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Full Circle

Some days I really wish that I were one of those people whose life followed a clean, straight trajectory. In this dream world, I would have known in middle or high school the path God wanted me to end up on as an adult. Every faithful decision I made after that point would have been one more triumphant step toward the final goal. You know those people: the five-year-old who claims she will be a doctor and then actually follows through with it or the high schooler destined to be ... Read More »

Holding Space: When Listening Leads to Healing

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of walking closely with one of my best friends during the final months of her marriage. It was heartbreaking to watch her dreams for their life together be blown apart by his verbal and physical abuse, yet it was an honor to witness her courage, resilience and determination. During the months before they split for good, many people in her life pleaded with her to leave him. They were understandably horrified by the ways he treated her, yet she was not ... Read More »

School Started

I was talking to a good friend the other day, verbally processing the last few weeks. We talked about the end of summer, the start of fall, school beginning, returning to a schedule and how busy work is right now. In our conversation we realized that ever since “school started,” the people we know and love have been dealing with an inordinate amount of stress and struggle. School tends to signal the end of summer even for those who are not students or educational professionals. In many ways, this stress has ... Read More »

125 Years

I would drive past that little white clapboard church every morning on my way to work. There was no Fairfax County Parkway then, only a very windy West Ox Road with long stretches of fields—some with horses. Each day as I turned onto Centreville Road, only two lanes back then, I would glance to my right and smile, thinking, “That’s such a cute church.” Eventually I found myself planning a wedding and searching for a house closer to work. I also found myself looking for churches. I “shopped” at least ... Read More »

When Hide-and-Seek Becomes Here I Am

“Ready or not, here I come!” I always loved hearing those words because that’s when the fun really began. I knew all the best hiding places around our house. In the stairwell, behind the bushes, between the pine trees, by the swing set… What made them good was this: you could see the seeker, but they couldn’t see you. You had to hold your breath as they came near so you didn’t give yourself away, and then as soon as they went past, you sprinted for home base. “Safe!” you hollered when ... Read More »


I am really good at hiding. You may not know this when first meeting me, but I’ve been hiding my whole life. For years, I stole snacks from my parents’ parties and meetings and then disappeared to the basement, avoiding conversation with “grown-ups.” When I saw people on my college campus handing out flyers or eager to chat about the latest cause, I hid behind my phone, headphones or just a stone-cold glare. Even now, I refuse to answer a phone call from an unknown number, and if someone calls ... Read More »

Would I Rather be Right or Would I Rather be Kind?

In recent weeks, I have been closely following a news story about a local politician embroiled in what will likely be a career-ending scandal. Sadly, I would usually be right there with the rest of the public shaking my head in judgment and cynicism, lamenting the lack of morals and good sense so often on display in our public officials. In this case, I am just heartbroken. I know this man, and I have worked with him. In spite of the demons he appears to be battling, I have always ... Read More »

Today I Was in Your Presence

Dear Airport People, Did you notice me? Did you see me? As we rode the escalator together, did you realize I was standing next to you? Could you feel my fear when we sat next to each other? Suit, your conversation seemed to be very important. Giggles, you must have been chatting with an old friend. You were both contentedly consumed in your own conversations, in your own worlds. Did you notice Somber? Or Serious? Or each other? Or me? So absorbed in your phones and laptops, I don’t think ... Read More »

Not the Plan

This is not how it was supposed to go. This was not the plan, at least not my plan. She was supposed to graduate and come home, find a job in D.C. and live here for a few years while she saved money. Then she was supposed to move into a house in Ballston with a few friends. I mean, isn’t that what young people do? They come back home for few years, right? But in truth that was my plan, not hers and certainly not God’s. Instead she completed ... Read More »

A Surprise Meeting

Have you ever had an experience through which God completely surprised you? I’ll admit, I was not feeling any particular nudge from God when I entered the lecture hall at Oakton High School for a senior parent meeting recently. What I was feeling, however, was a desire to avoid parents whom I recognized but didn’t know very well. In hindsight, I can see how my effort to sit on the other side of the room and hope to be anonymous actually made me completely available for God. I walked toward ... Read More »

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