One of the joys of my job as a college chaplain/professor is meeting peers from other institutions and fellow ministers from other denominations (in addition to getting to know a greater number of both within my own) and then introducing those new connections to the undergrads I minister to on campus. Knowing the passions and proclivities among our undergrad population, it’s thrilling to tell particular students, “Hey, I just met someone in the field you want to pursue! Here’s the contact information …” The emotional flipside of that dynamic also applies. If a student has endured a personal devastation and just isn’t getting the help needed from the places and people who ought ideally to provide it, it’s a privilege to be able to introduce them to an empathetic someone who’s faced similar hardship and whose work expresses eloquently and authentically the searing, sometimes voiceless pain they feel within. I love being the middle-man in these situations, and that’s what I’d like to do for you in this blog.
I’d like to introduce you to a woman whose professional work and personal pain have fused to form a vital ministry. Please meet Liesel (Mindrebo) Mertes. I'll let her tell her own story, but suffice it to say that God has blessed this lady with a profoundly incisive mind and an illuminating way with words - already abundantly evident in her high school days! Now, years later, the Lord has led and is walking with her through one of life’s darkest and lowest valleys, the death of her baby girl and life moving forward without her. So many have felt and continue to endure this kind of searing pain, or other potential soul-breakers, and Liesel has made it a professional priority to walk alongside such people by way of her work and the online writing I’ll share with you here. Liesel’s words give honest voice to pains which struggle in silence within us. Her eloquence and her empathy are evident, full of the Holy Spirit’s grace and wisdom. Please have a read, be blessed yourself, and then share with those whom you know in life’s dark valleys. May this new acquaintance be for you and many others a beacon in this fallen world's shadows, radiant with the healing light of God's son.