Sunday, July 3, 2016

For Such A Time As This...

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The following is a message based on Esther 4: 10-17 I gave in my church this morning. I have asked my congregation to have words of courage, I can do no less...

Pastor Martin Niemöller was a protestant pastor in Germany during the second world war, and the time of reconciliation afterward. A time we recognize as full of great horror and upheaval. You may already be well familiar with a poem based on a speech of his, this particular version comes off the US Holocaust memorial:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

It seems that these words could have easily been written for Mordecai to share with Esther.
Both of those times were times of great risk and upheaval. Jews did not have a place that belonged solely to them. They lived without security. They lived without true belonging and safety just for being who they were.

It’s something which we all long for and need. It’s something upon which we build the foundations of our society so that our children grow up and inherit something better, safer, some place in which they can belong.

That sense of belonging—it beckons us all. We all have a deep desire for safety. These are universal needs.

Esther had every reason to be afraid. Disobeying the King would put her very life in danger. Esther was only Queen because the Queen before her was booted out for making King Xerces unhappy.

But Mordecai’s words echo down through the generations, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.’

Such a time as this…

We live in a time where hate is pedaled to us like the sales pitch of an old time tonic salesman promising to cure everything that ails us.

But the idea of God not loving people is something which we can let go of.

The last time I was preaching I was unaware that morning a shooting had occurred at Pulse nightclub in Florida and so did not mention it in worship, through pastoral prayer, nor did I find a way to address it in the message.

There’s some controversy surrounding this nightclub because it was a gay club.

While most of our culture has condemned that shooting as an atrocity, a hate crime, a heinous act. Others have said, well, it’s very sad, and it’s wrong to shoot people. But, they were, you know, gay. I wouldn’t do that, and I’m sure God doesn’t think it’s okay, but they were in a nightclub doing, well, who knows what….

As if any of that has any correlation to the horror of what happened.

While I was on vacation I heard an interesting thing at my Dad’s church that hadn’t occurred to me before. His pastor spoke about how this club was a place of safety for the gay community. That there are so few places in our society where Lesbian, Gay, Transgender or Bisexual folks don’t have to obsessively watch themselves and how others respond to them.

Now, I have never thought of a club, dancing, and drinking as a place of safety. A place of complete belonging and acceptance.

But, then, I’ve never needed to do so. I’ve been welcome wherever I’ve been, and my relationship with the one I love the most in this world has always been accepted. I’ve never had to look out for us and I’ve most definitely never had to hide our love.  

And as Pastor Brenda shared this I sat there and wondered was the church as much, or more, of a place of safety as gay clubs can be seen to be?

And, sadly, for many, the church is not. If one is gay, then one can find oneself in a group of people who profess love and grace and acceptance for all, but in practice share words of hate, coldness, and be a place where one is most definitely not welcome.

But there are exceptions. Places where the love of God and God’s hospitality are a priority and are shared with all who enter. Churches that have made it their mission to go out of their way to show that they care and love all people, and do not see one’s sexuality as a hindrance to God’s acceptance.

The Disciples of Christ Church affirms that all are loved and accepted by God and encourages its churches to go through a process of discussion about how to be more accepting, show God’s hospitality, and share with the surrounding community that it believes all are welcomed by God.
But, many churches-both denominations and congregations- continue to struggle with ideas of what is acceptable to God and what isn’t.

How is that our decision?

How can we judge what God deems lovable?

If God can deem anyone unlovable, then friends, we have to realize that God can deem us unlovable too.

Esther’s answer was through her faith-fasting and prayer that gave her the courage to speak out for her people.

We, too, can have the courage to pray and speak out for our people.

Yes, our people.

LGBT folks are our people—no longer should they be shunned by the church or church folk.
Instead let us be a voice that shows God’s acceptance. A voice that speaks out against hate. Unless good folks stand up and say, no more, then this cycle of violence will continue.

Let’s not let this issue get clouded that in this one instance the shooter happened to be Muslim. He did not act in a way that is consistent with the Muslim faith as most Muslims understand it. 

Violence happens all the time to the LGBT community. And some of it is perpetrated by folks who profess to be committed Christians.

It may no longer be enough to not say hateful things or not do hateful things to this group of people. It may be time for folks who love God like we do to be more vocal about God’s love and acceptance.

Like Mordecai’s words of wisdom to Esther, our answers also lay within the courage that is found through hope. And hope, my friends, is not a weak emotion used when our backs are to the wall and we have nothing left. We lead with hope. We lead with love.

And, instead of feeding the fear and hate that seems to be rampant in our country right now, we can instead courageously and steadfastly say words of love, compassion, and truth.

That Love is always greater than hate. Hope is always greater than fear. We are not a people of hate or of fear. We are always a people of love and of hope.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Not An Accident

My fifteen-year-old son loves his independence (as fifteen-year-olds the world over do). This summer he is taking Driver’s Ed, and it’s fun to see him coolly excited about this milestone in his life. We only live about a mile away from his high school, so he walks each day back and forth to school. Just like he has almost every school day for the last year.

But today that almost changed forever.

I can hardly speak or write of it because I’m still so angry, but the anger is being replaced with the terrifying realization that I cannot protect my son from idiots.

My kid is that typical eldest male child mix of uber responsibility and, well, teenage boy goofiness. But, he takes his safety very seriously. He’s the oldest child of two oldest children. One, a prior cop, and the other a minister. Safety and responsibility is pretty much part of our DNA around here.

And today, because of someone else’s thoughtlessness and irresponsibility we easily could have had the worst day of our lives. Well, mine and my husband’s, and all who love us. Our son’s life, however, would be gone. As in he could’ve died today. In an instant.

All because some random moron was driving and texting.

My son was crossing the crosswalk. Actually, first he looked for cars and seeing none, he then crossed in the crosswalk. Safety first, after all. He takes care not to be hit by a car. “Look both ways before you cross the street” remembrances are flashing through my mind as I hold the hand of a very eager four-year-old boy. He learned his lesson well and as far as I know always, always, always does this.

But, today, that didn’t matter. No matter how careful he was it didn’t keep him from being bumped in the crosswalk by a man in a car. A death machine on wheels, basically. Because his phone was, clearly, more important than my son’s beautiful life.

I will say, my son is fine. A little shaken up, but, he was not hurt. My heart, though, it’s still not quite ‘fine.’

The man looked up just in time and screeched to a halt and instead of plowing into my son, bumped him, as thousands of pounds of metal stopped on a dime.

I am a minister. I have been with parents whose child has died. There is no worse thing in this entire world.

Nothing compares to the shattering of one’s existence. I have been witness to such events, helpless in the waves of grief, numbness, and rage that pour forth from parents whose bright hopes for the future are destroyed.

I have already had two children die through miscarriage. That grief is hard enough to carry with me, woven as it is in the fabric of my life.

But this. This would have been a monstrosity of grief.

We often use such words as ‘a tragic accident’ when something horrific like this happens. Except, when will we loudly, and with clear legal authority, claim that texting and driving is a choice? There is no accident of picking up one’s phone to text ‘lol’ or some other such inane remark. It’s a terrible, awful, selfish, soul crushing choice. On the same par as drinking and driving, which as a society we generally condemn. And, we have created ways to try and protect ourselves from people who behave with such thoughtless regard for others.

Drunk driving is a crime. Punishable by fines, revoking of driving privileges, and often some kind of jail time. But, texting and driving, well, that’s a different thing entirely. Using our phone, whether it’s texting or talking, is probably something we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another. It takes one bad decision to change multiple lives forever. We all (well those who were alive before the 90’s) are all old enough to remember having to wait until we were not driving to talk to someone, or laugh at their joke, or ask that question…it’s not a hardship to put the phone away while driving.

Just now the first of two of Noah’s friends has arrived. To celebrate the joy and freedom of summertime. They are having a hot dog & s’mores bonfire in our backyard, sleeping outside in our tent, staying up way too late, indulging in too much sugar, and making entirely too much noise.

Thanks be to God.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

No, I Am Not Your Sweetheart

Each week I meet with several other clergy for a bible study group. It’s usually a fun discussion about what we’re preaching on, what we’re not preaching on, and what we wished we could preach on the next Sunday.

There’s usually great banter about our differing perspectives and up until today I thought it was a group where we were all mutually respected as colleagues. I have learned that I am mistaken about being mutually respected.

This is the first time, in thirteen years of ministry, that I have experienced blatant condescension because of my gender.

We were discussing John 21:1-19. The one where Jesus tells Peter and others to fish from the other side of the boat. And then cooks breakfast for them. And asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. A text filled with grace that leads us to beautiful and purposeful questions of community.

But the conversation did get a little heated about what we could and could not read into the text and quickly the tone of the conversation shifted from friendly, but challenging banter, to something different entirely.

It began with these words: “Listen, Sweetheart…”


It was the verbal equivalent of “I’m going to pat you on the head little girl and you go sit in the corner while the rest of us real ministers get to talk.”

To be fair the other male clergy in the room were just as stunned as I was. And while I was the one who responded verbally, I could see from the expression on their faces that this was a comment that was not okay. I did not feel as if I needed one of them to respond for me, or ‘come to my defense.’ I felt that this was something I needed to address, myself, and immediately.

And so I responded. But I had to ‘interrupt him.’ Because he didn’t even seem to realize what he had just said.

“X, you call me sweetheart again and we’re going to have a real problem.” While looking him square in the eye and pointing my finger for greater emphasis.

“oh, well…I’m sorry.” As he waved his hand in the air. As if he were dismissing my very appropriate response to his very inappropriate comment.

There is one man on this planet who is allowed to call me sweetheart. And I can guarantee it is not this man.

Elders of my church laying hands on me
during my installation as their new pastor. 
Part of why I’m frustrated is that this is a group of ministers from liberal mainline denominations. So, I realize I made some assumptions about how women clergy were to be looked upon and treated. As in, treated with respect in conversation and looked upon as equals. This man’s own denomination has ordained women clergy for DECADES.

Clearly there is still work to be done. And lessons to be learned.

One of which is for me. And perhaps it’s past time.

When I went to church as a child or youth (which wasn’t often until my late teens) it was always a conservative church, although varied in denominations. Women were not pastors or spiritual leaders in the church. Unless, of course, it was children’s ministry. Because that’s a woman’s ‘sphere.’


It wasn’t until I was an adult that I actually knew of women who were ordained and in full-time ministry. As a young woman discovering a call to ministry it was like a door opening up and sunlight bursting forth.

It IS allowed! I CAN do it!

I am embarrassed to admit that I thought in my liberal corner of the church the work had been completed. Many courageous, intelligent, and passionate women have come before me in ministry. It is in their footsteps I follow and it is upon their shoulders I stand. I have never forgotten to be grateful for and to those women for having the courage to answer their call so that I could find it possible to answer mine. I have also been grateful for the male clergy who have supported their female counterparts and pushed the church toward a more equitable and just expression of ministry.

But I was doing them a disservice. Because I haven’t experienced direct condescension like this before this moment, I thought the fight was over.

I see now that some will always be comfortable harboring and feeding beliefs that a woman is not quite as good as a man in my profession. (And, of course, this unfortunately continues to be applicable in many professions.)

It was the unexpectedness of this comment that bothers me. I thought we were ‘us’ not ‘me’ and ‘other.’ It’s always hard to be the other. I thought we were in the same community. Turns out, that’s not mutually understood. (There’s a sermon in that, for all sorts of reasons…)

And, part of the dilemma for me in that moment is how to respond. Not, if I should respond, but how. Can I find it in me to respond with courage and dignity? Can it be a teaching moment for both myself and this 47-year veteran of ministry. One in which expands our community and understanding of ministry. One filled with grace? (Because, you know, the bible, Jesus, grace…)

Or should I respond with my first instinct of things, words that are as equally inappropriate?
It was a close call, let me tell you. I’m sure that’s God there, because it’s certainly not what I almost said.

I feel that I found some middle ground. I was firm, I let it be known that was an inappropriate comment. And then after a short pause, continued with my thoughts about the text. I did not allow that moment to control my ability to contribute thoughtfully to the surrounding conversation.

I will not be intimidated by nor internalize another’s thoughtless disrespect because of my gender. It is my strength. It is my identity. I am a woman. I am an ordained pastor. I am a wife and a mother. All of these, plus much more, contribute to who I am and how I see myself in the world. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

En pointe

Monday is no longer an average Monday in my house. It has been re-named “Dance Day.” It’s an important distinction on my four-year-old daughter’s social calendar. She has identified herself as a  
ballerina and says that ‘twirling’ is her favorite thing to do.  (Really, she’s adorable. I’m sure you agree.)

Anna watching the older girls en pointe class.
This past week the en pointe class was practicing in the classroom next to hers and from where I was sitting I could see their practice quite clearly. I began to wonder if each of them understands how strong she is and that because of her strength she is beautiful.

In all of their pre-teen/early-teen awkwardness they are strong. They are beautiful. They are amazing. They are empowered to be and do whatever they can dream of being or doing. Not just because they can dance on their toes, which in itself is pretty impressive, but because they simply are who they are.

Our culture places a high emphasis on beauty, but not beauty as strength, as empowerment, as a joyful expression of beings created by God.  

Instead, beauty is often defined as a sexual object to another and further defined by others standards ABOUT us.

There’s nothing wrong about identifying with one’s sexuality and understanding that is a core component of who we are as human beings. But one’s sexuality and being a sexual object are light years apart in understanding.

I wonder, I HOPE, these girls see their beauty as so much more than that.

They are strong, they can do amazing things with their bodies because of their perseverance and discipline. I hope they see their strength as something that gives them the confidence that they are indeed beautiful because of who they are, not because of what someone else puts upon them.
We are inundated with images of beauty ALL THE TIME.

Women can post nude pictures of themselves to their Instagram account and call it empowerment all they want, but I believe real empowerment is when we achieve something with our mind or our bodies that we didn’t know we could. It’s when we reach beyond what we’ve been told we are able to accomplish as girls or women and claim that strength for ourselves.

It’s not just these girls who are beautiful.
My beautifully strong sister-in-law,
Aunie. An inspiration to
girls everywhere

I want my daughter, and all the other mother’s daughters, to see themselves as beautiful. Because they are. Because there are no limits to beauty.

In a culture that sacrifices girls every single day to the gods of skinniness and male fantasy, I want them to understand and know how much MORE they are.

In a culture that tells girls that they must conform to any specific body standard to be beautiful, I want them to know their own strength.

In a culture that teaches women to look in the mirror and see flaws that must be fixed by any product in order to be beautiful, I want all women and girls to instead accept THAT THEY ARE NOT flawed.

They are lovely as they are.

I posed a question of strength and beauty to several women friends on Facebook, and their answers were as lovely as they were diverse. Several spoke of beauty in terms of strength of character and strength of faith. Others spoke of being able to claim their abilities and talents and being true to oneself as authentic beauty. 

But one in particular struck a chord with me as I was pondering my influence on my daughter’s perception of her beauty. “I'd like to hope that when it comes down to it, I don't have to tell my daughter anything about this. That she sees strength and beauty demonstrated by me as I saw it demonstrated by my mother.”

I realize that for my daughter to see herself as beautiful I must claim my own beauty for myself. It does no good for me to bemoan the culture I live in, or preach the intrinsic beauty of each girl and woman, if I cannot truly say the same for myself and embrace who I am.

It’s not narcissism. It’s truth. God made me. I have value. I have strength. I am beautiful. And so are you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why I took My Three Kids to a Trump Protest Rally...

Given all that has been happening at Trump rallies these past few months it may seem irresponsible or even downright dangerous to take my kids into the midst of hundreds of people in downtown Kansas City and have them hold signs affirming the humanity and dignity of those that Trump and his campaign have vowed to suppress.

Folks have gotten violent, loud, angry and sometimes even scary. Folks both for and against Trump. But here’s the thing, I cannot allow my kids to be witness to my silence any longer.

I am not what I would describe as a ‘political person.’ Sure, I’ve voted before, even proudly wore my red, white, and blue sticker ALL day, but that’s it. I have never protested publicly anything before. Never carried handmade, brightly colored poster-board signs proclaiming my opinion on anything. And even though I’ve protested plenty at home, or with close friends, I’ve never had the courage to proclaim my convictions to strangers.

Part of that has to do with my ideas of what my responsibilities as a pastor are. First, I’m a pastor to all people, regardless of their political affiliation. It’s important to me that I stay politically neutral as a pastor. I would hate for any political opinion to come between me and any person in need of pastoral care.

Second, as a pastor I feel that I have to be mighty careful in what I say in the pulpit (or as a representative of my church) that could be taken as promoting one party over another. My church’s reputation in the community ought not be abused by my desire to exercise my civic rights.

But, BUT, promoting hateful, racist, riot inciting speech is not a political right. And as a pastor, a mother, and a proud American citizen I feel obligated to speak out and say that this is not okay with me. It is not the community I want my children inheriting. I do not want to have to apologize to them at any time in the future because I failed to stand with those more vulnerable than I.

So Saturday night, I and several of my clergy friends got together and made some simple signs. It was like a re-uniting of Order of the Phoenix, Kansas City style. “Love Thy Muslim Neighbor,” “Love Thy Black Neighbor,” “Love Thy Immigrant Neighbor,” “Love Thy LGBTQ Neighbor.” And, two smaller signs, “LOVE” surrounded by hearts and smiley faces and “Be Nice. Use Kind Words. Be Gentle.”

Those last three from my kids, 15, 7 & 4. I couldn’t be more proud as they stood for hours in the drizzly rain, smiling and waving at those who shouted curses and flipped the bird-the younger two not understanding what exactly these folks mean, but showing love anyway because “We’re supposed to be nice like Jesus.” The older one showing love, because he was PROUD to stand in for his friends who are Gay and Bi-sexual. Who says, ‘They’re my friends, Mom. I have to do this for them.” Thank You, Sweet Jesus, for giving us that lesson. It’s a hard one sometimes.

(Good God, have my husband and I actually raised these kids? These amazing, beautiful, wonderful kids who think it’s like Jesus to stand in for those who are more vulnerable than they...and who are totally all in and willing to say it to anyone, anywhere?)

We did this protest because we are to, actually, love our neighbors.

And, for quite a while we got lots of love in return too. My daughter won the protest I think, she smiled for more pictures than if we added up all the pictures of her entire four years altogether. It’s hard to be an angry racist when a four-year-old with ponytails is smiling up at you with a brightly crayoned sign that says, “Be Nice. Say Kind Things. Be Gentle.” Eventually, though, the mood changed just enough in the crowd for me to mama bear up and take my kids home. And, to be fair, it was from both sides of the crowd. Language matters, is a powerful tool, and is able to incite hate and anger just as easily as it is to show compassion. After we left some folks tried to break through the barriers in front of the theater and received some pepper spray in response. I hear their frustration and anger at hateful rhetoric, but am glad our peaceful protest did not end so violently.

But, on this night, my kids got to see me follow their example. I will no longer be silent in this onslaught of hate. I will be as brave as they, calmly and gladly showing love for ALL of my neighbors. Even the ones with Trump signs in their yards. 

*A version of this blog post is also shared on Erin Wathen's blog found at

*For another great perspective visit Lara Blackwood Pickrel's post at

Monday, February 15, 2016

Anointed by Words...

Each Wednesday afternoon I meet with a small group for a book discussion. It’s lovely, we have great conversation about the current book, our faith, and how we understand God.  I look forward each week to seeing this group and all of the ways they make me think. It’s a joy to read and think and talk about it all together.

We meet in the home of a delightful woman, who cannot often leave her home to come to church. So, we bring church to her…and her wit and thoughts on our book and discussion are always worth hearing.

It’s a small group, this church within a church, and yet last week it was the most eventful church moment (in two parts) I’ve experienced in quite some time. I wasn’t busy ‘being’ the church as pastor, I was ‘receiving’ the church as a fellow worshiper.

Since it was Ash Wednesday on the way out of my office to attend the book study I grabbed my small wooden container filled to the brim with ashes (container bought at the Christian bookstore just that morning) and put them in my purse. No worries—they traveled safely.

Before we began I asked the woman who’s home we were meeting in if she would like to receive ashes after our study. She shared that she was hoping I would bring some and that she almost called me to make sure I would. I invited those present to remain, so we could continue in community together and if any of them were unable to attend our service that night and would like to receive also to let me know by turn.

Our regular study commenced. And then church REALLY began. In all of its simplicity and glory and loveliness, church that brought tears to our eyes and made a connection with the divine that in all its mystery and glory burst forth upon us.

She was sitting, and being a bit frail there was no way I would ask her to get up and come to me…so naturally I went to her. And on my knees I shared a short reading and prayer and anointed her with ashes, and uttered the familiar words cherished and passed down through the centuries, “From dust we came and to dust we shall return.”

Tears flowed. Church was joyful. We understood that we were in the midst of the Holy Spirt, which continually dances through our lives, but that we don’t always recognize.
Then I quietly asked, ‘are there any others’ from behind me a quiet voice said ‘me, please.’
I turned and in the same way, offered ashes to another. Saying once again, words that bring connection to all who have come before and to all who will come after.

And tears flowed.

Our hearts were full.

Then we went along our day, and what stuck out to me was the beauty and privilege of being able to offer these lovely women a ritual that has stood the test of time, that unites so many of us in different places with slightly different theologies, and connects us all to our shared past.

And, I thought I was the one who was offering the anointing that afternoon.

Until I returned to church…

A short time later I came into the church office and overheard the second woman say, with a tremble in her voice, ‘and then she…’ And they both looked up. I did not realize that I was stumbling upon my own anointing.

With tears flowing down her cheeks, she said to me, “To think. That MY pastor would humble herself like that and serve me on her knees…”

I’ll confess, it was not humility that brought me to my knees an hour earlier. It was the thought that I should go to them, help them be comfortable, and offer them what I thought they were seeking.
I did not realize that I was going to benefit in a much different way.

To hear a woman, a long time dedicated member of God’s church say to me, “To think MY pastor…”
My pastor. Not THE pastor, or even OUR pastor. But, MY pastor. In that moment she did more for me than I can express. These four plus months of newness in call, of stumbling my way around new people and new traditions, finding my preaching voice, of planning and rushing and learning what it means to be THE pastor, I understood I wasn’t THE pastor. I was HER pastor. And, with those simple words she anointed me.

She anointed me.

More than in my Installation last October I was made Pastor. And I am grateful, and now truly humbled that these people have called me be with them. It is a privilege, and may I NEVER forget that afternoon in a compact church office with a woman who taught me that I am, indeed, HER pastor.

Thanks be to God. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Feeling Vulnerable...

It’s hard to be vulnerable. And today I am feeling very vulnerable. Two years ago my friend and writing partner, Joy Freeman, and I sent an email that eventually turned into a book about our experiences as grieving mothers. And today, February 1, 2016 is the day that book is released.

I’m struggling with knowing that others will read words I have poured out from my heart onto the page. THIS is the real me. All of my doubts, anger, heartache, all of my stuff available for any and all to see. And I can’t help but ask myself, what if someone says something about my experience that is hurtful. There is already hurt there, what if more is piled on?

And I think of the five other clergywomen who have poured their hearts out onto these pages, and revealed some of the hardest moments of their lives…and they are vulnerable and real in those words too. They are beautiful, gut wrenching stories. And, ultimately, they are stories that share in the hope that is God…but for some of us it takes a while to get there.

And it’s just so hard to be so exposed. To share my wounds with the world and say, ‘this is my heartache.’ But then I remember it’s not so I can be judged, I’ve done that to myself plenty already. It’s so that other women can see that wherever they are in their own story of loss/death, it is simply where they are. There’s not a ‘right’ way or a ‘wrong’ way to grieve, to cope, to create a new life out of the ashes of one’s most beautiful hopes.

We share our stories so that women who have not yet been able to share their stories know they are not alone. That’s our purpose. We ARE NOT ALONE.

My story began a little over thirteen years ago…

“As if, at the age of twenty-six, the deaths of two of my children in their first trimester were not enough heartache for one year, I faced my own morality too. Cancer. Now there is a death word if there ever was one. I wondered more than once, were the previous nine months a foreshadowing of the next year? During the only prenatal visit with my third pregnancy my doctor discovered a lump in my neck. This was a visit that began with hope and expectation of a future, not only my future but also the future of my child. I was convinced before the appointment that this child would live and I was determined everything would be okay. I felt my appointment without significant worry, although there was a sliver of uncertainty where complete confidence had once reigned. Everything seemed fine with this baby, and my doctor gave reassurances that the lump was “probably nothing,” but she wanted me to make appointments with others to “just make sure.”
Even though I want to be, I am not truly in control of what happens within my body. I can try to be by exercising, eating right, and generally caring for my body, but really that just improves the odds a bit. This journey has taught me that very difficult lesson. Within the month I would find out that this baby, too, had died. And just a few short months after that I would be diagnosed with thyroid cancer. For me, loss of children, loss of self, loss of faith, and loss of health are all intertwined. I wanted my body to nurture cells that would form into a baby—a living manifestation of the love my husband and I had for each other. Instead, my womb denied life and my body allowed cancer to flourish. Death prospered where life withered" (33). 

Still A Mother: journeys through perinatal bereavement is available through any bookseller. I encourage you to visit or if you would like a preview or would like to order the book and share in our journey…