Small Things

WalkingUpStairs

“Why do I not take the Lord that seriously?” my friend Missy said to me, after showing me a picture of a group of men lying on the floor face down as a Haitian pastor prayed over them. In the group of men were Missy’s husband and two teenage sons.

She’s been in deep prayer all week for her family serving abroad, but admitted to me that it’s not her norm. I too confessed that deep prayer and worship are not my norm.

In fact, I’m a lot like the Israelites. If I’m not on the mountain top or deep in the valley, I quickly forget who God is and choose instead my own methods of self-reliance. Continue reading “Small Things”

The Impossible

Impossible

My friends, Faith and Kirk, are on their way to South America this week to adopt their sixteen year old daughter. Late last summer, Faith, a social worker by day, came across a Facebook post about a girl needing a forever-family by the end of 2016 or otherwise become ineligible for adoption due to her age according to the country’s adoption laws.

In a matter of a few hours, not only was Faith’s heart being tugged at for the girl, but her husband’s was as well. With faith that God was behind it and trusting Him to make it happen, Faith and Kirk said yes to the craziest whirlwind adventure of their lives yet.

Their decision to say yes was utterly impractical.

Before their daughter’s sixteenth birthday, which was only a couple of quick months away, Faith and Kirk had to be at a very specific point in the adoption process. If they weren’t far enough along, she couldn’t be adopted at that point because of her age. Time was not on their side. Continue reading “The Impossible”

Receiving Forgiveness

Sorry

I said the words without thinking, but as soon as they were out of my mouth I wanted to take them back. Worse were the seconds after, watching her face fall and the hurt flash in the eyes of my friend from those thoughtless words. I could practically hear the thud as they landed heavy and hard against her heart.

My apology came out quickly and oh how I meant it! But the damage was already written all over my friend. She graciously accepted my apology, but we both knew my words were still stinging.

Saying our goodbyes for the evening I offered another sincere apology, as if by saying the word “sorry” enough times I could erase the words from earlier, but I parted my friend’s company that night with a heaviness in my own heart.

Continue reading “Receiving Forgiveness”

“Do You Ponder?”

GirlThinking

“Do you ponder the things God has said to you?”

The question from a friend startled me. Truthfully, I’ve been doing a lot more worrying than pondering lately.

Several weeks ago, God asked me to obey Him in making a life-altering decision. It was so freeing, and it’s been awesome to see God work in ways that can only be credited to Him.

But I still don’t have any guarantees of how things will turn out, and there are days when the path of obedience feels lonely and hard. Making the decision was one thing; what follows after is another.

I spend time worrying about how things are going to turn out rather than pondering what’s coming.

What’s the difference? Continue reading ““Do You Ponder?””

No Guarantees But Jesus

NoGuaranteesButJesus

There I was. Faced with a significant decision to make. One of those life-altering decisions.

Of the two options on the table, only one didn’t look foolish. The “smart” option involved minimal risk. It required zero hard work. There was no chance of failure, embarrassment or heartache. It would be comfortable and safe, and best of all, easy.

I knew which one was the “smart” choice, and I knew which one Jesus was calling me to.

The “smart” choice wasn’t the one Jesus was calling me to.

And I knew I wasn’t being called to make a decision. I was being asked to obey.

Continue reading “No Guarantees But Jesus”

Reconnecting Family

meetingfamily

Recently my brother reconnected with his 17 year-old daughter, who has been estranged from him and the family for much of her life.

We are elated at this chance to get to know her and to welcome her in. For us, she has been a part of the family since her birth. We’ve noted her absence at family events, tracked her age with the rest of the grandkids, and hoped that someday she would be curious about her dad’s side of the family.

And the day has come.

Continue reading “Reconnecting Family”

Living Out Faith in a Post-Modern Culture: a Lesson from My Über Driver

A few weeks ago I spent several days in a city known for its extreme tolerance, a place where the outrageous isn’t really all that outrageous. After a week of startling observations, I began to wonder what the Gospel looks like in a place where every appetite can find what it craves. I asked God how anyone lives for Jesus there, when success is the norm and wealth abounds, where sex is glorified, and youth and beauty are worshiped. How do you share about the need for a Savior when people seemingly have everything they need or want, and then some? Continue reading “Living Out Faith in a Post-Modern Culture: a Lesson from My Über Driver”

Sometimes True Love Isn’t Nice

lovenotnice_blog

My words have become nice.

What’s wrong with nice?

The problem with nice is that it masquerades as love. It’s like a food spread in a Martha Stewart magazine. The fruit has lipstick on it to make it brighter. The grill marks on the steak are really from a paint stripper. The turkey has been blow torched and stuffed with paper towels. It’s not edible and it’s not real.

A few years ago I was in a hard season. I had moved and was outside of fellowship, I was angry at God about the way some things had gone down in my life, and I was looking for quick connection and comfort.

There I was quite deliberately engaged in an unhealthy relationship that I had no business being in.

Continue reading “Sometimes True Love Isn’t Nice”

Radiance

lightstock_166975_smallblogMy closest friends will tell you I’m loyal to a fault. A wrong against one of them is a wrong against me. And boy, can I hold a grudge. Sometimes I can actually feel my heels digging into the ground.

I’ve been in church long enough to see plenty of good people, good friends in fact, be wronged by the church. It’s even happened to me a few times, and each time I want to protest in outrage. I want to hurl some insults and point a few fingers. I want to walk away from church entirely.

Because church is messy, community is hard and people get hurt. Continue reading “Radiance”

Orlando: June 2016

Orlando_shooting_dc_160612_4x3_992ORLANDO, FL – JUNE 12: Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

In the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando, my heart grieved for the men and women who in their final moments of life experienced the kind of terror that is of nightmares. I cried looking at the faces of every person who won’t be home for the holidays, the voices that won’t ever again wish a “happy Mother’s Day” or “happy birthday.”

It made me wonder if I was ever to find myself in a situation where a shooter was on the hunt for me and for my friends, if I could hear him coming, if I knew my life was moments away from ending, whose voice would I want to hear? What would I say? What would my parting words be?

In asking the questions, the humanity of each face came into focus. The people who died in the shooting in Orlando were sons and daughters. They had inside jokes with their friends and insurance payments to make. They liked spaghetti and sunsets and going on fast rollercoasters. They had favorite colors and bad days. They wanted to be loved and to grow old. Continue reading “Orlando: June 2016”