The Trust-Fall of Faith

I reached the top of the wall and turned my head to take in the view. I was higher than I expected to be, and for the first time I noticed that I could feel no tension in the belay line. Was there supposed to be tension? I hadn’t thought it necessary to prove it first–why should I? But perched near the top of this wall, I suddenly realized the gravity of my mistake. I tried to lean back to put tension on the line, to feel it catch me, but the line gave me as much slack as I desired to allow me to climb freely. We were climbing at an indoor facility with the boys to honor a […]

Rejoicing in the Waiting

It’s 4:30 in the morning in the middle of Advent, and I am waiting. Over the past 48 hours, eight people have been vomiting in our home. As I sit in the stillness between sick bay and those who are now resting, I wonder. Will it hit me? Will I suffer, too? How long, O Lord? You have spared me thus far, but what is to come? It’s not the kind of waiting that’s typically associated with this season. Yet in the midst of it all, my heart is stirred. “Rejoice,” said the apostle. “Rejoice,” said the preacher. “Rejoice,” said a friend. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” I hear restless stirrings, and I pause […]

The Many Meanings of “I Love You”

These three little words that we use every day have many more nuanced meanings today than they did seventeen years ago. I remember the first time he said them. It was right after our first kiss (which also happened to be my first kiss). I had made him wait because I was determined to make that first kiss a special one. He had been ready to say “I love you” for a while, but he didn’t want me to feel like he was just pressuring me to kiss him, so in love, he waited for that, too. I remember the first time I said it back to him. It was a couple weeks after our first kiss. Even though he […]

Seeing Dolphins

When we started our vacation, we had planned on a full week unplugged at Bald Head Island, hoping to see sea turtles hatching and doing a bit of volunteer work with the conservancy. We even found a house in the middle of the salt marsh with treetop views for studying wildlife during the day and stargazing at night. When we asked our five-year-old what he was looking forward to the most, he enthusiastically replied, “Seeing dolphins!” “Well, son, we might see dolphins. We can definitely look for them while we’re out there. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see one.” As we backed down the driveway with eight people in a packed suburban, we kept an eye on Dorian as it approached […]

Noticing People

Have you ever been talking to someone when you were suddenly struck by their humanity?
It’s usually some kind of detail that does this for me. Bloodshot eyes, or crow’s feet, or freckles, or acne… something that makes me notice the skin the person is wearing, in all of its frailty and beauty.
These moments usually surprise me, but they make me want to pay more attention.

If even one…

The other night I attended a webinar for writers. The question was posited: How big does your audience need to be to make your writing worthwhile? Anyone would be happy to be read by millions, but what about thousands? Hundreds? What about ten? A friend joked that it felt like Abraham bargaining with God over Sodom. I responded with “If even one…” (The voice in my head was overdramatic and funny.) But there was some pushback: Is one really enough? Who is that one person? Hold that thought. Last night we watched the last installment of Tim Keller’s Questioning Christianity livestream. The series has been looking at the existential side of Christianity and how it compares with secularism (and other […]

Kicking the Habit: Managing Electronics (and Managing Me)

Kicking the Habit: Managing Electronics (and Managing Me) Last night we were reminiscing with some college friends about the good old days. “Remember when you had to print out MapQuest directions to get to someone’s house?” “Oooh, or when you had to actually give directions on how to get there? ‘When you see the Waffle House, turn left and go about two miles until you get to the neighborhood… take the first left, then the first right, then we’re the fourth house on the left.” “Haha! Yes! Oh, and what about the days before the internet? Remember those?”“Yes! They were glorious.” “I would go home from school and play outside and not have to deal with those people any more […]

12 Ways to Pursue Better Rest

After the holidays, I had a Sunday-morning conversation with a friend, asking how she was doing. She responded with frustration that despite trying to rest, she didn’t feel rested. I know that feeling. You kick back to watch a movie, or you curl up in a chair for half an hour to scroll through social media, and you’re resting, right? Your body is pausing activity to be still, possibly even dozing off for a bit. Then why on earth do we not feel rested? Our family had to suffer through burnout and depression in order to learn that pausing from physical activity alone is not restorative rest. True rest involves the mind and emotions, too. We personally had to change […]

Looking for Rainbows

The late afternoon sun beams straight through the back of the house to the windowed front door. We enjoy this magic hour for a few brief moments every sunny day. Harsh light brightens the entire space and creates long-legged shadows. It reveals dust on the cabinets and a tinge of red in my baby girl’s curls. My daughter does a short-legged dance and makes an ungraceful twirl in her tutu, with open hands extended just above her head. She stops mid-dance: “Mom, I see a rainbow!” She disappears, and I hear her patter quickly toward the front door, then stop and patter back again. “I found a rainbow, Mom!” She comes to find my legs and wraps her short arms […]

Rhythms of Work and Rest

This summer was a busy one. We had a huge international trip to two different countries with four young kids in tow. (Yeah, I know. Don’t worry–we had help.) All this travel was exciting and fulfilling in ways we never expected as God allowed us to encourage and help a number of friends serving in hard places, as well as reconnect with friends in our old neighborhood. Upon our return home, all we wanted to do was crash, but we had given ourselves exactly three days to unpack, do laundry, and repack for the long drive to a conference near my hometown. Needless to say, by the time the conference was over and we made the drive back, I was never so happy […]