Broken world

Does God Really Use Our Brokenness?

“Everything is broken. That’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

John and I are often surprised that God delights in working through us. Yet like most humans, we are still bent towards the belief that God only uses our gifts and abilities.  So last night’s dinner conversation was especially encouraging.

New York City is full of beautiful old church buildings that serve a handful of congregants at best and that’s only if the church is still used [...]

By |November 22nd, 2017|Shari Thomas|1 Comment|

Living in a Time of Trauma

By Guest Blogger Dr. Penny Freeman

Barbara Brown Taylor says “Pain and suffering makes theologians of us all.”

It’s true. There is no shortage of trauma these days. This summer our eyes have been glued to the devastation of hurricanes. Harvey left Houston in a state of disrepair that left me slack jawed. Irma wiped out Barbuda (an island I didn’t know existed until three weeks ago) and Maria totaled Puerto Rico the same time an [...]

The End of the Rope

I picked up my Bible and hurled it out the tiny window of our basement apartment. The thin pages wrinkled. The leather cover folded.  But there it hung, caught between the iron bars of our city window. “I can’t succeed at anything, I thought, not even throwing my Bible away.”

I was at the end of my rope. Finished. Disillusioned. We were church planters in a foreign country, in a global city, in a language [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|Shari Thomas|21 Comments|

The Sting of Messing Where You Shouldn’t

Yesterday, we ended a lovely family weekend with a walk to The Museum of Natural History. Hidden behind the museum is a small water fountain park. Our grandson excitedly ran through the soft green grass towards the water and right over a swarm of yellow jackets. Surprisingly he didn’t get stung. But like all New Yorkers, I expected at minimum a warning sign to be posted about the danger.

Penny’s yellow jacket experience turned out [...]

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The inspiring yet heartbreaking story of one woman’s courage during wartime is the plot for the book and now the movie, The Zookeeper’s Wife. This true story, set in Warsaw during World War II, shows not only how war impacts women but also how they fight and risk all for their beliefs.

One wife’s courage saved over 300 Jewish lives from extermination. When Poland is occupied by the Nazis, zookeeper Jan Zabinski and his wife [...]

Longings, Losses and Limitations

By Dr. Penny Freeman

Today I planned my garden…

Not the one I usually do…

In fact, I pulled up to the outside of my scraggly house and assessed the outside beds and grass. Usually, as soon as we have a few good weekends in the 70s, I migrate outside as my neighbors do into the yard to rake and bag leaves or sticks blown down by the winter. I attempt to start weeding beds that are [...]

Is It Supposed To Be This Hard?

Once a month my staff meets on a virtual site for our soul care hour.  We call in from around the world. I like seeing glimpses of each person’s backdrop:  Ruth Ann led us from Japan last month; Lorrie came on line from Berlin; Cristina called from her car, where the internet connection is better than in her apartment.

While our literal backgrounds shift each month, we’ve been sharing a common theme lately: suffering.

Betrayals, [...]

Help! How Do I Deal With My Contempt?

My last blog elicited quite a few responses asking how we should handle our contemptuous hearts. Remember, contempt is the number one marriage killer. It’s not something to take lightly.

Tackling an answer in a blog doesn’t do the problem justice. One size does not fit all. Still, I’m going to offer an approach by sharing what’s helped identify and root out contempt in our marriage. Bear in mind that this was after [...]

By |February 15th, 2017|Shari Thomas|4 Comments|

The Number One Marriage Killer

He dropped a heavy bag on the train seat next to mine. I commented on the black velvet suit draped over the top. “That’s from another life, another time,” he said with a sigh. “Besides, it’s a long story.” I told him I had an hour and half.

He had just been released from rehab and was a Christian who had journeyed far from his true home. He was getting his life back on track [...]

But I want my Pumpkin to be Perfect!

Tears streamed down her face as she hiccuped the words into her daddy’s ear.  “My pumpkin! It took so much work to carve it. I want it to be perfect!”

I had just arrived at my friend’s home. When they had opened the door to greet me, their six-year-old discovered her once beautiful pumpkin was now a wilted, mildewed jack-o-lantern.

As her dad comforted her, our eyes met with a knowing look. His daughter was voicing [...]

By |October 27th, 2014|Shari Thomas|1 Comment|