February 2016

Finding Comfort and Strength in the Names of God

When your last name is Smith, there is a lot of pressure to pick a good first name for your kid. Common names like John or Mary result in complete anonymity. John Smith? There are a blue million of them (no offense to any John Smith’s out there). With each of our three children, we struggled to find just the right name to go with their common surname. It was late into each pregnancy before [Read more...]

Could Your Problem Actually Be Your Provision?

Our natural tendency is to view difficult circumstances as problems. My two-year-old son recently had thrush. It was a huge problem. He developed nasty sores in his mouth resulting in painful screams each time he tried to eat or drink. He stood in front of the pantry crying, “Hungry, hungry!” but as soon as a bite touched his tongue, he cried out in pain, “Hurt, hurt!” He opened his mouth [Read more...]

When You Want to Quit

Discouragement gathers like storm clouds on the horizon. When the early morning sun breaks through the slits in the blinds, I fight the desire to bury myself deeper under the covers. I am exhausted and spent. I have little to show for my pursuit of God’s call on my life except dark circles under my eyes and a pile of neglected laundry in the corner of my room. I am on the lookout for big [Read more...]

Treasure Your Redemption by Savoring the Senses

We all experience times when the five senses are sharp. In the fall, the smells of pumpkin pie spice and sage remind us of gratitude. The sting of the summer sun on our skin can take us back to a carefree childhood memory. Other times, the senses are dull. The rush of life can distract us from savoring the five senses God gave us to enjoy. Tragedy can rob food of its taste and erase the beauty of [Read more...]

The Highest Calling of a Parent is the Shaping of Hearts

The same scene keeps playing over and over again at my house. The child breaks a rule. The parent punishes. The child complies. The parent relaxes. The child breaks the rule again. I live in perpetual frustration over this madness. My kid can’t be the only one repeatedly falling down. I am not the only parent on the verge of a hissy fit. I know you feel it, too. Why is it we work so hard to [Read more...]

Five Ways to Show a Stranger the Love of God

We encounter people every day who need love. It is through the expression of human love that we begin to relate to the love of God. [Anne] knew and cared nothing about God’s love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love. (Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables) Showing love to a spouse or a child can be easy when you know their love language. You [Read more...]

Redefine Productivity By Making Room for Your Best Day, Every Day

Let me share my perfect day with you. I wake up feeling rested after a full night’s sleep. I saunter into the kitchen to find a pot of hot coffee waiting for me. I share a meaningful conversation with my husband about something other than the day’s schedule. I spend time reading the Bible, journaling, and praying. The quiet surrounds me and I find rest there. I cozy up to finish a novel, [Read more...]

What Matters Most to You Today?

“Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is important this very second.”  ~Greg McKeown, Essentialism.  There are moments in life when time seems to stand still. Moving the tassel across the top of your graduation cap will make you forget the drama of the past few years and relish your dreams instead. The past and future meld together when you stand at the altar [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Date Your Mate When It’s Cold at Home

Marriage has its seasons. In the spring, love is new and exciting. Summer brings fun and familiarity. Couples frequently bustle about in the busyness of autumn. Winter is the hardest season to endure. In the winter months of marriage, ice forms around one heart—or both. Conversation is stilted and business-like. Pointed questions receive harsh answers. Cuddles and kisses are replaced with [Read more...]

God Will Heal the Broken Places

We all experience things in our youth that shape us and change us. Some change us for the better, and some leave deep wounds on our soul. There is value in revisiting our past to examine those trying times. Liz Jones explores hurts she experienced at sixteen. It affected her, but she didn’t let it scar her. God heals brokenness. This is a letter to her sixteen-year-old self. Dear Liz, [Read more...]