The Promised Land

[Celebrate This Week No. 238]


I hope you still want to celebrate with me, because things are about to get good. I say that with my feet  firmly planted on the ground and reckless faith with unabashed hope. It doesn’t mean that life is going to be Pinterest picture perfect, parenting is going to be simple, or I’m going to suddenly write all of the words I want to write when I want to write them.

I am sure, though, that I’ve finally crossed into the Promised Land. It is only fitting considering I’ve been traveling the wilderness of earth for 40 years.

It looks like tents in the backyard and a smokey fire.

I think there’s a difference between being religious and faith. I’m not very good at the former. As a recovering perfectionist, it’s important that I stay away from legalism. Faith, though, that’s the core of who I am. I’ve spent a life time figuring out how to live by faith.

It’s been messy.
And beautiful.
A beautiful mess.

I would describe the recent leg of our journey as nightmarish. If Andy could chime in, he would say, “I’m not sure I would go that far.”

I would cut my eyes to him and raise my eyebrows, sending the unspoken, Really? across the room. Andy would smile and he’d wink at me and you would know why I fell in love with him. Then he would say, “Well, yeah, I guess nightmarish is an accurate description.”

I’d laugh and he would add, “We’re doing okay, though.”

Of course he’s right, but mostly because we have a very loose definition of okay.

And we keep fighting the good fight.

Life took a nosedive for our 14 year old daughter in the first week of April. As a writer who is also a momma to kids from dark places, I’m aware that some stories are mine to tell and some stories are my kids’ to to tell. Then there are some that belong to both of us.

The story that belongs to me is the one of the tents in the backyard and the way life is never too dark for a celebration.


In the past few weeks, our family has been decompressing. One day I hope I have the words to describe the fatigue we all experienced. I still haven’t figure out the rules of recovery from extreme stress. I do know there were some things I refused to give up.

  1. Reading scripture.
  2. Writing and reflecting about my faith in my notebook.
  3. Showing outlandish acts of love.

Showing outlandish acts of love is the way we pressed on. Too often, we hit a gnarled part of the journey and we hole up, rather than lifting up others. This time, I was determined not to become isolated.

This isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. The road we are walking isn’t one that is for everyone. There are some parts of the path that tunnel into darkness, and there are dangerous twists and turns that only a few ought to know — if we are brave enough to speak of them…and if they are brave enough to hear without passing judgement.

I’m grateful that we can never get too far away from the reach of celebration. Those tents may look like something you see every year on the last day of school in our backyard. This year, though they represent overcoming fear and choosing love over defeat — again and again and again.

This post is part of a weekly offering to celebrate in the middle of the muddle. I hope you join the celebration!

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Whenever it fits in your life, add your link.  Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

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  1. It’s good to hear from you, to read your writing. I’m so sorry that these past weeks have been tough, have been thinking of you and wondering why no post, but know you would be busy readying for the conference, too. Hugs for your journey and for the family’s also, Ruth. Will be back with a post. I’ve off on an adventure with a grand-girl today!

  2. Still here writing. Still here for you and yours. I’ve been thinking about you a lot and wondering, but I know that sometimes, you have to take care of life. Love you, Ruth. Hugs.

  3. Ruth, the journey is always filled with sunshiny days and grey days but if we embrace hope it is gets us to the other side. I am saying this because the literal and figurative grey days have hovered over my house but today we are packing up and visiting our grandbaby where joy comes in abundance.

  4. Two sentences stand out in this post: “I’m grateful that we can never get too far away from the reach of celebration.” and “…life is never too dark for a celebration.” Your voice has been missed, but we’ve tried to celebrate without you (it’s just not the same). So glad to see this post and those tents in the backyard! Hugs!

  5. Life can throw twists and turns, but when you have love and faith the road ahead will smooth out, eventually. Those tents are a beautiful sight, any day of the year. Hugs and prayers for you and all your clan.

  6. I missed you and am sorry that the difficult days have to exist. I’m so glad life isn’t too dark for celebration. I am so happy for those tents. Outlandish acts of love sound fabulous. You’re in my thoughts and heart.

  7. When you tell your story you give people permission, and the courage, to tell their story. – Angela Maiers

    If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. – Barry Lopez

    Let your life be the story Jesus uses to draw others to Him. – Brooke McGlothlin

    Thank you for sharing your stories, Ruth.

  8. Your description of the imagined exchange between you and Andy has me so completely charmed. I am so thrilled you are back in this writing space, sharing your beautiful words, and living your story. Your steadfast commitment to blogging inspired me to start a new blog a while ago. Today, I posted the first of what I hope is many celebrations to come!