Finish Strong Day-By-Day
The start of your life journey doesn’t define you, and it will forever remain behind you. Our “finish” has yet to be written. Finishing strong begins with one good, God-centric next step. Start here: What do you want your “finish” to look like?
Shame, Jesus, and Me
This month I’m honored to invite my friend and teammate Christian Williams as my guest blogger. I love being in Christian’s company because one minute she’s making me laugh so hard I’m crying and the next she has stopped me in my tracks with a thought-provoking reflection. Christian is a Dallas transplant (Native Arkansan) and DTS student who loves communicating truth and building safe, authentic, purposeful communities. She feels God’s pleasure most when using her imagination, storytelling, teaching, and living in intentional relationships which yield growth and transformation. Dub: (verb) to give an unofficial name or nickname to (someone or something). I dub everything. From my period- I call her…
“Mommy, put your phone down”
“Mommy, put your phone down.” My 21-month-old looks up at me, his small hand tugging at mine. His words sting a little—because I know he’s right. Far too often I’m working on my computer or looking at my phone. I’m flipping laundry or washing dishes. I ignore his gentle tug and peering eyes, pressing myself to get more done. I call it necessary multitasking. He calls what it is—distracted, busy, and disengaged. What if I—what if we—stopped for just a minute to see the good things staring at us? What if we put away our phones and paused in our to-dos to listen, laugh, and be led by little hands?…
FORGIVENESS: Forgiven…No Longer Burdened
Like the woman washing Jesus’ feet with her tears in Luke 7, many of us carry the guilt of our sins with us like a heavy burden, weighing us down. The continual reminder of our sins keeps us from experiencing freedom and from enjoying the relationship with God that we have by faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t just need a teacher. We need a Savior who comes in and does for us what we can’t do for ourselves: forgiveness. All of our debt of sin before God is enormous; we are incapable of ever paying it back. You and I need to understand how complete and continual is God’s…
Recently I had the privilege of speaking in a women’s prison. I shared my story which I call, “How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can’t Change.” (How’s that for a topic of interest for incarcerated people?) But then I was able to speak briefly about what we have in common, a situational loss of freedom. I have lost the ability—the freedom—to walk, and they have temporarily lost the ability—the freedom—to walk out of lockup. Still, even while imprisoned by our situations, Jesus offers true freedom that has nothing to do with our circumstances. He promised to His disciples, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set…
When Christmas plans wound or disappoint
Every fall you plan where you will spend your holidays, and chances are, in the process, you inadvertently wound or disappoint someone–or they end up wounding you. Situations like: if you are married and have two sets of in-laws, it's easy for one set to feel slighted. Maybe your husband wants to spend the "special" days with his folks, and you want to spend them with yours? Or this year, you'd both just like to keep it simple and spend Christmas at home with your own children? Or maybe you are single and you've made plans with that dear friend you haven't seen for awhile, but your roommate feels slighted…
The Guilt Game
My friend worked on the apples while I peeled and chopped bananas for the fruit salad. I admired Lauri’s ability to organize this missions breakfast for a large church: recruiting lots of people to bring food, providing some of the food herself, hosting me in her home, caring for three children, and all the while struggling with chronic pain and physical limitations. As I contemplated all she did, I began to feel inadequate. I could never do something like this,” I lamented in my head. “I must be hopelessly disorganized. My friend seems to do this effortlessly, in spite of all the other demands on her life and energy. How…
The Burden of Shame
If anyone should have been burdened by shame—the feeling that at the core of his being, he was inherently flawed and unworthy of love—it would have been the Apostle Paul. His crimes weren’t minor. He zealously persecuted Christians and personally condemned and participated in the deaths of many (see his story in Galatians 1:11-24). If I were Paul, I don’t think I could have ever forgiven myself for my crimes. I imagine that I would lay awake at night for hours, struggling to fall asleep as the scenes of brave Christians dying for their faith, replayed in my mind. I would find it hard to smile at children and their…
What’s Wrong with Occasional S’mores and Brownies?
Last week, I read where the US Forest Service wants us to make our s’mores with fruit and marshmallow crème rather than chocolate and roasted marshmallows when we go camping. Half the fun of making s’mores is roasting the marshmallows over a campfire! And, isn’t chocolate a vegetable? This week, I read where the children in Vermont could no longer have brownies served to them at school – not even one every once in awhile, just for fun! Are we so obsessed with 24/7 healthy foods that no one can have a treat even once in awhile without feeling guilt and shame over doing so! I am all for eating…
If God doesn’t condemn me, then why all the regret? Why the feeling that I just don’t measure up or have what it takes?
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” What a relief. God never labels me a Loser. He never dismisses me. Writes me off. Withdraws from relationship. But it is one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs to convict us all of sin. And we’ve all felt his sharp elbows in our guilty little ribs. So what is the difference here? How can we live the difference between conviction that brings a proper response to the grave reality of our sin without getting sucked out to sea in an undertow of self-condemnation and regret? 1. Understand the difference between condemnation and conviction. What is…