The Challenge of Faith and Forgiveness in a Christian Family

"If the Lord thinks you need punishing, you can trust him to see to it. He knows where to find you. If he's showing you a little grace in the meantime, he probably won't mind if you enjoy it." Marilynne Robinson

I'm watching a miracle unfold in my family. Four sons, imperfectly parented, are growing into healthy, responsible, and strong young men. Two of them have even gone on to become imperfect parents themselves, and somehow, by grace, we just keep on forgiving one another for offenses, both big and small, with the understanding that family… Continue reading The Challenge of Faith and Forgiveness in a Christian Family

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

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

Moments of Stillness Focused on the Truth

As we meditate on God's Word, we grow, and those moments of stillness focused on the truth impact all the other moments in our busy and full lives.

Words have the ability to change our lives. It's no accident, then, that Jesus is referred to as "the Word," and I have to believe that if God had wanted to communicate with us through video, he'd have found a way to do it. Instead, he has chosen to speak to us in written words.… Continue reading Moments of Stillness Focused on the Truth

What You Need to Know About Loss

"Trust in the good ending for the whole story. Even if the chapters don't finish the way we want them to." Sharon Garlough Brown

I landed in my seat at Bible study feeling like a refugee. Two tiny sons were happily entertained in the nursery, my study questions were only half answered, and I could just barely recall the point of the lesson, but community drew me to that space like a magnet. In that season, I craved the… Continue reading What You Need to Know About Loss

Finding a Network of Life-Giving Friendship

Friendship is a life-giving gift in which we don't run away. We do the opposite.

The layers of life, in all their overwhelming proportions, call for a large God. The unexpected diagnosis, the many ways in which we disappoint ourselves, and the messiness of the generations all seem to come home to roost during middle age as parents depart this world and adult children come into their own. Margie Nethercott… Continue reading Finding a Network of Life-Giving Friendship

The Amazing Gift of Volunteer Love

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Isaiah 53

Whether it was pessimism or lack of imagination, it never once occurred to me to ask God for a husband or a family. Maybe that's why I value them as I do, for they are gifts that came to me, even though I lacked the good sense to pray for them. Cheryl Anne Tuggle calls… Continue reading The Amazing Gift of Volunteer Love

How Do Stories Increase Your Empathy for Others?

Time has a way of eroding the sharp edges of a story. Details become foggy and the setting becomes indistinct. Fully alive, three-dimensional characters may lose their identity in stereotype, becoming mere placeholders in their own story. This was the case for Lucy Walter, the heroine in Elizabeth Goudge's Child from the Sea. Born in… Continue reading How Do Stories Increase Your Empathy for Others?

A Glorious Bustle of Life

Friendship is a life-giving gift in which we don't run away. We do the opposite.

The layers of life, in all their overwhelming proportions, call for a large God. The unexpected diagnosis, the many ways in which we disappoint ourselves, and the messiness of the generations all seem to come home to roost during middle age as parents depart this world and adult children come into their own. Margie Nethercott… Continue reading A Glorious Bustle of Life

Blessing Management: Jayber Crow Discussion Group (Conclusion!)

Last week a huge windstorm felled both trees and power lines, leading to widespread power outages throughout the great state of Maine. By some miracle of grace, we came through the storm with our lights still burning, but my oldest son was without electricity for several days. Since he and his family came here to… Continue reading Blessing Management: Jayber Crow Discussion Group (Conclusion!)