Trusting God on the Other Side of Bizarre
In my last blog post, “Trusting God in the Bizarre,” I shared how a diagnosis of tongue cancer had blown up my world and how I was wrestling with my fear—again—of pain and suffering. It has now been 11 weeks since a surgeon removed a third of my tongue. I am still healing, both my tongue and my neck, from which he removed 20 lymph nodes—which were cancer free. I still thank the Lord for that graciousness. My speech is no longer impaired although it is affected. I sound like I have a cough drop in my mouth when I talk, and the “s” sound is still a challenge. Let…
A picture of healing and hope from the Master Gardener
Today I am honored to feature the heart of my friend Laney Wooten. Laney lives outside of Longview, Texas. She is a wife to Jon and a mother to 8 children. Laney is a worship leader, gardener, homeschool Mom and a faithful follower of the Lord. In the years I have known Laney she has lost a father, released a special needs son to full time care, parented a second child through special needs and walked through adoption and trauma. She invites you in on her most recent journey through loss, grief, and healing. I pray her vulnerability will inspire you to visit the neglected spaces in your own heart…
Ministry to the Broken-Hearted
There is no opportunity for ministry as powerful and as necessary as ministering to the broken hearted. As Christian leaders, we know this is part of the calling we have in caring for the people with whom God has entrusted us. Yet this kind of ministry may come with considerable personal sacrifice. To weep with those who are mourning and comfort those who are afflicted over a period of time can be spiritually and emotionally exhausting. Frequently those who are the comforters need comforting themselves! Watching the suffering of those we love is not an easy road. Yet I am convinced this is by far one of the most vital…
Quiet Presence: Comfort Those Who Hurt
Two friends call with heartbreaking news—news that will change their lives. And as a “word” person, I’m profoundly aware of how inadequate words are at such times. In fact, offering comfort can be as much about what we don’t say as what we do. An obstetrician friend told me that during his first year of medical practice, he sat with his first couple to lose a baby—this one died at twenty-three weeks. Feeling at a loss for words, he sat in silence and wept with them. When they thanked him later for saying just the right words, he wondered aloud “What words? I didn’t say anything?” Then he realized…precisely. “The…
Set Aside Your Mourning Clothes––A Prayer Exercise
The last two years have been a time of prolonged loss, anxiety, and uncertainty for many of us. And whether or not we remember when we put on our mourning clothes, many of us struggle with when we should take them off. How do we know?
Surprised by Christmas
Wide-eyed wonder. Snow-covered trees. Bow-draped packages. It’s the quintessential picture of Christmas portrayed in commercials and on cards. But as adults we know the season is seldom so simplistic. The first Christmas certainly wasn’t. It was marked by surprises—but not necessarily the kind most of us would choose on our own. Mary’s life was interrupted by an angelic visitor, proclaiming news that would forever change the course of her life and her position in history. Joseph found out his fiancé was expecting a child that wasn’t his own, only to be visited by an angel in a dream who explained everything and told him to move forward with their marriage.…
The Shadow Over Christmas is the Cross
Christmas, for many, is colored with twinkling lights, the sound of singing, bright colored packages topped with elegant bows, cookies, candy, parties and laughter. But for others, Christmas is colored with the stark reality of roaring fires that ravage neighborhoods, hospital rooms, funeral homes, broken relationships, drunken relatives, or memories of those whose faces are missing from their lives. As we teach our children about Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the world, we must not forget to teach them that the manger was shadowed by a cross. The Messiah in the manger was destined to be a man of sorrows acquainted with all our grief, bearing all our sin and…
Beauty in the Waiting
Gray skies. Still, stiff air. Walking for miles with no end in sight. Waiting. If you had to describe waiting in your own life, how would it look? Hurried and determined by nature, to me waiting feels like a long walk with no clear direction. I step out the front door on a dreary day and go, uncertain of where I’m going or when I’ll arrive. I know the walk is good for me—strengthening muscles and teaching me to trust. But I struggle to enjoy the journey. And I hesitate to trust the One guiding me throughout the twists and turns. I run ahead. I take a break. I struggle…
Grieving With Hope
We grieve many things in this life. Death being chief among them. In a constantly changing world we must learn to grieve well As teachers and parents, we need to prepare young children for the losses of this life: friendships, broken toys, houses that we move from, teachers that change yearly but especially the loss that comes through death.
Please, no more!
I thought this fall would usher in the return of normal work hours in offices and schools, eating in restaurants, and gathering with friends. But COVID-19. It feels like we’ve lost so much this year. How can we move forward into fall when we continue to grieve the loss of so many aspects of our used-to-be “normal” life?