It’s hard being remembered for what you did wrong. It’s also hard to live a life without grace. I pray for grace to penetrate our hearts…  For us to learn how to offer it to ourselves, more than anything. We have never been very good at that, have we? But grace stands at the heart of the gospel. So I pray for grace.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Since moving to Arizona, the holidays have always had a tinge of sadness for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not “home”, because there isn’t snow to get me in the spirit, because 70 degree weather doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. (Because I love those freezing cold nights with hot chocolate, a fire going, me covered blankets galore with a great books.)  Or maybe the sadness is something else altogether.

I’m fond of the lament. I guess because it feels more real to me than… well, not lamenting. I know people who force a positive attitude on themselves and others, and while I appreciate the idea that if we act happy, perhaps we will become happy… I believe there is a time for sadness. For lament. (There is a whole book in the Bible about it, so I'm thinking I can't be the only one who feels this way.)

I’ve had a tough couple of years. For a variety of reasons. I’m no Job, but I’ve been through a lot in ’14 and ’15 and I’m about to go through a lot more in 2016. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve hurt others a lot. I’ve been hurt a lot. Anyone who’s brave and out there living has probably gone through similar things. I’ve taken some risks I’ve never would’ve taken before. I’ve tried really hard not to numb the bad feelings so that the good ones would feel all the more sweet. I’ve loved and lost. It’s been really hard.

So while the rest of the world is getting caught up in the joy of Christmas right now, spending time putting up their trees and baking cookies and belting out Christmas songs, I’m not. I’m holding out a little this year. I’m choosing to honor advent. Waiting. Anticipation. And with this, both hope and sadness are realities. The tension is created because we hope… but we are uncertain. We are thankful for Jesus, but we don’t know when he is returning to make it all right. 

We long to glimpse the beauty of what it will be like when he makes all things new. We live in the brokenness all around us… In us. We feel the weight of this “not yet”, this imperfection. It makes us long for and hope for something better.

And so… we wait.

I never thought I would like the chipmunks song more than I already do. but this version is how I think it was meant to be sung.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

the haunting of imperfection

Women spend most of our lives worrying that we are not good enough. It’s possible men do too, but I have no firsthand knowledge of this, so I am wiring from my own experience today. This disease of not being good enough has another name: perfectionism. This idea we get in our heads of what we are supposed to be can be debilitating, painful, and relentless. It also robs us of all our joy.

I have made a lot of mistakes in the last few months. I feel like it’s a lot more than I normally do, but the reality is that I have probably always made this many mistakes. It’s just that now one major thing in my life has shifted: I am in a season of complete and total raw emotion, so those mistakes are magnified by the woundedness of my own heart.

But here’s the thing: making the mistake isn’t really all that painful. It’s the haunting the mistake does to you afterwards that is torture. Because you can’t go back and change what you did or what you said. You can’t go back and take it all away. It’s out there, for the entire world to see, and your imperfection is broadcasting in Times Square, just to make sure no one missed it. 

[I may be exaggerating here, but that’s what I tend to do around here if you haven’t noticed.]

But the screw up really does feel like Times Square. It feels big and loud and noticeable. And relentless in its “Notice me! Notice me!” persona. And when your mistakes hurt others, it might as well be shown on a loop across the moon. Because it feels that big and important. And that just kills me inside.

Imperfection is like sandpaper to a wounded heart. Because when our hearts are wounded, part of the process (at least, my process) is continually asking ourselves what we could have done, what we should have done… and thinking about what you can’t believe you did. And all that pain rubs up against an already open and gaping wound, making the pain all the more vibrant. And because the haunting of the mistake is a constant revisit of what you did, the wound can’t heal. The reminder of what you did just keeps rubbing and rubbing against the wound.

I want to avoid this haunting. Because it hurts, and this haunting preventing the healing. And very little is in our control after we’ve made the mistake. We can repent, we can ask for forgiveness, but if the person we hurt won’t or doesn’t respond, we can’t do anything about that. And the haunting gets worse… because we can’t fix or repair it. And revisiting what we did is just an unhealthy manifestation of our desire to control. We can’t control anything else, so our minds and hearts just run it over and over in our mind… perhaps even hoping it will turn out differently.

What will it take for me to live in the reality of Jesus’ perfection for me and God’s grace offered to me? This isn’t God haunting me with all my past sins, if I’ve repented. (Becuase certainly the Holy Spirit is at work in that.) I am already cloaked in the righteousness of Christ. But I berate and berate myself because I screwed up and whoever I hurt won’t forgive me. I am unable to let go and rest in the knowledge that I have done all I can.

Satan loves the haunting. And God’s grace feels too easy, so I punish myself. I may not love the haunting, but I fear I believe that I deserve it.