Confession: I am having a hard time blogging these days. This has little to do with blogging and much to do with me – I have been finding all forms of soul-sharing difficult.

That is because while my outside world is humming smoothly, the world inside my head is in chaos, and has been for months. There is sorrow and confusion and joy and loss and fear and exhaustion and success and heartbreak and stress and blueberry pie.

When I try to pick a piece to share, on my blog or in a church pew or over coffee, I land on one too dark. So I stuff it back in and pick another, and so on. In the end it is easier just to share the piece of pie.

The trouble is that after a while there is too much unsaid, and I find I’ve stuffed myself in there and can’t get out. Some would call it depression, though it is a high-functioning form, split between perfect performance and private anguish. I do not think anguish is too strong a term.

Anyway I feel like a liar if I do not acknowledge this: I am never as good a person as I appear. I love too many people that I’ve lost – love them passionately, despairingly, sobbingly. My son is having a difficult summer. My baby just finished antibiotics for Lyme. My brother left my church. Our foster case creates intense stress over things I can’t discuss. Church services have been hard for me, with toddlers. I spend too much energy on what people think of me. I don’t always know if Jesus is there.

Vulnerability does not get easier with time.

But if I don’t write, I die.

To get my words on, I made a list to myself of possible blogging topics, at random. Some of them I don’t have anything to say about; most of them have been on my mind in some form. My list looked like this.

My church experience

Why I live in this community

Why I send my kids to Christian day school


Summer menu

Baking show

Three new favorite books

What my kids are reading

Shari’s Amazing Household Hacks

Adoption day


The role of women

Alternate lives I could lead

Ideas from you – what I should blog about

Hair care 101

Things I love



Blankets in summer

Ode to bubbles

50 ways to use hot glue


Fabric shopping online

How to teach your kids to work

Last night I dreamed


That one looked too risky, so I wrote another the next day.

Our favorite things to do with blueberries

The Ark Encounter: Is it worth the hype?

Golden eyes

My worst day as a mom

List of gratefuls

A story from childhood

Three people who shaped me into who I am

One memory from each of my siblings

The immortal spatula

Why diet?

A history of our house

Four things I wish I knew

An idea gone wrong

A question

All I ask


The stores I shop at

Reading faces


So now I have two lists, and I do not know which one I will follow, but I plan to ping-ping-ping down through them (and new ones I think of), every other day if I can (that means imperfectly), to loosen my swing and to bring down small bits of truth from inside, without the compulsion to empty the whole piñata.

I thought I’d warn you. Here we go.

Meanwhile, there is a gift you could give me. Speak one sentence of prayer to Jesus for Shari Zook (you may tell me it below!), and then go do an act of beauty and faith: cut some flowers, hold a child, cook dinner, write a note to a friend. I always fear drowning in your sympathy. {grin}

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5 years ago

Dear Jesus, please help my dear friend sleep deep, well, long tonight. With your hand over their household, bless each dear one in her family, tonight, tomorrow, and into this week. Thank you for all you will do. Amen.

Rosalie Snyder
5 years ago

Dear Jesus, hold Shari close in your embrace right now. And hold me too. The darkness is more than she can bear. And more than I can bear.

5 years ago

Lord Jesus, pillow Shari’s head with your grace by night and pave her path with your grace by day. Remind her that you are there and that loving others like you love them sometimes feels more like anguish than love. Amen.

5 years ago

Oh dear Jesus, please be with my friend Sheri. She doesn’t know me or that I’ve been wearing those same shoes very recently. Oh Lord, please bless her heart and show her in some tiny way how her posts bless my life and give me a smile, regardless of what they say. Please let her know she’s not alone in her deep lists, and give her grace to write through the angst as well as the humor. Please bless her night and mine, too. In Jesus’ name, amen.
(excuse me, it ran longer than one sentence)

5 years ago

P.S. I would spell your name wrong. Please excuse that, too.

5 years ago

Dear God, please be with Shari and give her what she needs each day to be a woman after your own heart through each season of life no matter how difficult. AMEN

Marsena K Weaver
5 years ago

Lord, I pray tangible signs of your unfailing love and care would become visible to Shari today!

5 years ago

Great list of topics. I know you didn’t give opportunity but I was hoping to vote for a top pick. After careful consideration my top choice is “hoarding” with a close second in “polygamy.” (were you thinking multiple wives or husbands?) “Alternative lives I could live” also got high marks.
Hope to see you sometime next week. Maybe I’ll just ask then. That will have to do for a gift, and my child is on my lap as I comment.

Laura Showalter
5 years ago

Lord, I pray that You would bless Shari today with assurance of your Sovereignty. Please surprise her with a flash of joy. (Assuming that if one is good, two is better.)

5 years ago

Almighty Father, so many of us are living in the place Shari described…..please give her and all of us, a stronger faith in You. Show us Your ways…..give us love for the hard to love, comfort for our wounds, and wisdom to choose wisely.

5 years ago

O Jesus hold Shari close to your heart today. If she can’t see, hear, or feel you today may she be able to look back on this season and see that indeed You were there all the time.
“I don’t always know if Jesus is there.” This brings tears for I was there not so long ago. But looking back I know without a shadow of a doubt that He was there all the time. May Jesus comfort you today-He is there!

Mom Coblentz
5 years ago

What Marsena said!!! Amen.

5 years ago

Oh God, Pour our your Grace upon Shari! Show her today that she is precious and that you love her so much and eternally!

5 years ago

Shari, this post made me laugh and tear up?
I pray Ephesians chapter 1 over you, that you could know and feel that your blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven all in Christ!
I so enjoy your posts and thanks for your vulnerability!

A sister in Christ
5 years ago

Heavenly Father, please send Shari a deep peace n billows of joy today. And also a firm belief knowing that You are in control n while there are such sad (&/or awkward) things happening, You love the people involved even more than she (we) does. Grant her wisdom to know how involved to be in dif issues n strength to let go when she (we) needs to. Thank You!
P.S. This prayer is for myself and my needs also.
By asking for prayers from your readers, you are saying we are your friends, right? 🙂 Well, we NEED the prayers of those we love…..I want my friends to pray for me, to bear my tempted soul above, and intercede with Our Father in Heaven for me…. (for ME, yes!)

5 years ago

A friend shared this prayer with me this morning and now I pass it on to you…
“Dear God, we thank you that even though it’s so dark, that you still know where we are.”

Regina S
5 years ago

Father God, bless Shari today and remind her that she is loved by You and that nothing she is facing is too difficult for you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

5 years ago

I pray God gives you grace to face each moment as it comes. It’s awfully ironic that this was in my email when I opened it this morning… considering that I had just gotten up from a tearful session on my knees. I wonder… as we work with bio parents and neighbors who come from awful situations, without the support systems ppl like you and I have, does God allow these low times in our lives in order that we can have more sympathy for them? Are the times when i find it so hard to forgive and the times I struggle with bitterness, (my current big struggles) put into my life so I can be a greater help to others? And have more patience for my high maintenance child when I realize how much patience God is having with me? Reading your honesty as well as reading the above comments has all been a day brightener for me.

Deborah Heatwole
5 years ago

Lord, in Jesus name I ask you to bless and keep Shari, make your face to shine on her, and give her peace.

Kathryn Swartz
5 years ago

Father God – You know exactly what is troubling Shari, and I pray You will enable her to live above–or through–those troubles. Amen.

I want to hear about the immortal spatula.

5 years ago

Heavenly Father, please surround your daughter Shari with a clear sense of your presence and love and light.

5 years ago

I can identify with so many of your topics. There was no one to blog when I had little ones! So I eagerly await even now. Oasis is coming, Lady!
Oh, the prayer…it ascended already…

Amy Z Kauffman
5 years ago

Dear God, may all your dreams for Shari come true…

Kim Z
5 years ago

Dear God, please help my dear, Shari. I have a pretty good idea how she’s feeling & it’s awful. Please give rest & peace. Amen
You’re not alone.
Love you sis! Xoxo

5 years ago

Jesus, I ask you to walk closely with my friend Shari today and to assure her of your presence, power and pleasure in her.

5 years ago

Jesus, breathe your presence on Shari today. Heal her and give her hope.

5 years ago

Praying for you, Shari! You are not alone. I know the darkness of past depression too, and I too am walking a darker time at present. Your determination to choose vulnerability and choose to write anyway is an inspiring example to me to go on doing the next thing. TRUST. Be thankful. One moment at a time!

Marlene Stoltzfus
5 years ago

From a writing standpoint, I note your skill in the sentence about loving passionately, despairingly, sobbingly.

Personally, I feel there’s so much I could say. But I doubt you need another voice clanging around in your head. So, I do pray for you (and the Lyme situation; that made me sad). Lord Jesus, I pray for the shards and fragments to sift and for there to be a door that opens from the chaos toward rest.

For the future, what a terrific resource. I’m interested in what you’ll write. The topics and rapidity will tickle my brain’s need for variety beyond these relentless, non-blasted green beans.

5 years ago

God, I ask two things for Shari, courage and the strength to believe that You are still in control and loving her.

Lisa Detweiler
5 years ago

I can certainly relate with the high-functioning depression, split between perfect performance and personal anguish. You’re right, anguish is not too strong a word.

Jesus, you know and love Shari. Take care of her today.

5 years ago

Shari, I totally understand where you’re coming from! I, too, have dealt with depression, and still do. My mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and sometimes I find it hard to function normally. And I also deal with OCD…I’ll be praying for you, and know exactly where you’re coming from. Romans 8:28 has become a special verse to me over this time. I enjoy reading your blog, and want to have my own someday. 🙂

5 years ago

This is my prayer for you (Andrew Peterson, Is He Worthy?) … my new favorite song… helps in my days of feeling depression.. the tension of what is and what I want and what will be. Hugs!

Aimee Stauffer
2 years ago

Father God, hold Shari in Your arms as she grieves the choices her brother has made . . . God, You Are our the One who holds everything together, You ARE our Bright Morning Star 0 You are the meeter is All our needs!

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