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    Find Healing for Hurting Hearts

    What’s on your New Year’s Resolution list? If your list is a lot like mine, it includes returning to pre-holiday healthier eating habits and making time for exercise several times a week. Those are common resolutions regarding physical fitness. Not so common are resolutions pertaining to our emotional fitness. But I have a book recommendation that might help with your 2020 emotional goals: Healing Every Day: A 90-Day Devotional Journey by Mary DeMuth.

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    Give Thanks In…

    At the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln formally scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. He implored all U.S. Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” (History of Thanksgiving). With Thanksgiving just 17 days away, families and friends are making preparations for food, festivities, and football. We excel at making external preparations. But are we preparing internally for Thanksgiving? Are our hearts ready to give thanks? With the political intensity of the last several months, it’s easy to forget that…

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    How to Maintain Hope Amidst Closed Doors

    When you’re navigating a season of closed doors, it’s hard to have hope. Every door of opportunity that closes feels like yet another letdown. If you’re really honest, every closed door feels like a letdown from the Lord.  The year 2016 was such a season for us. My husband and I were pursuing the possibility of having children, both biological and adoptive. Given our marrying later in life, we had our ages working against us. But we tried to have a biological child anyway. What happened, as a result, was a difficult season of infertility and loss. The door of having a biological child had closed. Concurrently, we pursued domestic…

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    Journey With Me to Ephesus

    This month I take you on a photographic tour of Ephesus. The city of Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia (Asia Minor, modern Turkey). It was an important political, educational, and commercial center as it was the gateway to Asia. It was a strategic military location and the hub for caravan travel. Ephesus was also known for the temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (Acts 19:35).  (To learn more about Artemis, please see the blogs linked below.) As it was such an important commercial center and located on the coast of the Aegean Sea, it was an affluent city. Its markets would…

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    Practicing Gratitude—A Challenge

    A recent leadership conference I attended focused on gratitude. The Chief Executive Officer of the company thought correction in how some members were running their businesses was needed, and therefore spent at least twenty to thirty minutes discussing: How to get gratitude, How to practice it, and How to extend it.  When a CEO of a multi-million dollar company spends that amount of time on any subject, it’s evident that it’s important and is an issue in today’s world, or in that company at least. As it turns out, expressing gratitude (i.e. giving thanks) was an issue in the ancient world, too. The Psalmist and the Apostle Paul spent considerable…

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    How to Stay Married While Navigating Infertility

    “Fifty percent of our infertility patients end up getting a divorce,” the nurse explained, when I questioned what I thought was a peculiar portion of the hospital’s legal paperwork. At that moment I was surprised to hear the statistic. But with raised eyebrows and a let’s–just–get–on–with–it mentality, I circled the appropriate decision for which one of us would be given custody of our frozen specimens “should divorce occur” and I went on with my day. A few months later, however, as my husband and I struggled to overcome our intense grief over a double infertility loss, I remembered her words. I then understood perfectly well. Infertility, miscarriage, and loss can…

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    Honoring Spiritual Mothers

    You did it. You survived another Mother’s Day. You’re licking your wounds, but you made it through the day. You plastered a smile on your face and gave a polite nod and shrug of the shoulders in response to the all too familiar question, “When are you going to have a baby?” You, and the other non-moms, successfully pushed back tears and sat staring at the bulletin while a church leader asked all of the mothers in the congregation to stand for applause and recognition.

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    Women, the Resurrection, and the #MeToo Movement

    Do you know who consistently appears in all Gospel accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection? Was it the apostle Peter? No. How about the beloved disciple, John? No. Then it must have been Jesus’s half-brother, James? No again. The person recorded to have seen it all—Jesus’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection—was not a man; it was a woman, Mary Magdalene. She not only witnessed everything, she was the first person to see the risen Lord (John 20:14–18). Thus she is “honored and revered as the first messenger of Christ’s resurrection—the apostle of the apostles.”[1] Are you shocked and surprised? Does this make you scratch your head in confusion? Are you…

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    Surviving Abortion: An Interview

    “One out of every four women has had an abortion,” Jane* explained to me.[1] She sat across the table looking down at the coffee cup between her nervous hands as she shared her heart and the heavy burden she’d carried for a number of years—she was a survivor of abortion.  No, her birth mother had not tried to abort her. She, rather, had aborted two babies many years ago.  She explained the circumstances, the scenarios, and her guilt. I listened and cried with her, saying little. I gave her space to tell me the details of her story. And then I told her that I loved her and that Jesus…

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    Don’t Believe My Newsfeed

    I see you. I see your newsfeed with smiling photos, happy videos, and the latest accomplishments. When someone asks, “How are you doing?” what do you say in response? “We’re hanging in there.” “We’re taking one day at a time.” “It’s harder than we expected, but we’re still standing.” “I showered today, so it’s a good day.” These responses hint at the real truth. But perhaps you’re not that honest and instead respond, “We’re great! Adoption (or foster care) rocks.” Indeed it does. Adoption and foster care does rock. But it’s not a fairytale. It’s the redemptive work of God in the midst of much brokenness and trauma. It’s redemptive…