Writing for Restoration

Writing I’ve done on behalf of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, Va. (www.restorationarlington.org)
Excerpt from blog post on missions trip to West Virginia in 2015 (originally posted July 3, 2015)

“Thank you, God, that Cathy saved Dax’s head!”

That prayer by Macrae Hanke on Friday evening pretty much sums up my second West Virginia trip with Restoration. Having spent Thursday and most of Friday working in the vicinity of the community center, I had some free time Friday afternoon and headed down to Nancy’s trailer to see if I could help the team working on her roof. I stood in the back and watched as people moved things around — including removing the screws that held a pole supporting a gigantic TV antenna to the back of the trailer. As the antenna started to fall precariously toward Dax Terrill, who was on the roof, people started shouting, and I yelled, “Look out, Dax!” He held his arm out and was able to stop the antenna before it hit his head — or worse. It was, I believe, a miraculous confirmation from God that I was meant to go on this trip.

Besides saving Dax from serious bodily injury, I enjoyed learning how to lay bathroom tile with Kelley as we helped Pastors Dave and Bonnie from Peoples Chapel. I was struck by what Bonnie said about a missions trip that she was leading. “People here have no money, but they give out of their need,” she said, emphasizing that the Bible commends doing so. That got me thinking about how I can “give out of my need,” whether time, money, energy or something else. I was also convicted by what David said about how we serve others because we are loved by God, not to get love. Too often, I do good deeds to get others’ approval, and I am grateful for the chance in Philippi to get strength from God to love the people around me — and even save their heads.

Excerpt from blog post on missions trip to West Virginia in 2013 (originally posted July 11, 2013)

On our last day of work, I was at Dustin’s home, painting a bedroom with him, Anna and Molly. I told the girls that one of my favorite Bible passages is Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I was hoping Dustin would take that to heart, but I realized that I needed to hear those verses again too. Just in case I didn’t get the message the first time, later at the picnic, Clay told me, “Don’t worry too much about it, Cathy” when I asked him how to take videos of the games. Both instances were like God hitting me square between the eyes with one of the furring strips I’d been helping hang on Dustin and Brittany’s ceilings all week.
Speaking of Bibles, I was reminded of something our West Virginia small group discussed: that Jesus addressed people’s physical as well as spiritual needs, so we should do the same. I wasn’t sure if Dustin had a Bible, so I gave him the travel-sized one I had brought with me, and he was very grateful.

Blog post on small group that discussed “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero (originally posted Sept. 8, 2014):

“It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” – from “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero
Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Are you wondering what it means to be spiritually and emotionally mature? Are you dealing with depression, anxiety, grief, loss, anger, conflict or disappointment? Are you interested in how Christian spiritual disciplines can relate to and shape your emotional health, and vice versa?
If any of these apply to you — or even if they don’t — I encourage you to sign up for the “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” small group this trimester. I was first introduced to Peter Scazzero’s book by a pastor at my former church when I was going through a difficult time, and it helped me a lot. Each week, we’ll be discussing chapters from the book as well as a Bible passage to address subjects such as how our families of origin affect us today and how to correct Christian misunderstandings about our emotional lives. We’ll be using the main book along with the accompanying workbook and prayer book, which together cost about $30 (the church has funds to cover these costs if that’s helpful, so don’t hesitate to ask!).
My hope is that, unlike Cloud Cuckoo Land in “The Lego Movie,” where there’s “no negativity of any kind” and Princess Unikitty has to always put on a happy face, this group will be a safe place where you can open up about the negative stuff in your life, work through it, get tools to help you in the future and grow closer to God and other believers in the process.
So, come join us Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in North Arlington. We look forward to seeing you!

Reflection for church’s 2015 Lenten devotional, “From the Dust”

Relating to the Holy Spirit hasn’t come naturally to me. However, there is one way I identify with him, which goes back to a childhood sermon that was part of a series on the Apostles’ Creed. The sermon was on the line “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” and the title was “Shy Member of the Trinity.”

Since I’m a shy introvert, it’s no surprise that I liked this title. The Holy Spirit doesn’t get too much ink in the Apostles’ Creed — and he doesn’t get quoted much in the Bible, either, choosing to communicate via his actions, signs, and power instead. Yet when he does speak, it’s worth paying attention and listening.

Jesus says in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Rather than clash with the Father and the Son, as I sometimes do with the extroverts in my life, the Holy Spirit works alongside them while fulfilling his own unique role. Part of that is to speak for us, not just to us. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

When I’m at a loss for how to pray about something difficult, I appreciate that even the “shy member of the Trinity” knows just what to say.