• Heartprints

    TAKING TIME TO WORSHIP

    How is it possible that the day of the year set aside as a Holy Day to celebrate the greatest gift ever given usually finds us exhausted, stressed, and even at times depressed? Our children wake up all excited in anticipation of presents that in the end may or may not be what they expected. Spirits tend to dwindle as we move through the day ending up tired, over sugared, and overwhelmed ready to fall into bed exhausted.   We all have a desire to focus on the Lord. As believers. we usually plan to do our best to make the season one that is about worship and gratitude. Honestly, how…

  • Engage

    Evangelicals and The “Happy” Imperative

           Some grow up convinced that feeling unhappy, uneasy, and uncertain is unnatural. American media promotes that being uninvited, unattractive and unintelligent is unnecessary. Even some evangelical circles will contend that feeling unwanted, unworthy, unlovable, and remaining unmarried is unacceptable.        Expectations for happiness run high for many evangelicals. Some even believe a marriage that does not offer a lifetime of bliss has no purpose. Well-meaning Christians sometimes nudge unhappy spouses towards divorce in the name of, “God wants Christians to have happy marriages.” But in Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas contests that God intended marriage to cultivate holiness more than happiness.        But some…

  • Engage

    This is Your Brain…On Stress

    Those who grew up in the 80’s can’t forget this gem of a Public Service Announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9XY8Nrs0A While the war on drugs continues to rage on, another battle happens almost every day in traffic jams, breakrooms, and around dinner tables: the battle within the brain as it deals with stress. According to the American Psychological Association, the stress situation in America is “chronic.” That’s putting it mildly. Many would say modern-day Americans are the most collectively stressed-out population in history.

  • Engage

    The Crazed Creation is under the Curse

                “Pain is a blessing in disguise.” Really?             Today, many Christian women seek psychotherapy. Surprised? Because Christians shouldn’t feel angry or depressed.                 I have struggled with doubt and loneliness due to infertility. With the Christianese platitudes that ensued, the sense that people in church disapproved of my struggle was hard to miss. As a Bible study leader, I wasn’t supposed to struggle.             Some of us feel uptight about pain. So we rush others through their pain. We try to fix it instead of letting God fix it, all in the name of Fake Happy. But the plastic church smile only perpetuates…

  • Engage

    Depression and Spiritual Emptiness

    Recently I’ve been walking through life, walking through marriage and walking through ministry, floating, watching, and just a little bit empty. I can’t quite find the leak in the balloon; it feels as if my passion, my energy and sometimes even my faith, is slowly deflating. My house is dirty. I keep trying my best but it just stays that way. I’m snapping at my husband and I am ashamed to admit it, but my tiny toddlers have become tiny terrorists to me. I don’t know what to do with them so I do what I can until it’s time to put them to bed. Then I’m left wondering what to…

  • Sparks of Redemptive Grace
    Engage

    Mental Illness and the Family

    The January 2017 shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport is still being investigated, but what surfaced immediately in seeking a motive for Esteban Santiago’s deadly action was his family’s observations that he appeared to be fighting a mental health challenge. When he returned from military service in Iraq, he reported hearing voices and his family reported that “his mind was not right.” Totally apart from the issues Mr. Santiago is dealing with, both psychologically and legally, my heart goes out to his family. The family members of a person struggling with mental health issues carry a heavy load, often in isolation and silence, because of the stigma of shame often…

  • Engage

    God with “Skin On”

    Thanksgiving offically kicks off the “Holiday Season” and sounds of the season surround us. Decorations abound, lists begin, shopping survives Black Friday.  For many this annual season recalls warm memories and anticipates new ones. I discovered this year a family Facebook picture that included the newest member sporting a tiny tee shirt with the words “I’m New Here.” That clever line brought a smile to my face. However, for some, if not many, aspects of this season prove difficult.  Perhaps because of painful memories of seasons past or traversing a first season without a loved one gone, they struggle to enter into the celebration. It could be added stress financially…

  • 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

    Where Fear Lurks

    1 Kings 19 opens with Elijah running for his very life. It’s ironic isn’t it? When on the mountaintop (chapter 18), with 450 angry Baal prophets surrounding him, Elijah didn’t fear. He prayed boldly and with complete confidence that God would show up. And his prayers were answered. For a prophet like Elijah, life didn’t get any better than seeing God’s glory displayed in a consuming fire and your enemy soundly defeated. And yet, when Elijah should have felt closest to God—right after witnessing God’s mighty power—Elijah feared for his very life, ran and hid. In a matter of just a few days, Elijah went from a mountaintop experience complete…

  • Engage

    What Vickie Kraft Taught Me about My Lord

    Vickie Kraft, a woman you may have never known, quietly passed from earth to heaven this week. She closed her eyes, falling asleep on earth, and opened them again in heaven, waking up to see her Lord Jesus face-to-face. I am one of thousands who will miss her presence here. But, I am one of thousands who are so grateful for her impact on my life — an impact that changed my perspective on Jesus and His love for me — forever! Back in the 80s, I was going through some difficult times in my life. I remember one summer meeting in a local prayer group and asking the Lord…