We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
- Anaïs Nin
I’ve said before that the only thing I could read during our hard days in the hospital this past summer were the psalms (and a few other things). I read them every single day, journaling, thinking, praying. In the psalms I had a language for what I was feeling. I had a language for my fears. But in the psalms, I more importantly had a language for who God is in spite of those fears and feelings. The psalms showed me God, even when everything was uncertain. My hope in spending my days in the psalms was not only that I would be sustained in the moment of waiting for Ben's birth, but that I would also be sustained if (or when) the dark moment came to deliver Ben unexpectedly.
That moment did come, but my mind went blank.
One year ago next month my book, Glory in the Ordinary, was released. It feels like an eternity has passed in a way that I didn't with my first book. In large part, I think it’s owing to all that happened the weeks leading up to Ben’s delivery (and the weeks following). Our plans for the book launch didn’t include three weeks of bed rest, a premature delivery, or a hard recovery. But God’s did, and it completely changed how I viewed the book as a result.
Money conversations in the church can be awkward, especially when it comes to giving and paying church staff. We don’t want to be perceived as greedy or ungrateful. We value the ministry of the word, so we don’t want to sound like we are in it for the money (and not the fulfillment that comes from preaching the word). The temptations that can arise when money is on the table are legion, and often go unnoticed until money is actually on the table. So I get the concern (and the tendency to move as far away from money as possible).
Men who behave badly are all over the news these days. In fact, it’s been so much a part of our national conversation for the last year that I’ve had this post (most of it, anyway) written since we found out that we were having another boy—raising the Reissig boy total to four. I’ve been mulling over these thoughts for the better part of a year and finally got around to editing them. Unfortunately the national conversation about men doing bad things hasn’t changed one bit. It’s only gotten worse, which has only increased my desire to process what it means to raise four sons in a world where men behave badly.
The end of the year is the time for list making. I’ve read (and been encouraged by) many lists of books, blog posts, and favorite things. I’ve even created those lists in years past. But instead I am going to share the three things that the Lord used to sustain me this year. As I’ve shared before, this is the year that took us through the ringer in so many ways. Ben’s arrival into the world was traumatic (a word I don’t use lightly) and hard on our family in ways we are still processing. But even in the difficulty we have been encouraged by the Lord through people and through his word. I know that many don’t come to the end of the year with the mental or emotional bandwidth to take in a lot of lists and book ideas. Life is just too relentless, so if you find yourself in the midst of a difficult year, I pray these resources encourage you too.