Kick Me When I’m Down


Yesterday I was working on the bulletin, as I do on Monday mornings, and of course, I decided life wasn’t hard enough so I was going to change the scripture, liturgy, and hymns I had previously picked.  Because of course. As I searched for a better text for my theme I read this verse from 2 Corinthians.

But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

I stared at this text for a while, contemplated using it, and then got really angry. I mean ridiculously angry.  I texted with some friends about what this could mean. I mean, I know what it means, “I must decrease so Christ can increase” it means that those of us in positions of power should get out of the way for God, for God alone has true power. It means a loss of ego, of self, of worldly pride and power. It means being knocked on our asses the way Paul was.

But yesterday, it felt like God was kicking me while I was down. Forcing me to stay down. Like me lying on the floor in the fetal position, arms protecting my face, begging for it to stop.

It’s been a hard few weeks.  I am adjusting to a custody schedule where I only see my children 7 of every 14 days. We are “nesting” until my husband’s apartment is ready and I am tired of living out of a suitcase. I am working with a lawyer to write a separation agreement, dividing debt, making budgets in which I adjust to a new way of life and a new financial reality.

Money wise I’ve been here before. For many years of our marriage we were on one income. 5 years one of us was in graduate school, there were at least 2 years thanks to the economic recession that my husband was out of a job and I made less than $30,000 a year. I made it work, we had more than enough, we provided for our children, I will do it again, I am just tired and don’t want to.

Which is where the kicking feeling came into play.

I like my God as a good God, one that does not kick me when I’m down. One that lays on the bathroom floor with me while I cry uncontrollably, one that weeps with me and loves me through the pain and darkness.

I appreciate that God can give me a swift kick in the ass every once in a while or a smack upside the head, that’s fine, that correcting. But does God kick me when I’m down? Has God done this before and I blamed myself or others?

 Maybe it’s a little of both, maybe I’m missing the whole point. But it’s a thought worth exploring.

God is Doing a New Thing

fontThis week I had the privilege of leading chapel with my DMin class, as we planned we chose this text from Isaiah:

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. ~Isaiah 43:18-21

Some of you may already know, although it has not been publicly announced on this blog or social media that my husband and I are separated. It is a fairly new reality, as the official separation started July 2 when I left for this trip. When I return home my home life will be completely different. Monday we will meet with a family therapist and deal with the realty of telling our children. We have yet to tell them given that they were without a parent for almost 2 weeks.

As anyone who has ever gone through separation and divorce knows this is not a simple admission. And for those of you who haven’t, I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it is. As a child of divorce I understand all too well that children are resilient, yet I also understand that this will forever change my children and the life I dreamed for them.

I have a great community, friends, and the support of family, both blood relation and not. I have a wonderful therapist and a church who supports and comforts me. However, this is a difficult, vulnerable, and very raw time in my life. Everything has changed, and over the next year of this separation and impending divorce everything will continue to change.

Isaiah’s message is that God is going a new thing. For me, a new thing is definitely happening, I don’t know if God is doing it or not, but it is happening. However, my faith tells me that God is always doing, reforming, “working” on me. But what is provocative about this text is – notice where the new thing is… it’s in the wilderness and the desert. It’s in a difficult place. We like to lift up a “new thing” as if it is the salvation from the old thing, but there’s a part of me that really liked that old thing. I was comfortable there. I liked being married, I liked my family, no it wasn’t perfect, but I was happy and wanted it to work.

Maybe this “new thing” is for the best, although I admit, I can’t quite perceive that yet, or maybe I just need to believe that. But right now I am tired and thirsty in the desert. Right now I am cold and lost in the wilderness.

God will make a path, and God will make the waters come, Isaiah says. Because sin and death does not have the last word, because I will not sit in this darkness forever, because I believe in a God of resurrection, a God of a new thing, even when I cannot yet perceive it.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and guide my way. Amen.

When Will People Cease Their Fighting?

I am heartbroken. Again.

I walked by the news stand yesterday and there it was, we are sending troops to Iraq. Again. Schools shootings are all over the news. Again. I can no longer stand for it, yet I am helpless. I am enraged, yet, paralyzed; stuck in a perpetual state of confusion and anger over this world. Over the state of our souls. What causes such brokenness in ourselves?

When will people cease their fighting?

In a moment of the news yesterday I heard a man say, “it’s in our interest.” What does that mean?

What part of my interest is worth stripping an innocent life of safety? Of threatening violence? This is not just about going to war, again, about school shootings, again. This has been the struggle since the beginning of time. There is a war within us. A separation of the divine love that somewhere, somehow we were told/taught/chose to ignore.

It happened at our first betrayal. The first time we were shown “I am more important than you. My interests are more important than yours.”

I need God to work harder on us, and I need us to work harder. There is so much pain and fighting with our souls. We go inward and self hate, and when we have beaten ourselves senseless we go outward and hurt others.

“Dear God,” my prayer starts and then a pause, “How dare you allow this to happen!” I scream.

My gut says that God would scream back and say, “how dare you…” but then again maybe God would not react so defensively. Maybe God would caress my face in the midst of my anger and say, “I’m sorry this is happening to you, to those around you, to the world. I am here in the midst of the pain, in the midst of the betrayal.”

I believe this about God-yet every fiber wants to yell expletives. “Yeah, you are here in the midst of the pain and the struggle? You are in the abyss? You are in the war? Well then fuck you.”

St. John of the Cross once wrote, “With all humility I say, it is God who should ask for forgiveness, not we, God. Someday you will know this. A saint could explain.”

Have we lost our humanity? Or more importantly our divinity? What say you God? When will people cease their fighting?

I am heartbroken. Again.

Lord I want to be a Christian

There is a famous prayer (paraphrasing here) from St. Augustine saying “Lord, make me a Christian, but not yet…”

Apparently Augustine had a lover and a kid with her. He wanted to be a Christian and a priest, but he would have to give up his mistress and his child. So he went to a garden and prayed. “I want to be a Christ, but not yet.”

These next three days I will journey through the stories of Jesus’ last supper, the prayer in the garden, the excruciating trial and crucifixion. And eventually, death not having the last word.

I cannot pick a favorite story of the bible, or a favorite scripture, or even a favorite book. I can tell you why I would choose Mark or John’s feeding of the 5000 story over Matthew or Luke. Why the prayer of the shema is so important to me. Why the Old Testament stories add such a complexity to my understanding of family and human life.

I can also tell you I am a Christian today because of the prayer Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I am the daughter of a catholic and a mainline protestant [and the step-child of two southern baptists(ish)]. Although church was on and off, my family is Christian, I was raised with church on Christmas and Easter and some times in-between. I was also raised with the concept that these were the things we did before the family gathered for the holiday meal.

Despite being “raised” Christian, there is no question when I “became” Christian. I know when I accepted that God was working in my life, I can look up the dates I was baptized and joined the church, I can tell you the story of my first communion and I can also tell you the moment I became a Christian.

An aside: saying “the moment I became a Christian” is really creepy to me. Having been raised for a time in the southern Baptist tradition I have to say this is a little too close to “when were you saved” but there really was a definitive moment I decided to be Christian.

Life wasn’t good and I struggled. I received my call to seminary when I was 18, but life happened, or continued to happen I should say. I ran from God for 2 years after this call. I know, not that long, but I ran hard, my life crumbled. I moved to Memphis running away from my hometown, I moved to Louisville, running away from Memphis.

I ran from Christianity most of all, not from God, but from religion. I could not give up on God… ever. But I wasn’t so sure about Jesus and the church.

My junior year of college I transitioned from a Music Education degree to a BA of Arts in music with a religious study minor. I studied world religions and I loved it. I was not “seeking” for a specific religion but wanted to learn and study all the different ways people knew and experienced God.

To fulfill the requirements for the degree I had to take a course in Christianity, admittedly I was not as happy about this. Yet, Introduction to New Testament I went… The class was taught by an ordained southern Baptist and was full of bible-thumping born-again engineers fulfilling their humanities requirement. I hated every moment of it.

Except, I had to read the New Testament. And I got to the moment of the Garden of Gethsemane (I like Matthew’s version the best). And I was transformed.

I read this prayer, and I had prayed this prayer:

“Now that’s a guy I can follow.” I even said out loud in my apartment. This guy gets it. This God gets it. I can follow him. I can teach his teachings, I can pray to a God who gets it. This Jesus gets me, he understand what it is to live this life. That life is hard and complicated, that there are impossible choices to make.

“Please don’t make me do this” Jesus prays. “I beg you.”

Yet at the end of the day, I believe in the gracious mercy of God and I am at God’s will to be used in the way God would have me be used – for love and compassion even if that means pain and heartache at times.

This is why Augustine left his mistress and child. This why I not only went to seminary but why I am in church on Sunday morning. Even more than that – it is why I don’t actually care if anyone shows up for service tonight, or tomorrow, or on Sunday. Their loss if they don’t.

Because I am a Christian who believes that God knows me through and through, because God – present on earth, fully human, in the form of Jesus – was alone in a sea of followers who worshiped him. Abandoned, he begged and pleaded, for life to be different – for this life he was living to be different. He begged to not have to make an impossible choice. He begged that someone else would take the burden away – make the decision for him. But God doesn’t work that way…

And Jesus knew it. And so do I.

God doesn’t stop the human feelings of burden, of wishing it wasn’t so. I know what I must do, ultimately what I will do, but until then, I beg you, don’t make me do this.

So I will be in worship tonight, I will serve communion, and I will read Matthew’s version of the garden of Gethsemane. I think it would be great if you were there.

Will you stay awake and pray with me a while?



The Way God Loves Me

Do you feel loved today?

I want to love you today. Right now. I want to hold you and kiss you, and look you in the eye.

I want to hold you and love you until you feel the way about you that I feel about you.

Can I do that for you today? Will you let me?

Or will I scare you off again?

It’s too much, I know it’s hard for you to handle, you run around and run around because you’re afraid if you stop you will not be enough, you will not be worthy of all that is around you. Of your beauty, your insights, this love and grace that abounds. You are afraid that if you stop, if you let me hold you close, if you let me love you today, you will not be worthy of it.

My beloved child. I love you.

Do you feel loved today? because I love you.

And if I could be present in a physical way, in front of you right now, with arms and legs, and a body, I would wrap my arms around you.

I would kiss you

and I would look you in the eye

until you felt as loved

as I love you.

First Embrace by Anna Shukeylo (gold on mylar)

First Embrace by Anna Shukeylo (gold on mylar)



“When leaders take back power, when they act as heroes and saviors, they end up exhausted, overwhelmed, and deeply stressed” ~Margaret J. Wheatley

Dagger. Heart. Twist.

Yes, Margaret J. Wheatley, who studies organizational behavior… who I want to ignore and write off as another “consultant” i.e. “those who can’t…consult.” Those who can’t be bothered to do the real work, like to stand on the outside and point in and tell us with “boots on the ground” everything we’re doing wrong.

Okay, this is not what consultants do (well not what good ones do) but this is what my brain thinks when I hear the word “consultant”. Much like “self-help” or “life’s purpose”. ugh!

The truth is every leader needs a refresher in leadership. Every one of us. As a pastor I am a manager of leaders AND a leader myself. It is the joke that in churches I am the lion to the land of misfit toys (Jesus is the lion BTW I’m a Charlie-in-the-box or something or maybe Jesus is Santa… okay back to the topic). Leadership in church is hard.

I lead a congregation, a staff, individuals with unique talents and gifts in all walks of life, governing boards, committees, all the while, “serving” them and God in this time and place.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Yesterday, a parishioner entered my office and gave me a lecture on how I was taking on too much. She should know, she spent the majority of her married life married to a pastor. She has seen first hand what happens when we take on too much, take it personally, and invest to the detriment of everything else in life.

I am exhausted. And I am exhausted in the way Margaret J. Wheatley describes. I am also exhausted because life is sometimes exhausting. For the last several months my life and my beloved schedule has been turned and twisted. Sometimes for the better, sometimes the worse. My thoughts are moving in a thousand different directions. I go to work and I don’t know where to begin, I go home and worry about work, I sit to pray and end up feeling guilty about not getting to the grocery store because I had to work late, or my husband had to work late, and the kids need to be picked up, and dinner, and bedtime, and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake up and do it again.

Yesterday I was wondering how my cup could be so empty and so overflowing all at the same time. Then a friend reminded me that if we are not building relationships then what’s the point? Yes, yes. When did I stop remembering that “I” am not more important than “you”. That “you” are not more important than “me” and that none of us and no thing is more important than the God that is in and through and around.

I want to stop having people think I have somewhere more important to be. Starting with myself.

I want to invite God back into the conversation of vision and direction.

I want to be a leader that empowers, not just assigns tasks.

I know how to be this leader, it is when I forget and over function that I get this kind of exhausted. The exhaustion that cannot be slept away, because it is driven by anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. I am not hopeless, and neither is any situation I am working in right now. For in God, there is always hope. I believe this. I really, really do.

Renew me, merciful One, I alone will never be enough, thank goodness! You gave us a community and a little plot of space and time and asked us to work together. I am thankful for the exhaustion, the stress, the overwhelmed feelings, because without them, I would destroy myself and so many around me without even knowing it. Renew and refresh. So I may serve you and neighbor. Amen.

Burning Love

So here’s what happened. I got a steamer for Christmas (you know so I never have to iron again) and it works great! But I am a dumb ass at times (NO!… yes…) and by being an idiot I burnt my arm.

I spent all day icing it and putting aloe on it and two days later it is looking better but still very red.  Here’s today.


Although it is very cold and I am wearing lots of layers I am constantly pulling my sleeves up, and the bright red mark is drawing attention to my arm. But the thing is the burn is not what they are looking at, they are noticing that I have a tattoo on my arm.

I have tattoos, which are not secret and I do not hide them, but a lot of people don’t know about them because they are in white ink, and I am of Irish-Norwegian decent and almost the whitest white girl ever… no seriously, I like glow in the dark. Why would the whitest white girl ever get a white tattoo, because it’s for me.

Anyway, on my left forearm is the word “Love” and on my right forearm is the word “Grace”. They came at a very important marking of time for me, something inward that made a huge impact, an acceptance of self, a claiming of my body, and a testament and gratitude for my faith. I will also note that I did not get my first tattoo until I was into my 30’s.

They are also “incorrect” according to the tattoo etiquette (yes there is such a thing). However, I have them so that when I lift up my arms and give the benediction the right arm goes up “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” and then the left arm “the love of God”. They are not proper when my arms are down but when they are up giving the benediction you could read them.

I speak a lot about the benediction, I love it, it is the sum of the gospel in a few lines. But there are other reasons I chose these words.

There is a duality to life, today in honor of Epiphany I preached about darkness and light. I preached about the importance of honoring both the shadows and the truth of our lives. I chose these two words as they symbolized the duality of life; light and dark, free will and providence, estrangement and relationship. The important thing to remember about duality is that one side cannot exist without the other, and really, the pendulum does swing all the way over for a moment, but the large majority of the time they co-exist in tension.

So, love (on my tattoo) is the free will side, the choices I have to make. The shadow, the darkness, the estrangement. The things in which I can control. And my choice is love. God is love and all love comes from God but by choosing love I choose God in my life.

However (yes, I am an excellent Presbyterian and here is why) God chose me first, and I will never be separated from the love of God. No matter what I do, or how dark I go, or how estranged I get, God will not let me go, God will usher me to light, stay in relationship with me, and protect me. This is grace. There is a lot, and I mean a lot in my life in which I have no control over. There is also many, many moments in which I have simply been a dumb ass (yes, much worse that testing a steamer on my robe… which I happen to be wearing at the time).

God does not save me from all my stupidity and sometimes I get burned. Which brings us back to love.

The words are a cycle. I have been burned by love many of times, but love also burns within me as a light of Christ. As I have stared at my arm these last few days I have asked myself if it was all worth it? All the heartache, all the tears, all the struggle. Is a relationship with God (which is an exhausting process) and with people who God has brought into my life worth the burns, cuts, bruises, and yes, at times a broken heart. The answer is a resounding yes.

Because grace has remained unscathed. Grace is constant and shall not be moved, and because of this I have had the opportunity to receive great abiding love through the radiance of God shining in others and I can only pray that others have received God’s radiance in me.

photo (3)

So for now, love is a little burnt, but she will heal, gently with time, with care, she will overcome her scar and chose to do it all over again.

Darkness to Light

Advent is a season of waiting and preparing, preparing for the birth of the savior, Jesus, who came as a baby and whose birth we celebrate each year. We celebrate the spiritual birth and honor his work in our hearts on Christmas; it is a most sacred time of year.

Each year I write or say something like this from the pulpit, and I admit, I do not connect with it. Yes, I have two children and I know what it is to wait and prepare for the coming of a child. I also LOVE Christmas (in the secular sense). I love decorating and presents, both giving and receiving- I’m not going to lie. I love crazy sweaters and people’s “cheer” and parties where we dress up in clothes that sparkle.

I love it all.

But I, like most people who celebrate Christmas, want to skip right over preparation and hold the baby. I want to sing Carols of the birth, not of the coming. I want to skip right to the light and forget the darkness. When waiting for a child to be born there is so much unknown, so much uncontrollable mystery. The sex of the baby is always the first question asked, then the due date. And the annoying question that I always got was, do you think it’ll have red hair? As if I knew the answer…

As the expectant parent, grandparent, or friend we wonder. Will she be healthy? What is something happens to him? What if something happens to me? Will I be a good parent? And this is just the beginning.

If we skip over these very real and very scary questions, we are ignoring God. God is just as present in the preparation.

Christmas Eve is often everyone’s “favorite” service of the year. But when asked why it is not easily articulated. It’s the same story, same music, same candles every year, what makes it so special?

I believe what we cannot articulate is that Christmas Eve is the ritualization of the light meeting the darkness. For a few brief moments, everything is good, we tell the story of the birth, there are angels and shepherds, but then the lights go out. The words of darkness and watery chaos come, then the light of the word enters and the darkness could not overcome it.

This is the best news we have to share. The story of God through Jesus Christ has been summed up in many ways, but all the love, grace, mercy, faith, hope- can be summed up in this one verse.

The darkness, (cannot, will not, and) did not overcome the light.

The light of the world is coming this season, and we do need to adequately prepare. But we cannot ignore the darkness that comes with preparation, we cannot skip the tough, uncontrollable questions that come to us in the dark, for God is there too, ready to show us the way into the light.


Statement of Faith


Today I was talking with my friend Jeff Richards who is being examined for ordination today in the Presbytery of Sacramento. Being “examined” on the floor of presbytery is daunting, just about anything is game- faith, theology, church, life, whatever, anything. I’ve been teasing him that my first question was about the second coming, you know… no big deal… Anyway, I thought I would share my statement of faith, (you can read Jeff’s here). The majority of it was written in seminary.  When I went to change calls and re-wrote it about 2 years ago I really didn’t have much to change, a few words here and there. It’s not that I or my connection with God hasn’t changed, it’s just that the core of my faith (which is essentially what a statement of Faith is) hasn’t. It is based of the benediction I give each Sunday, enjoy. (also, there’s no mention of the second coming- I’ll let you decide what to do with that).

I believe in God and in Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, both now and forever. This Triune God is to be worshiped and praised in our coming in and our going out.

THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST-I believe that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God. I believe that God revealed God’s self to humanity through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe Christ has atoned for our sins in his death and resurrection. Through Christ’s earthly ministry he revealed the kingdom of God and brought us into a right relationship with God.

THE LOVE OF GOD-I believe that in life and in death we are never separated from God’s love. This is because of the abundant grace and mercy that God has shown us and toward all of creation through our Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe God calls all people into a life of service as shown to us in Holy Scripture. Scripture is the unique and authoritative witness to Christ and God’s word of love, grace and redemption to us.

AND THE COMMUNION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT- The Holy Spirit is our advocate and our guide, through the Holy Spirit we are empowered for the work and ministry that God calls us to do. We come to know God in all God’s forms through Holy Scripture, which is revealed to us through the Spirit.

IS WITH US ALL- I believe that God’s redeeming grace is offered to all people. God adopts us into the convenantal family through our baptism, which is corporate and individual. I believe the baptismal covenant that my parents established for me in my infancy and that I affirmed when I became an active member of the church, this encouraged me to look at my life and say “what love God has for me that I am called as a child of the God.”

THOSE WHOM WE LOVE- The church is our family in Christ and as the church we are the body of Christ. It is through our faith community that people experience Christ in the world today. In the gathering of the church community we are to listen to God’s word, to baptize and participate in the Lord’s Supper and to pray and to have fellowship with others. In the celebration of the Lord’s Supper we are to be mindful of whose body we have become members. As the gathered church communes together we are reconciled with God and with one another.

AND EVEN WITH THOSE WHOM NOBODY LOVES- We live in a broken world and through baptism and communion Christ calls us to be Christ’s body for our world. I believe that Christ called us to work in the world to bring about God’s justice, especially for the oppressed.

THIS DAY AND EVERY DAY- I believe that God never leaves us and that the Peace of Christ is always with us. We may feel alone or afraid in the world, but that God is with us even when we feel empty. We are a community and that even when we cannot affirm our faith for ourselves, the church exists as a community of faith to support us and affirm our faith on our behalf through the power of the Holy Spirit.



How do you forgive, how do you heal?

This is a question that I not only have asked myself many times over in my life but people ask me on a regular basis. Forgiveness and healing are often at the root of why people turn to or against faith. I had a beautiful morning with a dear friend and this topics was discussed between us.  Here are some thoughts I have.

I cannot heal myself, neither can you heal me. The power of forgiveness and then the healing that comes from it can only be extended by God. Yes, you give into the healing power, but only God can actually do the healing and forgiving.  This of course begins with prayer, various forms of prayer and time. This is not to make you feel helpless, this is just a reality.  I am a smart woman, and I have a large ego, but there are some things I cannot will into existence.  I cannot command myself to forgive. I may go to therapy, talk to every person I know, do every exercise possible, but until I understand that healing and forgiveness cannot be achieved on my own, I will be stuck. (This is a lesson I have to relearn on a regular basis, by the way…)

Time is essential.  I was once told that I knew I had forgiven someone when I could think about the person or situation without negative feelings arising.  At the time I truly thought that was impossible. Years later, I can begin to see that is true. Time does not heal all wounds, but over time this “thing that just happen to me” shaped who I am.  Hopefully for the better, and that integration can be healing and should not be rushed.

Accept that you are changed. There are things that just happen to you. Shit happens, it doesn’t always have a purpose or a meaning, sometimes it’s just shit.  However, it changes us, each and every experience we have changes us. Accept this, incorporate it into your life, learn from it, grow from it, or express it. Don’t hide, let the secret out, don’t be ashamed, it just is, even if “it” is something you did wrong or are embarrassed about.  Talk, write, sing, jump, kick it out. Bottling these feelings of shame or joy will only eat you alive. Curse at God, love yourself through it. Know that you are different physically, emotionally, and spiritually from every relationship you have. Ones that are good and ones that cause harm.

Stay in relationship This is the hardest of all. If possible- let me repeat that- IF POSSIBLE stay in relationship with the person or people.  Healing comes through relationships. There is a reason why atoning for ones sins is in the 12 step program. The person may never know or understand how they have harmed you and that can be almost as, if not more, painful then the act or acts that took place. This is not possible with everyone. Some sins are harmful to your person and you need to break the relationship off. Then do it. This harm could be physical or emotional. Or the person may have died, or you don’t even know who they are.  This happens, healing can come from it, but in my experience it is harder. I hate that it is, but it is. Life may be “easier” by not being in relationship with them but at what cost? You have to decide this for yourself, is the weight of holding the hurt larger or smaller than the weight of being in relationship? This is not an easy question to answer and may take multiple trials and error.  

Essentially there is no easy answer (and I certainly don’t have them), healing is complicated, because it comes through love, the love of God. Forgiveness is an extension of mercy and again, only comes from God. So if there is something you are in need of healing from or for, let yourself off the hook to “fix it” as soon as possible, and open yourself up to the healing powers of grace. May it be so for you and for me…