• Engage

    Does Authenticity Take Preeminence Over Gracious Speech?

    Authenticity has been a buzz word for several years. As with a lot of words, authenticity means different things to different people. Being real is a simple definition of authenticity. I connect with the idea that we need to be authentic with God and ourselves inviting Him to search our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24). Sins revealed should be confessed and forgiveness asked for followed by a dependence on Him for cleansing and empowering to walk in His ways. On a human level, authenticity should happen in the context of relationships that have built trust and respect. I personally have grappled with what authenticity looks like on the human level and specifically…

  • Heartprints

    Tips for Teaching #2

    I believe that today’s tip can help us better prepare our children for the difficulties of standing strong in their faith Tip number two: Encourage children to embrace their struggles. According to Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, by Tim Keller., our culture is one of the few around the world that believes that suffering is to be avoided at any cost. Most cultures see suffering as a normal part of life and essential for becoming healthy productive adults. Though suffering is uncomfortable, and scary, it is also unavoidable. Our task is to help our children see past the difficulties. Suffering is a gift to help us grow in our…

  • Engage

    Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser*

    I hope I don’t step on anyone’s toes here. As a recovering people-pleaser, stepping on toes is something I tend to avoid like the plague. Growing up, I learned early on that popularity was easier to attain if you were, well, nice. The church seemed to reinforce the pursuit of bending over backwards for the needs of your fellow man: God first, others second, self third. Anytime I heard this popular mantra, I internally gave myself a high-five. I had that down pat! Well, maybe not the God first part. My own formula went something like this:

  • Engage

    The Tapeworm Gallery: Freedom

                I see you signed up for another round of Celebrate Recovery at the church two towns over. Still angry and bruised, ha? I knew it. I think you should do CR again. It worked wonders the first time—especially for that anxiety and depression. So go ahead and rehash all your resentments, guilt, shame, anger and fear that stem from your wholesome childhood. Because I enjoy watching you run in circles. I meant to ask, how’s your narcissistic mother doing? Tell her hello for me. And that I said, “Thanks,” for leaving you emotionally emaciated.             I get why you don’t feel like praying. Talking…

  • Engage

    The Tapeworm Gallery: Empty

           Your Bible is just where I like it—on your nightstand covered in dust. You have power to make me flee. Yet you never do. What I want most of yours He won’t let me have. So I’ll settle for your time and attention.             You make it so easy I can hardly take credit for it, though. By the way, your nail polish is chipping again. And time to redo the extensions on those perfectly normal eyelashes. Because every forty-year-old woman deserves the dark lush lashes of a teenager. Who cares what Mark says? They look natural to me. Besides, letting a non-medically trained kid approach your…

  • Engage

    Kill the mask and keep it real

    I seldom cook "home-cooked" meals anymore. There, I've said it. Now you can classify me as a terrible wife and an ungodly Christian woman. I've even been attracted to men who aren't my husband, even though I've loved being married to my husband for almost forty-one years. And I don't iron much anymore either. Still, my husband and I have worked out ways to eat healthy, our clothes aren't overly wrinkled, and we cherish our vows and love life together.  But we don't look like the perfect Christian couple, and if you are married and honest, you probably don't either. It's time to shatter the stereotypes.        The world is…

  • Engage

    Challenging Oprah

    Recently Oprah interviewed Ted Haggard and his wife Gayle. You may remember that Ted, a charismatic pastor of the megachurch he built and head of the National Association of Evangelicals, was outed in 2006 for same-sex immorality. Ted has come a long way in terms of facing his fleshly “inner demons,” but I thought he still skirted around a number of issues. (See former pro-gay spokesman Joe Dallas’ excellent blog on what he wished Ted would have said.) What broke my heart, though, was how Oprah continued to come back to her mantra: “That is who you are!” She SO wanted Ted to own a gay identity, and kept bringing…