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    What CAN I Do?

    Many of us have experienced seasons of illness and injury––either our own or someone we love. Often these excruciating times of pain, fear, and doubt engulf us like a suffocating suffering. We wake up every morning in painful uncertainty and lay down each night in the same state. Daily we withstand a raging storm––everything circles around but nothing is clear. Movement requires pushing against unyielding barriers. We want to hope for complete healing. We want to throw off the heavy chains encasing us. We want to be released from physical and emotional burdens so we can regain strength and enjoy life again. But sometimes the hope we cling to feels…

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    Sometimes There Aren’t Words

    Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when we sit with others in their grief.               when others try to comfort us in ours. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when life comes crashing down around us.               when darkness and despair close in. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when anxiety and doubt and shame condemn us.               when regrets of the past rear their heads and gnash their teeth. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when betrayals bite and false denials scream.               when the unrelenting hand of fear squeezes with clenched fingers. Sometimes there just aren’t words…               when the world goes crazy.               when people don't seem…

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    Welcome to My Messy

    My life is messy. Let me just start today by putting the truth out there. Of course, you wouldn’t know my life is messy just by looking at me. Like all of us, I know how to keep going in hard times and I cope when I need to. I used to guard the truth of my life, and I would continually makeover appearances of my exterior life so people wouldn’t ask questions about my internal struggles. Although not everyone goes to extreme lengths to conceal what they fear might look “off,” most of us don’t want others to see our behind-the-scenes messy truth. Since I’m being honest about my…

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    Heartprints

    The Problem of Pain

    Pain is not partial. It rears its ugly head in every home in every neighborhood in every city on every continent. It is not a respecter of age, race, or gender. Pain is almost always caused by loss. Pain can be brought on by a medical condition resulting in a loss of health. It can be caused by the loss of a relationship through a disagreement, a divorce, or the death. Sometimes a person is attacked physically, emotionally, verbally, or mentally and this develops a loss of safety. The opposite of someone attacking would be someone neglecting and this ends in a loss of nurture. The list could go on…

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    Harvey and The Over-Spiritualization of Suffering

                       Hurricane Harvey pounded the gulf coast of Texas in an epic storm of biblical proportions. Five days since Harvey made landfall, over 13,000 people have required rescue, and over twenty have died. My entire immediate family lives in Houston. The six of them live in a subdivision in the city center, just minutes from areas that experienced catastrophic flooding. The school district has postponed the first day of school to September 5 (more than one week later than the scheduled start date). Based on the media coverage of Harvey, I feared my family would spend days stuck on the upper levels…

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    Give Thanks for a Little

    "Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot." — West African Proverb I tore those simple words out of a health and wellness magazine a year or two ago and hung them on the fridge. After a while they started to blend in, feeling ordinary just like the other papers and cards and magnets cluttered around them. I'd glance at them occasionally, but their poignancy seldom stuck with me.  The page hung that way for weeks, and even months, until I started reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional. The book’s challenge to count my blessings and daily write them down—until I reach one thousand of them in…

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    The Transformation of a (Bible) Church Lady

    The nut of any story of transformation is “I used to…but now…” Evolving in Monkey Town is Rachel Held Evans' story of transformation. Daughter of a Dallas Theological Seminary grad, Rachel used to be a Bible Church going, Christian Character Award winning, youth group leading, Bryan College attending young woman quite certain of the answers to the hard questions about God. Christianity meant having the right opinions about God and being able to defend them at all costs. Her self-worth and sense of purpose were all wrapped up in “getting God right.” But now she describes herself as “moving through doubt to belief.” Belief held with open hands and a…