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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…

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    Hope Deferred—Observations from Hannah’s Story

    She pushed herself up from the table and left the room. She did not have much appetite. The day had been long, and she could take the painful and provoking comments from Peninnah no longer. As she walked towards the temple, tears poured from her eyes and slid down her cheeks and nose, making a wet trail in the dust. Her lips moved as she prayed, but she did not utter a sound as she pleaded and begged the LORD for a child. To make matters worse, the priest believed her to be not grieved, but rather, drunk. (1 Sam. 1:7–14) Hannah suffered much because of her childless state. Many…

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    We Were All Foreigners

    Lady Liberty looked on as the immigration officer stamped my great-grandfather’s passport at Ellis Island. He had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to New York. He ultimately settled in central Iowa. Other ancestors had immigrated before him and their reasons varied. Many simply wanted a better place to raise families. Others fled Europe to escape the atrocities of the Great World War. The Dutch immigrants built homes, planted crops, started bakeries, and established churches. Frugal, yet tidy, their gardens bloomed with tulips from their European homeland. But their lives were not without struggle or prejudice. Not everyone welcomed them. During the First World War (when the Allied…

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    Let My Tears Flow

    This month I am thankful to have guest blogger, Marnie Legaspi, instruct us on how to appropriately minister to those who grieve.  “Sister, I have cancer.” My stomach dropped. My body felt numb. My brain whirled with worst case scenarios. I tried to be brave. Every fiber in my being wanted to believe my thirty-eight year old brother was playing some kind of cruel joke. Who jokes about cancer, though? No one. The carcinoma that grew inside my big brother’s body advanced quickly, ravaging him within a mere six months. As I literally watched the tumors grow and protrude through his skin, my grief often came hard and fast leaving…

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    Introverts: The Forgotten Fifty

    Shy, timid, aloof, anti-social, not a team player, nor a good leader—what type of person does this describe? An introvert, right? No, not necessarily. Your boss and the most successful leaders in your organization might be introverts. Your favorite music artist who performs on stage in front of thousands might be an introvert. Many famous actors, athletes, authors, CEO’s, movie directors, teachers, presidents, vice-presidents, and human rights activists are known introverts. Despite a wealth of research on introverts versus extroverts, misconceptions regarding introverts still abound, and these misunderstandings might be damaging your church, organization, or company from furthering its mission and vision. The following is an excerpt from my book,…

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    Adoption—Not Plan B

    All major life decisions should be made on a beach in Mexico. It was November 2015 and my husband and I finally had a few days alone after attending a family wedding. Unplugged from ministry, work, and everything else that competes for our time, we discussed our plans for family. I had finished seminary the year prior, he was partway through his doctoral degree, and we’d been married for four years. The timing seemed perfect. Neither of us, though, were what we would call, “spring chickens.” Having married later in life we were both over forty years old and, at that point, unsure of our options. But we talked and…

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    Singleness, Sex, and Cold Showers

    “Boys will be boys.” “It’s not healthy to suppress those sexual urges.” “You can’t expect a person to go without it for too long.” “If she (or he) doesn’t ‘put out,’ I’ll just look elsewhere.” We’ve all heard, or been told, one of these lines. Sexual purity and fidelity seem to be values of the past. Just read the most recent headlines associated with the #MeToo (#YoTambien) movement, and you will quickly learn of yet another actor, CEO, judge, pastor, president, reporter, or news broadcaster who has fallen from grace because of his or her history of promiscuity and/or sexual harassment.    Where are our role models? How can we…

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    The Gift of “God With Us”

    (Para español, lea abajo.) A wailing scream pierces the air. The new mother cries tears of sheer exhaustion and joy. The father stands speechless, astounded, holding a wriggly bundle in his arms. Mom and dad lock eyes and they silently ask each other, “What should we name him?” A name means something. Depending on the culture, a name implies family respect, honor, and tradition. In the Latino culture, for example, parents typically name their firstborn child after the father or mother. If the father is Luis, the baby boy is Luis. If the mother is Elizabeth, the baby girl is Elizabeth. In doing so, the parents preserve their family legacy.…

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    Mary Magdalene = #NotAProstitute

    What do you get when you mix myth, legend, incorrect interpretation, and a dose of Hollywood all together? The misrepresented life story of Mary Magdalene—shaken, not stirred. For centuries Mary Magdalene’s reputation as a reformed prostitute has lived on, despite her official Roman Catholic exoneration from bad-girl status in the 1960s. Just do a simple online search for Mary Magdalene and you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed by the plethora of books and movies that portray her not only as the penitent prostitute, but also as Jesus’s secret lover, an apostle greater than John or Peter, and the poster child of gnostic literature. Yet of the thirteen times the New Testament mentions…