Day 2

In this episode, I talked about what happens inside of you when you say yes to life. I talked about the uncomfortable, sometimes thrilling and sometimes nauseating process of expanding so that you can do something generative, something that brings hope and joy and beauty in yourself and in the world.

I talked about what I see happening on Day 2 of creation, when an expanse is created in between the waters, so new life can spring up. I hopefully gave you some language to explain what’s happening to you after the light has pierced the darkness of Day One, and now there is a new thing growing inside of you. I talked about how the bright light of Day One is not the end, it’s only the beginning.


Here’s the link to the dropbox folder where you can get all the memes from the seven days of creation. Feel free to share them if you’d lke to help a brutha spread the word about Beginnings.

Raquiya: Expanse. The root word is raqa, which means to stamp, spread out, or stretch.

Pi-Hahiroth: Mouth of Freedom (Exodus 14:9). This is where the children of Israel camp while they wait for God to deliver them through the Red Sea.

What’s Blowing My Mind: Andrew Peterson’s new record, The Burning Edge of Dawn.

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B85541_Beginnings_FINALIf you’d like to read the first two chapters of my new book, Beginnings, please click here. I’d love to hear what you think!

If you’d like to pre-order Beginnings (released on January 1st), click here.

Connect with me:

On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email me: steve(at)


Day 2

When things are particularly dark in my own life, when the wind is howling and the night is endless, I feel blind. I shuffle along, slowly losing hope, like feeling my way through a maze without an exit. Everything seems dulled, stuck, and lost. And then it happens, even if it takes far longer than I think it should: the bright breakthrough. Light finally shatters the darkness, and I am rescued. That’s Day One, and it’s a breathtaking beginning. But it took me a very long time to realize that’s all it is: a beginning.

In fact, on Day One, all you are is pregnant. 

The bright breakthrough isn’t and end, it’s a beginning. Day Two is about watching your belly grow. Sometimes, you glow. Other times, you can’t breathe. Everything inside of you has altered, is altering, and you can’t stop it. It’s thrilling, exciting, and so very scary. You’re definitely no longer stuck, dull, or lost, but you’re also very uncomfortable and everything is new. Day Two is about saying yes to what’s growing inside of you.

What’s growing inside of you? What are you saying to that unnamed thing?

When you are met by the generative God who rescues you on Day One, that same God invites you on a journey of expansion so that you can hold all the new life that is already growing inside of you.

You’ve been there.

After a particularly intense counseling session where you had a major breakthrough, you started to notice something inside of you that felt bigger, stronger, and brighter. Something was growing and you finally started to see it. Other people saw it, too. That’s Day Two.

After a significant breakdown, when you thought you had lost everything, you woke up one day clear headed, with a new sense of freedom. Suddenly, you were able to see in a brand new way; the light and textures of life began to explode for you. That’s Day Two.

After someone finally saw you and named the significant gifts that you bring to the world, so much so that you couldn’t speak, or even hardly breathe, you realized you weren’t stuck. You found yourself on a journey towards something, and it thrilled you. That’s Day Two.

I wrote Beginnings because I noticed something inside myself, a pattern that seemed to happen during significant transitions in my life. I would be lost in darkness, numb and blind, and then I experienced a breakthrough. Light came. But instead of suddenly finding myself in the promised land, I found myself pregnant, and uncomfortable… but growing. During each of these transitions, I noticed that before anything significant came out of me, something significant had to grow within me.

Ever been there? This is how I wrote about it in Beginnings:

A few years ago, several years into our journey of parenting three children, Mary and I decided to take a long walk together, because there were some unspoken conversations hovering around us that just needed to land. We walked because coffee shops are too loud, and because frankly, I’m better when I’m moving. Maybe Mary’s penetrating gaze threatens me, or maybe the right things move around inside of me when my outsides are also moving.

By mile five, we had both said and heard some very difficult things, but I was feeling OK. I was open and soft. I was ready to listen. I was even a little upbeat. But then she said it.

I think I stopped walking. Or maybe I walked faster. I honestly can’t remember.

She looked at me and said, “Honey, now I have to say the really hard thing.”

My wife sees and hears things that many people do not. She is frighteningly intuitive, but she is also very kind. She has never used her superhuman ability to see right through me to skewer me. Still, I braced myself.

“For a very long time,” she said, “I have felt like you treat me as if I’m what’s wrong with this relationship. And I need to know if that’s true, or if I’m crazy.”

I wanted to run. Immediately, I began shuffling papers in my mental file, looking for proof that she was wrong. She’s always blaming me, I thought. What about all the years of counseling we’ve paid for? What about all the apologies I’ve given over the years? Are you telling me I’m the worst husband in the world? You’re acting like I’m a monster.

I began to walk faster, but she kept up.

What finally caught up to me was the crushing reality that she was right. I stopped walking and looked down. Then I looked up at her, this woman that I shared my life with, this woman that I loved. I realized that it was convenient for me to treat her like she was the one who was wrong, the one who needed saving, the one who needed help. Because I like doing the saving. I like being right. I like swooping in for the rescue. And I hate hearing that I am doing anything wrong. I get defensive every time anyone hints that I may have dropped a ball or failed at anything. And the worst part about it is that I am charming and manipulative enough to make it look like I’m being vulnerable and open when I’m really just trying to do that right, too. I can make you think that you’re wrong, but it’s no big deal, because here I am to help you.

For years, this was our unspoken contract. Mary would be the messed-up one who actually talked about her issues, and I’d be the strong and steady one who fixed stuff and hid my own issues.

On that walk, Mary was saying that our contract no longer worked for her. She was inviting me to let go of our old contract and create a new one. It scared me to death. I realized on that walk that I hated doing it wrong even more than I hated hurting her.

I said I was sorry. I really was sorry. I actually felt sick.

That conversation was hard, but what followed was harder. I began to see that living with me felt like being under pressure. I set up elaborate but unspoken rules about when it was okay to talk about certain things, and when it wasn’t. Even though I’m good at problem solving, sometimes my solutions were bandages that didn’t help, and I offered them just so we could be done talking about whatever it was that I wanted to be done talking about. And I wasn’t listening well. I hurried Mary and sometimes ignored her.

I didn’t have the language for it at the time, but I was standing at a threshold. I was being invited to let go of a harmful way of relating to my wife, so that I could grab onto a different kind of relationship with her entirely.

I was being expanded, and it was good. But it hurt.

These moments are naked and vulnerable, but if we can see them, we have the opportunity to expand. If we miss them, we get to keep sitting on the deck, keep being the same person we were yesterday and all the yesterdays before that.

What does it take to see those moments and walk all the way into them? Well, what do you want? Perhaps it starts with that question, and drilling all the way down to the honest answer. If you want to keep living yesterday all over again, you’ll never be expanded. If, however, you want something different—in your marriage, or your job or whatever it is that is being expanded—you need to want something different than you have now.

And when you want it, you are on your way to being expanded.

Next Tuesday, we’ll look at what Day Two produces. On Day Three, we finally see Seeds.

But before we get to that, I want to give away one copy of Beginnings per week between now and release. I will sign it and mail it, totally free. All you have to do is email me, or send me a picture, of WHY you need a copy of Beginnings NOW. It could be hilarious, poignant, deep, shallow, whatever. It just has to be to me by Monday, November 30. Email me at Steve (at) or post it on Facebook (sjwiens), Twitter (@stevewiens), or Instagram (@stevewiens), tagging me so that I can see it, and using the hashtag #BeginningsBook. I will pick one winner per week, based on my own completely random judgment of which one is best. Ready, go! 

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This is the third post of an eight week series leading up to the launch of my first book, Beginnings. I’ll also be talking about it on my podcast, so make sure to tune in there, too! 

B85541_Beginnings_FINALIf you’d like to read the first two chapters of my new book, Beginnings, please click here. I’d love to hear what you think!

If you’d like to pre-order Beginnings (releasing on January 1st), click here.

Connect with me:

On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email me: steve(at)


I need to say something out loud, but you have to promise not to laugh.

You’re going to think I’m kidding, but I promise you I’m not. When my six year old son Ben thinks I am kidding, he raises a dubious eyebrow and asks, “In real life, dad?”

In real life, Ben.

Just ask Mary. When you ask her if I’m kidding about what I’m going to tell you in this super vulnerable – and serious – blog, she will give a demure shrug and look away, because we have a pact not to make fun of each other in front of other human beings. But when you ask her, just look at her eyes. They will be mocking me with the merciless tenacity of a professional heckler.

When I tell you, you’re going to need to suppress your chortle, because I am being vulnerable here. Please put down your coffee. Spit takes aren’t funny, they’re obnoxious. I’m going to tell you, and you’re going to take it like a man.

Wait – one more thing before I tell you. You need to know that I’m good at lots of things. Granted, none of those things involve plumbing, or fixing or installing or removing anything that breaks inside my house or my car, but I am awesome at so many, many things. Seriously – so many of the things. Just so we’re clear. A whole. Lotta. Things.

Now, after I tell you, you can’t mention it to me, ever. It goes into the vault. This is just something that needs to get out there into the world. No calls. No texts. No emails. And for the love of Tim Riggins, don’t comment. Don’t you dare comment. This is me being vulnerable. Courageous. Putting my self out there.

And by the way, it’s not like you’re awesome at everything. I don’t see you writing blogs about stuff like this. When was the last time you confessed something like this? Probably never. Oh, and if you can “change your oil yourself,” and if you know how to “check the fuse box,” or if you don’t “hire someone to change the batteries in your smoke detectors,” just shut it. Nobody likes a braggart.

Here it is: When life calls upon me to make sunny side-up eggs, I cannot for the life of me crack an egg without breaking the yolk. On my best morning, my accuracy is no better than 50%. One out of every two yolks I cook ends up bleeding all over the whites, like too much sagging flesh. This is not a big deal when making pancakes, or scrambled eggs, but when it comes to making eggs sunny side up, I am the equivalent of Ross Gellar trying to stay married.

I have anxiety about it every time. And I have tried everything. Crack that egg firmly! Crack it softly. Crack it on the countertop. Crack it on the edge of the frying pan. I have even tried cracking it on my actual forehead. Okay, I haven’t gone that far, that would be ridiculous.

I’ve tried YouTubing it for tips. But all I find are supercilious moms who crack a dozen flawless eggs while holding two babies and making fresh squeezed orange juice with the self-assured panache of James Dean taking a drag from his Lucky Strike.

So now is the part of the blog when I make the big turn, and say we all need to focus on what we’re good at. To say that we all have limits, and we need to embrace them! Some of us can crack a perfect egg one hundred straight times, and some of us can use supercilious (correctly) in a blog post and get 1,000 Facebook shares (do your part, good reader), so go embrace your gifts and laugh at your foibles!


Heck no. I can’t crack an egg. Life is over.

Photo Source

Day 1

In this episode, I talk about the generative, expansive light of Day One of creation, how it swirled and danced and illuminated every dark corner of the universe.

I talk about the nature of that light (it isn’t the sun, the sun wasn’t created until day four), what it fills and where it goes, and how it’s still filling and going and illuminating, even today.

I told some stories of some heroes who are being light in some very dark places, people I admire, respect, and who bring me great hope. I talk about Paris and the refugee crisis, and about how we can navigate the dark places of our world with light and hope.


Check out Lynne Hybels’ great work here. Follow her on Instagram to see her pics and read her stories from Iraq.

Excerpt from Beginnings (NavPress, 2016, pages 15-17):

Have you ever found yourself in need of a new beginning, but you didn’t know where to start, or how to get past whatever darkness stands in the way?

Let there be light, God smiles to the single mother, buried under piles of laundry and also piles of hopelessness.

Let there be light, God announces to the doctor who has cheated on her husband, and also on herself.

Let there be light, God thunders to the pastor, lost in depression, who cannot imagine climbing those steps and giving one more sermon.

Let there be light, God calls out to the bored restaurant server, mired in a dead-end job with more bills than bank.

Let there be light, God beckons to the suburban alcoholic mother, as she wakes up under the cover of regret and shame which threatens to unmake her.

Let there be a new Day One in your life. A new beginning.

On Day One, God brings light, and makes a way for you to be separated from the darkness in which you are lost and alone. On Day One, God whispers, “There you are! It’s time to go.”

If you are going to learn to embrace all the beginnings in your actual life, one of the biggest lies you have to unlearn is the one that insists the hovering God will only descend after you’ve gotten your chaotic life back on track. “God helps those who help themselves,” you are told, and so you are convinced you need some forward progress before God grudgingly intervenes.

This kind of thinking only keeps desperate people lonely, and hard-working people tired. This kind of thinking keeps us in the dark.

Day One is about being rescued. Day One is about creation bursting forth right in the middle of the inky blackness. God speaks, and God’s Spirit moves, and a new beginning is conceived.

It’s on Day One that we recognize our inability to escape the darkness. It’s on Day One that we are rescued out of our own powerlessness. This unexpected light comes just as we realize our impotence, and it is dazzling when we finally see it.

What’s Blowing My Mind: Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir… Of Sorts, by Ian Morgan Cron

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RSVP for my Book Release Party on December 11 in St. Paul, MN!

B85541_Beginnings_FINALAnd If you’d like to read the first two chapters of my new book, Beginnings, please click here. I’d love to hear what you think!

If you’d like to pre-order Beginnings (released on January 1st), click here.

Connect with me:

On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email me: steve(at)



There is a shiny, happy life, which promises to wait up for us, as long as we have the decency to pretend that darkness doesn’t exist. The shiny, happy life is always punctuated by exclamation points. Lots and lots of them, all the time.

I’m doing great!

The kids are great!

Keeping busy!

It’s all good!

But when the spot turns into cancer, the darkness becomes so dark that you can’t pretend anymore. When you’re sitting next to your lawyer, across the table from your husband and his lawyer, and even the mountain of papers being shuffled around can’t cover the empty shell of your failed marriage, you can’t pretend anymore. When the clock on the wall and the date on the calendar mean nothing anymore, because your whole life is simply sitting in the hospital with your child who isn’t getting better, you can’t pretend anymore.

When terrorists invade the City of Light, blinding the world in a horrific moment of hatred, you can’t pretend anymore.

But there is something else hovering over us in those dark moments, something so big and true and real and bright that we don’t have to pretend anymore.

I write about it in my forthcoming book, Beginnings (NavPress, releasing on January 1, 2016), which imagines the seven days of creation as not simply an event that happened many years ago and is done, but as a pattern of God’s ongoing creating that keeps happening, in you and me and the whole world, even in life’s darkest moments.

Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. (Genesis 1:2)

The word for “Spirit” in the Hebrew is ruach, which means “wind” or “breath.” It describes the creative energy of God, which both generates life and holds it together. It’s full of life, energizing and animating all the emptiness, everywhere. Whatever else it means, it is used to describe something living and moving, compared with something rigid and calcified.

It is ruach which initiates new beginnings, and without it, we stall out, sitting on decks late at night overlooking our past with regret, seeing nothing but endings. The psalmist writes:

If you turned your back,

they’d die in a minute—

Take back your Spirit and they die,

revert to original mud;

Send out your Spirit and they spring to life—

the whole countryside in bloom and blossom. (Psalm 104:29-30)

Ruach is the word for “Spirit” in those verses above. It’s used over 380 times in the Scriptures. When the generative life force of God is not present, we will remain lost in the inky blackness.

We are in mourning — the whole world — and we sob and scream at the injustice and pain of the darkness we witnessed in Paris, and in Syria, and in our own lives, which CNN doesn’t broadcast.

But there is a hovering God who is whispering something over us all, inviting the whole world to spring to life, even in the midst of such terrifying darkness. We don’t have to pretend that the shiny, happy life is all there is. There is something so much more substantive, so much more generative and velvety. It’s punctuated by pain, yes, but pain isn’t the end of the story.

Let there be light.

The God who hovered over the waters of chaos in the beginning of all things is still hovering, always inviting us into something beautiful and new. God is an artist, painting portraits of you and me on canvas in the attic, shadow and color and sparkle fusing into reality and potential. God is a farmer who still gets up early to scatter seed in the spring, and to gather the harvest in the fall. God is a parent who delights in measuring your height with hastily scribbled pencil marks on the kitchen wall.

Let there be light, in you and me and the whole world.


Welcome to Day One.

Photo Source.

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This is the second post of an eight week series leading up to the launch of my first book, Beginnings. I’ll also be talking about it on my podcast, so make sure to tune in there, too! 

B85541_Beginnings_FINALIf you’d like to read the first two chapters of my new book, Beginnings, please click here. I’d love to hear what you think!

If you’d like to pre-order Beginnings (releasing on January 1st), click here.

Connect with me:

On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email me: steve(at)