On Monday, I wrote a Facebook post about the after-Easter-weekend slump. I wanted to remind people that after a high-energy time, it’s normal for creativity and motivation to be low, and that’s OK. The fact that today I’m writing about toilets, much to the chagrin of my brainstorming partners (a.k.a. my kids), pretty well proves I’m right there in the slump with everyone else. I do find it both appropriate and funny, though, that immediately after I posted on Facebook, I met with the plumber about replacing some old, small, and frequently problematic toilets at our house: appropriate because it does feel like creativity has been flushed away, so toilet-shopping is the perfect thing to do, and funny because toilet-shopping inevitably reminds me of our final weeks in Taiwan several years ago. Read More
As we head into Easter, I’ve invited my friend Cayli Pankratz to share her thoughts on forgiveness. I got to know Cayli when she and her husband Stephen began leading a home-based Bible-study group through our church. I’ve always been impressed that she encourages those of us in the group to ask tough questions like “Is ‘forgive and forget’ actually biblical or just something Christians say?” and then helps us dig into God’s Word for the answers. A full-time mom, pastor’s wife, and lover of chocolate, coffee, and the outdoors, Cayli has a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has been a Bible teacher in various ways for the past 9 years. I think you’ll be encouraged by what she has to say!
“I know I need to just forgive and forget, but…”
“I know that God says we should forgive and forget, but…”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sat with someone who was wronged significantly, was experiencing deep pain, and was saying words just like those through their tears. Read More
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! Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
This week, there’s more from a series I wrote several years ago about the value of persevering to get to a promised outcome. Last week, we looked at the need to reclaim old territory in our lives (including dealing with “dirt” in our wells) before we can move ahead with God-given dreams. Today, we’ll take a look at the need to push through obstacles to get to our “something new.” For me, what started as a challenge on March 15, 2013, to memorize and apply Colossians 3:12-14 to my relationships grew into a dream to write about what I was learning. Then came the tough work of pushing through setbacks and self-doubt to write, share, rewrite, edit, and finally release my first book, New Woman, New Clothes: Outfit Your Soul to Live, Lead, Love four years later. What’s your “something new,” that dream you’re pursuing? Take courage from Isaac’s well-digging journey in Genesis 26 and keep on digging!
Several years ago, I was a guest poster on a site to encourage women in their faith journeys, especially during the exhausting/exhilarating (Exhilarausting??) years of parenting young kids. Recently, I found a two-parter I’d written about finding freedom and motivation to run after God-given dreams. As I prepare to launch my book New Woman, New Clothes, I find it pretty cool that I was already exploring concepts of dealing with the past, believing in God’s promises, and moving ahead with purpose. Come to think of it, I wasn’t so much exploring them as becoming brave enough to LIVE them. Thank God I took my own advice! Anyway, dig in with me in this series called Well-Digging. Then, feel free to comment on the “old wells” you’ve had to revisit as you’ve pursued new dreams.
When I was a child, I sang all the time. Didn’t matter where I was or even what the song was—many times I made them up. If I wanted to sing some made-up song from the top of some old crab apple tree, I just climbed up there and did it. With abandon.
Do you remember that feeling of freedom? Of possibility? Of running down a hill so fast your heart pounded in your throat and even your voice was left behind in a trail of giggles?
Confession: I have been known to FaceTime my dog when I’m away from home. That’s right. I’ve asked someone at my house to go get my dog and put her on video so I could croon baby-talk to her. And why not? Look at that face. She’s adorable. She clearly misses me when I’m gone. And she growly-barks “I love you” on command. OK, it’s really more like rye ruv roo, and according to SOME people with no imagination, it just sounds like bark-bark-bark, but still that’s pretty good, right? Nobody else I know is that consistent with the undying love and appreciation. Also, also when she’s stolen a bunch of my socks and chewed the toe-seams out, she grovels at my feet convincingly. All evidence of true devotion, right? Read More
Ever have a moment when you are awed by the bigness of God? Perhaps you’re singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and it’s like all the saints and angels across all time have joined together before the Lamb? I live for those moments and the sudden perspective shift that happens. During one such worship time, I began to think about history, about God’s story for humanity, past, present and future. I saw in my mind’s eye a massive tapestry unfurling before me: complex, multi-hued, a work of art. It was too huge for my eye to take in. As I looked at the tapestry, I began to focus, as through a magnifying glass, on the tiniest details until I could see the individual stitches. Each stitch was the heartbeat of one person, each person a part of the body of Christ, woven together across time. No stitch in Read More
Yay! New blog! It’s been awhile. Like, we lived in another country, I hadn’t started coloring my hair, and my family was addicted to watching Hannah Montana kind-of-while. But I’m here again, and so are you. Welcome! It’s gonna be fun here! Lots of thoughts on creativity and the creative process. Lots of thoughts on God and purpose. And I hope, lots of moments when those things intersect. Because I’m in seminary right now and writing (finishing!) a book, I’ll also give a few updates along the way. See ya back here soon!