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    When Suffering Gets Personal

    As a ten-year-old, I lay awake the night before Easter speculating about what would be in my Easter basket. Would it be fluorescent marshmallow chickens, chocolate bunnies, foil-wrapped Hershey eggs, or a surprise? We expected my college-aged brother to arrive home sometime during the day on Easter, too. I had prayed for him as I often did for family members, that God would see him safely home. God answered that prayer, “No.” Pounding at the front door awakened me to early Easter morning darkness and the news that my brother and his friend had been killed by a drunk driver. Agony overtook two families.   When we observe suffering in…

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    Heartprints

    Praying for Heroines

      Do you have any special women or girls in your life that have made a difference? Let’s take a moment to focus on our heroines.  Time to give them some prayer support. When I was growing up many women were housewives, stay at home moms. They were somehow lesser than the working women by our cultural standards. There was even a popular song with lyrics like these, “Oh, such are the dreams of the everyday housewife you see everywhere any time of the day; an everyday housewife who gave up the good life for me” The song begins with her looking in the mirror and seeing that time has…

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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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    Life Interrupted: Lessons from a Teen Pregnancy

    Mary’s story has always fascinated me, but never more-so than a few years ago in a darkened theater. I went to the movies with a friend, and we watched as a young woman portrayed the confused teen who found favor with God. My own life had been freshly interrupted by God. Mary’s confusion echoed my heart’s response. The friend sitting next to me gasped as she saw Mary’s surrender: “Oh God. I can’t believe she said yes.” That’s the rub. A young Jewish girl agreed to have her life forever altered to be part of God’s purposed story. The account we read in Luke is short and yet so much…

  • Heartprints

    TEACHING A CHILD TO TRUST GOD

    The difference between Christianity and other religions is summed up in the word, relationship! In America, we put the words, “In God we Trust” on every bill that goes into our pocket. By the way we act when our pockets are emtpy, It would seem we trust more in the dollar than we do in our God. Relationship is built on trust. So how do we teach our children to trust in God? Our children come into this world totally dependent. We believe it is our goal to teach them to become independent adults. What if that goal is not the best one after all? They already come into the…

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    A Lesson from the Vacuum: What it Taught Me About God

    His eyes flashed with anxiety. What is the whirring sound coming from the living room? They asked. My eight-month-old looked to me for reassurance. “It’s okay,” I said. “Daddy is vacuuming.” Immediately, the words sank deep into my soul. The lesson I was trying to teach my son is one I needed to hear myself. Daddy holds the vacuum. At two-and-a-half feet tall, a towering four-foot purple vacuum with the word Shark written on the front seems to threaten your very existence. It might just suck you up along with the dust bunnies on the rug. Isn’t that how we feel about life sometimes? The storm whirls around us, large…

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    Throwing Stones

    Six hundred stones plopped and splashed as they hit the surface of the Sea of Galilee and then sunk, never to be retrieved again. Each rock signified something of importance. Some represented long-held unforgiveness and bitterness toward a family member or friend. Other stones symbolized a wayward son or daughter, or even a spouse. And yet others signified unfulfilled hopes and dreams. Though the meanings of each rock differed, the lasting results were the same. As passengers aboard the Israel tour boats released their stones from their hands, they also released emotional and spiritual burdens from their hearts. As I threw my stone into the Sea of Galilee, I quietly…

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    The First Day of Lenten Season

                              Today marks the first day of the Lenten season—the beginning of the 40-day period (excluding Sundays) that ends with Easter Sunday. On this Ash Wednesday—across the country and around the world—Christians from various denominations will commemorate this “Day of Ashes” by fasting and praying. Others will participate in ceremonies that will involve ashes marked on their foreheads in the shape of the cross.    For those of us who will participate in Ash Wednesday and Lent, we do so in anticipation of renewal and newness in our intimacy with God. We shift our focus towards spiritual reflection…

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    Who’s behind the sheer curtain?

    I pray a lot but sometimes I wonder if my prayers bounce off the ceiling. Does God really hear? Does He really care? Do you ever feel that way? The first weekend of this month I was looking forward to speaking in Dubuque, Iowa, by way of Cedar Rapids, at the Emmaus Bible College women's conference. But I wasn't looking forward to getting there. Earlier this year on a similar occasion, my flight to that area of the country was suddenly and without explanation cancelled, leaving me to hopscotch around several airports, running from gate to gate, and arriving several hours after my first speaking session. I dreaded a replay…

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    Unfolding: A Pressure-Free Model for Leading Your Team

    Meet Michelle Oney. She's a friend, collegue, and leader with a vision to help individuals and teams discover how God has gifted them and where he is calling them to serve. Her words will challenge and encourage you.    You and I carry an unexpected burden. And I wasn’t ready for it either.     A few years ago, I moved into a new sector, feeling called toward ministry. Along with the transition came the weight of managing people with a “calling.” For 20 years I worked in university advancement and considered how I could “mold” and “shape” a team into the best team they could be based upon the…