Loser

No matter what the self-help gurus say, we can’t do anything we want. We’re not all winners all the time. Some dreams will never come true. And we need to learn to deal with that. We need to know how to be losers. Some of us will play softball for a whole season and never make contact with the ball (me). Some of us will try to draw a tree and have it be mistaken for fallopian tubes (also me). Some of us will never, ever be liked back by that cute boy in our Chemistry class (yep…me). No matter how much our parents may try to protect us, we will all, at some point, fail. But – and here’s the important thing – that’s not only all right. It’s good. That’s right. Losing is good. Because failure builds character in ways that winning cannot. And developing good...

Spiritual Weight Lifting

I hate working out. Hate it. And don’t even think about scrolling down and offering advice on how to make it less hateful. I don’t want to hear it. Exercise is, I am sure, part of the curse. God could not have intended for us to have to exercise. There will be no gyms in Heaven.  However…I need to exercise. I used to exercise (on and off…more off than on) because I wanted to lose weight. Now, though, I have more a pressing motivation – if I don’t work out, my back hurts. See, my spine is fused, so my back muscles have to work a lot harder than regular folks whose vertebrae help carry the load. And, until this year, my muscles didn’t complain. But, alas, my youth is evaporating and my muscles are no longer as cooperative...

Ready, Set, Date

Parents and teens alike struggle with the question of dating. How old is “old enough”? That’s easy. The answer is  30. Next question?? Just kidding. Kind of. Not that there’s anything wrong with waiting until 30. But just in case you don’t like that idea, here’s another, a little more complicated, solution: There’s not an exact age. But there are some questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not you – or your child – are ready to date. Why do I want to date? If it’s because all your friends have boyfriends and you feel left out, because you feel prettier when you have a boyfriend, because you like the attention, or because you don’t like paying for movies – you’re not...

#relationshipgoals

Most girls crave relationships. We want to be known and loved and thought about. We want to share our feelings, our ups and downs, our questions and frustrations with those who will listen and understand. We spend hours watching movies and TV shows that glorify these kinds of relationships – perfect marriages and friendships where brief struggles are resolved and everyone lives happily ever after. The reality, of course, is that friendships aren’t always beautiful, and marriage isn’t always perfect. There are glimpses of beauty, of course, and moments of perfection in these relationships. But anytime sinful humans are involved, there will be tears, frustrations, annoyances…Our friends can be draining, our guys can be insensitive. Or...

Between Storms

A former pastor used to say we’re all either entering a trial, exiting a trial, or in the middle of a trial. It sounds pretty rough, I know. But those of us who have been walking with the Lord for a while know this is true. And, honestly, as I look back on a quarter century as a Christian, I realize that the times I feel closest to God is when I am in the middle of a trial. It’s in those times, difficult as they are, that I am desperate for Him. I need time in His word, in prayer, in fellowship with others, to get through each day. I know God allows trials, in part, to do that – draw us to Him, remind us that He is our strength. But what about the in-between times? I’m there right now – though I’m slightly afraid to admit it....

When Good Friends Make Bad Choices

We’ve all been there. Someone we care deeply about is contemplating – or actively pursuing – something (or someone!) terrible. What do we do? As a confrontation-hater, I like to “just pray about it” and avoid the person. God can change them, right? And He is in control. So He will make sure that loved one gets the message.  I’ll jump back in once God has done His thing….Until, as a confrontation-hater-that-occasionally-explodes, I just can’t take it anymore and then I say something I deeply regret. This strategy doesn’t really work all that well. And it’s definitely not biblical. God certainly calls us to pray for our brothers and sisters. But we are also called to action. Galatian 6:1 tells us...