• Engage

    The Week After Easter

    The Easter message––that Jesus came to set us free and give us new life––does not change. Even in the confines of a pandemic. No one could have foreseen the magnitude of coronavirus strife. Except Jesus. Jesus knew that days like these were coming.

  • Engage

    Honoring Spiritual Mothers

    You did it. You survived another Mother’s Day. You’re licking your wounds, but you made it through the day. You plastered a smile on your face and gave a polite nod and shrug of the shoulders in response to the all too familiar question, “When are you going to have a baby?” You, and the other non-moms, successfully pushed back tears and sat staring at the bulletin while a church leader asked all of the mothers in the congregation to stand for applause and recognition. 0

  • A close up of a birdDescription generated with very high confidence

    Worship While You Wait

      Waiting is the hardest thing I am ever asked to do. If I am waiting for something good, then it is difficult because I am so excited and can hardly wait for the party or the present or the event to happen. If I am waiting for something bad it seems even harder. I don’t want it. Yet, I know it is coming so I just want it to happen already. How good are you at waiting? When it comes to children and waiting…well, if you are a parent, you know how draining that can be on everyone. In my last blog I talked about the importance of waiting…

  • Engage

    Advent: Hope in the Darkness

    “Advent” means arrival. This season looks ahead to Christmas, the miracle of God’s entrance into our world. We anticipate the baby born to die to redeem us from our sin. Although Jesus arrived in a broken world marked by rebellion, division, and sorrow, the Jews found hope in a wealth of prophecies that the promised Messiah was indeed coming to deliver them from the darkness. The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious. In earlier times he humiliated the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali; but now he brings honor to the way of the sea, the region beyond the Jordan, and Galilee of the nations.…

  • Engage

    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…

  • Heartprints

    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…

  • Engage

    Let it Be Light

    I don’t know where I’ve been the past six Advents at my church, but this year, I’ve been given the gift of Advent and the gift of hope. This year, I finally see why we need Advent—the season in which the church celebrates Christ’s first coming while also eagerly anticipating his second coming. Because here’s the truth. We don’t realize our immense need and desperate longing for the light unless we’ve first seen the gravity and weight of the inky darkness. And in just the past few months, there’s been a lot of darkness in my life and family. My beloved Granddad passed away unexpectedly, I’m battling severe chronic depression,…

  • Engage

    God with “Skin On”

    Thanksgiving offically kicks off the “Holiday Season” and sounds of the season surround us. Decorations abound, lists begin, shopping survives Black Friday.  For many this annual season recalls warm memories and anticipates new ones. I discovered this year a family Facebook picture that included the newest member sporting a tiny tee shirt with the words “I’m New Here.” That clever line brought a smile to my face. However, for some, if not many, aspects of this season prove difficult.  Perhaps because of painful memories of seasons past or traversing a first season without a loved one gone, they struggle to enter into the celebration. It could be added stress financially…

  • Engage

    Ups and Downs

    The last month has felt like an emotional roller coaster—reaching exciting heights but plunging down quickly. After experiencing the high of a remarkable mission trip to Kenya, the low of returning to reality in the U.S., and the high of a belated summer vacation on the white sands of Florida, we returned to Texas for the funeral of a beloved family member who had pulled back from our family the past few years. Right now I am hanging on to a short season of calm on the ground, knowing that it may not last long.   As I ponder the events of these few weeks, I am thankful that my…

  • Engage

    The Power of “Withness”

    The day after Easter, our beloved Golden Retriever Calvin, only seven years old (that’s mid-life in dog years) had to be put to sleep because of cancer that had been sucking the life out of him. When our son and his wife moved from Texas to California, they were forced to leave him behind because their housing does not allow dogs, and Calvin became my husband’s dog. Calvin was the exact same shade of red as our Irish Setter, who died seventeen months ago. When we had to put Pele down, there was another big red dog in the house. But not yesterday. Or today. And it’s painful. Ray has…