• Hallmark Christmas Movies

    Why I Won’t Apologize For Watching Hallmark Christmas Movies

    I’ve decided to take the “guilty” out of “guilty pleasure” when it comes to watching Hallmark Christmas movies. This cultural icon has become fodder for endless jokes and even sermon illustrations. Yes, they are completely formulaic and the always-happy endings are entirely predictable. What keeps us watching are the “getting there” details of maneuvering the journey through falling in love and overcoming obstacles and the inevitable misunderstandings that are shortly and inevitably resolved. (“Whew! That was a close one!” said no one ever.) But there is such a deeply satisfying resolution in every movie that makes the obligatory happy ending seem not obligatory at all. Just . . . right.…

  • Hang glider clinging for life

    What Does Trusting God Look Like?

    When friends are frozen by fear and anxiety, I often suggest they recite Psalm 56:3 over and over: “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” But what does it mean to trust God? What does it look like in real life? How do we understand how to trust Him? I recently asked this question on Facebook and was deeply blessed by the wisdom and experience of friends who have learned how to trust God in the refining fires of life in a fallen world. One scripture reference was cited again and again, probably the best go-to verse on trusting God, Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all…

  • Engage

    A Holy Limp

    I got polio at six months old. Every step of my life, I have walked with a limp. It was a source of great shame to me growing up because of people’s stares. And my limp was probably the biggest reason I hated polio and hated how I saw myself, as the “ugly crippled girl.” One day, as I studied the scriptures, God gave me a divine “lightbulb moment.” As I read in Genesis 32 about Jacob wrestling all night with God, the same Lord who touched his hip, asked me, “Do you see the souvenir I gave Jacob from his night with Me?” Jacob walked the rest of his…

  • mom and little girl

    God Questions From Little Kids

    Recently I asked some of the mamas of littles in our church, “What God questions are your kids asking?” While not definitive, here are some answers I trust you’ll find helpful. Who made God? God has always existed. No one made God. Everything that has been made, has been made by someone or something else. Eventually, when we go back far enough, there has to be a Someone or a Something that is eternal—that was not created. Smart thinkers called philosophers call this an “uncaused cause.” How do we know this? Because there are some things we can’t figure out on our own, so God tells us in His word.…

  • Young boys

    Mothering Little Men From Mars

    This 2011 post still stands up over time. While it’s important to acknowledge that gender differences are painted in broad strokes, with exceptions across the board, for the most part God has created significant biologically- and brain-based differences between male and female that we should acknowledge and respect. Because they DO make a difference! One of the greatest privileges of my life—right after saying “yes” to Jesus and “I do” to my husband—has been mothering my two sons, now 29 and 31. Several years ago, my husband Ray and I started researching gender differences and discovered the truths in John Gray’s mega-bestseller, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.…

  • Ray getting his PICC line

    Back Infections and Heart Infections

    My husband Ray knew something was wrong as soon as he got out of bed. His lower back, where he’d had back surgery six weeks before, was wet. His t-shirt was wet. The sheet was wet. His fingers glistening with a strange wetness from reaching back to investigate, he asked me to check what was going on. I saw a rivulet of fluid pouring out of the top of his surgical incision. Something was really, really wrong. As I gently pressed the skin around the incision, pus kept flowing out. He had a serious infection under the incision. It had been hidden, but it literally rose to the surface of…

  • Engage

    The Keys to Emotional Healing: Part 1

    After seeing God bring about major transformation of emotional healing in a number of broken people, I asked Him what was happening when He healed people’s hearts. I wanted to understand the process. His answer was simple and profound, but never easy: “grieving and forgiving.” Both of these emotional disciplines are necessary to move from the place of sustaining a wound to the soul, to the place where that wound no longer controls and diminishes us—because it has been transformed into a healed scar. Grieving means moving pain and anger from the inside to the outside. Tears are God’s lubricant for that process, and what a gift of grace tears…

  • Engage

    Don’t Judge Me?

    The 14-year-old daughter of a friend recently responded to her mother’s correction with, “Don’t judge me, Mom.” The same week, a friend of mine asked my opinion on something, and as I was mentally running it through the grid of “what does God say about this in His word,” she said, “Now, don’t you go judging me!” Tolerance and acceptance—the new tolerance, which says that every value, belief and behavior should be embraced as equally valid—are the highest values of our culture. Which makes judging the most hideous and unacceptable of sins. Now, to be fair, there is a lot of ugly judging in the world. Before a friend became…

  • baby girl

    The Thought Police Are Here

    Recently, in the same week, I watched two strikingly polar opposite events unfold on my Facebook feed. One was the long-awaited, long-prayed-for birth of a precious baby girl whose daddy had left homosexuality and repented of a gay identity as he pursued intimacy with Christ. After several years of sexual sobriety and spiritual growth, he was actually quite surprised to find himself starting to be attracted to girls. I remember him saying, “If you think puberty is rough the first time, you should try it at 28!” I was privileged to watch him weep with gratitude through his wedding to a beautiful lady, and pray for him as he became…

  • Engage

    Swords of Blessing

    10 years ago, I wrote this post about lettering names on wooden swords. And 10 years later, that’s on my agenda for today, for a whole new batch of 5th grade boys who weren’t even born yet when I wrote this post! This Father’s Day weekend, my to-do list included personalizing almost three dozen wooden swords. A dear friend has a wonderful boys’ summer camp called “Warrior Week” where men sow love and truth (along with a fair share of messy fun) into the souls of boys. I am privileged to use my calligraphy experience to letter each boy’s name and a prayed-over character trait that is a blessing for…