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About Monica La Rose

Monica (Brands) studied English and Theology at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, and completed a Master of Theological Studies degree at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In October 2019, she married Ben La Rose, a musician and electrical engineer. She and her husband treasure time with friends, family, and their two crazy cats, Heathcliff and Mystique.

At Our Worst

By |2021-04-26T09:06:02-04:00April 26th, 2021|

“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.” This sentence, pronounced by Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is the reason I will never forget that novel and its impact on me. Because after reading that one sentence, I firmly decided I would never like Mr. Darcy.

But I was wrong. Like Austen’s character Elizabeth Bennet, I had the humbling experience of slowly—and quite reluctantly—changing my mind. Like her, I’d been unwilling to get to know Darcy’s character as a whole; I preferred to hang onto my reaction to one of his worst moments. After finishing the novel, I wondered who I’d made that same mistake with in the real world. What friendships had I missed because I wouldn’t let go of a snap judgment?

At the heart of faith in Jesus is the experience of being seen, loved, and embraced by our Savior—at our worst (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:19). It’s the wonder of realizing we can surrender our old, false selves for who we truly are in Christ (Ephesians 4:23–24). And it’s the joy of understanding that we are no longer alone but part of a family, a “body” of those learning to walk the “way of love”—real, unconditional love (5:2).

When we remember what Christ has done for us (v. 2), how can we not long to see others the way He sees us?

Small Yet Mighty

By |2021-03-18T11:48:52-04:00March 18th, 2021|

There are times, late at night in North America’s harsh Sonoran Desert, where one can hear a faint, high-pitched howl. But you probably wouldn’t suspect the source of the sound—the small yet mighty grasshopper mouse, howling at the moon to establish its territory.

This unique rodent (dubbed the “werewolf mouse”) is also carnivorous. In fact, it preys on creatures few would dare mess with, such as the scorpion. But the werewolf mouse is uniquely equipped for that particular battle. It not only has a resistance to scorpion venom, but can even convert the toxins into a painkiller!

There’s something inspiring about the way this resilient little mouse seems custom-made to survive and even thrive in its harsh environment. As Paul explains in Ephesians 2:10, that kind of marvelous craftsmanship characterizes God's designs for His people as well. Each of us is “God’s handiwork” in Jesus, uniquely equipped to contribute to His kingdom.

That means that however God has gifted you, you have much to offer. As you embrace with confidence who He’s made you to be, you’ll be a living witness to the hope and joy of life in Him.

So as you face whatever feels most menacing in your own life, take courage. You may feel small, but through the gifting and empowerment of the Spirit, God can use you to do mighty things.

Here Be Dragons?

By |2020-01-08T15:42:37-05:00January 10th, 2020|

Legend has it that at the edges of medieval maps, marking the boundaries of the world the maps’ creators knew at the time, there’d be inscribed the words “Here be dragons”—often alongside vivid illustrations of the terrifying beasts supposedly lurking there. There’s not much evidence medieval cartographers actually wrote these words, but I like to think they could have...

“Love You—Whole World”

By |2019-11-01T16:28:23-04:00November 7th, 2019|

My three-year old niece, Jenna, has an expression that never fails to melt my heart. When she loves something (really loves it), be it banana cream pie, jumping on the trampoline, or playing Frisbee, she’ll proclaim, “I love it—whole world!” (“whole world” accompanied with a dramatic sweep of her arms). Sometimes I wonder, When’s the last time I’ve dared to love like that? With nothing held back, completely unafraid...?

Don’t Feed the Trolls

By |2019-09-12T12:47:18-04:00September 16th, 2019|

Ever heard the expression, “Don’t feed the trolls”? “Trolls” refers to a new problem in today’s digital world—online users who repeatedly post intentionally inflammatory and hurtful comments on news or social media discussion boards. But ignoring such comments—not “feeding” the trolls—makes it harder for them to derail a conversation...

Precious

By |2019-07-12T16:28:38-04:00July 16th, 2019|

“My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity. It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts...

Love and Peace

By |2019-02-06T09:44:57-05:00February 8th, 2019|

It always amazes me the way peace—powerful, unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7)—can somehow fill our hearts even in our deepest grief. I experienced this most recently at my father’s memorial service. As a long line of sympathetic acquaintances passed by offering their condolences, I was relieved to see a good high school friend. Without a word, he simply wrapped me in a long bear hug...

Terrible and Beautiful Things

By |2018-10-05T12:47:55-04:00October 16th, 2018|

Fear can leave us frozen. We know all the reasons to be afraid—everything that’s hurt us in the past, everything that could easily do so again. So sometimes we’re stuck—unable to go back; too afraid to move forward. I just can’t do it. I’m not smart enough, strong enough, or brave enough to handle being hurt like that again...

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