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    Walking in the Wilderness

    This post was originally published in 2012. But it fits as much today as it did then. I once had a mentor tell me that the lessons of our lives often go in circles, just like Israel wandered a circular path in the wilderness. The older I grow, the more I see the cycles—the same lessons are learned more deeply as we step into new but different places. If you find yourself walking through a wilderness season, take heart. God is using the deeply worn pathways to teach you and take you somewhere good. Forty years—it sounds like an eternity. I’m sure it felt that way for the Israelites too.…

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    When Life Gets Hard, Take a Step

    I think most of us would agree. The past two years haven’t been our best ones. Death and disease flood our newsfeeds. Disaster and destruction shock us far too frequently. Chaos and questions keep us unsettled. Just when we think life is returning to a normal pace, another unwelcomed surprise forces us to change course, adjust, delay. For someone who thrives on consistently, I often wonder where the routine has gone. But as I reflect over the past year, I see one main theme emerge in my life—take a step. For the first part of 2021 a black cloud seemed to hover over my existence. Fear kept me wondering what…

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    Surprised by Christmas

    Wide-eyed wonder. Snow-covered trees. Bow-draped packages. It’s the quintessential picture of Christmas portrayed in commercials and on cards. But as adults we know the season is seldom so simplistic. The first Christmas certainly wasn’t. It was marked by surprises—but not necessarily the kind most of us would choose on our own. Mary’s life was interrupted by an angelic visitor, proclaiming news that would forever change the course of her life and her position in history. Joseph found out his fiancé was expecting a child that wasn’t his own, only to be visited by an angel in a dream who explained everything and told him to move forward with their marriage.…

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    Beauty in the Waiting

    Gray skies. Still, stiff air. Walking for miles with no end in sight. Waiting.  If you had to describe waiting in your own life, how would it look? Hurried and determined by nature, to me waiting feels like a long walk with no clear direction. I step out the front door on a dreary day and go, uncertain of where I’m going or when I’ll arrive. I know the walk is good for me—strengthening muscles and teaching me to trust. But I struggle to enjoy the journey. And I hesitate to trust the One guiding me throughout the twists and turns. I run ahead. I take a break. I struggle…

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    Racing to the Front of the Line

    Two small figures race to the kitchen sink. “Me first,” one of them yells. It’s a contest to see who can wash their hands and make it to the table first. A few hours later the same competition ensues. Dressed in their pajamas, the go racing down the hallway, grabbing their orange and blue toothbrushes and vying for first place on the bathroom stool. I want my sons to embrace competition in all the proper places. I also want them to learn to lead from the back of the line—by serving others and letting them go first. But the lessons are hard won. If I’m honest I get frustrated by…

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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…