Have You Made the Decision to Love the Local Church?

The local church reminds me that we are lovely because God loves us--and not the other way around.

There's a piece of very good advice circulating these days, and I followed it several decades ago without even realizing it. Hearing it set to the music of wise words, I can see how much energy it has saved me over the years. It goes like this: Make the Decision Once. Of course there is… Continue reading Have You Made the Decision to Love the Local Church?

My Turn to Be the White Person in the Black Room

"The disciplines of prayer, spiritual direction, and soul care are needed in all communities." Barbara L. Peacock

I have a long list of spiritual giants to whom I've looked for inspiration in my following life. Names like C.S. Lewis, Teresa of Avila, Madeleine L'Engle, and Eugene Peterson come to mind, and it's likely that you also have a list, different from mine, but comprising familiar names from church history or Christian culture.… Continue reading My Turn to Be the White Person in the Black Room

Inspiration from the Servant Life of Amy Carmichael

"As you give all, you find all." Amy Carmichael

One morning, three-year-old Amy eagerly pushed her chair close to a mirror and climbed up. The night before, she had prayed for her brown eyes to be changed to a beautiful blue, and because her mother had assured her that Jesus always answers prayer, she was certain that she would be gazing into beautiful blue… Continue reading Inspiration from the Servant Life of Amy Carmichael

Uncomfortable Reading to Explore Your Own Heart of Darkness

"Like a running blaze in the plain, like a flash of lightening in the clouds. We live in the flicker.” Joseph Conrad

This summer, two of my sons spent the better part of a long weekend at my house working on their trucks. One came equipped with tools, the other with his wife and two delightful children. In telling the story of those three days, my grandchildren would report on story time, art projects, and the mingling… Continue reading Uncomfortable Reading to Explore Your Own Heart of Darkness

What if Your Loneliness is an Invitation from God?

"The answer to our loneliness is love--not our finding someone to love us, but our surrendering to the God who has always loved us with an everlasting love." Elisabeth Elliot

Soon I will discover what it is like to be alone in the house after my husband leaves for work. There will be no sleepy teenager glued to his bed and in need of resurrection. For the first time in twenty-one years, there will be no homeschooling routine to wrestle with--a change I welcome, but… Continue reading What if Your Loneliness is an Invitation from God?

Finding the Way to Forgiveness and Hope

Fiction with a redemptive story line shouts, "Even here. Something is happening."

The summer of 2020 will go down in history marked by disappointing vacation adjustments, angst over schooling arrangements in the fall, and violence and unrest on so many fronts we're beginning to lose track. I wonder what story you are living, what uncelebrated milestones you have passed, or what ungathered grieving you have walked alone.… Continue reading Finding the Way to Forgiveness and Hope

Women of Faith: The Stories of a Lifetime

"Sometimes your heart needs a water bottle, a walking stick, and warm companionship." ~Maggie Wallem Rowe

The following life comes with no promise of smooth roads, clear landmarks, or luxurious destinations. At times, it seems as if a Christian world view actually complicates our lives. Suddenly, we are culpable not only for right actions, but for pure motives as well. In a full life with limited time for friendship or fellowship,… Continue reading Women of Faith: The Stories of a Lifetime

How to Live in a World of Difference

We bear witness to the gospel from a position not of strength but of weakness. ~Tom Lin

During the week following the horrific death of George Floyd, I was traveling to meet my brand new grandson. Snatches of news and heartbreaking social media posts were my only connection to the "real world," and in the quiet hours of holding a newborn, this slow processor of current events had all the time I… Continue reading How to Live in a World of Difference

Hope for the Hearts of Saints and Scoundrels

"Repentance is not just a tweak." ~Nancy Guthrie

One day, I stopped apologizing for my boring salvation story. While it's true that "I once was lost but now am found," there was no dramatic Damascus Road turnaround for me, no potty mouth to disinfect or cigarettes to snuff out. The real miracle, though, was that God landed with grace in the unseen muck… Continue reading Hope for the Hearts of Saints and Scoundrels

Frederick Buechner’s Beautiful and Terrible World

"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." ~Frederick Buechner

First impressions are usually lasting, and that was certainly the case with my introduction to Frederick Buechner, which came through a Luci Shaw poem. She quoted these nourishing words in a season of seeking intimacy with God:  "Beat a trail to God long enough, and he will come to you on the trail you have… Continue reading Frederick Buechner’s Beautiful and Terrible World