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    When Life Gets Hard, Take a Step

    I think most of us would agree. The past two years haven’t been our best ones. Death and disease flood our newsfeeds. Disaster and destruction shock us far too frequently. Chaos and questions keep us unsettled. Just when we think life is returning to a normal pace, another unwelcomed surprise forces us to change course, adjust, delay. For someone who thrives on consistently, I often wonder where the routine has gone. But as I reflect over the past year, I see one main theme emerge in my life—take a step. For the first part of 2021 a black cloud seemed to hover over my existence. Fear kept me wondering what…

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    Sleeping in the Storm

    I toss and turn as the minutes turn to hours. Sleep seems far away. Have you been there?    I’ve struggled with sleep as far back as I can remember. Even with pillows and blankets on a fairly comfortable bed, rest feels so elusive some nights. I find it striking that Jesus could sleep on boat tossed by a violent storm. It’s almost as if you can see storm clouds on the distant horizon as Jesus steps into a boat in Matthew 8. Two men approach him, applying for discipleship, and ask to follow him. Jesus tells them they must leave personal comfort and family obligation behind. Following him requires…

  • Heartprints

    Processing Pain

    If you don't like where you are, keep walking." Pain happens. We don't get to choose the when the where or the how. But we can choose to process it in a healthy The devastation a child feels, from having the wrong answer when asked a question in front of their class, clarifies the importance of a right answer. From childhood we push forward in a pursuit of knowledge as though finding the right answers guarantees success.

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    Better Than Before

    The past few week have changed us. No person, community, or country remains untouched. We’ve stayed inside our home day after day. We’ve grieved over loss—personally and corporately. We’ve feared for our livelihood and wondered how long we can make ends meet. Life won’t be the same following COVID-19. But as we slowly emerge from national and international shutdown, I want to leave better than before, lessons learned, life lived differently. Here are a few things I’m trying to take hold of in this season:   Life’s fragility. If there’s anything COVID-19 has confronted and disbanded within us, it’s our sense of invincibility. As we stare at daily rising death…

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    When Prayers Go Long: Trusting God While We Wait for Answers

    The tired friend. The good father. The unjust judge. Jesus knew that persistent prayer takes grit. It wears down our give-it-to-me-now mentality. It raises hard questions. It takes an ever-growing faith. So he gave us some poignant pictures to keep us going. In all three of his parables on prayer, Jesus reminds us—keep asking, even when the waiting grows long and wearisome. Here are three lessons we can learn from Jesus’ parables: Pray with fearless abandon. When Jesus’ disciples asked for a lesson on prayer, he gave them a pattern to follow. Then he gave them two vivid pictures. In so doing he encouraged more that rote iterations. He wants…

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    Heartprints

    Tips for Teaching #1

    I want to share some tips that will hopefully help us better prepare our children for the difficulties of standing strong in the faith. Encourage children to ask the hard questions. If they aren’t asking, ask them! Teach them how to wrestle with the Word of God to find the answers. We tend to shy away from the questions that are hard to answer or maybe can’t really be answered. Learning that we can’t demand answers but must be humbly thankful for the revelations God gives is a hard lesson to teach and even harder to learn. I was recently talking with a woman who grew up in a Christian…

  • Heartprints

    Asking Better Questions

    Many of us have had the experience of asking our kids "How are you?" or "How was your day?" and gotten a simple "Fine" or "I don't know." It's a question that doesn't usually get much of a response, and if I am being honest, I don't really like it when others ask me that question either. This seemingly, innocuous question is a socially accepted way to greet people, but it can get tricky. Sometimes it’s hard to identify “the legitimately want to know,” “the sort of want to know,” “the want to know, but tell me later,” and the “I really don’t care to know.” Even when I can…

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    A Bucket List of Questions on Spiritual Topics

    Let’s talk for a moment about the proverbial summer bucket lists. Maybe yours include sidewalk chalk, sprinklers, and blueberry cobbler. Perhaps they include something bigger like a special family vacation to Yellowstone National Park or snorkeling in Maui. Either way, we all know time is finite. Consider this: You have only 13 summers left before your kindergartner goes off to college, Just 8 more summers with your 5th grader, and Only 4 more summers with your freshman. How will we make the most or our summers? What memories will we create? For my family, this often means pulling out our Cuisinart ice cream maker for numerous concoctions. I can tell…

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    What’s Next?

    It’s quiet here. Maybe it is where you are too. The Christmas tree stills stands in the corner, but no one rushes to turn on the twinkling white lights anymore. Its trunk, once adorned with gifts, is bare. With the hustle of Christmas coming to a close, our homes grow still. Often our souls do too as if to take a deep breath. And in the silence, we ask questions. What’s next? It’s a question I’ve asked a hundred times this year and one that I’ll ask each day leading up to New Year’s. Perhaps you’re asking questions of your own. Maybe it’s been a year filled with joyful surprises.…

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    Is God Holding Out on Me?

    My one-year-old sits in his highchair, cramming watermelon into his mouth. He can’t get it in fast enough. In between bites, he fusses. If there’s not a spare piece or two waiting on his tray, he complains. Despite the fact that we generally give him as much watermelon as he wants, he still fears a shortage. As I watch the scene unfold over lunch, it hits me. My son thinks I’m holding out on him. And in a sense, I am. I don’t want him to fill his mouth so full of watermelon that he chokes. So I give him a piece or two at a time—then wait for him…