Discipline

The Power of Small Change

“Could you spare some change?” I often hear this request from the residents of a nursing home where I serve. This usually occurs when I walk by the vending machine near my therapy gym. The residents roll up in their wheelchairs and ask for a dollar or seventy-five cents—enough for a sweet bun or a bag of chips. I don’t carry cash with me, so I offer an apology and keep walking. One day, [Read more...]

The Weight of Worship

In 2004 I arrived. It was the year I accomplished everything on my wish list. After my high school graduation, I packed up my red Chevy Cavalier and headed to the city. I shook the small-town dust off my Birkenstocks and marched full speed toward my dreams. I pursued my degree with unequivocal focus. I landed my first professional job—one that required credentials after my signature. My true [Read more...]

What I Learned from My Fast (and Why You Should Try It)

In my years of following Jesus, I never fasted. Not once. Not social media, not television, not sugar, not food. I didn’t see the need. Fasting seemed like one of those things you did to enhance your prayer life. My prayer life was good enough—no self-denial necessary. Pride much? However, this year I felt God telling me it was time. Maybe he said so in the past and my pride kept me [Read more...]

If You Think You’re Not Enough, You May Be Right

My guest bathroom is a mess. About a year ago, a little section of paint started peeling. One child (no one will admit to it) pulled at the little bubble. And pulled. And pulled. Soon, a big section of drywall with rough brush strokes of the original yellow glared at us. We scraped and peeled until forty years of paint came loose. This, combined with the ugly vanity, the cabinet door that hangs [Read more...]

Mamas, Be Kind to Your Future Self

Do you ever get to the end of your day and say to yourself, “Good job! You got it all done?” No? Me either. I perpetually transfer tasks from today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s. I am never finished. Yes, I am busy, but my main enemy is procrastination. Why ruin this moment by doing something I don’t want to do when later seems like a perfectly good time to do it? What [Read more...]

5 Ways to Help Give God Your First 15 Minutes

The early days with a newborn are pure survival. Sleep when you can, as long as you can. At some point, the baby begins to sleep a little longer, a little later. It took almost four years for my first born to sleep through the night. Those years of minimal sleep were difficult, to say the least. I quickly learned the importance of priorities and planning. Showers required strategic timing. [Read more...]

The Pursuit of Holiness

Right about now, New Year’s resolutions and promises to make 2017 the year of [insert your word of the year here] are getting lost in the hurry and flurry of real life. Donuts at the office and pizza for dinner (again) weigh down our hopes of establishing healthy eating habits. Our promise to run every day? Chased off by the need to run errands instead.  Our read-through-the-Bible plan is [Read more...]

What My Cluttered Closet Taught Me About My Heart

In an episode of Friends, super-organized Monica Gellar has a dirty secret in her hall closet. Chandler, desperate to see what she is hiding, takes the locked door off its hinges. It is full, top to bottom, of junk. When Monica walks in to see her exposed mess, she is mortified. “You know how I organize everything? Well, this is all the stuff that doesn’t fit in any category. So, you see, [Read more...]

Can Quitting be a Good Thing?

For as long as I’ve been a mom, I wanted to be in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). I enjoy being a part of a community, and what better community to join than one that supports education. I have memories of my mom volunteering in my elementary school. She made copies for teachers and put bandages on boo-boos in the first aid room. I thought I could do some of the same for my [Read more...]

The Truth of the Gospel Found in the Editor’s Red Ink

During my school-aged years, I developed an affinity for the letter A, especially when followed by a little plus sign. It became an indicator of perfection. I developed an even greater distaste for a teacher’s correcting pen. Her red marks on my test papers were evidence that I was not perfect. They were an indicator of my failed attempt to recall the information correctly or solve the [Read more...]