Monthly Archives: August 2013




To be seen.

To be heard.

To be understood.

This is what I need.

This is what you need.

This is what we all need.

God Sees.

God hears.

God understands.

We need to see.

We need to hear.

We need to understand.

I choose to see.

I choose to care.

I choose to understand.

~ Laurie Pontious-Andrews

The following blog post source:

Being seen, being heard
by Hännah

“I just don’t feel heard,” she texted me.

“I know, but I hear you,” I thought.


Awkward silence was the norm in the kitchen at one place I worked. You’d slip in for coffee or water or your lunch, and shuffle around each other with cringing politeness and fumble for what you came for in silence.

The old fellow with dancer’s feet and bright eyes walked in with me, silent. Then: “Did you see that new zombie movie?”

I hadn’t, but he saw me. We talked. I wasn’t invisible that time.


She was eloquent, but no one responded. She voiced her frustration, but she still felt marginalized. Two words on the screen made all the difference. “I’m listening,” she read.


We all struggle with this, I think. It’s human to want to be heard. “Hey anybody!” says a kid, and we all know what he means. Hear me. See me. Feel this with me.

Being unheard and feeling alone is the most miserable place. I think maybe Lewis was right in The Great Divorce that hell is a state of mind that creates the most ultimate isolation.

It’s what motivates us to blog, to Tweet, to commune, to write, to gather. Tell me I’m not alone. Tell me you hear me.

When I had been at my old SGM church for about nine years–after serving in Sunday school since I was 14, after raising $4,000 in bake sales ever Sunday for a year for the church building fund, after my dad played on the worship team, after attending every Sunday service and every weekly care group, while the church grew from about 200 people to 800 or so–I was in a van going to a church conference and the pastor was driving. He turned to me, and called me “Hannah” with a short a. (It’s pronounced with a long a, like in “father”). “So, Hannah,” he said, “how are you?”

And I cringed, and for the first time I realized: when I left town for my freshman year later that summer, I was going to be glad to leave that church. I’d poured my life into it, and they had no idea who I was. I was invisible. He didn’t even know my name.

That isn’t what the church is supposed to be like. The image of the church as the Body of Christ makes me think that the church is supposed to be a place where we are intimately known, heard, seen, and cared for. When one part of the Body suffers, we all suffer. We rejoice and grieve and grow and hurt and heal together.


After that, I was set adrift for a while, but everywhere I went that wasn’t KingsWay, I was met with more pastoral care and kindness than I’d ever experienced. Even those places where the theology was twisted and bordered on spiritual abuse, and I maybe wasn’t really heard, they tried to care for me better than I’d ever experienced before.

I left school and moved to a new area and got married, and promptly found myself in the tailspin of a faith and identity crisis. The church we were at had abstracted faith in such a way that there was no life there, and I spent our Sundays there evading detection by volunteering in the nursery or reading Harry Potter in the church office or outside in the sun.

And then. This year. This bizarre year. Where so much change has left me feeling exhausted and excited and cracked open and nomadic.

I find myself receiving the kindness of near-strangers at church, because they know. My pastor sits across from me in his office and I’ve only scratched the surface in my storytelling and he stops me and asks me about his preaching, how he can make sure he’s being intersectional and show how much he cares by not marginalizing people. And asks for book recommendations. And then prays for me and prays for unspoken things that he heard in between the lines of what I told him, and I sit there and choke back tears because I have been heard.


I wake up to an email from a girl who used to be afraid in her church, who’s now landed in a new church and has found love and isn’t afraid to show her face to God there anymore, and in all this crazy mess of change I’m forced to be still for a minute there and give thanks.

Because this, this, this beautiful listening-talking-praying-holding-each-other-up mess? This is what the church is supposed to be. It’s not a unicorn fairytale wishful thing. It’s magic, sure, but a real kind.


Is it Okay to be Angry at God?


Is it Okay to be Angry at God?

Too many times we’re taught as Christians that we shouldn’t get angry. That anger isn’t of God. But what does that say to those who grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive, and addicted families? What are we to do with the anger we feel? Are we automatically rejected because of our anger? How does God feel about our anger? How can we effectively deal with the roots of our anger if we aren’t allowed to be angry in the first place?

In 1997, I began truly seeking God opening my heart up wide before Him. One of the first things He exposed was the anger I was holding in my heart towards Him.

What????!?!?!?! You mean, as a Christian, you can have anger in your heart towards God?!?!?!?

I’m here to say you can. And not only that, but you can have anger towards Him and still be loved and adored by Him.


Please allow me to share my story.

I didn’t realize I was angry towards God the Father. I knew I had anger buried way down deep on the inside of me. It was volcanic. It was explosive. It was intense. At times, it scared me.

After one such explosion, I pounded my tightened fist onto the counter in my kitchen and shouted to God, “I know that I’m angry! But WHAT am I angry about!?!?!”
For two weeks, God allowed me to feel the intense rage brewing deep within me. It was painful. It was ugly. It was fierce.
I went to church on what happened to be Valentine’s weekend.
Gotta love irony.
The pastor had everyone break up into groups.
Oh how I hated this kind of interaction!
I felt “set-up” by God but, as usual, I chose to be externally obedient and joined the group I was placed in.
I thought, “Well, I may have to be in the group but I’m sure not going to share my anger issue with them.”
Everyone in my group had their needs prayed for. Then the leader looked at me and asked what I needed.
Naturally, I replied, “Nothing. I’m good.”
Lying. In a prayer group. In church. Yeah, that scores points.
Her look softened and she gently laid her hand on my heart and began softly praying.
I couldn’t believe it. Was God telling her I was filled with rage?!?
She said, “Laurie, I see you hiding in the branches of a tree. You’re throwing things down to people below as if you want to join them but when they look up at you, you quickly hide behind the leaves. I don’t know what this means…”
As she was speaking, the pastor told everyone to return to their seats.
She stopped and stood up to returned to her seat along with everyone else.
I was livid!
As he dismissed the congregation I literally ran to my car not pausing to speak with anyone.
I cried all the way home.
It wasn’t the soft weeping of a heart that felt heard. It was the angry embittered sobs of a broken, smashed, bruised and battered heart that had been exposed only to be left without help or aid of any kind.
Why had everyone – EVERYONE – received prayer that morning except me?!?
My heart thrust forth every sharp rock it contained towards the One Who had created it.
“You don’t care about me! You never cared about me! I don’t matter. You treat me like dirt! You’ve always treated me like dirt. I hate You! You’re not fair. Others, oh they are cared for. But not me. Not me. You just beat me up any time You feel like it. You take away anything that brings me even the slightest bit of comfort. You take away anyone who shows me even a hint of love. You see my struggle and You flat out don’t care. You don’t care how badly You hurt me!”
I cried and poured forth my venom until at last I lay spent, still and quiet. Then the Lord gently reminded me of a poem I had read years earlier in Patsy Clairmont’s book, Under His Wings.
I Told God I Was Angry

I told God I was angry;
I thought He’d be surprised.
I thought I’d kept hostility
quite cleverly disguised.

I told the Lord I hate Him;
I told Him that I hurt.
I told Him that He isn’t fair;
He’s treated me like dirt.

I told God I was angry,
but I’m the one surprised.
“What I’ve known all along,” He said,
“you’ve finally realized.

“At last you have admitted
what’s really in your heart;
Dishonesty, not anger,
was keeping us apart.

“Even when you hate Me,
I don’t stop loving you.
Before you can receive that love,
you must confess what’s true.

“In telling me the anger
you genuinely feel,
it loses power over you
permitting you to heal.”

I told God I was sorry,
and He’s forgiven me.
The truth that I was angry
had finally set me free.

~ Jessica Shaver

Thus began a whole new set of tears but these tears were different. These were the tears of a wounded heart that had come to the end of its anger towards the only One Who could provide healing.
My relationship with God as my Father began to grow from that moment. I had always loved Jesus. He was the big brother I never had but always imagined would love and protect me and shield me from the daily pain I endured. But God the Father was another story.
I saw Him as mean and vindictive, ready to strike at the slightest infraction or simply because He felt like it. He was the heading at the beginning of the prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father…” I was afraid of Him. I was afraid of His fury.
I realized in the days, weeks and months that followed that He was nothing that I had believed Him to be. He loved me. He had always loved me. He had always been there to protect and shield me. He had never left me out of His sight even for a moment. He loved me so much that He had given up His own Son (my Big Brother) to bring me into relationship with Him.
What about that story of me being in a tree hiding?
God the Father is so incredibly intimate with each of us. My father’s nickname for me growing up was Squirrel.
Is there more truth buried in the story?
Yes, but that’s for another time and another vein of my healing…
So, can you be angry with God?
I have found that honesty, openness and REAL-ness are the keys to His very heart. It takes great faith to tell Him that you are angry and faith is what brings Him the most pleasure.
Think of the Fathers of our Faith who clearly gave us permission to bare all before Him. David – a man after God’s own heart – poured forth his pain, joy, and anger in his journal entitled the Psalms. Job – poured forth the full range of his emotional pain and loss. Elijah – fell into depression and God ministered to both his physical and emotional need. Jeremiah – who poured forth from his misery and despair in Lamentations.
So, if you’re angry, tell Him you are. Tell Him why. Pour it all out, until there is nothing left. And watch Him meet you right where you are.
~ Laurie Pontious-Andrews

Beautiful Christian Sister ~ Maya Angelou


Beautiful Christian Sister
‘A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.’

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean living,’ I’m whispering ‘I was lost, Now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect, My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain… I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner Who received God’s good grace, somehow!

~ Maya Angelou

Pondering Fear


You are evil.

You restrain.

You bind.

You hold hostage.

You prevent relationship.

You choke out life.

You de-value.

You isolate.

You devastate.

You destroy.

You hinder.

You enslave.

You entrap.

You unsettle.

You disturb.

You overtake.

You overwhelm.

You steal creativity.

You threaten.

You stalk.

You intimidate.

You undermine.

~ Laurie Pontious-Andrews

Becoming a Human “Being”

 this article!!!! It’s a lesson that’s taken me 46 years to embrace. Learning how to “be” instead of “do”. God has so many wonderful little hidden secret “blessings” to reveal Himself in our ordinary day in and day out living but we are “[overly occupied and too busy] and distracted with much serving” and miss His sweet whisper. May each of us learn how to discover what is truly “essential and necessary” so that we can truly live and “be”.  Luke 10:40-42

The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’

Rachel Macy Stafford

When you’re living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough time in a day to ever catch up.
That was my life for two frantic years. My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t.
You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child.
When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown.
When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat.
When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she’d stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma.
When I had 30 minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed.

When I had a full agenda that started at 6:00 a.m., she asked to crack the eggs and stir them ever so gently.

rachel macy stafford 2

My carefree child was a gift to my Type A, task-driven nature –but I didn’t see it. Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision — only looking ahead to what’s next on the agenda. And anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time.
Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, “We don’t have time for this.” Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: “Hurry up.”
I started my sentences with it.
Hurry up, we’re gonna be late.
I ended sentences with it.
We’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up.
I started my day with it.
Hurry up and eat your breakfast.

Hurry up and get dressed.
I ended my day with it.
Hurry up and brush your teeth.

Hurry up and get in bed.
And although the words “hurry up” did little if nothing to increase my child’s speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, “I love you.”
The truth hurts, but the truth heals… and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.
Then one fateful day, things changed. We’d just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, “You are so slow.” And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself — and it was a gut-wrenching sight.
I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.
My eyes were opened; I saw with clarity the damage my hurried existence was doing to both of my children.
Although my voice trembled, I looked into my small child’s eyes and said, “I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.”
Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my painful admission, but my younger daughter’s face held the unmistakable glow of validation and acceptance.
“I promise to be more patient from now on,” I said as I hugged my curly-haired child who was now beaming at her mother’s newfound promise.
It was pretty easy to banish “hurry up” from my vocabulary. What was not so easy was acquiring the patience to wait on my leisurely child. To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young.
When my daughter and I took walks or went to the store, I allowed her to set the pace. And when she stopped to admire something, I would push thoughts of my agenda out of my head and simply observe her. I witnessed expressions on her face that I’d never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.

rachel macy stafford 3

My promise to slow down was made almost three years ago, at the same time I began myjourney to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters in life. And living at a slower pace still takes a concerted effort. My younger daughter is my living reminder of why I must keep trying. In fact, the other day, she reminded me once again.
The two of us had taken a bike ride to a sno-cone shack while on vacation. After purchasing a cool treat for my daughter, she sat down at a picnic table delightedly admiring the icy tower she held in her hand.
Suddenly a look of worry came across her face. “Do I have to rush, Mama?”
I could have cried. Perhaps the scars of a hurried life don’t ever completely disappear, I thought sadly.
As my child looked up at me waiting to know if she could take her time, I knew I had a choice. I could sit there in sorrow thinking about the number of times I rushed my child through life… or I could celebrate the fact that today I’m trying to do thing differently.
I chose to live in today.

rachel macy stafford 4

“You don’t have to rush. Just take your time,” I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed.
And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us.
I thought my child was going to eat the whole darn thing — but when she got to the last bite, she held out a spoonful of ice crystals and sweet juice for me. “I saved the last bite for you, Mama,” my daughter said proudly.
As I let the icy goodness quench my thirst, I realized I just got the deal of a lifetime.
I gave my child a little time… and in return, she gave me her last bite and reminded me that things taste sweeter and love comes easier when you stop rushing through life.

rachel macy stafford 5

Whether it’s …
Sno-cone eating
Flower picking
Seatbelt buckling
Egg cracking
Seashell finding
Ladybug watching
Sidewalk strolling
I will not say, “We don’t have time for this.” Because that is basically saying, “We don’t have time to live.”
Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.
(Trust me, I learned from the world’s leading expert on joyful living.)