One of the huge blessings in my life has been to be a part of the Healing Academy here at ATS.  I wrote this originally for my personal blog, but realized that there may be others who could benefit from understanding a bit better the work and the training that Healing Academy offers, so I am sharing it here. If you are interested in the gentle way of healing, please contact the Community Formation Offices to be connected.

Whenever I see a butterfly, it delights my soul.  Something about a butterfly, flitting about in a gentle breeze, alighting upon flowers, its bright colors, it all stirs within me a sense of wonder and amazement.  And I know I’m not the only one. Have you ever watched a child when they see a butterfly? Almost instantaneously they feel the need to try to capture the butterfly, and will chase after it, giggling and delighted by the hunt, captivated by this lovely little insect.

butterfly picture, butterfly pictures

Butterflies go through four life stages. They begin life as an egg, laid on the type of leaf that they will enjoy eating. Once born, they are a caterpillar, and spend that life cycle eating, and eating, growing, and eating some more. Eating and growing in preparation of the next stage are the sole purposes of this cycle of their life. Then they become a pupa, protected in a chrysalis, going through metamorphosis, and transforming themselves into the final stage–that of a butterfly.

As a pupa, this is really where the miracle of their little lives happen.  Safe in the silky cocoon, the caterpillar digests itself, essentially becoming caterpillar soup.  There is nothing recognizable in this goo, nothing that resembles the previous life of the caterpillar.  This primordial ooze reconfigures itself, realigns, and regrows, formed into a new creation. This rebirth as a new life form, so completely different from its original state, is an amazing transformation, a tiny little miracle wrapped up in a chrysalis.

Over the past few years, since moving to this quiet little town in Kentucky, I have been blessed to be part of a healing ministry. It is through this ministry that I have grown, been shaped, and transformed. I am journeying through my own metamorphosis.

butterfly pictures, butterflies picture

Had you mentioned the word “healing” to me before, especially in the setting of church ministry, I would have scoffed. My mental picture of healing was part Steve Martin (from the movie “Leap of Faith”) and part T.V. evangelist, shouting at someone, proclaiming healing, and an “instantaneous” healing, the person getting up from a wheelchair, walking.

It all seemed fake. An artificially created stage show, made for the purpose of entertainment or coercing the audience into belief.

The abundant healings within the Bible all seemed so distant, just a part of Christianity’s past, but not a part of current culture. And yet…

Healing is part of the command that Jesus gave his disciples.  Matthew 10:1 states that Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them the authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness (NIV, emphasis mine). In Luke 9:2, and again in Luke 10:9, he sends them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  Part of the gifts within the body of Christ, as stated in 1 Corinthians 12:28, is healing, along with miracles, teaching, preaching and tongues. It is sad, really, that healing is not a gift that is cultivated or emphasized within our Christian culture, especially since Christ sent his followers out with a command to not just preach the gospel message, but to heal in His name.

 We had friends here who first introduced us to the gentle, sweet, tender way of healing.  A way of inviting the Holy Spirit in, and allowing God to reveal the hurts, the broken places of our souls.  Both my husband and I found ourselves in the Healing Academy, drawn to the beautiful work through our own healing journey.  The healing ministry that we have been taught here is not loud, it is not abrupt, it is not forced. What we do is bear witness to the power and the redemption found in Christ.  We claim healing in Jesus’ name, but we know that God heals in His own, unique way and in His own time. We may ask for physical healing, but what God may first work on is the emotional wounds causing the physical pain. The layers of hurt, emotional, psychological and physical, all manifest themselves within people differently, and God wants every level, every layer, restored and redeemed. He wants us to be whole.

His greatest longing for us is to be made new, in Christ. He brings healing, He brings restoration. As prayer ministers, we listen, we love, and we pray. That is the essence of healing ministry. We intercede, we ask, we anoint, we cover with blessings and we wait on the Lord.  We are not trying to counsel, but we are inviting them to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to be open and vulnerable, confessing and repenting if needed.

There is beauty in the community that can be broken together and that offers grace to one another. There is joy found in a community that trusts God can heal, and intercedes for each other.  There is rest and renewal in being present with the other in waiting on the Lord.

butterfly pictures, butterflies picture

 This is the joy I have found in my journey.  I came to this place, alive and well, but not living into the life I was created for. I came here a caterpillar.  Through the past years, I have settled into my cocoon, and I have allowed the deep, hard work of transformation to begin.  My time of metamorphosis may take the rest of my days upon this earth. It is not easy work. It takes effort and energy to expose that which is wounded, or flawed, or broken within me. It takes leaning in to the loving arms of the Father, as well as those around me, to succumb to the knitting together of the frayed edges of my life. It takes a willing spirit to lay down my pride, to dissolve into a puddle of tears in front of others and allow the inner work to happen.

The more I heal, the more I realize how much more needs to be healed. And it isn’t just for my benefit. It is healing my family. My children and my husband benefit. Our relationships are stronger.  I am more gentle in the way I love and care for them. Friendships are deepened.  The way I interact with the world is different. I am less quick to judge, less likely to condemn.

But my work is not done.

I am not yet perfected, not yet ready to break free of the chrysalis.  There is still work and growth to be done.

And when the time comes, it will not be me, but my Creator, who breaks open the cocoon.  He who knit me together in my mother’s womb will complete the work He began in me. I will be freed from the constraints of sin and brokenness.

I will fly.

**all photographs are courtesy of


A time for rest


Taking a day…24 hours…to rest, be renewed and refreshed, to spend time with the Lord, unencumbered, unrestrained, by the demands of the world, of work, of life.

24 hours.

It shouldn’t be so difficult.

It shouldn’t be so impossible to unplug, to unwind.

But our lives run on the 24/7 cycle.  We rush and we race, always trying to catch up, always feeling behind.

There is no time to rest. No time to just be.

And yet…

God desires rest for us. God commands it of us, to keep holy the Sabbath. He knows that we need a time of peace, quiet, renewal. He knows the deepest needs of our hearts, minds and bodies.  After all, He was the great designer of these earthly vessels, and only He knows what we can endure before we hit our point of breaking.

Each of us know, logically, that we can’t always be on the go. We all know that there needs to be some time for rest. We all know, have heard the studies, about what stress does to our bodies and our minds. We all know there needs to be an escape, a time for the pressure valve on our lives to be released.

But our knowledge of such things does not seem to relate to what we do.

This past semester, everyone on campus had the opportunity to recieve the book “24/6″ by Matthew Sleeth. (If you didn’t get this book, come down to the Community Formation offices and pick up your free copy.)  This book really focuses on keeping the Sabbath, making it holy, re-creating and re-orientating our lives around that day of rest and time with the Lord.

This spring semester, we are inviting our Seminary community to join with one another in Sabbath practices. This is a gentle invitation to open your hearts and minds to the way of rest, the way of the Lord.

We invite you to choose a Sabbath day where work ceases, play increases, rest and refreshment occurs, and time with the Lord is full of renewal, hope and joy.

There will be opportunities to learn about Sabbath practices during lunch hours, Chapel times that focus on keeping the Sabbath, and groups meeting to eat, rest, and be refreshed with one another.  We invite you to join in, to find a way to be a part of the Sabbath experience, leaning in to the rest that is found when we live a 24/6 life.





Meeting the Needs

2 Corinthians 8:2:  In spite of their terrible ordeal of suffering, their abundant joy and deep poverty have led them to be abundantly generous.
     There are needs in our community. Some are spoken, some are held in silence, some are held in shame.  We know there are students and families that struggle, finding it hard to make ends meet. The Seminary understands that hardships can happen, even to the wisest of stewards. An accident, an illness, a death in the family, the unexpected and the unusual all can lead down a path of frustration and financial hardship.
     That is the heart behind the Phillipian Fund. It is supported by gifts from persons within the community who wish to provide financial aid to students experiencing unexpected or unusual hardship or loss. Requests may be made personally or on behalf of others to any Community Formation staff, who will channel the requests appropriately. (Funds are not dispersed to pay normal household expenses.)
     Out of this Phillipian Fund, our Phillipian Food Pantry was created. There are many families, many students, that can financially make ends meet, but are “food insecure.”  They and their families struggle with hunger, with meeting the day-to-day food needs.  Food insecurity is defined as a “ state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”  There are a number of families here that utilize SNAP, which is the government’s food assistance (also known as food stamps).  But even with SNAP, their food money doesn’t always stretch through the month.  International students and their families usually cannot qualify for SNAP, and can sometimes suffer from hunger more often than others.  There are single parents in our community, right here within the seminary walls, that fret and worry over feeding their children and making ends meet.
     Are you aware of the needs? Did you know your next door neighbor may not be able to feed their family once a day, much less three times daily as most of us expect to eat?  Are you one of the 49.1 million in the United States that suffers from food insecurity?
     We understand there is sometimes shame and embarrassment in admitting our needs. We know that there are those in our community who are suffering, often in silence and embarrassment, as their stomachs rumble and the worry wears on them.  But we also know that we need to minister to one another, in the ways that we are able.
     So, a food pantry was created. It has been in existence for a year or so now, advertised by word of mouth.  We have had a few food drives to help stock it, including one this past fall as we gathered food during our Fun Run/Walk.  We also  moved the Pantry into the Community House, to make it more accessible. We want to be able to help one another meet the most basic of needs.   This is also one of the reasons that the Community Garden is open to all to harvest from the community beds, without cost, to help feed those in need.
     Community Formation, and Formation Ministries in particular, is desiring to connect those with needs to the resources that are available, including our Food Pantry.  If you are in need, or you know of someone within our community that could use assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hold this information in confidence, and in prayer.  We want those in our community to know that we honor their privacy.
     If you would like to donate food to the Pantry, or money to the Phillipian Fund, please contact our office. We can take any type of non-perishable food items, as well as paper goods like toilet paper, paper towels, etc.  Healthy and gluten-free options, as well as canned proteins like tuna or chicken,  would also be wonderful to receive, as many prepackaged foods don’t work well for those with allergies.
     We are so grateful for the generosity that this community has in caring for one another, and it is our deepest prayer that we will continue to love one another in such a way.  Thank you for loving your neighbor.

Formation Ministries at Asbury Theological Seminary