Portrait #1 My friend Lori does not fit the profile for a church treasurer. With gifts that lend themselves more to giving hugs than to writing checks, and with a ready smile that makes her a favorite with all the kids in the school cafeteria where she works every day, she has persevered in faithfulness… Continue reading Portraits of Endurance to Jumpstart Your New Year
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?
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
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
There's an old hymn that we don't sing much any more, but it's worth re-visiting because the final verse puts words around the futility of language in expressing the inexpressible: "Could we with ink the ocean fill,And were the skies of parchment made,Were every stalk on earth a quill,And every man a scribe by trade;To… Continue reading When You Expect Nothing and Get the Gift of Everything
The Lausanne Covenant declares that the whole church is called to take the whole gospel to the whole world, and certainly Jesus makes His own intentions clear with His Great Commission. How then are all God's amazing daughters to respond to this invitation while also remaining sensitive to theological controversies about the role of women in… Continue reading The Challenge of Women’s Work and the Great Commission
Several years ago, with one tentative toe dipping into middle age, I read life-changing words from the pen of Ruth Bell Graham, who confided she was finally learning that she did not need to weight in on every topic OR to speak up at every opportunity. This seemed reasonable to me at the time, a… Continue reading 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Speak Up
Conversations about missionaries and missions strategy are commonplace in our home. We talk about the latest newsletter updates, who's "home," and who's "back on the field." We wonder about the members of our missionary family when we don't hear from them, and we puzzle over big picture concerns in an era in which more missionaries… Continue reading Is There a “Right Way” to Do Church Ministry?
It's a common experience: the brain goes in search of a word that just will not materialize. Finally, eventually, the elusive word does come, even if it takes a thesaurus to prime the pump, and we rejoice because in conversation and in writing, finding and savoring the just-right-word to frame a thought is supremely satisfying.… Continue reading When Words Fail: Living and Lamenting through Dementia
I can remember when I used to be an advocate for early demise. My fondest hope was to fulfill the biblical quotient for old age as well as I could, and then to exit stage left with as little drama as possible to make room for the next wave. Then I became a mother, and… Continue reading Leaning into the Risk of Motherhood