Desolation of Generations

Desolation of Generations

How do you rise above a poverty culture “when you’re born with it hanging around your neck?”

generation of disrepairIn the recent bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, author J.D. Vance recounts the story of his chaotic family and the crises in poor working-class communities. From Appalachia, his people migrated to southern Ohio to find jobs. After securing work, they bought houses and enrolled their kids in public schools.

They were offered a chance at the American Dream.

But sadly, their poverty culture came with them. Continue reading

Converging Roads

Converging Roads

Old, vintage padlock ( open )isolated on white backgroundTwo weeks ago during the worship time at church, I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of two roads merging. The phrase, “converging roads,” entered my thoughts like an interruption. After that image faded, I saw a padlock open. These symbolic images came in a wisp of time…a second or two.

The worship leader invited the congregation to share any impressions received from God. Our small church provides a perfect context for listening prayer, something Quaker churches have practiced for centuries.

Feeling spiritually dull, I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what it meant. It would have been entirely okay to say, “This is what I saw and heard,” mentioning the two roads and the lock. No interpretation was necessary. But I held back, and the moment passed.

Guide signThen our pastor announced the recent engagement of a young couple. They beamed as he shared their story. Because their last names matched the names of two streets in our town, the young man proposed to his girlfriend where the two roads converged!

My ears popped open! Our pastor actually used the verb—converge.

At that point, I shared my impression with the couple. It was obviously for them–and so precise! God loves it when a man and a woman become one. He “unlocks” His pleasure and releases His Spirit to take the journey of marriage with them.

Think how powerful that impression might’ve been if I had given it publically before the pastor’s announcement! That couple could’ve experienced the intimacy of God, because I had no prior knowledge of their engagement.

When we came home, I discussed the incident with my husband. Duncan saw the connection for the couple, but also thought it was a word for us. Our roads were finally converging. God was releasing us into “the next chapter” of marriage.Continue reading