• Fearful woman
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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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    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.…

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    A Dog In A Tree

    At a recent session of the Wednesday Morning Men, a men’s Bible study I teach every Wednesday morning (what else would the Wednesday Morning Men be except a gathering for men and when else would it meet except on Wednesday morning) one of the regular guys, Wayne Mitchell, talked about something his grandmother said to him when he was in his late twenties. Wayne questioned her about prominent pastors who promote themselves, become well known, and then fall. She said, “They’re like a dog in a tree.” Wayne had never heard that phrase before so he wondered what she meant. She replied, “You will never see a dog in a…

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    The Pain Train

           The Pain Train. All aboard. Like Mumbai’s commuter railway during rush hour, no one wants to ride it. No dining car and no sleep car. One thing is for certain—this locomotive is no luxury liner. My junk and I hauling at 1999 modem speed, I anticipate the very next stop. I want off this thing. But the train keeps moving. I run to the caboose and notice the train tracks behind me that disappear into oblivion. How long have I been on this thing? And who bought my ticket? What a cruel joke. I pray the train derails. I’ll rush to the front of the train and…

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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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    Afraid of the Woman in the Mirror

    You tug at the corner of your eyes, smushing them upward then pulling them down. “Who is that?” You wonder to yourself as you gaze into the mirror.  Maybe it's the dark circles betraying an illness that caught you by surprise. Maybe it's the fine lines, telling the story of stress and toil. Maybe it's the weary look in your eyes begging for sleep.  Before you can answer, you snap your head and look away, unwilling to gaze any longer.  Have you ever been there?  Recently I had one of my own mirror moments. And as much as I've tried to forget it, I can't.  Such glimpses force us to…

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    The Crazed Creation is under the Curse

                “Pain is a blessing in disguise.” Really?             Today, many Christian women seek psychotherapy. Surprised? Because Christians shouldn’t feel angry or depressed.                 I have struggled with doubt and loneliness due to infertility. With the Christianese platitudes that ensued, the sense that people in church disapproved of my struggle was hard to miss. As a Bible study leader, I wasn’t supposed to struggle.             Some of us feel uptight about pain. So we rush others through their pain. We try to fix it instead of letting God fix it, all in the name of Fake Happy. But the plastic church smile only perpetuates…