Anchored Voices

Wandering Through an Unknown Tomorrow

I love to learn. The process of asking questions and finding answers exhilarates me. However, the speculation surrounding the pandemic paired with constant outrage from every side has been the catalyst for overwhelming societal confusion. Personally, one lesson has been louder than all the others—get comfortable with mystery.

Make conclusions, and walk in wisdom, but do not attempt to know it all. I cannot explain why people do the things they do; I will not understand how people cross certain lines; I struggle with why God allows it.

The mysteries of life should be commonplace for humanity. They are present in my story and the stories of every soul. As much as we try, we fail at predicting what tomorrow will bring. There will always be secrets hidden in tomorrow. I choose to stop fighting chaos, and instead, enjoy the precious, sacred space where mystery lives and hope flourishes.

Let’s learn to rest in, and wrestle with, mystery, crossing paths with the basic and bizarre. When the unknown begins to feel threatening, when comfort begs to take the place of God, let’s choose to move forward—to engage instead of flee. May we take the next step and wander into wonder, questions and all.

In journeying through these towering realities, I am met with the tension of believing in what I cannot see; this is part of being a believer. Even the men who walked with Jesus, his very own disciples, felt it. Thomas demanded to see Jesus’ scars before he would believe that his greatest hope, the resurrection of his friend and Savior, was true. Jesus appeared to him and said, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

There is a true, powerful, and loving God who wants a relationship with me, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to take his place. If God was bound by my limits and held no mystery, these truths would disappear and I wouldn’t be able to trust Him.

I have found that just when I think that I have fully grasped a concept of God, He soon leads me to a place where He reveals there is so much more. I must go further. I must look up and walk in the faith that assures me of things hoped for and brings conviction about things not seen. Here in the unknowns where I wander, breathe, and exist, can I accept the invitation to be still and know that He is God?

I want to find the blessing of standing on ground I cannot see, to take this reality and boldly tread into the tension of what is seen and unseen. I am determined to take steps toward the kingdom here and now. Peace, joy, and comfort beckon me. To follow means stepping into the messiness of life because perfection, relief from all darkness, and hope fully realized are yet to come.

When I look into the big blue eyes of a beautiful baby boy who has smiles for each new face he encounters, and a few days later he slips behind the holy curtain to meet Jesus face to face, I have questions.

When I see the horrors of war torn nations where wickedness rises to power, I have questions.

When people spew hate and lash out at others because of the color of their skin, I have questions.

When plagues descend, I have questions.

A.J. Swoboda encourages us to, “Never stop asking questions. The questions are good! But we should stop thinking that our questions can bring about a different God. Repentance is waking up to the fact that we don’t get to love the God we want. True worship is loving the God who is,”

Thankfully, I serve a God who is not afraid of my relentless inquisition, but I must find the courage to make the trek to trust Him whether He answers my inquiries or not. For on the other side of my questions stands Jesus with all the answers in glorious mystery.

So I’ll wander here, in the mysteries for which my own logic fails me. Where the desperate condition of the world, my deepest longings, and my greatest hopes meet and are placed into the hands of a King. Here in the wonder of beautiful terror is holy protection and true life. By resting in His story, by knowing a good, merciful, and just God writes, I can feel the presence of peace in the in-between spaces that have no words.


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Chara Donahue enjoys freelance writing, biblical counseling, and speaking to women when her four kids are out playing with dad. She is an adjunct professor, holds an MSEd, and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She is the host of the podcast The Bible Never Said That and a regular contributor at iBelieve. Her words have appeared at Christianity Today, Crosswalk, (in)courage, and The Huffington Post. She longs to be a voice that says, “Hey we are in this together, and there is room for us all.” You can find more from Chara on Facebook and Twitter.


Wander Not Alone

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John 1:23 NIV

I wander in the wilderness
Oh my body of flesh and bone
Haunted by crushing loneliness
As despair grips my heart of stone
Yet onward and onward I press

Oasis in this wilderness
Appears unbidden in my sight
In its shade I find peacefulness
The bounty of God’s holy might
As over and over I’m blessed

I am called back to wilderness
Wandering again I must go
No longer alone in distress
God’s grace ever with me I know
In His way I will acquiesce

Are you dear one in wilderness
Troubled and trudging in great fear
Look up and find hope to profess
Remember that Jesus is near
You can trust in His faithfulness


Linda L.

Linda L. Kruschke is the author of My Name Is Beloved, winner of the Unpublished Memoir category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest, as well as a self-published author of two poetry books. She is a wife, mother, active member of her church, former Bible Study Fellowship leader, and recovering lawyer. She works as the Director of Legal Publications for the Oregon State Bar. But her real passion is sharing God’s healing grace with others, especially those haunted by sexual trauma and abortion. She struggled with major clinical depression for many years, but through the power of forgiveness has become a fearless follower of Christ, living in the assurance of her salvation and God’s love. She blogs at Another Fearless Year and Broken Believers.


Hope at Camp

I got away from my little city and drove through even smaller towns to reach the wilderness and find camp. I retreated into the forest shade to find quiet that soothed my mind from the intensity of creating summer fun for four young children. As I prayed and prepared to teach workshops to women, coming from all parts of the Pacific North West, I looked out upon the lake which boasted a giant inflatable slide, kayaks, and paddleboards.

I envisioned the fun my kids could have here, and the ways they might encounter God in this sacred space that whispers shalom. Many of my friends experienced camp as teens. In the church, I’ve heard the term “camp high” tossed around as though it were an experience universally shared in high school. I remember the people I knew at that age, my circle of friends, people I loved. They were also in search of a high, just not any camp high.

Soon my sessions were over and it was my last night at camp. My good friend and I decided a trek underneath the star-filled sky was a must. We set off into the misty dark and tried not to twist ankles or awaken the marshy edges of the sleeping lake. We settled for a while upon a deck floating gently on the wet tranquility. The night sky drew our gazes into its generous splendor, and we stared side by side into literal space. We enjoyed a clear view of the Milky Way’s trail, watched meteorites calling for wishes upon their failing majesty, and saw mythic constellations slowly make their nightly arc. With backs flat on floating boards and eyes drawn into the depths of the unveiled universe, my friend and I reminisced about the years in high school and told tales not previously shared with one another.

My stories from these times are best told in open spaces where the ears of children are distant.

It is not that I won’t tell my children these stories. They will surely view them as an origin story for the mother they know, but I can assure you that most of my teenage anecdotes will lend themselves to the genre of cautionary tale rather than inspirational autobiography.

But on this night, with this friend, she offered me space to not be a preacher, to not be the seasoned mother, to not be the redemption story, but to just be. As bats zoomed by and jetted slightly above the shiny still of the water, I felt the freedom to say “yeah, it was foolish, and ultimately, the hurt was only bearable because I fell into the arms of God. But every once in a while, it was so dumb that it makes a hilarious story.”

I told her about the sheer stupidity of some of my choices that could have easily cost me my life, the times God tried to get my attention and I withheld it, and I told her about friends who were terrible influences but I still deeply loved.  I told her of my favorite intoxicated philosopher who would discuss the deepness of dreams, the crack addict who came back from jail clean and Christ-focused, and my favorite drinking buddy with whom I had countless conversations about the God who now rules my life.

All of these people have long been out of my life, many of them even encouraged me to leave their circles. They saw violence sweeping into my life and knew I had to find a safer space. So I said goodbye, and honestly, I don’t look back often; I don’t seek them out, but I do cherish the memories of friendship, however tainted, I had with them at that time. On this night my friend allowed me to leave behind the heavy tone in which I tell these stories from the stage, and tell them with laughter that sings “I still can’t believe that was my life.”

She also gifted me with the privilege of listening to her stories. She let me into her past spaces, and honestly, they are like those I hope for my children. Stories not populated with drug addicts and witnessing knife fights. Reports of innocent expectations and choices made out of wisdom. Highlights of what a life submitted to Christ early on could look like. As she dove into some of the funny and sweet chronicles of her life I listened with peace and hope. They simply made me feel happy.

Many of my close friends know the darkness of my story before Christ. They know how dangerous relationships ended, and that I would have been better off if that had never been a piece of my life. I know it too, but it is part of who I am. I can be grateful for the scary, the mourning, and the horrors that fill in a chapter of my story because I truly have seen Jesus work it for good. It is He who gets the final say on the theme of my life.

I am living a story always being redeemed; all Christians are. It pains me when people preface how God met them with “Well, it’s not one of those dramatic stories.” Praise God that it isn’t! Any story about how someone finds the purest form of love in a dark and fallen world is powerful. The truth is that we are all a mess, and it is a miracle when Christ meets us in the midst of it. We should not shame a repentant person for the things they have turned from, but offer them room for their whole lives to step into the light. We must also not overlook the glory found in stories long-balanced on the narrow path. We must treasure narratives different than our own because without them we miss the beauty of diversity found in the story of God. May we be space-makers, place-setters, and room-prepares, just as Jesus is.

 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? ~Jesus (John 14:2)

Jesus makes space for all that come.

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Chara Donahue enjoys freelance writing, biblical counseling, and speaking to women when her four kids are out playing with dad. She is an adjunct professor, holds an MSEd, and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She is the host of the podcast The Bible Never Said That . Her words have appeared at Christianity Today, Crosswalk, (in)courage, and The Huffington Post. You can find more from Chara on  Facebook and Twitter.


Bio pic19 square

Chara Donahue enjoys freelance writing, biblical counseling, and speaking to women when her four kids are out playing with dad. She is an adjunct professor, holds an MSEd, and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She is the host of the podcast The Bible Never Said That . Her words have appeared at Christianity Today, Crosswalk, (in)courage, and The Huffington Post. You can find more from Chara on  Facebook and Twitter.