6 Books for Friends-in-Training

And this is the power and the gift of friendship: when hearts collide, lives are altered.

“I want to keep it handy in case I need it,” she said, matter-of-factly. She wasn’t talking about a flashlight. Not a package of tissues. Not a cell phone – they hadn’t been invented in 1978. She was talking about Isaiah 55. “I liked it,” she went on.  “So I memorized it.” “Come, all you… Continue reading 6 Books for Friends-in-Training

Accept the Challenge of Choosing What Matters Most

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. (I Corinthians 12:31)

If the statisticians are correct, and American adults really do get to make over 35 thousand choices every single day, I should be much better at choosing than I am. Maybe you feel this way as well, for rarely are our decisions simple and uncluttered. Like author and speaker Lucinda Secrest McDowell, we often find… Continue reading Accept the Challenge of Choosing What Matters Most

You Can Shatter the Habit of Comparison

You and I, too, can embrace the better habit of resting in God's love while delighting in the glorious comparability of all that he has made.

When is the last time you walked into a room full of women and just fully enjoyed everyone? The talkative and the more reticent? The natural leader and the sweetheart with the gift of helps? The carefully coiffed and manicured and the all-natural girl without a speck of makeup? My natural tendency is to compare,… Continue reading You Can Shatter the Habit of Comparison

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