Thanks to Mikaela McIntosh for this guest post in the Finding God at Work series on how she discovered God in a job she never wanted.

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Growing up, my brother and I promised each other that we would never work at a restaurant or in retail. I’m zero for two now, so when I got hired as a sales associate, all of my pride had to take the back seat.

 

It’s funny how thankful I was when God gave me the job, grateful that I could pay my bills, but after I’d worked there for a while it got boring. And that’s what retail has been for me—mundane—checking out customers, taking phone calls, stocking shelves. It feels like going in circles. But I’ve found that God can be present even in midst of boring jobs…


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During one an afternoon shift, a woman checked out with her daughter. The girl gripped a white capital letter A. She examined it, ran her finger along it’s side, and then placed it flat on the counter. The mother piled up her purchases in front of me and reached into her purse.

 

As I began to check them out, the mother pushed the letter A to the side and told me she would not be purchasing it Continue Reading…

We buckled ourselves into the SUV, four adults and two nieces smooshed between all the camping gear. By buckled, I mean to include Grandma’s arms which clasped around the two littles in their pink swimsuits. Not exactly legal, but the Honda Pilot inched past pine trees and toward the sand about as slow as the snails whose vacated shells we planned to hunt at the beach. Mom asked if our souls felt at rest, being here in the Adirondacks, wedged away from our busy lives, but silence greeted her question. 

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I’d spent the week sleeping late and paddling across lakes powdered with sunshine. My body had slowed down, but when I checked my soul I found it ticking away just as fast as ever. My brother and sister-in-law felt the same. 

 

It probably didn’t help that every time we got cell reception, driving through Lake Placid on the way to a hike or just outside the bathhouse at the beach, I’d look for text messages, Jen would check her email, and Jason would post pictures on Instagram. Only mom, still living in her paleontologic world devoid of Facebook with it’s real, in-person friends and live-time conversations—where being social doesn’t require media— seemed to have soul rest Continue Reading…

Thanks to Seana Scott for this guest post in the Finding God at Work series, on how she found God in motherhood and particularly in her struggle with double mom-guilt. Read more by Seana at her blog 

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My alarm clock vibrates next to my bed and I hear my 2-year-old, Judah, singing, “I like to move it, move it” and dancing with two minion figurines. I grab my iPhone and catch Judah’s dance moves on video for the grandparents. Best alarm clock ever.

 

Moments like these keep me loving motherhood, but often as I send my boys to sleep with songs and a prayer, a question clouds around me: Am I doing a good job? 

 

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Motherhood is my calling, specifically Christian motherhood. This means I live with a double dose of mom guilt. I feel the usual pressure from mommy groups and Pinterest to make healthy meals my kids will actually eat, bestow homemade gifts on the world at large, and teach my boys to read by the time they walk (just joking—well, kind of) Continue Reading…

As I scroll through the Rio 2016 app on my phone, soaking up every video highlight, I wonder what makes the summer Olympics so mesmerizing. Maybe their infrequency helps them resist assimilation into the normalcy of life that is Sunday afternoon football or Monday night hockey. And I wonder about the inner life of Olympians. What’s it like to be Michael Phelps commuting home after one of those long days we all have, when nobody’s watching and everything goes wrong, wondering “Why am I doing this? Does it really matter?”


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Sometimes I doubt the significance of my work as a nurse practitioner. And some of my stay-at-home friends wonder whether parenting and housekeeping is doing enough. Others feel unfulfilled in their work at the bank, school, or restaurant. But what about people who tumble and jump and swim for a living? Are the Olympics just another version of gladiator fights, less gruesome but equally excessive and ultimately pointless?  

 

I don’t think so. While Simone Biles’s life as an American gymnast might look nothing like mine, she goes to work just like I do. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve heard me talk about work as one of the ways we unfold God’s hidden potential in creation, displaying it for others to see and using it for their good, so that they can worship God more than they did before Continue Reading…

I’m thrilled to have Annette Uza, a friend from church, kicking off a new series of blogs about how people find God in their work. These guest posts will run on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Subscribe on the right to get these posts delivered directly to your inbox. And, if you have a story to share, I’d love to hear it

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On my fifty-third birthday I realized that my dad was only four years older than me when he died. As I faced the possibility of meeting Jesus than soon, my position as Director of Productions in a flavor company suddenly lost its appeal. I wanted my life to matter for eternity, so I decided to resign and find a job where I could really serve God.

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I applied for a chaplain residency program and for the next two years clocked fifty hours a week at the hospital before dashing to both of my part-time jobs, one at the flavor company. I worked every weekend and holiday without a single day off. The schedule nearly consumed me, but as I sat in the emergency room with family members, holding their hands and praying with them while their loved one lay on the trauma table getting bullets extracted and head wounds stitched up, I believed my work mattered to God in a way that my old job never could Continue Reading…

When I sat down before a pile of old journals last month, I prepared myself for a barrage of adjectives and angst. The notebooks crowded around me like walls of a torture chamber—spiraled and thread bound ones, some covered with waxy Chinese paintings, others collaged with magazine cutouts. But I needed to fill some gaps in my memory and those journals held the clue. Two mornings and one headache later, I emerged, not only with the salvaged facts under one arm, but six surprising discoveries about myself under the other.

 

1. Some things never change. (A.K.A., I’ve always been a bit pretentious). 

 

The opening page of my first journal, which I penned around the age of ten, states, “In this journal I will write down all my memories from my early years.” For some reason, I thought that the story of getting my first bed from my grandparents’ basement ought to be saved for antiquity. 

 

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Like that diary, I bestowed a title page on every new journal I cracked open, inspired by the importance of the words I had yet to write. I find that propensity, which I still fight, embarrassing, especially given #6 below. 

 

2. My memory serves me well. (Or, at least it serves my ego). 

 

One of the “memories from my early years” shocked me with its rendition of a story I’ve told several times when proving the point that I’m an introvert. I’d cried at a birthday party in kindergarten because the piece of paper under my plate instructed me to sing “Jesus Loves Me”—clear proof that I’ve always been an introvert. But that wasn’t the whole story. My journal revealed that I cried, not just because of the song, but because I wanted my paper to say, “Spank the birthday boy.” Apparently, I wasn’t that much of an introvert Continue Reading…

“So, you’re here today about your blood pressure,” I said, my words trotting out. The key to a successful morning at a doctor’s office is to keep up the tempo. Fall behind schedule before 9 a.m. and you’ll have a morning full of grumpy patients waiting for you. I dropped onto the swivel chair and opened my laptop.

 

“Blood pressure looks great. How long have you been off the pills?” A couple weeks. She’d waited till after surgery like we’d discussed.

 

“Any new problems?” No, she felt great. Surgery had gone well. No other concerns. 

 

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Photo courtesy of Megan Au via flickr.com (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

 

I closed my laptop and slid the stethoscope into my ears. I couldn’t believe my luck, this was going to be the quickest first-appointment-of-the-day ever.

 

“Sounds good. Hope you have a great week!” I stuffed the stethoscope into my pocket and headed for the door.

 

“One more thing…” she said Continue Reading…

This month, two black men were killed by cops, but that’s old news. ISIS also exploded a truck bomb in Bagdadkilling nearly three hundred, snipers in Dallas and Baton Rouge murdered eight cops. Then a truck barreled through the streets of Nice. Another eighty four dead. Why write about a couple of police-encounters-gone-wrong when the world’s got bigger problems? 

 

Over the last several years, questions like that one let me sidestep the news about Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, or Rekia Boyd that fell across my path. I’d squint at the headlines from a distance and, like the Levite in the story of the good samaritan, cross the street and hurry past.

 

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Starting to Care

 

All that changed, though, when my coworker, Sham, showed me a video of cops manhandling black teens at a pool party. Something shifted. I started reading the articles I never saw about Trayvon Martin. I starting asking Sham about her experience as a black woman and mother of black boys. I began to see that the amount of melanin in my skin might have more to do with my experience as an American than I’d realized Continue Reading…

During my childhood summers in Ontario, I’d bolt out of bed and check the red line on the thermometer outside the kitchen window, hoping it had crawled high enough for shorts. Summers were an endless glory of rolling down hills, jumping through sprinklers, and sucking on blue Mr. Freezies. Now, I’m more likely to start the morning by burying my face in the pillow, hoping to postpone the day’s busyness for a couple minutes longer.

 

One of the sad realizations of adulthood is that work days crowd July and August like ants swarming a scoop of ice cream on the ground. If we aren’t careful, we can spend ten months of the year waiting for summer to come, just to keep up our hectic schedules, blink twice, and watch the geese fly south. So, here are a few tips for savoring summer, even if you have to work overtime while the boss is on vacation. 

 

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Pause

 

Summer is about slowing down, giving yourself permission to sit on the deck and feel the day slip into a bath-warm night. You don’t have to take a week off work to slow down, you just need to be strategic. Here are a few tricks for shifting into a more relaxing gear Continue Reading…

Lord, 

We acknowledge that our lives in this country have differed from those of our black brothers and sisters. While we’ve experienced the common pain and grief of life, our skin color has usually exempted us from the cold looks, stinging slurs, and hasty gavels of discrimination.

We have, sometimes without even knowing it, repeated racial stereotypes in our hearts. We have at time, in our churches, failed to acknowledge injustice when it didn’t touch us personally. We have been inconsistent. We’ve prayed against the industry that rips fetuses from pregnant wombs. We’ve prayed against the beheading of Christians in other countries. We’ve prayed for villages ruptured by earthquakes and cities devastated by bombs. But we’ve ignored the injustice grinding down on the people who live in our own neighborhoods and cities. 

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Photo courtesy of Nancy Andrea D. via creationswap.com

We have failed to see. And failing to see, we’ve failed to care. And failing to care, we have failed to act. But as the list grows, of black civilians killed by individuals who’ve abused their power, we acknowledge that something is wrong. 

Help us face a problem that we would prefer to ignore. Help us to remember that, as your children, you hold us responsible to care for our neighbors. Help us feel in the bowels of our faith your heart for the powerless, your anger at their oppression, and how you sacrificed your own comfort to bring them peace. Help us to face the heat of your justice and our own failure in neglecting it Continue Reading…