How Do You Know if You Are Called to Be a Writer?

"Writing is hard work. Writing well is even harder." ~Andrew Le Peau

As a true fan of certainty, I am filled with longing whenever I read Old Testament stories in which God shows up in unmistakable clarity. He speaks from a bush on fire, gives audible instructions for travel, and issues a rebuke from between the squared off teeth of a donkey. Even when Samuel, young and… Continue reading How Do You Know if You Are Called to Be a Writer?

To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas

Christ’s willingness to hunker down, wizen up, and enter the darkness opens the door to his light and his life being formed in you and me.

We are covered to the elbows in red and green paint, but the festive wrapping paper stretched out to dry on the table before us more than justifies the mess. The toddler points to his distinctively tiny handprints and smiles his satisfaction, as his older brothers start wondering aloud about cocoa with candy cane stirrers.… Continue reading To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas

The Humility of the Given Self

“The best way to find out whether or not you really have a servant’s heart is to see what your reaction is when somebody treats you like one.”

I pushed the damp mop across the kitchen floor, knowing full well that I would be finding sticky spots on cupboard doors and drawer handles for days to come. The transformation of a bushel and a half of apples into smooth, pink applesauce is the work of a couple hours on my own. However, with… Continue reading The Humility of the Given Self

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

Following the One Who Has Set Us Free

By grace, we cultivate interior order as we follow the One who has set us free.

Friends and family chuckle when they discover that my spice cupboard is alphabetized. Some are amused because it lines up with what they already know about my personality, others because the idea seems ludicrous to them. Nevertheless, for me, the minutes of hunting I save by consistently replacing the marjoram or the dill seed in… Continue reading Following the One Who Has Set Us Free

The Myth of a Successful Prayer Life

Before asking myself whether prayer works, let me first define my terms. Is prayer a lever for moving the universe according to my whims, or is it a tool for molding my will to God’s?

Spring showed up bleak and gray this year, but we barely noticed. The weight of waiting occupied every minute, with question marks bristling where daffodils had been delayed. An army of friends prayed for our family when we could not, waging war on our behalf, inquiring with kindness about obstacles that made no sense and… Continue reading The Myth of a Successful Prayer Life

How Parenting Exposes Our Need for Faith

Do I believe Jesus can rescue my children? Do I trust him to work redemptively in their hearts? I want to.

Whether we’re making meals, changing diapers, or shuttling kids to baseball practice, parents are doers. Always in protective mode, we apply sunscreen and Band-Aids as needed, and when we hit a wall with a need we can’t meet ourselves, we consult with the experts. Long before parents could ransack Google or WebMD for medical advice,… Continue reading How Parenting Exposes Our Need for Faith

When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

Lean into your calling as you lean into the God who has called you.

It all started as a strategy for outreach. We sat around a table and began to dream out loud, trusting that the fire of shared passion and the wisdom of group process would yield creative ideas for communicating the love of Christ to our community. I don’t mind confessing that I loved my dream. We… Continue reading When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

3 Wise Filters that Will Improve Your Entertainment Choices

Paul’s words are a call to hand over my check lists, my grumpy tirades, and my opinion of your entertainment choices and to submit every decision to the scrutiny of God most holy.

Greasy fingers met in a communal popcorn bowl, and laughter overpowered the details of dialogue: “Hey, somebody rewind! I missed that line!” It was family movie night, and the flickering image on the screen played second fiddle to the allure of an extended bed time. With cold pizza congealing at room temperature on the coffee… Continue reading 3 Wise Filters that Will Improve Your Entertainment Choices

A Fruitful Life from a Heart of Love

We trust God to give our adult children eyes to see the truth about their own hearts’ affection.

Roots and wings are the gift Christian parents pass on to our children. We establish rules, give them responsibilities that build confidence and skill, and we water those deep roots with lots of love and prayer, knowing that strengthening wings will soon carry our children away from home, out of reach of our influence and… Continue reading A Fruitful Life from a Heart of Love