The Problem of Pain

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“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the LORD. “If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God. Isaiah 66:9

Last week, I talked about the minor pain of inconvenience, namely re-entry into my Realitytale after a fantasy vacation with my dream guy. Broken down cars and home renovations had me wishing for Tinkerbell to sprinkle fairy dust and take me back to the Magic Kingdom.
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A Fairytale Life

Recently, my husband and I took a long-awaited vacation to Disney World. If you’ve never been there, what they say is true—it really is the happiest place on earth.

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It’s not just a vacation; it’s a slip-from-reality trip to a magical land of pure joy. Three days without seeing litter, poverty, or having to think about maintenance of any kind. (Well, I did fix my hair and makeup, but other than that, I lived in a fairytale.)
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Culture crisis: What do we do about mass shootings?

Last year at this time, I stood over four graves, gazing at stones laid twenty-five years ago in the ground next to our grandparents’ and great-uncles’. Family members too young to remember what happened asked how it came to be that a woman thirty-four years old, and boys only 11, 10, and five years old had the same date of death.

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As I reflect on the shootings last week in Oregon and Arizona, I remember the horror of hearing how my four relatives were gunned down in their own home. Only three words summed up the senseless tragedy. “What a waste.”
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What 3 rare traits make a good friend?

I credit three things for all the healing I’ve experienced in the past year:

  • God pursues me. He reached down through the fog and told me that my story mattered to Him. Without Him, I don’t know to what depths of misery I’d have sunk.
  • The Holy Spirit has given me a fresh hunger for God’s Word, especially concerning His character. The more I know Him, the more I can trust Him.
  • Faithful friends, old and new, continue to express their love and appreciation for me. Their affirmations hold me up on those days when I sink back into performance-driven living instead of authentic relationship with my Creator Abba.

Choosing our friends well makes a huge difference in our healing process, especially coming to terms with our self-worth. The voices we listen to either lift us up or drag us down. Sometimes the healing process means letting go of toxic relationships, and sometimes it means less time in shallow friendships and investing more in valuable relationships.

These friends have walked miles with me, both literally and figuratively.
These friends have walked miles with me, both literally and figuratively.

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War Room: How a Beloved Child of God Goes to Prayer

 

It’s not often that I come out of a movie theater with deeper spiritual insight. This weekend I viewed War Room; the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

 

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Some critics implied that War Room addresses a straw man issue. Of course prayer changes things, they say. Reviewers claim no one would argue that God doesn’t want us to pray more fervently or that American Christians as a whole haven’t become apathetic. They may be right, but I needed to see the movie anyway.
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Can We Trust God With Our Story?

william-shakespeare-62936_1280“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare quipped. I can appreciate his enthusiasm for the theatre; I’ve been doing community theatre for about ten years, and I never get over the thrill of stepping onto the stage to put on a dazzling performance. There’s nothing like curtain call, the flash of the cameras and sound of applause.

Recently I realized I had created a stage-perfect life. My husband and I have a great marriage. We have beautiful daughters, and I had the fortune of being a homeschool mom until the youngest one graduated. My husband works for a national Christian radio host. We’ve been leaders in church. We have a nice house and lots of wonderful friends. Life was great.
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Counteracting Culture: Instilling a Sense of Value in our Children

I spent last weekend with fifteen wonderful ladies to train for our upcoming Community Bible Study year. As a children’s ministry worker, I learned what my curriculum will look like and scoped out classrooms. I got to know many of the people I’d be working with as we planned ways to love on our little lambs. Our leaders poured encouragement into us and reminded us of the high calling to shepherd children.

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These precious little ones don’t know it yet, but we have an enemy who’d like to convince them that they are evolutionary accidents with little or no value. The sooner he can beat them down with shame and feelings of low worth, the easier it will be to prevent them from living an abundant life.
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Come in Out of the Shame

 

Can I just be real for a second?

man-316521_1280Last week a load of not good enough pelted me. It just started pouring in big stinky drops and wouldn’t stop. You ever have weeks like that?

Nothing specific stood out; I just felt like I was standing under flow of shame without an umbrella.

 
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Summer Reading: Three Recommendations

What’s on your summer reading list? 

If you’re on a healing journey similar to mine, or you know someone who is, I have a few recommendations for you.

Early in 2014, when I began having flashbacks to childhood trauma events, I ordered a pile of books from Amazon. One of those books was Not Marked, by Mary DeMuth. The rest were books on writing craft or Bible studies. I wasn’t ready to allow “sexually abused” be part of my identity yet, so it felt safer to receive it with a stack of other random books. I let it sit in the pile for a few weeks before reading it. From there, I discovered Kay Arthur and Joyce Meyer.

 

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Not Marked helped me realize two life-changing things:
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