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    Sleeping in the Storm

    I toss and turn as the minutes turn to hours. Sleep seems far away. Have you been there?    I’ve struggled with sleep as far back as I can remember. Even with pillows and blankets on a fairly comfortable bed, rest feels so elusive some nights. I find it striking that Jesus could sleep on boat tossed by a violent storm. It’s almost as if you can see storm clouds on the distant horizon as Jesus steps into a boat in Matthew 8. Two men approach him, applying for discipleship, and ask to follow him. Jesus tells them they must leave personal comfort and family obligation behind. Following him requires…

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    The Unexpected Place of Peace

    Peace. It seems so elusive these days, doesn’t it? Like a ray of sunshine streaming through my back window, my two-year-old reaches out his chubby fingers to grab the brilliant beam. Yet when he uncurls his fingers and peers into his small hand, it’s empty. Golden beauty gone. And the more he chases it and grabs for it, the more frustrated and confused he becomes. Isn’t that how so many of us have been living for the past year? We’ve spent our days grasping at anything that will give us peace in the midst of overwhelming chaos and confusion. And just when we think we’ve found a sunbeam, it fades…

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    Shades of White—Part 2

    A couple walks through the snowdrifts, clasping the others’ hand, as they slowly make their way through the deep, wet wonderland. With each step they give each other balance, courage, and strength. As they look over their shoulder, they see two pair of footprints, gently mingling with the mud beneath. Bright white snow turned ivory with wear.   Ten years ago I posted this just nine days before my wedding day. And I couldn’t help but revisit it. Today Turtullian’s timeless words, penned in the 200s, still hang in our home. Their endurance reminds us what it takes to make a marriage beautiful. How beautiful, then, the marriage of two…

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    Releasing Expectations

    Snowflakes fall silently from the sky as bright-eyed little faces peer out frost-covered windows. Best friends gather around a candlelit table, dishes clanking, laughter wafting in the air. Family members from far away places knock at your door, excitement erupting into hugs and hellos the moment you welcome them inside. An ideal Christmas is easy to imagine. But it’s hard to live out. Despite what commercials portray and Facebook depicts, life’s celebrations are often far from perfect. Our children misbehave at the worst possible moment. Our plans get altered at the last minute. Our family’s disfunction erupts at the table. If there’s anything I’m learning this Christmas season, it’s to…

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    Slowing Down

    A cool breeze skips through the air. The sun says goodbye a little sooner. The grass beneath my feet slows its sprouting, inviting me to do the same. I’ve resisted the call for far too long. When the world shutdown earlier this year, and everyone talked about slowing down, I couldn’t figure out how. Life seemed to speed up within my four walls even as life shut down around us. My little ones needed more attention than ever as all their activities paused. My work intensified as my husband and I juggled Zoom meetings and endless interruptions. Even grocery shopping grew stressful as I scoured multiple online stores each week…

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    Living in Limbo

    Normal. Where has it gone? A few months ago my boys romped on playgrounds daily and bounced into their church classrooms on Sundays. Today we watch church online and debate whether it’s safe to start pre-k this fall. The routine we once enjoyed feels years removed. In its place we navigate endlessly changing regulations, mask mandates, and shifting data. As much as I want to believe this will be over soon, I know the end isn’t quite in site. So I’m learning to live in limbo. It’s a hard lesson, isn’t it? Letting go of the past and embracing the present—however messy and uncertain it feels. Here are a few…

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    Different but the Same

    Most nights I go to bed anxious. Anxious about the turmoil across our country and our world. Anxious about the place where my little boys will grow up and the challenges they will face. The past few months have shocked us with pain, turmoil, and anger. They have marked us and made us. Life will look different, even after we return to our normal routines. As I worry about the unknowns ahead, I’m reminded that Solomon told us, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Our problems are unique, but they are not new. Just take a look at the Bible’s history. Anger turned to murder within the…

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    Better Than Before

    The past few week have changed us. No person, community, or country remains untouched. We’ve stayed inside our home day after day. We’ve grieved over loss—personally and corporately. We’ve feared for our livelihood and wondered how long we can make ends meet. Life won’t be the same following COVID-19. But as we slowly emerge from national and international shutdown, I want to leave better than before, lessons learned, life lived differently. Here are a few things I’m trying to take hold of in this season:   Life’s fragility. If there’s anything COVID-19 has confronted and disbanded within us, it’s our sense of invincibility. As we stare at daily rising death…

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    When Prayers Go Long: Trusting God While We Wait for Answers

    The tired friend. The good father. The unjust judge. Jesus knew that persistent prayer takes grit. It wears down our give-it-to-me-now mentality. It raises hard questions. It takes an ever-growing faith. So he gave us some poignant pictures to keep us going. In all three of his parables on prayer, Jesus reminds us—keep asking, even when the waiting grows long and wearisome. Here are three lessons we can learn from Jesus’ parables: Pray with fearless abandon. When Jesus’ disciples asked for a lesson on prayer, he gave them a pattern to follow. Then he gave them two vivid pictures. In so doing he encouraged more that rote iterations. He wants…

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    Pursing Fruitfulness in our Children’s Discipline

    For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. — Hebrews 12:11 Every time God disciplines one of his children, he has a clear goal in mind. He wants us to bear fruit—to become more and more like our holy God so that we exhibit the characteristics that he so perfectly embodies.   As Christian parents, we seek the same goal. Although we are broken, imperfect people, we seek to see God’s fruitfulness take root in our children’s lives. But how do we get there? How do we pursue fruitfulness, especially as we…