Hope of the Gospel

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 Joys of Church Planting

One Sunday, John and I walked to the #2 subway line, headed to Penn station, caught a train to Flushing and arrived in Asia in less than 45 minutes.  Actually, we were visiting Kings Cross Church, a church plant in Queens. Only the travel time belied the fact that we were still in NYC.  It’s one of the things I love about living in this city and that I [...]

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|

How Do We Experience Inner Soul Rest?

Is it possible to live with rhythms of work and rest in today’s society? More importantly, how do we experience inner soul rest? These questions surfaced after my last blog post, “Too Much.”

We’re not the only ones asking these questions. Time’s cover story last week was dedicated to the rising depression and anxiety in teens. The drama in junior and senior high school is magnified to a tipping point as teens struggle to [...]

Too Much….

This summer I began writing on a life-long interest, survival and resiliency, only to discover that my friend Penny Freeman was doing the same. Here are her thoughts:

I am learning about resiliency for my new life stage (sixth decade of life, fourth decade of marriage, having less energy, a weaker body, and grandchildren who expand my heart and my desire to run until I am dead).  Resiliency fascinates me because I am staring down [...]

What is Bothering You Today?

Are you overwhelmed? Anxious? Are there too many pending deadlines weighing on you?

I went on vacation this summer intending to work several hours each afternoon. We arrived at the beach Saturday afternoon. I planned to begin writing on Monday. For years, I’ve been reading and meditating on rhythms of work and rest. Sometimes I even practice what I’m learning. It took me a full day and a half, however, to recognize the humor of [...]

By |September 27th, 2016|Shari Thomas|3 Comments|

Lymphedema as an Open Platform

I received several emails after I posted the blog about struggling with lymphedema. Thank you for sharing so openly, trusting me with your stories and encouraging me in mine.

While I write openly about health issues, areas that I find much harder to navigate are ones that can’t be talked about publicly. Suffering is increased when we are alone, when others don’t understand or belittle our difficulty.

Entangled lawsuits, [...]

Faith on the 4th of July

I’m dripping with sweat as I maneuver through the crowded subway lugging my suitcase up and down stairs. I changed clothes so many times this morning that I’ve lost count of how many outfits were nixed. My problem? I have a lymphedema garment that reaches from toe to waist on my left leg and down my upper thigh on my right leg. It’s like wearing a personal heater in 90-degree weather. I’m heading to [...]