“Now, I have no choice but to cling to faith and hope and love for dear life.”

May be an image of 1 person and brick wall
“They said that if I questioned a 6,000-year-old earth, I would question whether other parts of Scripture should be read scientifically and historically.
They were right. I did.
They said that if I entertained the hope that those without access to the gospel might still be loved and saved by God, I would fall prey to the dangerous idea that God loves everyone, that there is nothing God won’t do to reconcile all things to Himself.
They were right. I have.
They said that if I looked for Jesus beyond the party line, I could end up voting for liberals.
They were right. I do (sometimes).
They said that if I listened to my gay and lesbian neighbors, if I made room for them in my church and in my life, I could let grace get out of hand.
They were right. It has.
They told me that this slippery slope would lead me away from God, that it would bring a swift end to my faith journey, that I’d be lost forever.
But with that one, they were wrong.
Yes, the slippery slope brought doubts. Yes, the slippery slope brought change. Yes, the slippery slope brought danger and risk and unknowns. I am indeed more exposed to the elements out here, and at times it is hard to find my footing.
But when I decided I wanted to follow Jesus as myself, with both my head and heart intact, the slippery slope was the only place I could find him, the only place I could engage my faith honestly.
So down I went.
It was easier before, when the path was wide and straight.
But, truth be told, I was faking it. I was pretending that things that didn’t make sense made sense, that things that didn’t feel right felt right. To others, I appeared confident and in control, but faith felt as far away as friend who has grown distant and cold.
Now, every day is a risk.
Now, I have no choice but to cling to faith and hope and love for dear life.
Now, I have to keep a very close eye on Jesus, as he leads me through deep valleys and precarious peaks.
But the view is better, and, for the first time in a long time, I am fully engaged in my faith.
I am alive.
I am dependent.
I am following Jesus as me—heart and head intact.
And they were right. All it took was a question or two to bring me here.”
– Rachel Held Evans
(June 8, 1981 – May 4, 2019)

Happy Mother’s Day

My Mom is a rockstar Mom. I would guess yours might be for you as well. I am grateful God knew how to divvy up the moms for all of us to be blessed by one. Your Mom may be your birth Mom, your adopted Mom, or maybe a stand-in Mom. I would love to hear the stories of the woman you look up to.

I have always appreciated my friend’s description of Mother’s day for those of us who have never birthed children.

“As women, we are all birthing things with our lives every day, relationally, spiritually, physically. We hope today you will bless your own journey and the ways you have birthed things thus far.”

Sometimes mother’s day is a day in my heart for those who have birthed, nurtured, and raised their children. I admire you all with my whole being. On the days I soak for an hour in the tub, sleep till 10 am, or decide to spontaneously create a weekend getaway, I realize that is freedom you sacrifice for many years.

I have grown up in a family who celebrate my contribution to the raising of their children, and I am grateful for their love and affirmation of my role as an aunt. On Mother’s day, I always smile when they also include me in their happy mother’s day celebrations.

But tonight, I want to honor a few special moms I hold close to my heart this year!

Hermie/Grandma B has been around our dinner table for 30+ years. Hermie has been a part of our family circle for many years. We met as neighbors on Elliott in the early ’70s. My nieces and nephews have inquired over the years just how is Grandma B related to us? Hermie has loved 4 children and released 4 children back to God’s loving care. Her story has been marked by grief and loss, but not only grief and loss. Her story is also marked by great love, laughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I will always admire Hermie, and this morning I called her to say Happy Mother’s Day Hermie. You have mothered well, and that is important to remember today!

Another person I always hold close to my heart on Mother’s Day is my cousin Tica. Her Mom, my Aunt Simmie, died way too young, at 48 years old. She posted this today:

My mama has been gone for many years, but as time passes, I feel closer to her still. Perspective is a funny thing. I wrote this because I need to hear her say words to me.
Happy Mother’s Day y’all, I know, for sure, love lives on in those who remember. 💕💐🥂

And I can’t help but celebrate the mamas who mother my nieces and nephews. It is quite a change when your siblings become parents. My heart has grown in unexplainable ways, and I marvel at each of you for all the love you have poured into an amazing group of people.

Arlene, your love for Janneke and Matt, Ellis and Frankie, Henry, Anne, Karolyn, and Ellie is so much fun to watch. Happy Mothers Day!May be an image of 5 people, including Arlene Borgdorff DeKam

May be an image of 9 people, including Matt Cole, Karolyn Dekam, Dan DeKam, Ellie DeKam and Arlene Borgdorff DeKam, baby, people standing and outdoors

Jonna, your love and dedication to Andrew and Ryan has been inspiring. You have invested your whole self: heart, time, energy, and resources. Happy Mothers Day!

May be an image of 3 people, including Ryan Borgdorff and people smiling

Marcia, you do good work. Len said it often, and we see it continue. Your kids have grown up to be beautiful and amazing adult people. Olivia, Noah and Lauren, Sonta, and Jean-Marc are living examples of your strength and commitment to move through difficult days, trusting God with every step! You continue to grow yourself in creative ways, and we are so proud of you! Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Suzi, our lives would never be complete without you and yours. You navigate a busy household with ease and grace. You are a great mom! Peter, Isaiah, and Johanna are living examples of your commitment to pouring your heart and soul into the children God has entrusted to you! Happy Mother’s Day!

And last but never least is my own mom. She has become someone I enjoy every day. She names truth, lives with compassion, is honest and clear, and has demonstrated how to move on after even the hardest of days. Losing her oldest son and husband has forever shaped her, but she remains a woman full of love and gratitude for all God provides in both her heartache and joy. She enjoys being. busy and serving others, being with family and continues to volunteer within her church and community. I love you, Mom and you were the first Mom I thought of this morning! Your legacy is carried by many! So it may be the end of Mother’s Day, but my love for these and many others continues. May, our kindness, love, and affirmation of the women we celebrate carry them through all year long!

 

 

Amazing Grace

I got to spend some lovely time today with my great-niece and nephew. They are 18 months and 2.5 years old. They are active, snuggly, talkative, and almost constantly entertaining.

There is something so sweet to hear kids sing, especially songs of faith. Today we learned that Amazing Grace is a favorite of these young ones. They sing it to their baby doll and while they walk around the house. After dinner, we sang it for closing devotions, and I think she was surprised we all knew it.

At the end of devotions, Frankie said, “one more time!” We sang it again, and with wide eyes, she smiled from ear to ear, joining in and at the end saying, “one more time!”We did not sing it a third time, but I was reminded of the importance of singing Amazing Grace one more time and letting the power of the words penetrate my heart.

Listen to it, sing it, ponder it, embrace it…

I was once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see!

Blessed be His name!

The pace is picking up

I wonder if you are also feeling the start-up of activities and meetings in your schedule? This week I was busy every night, and it was all out of home meetings. The benefit of vaccinated groups is allowing for more options than a stay-at-home zoom meeting.

I will admit at one point; I found myself longing for the stay t home evenings. I found myself wishing for what was…

I stopped quickly, realizing that I would never wish a pandemic back into play. And I realize how I began to appreciate some of what a year of a slower pace brought me.

As we reenter into a freed-up society, it is an important season to establish a life-giving rhythm. I do not need a pandemic to establish limits on how many nights a week I am committed to things outside my home.

I write this tonight after having this conversation with others this week. May we all create space in our world that will allow us to be our best selves. May we own our boundaries and be kind and clear about what we can commit to and what we can not. As we say at Visiting Angels: let your yes be yes, and your no be no. And rest in that!

Wishing a week of balance for each o you!

Blessed be His name!

Are you lanquishing?

What is languishing you may ask?

“languishing” — a state of joylessness and aimlessness that is not quite depression, but it’s not quite happiness either.

I am a person who deeply appreciates words and feelings. This idea of languishing feels like a word that has come alive to people post-pandemic.

Kate Kooyman writes powerfully. She describes herself on her blog in the following manner:

I’m Rev. Kate Kooyman, a writer, and speaker.

My passion is to help equip Christians to raise their voices as advocates, to speak out and influence the policy decisions that shape people’s real lives.

I love thrifting, public schools, national parks, Honduras, grocery shopping alone, my dog, and brave conversations about politics.

I share with you tonight her words because they resonated with my heart:

“A Psalm for those who languish”

Oh God.
Our brains are so tired of being on high alert.
We’re so exhausted by constant, changing math-problem of threat.
So flummoxed by the difference between our own panic and our neighbors.
We’re exhausted with our own judgments,
Irate at the fogging of our glasses.
Puzzled by the shifting norms,
the endless lack of consensus for how to do this well.
We’re so grieved by the profoundly broken trust
that distances us from the ones we’re called to love,
the ones called to love us.

God. We’re so tired.

It makes it hard to focus. 
We’re sick of cooking, 
sick of Netflix,
sick of walking the same dog down the same streets.
We’re getting sick of our lives.

It’s hard to remember what it felt like 
to have ideas, to put in an effort, to rise to an occasion.
We just don’t care like we used to,
Don’t find much delight anymore. 
Can’t remember how to grab hold of things that matter.

De-fog our vision, God. 
Help us to see with clarity again. 
Help us to look around us and notice the others
Who are in this moment with us.
Help us to name this languishing,
This dogged powerlessness.
And help us to feel less alone.

May our participation in the community of the honest
Restore in us some joy.
Beauty in this bleakness.
Hope in this ongoing unknown.

Call us forward.
We forgot which direction that is.
Help us onto our feet, and summon us toddle toward your beckoning voice
Like children, learning to walk.
Help us to trust.
Help us to laugh.

You are a bounteous God.
And we can sort of remember bounty.
We remember laughter, hugs, events.
We remember wearing eyeliner
And eating food that we did not prepare.
We remember meeting new people.
We remember the feeling of possibility.

So draw near to us, O bounteous God. 
In this unexpected, interminable moment.
Gift us with what we admit we fail to summon for ourselves:
a grateful heart,
a trusting spirit,
a peace-filled mind.

Surprise us once again with your daily graces:
Birdsong, a sprouted seed, a laughing child, a cup of coffee.
Remind us of your cosmic care,
Of the largeness of your world,
your timeless purpose,
the goodness of your promise.

You love us, you see us, you keep us.

Thanks be to you, O God.

Blessed be His name!

Spend time with those you love…

We drove to Detroit today for a track meet. It is always good to show up at events where my nieces and nephews are participating. It was fun to cheer Jean-Marc on, and it was worth the drive to support him in what he commits to.

What I always enjoy is the time we spend together after the event. It might be a sporting event, a theater event, or a 4H event, but over the years, we have always made a practice of sharing a meal when we gather for something.

Tonight it was Buffalo Wild Wings strewn all over the dining room table. The conversation was abundant about virtual school, nannying, Noah and Lauren’s upcoming wedding, and a variety of other topics.

I can’t help but envision how my brother would delight in these times if he were still living. He would be funny, emotional, reflective, and profoundly grateful.

In this season, I am feeling tender to the loss of my brother and Dad. As we approach the wedding of Len and Marcia’s son, we will feel the absence of these two guys in our family. We miss them so often, but in special gatherings, their absence is felt deeply.

And so tonight, I marvel at the joy and laughter we still share. I am grateful that even though grief is within us, it has not overtaken us. That even in the ache of saying goodbye, we cherish family time and being together.

At the end of this day, I will say it was a good and memorable day because we spent time with those we love! Sometimes we let life get in the way of gathering. Make the time today to ensure you are spending time with those you love!

National Widow/Widower’s Day

I read this tonight on my friends page. I did not know about this day.

I share it because the facts are staggering.

I share it because I have witnessed my Mom’s journey for the last 3 years. She is courageous and she is not alone in the journey. I wonder how often we remember those we know who have lost a spouse, or loved one, after the intial response of sympathy.

As you read this, think of those you know and consider how to offer support and care as the journey a path they have likely never walked before.

💫 Today is National Widow’s and Widower’s Day. It is not for celebration but for awareness. This is why National Widow’s Day matters:

National Widow’s Day is May 3
Did you know… 800,000 people are widowed each year?

Did you know… 700,000 of those are women?

Did you know… most widows live in poverty? (Over 115 million world wide)

Did you know… “death of a spouse” is listed as the #1 stressor on the stress index scale and is considered one of life’s most devastating events?

Did you know… 60% of those who lose a spouse or significant other will experience a serious illness within 12 months?

Did you know… insomnia is one of the most common symptoms for a grieving spouse?

Did you know… most widow(er)s lose 75% of their support base when their spouse dies?

Did you know… after 3 – 4 months most of the remaining support fades for a widow(er)?

Did you know… most widow(er)s lose touch with their in-laws within a year of a loss?

Did you know… it really is possible to die of a broken heart? Widow(er)s have a 30% elevated risk of death in the first 6 months after their spouse death.

Be nice to a widow today, you have no idea what they deal with privately.
💫

The beauty of the wind….

A while back, I wrote about how I longed for sunshine. If I am going to write on the gray days about the gray, I better also write on the sunny days about how beautiful they are.

And as I laid in my hammock and took this video, this song came on. It felt about perfect. I have become fascinated by the wind: the sound, the movement, the danger, and the invitation to stillness. The wind really does speak!

And then there are so many questions in this world. I wonder what questions you have? Take time and listen to these lyrics and trust that somehow, in some way, our deepest questions will settle. Either with the gift of some clarity, or they will remain in our soul until the day Jesus comes again!

Blessed be His name!

Obituaries

I am a daily obit reader.

Some of it is because for the last almost 20 years, I have owned a business that serves seniors primarily. But that is only part of the reason.

Another thing that draws me to the obits daily is that I believe that every life has a story. Some obituaries share more of that story than others. When I meet with new clients, they often struggle to tell me what is interesting about them or their journey. But almost every time, if I am reading their obituary sometime after, it is filled with so many fascinating tidbits that we would have loved to know when providing care. I wonder why we share our most exciting information often after we are gone.

I wonder what your obituary would tell others about you? Are there experiences or stories you would want to share with someone while you are living? I believe that my brother’s and my Dad’s obits share about what was important to both of them. I reread these often because even after they are gone, their story matters!

Peter Borgdorff Obit

Len Borgdorff Obit

I find it fascinating to discuss what our obituaries would say about each of us. Talk with those who love you. Share with them today what is unique and memorable that you wish to have recorded. And share your stories freely, long before your last breath!

Your story matters,

Blessed be His name!