Connecting with God, each other, and ourselves in the broken and beautiful

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Marking One Year of COVID-19….

Photo by Susanne Moorman Rowe

This week marks approximately one year since shut-downs in the United States began in response to COVID-19. The landscape of life right now still feels foreign, even as it grows more familiar every day. I wrote this prayer long before the pandemic – a prayer included in Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life – yet it resonates with my heart’s deepest cries and hopes as we cross this anniversary threshold.

These wounds will someday bless, and in countless ways, already are.

When I need God to redeem this painful, hard, sad thing (From Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life)

Wonder Worker,

When I peered up from the hole 

and saw no way out…

When what was taken 

away gave no warning…

When I didn’t think I 

had the courage

(or even the energy)

to live into a life looking 

nothing like it did before…

Something was happening.

The thing I thought would break me –

that did break me –

is now making me.

Great is the mystery of faith

The pieces of life’s puzzle 

come together here and there,

or shockingly in a big patch at once,

and I see you…

active and good in all things.

Your power to redeem –

to take the most painful deaths

and birth from them living, breathing gifts,

taking my own breath away in awe.

You do not create pain for me to grow

or cause the heartache of my soul,

but are the expert Shaper of life’s ashes. 

Somehow this terrible thing –

when given in earnest to you today

(and many tomorrows from now!)

becomes an open channel where

something amazing will flow.

A passage echoing

with a tender Voice –

You can trust me 

with all the things….

in all the things…

You will lift me from this hole.

I will wail and wonder with gratitude. 

I’ll begin a new kind of dance,

letting my limp remind 

my soul and world

how broken bodies 

learn exquisite new rhythms.

With you, pain finds a home

in something larger than itself.

And sacred scars hold haven over

wounds which will someday bless.


Genesis 45:4-8 * Joel 2:25 * 2 Corinthians 4:16-18  

“So we do not lose heart. Even though our

 outer nature is wasting away, our inner 

nature is being renewed day by day…

preparing us for an eternal weight of glory 

beyond all measure…” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 

A prayer in response to this week….

Photo by Lori Archer Raible

“Jesus answered, ‘For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ – John 18:37-38

Refugee King, 

“I saw what I saw and I can’t forget it…

I heard what I heard and I can’t go back…

I know what I know and I can’t deny it…”*

You linked your only life’s arms

with those who were fleeing 

and those who were forgotten, 

with those who were abused

and those laid bare to brutality. 

From the manger to the cross,

and all the broken places in between,

you bore a truth

the world tried to bury. 

You made your home in vulnerable spaces

and I need you to free me from this 

prison of privilege so I can 

make my home there too. 

What I saw and heard and know…

make it burrow into my bones,

becoming the very frame

of a convicted, confessional life. 

Repentance plus courage has 

always been the only way forward, 

and no cross or confederate flag

has the last word with your children. 

It is what I do now that reveals my 

heart’s true treasure. 

Will I be an extremist for love,

an agitator for justice?** 

Can I lean in toward those

I don’t even desire to understand?

(and blame from the bottom of my heart!)

Will you lift me to the rock higher than I,

transcending my outrage

and instilling in my soul’s eye

the kin-dom who basic foundation

seems swallowed by those lost

to even themselves. 

“What is truth,” a fearful man

with a trembling, hiding,

hateful heart asked you. 

As your answer, you gave your life. 

Please, God of mercy, take mine. 


* Inspired by two songs, Liz Vice, “Refugee King,” from the Single Album, 2019, and Sara Groves, “I saw what I saw,” from “Tell Me What You Know” Album, November 6, 2007  

**My thanks to Jan Edmiston for her post and MaryAnn McKibben Dana for her reflection on the profound words of MLK . 

A Lenten Prayer….

Photo by Lori Archer Raible

On this first Sunday of our Lenten journey, here is a prayer for our pilgrimage from Ash and Starlight….

Redeeming One,

You came, Jesus, to show me the

best way to live and walk this path.

You let yourself feel the depth 

of need surrounding you.

You kept a purity of focus.

You always, always chose love.

All with bravery and trust.

I need you, Jesus, to walk 

beside me now,

helping me reflect, 

confess, prepare…

This Lenten path puts before me

the questions and realizations 

I so often stuff away.

With each step, I’m recognizing 

barriers built through my 

rote habits and unrealized prejudices, 

my base-line grudges and routine neglects…

I must acknowledge compromises 

that drew me further away

from my own soul and your calling.

But I’m coming back home.

Hone my desires to that

pure focus you held.

Help me fast from self-absorption,

finding my sustenance in the 

rich profundity of suffering-love.

Draw my heart and feet forward

on this path that’s both total mystery

and innate to who I am in you.

A minor melody marks our cadence,

yet you tune my ears for more than that.

Resurrection is always the final number. 

Help me walk, Savior Lord,

with hope amid heaviness,

ears to the ground.

I will welcome my mortality

and the potential in ashes and dust.


Psalm 51:17 * Isaiah 53:4-6 * Luke 9:23-24

“If any want to become my followers, 

let them deny themselves and take up 

their cross daily and follow me…” Luke 9:23 

Star Words to Guide Us….

Our family’s star words on the refrigerator – Jeff’s is missing (his is resilience!) 🙂

Did any of you choose a “word” for the year? Before January embraces February, I wanted to do a short reflection on this. In our faith congregation, we celebrate “Star Gift Sunday” on Epiphany. We have hundreds of words printed out on pretty cards, and each person receives one (the kids pass them out).

It is “random,” but I believe the Spirit is, of course, at work in bringing the word – and the ensuing learning/growth! – each of us needs. Like the guiding star followed by the magi, we each are gifted with a guiding word to hone and direct us in the upcoming year. A word through which we can experience God and the world with fresh intention.

To be honest, some of my words in years past have kind of ticked me off. The Epiphany after my second child was born, I got the word “caring” and I wanted to hand it right back. At the time, I felt like all I did was try and take care of people with their needs (read: I really needed a break). But in that year, I broke two bones and had some other life circumstances that required a lot of caring from others! I experienced the caring of loving people around me and with it, unexpected dimensions of my star word.

And then there was last year, when my word was tolerance. Delving more into the various meanings of the word really challenged me. One vein of understanding was the ability to endure and thrive in unfavorable conditions. Another was the willingness to hold opinions or beliefs of others with which I didn’t agree. Both of these definitions found deep resonance in my life last year.

And now this year, the word I received was hospitality. I’m eager to see what God will reveal to and within me about this word. And I want to know – what does hospitality look like to you?

I’d also love to know if you’ve chosen a word for 2020 (love the ring of that!!) and why. We have such power when approaching our lives with intention and focus, and a “simple” word can help us do that.

Here’s to growth and new insight in the months to come, and gratitude for all the ways God will be at work – stretching, shaping, comforting, and holding us.

Yoga, Prayer, and Connection

Centering, breathing, preparing to enter in…..

One of my big passions is holistic spirituality – the way we are threaded together in a seamless way – body, heart, soul, mind. I experience God powerfully through my body. This is why I was so excited about and grateful for the capstone to book events for Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Chaos and Grace of Daily Life this fall. Last weekend was a very special and meaningful yoga class led and created by my dear friends, Cindi Odle and Betsy Patton, which incorporated some of my loves – yoga and prayer (which aren’t two separate things, in my opinion).

As a trained Baptiste Yoga instructor, Cindi led a meditative flow class in which we used the ten sequences of Baptiste yoga to form a framework for prayer through our bodies and spirits : Integration, Awakening, Vitality, Equanimity, Grounding, Igniting, Stability, Opening, Release, Rejuvenation, and Deep Rest.

Betsy Perry Patton, Me, Cindi Odle

With each phase, I read a portion of a prayer from Ash and Starlight connecting with the movement of our bodies. During “Awakening” as the class did sun salutations, I read “When I need a fresh spirit.” During “Vitality” as people moved through crescent lunges, side angles, and vinyasas, I read, “When I need to breathe and live into something new.” We flowed through each phase in body and breath, and Cindi encouraged people to rest in the prayerful words, letting them center and hold our hearts.

And at the end, we laid in savasana while listening to Josh Groban’s O Holy Night. I laid on my mat with tears rolling down my face, feeling a culmination of so many steps on such a long journey. One that is not done, though a significant bookmark made. A leg and chapter that’s taught me so much and whose lessons I’m still processing.

I have been thinking so much of one of my favorite quotes by Dag Hammerskjold…the prayer I’m carrying forward in this ending and beginning…..

“For all that has been – thanks. For all that will be – yes.”

Some recent prayers….

A collection discovered on our walk along Lake Michigan…It’s beautiful when people leave gifts for the strangers who will come after…

Hello, friends! Blessings in this in-between space of summer ending and autumn starting. I recently made the switch to sharing the bulk of my writing and updates through Monday Manna which I wrote about here.

With Monday Manna, I share a prayer, a place to channel your prayerful energy, something that nourished me in the last week, and some updates on book news. You can sign up through the box on my website.

I want to now share here, however, some of the most recent prayers I’ve sent through Monday Manna. May they be nourishment for you as you head into the weekend.


Companioning One,

When I begin to feel the fears rise

and the pressures push

me toward that cursed corner –

the dark and crushing space

saying, “it all depends on me” –

help me rise.

Lift me out and above

this swirl of deceptions, God,

and remind me I am not alone,

or expected to know everything.

My eyes just need to be in the right place.

Reground my understanding

 that while I am called to faithfulness

with what I have,

where I am,

the make-or-break power of my days

is beyond my skill.

Give me one reminder this week, God,

of your presence in the details….

Just enough to shake me from

this stupor of self-reliance.

I commit today’s work to you,

and thank you in advance for what you’ll

make of it.



Loving God,

Please make me a vessel today

of your creative, life-giving spirit.

When I feel too tired to

invent, create, or decide,

remind me all I must do

is remember the Source

to Whom I’m connected.

Can beautiful holiness

be less about that for which I strive

and more about what I allow

to make a home in me?

Plant yourself on the

shoulder of my soul.

I will open and rest

while you flow and work.



Reassuring God,

Sometimes, the work

before me feels like

a cog in the wheel

of endless turning,

no progress.

Each spin presents

the déjà vu of questions…

Is there meaningful worth

in this?

Is this what I am *supposed*

to be doing?

All those haunting interrogations

surfacing a steady low-grade anxiety…

Keep me today from apathy, God,

but also protect me from despair.

Remind me of the promise and truth

that most wheels are connected to something else,

and through continued faithfulness,

what I thought was an endless wheel

brings me to a new horizon,

a fresh perspective,

and a surge of strength.



Loving One, 

I enter the week with open hands, 
asking for the trust, 
the humility, 
the contentment
to find holiness in all I experience. 

Help me cultivate
an awareness toward abundance
so often disguised
in forms I miss,
or even reject.

I count with concern

what appears available,

looking right over what’s

under my own feet.

What’s within my own heart. 

Keep me from measuring – 
myself or those around me – 
and instead, see with awe
the limitless ocean of grace in which
we’re all floating.


A prayer for tonight’s Lights for Liberty…

Tonight, people are gathering in communities all across our world for “Lights of Liberty.” Perhaps the one thing giving me any hope in recent weeks has been witnessing the Spirit of God alive and at work through active people – people who will not tolerate this kind of treatment of migrants and refugees. Children of God who are our neighbors. Our collective family in life. 

Alongside the Lights of Liberty gatherings, I wanted to offer an option. Going to one of these collective events is not doable for everyone tonight, including my family. Yet we can all – no matter where we are – give powerful, whole-hearted witness and join the communion of saints. I know it is not the same as being together in person, but we believe and know there is more that binds us than physical presence.

Most gatherings will be around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. tonight (relatively, depending on time zone). Join in this communal light by creating some in your own home, or wherever you may be. 

Light a candle. 

Breathe and bless. Focus your mind and your heart’s attention on the world’s children detained in places lacking dignity, compassion, and basic needs. 

Here is a prayer I wrote some time ago called, “When I cry for the world,” and it is what my family will read tonight. 

When I cry for the world 

Merciful Jesus,

I cry for our world. 

I cry over broken bodies 

and broken homes 

and broken hearts.

I cry over violence 

and exclusion 

and indifference. 

I cry most of all over the children! 

Through my body and breath,

I pray for your kin-dom…

For allto have 

nourishing food and nurturing homes, 

edifying work and safe, skilled schools,

compassionate healthcare and dignified wages, 

soft beds to fall into at the day’s close…

For the children to be protected,

the elderly honored, 

and both hugged every single day…

For reparative justice,

cherished diversity,

and peaceful purity in what’s

breathed, eaten, drunk. 

I cry and I pray, 

confessing the many times 

I’ve declared what I deserve

rather than asked what I could give.

I cry and I pray, 

knowing I’m complicit in the pain 

and essential to the healing. 

I cry and I pray, 

trusting my tears mingle with your own, 

hoping this tearful river softens and shapes

the hardest canyons of injustice – 

or at least lays the groundwork.

I pray and I act, 

moving my body and resources 

toward your kin-dom vision,

trusting my skills and gifts 

carry forward the new, just world you imagine

and are always bringing.  

I remember this work is mine to do. 

“Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks 

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which 

he walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which

he blesses all the world…”* 

O Jesus, have mercy 

and help me. 


You may choose to take a picture of your candle and text to other friends and family, or share on social media with #lightsforliberty (an instance when I actually think social media can do some great good!). 

My husband recently wrote a letter about the border crisis that will be going out to our congregation with some places to give, ways to learn, and advocacy opportunities. Near the end of his letter, he says, “our first and last job as followers of Jesus is to pray. There is power in prayer, in listening to God, in interceding for those who are suffering. And yet we must remember “thoughts and prayers” are not something we just blithely tweet after a crisis. Authentic prayer always changes us and impels us to action. As 1 John says, we are called to love not just “in word or speech, but in truth and action.” We encourage you to pray for the migrant families, for the political leaders and government agents on both sides of the border, for non-profit and religious leaders. We invite you to find ways to talk to your children about this crisis and include their voices in your prayers.”

I believe with every fiber of my being in prayer’s power. And I deeply thank you for holding hands in the circle tonight. As Glennon Doyle so often says, “we belong to each other.”  

O Lord, hear our prayer.

*Quote in my prayer is widely attributed to St. Teresa of Avila (1515–82), but not found in any of her writings according to numerous sources, so maybe written by someone else. Still, it’s beautiful. 

What do you need to remember?


Each of us wore one of these during the Collective Conference…

Normally I write to you at the close of a week but here we are at the threshold instead. A week ago (after turning in the book manuscript to my publisher – finally!), I attended the Ezer Collective, a dynamic conference dreamed up by Jo Saxton. She and Steph Williams O’Brien saw a great need for women to live fully into their leadership capacities and God-given gifts. They created a space in which many women were empowered for exactly that. I loved their definition of a leader – a person who is intentional with her influence.

The name of the gathering – Ezer – references the Hebrew in the Genesis account of creation. After God created man/Adam, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a “helper”(ezer) as his partner” (Gen. 2:18). The word so often translated “helper” appears numerous times throughout the Old Testament, but most of those times, ezer is describing God. It’s used when God is delivering and rescuing people. As Jo Saxton writes, “it’s a word conveying power and strength…To be named ezer is not some afterthought…not for someone deemed unable to do more than assist because of their weakness, but one who can help because they have the passion, power, and purpose to do so.” Ezer is dynamite.

For some time now, I’ve been in a season of yearning and have sought God’s wise guidance for some important discernment. I entered the Ezer weekend hoping God would bring answers to some of my questions. That God would speak some direction over my wrestling.

But on the last morning of the conference, a new, wise friend I made said, “I have a strong sense that God has already spoken, Arianne. That God is telling you to remember. And remember way back….”

And what I started to remember were times I’d felt most alive or moments I’d lept into something with God-given-courage or opportunities God had empowered me to embrace. I remembered the confidence I’d misplaced a long time ago and the voice that went quiet. I remembered all of these gifts God had given me, and in doing that, remembered the most important truth of all – the abiding love and steadiness and mercy of God, running like an undercurrent, nourishing the soil of my every step.

So one of my greatest take-aways from the Ezer Collective was God reminding me who I am. God bringing to mind a stream of memories – some from childhood, some just days before – illuming for me the light that’s been quietly and eternally burning. Isn’t it interesting that when we ask God again and again what we are supposed to do, God answers with remembrance of who we are? Of who God is?

So I leave you with some questions Ezer stirred up for me, hoping God will wash over your heart what you might need to remember. There are seven questions – maybe reflect on one each day. Grace, peace, and mercy to you, friends. And remember, remember, remember….

  • What memories of yourself do you need to sit with? 
  •  What parts of yourself do you need to say “yes” to? Maybe again? Maybe for the first time? 
  • What is one area of your life that needs fresh intentionality?
  • What is one area of insecurity you want to let go of today? 
  • Are you living out your voice, or thinking you must be an echo? 
  • What would it look like today to claim with new authority and fresh resolve the freedom that you have (and have had all along)? 
  • What do you need to remember about God? 

#ezercollective, #ezercollective2018, #josaxton


A peek under the hood – almost there!


The place I’m learning to practice faithfulness….


The home stretch is here, dear friends! In less than two weeks, my book manuscript is due with Chalice Press! I’ve sorely missed my prayers here in this space – and my correspondence with you. But I hope to return soon.

Here is a photo of my mess desk where I’m surrounded by books, journals, and beauty out the window. I don’t always work here, but it’s a good place to squirrel away when I can.

The book writing process has not been what I envisioned  years ago when I dreamt of writing one. I don’t have hours strung together to sit down and find inspiration. Most of this book has come together in thirty-minute increments. Times when both the kids are asleep or pacified (which is becoming more and more rare). I am learning to simply keep my journal open on the counter to jot down a thought here or there when I’m in the flurry of other things. I am seeing that small scraps of time can equal enough.

I remember Tsh Oxenreider lifting up the power of “partial solutions” – this truth that we don’t (and many times can’t) get our ideal, but we can work with what we have. And many times, what we creatively compose through compromise ends up being not only enough, but beautiful.

I didn’t anticipate that the season in which I’d have a book contract, I’d have two young children, another house move, and a lot of personal upheaval, but this is where God calls and moves, my friends – in the midst of life happening in all the unexpected ways it always does.

So we learn how to grab onto the grace of what we have and to be faithful with it. We learn to be content with knowing and having what we do right now. A mantra I have been repeating to myself many months now is, “Faithfulness here…faithfulness here…

I will be back in touch, and Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Pilgrimage will hopefully be to you next summer. I will keep you posted in the editing and publishing process. Thank you for all of your encouragement and support – a form of holy manna that’s kept me fed.

And for now, faithfulness here.

Book Contract!


Out for a celebratory breakfast – Pictured hands belong to Jeff 🙂

Last week, a long-held dream came to fruition. I received a contract to publish a book.

So many emotions are swirling right now. I am profoundly grateful, humbled, and in awe, really. It is a holy gift and a holy opportunity –  one I’ve prayed over and worked towards for years.

With Chalice Press and the support of Young Clergy Women International (THANK YOU!), I will be publishing a book of prayers – Journeying through Ash and Starlight: Prayers for the Pilgrimage. Hoping for a launch date of July next year (2019).

Like this blog, Journeying through Ash and Starlight will help us pray through the every-day inner landscapes of life, as well as specific seasonal and liturgical times of year. Life is a journey of continual progression and change – a pilgrimage deeper and closer to the true self and to God. This book will be a compilation of my prayers which I hope helps you find connection and wholeness in your own spiritual pilgrimage.

I am profoundly grateful to all of you, and to the congregations and communities that have nurtured my writing. Composing prayers began as a practice eight years ago in my early pastoral work. Each week, I wrote and emailed out a prayer incorporating the prayer requests received from the congregation. The practice followed me to our beloved congregation in Fort Wayne, and then to the creation of this blog.

The world is broken and beautiful, and a tender, strong God holds each one of us in it. I write from love and I write for love. My deepest desire with this book is to bless and encourage as many people as I can, and in doing so, bring great joy to God.

 I look forward to these coming months of honing my manuscript. Things may be quiet on the blog for the next month or so as I get my head around a new game-plan (and we also move into a different house!). Be well, friends, and stay tuned for more updates soon.





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