• Engage

    Let My Tears Flow

    ***April 1 marked the third anniversary of my brother’s death. Soon after his death, my dear friend Karla asked me to share some of my experience with grief and the church as a guest blogger on her site for Bible.org. This month, I have chosen to repost that blog below.   “Sister, I have cancer.” My stomach dropped. My body felt numb. My brain whirled with best and worst case scenarios. I wanted to vomit. I tried to be brave, as every fiber in my being hoped my thirty-eight year old brother was playing some kind of cruel joke. Who jokes about cancer, though? No one. The carcinoma that grew…

  • Engage

    Life After Death, Grieving a Sister’s Suicide

    This week I am honored to feature the words and heart of a dear friend of mine who lost her beloved sister to suicide. Her pain is fresh, but her hope in the Lord is inspiring. Nina resides in Monticello, Georgia and is mom to three sweet children, a military wife, a medical professional, and a loving friend and sister. I know her prayer is that her words bring comfort and encouragement, especially to the brokenhearted and hopeless. Everyone loves a heroic ending. The masses pour into movie theaters to watch superheroes conquer the enemy and save the world at the brink of destruction. Our hearts soar when allied forces march in…

  • Engage

    Find Healing for Hurting Hearts

    What’s on your New Year’s Resolution list? If your list is a lot like mine, it includes returning to pre-holiday healthier eating habits and making time for exercise several times a week. Those are common resolutions regarding physical fitness. Not so common are resolutions pertaining to our emotional fitness. But I have a book recommendation that might help with your 2020 emotional goals: Healing Every Day: A 90-Day Devotional Journey by Mary DeMuth.

  • Engage

    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…

  • Engage

    Five Things My Community Has Learned after a Mass Shooting

    Today I'm happy to have as my guest Destiny Teasley, who was my grad-school writing student at the time of the Las Vegas shootings. Please listen carefully….  On October 1, 2017, a mass shooting took place in the center of my city, Las Vegas, Nevada. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 850 suffered physical injuries. Two years have now passed. And here are five things my community has learned in that time: 1. Life goes on. And that is positive and negative. Encouraging and insulting. As a community we have become well-acquainted with the challenge of helping others to navigate the precarious tightrope between mourning and living. In this broken world…

  • 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

    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…

  • Angels, feathers, and the need for comfort when experiencing grief

    Angels, feathers, and the need for comfort when experiencing grief

    During a recent Bible Study, I listened as a woman shared about her Christian friend whose godly mother had recently died. This sorrowing woman was grieving and needing comfort. To help with her grief, she drew from something she had heard in the culture—that her mother had now become an angel and was present with her, communicating with her. As we talked about this, looking into what was true or not and how to help someone grieving like that, our discussion encompassed three different issues. 1. Do Christians become angels when they die? 2. Can our loved ones in heaven see what is happening in our lives on earth and…

  • Engage

    Give Lots of Hugs

    I just returned home from the funeral of a friend who passed away within days of going into the hospital for surgery. Although it was a serious surgery, nothing like this was expected. Sadly, this isn’t our only funeral this week. On June 30th a private plane carrying two couples and a family of four crashed, and my husband knew two of the men on it. He attended one couple’s funeral today and will go to that of the family of four on Saturday.  So please give your friends and family a hug when you see them—and make it a point to be with them soon if possible. God doesn’t…

  • Engage

    How to Stay Married While Navigating Infertility

    “Fifty percent of our infertility patients end up getting a divorce,” the nurse explained, when I questioned what I thought was a peculiar portion of the hospital’s legal paperwork. At that moment I was surprised to hear the statistic. But with raised eyebrows and a let’s–just–get–on–with–it mentality, I circled the appropriate decision for which one of us would be given custody of our frozen specimens “should divorce occur” and I went on with my day. A few months later, however, as my husband and I struggled to overcome our intense grief over a double infertility loss, I remembered her words. I then understood perfectly well. Infertility, miscarriage, and loss can…