Have you ever been stuck? In a job, in a rut, in a habit, in a bad relationship? Hear stories from people who have been there, and what they did to get un-stuck.
Laurel: Freed by a Neighbor in Need
Today's entry is from Laurel. She reflects on a time when the needs of a fellow human being drew her out of an introspective stupor, and allowed her to experience the joy of serving an unexpected neighbor. As you take in her story, listen carefully to how your life's story might be echoed in hers.
How have you been impacted by serving others?
Can you think of a time when others have helped draw you out of a mental or emotional fog? How did it happen?
After reading Matthew 16:24-26, what do you think Jesus means by saying that "those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it"?
Katherine: Stuck in My Own Head
This episode features Katherine. A mother who loves Jesus but struggles to connect with her young daughter, Katherine reflects on the shame and discouragement that this strained relationship brings. But she also reflects on how Jesus' words of comfort free her to live into his gracious love.
Reflect on a time when you felt shame? How did it affect your ability to be there for others? How did you ultimately get free of it?
Can you think of a time when your faith helped you in a troubled relationship?
Biblical Texts: Romans 8
What sticks out to you in Romans 8?
What do you learn about Jesus' love from this chapter?
Michelle: The Slow Burn of God's Love
In this compelling episode, Michelle talks about the slow outworking of God's love in her life, worked out over decades. As you listen to Michelle's story, we invite you to reflect on the following questions:
How have you changed as a person over long periods of time?
If you had a chance to talk with a younger version of yourself, what would s/he be surprised about?
Think about your life as a journey. Where have you been?
What strikes you as interesting in Ruth's story?
Do you see any connections between your life and Ruth's story?
Anne: Stuck in an Unhealthy Relationship
This week's story features Anne. A compassionate woman with a professional background in social work. At a critical point in her life, Anne found herself stuck in an unhealthy client relationship. Augmenting this unhealthy relationship was a deep, authentically felt religious fervor. Anne's story is one about rediscovery the grace of God and rebuilding her life in the wake of a series of fateful decisions.
Have you ever been in an unhealthy relationship? How did you get out?
Do you know anyone in your circle of family or friends who may be in an unhealthy relationship?
Dwaine: A Pesky Pastor
Today's entry is from Dwaine. As an AirForce veteran, he experienced significant trauma from his time in combat. This experience followed him home, causing personal and relational challenges. The effects of his trauma became so burdensome that he eventually decided to end his life--that is, until a persistent pastor's words finally broke through. As you listen to Dwaine's story, we invite you to reflect on the following questions:
Are you currently carrying a burden alone? Do you have a companion for the journey?
Is there anyone around you who might be carrying a burden in isolation?
How has trauma shaped your life?
Scripture: Mark 5:1-43
What sticks out to you in these accounts of healing?
Have you ever experienced healing--emotional, physical, spiritual, etc? How did that happen?
Dean: A Meaningful Life
Today's entry is from Dean Gruner. He tells a powerful story about how three men's lives--and especially their deaths--profoundly affected the trajectory of his life, slowly releasing him from a life of self-focus to one of purpose, meaning, and faith. As you listen to Dean's story, listen closely to how your life's story might be echoed in his. We would also like to invite you to consider a few reflection questions:
How have loss and suffering changed how you think about the world?
How have others helped you on your spiritual journey?
How have you helped others on their spiritual journey?
For you, what is a meaningful life?
Biblical Texts: Romans 5:1-11; 2 Samuel 1:1-27
What strikes you as interesting in these stories?
Do you hear your own life echoed in any of these biblical accounts?