New Beginnings While Searching for the Old

I’m not blogging very often these days, but when I discovered a few weeks ago that my website had been hacked and that everything I had written had been wiped out, I decided to see if I could figure out how much I’d lost. I found that I started blogging almost 10 years ago, and as best as I can tell, I wrote close to 1,000 posts. 

This was in the days before The Facebook or The Twitter, so there’s quite a few things I’m not sure would constitute a blog post anymore. But still, most of it was lost in the hacking. I’m working on getting some of it recovered, by essentially paying a high schooler to search the internet archives to see what he can find for me, but the majority of it seems to be completely lost. 

A few people said to me, “this is a great opportunity to start fresh”, which is true and a nice way of looking at it – but honestly, I’m pretty bummed to lose what I wrote. It was a chronicle of what I was thinking at the time and how I was processing leadership, becoming a father, theology, and what I thought was funny. I was writing when I was working on my Master’s Degree, when I had my first kid, and when I became Lead Pastor. I was also blogging my flight numbers so Allison would know when I was flying, my story of inventing the Frappuccino (so that I had a source I could reference when I was changing the wikipedia entry) and pictures of Santa bowing down to Jesus Christmas Ornaments…so not sure whether or not those get to count as a loss. 

I was having lunch with a theologian today who made the comment that at the end of his life, Martin Luther said that if he could recant 95% of what he had written, he would. He had grown and changed beyond what he had written. If you’re not growing and changing in how you lead, how you understand God, how you relate to Jesus, you’re probably stuck in an unhealthy place. There has to be room, especially for those who lead and teach, to be able to process new information, to question old assumptions and to publicly adapt and even contradict themselves. 

It reminds me of conversations that I have sometimes with married couples who are having a hard time. The husband will say, “but she’s different from the person that I married…she’s changed.” To which, I’ll usually reply, “Did you want her to still act like the immature 22 year old who didn’t have responsibilities now that she’s 45?” Of course she changed…that’s a part of the maturation process. 

That’s a long way of saying that over the past 10 years I’ve come to understand some things differently. In theology, I’ve developed a more robust understanding in some areas, I’ve changed my understanding in others, and have had wrenches thrown into things I thought I had figured out. My understanding of effectiveness and success in church has evolved. My sense of humor…well, it’s pretty much still pretty much the same…I guess that hasn’t changed much. The past 10 years has seen some of the most significant amount of change in my life. 

But, some random hacker, for a reason I’ll probably never know, robbed me of the ability to go back and see all of the process of that growth. I should be able to recover some of it, but most of it will be lost. At one level, I should probably be glad, because unlike Martin Luther, I won’t need to recant what I wrote because it’s gone and no one (not even my grandma!) saved it. So, there’s several things I probably should have to answer for in some way, but never will. 

This is how we move forward. We don’t forget what was behind, but we don’t let it define our future. So we search to understand our past because it helps us to make sense of our present, but we can’t live beholden to the past, otherwise we’ll never move forward. 

So, I guess, here’s to new beginnings while we keep searching for the old…

On Women in the Church…

Today, I was challenged in a sermon by one of the best preachers I get to hear on a regular basis. That preacher happened to be a woman. Rachel crafted a fantastic message that was funny at the right moments, insightful, vulnerable and challenging at the same time, which is not easy to do. I had sat in the sermon prep meetings and knew most of the examples she was going to use, I knew what she was going to do to wrap up the message and some of the ways that she would get there, but even knowing all of that, she put it together in a way that regardless of knowing what she was going to say, it still provoked and challenged me. That’s something only a skilled, gifted communicator is capable of doing. 

If our church did not allow her to preach, we would be missing out on that gift. If she was relegated to only teaching children or women, I would have missed the challenge that I received today from her teaching, and so would the 50% of our congregation that happens to be the same gender as me.

The church that I grew up in didn’t have space for women to lead and teach in that kind of way. In fact, I don’t remember a woman ever even doing something such as serving communion. I don’t know if it was an official policy or a stated theological position, but it was just known that didn’t happen. They could teach my Sunday School class, but heaven forbid that they were allowed to pass out the elements of communion to the congregation, much less explain those elements or ever teach the congregation. 

Several years ago, I remember bringing in a woman who taught at our church. In the packet she sent before she came, she asked if she was allowed to quote the Bible while she taught, if she could stand behind the podium or needed to be in front of the stage, and if what she was doing was allowed to be called teaching or if we needed to simply call it her “sharing” instead. Apparently those are all things she’s been asked to do at churches that she has been invited to speak at before, so as to not appear to be teaching. 

A friend told me once about a marriage series that the Pastor at his church was preaching. He had asked his wife to share one of the messages with him, in order to give a perspective from a wife on marriage. Sounded great since that is not always done in churches, where men typically dominate the preaching conversation about marriage (as well as everything else). When it came time for his wife to teach, however, he introduced her by saying, “Now men, my wife is coming up here to teach the women. You are welcome to listen in as she does, but you need to know that she is here to speak to the women.”

This has been on my mind this week. I don’t know if it’s because of what happened with The Nines Conference last week where there was only 4 women out of 112 speakers to church leaders. Or maybe I’m a bit more mindful of it as I read Sarah Bessey’s thoughtful and well-written book, Jesus Feminist.It could be because of what happened to a lament that April Diaz wrote about women in leadership in the church, which was stripped from a book before publication.  Maybe it’s because I have a daughter, and I’ve been thinking about the kind of church environment that I want her to be able to grow up in and what it looks like as she grows to be able to be empowered to use the gifts that God has uniquely given her in the same way that I’ve been empowered to use mine.

Whatever the reason, this has been on my mind. As as I think about it, I am incredibly grateful for the church that I have the privilege to be a part of. I’m grateful for the honest wrestling with Scripture that has led us to recognize the contribution that women have in all places in the church. I’m grateful to get to sit under the teaching of a gifted communicator like Rachel. I’m grateful for the wisdom of all of our Elders, including two women. I am grateful for the ability for women to lead and serve based on their gifts and not their gender.

Yet, at the same time, I am grieved that in many places in the church, that is not reality. I’m grieved that not only are there incredibly gifted women who have no place to use their gifts in the church, but I’m grieved by what those churches are missing out on. The women in our churches have much more to contribute than just a perspective on “female specific topics”, and many churches are missing that. I’m grieved as I read the stories of women who feel silenced, oppressed and not valued in the churches that they love. 

So, to my friends who lead churches where there are incredibly gifted women who don’t fit into the narrow roles that you have defined as acceptable for them. As you find yourself in battles as they try use their gifts, and you don’t have a place for them…Send them my way. We have a church full of strong, capable women serving and using their gifts, but I could always use even more role models for my daughter. I don’t know that I have a better answer than that. I can’t change your church, but I can keep making sure that there is space in the one I lead for people to serve with the gifts God has given them, regardless of gender. 

Sermon Prep – Follow Up to SermonSmith Podcast

Recently, John Chandler interviewed me on his new podcast, SermonSmith. It’s a great podcast, interviewing pastors about sermon preparation. It’s such a significant part of the job, that not a lot of people are talking about. If you preach or teach on a regular basis, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

On the podcast I mentioned that I am not a good extemporaneous speaker. I ramble, I repeat myself, and I forget half of what I wanted to say. Which is exactly the case when John interviewed me. Before he called me, I had thought about all kinds of things to say about my sermon prep, and proceeded to forget most of it when we talked. 

So, I thought I’d follow up here with a few things I didn’t mention in the interview.

Sermon Prep is incredibly hard work for me

It does not come easily or naturally for me. I enjoy teaching, but the preparation for the teaching is something that I agonize over. I can read and study if it has nothing to do with something I’m preparing to teach on, and I enjoy it and get a ton out of it. But, when I’m studying for a specific sermon or series, it is incredibly hard for me. For me, it’s a discipline that I have to intentionally engage in. For those who just naturally engage in it…I hate you… :)

I’ve had to learn the discipline of holding onto sermon illustrations

My temptation is to have something happen or to come across something that I think will be a great sermon illustration, and then to want to use it that weekend. Because of how I use Evernote (something I talk about some in the podcast), I am able to file that illustration in order to use it when it would work best, rather than trying to cram it into a message just because it is there (which is what I used to do).

A lot comes to me through in-direct study

Although I do record and catalogue quite a bit as I mentioned in the podcast, I also am constantly taking in information that I don’t capture. Listening to podcasts, reading books, magazines, newspapers, etc – there is a constant influx of information. All of that information is in some ways, synthesizing in your mind, and at times you’re making connections without a focused effort to. You will have a thought, that you think is original, but it’s really not, it’s simply coming out of a collection of things that you have in some unintentional way synthesized in your brain. So, I try to take in a lot of info, and sometimes something comes out of it.

Sunday forces me to have to ship

Seth Godin talks about how professionals always ship. They don’t just talk about an idea, they actually ship an idea. If Sunday didn’t show up every week, I wouldn’t ship. The impending Sunday forces me to have to come up with something. People are showing up and I’ve got to have something to say. On Monday, I may have had a great sermon the day before, but the next one is what’s on my mind now. In some ways, that showed up in the interview. John asked me for an example of something I had done in a previous sermon, and I honestly couldn’t think of it, because the way that I work, I have to move on to the next one.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to what I do in sermon prep than just that. I talk more about it in the interview, which you should check out, not because of me, but more because of the others who are being interviewed. I’m already trying new things, and incorporating new ideas into my sermon prep because of it. Thanks John for doing this, it’s a much needed discussion.

A Christmas Reflection For This Week

“Do not be afraid”

This statement by an angel shows up several times in the Christmas story. It’s said to Zechariah as the birth of John is announced. The same is said to Mary as she is told of her pregnancy. Then the angels say it to the Shepherds as they first hear about of the birth of Jesus.

“Do not be afraid.”

I wonder if a part of the reason the angels would begin a significant announcement with those words was so that what they had to say could actually be heard.

In those kinds of moments, it would be easy to let your fear override the words that you’re hearing. It would be easy for your mind to be somewhere else, thinking about something else, all the while, the angels are giving you incredibly significant news that you’re going to have an opportunity to respond to. In order to not miss what was going to happen in that moment, the angel would say,

“Do not be afraid.”

Because fear would take them out of that moment. Fear would keep Mary from pondering and treasuring these things. Fear would keep the shepherds away from the manger. They are told to not be afraid, because fear would distract them from what God was doing in that moment and in that place.

Maybe if those same angels came to us today, instead of saying “do not be afraid,” maybe they would instead say something like, “put down your phone” or “don’t add something else to your to-do list” or “stop your incessant worrying for a moment”. I wonder if the statements we would hear would be the things that keep us from being fully present in the moment.

What if during this season, God is wanting to say something to you, but we have become so preoccupied that we aren’t able to hear it. Maybe this week, in preparation for Christmas, you could take some time to put your list away, turn your phone off, and allow yourself to not worry about all that has to be done. Maybe you take a slow, meandering walk with your family. How about you get a fire going and make coffee and hot chocolate and just hang out. Or perhaps you turn off the TV one evening and instead read the story of the first Christmas – it’s only a few chapters – Matthew 1 & 2 and Luke 1 & 2.

I’m reminded of the words of the Psalmist who said, “Today if only you would hear his voice.” Today. Not tomorrow. Not sometime when things slow down. Today.

Could it be that one of the reasons the angels would begin their declarations that we read every year at Christmas with the statement, “Do not be afraid,” was as a way of saying, “Be fully present so that you can hear what God wants to say to you and experience what God is about to do”.

This week, as you prepare for Christmas, don’t forget to slow down and be present so you can hear what God wants to say and experience what God is about to do.

Bold as Love This Weekend at Parkcrest

I first heard about Bob Roberts several years ago when Roger Beard, the former Lead Pastor at Parkcrest, was at an event he spoke at. Roger came back talking about this crazy guy, Bob, who was incredibly challenging and was causing him to think differently about missions.

So, I began reading Bob’s books, where his influence began to affect the way we engaged in missions at Parkcrest, and also began to spur on a passion and strategy for us becoming a church planting church.

A little over a year ago, I began getting to know Bob, and each time I’m with him, I’ve been regularly inspired, remembering why I’m in ministry and challenged at how I engage in my neighborhood and world. Bob has this unique ability to build relationships  and speak with world leaders, people of multiple faiths, and just about anyone he meets, all the while never giving up what he believes to be true and core. As a result of that, he gets invited to speak around the world at things most evangelical Christians never get invited to – like the World Islamic Forum. 

That’s why I’m so excited to have him come to Parkcrest this weekend to speak at all of our Weekend Worship Services at the Heartwell Campus. Bob is going to speak on the subject of his new book, Bold as Love. And while his book won’t release for another month, you will be inspired and challenged at what it looks like to live your faith out boldly and lovingly in relationships with people of multiple faiths.

Hope to see you there!

Thinking About Politics: Resources

Several times at Parkcrest, I’ve teased it that we’re going to spend a couple of weeks preaching on politics towards the end of October, at the height of the political season. Every time I bring it up, I’m shocked by the response and the discussions I end up having with people in the hallways and during the week. I get the sense that we’re really looking for some way to have some kind of thoughtful dialogue about this, and to honestly wrestle through what it looks like when the Kingdom of God and politics collide. 

For those of you that are intrigued by this, I thought I’d point you towards a few resources since we won’t be talking about this for another month. These are books that I’ve found helpful in thinking about this discussion. A few disclaimers first: As with any book, I don’t agree with everything the authors write, but I did find each of these thought-provoking; Also, a more robust theology needs to be developed outside of books specifically about politics, but these are only ones that approach things from that framework. 

Descriptions for each of these books can be found on Amazon. If you end up reading one, I’d love to hear your thoughts…

The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd

Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne

Blinded by Might by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder

And finally, when you’ve got a spare hour :), you may enjoy watching this discussion between Chuck Colson, Greg Boyd and Shane Claiborne on how evangelicals engage politics. It’s a great, respectful dialogue, between differing views…

Three Degrees of Separation from On Being on Vimeo.

12 Years Ago

12 years ago as a wide-eyed, naive, optimistic kid, I stood next to Allison Otey and said, “I do”

12 years ago, I had no idea of the gravity of what we were committing to…

…the pain we would walk through together and the incredible experiences we would share

…the children we hadn’t even began imagining yet and the way they would forever alter our lives

…the adventures that we would share

…the hard decisions we would make

…the times we would laugh, and even cry

…the way we would come to know the other so well

…what was going to change about each of us and what would be the same

…how pursing Jesus together would look in each of the seasons of our lives

I had no idea

I was just this kid, who pursued this girl, and had no idea what was in store for us, but knew it was supposed to be with her. Marriage is the biggest risk that you will take, but it has the potential for the greatest rewards. 12 years ago, I had no idea what all I was stepping into, but I knew who I wanted to step into it with. 

Mike and Allison Goldsworthy Wedding from Mike Goldsworthy on Vimeo.

17 Days Alone…Almost Over!

This afternoon, Allison is coming home from 17 days with a team from Parkcrest in Africa. I’ve had the kids alone during that time. Before this, the longest I’d ever had them alone that was 2 nights. Here’s a few things I learned from those extra 15 days with the kids alone…

  1. Single parents are incredible. Seriously…I already had a huge amount of respect for single parents, but it went way up
  2. There is a special bond that happens with your kids when it’s just you and them for this long together. I didn’t realize what a gift these two weeks would be for us
  3. Something smells like feet in the fridge and I can’t figure out what it is…hurry home Allison! Speaks for itself
  4. I’m really grateful for some friends who were able to take the kids when I had to preach, come over to hang out with me for a bit after they went to bed, and take them for a few hours so I could do other things. I’m not good at having to rely on other people…this was a good reminder of the significance of community for me
  5. I’m so proud of Allison for going on this trip for several reasons, but one of them was that it was hard for her to leave our kids for that long. In retrospect, the two weeks she was gone won’t feel like very long for our kids, but it will be an important example to them of obedience and sacrifice on her part.

I’m so proud of the almost 100 people from Parkcrest who went (and are still going) on mission trips this summer…but really excited to see one in particular later today

Glorious Mess is Free on Kindle Today

Mike Howerton is a stud. Seriously, he’s one of my favorite people and has spoken into my life in significant ways over the past 12 or so years. I’m not blowing smoke when I tell you that I wouldn’t be who I am in ministry today without some wise words of counsel from Mike and people like him along the way. 

Mike’s newest book, Glorious Mess, is free today on Kindle. Even if it weren’t free, it’s worth picking up a copy. If you buy it and don’t like it, let Mike know and he’ll give you your money back (actually, I don’t think that’s true, but I’d love to see you try, plus it makes for good advertising).

Mike let me post a portion of his book here for you to get a vibe of what it’s about. Read it, get a copy on kindle for free today and then buy a copy to give away…

I am a pastor. 

I work in a church.

I am also a mess.

 

I went with a buddy to Gold’s Gym one time. One time. Everyone there looked like Ahhh-nold. Even the women had muscles and a gap in their front teeth. Each one bronzed, glistening, cut, and lifting more than I could wrap my mind around. (I understood there would be no math at the gym.) I went over to the pink weights, looked in the mirror, and was startled to realize that someone had replaced my biceps with those of a third-grade girl. I didn’t belong. This gym was for the Big Dogs. I wasn’t even a dog, really. More like toy poodle, which science reveals is predominantly rodent. I never went back, opting instead for an intense workout program that consists of wrestling (on the floor with my kids) and surfing (the internet). 

 

I wonder how many times this experience happens in a church setting. A spiritually interested person decides to go to church. When they get there, they are overwhelmed with the fact that no matter who they look at, they don’t measure up. The teaching is from a guy who apparently hasn’t wrestled with a single sin issue in his life since he became a follower of Jesus, at age 5, when he had to repent of making a frowny-face after his folks asked him to clean his room. Everyone seated around them is dressed to the nines, votes with a clear conscience, drives a paid-for Volvo, and has children who probably smile demurely from homes that look snipped out of Better Homes and Gardens.  Better than whose home and garden? Mine, for one.

 

Who can measure up? This is an obvious exaggeration, but the view from the outside is very one dimensional, unless we take the pains to change it from the inside. 

 

With three elementary school kids, a dog, multiple sports teams and dozens of neighborhood friends, my home is continually in a Defcon 5 state of disarray. I’m personally bringing the harried, wrinkled look in, praying it catches on. My children are wonderful gifts from God Himself, and I wouldn’t trade them, but they have rarely nodded demurely. They tackle demure kids. It’s pretty messy where I live.

 

The truth is, no matter how it looks, most everyone is a bit of a mess. 

 

When I first moved from California to Washington I drove a ’79 suburban. It had no heater. Mostly I think a car is perfect if it gets me from point A to point B, but now I am convinced that a heater is also essential. One night that first winter, I walked out from my office late, and the entire truck was iced over. I tried to get in, but the driver’s door was frozen shut. If you’re from someplace warm (and sane), take a moment to let that sink in. Frozen. Shut. So I walked around the car, and yanked the passenger door open. The frozen handle literally broke off, so the door opened but would not stay closed. This did not improve my mood. I noticed my fingers had become icicles. I was carrying a cup of coffee that I brought to keep my hands warm (since my heater wasn’t functional) but then I noticed my windshield was iced over, impossible to see through. I poured the coffee onto the windshield to melt the ice, because I didn’t have an ice-scraper. And I didn’t have an ice-scraper because I’m from Southern California and I hadn’t used an ice-scraper on my car out of necessity in a long, long time. Like never. So coffee was my plan. 

 

It was a dumb plan. The whole cup froze instantly on the windshield. The passenger door was yawning wide open. My fingers felt brittle, ready to fall off any moment. I crawled into the driver’s seat, fixed the loop of my backpack over the passenger door lock, and I drove with one hand holding it closed, with my head out of the open driver’s window because the only thing I could see through my windshield was the brown liquid that was supposed to keep my fingers and my belly warm on my cold ride home, but instead it was frozen solid, like my fingers, like my face quickly became except for my eyes which were bleeding rivers of salt joy down my face, and forming tiny icicles off of my chin. But hey, I was making progress. A mess but moving toward home.

 

We live life like that. We limp along. We tolerate ourselves. We survive our foibles. We put up with our stupidities, with the messes we make and we roll our eyes at ourselves, swearing under our breath, wishing we didn’t make things quite this messy. Personally, relationally, and spiritually messy. I wonder if we aren’t missing something profound. I wonder if we don’t see that in that moment, in that mess, just there where we’re stuck, frustrated, or otherwise not all that impressive…I wonder if that’s the place where God is free to bring His glory. I wonder if that’s exactly where His grace is sufficient.

 

I don’t know where you are in all this…how you view your life, your struggles, your trials, your sin. Do you view your imperfections as a canvas for God’s glory to be on display?

 

All throughout the Scriptures, you see examples of God loving imperfect people, forgiving imperfect people, and using imperfect people for great and glorious things. God’s love for imperfect people is unrelenting. In fact, the bigger the mess, the more glory God seems to get. And of all the glorious messes in the Bible, few are messier than Jonah.

 

Everywhere I go, people grab me and say, “Pastor, give me some Jonah! I need more Jonah! I’ve got a fever, and there’s only one cure…Jonah!” 

 

Ok, not exactly. And there’s probably a reason for that:

It’s one heck of a fish story. 

It’s a whopper of a tale.

 

The flannel board Sunday School story of Jonah smacks of the incredible, the miraculous, and the supernatural. Because it has been viewed in that light, the Book of Jonah is too often dismissed as an ancient fable with little practical value for our lives. I “bing”ed the word “Jonah” and the top ten sites were for children’s books and ancient biblical commentary (well, and Jonah Hill, the actor).

 

How tragic.

 

It’s tragic because one way or another, Jonah’s story is our story. He’s a mess, just like us. I’m a Jonah. You are too.

 

When God calls us, many times we run from the thing we know He is gently prompting us to do. When we run, the storms hit. When the storms hit, we turn back to God. When we turn back to God, we see an absolutely incredible return on our obedience. And even after we’ve experienced God’s grace, we need to be reminded again to share it. 

 

God loves both the reluctant prophet and the repentant people. 

God has a plan for us, even in the midst of our mess, to showcase His glory. 

And God has given us the book of Jonah to learn all about it. 

 

In the five acts of Glorious MESS you will encounter no new evidence that the Book of Jonah records fact…no scientific studies proving a grown man can actually utilize the oxygen from giant gills to survive; no bizarre but true tale about a sperm whale that was caught and opened up to reveal a family of four living comfortably inside with their twin hairless cats.

 

If you believe in God, who spoke all things into existence, who holds the galaxies at His fingertips, who is intimately involved in human affairs, who is capable of loving even the most stubborn human, then this story is a factual non-issue. I know thoughtful Christians who choose to view Jonah as a potent myth, a fable with a heavenly truth built in. I won’t argue that point here (although I believe in the historicity of Jonah), but I know we can agree on this: to an infinite God, commanding a fish and sustaining life for a wayward prophet are no big deal. It’s harder for me to cook a package of Top Ramen noodle soup than it is for an infinite God to perform a miracle.

 

Now, if you don’t believe in that infinite God, then Jonah is the wrong book to convince you. Our foundational view of God’s infinite nature is found throughout the Scriptures, but perhaps most clearly stated in Luke. It goes like this:

 

For nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 NIV

 

If you believe, as I do, that the Bible has proven itself to be a trustworthy source again and again and again; if you’ve found, as I have, that this dusty desert tome reveals the heart of God and the character of me, then this verse speaks volumes. More than any stat or study I could quote is the realization that God can and does accomplish the AMAZING, whether we are willing or ready to believe it.

 

That’s good news.


Good Grief

Erica McNeal caught the bridal bouquet at our wedding. You’re probably thinking what do I care who caught the bouquet at your wedding? Well, here’s the deal – when the person who caught the bouquet at your wedding writes a book, let me know and we’ll be even. Until then, I’m telling you about Erica.

In the almost 12 years since I went to college with Erica, she has been through a lot. By the time she was 32, she was already a 3 time cancer survivor and had experienced the loss of 5 children. But one of the beautiful things about her is her deep and resounding faith and the way that it’s guided her through all of those tragedies.

Today, is the official launch date of Erica’s new book, Good Grief, where she not only tells her own personal stories, but shares the insights that she’s learned through her own experiences.

Here’s how her story began to unfold while we were still in college…

In 1999, I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. I was immediately told there was good news and bad news. The good news was the tumor had a name. The bad news was not only had my doctors never treated a patient with this type of cancer before, they had never even heard of it! At this time, the cancer had only been found in the stomachs of men over the age of eighty. I was twenty-two, my cancer was found in my neck, and the last time I’d checked, I was not a man!

And that was just the beginning…throughout the book, she not only gives you glimpses into what she went through, but how she began to process what she was going through and the way people reacted to it. 

I read her book to not only hear her tell her personal stories of tragedy, but to learn to engage better with people in the midst of their grieving and hurt. Speaking through her own personal experiences, Erica gives great practical advice for both those in a tragedy as well as those who are walking it through it with someone. She pushes through tired cliches and helps you to have some tangible ways to engage when you don’t know what to do.

If you’re walking through a tragedy yourself, or alongside someone, let me encourage you to check out Erica’s book…and help out the friend who caught the bouquet at our wedding!

 

by the way, if you buy a copy of the book this week, send Erica a copy of the receipt and you’ll get a pdf version of the book sent to you and she’ll enter you into a drawing to win a gift card to Outback or Carrabbas

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