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    If It’s You, Jesus, Tell Me To Come To You

    On our first vacation while living in Indonesia, we went for a short boat ride to view the beautiful coastline. My son was eighteen months old and I was pregnant. As we rounded a peninsula, the small craft began to rock harder and the once gentle waves grew larger and larger until water crashed on top of us. Soon we shivered in our soaked clothing despite the clear blue skies. The pleasant site-seeing jaunt had become a harrowing countdown until we reached shore. My poor husband, certain he had exposed his young family to mortal danger, was filled with relief (as was I) when we finally disembarked. Jesus’s disciples were…

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    Lies in Dark Chocolate

    Research affirms that our happiness increases when we feel seen, heard, and loved. As women, we have an innate desire to belong. But finding community and cultivating new friendships with people who “get” you and welcome you without judgement––can feel near impossible.

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    Bible Backgrounds: When Is It Legit to Appeal to Them?

    A few months ago, a friend expressed discomfort with appealing to culture, or “backgrounds,” to explain some difficult Bible passages. “Aren’t we just explaining away what we dislike?” he asked. “Can’t an appeal to culture become a way to change obvious meanings? Isn’t that what liberals do?” He asked great questions. Important questions. Sometimes people do use knowledge of Bible backgrounds to explain away what they dislike in the text. But that doesn’t mean all such appeals come from having a low view of Scripture. A few weeks after that conversation, I heard a Bible expert discourage appealing to Bible backgrounds to help with understanding texts because, “the text itself…

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    Leadership and Friendship—Are They Mutually Exclusive?

    With whom can you be yourself—totally raw and without filters—without expectations? Someone recently asked me this question. Several names came to mind, but I realized my list was short. This person advised, “You need these types of people in your life, people who will listen to you without expectations or judgment, with whom you can climb down off the mentorship and ministry pedestal.” Regardless of the world in which you work or serve—corporate, construction, education, marketing, medical, ministry, research, restaurant, the arts, or the home—being a leader can make finding raw-and-without-filters friendships difficult. Why is that?   First, leaders are visionaries. They lead the charge. They think outside the box.…

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    Why Do We Pray

    Today, I am honored to share the words of my friend, Cari Johnson. Be encouraged. When I pray I want God to hear me and move, but mostly, I would love to have answers. I want rescue and provision and healing … clear resolution that fits my timeframe. If we’re being completely honest, I would love to have a color-coded spreadsheet of approved/denied requests delivered to my email, but that hasn’t happened. Our God is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7), who holds tomorrow (Deuter 31:8, John 10:8), and yet He refers to Himself in the present tense (Exodus 3:14). The Great I AM invites us to join Him in…

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    Longing for Fall & Bible Study

    I love the fall, especially because I live in Texas where the summers are downright hot. I’m looking forward to the change of weather with cool days and chilly nights. This time of year is perfect to read a book or host friends on our patio. I not only long for the promise of cooler weather, but also for a return to digging into God’s Word with the community of faith at my church’s women’s Bible study. We’re coming off of a long break that always serves to remind me of my need for the company of other women who also seek to know and follow Jesus. We had our…

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    Welcoming Afghans

    I have the joy of teaching English to refugees and new immigrants. Returning to the classroom thrills me and gives me the privilege of meeting Afghans who have come to this country quite recently. Last week I spoke to some of these when I gave them English placement tests. I asked one of our conversation questions to evaluate their abilities, “What is the most difficult thing about living in America?” Even if they had English ability to answer, the recently arrived Afghan students would be stumped and would finally quizzically reply something like this, “There’s nothing difficult about living in America. It’s safe here.” Of course, they will face challenges,…

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    Where At Least I Know I’m Free

    As I write this post, a woman walks past my suburban American window in a tank top and shorts walking her dog. Meanwhile the Taliban publicly execute women in Afghanistan for not covering their heads. After almost twenty years, US troops have left Afghanistan. Under Taliban rule, women and girls can now probably kiss goodbye any hint of basic human rights—like education, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.  It’s not just a women’s problem, though. Some Taliban officials even ban TV watching and smart phones; some control not only personal attire, but even beard length. What in the ACLU is happening? And with such rigid control, Afghans fear retaliation…

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    Disabled Persons Bring Insights for Healthy Relationships

    This summer I had the privilege of being a counselor at a camp for disabled persons. The counselors and campers enjoyed a week of swimming, horseback riding, fishing, bowling, paddle boats, crafts, Bible lessons, and worship. In the midst of the earthly activities, heavenly insights for healthy relationships with God and others emerged. I was blessed to be 24/7 with a blind person for the week. During the week, I noticed aspects of a healthy relationship with God. I learned quickly to go at the speed that she could walk at. Adjusting my speed to her reminded me of how God meets us where we are at. He knows our…

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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…