Unfiltered

I recently read that, prior to the 1920s, most women had mirrors that were tarnished.  The view they received in those mirrors, then, was fuzzy, imperfect. Like one of the distorted SnapChat filters.  As mirrors improved, women were shocked at what they saw: blemishes, wrinkles, dark spots, under-eye bags, crow’s feet, red blotches – no more filter! Beauty products suddenly became a booming business. As I read this, I thought about these verses… “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard,...

A Pile of Crap

We all have goals. For those of you still in school, it may be good grades, a date with that special guy/girl, acceptance to a certain college. For the rest of us, it may be getting a raise, having a family, going back to school. None of these goals, in themselves, is bad. But if they are “the” goal, then they’re not just bad. They’re crap. And I mean that in the most literal, biblical sense. Check out these verses from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of...

Out of Time

My oldest daughter graduates from high school on Friday. This event has been looming in my my mind all year. It’ll hit at strange times, making me tear up, worry, and rejoice. It’s momentous, Graduation. It is both an ending and a beginning, a time to rejoice and a  time to mourn. As a mom, graduation marks the end of an era. I have been, quite literally, very close to my kids all their lives: I stayed at home until they went to school, and then I went to school with them, teaching at K-12 Christian schools, where my classroom was on the same campus as theirs. It’s an end of an era for my kids, too – all three have been at the same schools all their lives, through all our moves. My younger two don’t know a world without Emma in it...

Ready to Marry?

Marriage. Almost everyone has an opinion about this institution. Some think it’s antiquated; others treat it like a terminal illness. Romantics see it as a lovely ending, and cynics see it as a trap. Countless studies are done each year, seeking to determine the right age, the right living conditions, the right personality types…treating marriage like a math problem that simply needs the right formula. And yet, despite all these studies and all these experts, the divorce rate keeps rising. As my kids get older, and we start talking about their futures, I am tempted to just go with the “wisdom of the age” – finish college, get a job, date around, enjoy life before “settling” down. But the truth is – that advice is...

Unburden Yourself

We are weighed down – by expectations, by situations, by attitudes, by guilt, by life. It can get overwhelming, all those burdens. Sometimes I feel suffocated by them all. I know I’m supposed to “cast my cares” on Jesus. But how does one do that?  I have been thinking through this lately, and I have come up with some ideas. First, I have realized that we have to define our burdens. I think there are two basic types, and each needs to be dealt with in a different way. Burdens others place on us. These are burdens we didn’t choose, burdens dumped on us by sinful people or tragic circumstances. We deal with these by daily surrendering these burdens to Jesus – laying them down at his feet and asking Him to carry them for us....

What the &%$@ Is Wrong With Cursing?

I get this question from teens all the time. Words are words, right? Why do people make such a big deal about certain ones? And, technically, yes, words are just words. A conglomeration of letters. There are plenty of words we can say in other languages that just sound funny to us, but would be offensive to someone who speaks that language. So why be so uptight about “curse” words in our own language? Why are they so taboo? First, it’s because we as a society assign meaning to words. If we lived 400 years ago, the word “swive” would be highly offensive. Today, it means nothing. We don’t use that word anymore. Therefore, in our 21st century society, it is not offensive. But other words are offensive. Often because they represent...