The secret to true inner peace

The secret to inner peace

Un-rest (noun)  A feeling of disturbance and dissatisfaction in a person A state of dissatisfaction, disturbance, and agitation in a group of people Have you ever lived in a state of unrest? Being tugged in every direction, paperwork on every corner, appointments busting out of the calendar? It stinks to live in a state of unrest, but my friend, it is just as bad to live with a feeling of unrest deep in your soul. You know the feeling – like no matter how much water you drink or me-time you get, there’s always that parched bit of soul that never feels satisfied. No inner peace. It’s possible to live with a feeling of unrest even when we live in a state of rest. We can watch Netflix till our eyes crust over and have weekly manicure appointments, but those will not satisfy that parched bit of soul. Likewise, it’s … Read More

Bible memory for the chronically forgetful

Bible memory for the chronically forgetful

Bible memory stinks. Well, it doesn’t stink. Rather, I stink at Bible memory. It frustrates me because I have so many great ideas of verses I want to memorize, but when it comes right down to it, I…forget to get right down to it.  Sometimes I joke that I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight…I say it’s a joke, but deep down I know it’s the truth. I forget to memorize Scripture, but when I do get something in my head, it’s not long before I also forget what I memorized. My long-term memory seems have to have a leak. (Fun fact: I can watch a movie several times and still not remember what happened in the movie. Sometimes I don’t remember even watching it. Ask my husband about how much he loves that…) I stink at getting the Bible into my head, but I love … Read More

3 truths to remember when the storm rages

peace in the storm

Snowflakes swirled around us as we said goodnight. He brushed accumulated snow off his car, then drove away, leaving deep tracks in the road. No one else wanted to drive tonight, but he had to get home. And home was 2 1/2 hours down a dark and slippery highway. It was a weekend like any other. My fiancee had driven all afternoon on Friday to stay with my family for the weekend, only to drive all the way back home on Sunday evening. It was no big deal. We did it every weekend. Except for the snow.  An anxious chill nipped at my heart as his car disappeared into the blizzard. He’d be fine, right? He was a good driver.  The cool fingers of fear tugged their way into my mind as the hours went by. Snow piled higher on the fence and drifted across the driveway. This was a … Read More

What Micah 6:8 means for moms

Micah 6:8 for moms

I’ve been feeling spiritually dry recently. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that schedules are changing around here – Dodger has given up his afternoon nap so my at-home afternoons are no longer as quiet as they used to be. Going back to work in April has also been a challenge because our office space has changed: I used to have a room near the back where I could shut the door and pray in peace, and now I have a shared office with a giant window that’s right off the main area. Not that those are insurmountable odds, but it makes spending time in private prayer and the Word a little more challenging to work into my schedule. I imagine there are others of you who struggle with the same thing, no matter what kind of life you lead! For some reason, what is … Read More

3 reasons to meet with God every day

What does "I am the vine, you are the branches" really mean?

The motto of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, is “Nisi Dominus Frusta”, which means, “without the Lord, frustration”. This is a feeling I know well. Nothing in my life has showed me the extent of my sinfulness and inabilities as parenting. Being a mom has brought out parts of my personality I would much rather have remained under the surface! I’m sure that I am not alone in this confession. Docile women become angry moms, flexible people become brick-wall parents, and unflappable men find themselves snapping in irritation at their children. No one is a perfect parent, but you and I have a choice about how we respond when we’re overwhelmed: a) Will we continue to parent out of our depleted reserves? b) Will we try to fill up our own reserves with me-time and hobbies? c) Or will we turn to the Well that never runs dry to be … Read More

Why read Biblical fiction? (+ 9 great books to get you started)

Read fiction

Each time I pick up a non-fiction book to read, I inevitably quit part way through. I have the best of intentions, but it just loses my interest. Stories, on the other hand, are what make me read late into the night (which is probably what destroyed my eyesight! haha). Did you know that reading stories can be a fabulous way to become more engaged in God’s word? Reading historical fiction that is well-researched and set in Biblical times can be one of the most fun ways to throw yourself deeper into that ancient world. Why? Well-researched and well-written fiction can help you understand the context of the Bible like never before. All the books of the Bible were written for a specific, ancient group of people with a specific culture. If we don’t understand the culture, we are liable to misunderstand the Bible. Humans learn best through story. And … Read More

Why we all need to read the Bible (and how to get started)

Why we all need to read the Bible

According to research conducted by the Barna Group, about 1/3 Americans read the Bible once per week or more, even though 9/10 Americans own at least one Bible. So why are we buying the Bible but not reading it?  We obviously don’t feel drawn to open the Bible and read its contents. But is that because we have read the Bible and found it wanting, or because we have never read it the right way? I’ve heard many reasons for not wanting to read the Bible: it’s outdated…it’s just a bunch of rules…it doesn’t apply to life. But for God-fearing people, there is one powerful reason to pick up the book and read it for ourselves: It is the only way to get an accurate* picture of God.  (*When I say “accurate”, I mean that we get the fullest picture of God that a human mind can handle. God is full … Read More

3 ways to build a rhythm of rest into your life

Rhythm of rest

This year just about did me in. At one point I felt on the verge of some kind of breakdown, and at the other point I was just bone weary. Have you ever felt like that? Like the world is on your shoulders and if you sit down for even a minute, everything’s going to collapse? Everyone has different circumstances that bring us to that point of near-collapse. For me it was a change in work schedule, having to find and train a new teammate at church, having 2 kids in school (with all the associated library book returns and forms to sign and a weird kindergarten schedule to keep track of), a weekly piano lesson that was at an awkward time, and a toddler that dropped his naps. In the midst of all that, in the evenings I was trying to exercise four times per week, write a novel and blog twice … Read More

how to find peace in a busy world

How to find peace in a busy world

  I lay on the tufts of fresh grass, wind caressing my face, wind chimes playing their gentle tune. The sun warms my toes and thoughts wash to and fro on the sea of my invisible mind. One stray idea, plucked from the waves and held carefully, like a delicate ball of hand-blown glass. I turn it around in my mind’s eye, appraising its value. When did I get so busy?   Too busy to sit and enjoy the grass between my toes, too tired to double-bounce my boys on the trampoline, too thoughtless to even sweep the floor. What have I been doing? Many good things. I have been doing many good things. But have I done the good things to the exclusion of the best things? To spend time learning at the feet of my Lord, to worship him as the woman who spent her most precious perfume on him. What is … Read More

The easiest way to share (and remember) the gospel

The easiest way to share (and remember) the gospel

What’s the easiest way to share (and remember) the gospel? With colors! You may have seen something called “the wordless book” or made beaded bracelets with the colors in Sunday School. But most of the color-presentations are missing something essential. They are missing God’s motivation. As a story-writer, I know that every character must be properly motivated. His/her actions have to have a reason, because that’s how things work in real life. We don’t do random things. Even if they may APPEAR random, they always have a reason. (Whether or not the reason is sane is another story altogether.) When we start our gospel presentations with sin, we have a motivation problem. Why on earth would God want to save us from our sin? The answer to that question, the motivation for Christ’s sacrifice, lies BEFORE sin. The gospel starts at creation, not at the fall. If God hadn’t created the … Read More