Here’s The Scoop…

Michelle Wegner

 So, last time I blogged was in January when I was still languishing on my bed post surgery. My foot hurt–A lot–It still does, but the good news is that I can walk again. I’m not quite where I want to be (hiking the Appalachian Trail), but I can get around the house and go for short walks, giving me a whole new appreciation for walking.  I’ve always loved to walk, and it’s been a very long winter stuck inside, but it’s given me a lot of time to think, focus, pray, doodle, practice being nice when I don’t want to be, etc.

I’ve gotten outside by myself a few times and taken in the beauty around me that isn’t the four walls of my bedroom. I have to say, everything is shiny and new to me.  Breathing fresh air, seeing the blue sky, letting the cold air fill my lungs and the sun shine on my face has literally breathed new life into me.

IMG_0678 IMG_1446This time of focus and change brings us from the end of one season to the beginning of the next.  I feel awakened, renewed, and ready to start our new season of life together as a family in Shawnee, Kansas.  We have a home there, and we will be packing up our home here in Granger, Indiana on the weekend of May 2.  We close on our new home on May 5 (and no, we have not sold our current home, so really…please pray the right family buys this beautiful, well-loved home soon).

Rob will be working at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kansas as one of the teaching pastors, and will have some other responsibilities as well.  I am not sure of his official title, you’ll have to ask him that, but we are excited about serving with this seriously amazing church.  Rob starts working there June 1st, so we will have a little transition time after we move and before he officially gets to work.

We will miss our Granger friends and family more than we could ever say.  We know this is right, the timing and God’s direction are clear, and we are ready to jump in head first to this new adventure.

So…there you have it. That’s the scoop.

(And if you know anyone who wants to buy a fabulous home in Granger, let me know! We are having all shiny new appliances put in today for some lucky new home buyer looking for a very easy-to-move-into home)  :)



“Look at your glass as half full, not half empty. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, When one door closes, another will open…”

You’ve heard these lame excuses for encouragement. We all have said them, hoped to believe them. Hoped they might help someone look on the brighter side of things. We were trying to help because we didn’t know what else to say or what hope there really was to offer a really dismal and bleak situation.

But deep down, we all know that sometimes the dumb glass is just half empty. We hate lemonade, have no time to make it anyway, and the door was just slammed in our face.  Sometimes life is just painful and hard and we just want everyone and their trite sayings to go away and let us sulk the day away.

In times like these, I am encouraged by those who encourage me to move beyond what is trite, and on to what is holy. I’m encouraged by those who encourage me to THRIVE despite my circumstances.   In the matter of a few months time, our whole lives have been shaken and stirred. Just to name a few of the more obvious tough circumstances:

Rob resigned his job with Granger Community Church, after serving with them for 21 years.

Two days later, I fell down one step, yes.  ONE step.  I tore my calf muscle, sprained my knee and ankle, and tore my ankle tendon 90%.  I had surgery, a cast, have been almost completely immobile for 4 months.

A few weeks after I fell, Rob’s dad passed away. His death devastated our family.  Our girls have never known real grief.  Walking them through this new grief was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done as parents.

In the middle of all these life-changes, I have discovered a few things to be true:

  • We are family. And that is enough.  Who we are when no one is looking has turned out to be my favorite “us” there is.  I’m a housebound wife.  A  shut-in, a person who can’t walk in the park to rejuvenate my soul.  My husband, a temporarily unemployed pastor.   We are just us. Just Rob and Michelle and Madeline and Whitney and Isabelle.  They are not pastorskids and I am not a pastorswife.
  •  Who we are when no one else is around is what counts. We are discovering our inner uniqueness, apart from the blaring lights and noise, the applause of men and women–Good, kind, true men and women. There’s nothing wrong with being a pastor or a pastor’s wife or a pastors kid, but these things do not bring us value or worth or importance.  Who we are is who we are being made to be, day by day.
  • I can make my life better just by sitting here.    I started practicing Zentangle doodles and have found myself and my soul a new creative outlet.  I spent several of the hours laying in my bed recovering from my surgery praying for every tween and teen girl that had been to our house to visit our girls that signed my cast. Their names blared up at me in bold neon letters, praying for them by name was a gift.
  • I’ve realized more than ever that every minute I have with my family counts.  Losing a family member so dear has caused us all to hold each other  closer–Every day.  Every minute is special. In the chaos of our day to day, I have found myself hugging my husband more, speaking words of light and light into each of my girls, making our time together matter by taking the time to notice them, really, really notice.

Many times during these past few months, I have asked Jesus to end this  what feels like to be never-ending series of trials.  I’ve asked Him To make everything better, to take away the pain, both the physical aspect and the heartache.

However, I am starting to see the deeper lessons of deeper living, of what it means to THRIVE through trials and hard times.…I think it’s been worth it for all of us–Actually, I know it has been.

We are as a family learning to linger over love longer, to talk deeper, to live fuller…

They way God has orchestrated our circumstances is certainly not how I would have, but He has taught me to THRIVE despite anything that comes my way:

That in anything,

  • He has the power to give me strength.
  • That HE is all about me living life abundantly. He said that’s what He came for.
  • Jesus is teaching me how to live– In anything, for anything, through anything.

Wherever you are, whatever your mess is, your sadness, your grief, or just your ordinary day to day living. Thrive from where you are. Ask God.  Ask yourself.  “How can I live better? How can my life be richer? How can I feel stronger?”

I can promise you He will show you. He promised us in the Bible, John 10:10 to be exact: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ”

Trust Him.  Ask Him.  Wait and see and THRIVE.

“This post was inspired by Casting Crowns new album “Thrive” available

January 28th.

Learn more about what it means to Thrive at




Nine Hundred Moments

Our 2013

In case you didn’t know, I really like to take pictures.  One thing I like to do every year is sort through my own photos on my camera roll and pick out the top 100,  30, then the top 10, then my top 3, just for fun.  Since I am immobile until I get my cast off next week, it’s a good time to do my “Year in Review” stuff. Right now I have 900 or so from the past year to sort through. One of the secret reasons I take so many photos is because it causes me to reflect deeply on all the beautiful moments we shared as a family.  As I’ve sorted through them in the past few days, I was struck by a few things I thought I’d share.

  • I’m proud of my family for sticking together and pulling closer to one another than we’ve ever been. I’m proud of my girls for loving each other well, sticking up for each other, cheering for each other and making our lives better by becoming the beautiful young ladies they are inside and out.
  • I’m proud of my husband for pulling through the most difficult year he’s ever had-for loving me when I’m unloveable, for supporting his mom through the death of her husband, for driving the girls to a hundred practices, and being the dad who is all up in their face at every lacrosse game taking their pictures, watching them shine, making them glow with the joy of being deeply loved.
  • I’m humbled by the grace I’ve come to know through brokenness.  My physical body and my heart have been broken this year, but I’ve come to see God and His ways a little more clearly. I’m humbled by the love of many people poured out to our family through meals, gifts, calls, cards, and a thousand acts of kindness.
  • My extreme independent self is humbled to have to send my husband twenty texts a day, asking for things I cannot get for myself because of not being able to walk for the past two months.

Looking back I see with blazing clarity that Grace and Love and Light and Joy are mine. I’m grateful for the ways God is showing me sides of Himself I would never see if it weren’t for the circumstances of this year-the high’s, the low’s and the in-betweens.

God is Good. He is love. He is light. These things are true. These things I know.  And I’m grateful. Though everything around me is changing, He never changes. And that, my friends, is good news.

I’d love to hear what you’re reflecting on as this year draws to a close. I have nothing but time as I will be immobile for at least another week or so. Drop me a message. Send me an email. Write me on Facebook. I sincerely would love to hear from you. If not, have a very Merry Christmas!

With You Always


I had surgery on my ankle this week to fix the tendon that was 90% torn and 10% hanging on for dear life. Needless to say, it’s been a painful few months in many ways. Rob’s dad passed away two weeks ago…a devastating loss to our family. We will miss Papa so much. Seeing his chair empty at Thanksgiving was so difficult for all of us.

The physical pain I’ve been dealing with as well as the heartache pain of losing one so dear to all of us has been very hard. We’ve also been dealing with the pain of leaving GCC, a church family we have been a part of for twenty-one years.

I’m completely confined to bed for five days, which leaves a lot of time for thinking.

What do all these losses have in common? What are they trying to teach me? I’m not really sure about how they are all connected, but each loss is significant in it’s own respect, varying levels of pain come with each loss.  I know I’ll get my foot back eventually.  I know Rob will get a new job, that we will find a new church family to be a part of, that our time at GCC for the past few decades has given us the gift of lifelong friends that we will always cherish no matter where we may end up.

We will see Papa again, in Heaven someday. He will be healthy and strong and his eyes will shine with light and life. I am looking forward to seeing him again, we all are.  We have hope.

On this side of eternity, there is no guarantee of a pain free life. We all deal with pain and loss and death because all things are being redeemed, and will not be set right until Jesus makes all things new in His time.  I’m learning to trust that His ways and His timing are perfect. He never promised that on this side of eternity all things would be perfect.  He did promise He would be with us through it all.

In His last words to His diciples before He went back up to Heaven, Jesus promised, ” I am with you always, even to the end of the age.(Matthew 28:20)

He promised He’d be here.  God with us. Through death, loss and pain. Through the good times and the bad. He’s given us His presence, to comfort us, to guide us, to never leave us. Sometimes it feels like God is hard to find, in the middle of dealing with so many losses, it’s hard to see God through pain. But He’s there. I know He is. His presence is with me, sometimes I just have to be still to remember.

  My friend Nancy sent me this quote this morning, and it fit so well with what I was thinking about, I’ll share it here as a final thought for you to dwell on today:

“There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there too. But more often stones and grit block the well,and God is buried beneath. Then God must be dug up again. I imagine that there are people who pray with their eyes turned heavenward. They seek God outside themselves. And there are those who bow their heads and bury it in their hands. I think that these seek God inside.”

~Etty Hillesum

Art and Soul

Red and BlueOprah reminded us all a few years ago to “Remember our Spirits.”  Remember when she took the last five minutes of her show and lit candles and got all warm and fuzzy and talked about her “Spirit”.  It sounded a bit freaky, but really, everyone has a soul, a spirit, a body Each part of us equally important. I’m glad Oprah reminded everyone about it. Because you know what? We all forget. Every single one of us, myself included forgets that we have a very soul-ish self that is longing to speak. We each have a unique soul; each soul expresses her voice differently to the world.

Art is a way I unleash my soul, take a minute to breathe, let all the business, deadlines, carpool schedules and carpool schedule conflicts go. It’s when I go to my “Happy Place”. Where I try to connect with my soul again.

I’m a proud Mommy to three up and coming leadership-minded, feisty, strong-willed but very artsy young women. Our home is full of art in all shapes and sizes in literally every corner, oozing out onto our front porch, sidewalk drawings spilling into our neighborhood. It’s not just art. It’s art with intentionality and purpose.  Art that brings life into our home. Art that captures life around us.

Life as art.  is about being a Noticer. It’s about showing others around us what we see and how we see the world uniquely. Every star in the universe is different, every snowflake is different, every human being bears a different fingerprint, and I think that’s on purpose. We have a unique fingerprint on our perception of the world around us.

At two years old, our Whitney was an artist. She’s 13 now and expresses herself differently, but the sharpie smiley face that covered most of our dining room wooden floor was her first artistic endeavor. We were so proud as parents that she finally learned to draw a smiley face on her own. And found a way to make it permanent and beautiful, leaving her creative mark of artistry on our wood floors.

She was so proud. She should have been. Making your mark in the world is important.  Yes, yes, I went to the sharpie website and found out that this magic lanolin oil takes sharpie marker out of almost anything (you’re welcome) and we did eventually remove the sharpie smiley face from our wooden floors.  We didn’t think the person who bought our house would appreciate the art and beauty of this young forward thinking artist’s expression.

Madeline, our 15 year old is a phenomenal photographer. When she was 10, a family friend of ours saw she had a gift for taking amazing pictures. He is a professional photographer and gave her one of his best, most costly cameras to take pictures of our time in India. If you ever want to get an American child’s perspective on children’s lives in third world countries, go to my blog, and type India, Maddie in the search box. You will be astounded at what that child sees through her camera lens.

Our Isabelle.  Her whole life is art. Everything about her. Everything she lives and breathes is artistic. She sings constantly, decorates our mirrors with positive quotes and ideas. She has journals filled with story ideas and cartoons to go with her stories.

For myself, I live and breathe art. But if you want to know a secret, I’ll let you in on it.  I really stink at lots of artsy stuff.  I’m sort of allergic to paint, so I had to give up my painting career about a year in. I am not a very good sketcher. My doodles resemble a Kindergartner’s, and teachers really never asked me back to help cut and paste stuff for my kids’ classes because I cannot cut a straight line. But I notice stuff. I notice everything. Like an orange leaf laying in the grass, or the way the clouds are drifting over my house. I see beauty in spiders and ants and bugs and birds and trees and wind. So I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.  Photography for me is a sort of prayer.  A thank you to the Creator of it all. To let Creator know I’ve noticed.  That I’m opening my soul to the beauty around me. Photogtaphy fills my soul and helps me breathe.

Every person is different. Every creative expression is different. For women like us in Michiana, there are a ton of ways to find your own soul’s unique expression. Most are very affordable, and some even free! Here are some fun and very do-able ideas even for non-artsy type people:

Wine and Canvas:  A lot of my friends have tried Wine & canvas, an evening or event you can attend with friends or coworkers, drink some wine and receive instruction on how to paint an incredible painting, walk away with a masterpiece that very night!

Flourish Boutique hosted a night like this for women to get together, drink some wine, paint some pretty stuff, and do a little shopping. Flourish plans on doing an event like this again soon, so keep your eyes open!

Snoop around Pinterest.  There are amazing and easy ideas for any kind of artist you want to be.

Ask a friend Are your friends artsy?  Ask them to teach you what they love to do. Do they knit, crochet? Sew? Cook? Paint? Ask them to instruct you in the basics next time you get together. I guarantee they would love to share their passion for their art with you.

Art journaling Get a journal preferably with no lines and doodle away.  Fill every page with a word, though, idea or poem. There are no rules, no time limits. Express yourself without judgment.

And  some final advice:

  • Start simple
  • Start easy
  • Don’t be discouraged
  • Don’t be bashful
  • Try and try and try until you find something that calms your soul renews your mind and stretches your imagination.

Every soul is an artist, a Noticer. Notice what you do and share it first with you, and then with the rest of us. The beauty you bring into the world will inspire us.


This article was published in the November 2013 edition of SASSY Magazine

Michelle at Boot Lake

Embracing Change

Michelle at Boot LakeI’ve enjoyed Autumn so much this year. Where we live, right on the edge of Michigan, in our corner of Indiana, we have lots of trees. I remember when Rob and I moved to this area 20 years ago from Chicago, thinking about how many trees there were everywhere and how beautiful they were. I still think that, and have come to enjoy their beauty even more.

My favorite thing is to go out with my camera and walk, looking for changes in the trees and flowers. Seasons change. Change is beautiful. Change should be treasured and noticed and captured for it’s unique beauty.

We have a lot of change going on in our lives right now. And you know what? It’s not easy. But I am finding it is beautiful–Because we are learning things about ourselves and each other that we never knew before. Stuff that skimmed on the surface before is now plain as day because we have been given the opportunity to slow down a bit and focus on change. We are so grateful for the grace of change and the beauty we are learning in it all.

Embracing the change of seasons in our own lives has been highlighted by the stunning leaves of autumn all around us. Breathing it all in. Slowing down. Watching and Waiting.

One Step


If you are ever wondering how many steps you have to miss  to tear a calf muscle and sprain your knee and ankle, the answer is:  Just one.

It’s been a long and painful month of recovery.  But I’ve learned a lot about being humble, letting others help me, and forcing myself to sit still.


Being hurt has forced me to focus on what’s right in front of me. It’s calmed my heart and soul to sit down longer than usual, read longer than usual, engage in conversation without busying myself with a million tasks that are always in the back of my mind.

The longer than I hoped for recovery process has not been fun, but I can say for certain, I’m learning a lot about humility most of all. Repeating the “I just missed one step” story over and over is pretty humbling. Traveling through airports via wheelchair-humbling.  I’m more strong willed and independent than I thought. I don’t like to need help. I’m learning that receiving help graciously is almost as important as giving it.

My darling husband, who is so giving and gracious, looked at me when I refused his help the other day and said, “Are you sure this isn’t about your pride? Because you really need my help right now.”  I hit him with my crutch and conceded.  That was painful. He was right.



The days have been interesting since I took that misstep, for sure.


 There have been days I have felt like this:

20131002-084919.jpg and other days I feel like this:

20131002-084942.jpg I’m trying to find a healthy balance between both.  

Taking one misstep can cause more damage than I ever thought possible. This isn’t some metaphoric lesson, but you can take it that way if you need to.  Just be careful walking down your stairs at 6am before you’ve had coffee.



Yes, big change is coming for our family and for Granger Community Church. We are moving on, going somewhere else, leaving the place we have loved so much to a new place. People’s emotions have been all over the place in reaction to our announcement.  Ours emotions have been too.

I want to tell you that, honestly I have hope. Honestly I know all will be well.  Honestly I know God will lead us and He will lead you. There is no dislike, no malice, no contempt. No great scandal, just great change. And change can be difficult.

The only Unchangeable thing that remains  that I am sure of is God’s great love. In the last two years, I’ve been on a faith journey that has taken me all over the place.  I didn’t “feel” God. I didn’t “see” Him.  Me, who has always seen God…always heard His voice, from the time I was really, really young–But then, suddenly when I felt I needed His closeness the most, it was just gone. I guess you could call it my own “Dark night of the Soul.”

I felt the weight of the world I had been carrying, trying to bring hope and change and goodness and love and faith to everyone on the planet–And the weight was crushing,  so I let it fall.  All my own hopes, dreams, faith…I just let it fall to the ground and shatter because it was just too much to carry on my own & I don’t think it was what God or anybody intended.

When I let it all go, when all the shards of my broken faith laid down in front of me, all my own efforts…everything I held so tightly to, just crashed at my feet–Honestly, it felt pretty bad.

For the first time in my life I let others lead me…really lead me. A judge, a teacher, a mentor with light shining out of her eyes, a prophet, a gay friend, a nun with a beautiful spirit, a friend who is a convicted felon, an alcoholic, an old, old friend whose wisdom has guided me through many storms, a counselor, a soul friend, my husband…all People of God, each slowly, gently, they handed me back the shards of my broken faith and pieced me back together.

God’s spirit spoke gently to me, through His creation, the language He knows that I know. He spoke to me through the end of my camera lens, through sunsets and storms and rainbows. He spoke promises so true in the sky, I could not ignore His truth. His people, His promise, His truth mended me back together.

A quote has stuck with me for many years, “Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains.”
― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

And you know what, what’s Unshakeable in me has remained.  And I am humbled. So very humbled. I finally see that it’s about letting others love and lead me too, not just leading everyone else until I almost drop dead from exhaustion.

What is Unshakeable? What remains?

His love.  It’s all I know. He is Good. I know that too.

And my soul is confident. I am reminded of one of my favorite old hymns.  Maybe you know it too:

Be still my soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.




Honestly, I know that all will be well. For you and for me.

Dreaming About Something New

Michelle at Tetons

Rob and I have served in ministry together at Granger Community Church for 21 years. The first ten or so years, we were side by side in the trenches…I worked just as hard as he did building and equipping middle school and high school students, college students and young adults, as well as leaders to become fully devoted followers of Christ, taking their next steps toward Christ together. We lived in a small apartment on one salary. GCC got a two for one deal for many years when we came and served together–But we loved it. We were fully alive when we were serving together. Some of the most amazing days of our lives happened in those ten years. We saw God work in marvelous ways, we saw floods of students give their lives to Christ, families drawn together, etc. It was beautiful.

Rob’s job shifted from youth and young adult ministry about then, and he became Pastor of Life Mission. It was during this time that we travelled to India for the first time and fell in love with people that changed our lives, rocked our worlds, and challenged everything we believed in. They gave us hope for the Kingdom of God, that it truly would forcefully advance there and around the world. We made several trips to India together, then as a family in the next few years. Rob and I got to write our book, “Share the Well” together, truly a dream come true for both of us – Me, to sit at the feet of women church planters who have survived unbelievable things to carry their cross and follow Jesus. Rob, teaching Church planters new strategies on reaching their world for Jesus. I wrote a blog post about how I feel when I am in India, I remember saying I feel most “alive” there, serving men and women considered to be “Untouchable” in India, but truly royalty in our eyes.

We have had some amazing, astounding moments serving together at GCC. We are forever grateful for what we have learned and how we have grown in the past 21 years. I was 19 years old when I joined Rob here–A mere 4 years older than my oldest daughter is right now. I literally grew up here. I’ve spent my entire adult life in the shadow of Granger Community Church. As the church has grown larger, Rob’s job has shifted, and then some more. With the church growing larger, the need for simple people like me to serve in junction with Rob has diminished almost completely. It’s been hard and sad and I’ve felt like a third string player for a while–Benched, or sidelined because I am not an astounding artist, musician, teacher, preacher, or whatever.

What GCC delivers on the weekend is world class. We have some of the finest artists and musicians in our area. It’s fabulous. It’s wonderful. I get it. It still makes me sad not to be able to serve with Rob the way we did for those first ten years we served side by side together. It has been hard for to watch this family I’ve known for twenty-one years turn from a “family” into a mega organization. It takes an organization to reach thousands for Jesus, I suppose, but nostalgic me misses the peace that came from knowing who I went to church with, knowing Rob’s coworkers, and selfishly, I miss being involved in all of it.

We both have felt an inward churn for a few years now, wondering if there is something else we could do, that would be together. When we got married, we felt called to serve together. It’s who we are. The largeness of a mega church is overwhelming to me as a solid introvert. The public-ness of our lives is overwhelming to our family. The celebrity culture of “Mega” puts Rob, our lives and our family on this pedestal of greatness that is odd to me. We are regular people, trying to live our regular lives, trying to raise our regular kids. We want to love Jesus and serve people.

We love Granger Community Church. It has been our home for twenty-one years. Rob and I feel it is time to venture out into something new together. We want to be reunited in the passions of serving Jesus that originally united our hearts. We don’t even know what that means yet. We are so grateful for the love and support of GCC and the many staff who are truly family to us. We know it is time to move on. It is time to begin a new phase of our marriage and our lives together as a family.

We appreciate your prayers of love and support as we go through this painful transition time. It truly feels like a death to us–a death to a life we’ve had here, a great life. A death to be born again into something new.

We appreciate your love for our children. If you don’t really know our kids extremely well, please, please, don’t hug them, kiss them, talk to them, console them, or even touch them. They will be fine. Any extra emotional vibes they get from people they don’t know well will just freak them out. Each of our girls have amazing leaders in their different small groups or church classes. They will be well loved and cared for in those environments. Change is hard. It is difficult for all of us.

Know we love everyone on the GCC staff. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but what family does? Love has grown this church, and love will continue to grow it.

Ask me questions in private. Message me through Facebook or my blog. I may take awhile to get to responding, but know you matter to me. A lot. Most of all, you matter to God. He’s got this; and I’m sure glad He does.


Living On Purpose, Writing On Purpose