love far beyond any weakness

This summer I’ve gotten the chance to know Victoria Adams, a senior religion major at Baylor University who is interning with the youth ministry at our church. She recently shared a message with our middle school group about how God can meet us in our place of weakness and remind us that we are His beloved children. That resonated with me, too, so I’ve asked her to guest blog this week with her story. 

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On a recent adventure in Wenatchee, WA. In addition to road tripping, Victoria loves talking, fixing up houses, and spreading the amazing love of Jesus. Follow her on Instagram: victoriaadams15

I was born deaf.

Not the “she hears me sometimes then ignores me others” type deaf but fully and completely without hearing. My parents found this out by cupping their hands and yelling at me while I was sleeping as a baby.

I would not flinch. Continue reading “love far beyond any weakness”

garden thoughts

As a non-gardener, I’m easily impressed with those who have a knack for all things green and growing. I wrote about childhood memories of my dad’s garden earlier this year, and though Dad’s not raising a crop of squash and pumpkins at the moment, he does tame the woods with his chainsaw until it’s an oasis of gorgeous views and peaceful trails.

Recently, though, it was my father-in-law Gerald’s backyard garden that knocked my socks off. I’ve included a video “walk-through” below.

Gerald’s project is meaningful on many levels. It’s an example of re-purposing things that others might discard — the raised beds were constructed primarily from old shipping pallets.

It’s a leafy monument to perseverance through tough times. My father-in-law has battled a serious kidney disorder for almost two years but did not let illness keep him from creating beauty.

And it’s also purposeful and beneficial, providing vegetables that help rejuvenate the body and a joyful hobby that blesses the mind and spirit.

You all know I’m itching to talk about spiritual parallels right now, but I’m going to save them for a future post. For now, enjoy your tour of Gerald’s garden with these ideas in mind:

What’s old can be made new.

What’s hard can become good.

What’s grown can give new gifts.

 

 

a letter to my kids

This weekend I set out to revise an old article on how parents can teach their children about God, thinking I’d post some things that worked when my kids were younger and add some new ideas for older kids/teens. But it dawned on me in the process of looking through my material that I’m not exactly sure I have those new ideas.

Frankly, we’ve been in a bit of a parenting slump, and we know it’s time to revamp our playbook for family spiritual growth. These kids of ours are asking for so much more than neatly-packaged family devotions and attending church services together. But it has seemed daunting, and so we’ve continued to let things drift.

But no longer.

What I ended up writing, then, was a letter asking our kids for forgiveness for how we’ve let things get stale and asking them to join us in making some changes. They gave me their blessing to share that letter with you. Continue reading “a letter to my kids”

i am pauline

i am pauline

Ever want to share an experience, but when you try, it’s like you’re back in grade-school writing a theme called something like “Why It’s Important to Help Others”?

For weeks, I’ve been trying to synthesize my thoughts following a three-day outreach project I did with Caroline, my daughter. It would have been simple to post a dozen pictures of the team sorting food and clothes, delivering meals, making crafts, praying with people. I could have come up with a few quick captions. But my fear is that sometimes pictures AREN’T worth a thousand words or at least not exactly the right words. Continue reading “i am pauline”

when you get weary: patience for the harvest

When I was six, my dad took a sabbatical from the college where he taught to focus intensely on his doctoral dissertation. One of his first orders of business? He planted a garden. He laughingly told me years later that he was concerned my little brother and I would think, “Our dad doesn’t have a real job,” since he was now researching and writing from home at a time when most dads headed out each day to some mysterious place called “Work.” So he planted a massive fruit and vegetable garden in our yard and had the whole family out there learning to plant, cultivate, and harvest. It was a year of wonders—and lots of mud tracked into the house (sorry, Mom)—but mostly, wonders! Continue reading “when you get weary: patience for the harvest”

clothes for the journey

Last week we looked at how God uses our “day jobs” to transform us into people who embrace our callings. Colossians 3:12-14 became a job description of what it means to put on “spiritual work clothes” and show up with love in the lives of other people. This week, let’s look at one of those spiritual garments that may determine whether we move forward with maturity in our relationships or stay stuck where we are, smacking into the same obstacles. It’s the garment of humility. Continue reading “clothes for the journey”

don’t quit your day job

 

About two weeks ago I spent time speaking to a wonderful group of people about what it means to find purpose in life. We laughingly adopted the phrase “Don’t quit your day job” as a reminder that God often uses the day-to-day stuff of living to strengthen and grow us into people who can fulfill the dreams He puts in our hearts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share what we talked about in our quest to live with more purpose, lead with more grace, and love with more heart. Continue reading “don’t quit your day job”