Struggle in the Garden

I have been meditating the past few days on Jesus’s moments in Gethsemane prior to his arrest. Luke 22: “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Mark adds that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.

There is so much in these few verses. I’m struck by Jesus’s struggle. I feel that this reveals the complete essence of Christ’s humanity. He didn’t want to endure what was coming. Taking on the sin of the world would be painful enough, but the separation from His Father was overwhelming. Jesus didn’t put on a happy face and pretend that it was all ok. He didn’t take on 20 tasks to distract himself from the discomfort. He struggled with the pain. He wrestled with His flesh and the temptation to walk away from His mission. He poured His heart out to His Father and bared His sorrowful soul.

He was also a stone’s throw from His closest earthly friends. Had they not succumbed to sleep, they could have witnessed this painful struggle. I’m awed by the vulnerability of Jesus in this moment. He wasn’t vulnerable in front of all the 12, but he did bring with Him those from His inner circle. He was willing to allow them to step into this moment, if only as witnesses.

Jesus is our model. He dealt with flesh as we deal with flesh, yet was without flaw. So often in this world, especially in the church, we beat ourselves up over feeling the struggle, over wrestling with the weight of our sorrow, with allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in our moments of utter brokenness. We ache in silence, ashamed that we aren’t strong enough or full of enough faith to face it all with joy and a smile. We think, “What is wrong with me? Why is my heart so heavy? If only I had more faith, I could shake this angst and overwhelm, and burnout and jump back in with passion and motivation.”

But Jesus wrestled with the weight of His sorrow to the point of sweating blood. While none of us will face the horror that awaited Him, I think we can learn from Him in our momentary struggles. Jesus brought those He trusted into this moment. Jesus poured His heart out to God. Jesus asked that the cup be removed, but, and I think this is the most important part, He surrendered to God’s will, not His. He didn’t deny His sorrow or the struggle. He didn’t pretend it was all ok, but He also didn’t succumb to it. He placed His trust in the One who is faithful and surrendered and He stayed on mission. There have been times I have wanted to throw in the towel and kick the mission to the curb. But Jesus reminds us that with obedience and surrender come the ultimate prize. Do not grow weary. Fight the good fight. And of course we know the rest of the story…

Jesus triumphed. He took on my sin and your sin and the sin of the world and because of His obedience we can find the strength, bolstered by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power within us that raised Jesus from the dead, to persevere in the face of trial and to even, gasp, consider it joy.

Moving Forward

It is no secret that the past year has knocked me off my feet. I’ve written candidly about my daughter’s suicide attempt and subsequent hospitalization (here), and the far-reaching consequences of a Covid shutdown have brought our business to its knees. It is grueling to watch your daughter endure agony while your husband is deciding whether it is time to let go of a dream business and move on to a new endeavor at 45. And here’s the thing about trusting God in all circumstances….it takes an inordinate amount of faith, hence the concept. This past year hasn’t coaxed me to gently open my hand and release expectations for my life; it has wrenched open my fist and roughly yanked them from me, crushing them in the process.

Continue reading “Moving Forward”

The Longest Day

It’s the time of year when many of us reflect on all the events of the previous year: the highs, the lows, the mundane, and the unexpected. As many of us look back on 2020, we are likely to see more time spent in the valleys than on the mountaintops. Storms ravaged my state followed by a pandemic that put the globe on pause, yet despite all this year has thrown our way, one day stands alone as the most unforgettable day of the year and perhaps, my life. August 20, 2020. My family and I have kept the events of that day close to our vest because honestly, it kept us all reeling. We’ve spent months trying to put the pieces of our brokenness back together, to undo the damage of careless words, overlooked pain, and a heart so heavy and hopeless that it wanted to die.

Continue reading “The Longest Day”

Creating a Culture of Learning This Summer

As end of school busyness ramps up to a frenzied pace, it’s hard to imagine that the lazier, slower days of summer are just a few weeks away.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to be more intentional in my parenting, and I’m looking forward to the slower pace of summer to implement that resolution even more deliberately. I find it is sometimes so easy to get caught up in the activity of life as my children and I run from one event or task to the next that taking the time to mindfully consider the goals I want to create or the character traits that I want to cultivate in my children get lost in the shuffle of everyday living.  This summer my goal is to create an environment of intentionality in my parenting that hopefully fosters a culture of education, where I continue to model for my children that learning is both a lifestyle and a lifelong endeavor.

Continue reading “Creating a Culture of Learning This Summer”

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Review


If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”

My children and I picked out The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane because it was written by Kate DiCamillo. Having just read Because of Winn-Dixie and being fans of The Tale of Desperaux, we were eager to read the the next book in her catalog of excellent selections. We were not disappointed. Edward not only charms but also instructs, reminding readers that we are all a work in progress.
Edward Tulane is a china rabbit, created by Pelligrina for her granddaughter Abilene’s birthday. Edward, a beautifully dressed vision of rabbit perfection, is adored by Abilene, but Edward’s perfection ends with his appearance. He is a cold rabbit whose shallow preoccupations keep him incapable of love. Continue reading “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Review”