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

why Christians need to care about the environment, and 5 tips to get you started

Environmental awareness is important for Christians! 5 tips to get you started.

My son came home from kindergarten, thrilled about the fact that Earth Day is coming up. His class had a litter-less lunch day and he’s been learning all about the importance of recycling to help our environment. For some reason, this is something all our kids know (and remind us of on repeat!) but we tend to forget about in the daily grind of raising families. Christians are notoriously resistant to the idea of caring for the environment, usually because of misleading end-times theology…if we think we’re going to be raptured off the earth before it goes to pot, why bother caring?* There are, however, two compelling reasons to care for the earth. The best reason to care about the earth is because it is filled with Image-Bearers of God – people created and adored by our God. When our overconsumption and waste affects the atmosphere, severe droughts happen in sub-saharan Africa … Read More

when your soul is weary and dry

weary

I am weary. Not the kind of weary that can be cured by a good night’s sleep or a cup of coffee, but soul-achingly weary. Do you feel it too? I am weary from doing all the things, carrying the burdens both physical and mental, filling out all the papers…it’s enough to suck a soul dry. Parched. Except my tear ducts seem to be working fine. I laughed a deep belly laugh today, for the first time in a long time, and still the tears were there, blurring my vision but not spilling over. Hidden. Then I look around and see what my friends are dealing with, and say to myself, “you have no right to feel like this. Look at how much hard they have. Your hard doesn’t count.” But like I told a friend other day, tired is hard too. Weary is hard. Sadness is hard. Your hard and my hard, they’re different. But … Read More

How to walk away from worry in 3 steps

Walk away from worry

It was like a child had unrolled a skein of yarn and tried to put it back together, then placed the ensuing mess in my mind for me to unravel and place back in the proper order. The things I needed to do today mixed with the list I needed to start for a family trip which overlapped with the appointments that needed to be made and the overwhelm of all the writerly things I wanted to, no, needed to get done. It was enough tangled yarn to hang oneself with. Nearly overwhelming, constricting the throat as my heartbeat raced my car down the highway. The thoughts would not untangle. Jesus’ words on worry almost seemed trite. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body … Read More