Round Table Discussion


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk about living with Crohn’s disease in front of a small group of young adults in their twenties and thirties. I attached the link below to the discussion.

I have found a sense of hope and healing in sharing my story with others. Although it can be difficult, it’s quite therapeutic to talk about the journey including overcoming obstacles, my faith, the low moments,  my coping mechanisms, etc. I thought Chris asked great questions throughout this round table discussion. He sympathized with me, yet also encouraged me to share about how having this disease has changed me and affected me in positive ways.

I’ve had several friends who hoped to come to the discussion but weren’t able to. I thought if you wanted to to listen to me share a bit of my nineteen year journey with Crohn’s disease, you can click the link. I told Chris that he “went all Barbara Walters” on me when he asked me to talk about one of my lowest moments. Spoiler alert: it’s sad.

Even if you don’t have time to listen, I thought I would emphasize the enormous value, for both parties,  in sitting across the table from someone who truly wants to listen to your story. Whatever your story may be. We have so much we can learn from one another when we take the time to hear, see, and feel life from another perspective. We welcome the opportunity to grow intellectually, but more importantly, we invite in beautiful real-life moments that can change our hearts.

Free Will Happens


Sometimes I feel out of place. Like I’m supposed to be somewhere else. Doing something different. Something more.  I’m typically pretty realistic and tend to look for and often find the positive in my present situation. Whatever it may be. I think I have a hard time with complacency or stagnant waters. I believe that God intends to ignite a spark, a flame or a fire in our hearts.

Through the gift of the people we experience, God opens our eyes. Changes our perspective. God’s presence sometimes rests on our shoulders. He holds our hands. God carries us too. I also believe God nudges us in our side. In that sensitive spot. Ouch. Sometimes it hurts a little. It gets my attention. And causes me to stop. Wait. Think. Then, figure out why he’s nudging me. Oh yeah. Because I’ve been given a crud ton. Maybe I was clueless, greedy or ungrateful. Maybe I need to do more. Sometimes the nudges go away because I get distracted. Or I purposely ignore them. “Not now, God. Bad timing.” Other times, I get lost in translation. What do you really want me to do, God? Something more. Something different. Something harder. More uncomfortable. It’s a God sort of spiritual growth spurt. And it tends to happen when you’re least expecting it.

Generally speaking, it’s not that comfortable when people, whether it’s our friends, coworkers, family, children or spouses inconvenience us. Somewhat encourage or even force us to adjust, adapt or change. It’s a whole other story when we clench our fists and refuse to be moved or adjusted or altered by our faith. I’m having a hard time accepting the idea that we don’t want to be inconvenienced by what our faith calls us to do. Unless it has to do with ridiculousness like red cups or leggings. We’re nudged to do something about the sad. The painful. The broken. The uncomfortable. The life altering.

We just hate to be re-routed from our destination, even if it’s nowhere near the place God has planned for us to go. We want to put a future location or specific goal or set of circumstances in our Google life map and we just want to get there. Instantly. And on our own. Until we need help. Because we think we know best. But we don’t. And when shit happens that we’ve caused, we blame God. In addition to the “SHIT HAPPENS” bumper sticker, I think there should be a bumper sticker that says “FREE WILL HAPPENS.” So I made one.

I feel like our response to the obstacles, the detours, and the re-routing of our hearts and aspirations is what faith is all about. You can’t pencil in “have faith today at 4:00” onto your calendar. That’s not really faith at all. What if Jesus failed to plan ahead for the unexpected? Oh, wait. What if he chose not to stop, notice, empathize and spend time with those who needed him most? Of all people, he could have claimed he was too busy. He had a lot of prophecies to fill in a short amount of time. His life showed us that we’re all worthy of God’s unconditional love, overflowing grace and transformation. Every single one of us. Everywhere.

If a relationship doesn’t change you or exfoliate you or push you towards growth, what is the point? In the end. Besides being a couch. Just a comfortable resting spot. I want a faith that opens my eyes and sometimes elbows me and challenges me to engage in a life-adjusting, humbling, uncomfortable kind of love that exists. A love that often hides in the most broken places. But it’s somehow so beautiful when you’re a part of it. It’s a connection, a love that we all crave and would go to great lengths to experience.

If we could only take the time to be purposely inconvenienced. Free will happens. You have the choice to use yours for good, for loving others, in seemingly small ways and gigantic ways too. It can be uncomfortable but that’s usually a good sign. A sign of growth. And growth is good.