Archive for July, 2015

Walking through Treakle

By Kathy NickersonJuly 21st, 2015mercy10 Comments

IMG_1488Years ago, I heard a preacher describe some experience in life as “walking through treakle.” I had no idea what treakle was, but he made it sound lovely. Of course, he was British. He made everything sound lovely.

Treakle is, in fact, the British equivalent of molasses. Walking through it is not lovely, at all. It is slow and difficult and exhausting. And it is the perfect description for some seasons of life. Seasons that last all of two hours on a Thursday afternoon in a hospital waiting room. And  seasons that drag on into months and years when the work is hard and the reward is not apparent.

I don’t know if you are walking through treakle right now, but we sort of feel that way at our house. Various elements have converged to create a great vat of treakle spilled out on our pathway, and we are schlepping our way through it. If you listen, you can hear the sucking sound as it tries to pull the shoes off our feet.

The good news is two-fold: First, we are making progress. Even in treakle, one manages to move forward an inch at a time. Second, treakle is sweet. We may not notice it when we are trying to walk through the stuff. But given the benefit of time and distance, we may look back one day and say, “Oh, yes. Wasn’t that a sweet season in our life?”

Or, maybe not. Maybe it’s just a bunch of goo.

Either way, if we just keep walking, we will get through it. We may leave a shoe behind here or there, but we’ll get through it.

P.S.: It helps to hold hands. Better for balance.

 

Read More

It Isn’t Easy Being Green (Nor, Beneficial)

By Kathy NickersonJuly 11th, 2015happy endings, mercy, writing2 Comments

Our books weren’t on the Bestseller table that day, but we had a blast anyway.

 

This morning, I got all jealous over Jen Hatmaker and her new book. Before you start writing in the comments about how jealousy is a sin: Let me assure you I repented before I even finished my morning Diet Coke. And before you start reminding me not to compare one gift (or one set sales figures) to another: Let me tell you the rest of the story.

I’d like to say I wasn’t jealous of her sales figures. But then I’d have to add lying to my morning list of failures. She actually thanked her readers in this blog post for helping her build schools and houses for poor people. I’d say her book sales have done slightly better than mine.

And then, of course, I had to wrestle with the question of whether or not I would do such things if my books did become best-sellers. Sheesh. Now the motive thing? This inventory of my soul is getting painful.

Anyway, I rumbled these things around for a while and tried to decide what was really bothering me. As usual, it came back to that nagging sense that maybe I had wasted too much time in my life. Here is Jen Hatmaker, young enough to be my daughter, using her writing gift so effectively that she is impacting people all over the world with her books and their proceeds.

Before I had time to start listing the contrasts between us, though, I suddenly remembered Mark. Mark has only been walking with God a few years, and the story of his life is amazing. He leads worship at our church, and he loves to sing. But he hates to talk. A couple of Sundays ago, he told the church, though, that something I had written in the church bulletin encouraged him a great deal. It gave him hope that he could make a difference in somebody’s life by doing something simple like smiling. “I think Kathy might have written this week just for me,” Mark said.

I felt the Holy Spirit whisper, “And wouldn’t that have been enough?”

Why, yes. Yes, it would. If nothing else I ever write in this life makes a difference, it would all have been worth that one short article that gave Mark the power to preach through a smile.

I didn’t write this post so you could all tell me what a great writer I am and help me feel better. I’m really pretty secure in who God called me to be.

Nor did I write it so Jen Hatmaker could get a pingback, discover my talent, and whoosh me off to her agent. (Well, maybe I did, actually. That motive thing again. It is so sneaky!!!)

I hope, though, that I wrote this post so you would remember the things you are doing in your own life that make a difference.

Large or small.

They matter.

Now, go check out Jen Hatmaker’s new book. It looks amazing.

 

Read More

To Carry A Name

By Kathy NickersonJuly 5th, 2015happy endings, Marriage, The Bible1 Comment

ByHisName_www.kathynick.comI remember when my grandmother used to take me to the grocery store with her, and she always signed her check, “Mrs. D.E. Grubbs” in long, curly script.

The signature fascinated me in so many ways. First, no one ever called my grandfather D.E. Grubbs. His full, legal name was Donald Earl, but the closest thing to an official name anyone ever used was Earl. Most folks just called him Shorty.

Second, few people referred to my grandmother as Mrs. Grubbs. She was Aunt Nellie. Or Mom, or Grandma. Or just Nellie. Or for the visiting preachers who wanted to be a bit more formal, Sister Grubbs.

But, I recognized something solemn in that signature. Something legal and binding and grander than the overalls and sunbonnets of daily life. Later on, I often heard my mother refer to herself as “Mrs. Clifford Grubbs” when she conducted business.

I, however, married in an era when women were throwing off the shackles of male-dominate society. We demanded our own identities, and some women even used their maiden names to assert their independence.

Therefore, I kept to myself the secret thrill of writing in curling script across every available surface for several months, “Mrs. Wendell Nickerson.”

Today, at church, we sang a song about wanting to carry the name of Jesus wherever we go. “I will carry His name, carry His name, carry His name,” we sang.

And I suddenly remembered how proud I am to carry my husband’s name, too. Because for me, Women’s Liberation came at the cross of Christ. Right along with Men’s Liberation. So I carry the Name of Jesus with humility and gratitude everywhere I go.

And I carry the name of Nickerson with similar feelings. Because those two relationships, the one with Jesus and the one with my husband, both set me free to be who I am meant to be. They liberate me through love, in ways I can’t even explain. And in ways a political movement never can.

So, I’ll carry His name, carry his name, carry His name. Forever. 

 

Read More