A Joyful Life of Listening for the Echo of a Voice

As we find our voice in Christ, we learn to know and sing the music of our soul.

I came of age in an era when all the truly devout and discerning were in search of "the dot." Certain that there was one particular place, vocation, spouse, role, and educational path for me in the mind of God ("the dot"), I agonized, prayed, agonized some more, listened for a clear voice of direction,… Continue reading A Joyful Life of Listening for the Echo of a Voice

A Celebration of Light in a Season of Darkness

Jesus is the Light that shines in darkness.

When autumn lands with all its beauty, it's reassuring that family celebrations around apples and pumpkins and brightly colored leaves will counteract the dread of encroaching darkness and falling temperatures. As the days grow short and the nights longer, Meadow Rue Merrill offers a sweet picture book story featuring an alternative fall celebration that focuses… Continue reading A Celebration of Light in a Season of Darkness

Exploring Depression and Anxiety as Companions in Sorrow

Jesus himself comes to us as a companion in sorrow, keeping company with us in everything that's hard. He sits with us in the chair of unknowing as we wait for shades of light to break through.

Whether you suffer from mental health issues yourself, or you are living alongside someone else who is struggling, you know the challenges that come with depression and anxiety. Counseling, medication, support groups, and pastoral care have saved lives and moved the afflicted into healthy space. Management of our grief and the entire menu of suffering… Continue reading Exploring Depression and Anxiety as Companions in Sorrow

Persevering in Extravagant Love for Your Prodigal

Your prodigal has not taken God by surprise.

The story came tumbling out from the heart of a friend at a church picnic. Eyes welling with tears, she shared her story of waiting in the road for her prodigal to return--and she was still waiting. The journey had been long and painful, and she knew well the ache of worry over addiction, the… Continue reading Persevering in Extravagant Love for Your Prodigal

Blessed Are Those Who Are Nice

As our roots go deep into disciplines of worship, study, obedience, and hope, we begin to see that we are being held in relationship with Christ, and this is where true virtue lives.

When Jesus set the parameters for a blessed life, they must have landed with surprise on the ears of his hillside congregation. The Beatitudes are even more counter-cultural today, for the 21st-century church conveys blessings of a different sort: Blessed are those who keep up appearances; Blessed are you when you look good and say… Continue reading Blessed Are Those Who Are Nice

How to Train Your Thinking When Life Throws You a Curve

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.

My favorite way to do life involves a schedule. Always a planner, I map out the days in advance and often find myself studying my calendar as if I might be tested on it at some point. Oddly, the pop quiz usually comes in the form of a delay or some unforeseen curve that cancels… Continue reading How to Train Your Thinking When Life Throws You a Curve

Stillness on the Way to Peace with God

The waters do indeed rise and the flames may come close enough to singe us, but the power of God endures.

With a steaming cup of tea in my favorite mug and an open Bible, I turned to a fresh page in my journal and prepared to take advantage of an empty and quiet house. Funny how stillness without is no guarantee of stillness within. A dozen tasks on my to-do list suddenly began competing for… Continue reading Stillness on the Way to Peace with God

The Gift of Discovering Jesus in Unexpected Places

As it turns out, even first-century believers who lived and traveled with Jesus on dusty Palestinian roads needed a nudge sometimes to help them recognize his presence and his work.

Lately, I've been on a God Hunt, and this list is the early fruit of it:  Our house and yard were teeming with friends, gathered for a celebration, and fully present to joy. The smooth execution of this event was an obvious answer to prayer. God has provided abundant and satisfying work for our adult… Continue reading The Gift of Discovering Jesus in Unexpected Places

You Can Become a Better and More Loving Spouse

As soon as the words "I do" leave our lips, the process of radical transformation begins for both spouses.

My husband and I had our first fight in the grocery store. I am a list-shopper, and he is a browser. Stopping for nothing, I steer the shopping cart around corners on two wheels, while he lingers over a cheese display, comparing relative merits and flavors at long leisure. I was raised in a home… Continue reading You Can Become a Better and More Loving Spouse

The Best Birthday: Receiving God’s Gift of Love

Birthdays are a big deal because people are a big deal.

Every Sunday morning, we sing and celebrate the birthdays:  the toddler clutching three sweaty pennies for the bank, representing his three years of life; the grandfather who contributes a dollar to the bank and jokes about not needing much change. Birthdays are a big deal because people are a big deal to God. So we… Continue reading The Best Birthday: Receiving God’s Gift of Love