Hang in There

By |2019-10-02T16:30:18-04:00October 9th, 2019|

My father-in-law turned seventy-eight recently, and during our family gathering to honor him, someone asked him, “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far?” His answer? “Hang in there.” Hang in there. It might be tempting to dismiss those words as simplistic. But my father-in-law wasn’t promoting blind optimism or positive thinking...

Shelter from the Storm

By |2019-10-02T16:29:49-04:00October 8th, 2019|

As the story goes, in 1763, a young minister, traveling on a cliffside road in Somerset, England, ducked into a cave to escape the flashes of lightning and pounding rain. As he looked out at Cheddar Gorge, he pondered the gift of finding shelter and peace in God. Waiting there, he began to write a hymn, “Rock of Ages,” with its memorable opening lines: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee...”

He Calms the Storms

By |2019-09-24T07:47:41-04:00October 4th, 2019|

Jim was frantically sharing about problems he was encountering with his work team: division, judgmental attitudes, and misunderstandings. After an hour of patiently listening to his concerns, I suggested, “Let’s ask Jesus what He would have us do in this situation.” We sat quietly for five minutes. Then something amazing happened. We both felt God’s peace cover us like a blanket...

A Shield Around Me

By |2019-09-18T13:56:55-04:00September 23rd, 2019|

Our church experienced an agonizing loss when Paul, our gifted worship minister, died at the age of thirty-one in a boating accident. Paul and his wife, DuRhonda, were no strangers to pain; they had buried several children who hadn’t made it to term. Now there would be another grave near the small graves of these little ones. The life-crushing crisis this family experienced hit those who loved them like a knockout blow to the head...

Spiritually Exhausted?

By |2019-08-12T17:14:46-04:00August 18th, 2019|

“Emotionally, we’ve sometimes worked a full day in one hour,” Zack Eswine writes in his book The Imperfect Pastor. Although he was referring specifically to the burdens pastors frequently carry, this is true for any of us. Weighty emotions and responsibilities can leave us physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. And all we want to do is sleep...

Indestructible Love

By |2019-08-09T08:32:44-04:00August 9th, 2019|

When we first saw the stream in our backyard, it was just a thin vein of water trickling through a bed of rocks in the heat of the summer. Heavy wooden planks served as a bridge we could easily cross. Months later, torrents of rain pounded our area for several days in a row. Our tame little creek swelled into a quick-moving river four-feet deep and ten-feet wide...

Blooming in the Desert

By |2019-06-12T14:25:46-04:00June 6th, 2019|

The Mojave Desert includes the expected sand dunes, dry canyons, mesas, and mountains of most deserts. But American biologist Edmund Jaeger observed that every few years an abundance of rain results in “such a wealth of blossoms that almost every foot of sand or gravelly soil is hidden beneath a blanket of flowers.” The Mojave wildflower show isn’t a yearly phenomenon, though...

A Longing in Stone

By |2019-04-30T12:17:16-04:00May 13th, 2019|

“Ah, every pier is a longing in stone!” says a line in Fernando Pessoa’s Portuguese poem “Ode Marítima.” Pessoa’s pier represents the emotions we feel as a ship moves slowly away from us. The vessel departs but the pier remains, an enduring monument to hopes and dreams, partings and yearnings. We ache for what’s lost, and for what we can’t quite reach...

Bowl of Tears

By |2019-04-29T13:52:02-04:00May 8th, 2019|

In Boston, Massachusetts, a plaque titled “Crossing the Bowl of Tears” remembers those who braved the Atlantic to escape death during the catastrophic Irish potato famine of the late 1840s. More than a million people died in that disaster, while another million or more abandoned home to cross the ocean, which John Boyle O’Reilly poetically called “a bowl of tears.” Driven by hunger and heartache, these travelers sought some measure of hope during desperate times...

The “Hope for a Baby” Tree

By |2018-12-10T16:26:42-04:00December 13th, 2018|

After wrapping the tree with clear twinkle lights, I tied pink and blue bows on its branches and christened it our “Hope for a Baby” Christmas tree. My husband and I had been waiting for a baby through adoption for more than four years. Surely by Christmas! Every morning I stopped at the tree and prayed, reminding myself of God’s faithfulness. On December 21 we received the news: no baby by Christmas...