• How to Worship When You’re in the Dark

    The following is a slight adaptation of a lesson I recently gave to our Women’s Bible Study on Psalm 88. We don’t typically introduce ourselves by sharing the darkest, most difficult pieces of our stories. So when we confront a lament in the Bible, written by a man we only know by the name Heman, we might be taken aback. At the very least, we’re forced to enter into his pain, to sit in the dark with him as he communicates with God. But I think more than that, some sort of response surfaces.  Some might wonder how a person could feel such intense grief.  Others can relate to the…

  • Pressing on during Advent: Our rhythms have a purpose

    My Advent reading yesterday morning took me back to road trips in the mid-1980’s when we would make the twelve hour drive in my dad’s beat up green Ford Granada with the peeling orange roof, to my grandparents’ house in Florida.  There was no air conditioning and a leather interior, so our legs would stick to the seats, our hair would blow in the wind, and conversation was almost impossible. I’m still not sure why my parents let us bring crayons on those trips; they always melted in between the seats and we got crayon bits under our fingernails when we tried to pry them free.  Lunch was either tuna…

  • When You Feel Like You’re Carrying the Weight of the World

      Little cries from the closet next to my bed have become a bit of an alarm clock, although it’s not yet fully morning.  For some reason this sixth baby has decided to chart her own little course and refuses to consistently sleep through the night.     Last Friday, it happened at 3:45, and after feeding her, I settled back under the covers to sleep until my actual alarm went off.  But no matter how hard I willed it to happen, sleep never came.   Summer is coming to an end.  There are school supplies to buy, clothes to sort, planners to fill, and appointments to make.  Meetings dot…

  • Thirteen Words for the New Mom

        Those first few days and weeks with a newborn are some of the most difficult and wonderful ones you will ever experience.  May these words, listed out as part of a Five Minute Friday, give you hope and encouragement.   Rest as much and as long as possible.  Receive offers of food and help. Ask for help when you need it.  No one expects you to be a superhero. Renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word. Rejoice in the gift of new life. Reflect on the delivery of your baby. Persevere in the midnight feedings and hormonal challenges. Believe that the promises of God are true for you today. Come to…

  • God’s Word: An Exquisite Feast for the Soul

        During the summer between my junior and senior years of college, I spent six weeks living with a missionary family in France.  It was my first time in Europe and I loved every moment. From the cobbled streets, to the bustling city, to the fields of lavender in the countryside, France was just as romantic and picturesque as I had imagined.  And the food, oh the food was irresistible. Almost every corner hosted a bakery or cafe, and on my walk to work each morning, I would stop and stare at the displays of pastries behind the counter. Smells of freshly baked bread, spits of lamb roasting for…

  • When You Don’t Want to Do the Next Right Thing

        Yesterday was one of those days in the summer where you feel like being at home with no agenda, but then you get antsy by mid-morning because you have no agenda.     There were plenty of things to do, mind you, I just didn’t feel like doing them.  After a little pep talk to myself, a whispered prayer, and an attitude adjustment, I started walking from room to room picking up toys and straightening shelves.  I checked in on the kids playing and mixed up a birthday cake.   As I went through the motions of my day, I realized that there have been a lot of…

  • What’s the Bread For?

        “What’s the bread for?”   This question from the little girl who, the day before, told me she hated going to church.  We were smashed together playing in the little inflatable pool out back. She wanted me to pretend with her animals, and so I set my book aside to engage with my daughter.  It’s not often I get one-on-one time with each child, so I’m learning to take advantage of these moments when they come.   In between conversations with the palace pets, we chatted about her first year at school, how she misses her teacher, and what day of the week it was.  I told her…

  • How To Live Victoriously When You Feel Defeated By Life

      For my fifth birthday, my parents allowed me to invite a few friends for a party at the fun new pizza place in town.  There was an arcade area with a variety of silly games, so we all got coins and could play to our heart’s content. My favorite was “Whack a Mole”, the one where you pick up a padded mallet and proceed to hit the heads of moles as they pop up through the holes on the board.  They surface so fast you can barely react quickly enough, and while you’re trying to knock one down, another one appears. The goal, of course is to make contact…

  • The Marathon of Motherhood: Persevere, Hope, & Turn Toward Heaven

      The cabinet gets filled at least once a month, and each time I stare at the shelves of diapers and pull-ups and wonder, “Is this the last time I’ll do this?  Are we getting close to the end?  When will this season be over?”  Nine years — and counting — that we’ve been changing diapers.  There was a two-month break in 2012, right before our third child was born, but other than that, the most consistent thing in my mothering has been the buying, changing, and disposing of diapers.  It’s a never-ending cycle and lately I’ve been feeling weary from the monotony–and let’s be real, the disgust–of changing multiple diapers…