Hey y’all. I’m Bonnie. I wear bright lipstick, cowboy boots, and am unapologetically myself. I met my husband in college and we got married young (We were babies! Who allowed this?!) and we decided we’d talk about our timeline for children when we were married 5 years. We got pregnant right before our two year anniversary. OVER-ACHEIVERS. And months later Chip was born.
Chip is the sweetest child on the face of the planet, and he understands and loves deeply. He is an utter joy. Truly. Except for when he’s tired and then we all loose it around here. Last week after he was crying because he got out of his warm bath, I was saying loudly: “Do you have food on the table every day?” “Do you have a warm bed to sleep in?’ “Then ok, you’ll be fine until a towel gets around you.” Kids, man.
But seriously that child is the best of us, and he has taught us to normalize grief to feel it all, and then to walk stronger because of it. His little brother, whom I delivered as a stillborn when I was 20 weeks old, lives in heaven. We all miss him dearly, but it is Chip who allowed us to be ok with that. He taught us to own our story, and he is the bravest boy I know.
I grew up in a Christian home, and I know all the youth group songs and Young Life event names you can. I’ve never been a “joiner” so I skipped out on youth group, but I read every book I could get my hands on,. I can’t pinpoint why, but somewhere along the road, I started making Christianity and God a negotiation piece in my life. I was terrified of God that He would smite me after I watched Fantasma and Zeus was throwing lightening bolts down on his people. Later in life, the first book of the Bible I would read from cover to cover was Revelation. I mean if it’s going to get bad, I want to know ahead of time.
And I had a good life. A few bumps along the way, but overall I minded my P’s and Q’s and God and I had a good deal going. But then, after I had completed my Masters in Theology, I started to branch out a try new things, and new ways of experiencing God. I let go a little bit of my notions of Him and his lightening bolts and I tried to exchange it for this freedom that every Christian author was always talking about. I started slowly and as I was embarking on a new journey, my family and I ran into a season of hurt, pain, loss, and grief. In a period of 1.5 years, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, we got toxic black mold poisoning, I herniated two discs in my low back leaving me just short of paralyzed, and we gave birth to our second son as a stillborn.
We were lost. We were alone. Afraid. Angry. And a million other things. The one thing that held us together were the questions that began to unravel. I didn’t fall back on my faith as you think you will when to dive into your daily devotions, but instead I began to question all the formulas I had built up and the equations I had made up. Because, you see, I was convinced that if I did a list of things, then a list of comfortable outcomes was due to me. So when it all fell apart, I was faced with confusion and shame.
This website and podcast, these are the things that I learned to let go of. These are the places that I learned to receive fresh grace and love from Jesus and give it to myself and to others. It’s messy, it’s hard, but as with all things that Jesus calls us to: it’s always worth it.
This is my attempt to make the hard things, those that knock us down and try to keep us there, normal conversations in our hearts, our homes and our churches. When we talk about it, bring it out in the open, we bring healing to our own hearts, our families and friends and our churches.
The best thing I’ve learned thus far is that the reward we get for following Jesus, is simply and beautifully, Jesus.