Renewed vows to my kids.
Please Welcome the words of my dear friend, Laney Wooten. Laney lives outside of Longview, Texas. She is wife to Jon and Mom to six energetic children, with a mosaic of special needs and talents. Her beautiful words are encouraging and full of promise for a bright, blessed year in this journey of parenting. Well, I’m about 15 years in to this mothering thing and I’ll admit, I’m getting burned out. I know I’m not the only one either. You, like me, probably feel like you’ve just loaded the billionth pile of laundry fully aware that you’ll see it right back in the same place tomorrow. Maybe you’re stuck in…
No Little Pharisees!
I have been teaching children for just shy of 50 years. That is a lot of teaching. But have I been teaching them well? In recent years, I have had to stop and reevaluate the things I have said as I quoted God’s Word to the children. In doing so I concluded that there were times that if a child followed my teaching, they would come out more like a pharisee than a believer. How many times have we as teachers and parents been guilty of telling the children that God hates sin without emphasizing His great love for the sinner? The Pharisees had God’s Words in their mouths but…
Trembling with Delight
Over the years, I have wondered what it really means to have “fear of the Lord.” In the past several months, I took some time and examined the Scriptures to find out what it does mean. My findings have left me trembling with delight! A definition is always a good place to start. Michael Reeves explains the fear of the Lord as, “It is an ecstasy of love and joy that senses how overwhelmingly kind and magnificent, good and true God is, and that therefore leans on Him in staggered praise and faith.” Reeves goes on to write, “It is not the dread of sinners before a holy Judge. It…
Shadows and Light: The Human Condition
We constantly wrestle the discrepancies between our public and private lives, our longing for Truth and love of deception, our quest for justice and ongoing prejudice. All of us have shadows and light flickering across our souls, which effects every aspect of life, including the local church.
Let’s chat about the price of following Christ…
Maybe I was sick the day we counted in Sunday School. Yeah, that’s it. Maybe I inadvertently skipped Small Group the night we talked about tallying. Humph. Truth is, when 8-year-old-me professed faith, and even when adult me more decisively “rededicated my life to Christ,” no one said, “For real. Count the costs.” A heads-up would’ve been nice. Something like… “Hey, splashing around in the shallows will end; it has to. At some point, you’ll get plunged deeper…beyond places your toes can touch…and you’ll spend the rest of life there as both God and the Adversary try to drown you—in very different ways and for very different reasons. So, consider…
Glorious Morning Glories
This is what love looks like. My husband planted morning glories for me on our back fence because they are my favorite. I love that a whole new batch of brand new blooms pops out each morning, day after day of fresh beauty that reminds me of Lamentations 3:23, that God’s mercies are “new every morning—great is Your faithfulness!” This year, we had to wait long into the fall for the flowers. The green foliage was crazy lush and full for months, but there were no gorgeous “blue happies,” as I think of them, until late October. Finally they started exploding daily with beauty and color. Not long afterwards, an…
Why we shouldn’t go back to normal, and that is okay
Remember the old adage, “Old habits die hard?” I’m sure someone clever could come up with a quip about emerging from quarantine and going back to way the things were. I’m not sure I’m that person, but I do know that I don’t want to go back to my life before quarantine. While I certainly long to eat in restaurants, go to church, and see my friends, where my spiritual life is concerned, I simply cannot settle for the “way things were.” There is too much room for change in my life. If we are honest with ourselves, we can all do better. In fact, as Christians, we shouldn’t seek…
May I Take Up Your Trash?
During a recent training event, I sat with fellow leaders chatting over lunch. Our meal filled us with necessary sustenance, but what now remained on our plates was unconsumable, gross substance. As lunch came to an end, Douglass, one of the leaders, stood up, glanced around the table, extended his hand, and asked, “may I take up your trash?”
Christianity’s Hamster Wheel of “Spiritual Advancement”
The heading for this piece takes its cue from an article Casey Chalk wrote, which was posted on January 9, 2020, at The American Conservative website. The main title is, “America’s Hamster Wheel Of ‘Career Advancement’”, followed by the subtitle: “We’re told that getting ahead at work and reorienting our lives around our jobs will make us happy. So why hasn’t it?” Regretfully, the same sort of attitude can be found in various forms of Christianity. It’s characterized by a hamster wheel of “spiritual advancement.” Supposedly, if Jesus’ followers do A, B, and C, as well as avoid X, Y, and Z, they can expect to make steady, measurable progress…
Fireflies and the Light of Christ
It’s summertime in the south, which means ripening watermelons, the stifling humidity, and flickering fireflies. Twice in the past two weeks I have traipsed out at dusk with a mason jar and nephews and friends’ kids in tow to chase lightning bugs. Within seconds, dozens of flashing neon dots enveloped us. Excitement surged through my veins. We began stalking the illusive insects, darting and reaching and following deeper into the darkness. The children squealed, usually in declaration of a capture, but also in the anxiety of holding a fluttering insect inside their tightly-clenched fists. Each bug was deposited into a mason jar where we could observe them more closely. There,…