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    Give Thanks In…

    At the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln formally scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. He implored all U.S. Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” (History of Thanksgiving). With Thanksgiving just 17 days away, families and friends are making preparations for food, festivities, and football. We excel at making external preparations. But are we preparing internally for Thanksgiving? Are our hearts ready to give thanks? With the political intensity of the last several months, it’s easy to forget that…

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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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    What Difference Does the Resurrection Make?

    What difference does the resurrection make—in our lives? It’s the most important event in all of human history. Where’s the “so what” for today? I meditated on this question for weeks, eventually creating a list too long for this blog post. So let me share my favorites. All pain and suffering will be redeemed and resolved. I’ve lived in a body with a disability since I got polio at eight months old and was paralyzed from the waist down. I got some use of my left leg and hip back, but I had to wear a steel and leather brace for the first several years of my life. Every step…

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    What Should I Do with Rejection?

    In an unfamiliar city, my family and I were searching for a quick meal before heading off to the airport. We spotted a restaurant that looked like it would work so we entered and asked for a table. We were promptly seated….and then our waitress arrived. In a rough and hoarse voice, she barked, “Do you want me to harass you and give you a hard time?” I was shocked and horrified. In an uncharacteristic manner of my introverted self, I quickly replied, “No, we don’t want that!!!” She said OK, and proceeded to take our orders. As other waiters and waitresses continued to badger their customers (and customers badgered…

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    Better to Have Loved & Lost?

    Think about a time when you wholeheartedly loved someone and felt adored by them. As you think about that person––spouse, parent, boyfriend or girlfriend, sibling, child––how would you describe that love? What emotions or feelings come to mind? I think of: expectation, joy, excitement, purpose, belonging, peace, contentment, hope. As human beings, we cannot live healthy, abundant, prolonged lives without love. We are created to love. We long for love. We will do crazy things to show our love. But at some point in our lives, we will all lose love. What then? ·  A husband sits silently, mourning the end of 50 years with his beloved bride. ·  A…

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    I’m Scared, Lord

    My daughter-in-love recently sent me a video of my son introducing their new Golden Retriever puppy to a swimming pool in which he coaxes little Judah, “Don’t be scared! Bohlins don’t get scared!” . . . While I’ve been working on this blog post about being scared. Well yeah, sometimes we do. For four years I’ve been living with the pain of severe arthritis and the late effects of polio (muscle weakness, pain, and fatigue). In a few weeks, Lord willing, I will have hip replacement surgery. When my husband had his hip replaced, he was in excellent physical condition and his experience was as close to perfect as you…

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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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    Pain and Redemption, Loss and Hope: Ponderings on the Significance of the Resurrection

    My earliest memories of Easter include new church dresses with hats and patton shoes, intense searches for plastic eggs with the rare $2 bill stuffed inside, and loads of Cadbury chocolate, complete with the resulting stomach-ache. The day came and went with a little bit of anticipation, but nominal impact on my day-to-day life. As I grew up, the cognitive recognition that Easter celebrated something important, something critical, something that all of reality hinges upon, was not lost on me. However, the disconnect between head and heart can sometimes keep the significance of an event at a distance. I would reflect on its importance for a moment, perhaps at a…

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    In the Shadow of Christmas is a 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, and memories of those whose faces are missing from thier 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…

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    What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

    “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father . . .” (Ephesians 5:20). That’s a pretty tall order: all the time? for all things? Seriously? When I was first challenged to obey this scripture, some 44 years ago, I thought that surely it wasn’t translated properly. Or maybe there was a footnote. Or an asterisk. Surely some kind of loophole, right? Nope. It means just what is says. We can continually give thanks for all things because if God is truly in control, then everything He allows us to experience comes with His permission-and thus He has a plan.…