Tag Archives: courage

Be Inspired — Faith in and through Tragedy

be inspiredNext in this month’s be inspired series is another great conversation from the archives — a 2011 interview with Christina Schofield. She’s an illustrator and a writer; her book, My Life and Lesser Catastrophes — An Unflinchingly Honest Journey of Faith, tells the story of how a tragic motorcycle accident radically changed the trajectory of her life and challenged her faith.

* * * * *

Chris, I’m so glad to introduce you to my “friends.” Can you tell them a bit about yourself?

I was born the youngest of four to a gentle, humble Swedish preacher in a tiny Midwestern town. I doodled and passed notes all through my school days, so kind of stuck with it for a profession. The last fifteen years or so, I’ve illustrated and written stuff for mostly Christian publishing companies. I’m married to a campus minister (Allen) and we have a seven-year-old daughter, Lily. If my days were a pie chart, it would look like this: Taking care of the fam’ (including two cats that hate each other and a neglected beta fish): 30%, Driving people places—30%, Making sandwiches—30%, Work, house-cleaning, and pretty much everything else combined—10%.

I’m very excited about your book, My Life and Lesser Catastrophes, that is coming out this summer. For my readers who don’t know your story, can you tell us what your book is about?

Not quite four years ago, my husband and I were in a motorcycle accident. I was okay, but he broke his neck and was left paralyzed. The book is kind of a walk through that ugly-faith journey — picking up the pieces and saying that God is good even when my life is bad!

This month we’re looking at the discipline of life-change. I imagine that the extreme difficulties you and your husband have lived through recently have been a catalyst for some serious self-examination. What has God revealed to you about yourself through this challenging season?

Initially, came the question, “WHAT? How could you let this happen, God? I thought we were friends!” There was instant perspective — a lot of things I had desired goal-wise  I immediately realized didn’t really matter compared to the pursuit of God and getting my family well. The next challenge was coming to terms with the fact that God still loves me even when I have nothing to offer him in return. I’ve spent most of my life struggling to “perform” for him, do my best stuff to win his approval and/or impress people. There is a sort of peace that comes when you hit rock bottom and realize, “Wow. He loves me still.”

What else has God revealed to you about himself through this painful journey?

His love of broken things. We avoid brokenness at all cost, but God views it differently than we do. Psalm 52 says a broken spirit is what He actually desires. Psalm 34 says he is near to the broken-hearted, and I’ve found that to be totally true! He is much closer than I ever realized! If you let that get in you good, if you let God open your mind to what he thinks is a big deal I mean, it helps you see people through new eyes.

Scripture tells us that God’s grace is sufficient. Of course this doesn’t mean the difficulties in our lives go away if we trust God! How have you experienced this promise?

Allen was in hospitals for about two months. Shortly after we got back, I had a phone call on the answering machine from an old friend who had been struggling with addictions and family problems and spiritual problems. I had really kind of been overwhelmed with our friendship before Allen’s accident because I didn’t know how to help her. I put off returning her call and she died shortly after of a drug overdose! I felt terrible! I confessed to God, “How do I do this? How can I help others when I feel so burdened myself?” I felt like He was urging me to “do it broken.” To let His strength pour through my smallness, weariness, brokeness (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). He has done that in some really cool ways!

 How can we be praying for you and your family?

Please continue to pray for Allen’s healing, strength, rest, and peace! For wisdom in raising Lils, that she will grow up to love and worship God. Lately, I’ve been praying that God will get all the stuff out of us that keeps us from being completely his. I pray it with hesitation because I know that can be painful! (But necessary.) Thanks! We love getting prayed for!

* * * * *

Check in each week this month for more stories from women whose faith, ideas, and love will inspire you! 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Advertisements

On Guts, Garbage, and Abundant Grace

We need grace for the brokenness, sin, pain, and garbage in our lives. And, thankfully, God gives us grace abundant! In and through this grace, we find the courage to share our grace-story. And boy, does it take courage!

One person who absolutely embodies such courage is Elisabeth Klein Corcoran. She’s walked through a lot of difficulty in recent years as she has journeyed through marital separation and then divorce. And yet God’s sustaining grace has enabled her to use her own story to minister to others. She is the author of Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage and Unraveling: Hanging On to Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, along with several other book and article (like this gutsy, honest TCW article.)

Have you ever wondered how God can use your past, your pain, your failures, or your brokenness? Keep reading . . .

* * * * *

1940242_10202979925681396_1861604236_nElisabeth, tell my readers about yourself!

I have been writing and speaking for about thirteen years.  I’m a single mom to two great teenagers.  I seriously have the best girlfriends in the world. I love my church, my home, my dog, and going for bike rides (if spring will ever come back!).

This month we’re talking about grace on my blog. What’s one way you’ve experienced God’s grace at work in your life recently?

Over the past three years of walking out of my marriage through a difficult separation and a painful divorce, grace was withheld from me by other believers, more than I’d like to acknowledge. I’ve had people who say they believe in God look me in the eye (or metaphorically look me in the eye when they sent me an email or posted a comment on my blog) and tell me they disapproved of me or asked me why I hate men or questioned my salvation. Really harsh stuff. And in those moments, every single time, it did damage to my soul. And in those moments, you’d think that my heart would’ve just grown harder or colder or I would’ve put my guard up. But what ended up happening – only because of the goodness and sweetness of God – is that he used the pain that I received over and over when grace was withheld from me to make sure that I became a person who didn’t withhold grace from anyone, even on non-divorce-related issues. And I am so grateful to say that I have really grown in this area, showing grace to people and in situations that the old me never would have. It’s ended up being a really beautiful gift.

1620115_10202982464304860_871306973_nYou recently wrote the book Unraveling which candidly chronicles your painful journey through a difficult marriage and then through divorce. What gave you the courage to share such an honest and raw story — and to face some of the really hurtful feedback you’ve had to deal with?

I had three sources of courage to write so openly about my story. Continue reading

Just 3: Shayne Moore

For the next 3 posts I’ll be interviewing 3 different women with just 3 questions about living justly. First is my writer-friend Shayne Moore. Shayne is a Chicago-land mom and the co-author of Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery as well as the author of Global Soccer Mom: Changing the World Is Easier Than You ThinkSo grab a cup of java, get comfy, and listen in as Shayne joins us for “Just 3.”
* * * * *
1. Why are you passionate about biblical justice?
shayne-logoThere is much division in the world. We are divided by issues of religious belief and practices, racism, sexism, agism, you name it. I grew up in the conservative Evangelical church. It is my faith family and my heritage and there are many positive aspects of my tradition I happily pass on to my own children. Yet I admit to being soured by the fighting and division over issues such as women in leadership/ministry, worship styles, and what to do with homosexuals in our midst.
When I woke up to the reality of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the church was just beginning to talk about it and to be aware of the crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. When I learned how mothers and children, families just like my own were struggling in unthinkable poverty, disease and death, it broke my heart.
An internal mantra began to play over and over in my soul: On Earth as it is in Heaven. . .
There are many things of which I am unsure. Many doctrines, practices, traditions, teachings that I will never be 100% sure of and, if others are honest, neither will they. I am not God. It set deep within me I might be wrong about a lot of things — but if I am spending myself on behalf of the poor and oppressed (Isaiah 58-59), I’m not wrong. There is no HIV or AIDS in heaven. There is no sex trafficking and rape of children in heaven. There is no labor slavery in heaven. On Earth as it in heaven. 
I can work tirelessly on behalf of those struggling in extreme poverty, preventable disease, the evils of human trafficking, lack of education, political influence, property rights, and know I am not wrong. In my adult life, this truth has informed my faith and how I live it out. It is, quite frankly in the current tone of Evangelical sub-culture dialogue, one of the only things that makes me passionate about my faith. It brings meaning to my faith and the sometimes dark world we live in.
2. Injustice in our world can seem so overwhelming and discouraging. Ever felt that way? And how can we overcome discouragement & inertia and move forward into hopeful action?
Perhaps cliche, yet it runs through my head often: The reminder that working on issues of global social justice is not a sprint. It is a marathon. I have found a great way to not get burned out or discouraged is to surround yourself with others who are also passionate about bring change to our world and to our generation. The Body of Christ is so diverse and so are the ways every person can make a difference. Continue reading

Hollowed Out, Fired Up

What is justice? A good place to start with this question is with its antithesis: What is injustice? We know it when we see it. We feel it deep down. It unsettles us. It hollows us out. It fires us up.

RubyIt’s so wrong. So horrifying. So against-all-goodness.

Racism. Abuse. Violence against the vulnerable. Genocide. Trafficking. Slavery. Oppressive poverty. Disease and death caused by environmental degradation.

This list could go on . . . and on . . . and on . . .

And it overwhelms us. Its weightiness can stop us in our tracks, can freeze us into inertia.

Can any one person actually fight these huge, systematic global problems? Is there really anything you or I can actually do? Continue reading