When my kids were little, one of the TV  shows we all enjoyed together was Hee Haw.  Laughing together was good medicine for what ailed us—and a lot ailed us during those years.  I was just four months into a new marriage, when we got custody of my husband’s four boys.  Working hard to blend our children into a semblance of “family,” we were often overwhelmed with the tension bordering on sheer chaos that was our life at the time.  (As an aside, it is just that context and the desperate search for help that brought me to Christ.)

Hee Haw was a variety show with skits and songs on the silly side–slapstick, so so corny, but with a thread of wisdom running through the hilarity.  The setting was in a fictional rural “Kornfield Kounty.” I sometimes cringed at the hokey, backwoodsy caricatures, but it was familiar – the backdrop to my own childhood memories of country music, Grand Ole Opry, and all the heart baked into the lyrics and lives of country music stars.  It is still true that the words to country songs give the best and simplest voice to my heart’s cry.

And God still uses the memories of those shows from time to time to get my attention.  Recently, I had just turned off the TV, and a heartsickness washed over me.  I had just agonized over the stories of a father killing his wife and two little girls; filled with disgust over yet another expose of politically motivated pandering and corruption.

I prayed; I sent a letter to friends of mine who knew the family who was murdered; I wrote a few notes in my journal about how God’s comfort was real and how encouraged I was that the world’s troubles aren’t the end of the story.  A section of scripture was comforting.

All of those things were first level ministry to myself—

I was ready to face my day—but as an afterthought I said to the Lord, “But it still feels heavy and there is more to come, this isn’t going to go away.  I just don’t know what to do with this heartsickness and the sense of despair I have about the world. . . it’s just so heavy, Lord.”  The Lord answered in a quick, shocking kind of a way.  A memory from Hee Haw, a dumb song.

I hope I don’t shock the sensibilities of WGA readers.  I don’t take lightly the “tensions bordering on sheer chaos” of our lives.  But for those of you who have already talked to the Lord about all you care about; you have already remembered the truth and purposed to persevere, have risen up to face your day with Christ and other Christ followers, yet still feel heavy.  Maybe you will want to join me for a moment into the lyrics of a radical despairing song and see what the Lord will do:

“Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me [Ohh!];

               “Deep Dark Depression, Excessive Misery [Howl!].

          “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all [Baaah!];

               “Gloom, despair, and agony on me [Ooooh!].”

I would apologize…… really, I don’t mean to be flippant. . . .  but I just can’t yet, maybe next time.  Right now, I am still giggling.

Mary Heathman

Mary Heathman

Founding Director

Mary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007.  She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. Mary has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development.  She currently serves in leadership in her denomination. Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development.

Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motiviation.  Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, indepentent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University.

Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.

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