• A Lesson from the Ant on Spiritual Diligence

    Every week after the church service, a sweet Nigerian lady in our congregation hands six dum-dum lollipops to my children.  I tuck them away for later so no one gets sticky on the walk to Sunday school, but evidenced by the groupings of ants I keep finding around our house, I guess I’ve neglected to pass out the dum-dums. Ants are fascinating creatures.  No wonder King Solomon told us to pay attention to them. “Go to the ant, O sluggard.  Consider her ways and be wise…” (Proverbs 6:6). Without anyone telling them what to do, ants work hard to gather food.  Somehow they can smell sugar through walls, carpet, diaper…

  • When Comparison Derails You From Doing Your Own Good Work (a Message for Writers who Use Instagram)

    I recently received a question about boundaries on Instagram from a fellow writer.  She asked what boundaries I had in place in order to keep myself from comparing with others and falling into despair.  I answered her briefly through a direct message, but it’s a topic I’ve wrestled with for the past eighteen months, one I think is a struggle for others, so I wanted to address it here.   We can’t make hard and fast rules for boundaries in our use of social media.  What one person struggles with on Instagram may not be a struggle for someone else.  So, rather than sharing my specific boundaries, I thought it might…

  • On Being a Mom in the Midst of Grief

    It was a typical Friday at the end of summer.  I wrangled the kids around the table, poured cereal and milk into bowls, wiped the kitchen counter, and sprayed the crack in the floor where the ants were coming in.  I threw the laundry in the dryer, a load I accidentally left in the washing machine overnight. The three year old settled into my lap to hear a story while the older girls played legos at the table.  Mid-morning, I applied sunscreen to six faces and we went to our favorite beach spot. The baby chased seagulls and the big kids asked me to count how long they could hold…

  • What I Learned, Spring 2019

    “The practice of reflection is not one to keep us living in the past or wallowing in mistakes. Instead, it’s a way to pause on purpose and listen to our life so that we can move forward with a little more confidence, a little more clarity, and a lot more intention.” — Emily P. Freeman, Episode 84: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Reflection, The Next Right Thing Podcast 1. Undeserved gifts are not easily forgotten. We had the privilege of attending an all expenses paid work retreat at one of the finest hotels in our city.  Not only did I feel undeserving and completely spoiled, but I realized how much I…

  • Let them feast on His goodness

    She sits in her highchair grabbing little bits of cheese and shoving blueberries in her mouth faster than she can chew.  She dangles her sippy cup over the edge of the tray, looks at me out of the corner of her eye, and then decides to hand it back instead of dropping it on the floor.  At thirteen months, she’s testing the limits, learning her boundaries, and questioning my authority. It’s the game every child plays as they figure out life consists of rules, and children must obey. I quietly eat my lunch, try to make a phone call, take another sip of water, and run to help her older…

  • 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…