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...

Slow Down

When I began my AP Literature class this week, I told the students the key to success in that class can be stated in two words… Slow. Down. Students who rush through the AP readings (complex literature with many layers) miss most of what the passages are about and can rarely analyze the passages correctly. But students are so conditioned to rushing through so much of life – the downside of having the world at your fingertips – that the idea of slowing down is foreign. As I wrote those words on the board (Hangman-style, as requested by the students), I realized that I need to follow my own advice. Not for AP Lit, but for life. I tend to rush through much of my day. I multitask far too often and still find tasks that I have forgotten. I finish one...

The Last First Day

Several years ago, my friend Amy told me about a book she read that discussed how parents celebrate the “firsts”, but often miss the “lasts”. Usually it’s because we don’t know when those “lasts” will be…the last time we read a book to our child in bed, the last lost tooth, the last Band-Aid we apply. Tomorrow, however, is a “last” that I am very aware of. Tomorrow is Emma’s last “first day” of school.* That also means that, after more than decade, it’s the last day all three of my kids will start the same school together. This is the last year we’ll have a “first day” picture with all three kids, the last year my girls will play volleyball together, the...

Forgiven

I love to go to the beach. With its sounds and smells, the feel of the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, ahhh. It is so relaxing. And since I live fairly close to the beach, I can go pretty often.  When we lived in Florida, we went most often to the Gulf of Mexico. I remember lying on my towel and looking out at the water – the same Gulf that kissed the shores of Florida also touched Texas and, of course, Mexico. And when we ventured to Florida’s east coast, I looked out at the Atlantic and thought how amazing that ocean went all the way to Europe! I may not be able to visit England, but I could visit a body of water that touches England. But the Pacific Ocean…that thing is HUGE! The waters I touch in the Pacific also touch the shores of...

Home

Having moved several times in my adult life, I am jealous of folks who have lived in one place their whole lives, whose parents, siblings, and extended families live close enough to share Sunday dinners and holidays. Sometimes, I get a little bitter that I didn’t get that story. I long for roots — deep, decades-long roots – in one place. Instead, I have shallow roots all over. This week, God has been reminding me that I do have roots, I do have a home. The permanency I long for is a reality. At church on Sunday, our pastor spoke of Heaven and said, “Imagine…what is most precious here on earth is the asphalt of heaven.” In my Bible study, I am nearing the end of Revelation, where John describes the beauty and majesty of Heaven....