Don’t Play Whack-a-Mole with Your Passion

I’m not sure I can quite convey the emotions I experienced in the garden last November. I had been dreading and putting off the garden cleanup for weeks. In previous years I would have had that soil ready for rest, but this year my plot still held a long-dried-up bean vine, matted black-eyed pea vines, and shriveled cucumber vines with rotting cucumbers on the ground. But even in the midst of the cleanup I found myself rejuvenated. What had taken me so long to get out here again? Although most of the garden’s lush growth had browned, I found joy in …

When You Feel That Jesus Has Forgotten You

  My husband and I sat across the table at a steakhouse from one of my best friends and her husband. She was barely able to make it through the meal due to morning sickness. I was barely able to make it through the meal due to despair. My heart ached for what she had growing inside of her. Although my husband and I hadn’t been trying for a baby for all that long, it seemed like forever. My greatest fear was that my mom’s seven-year struggle to conceive would be my heartache as well. I tried to be happy …

Calling the Working

        For a decade I worked for a local Ford dealership, and for the most part I enjoyed my job. I was able to start a department and do things in the booming Internet age that had never been done in the dealership before. Still, in the midst of my working days, something nagged at me — a longing for something more. Perhaps your work completely fulfills you. After all, God created us to work, even before the Fall. But perhaps, something else nags deeper. Is it a hidden passion? A dream you’ve never realized?  I’ve felt those …

Fear As A Slave Driver

My feet pounded the pavement as I considered three specific situations with which I was struggling — anger toward my children, conflict with my husband, and bitterness in a situation where something didn’t go as I had hoped. My thoughts floated to the Exodus text I had just read that morning. In a way, I had to admit, I felt enslaved by these situations. Seeking to discover guidance from the text, I asked myself, why did Pharaoh decide to oppress and enslave the Israelite people? The answer leapt from my memory. Fear. It all came down to fear. For reasons …

Insecurity Revealed

My seven-year-old daughter peered up at me with her large, brown eyes. “Will you coach my basketball team, Mommy?” I hesitated. My daughter, for the first time, wanted to play the sport I grew up living and breathing. As the daughter of a basketball coach, the love of the sport runs through my veins. My excitement bubbled at the possibility of my own daughter loving the game as much as I do. But still, I hesitated. Despite my background in basketball, I wasn’t all that secure in the area of children. Could I coach six and seven year old girls? …

Not Sick of Slavery

Are you fond of going to the doctor? Or do you wait until the last possible moment? When my mom was living, I always laughed at her because anytime I had the slightest sniffle, she urged me to visit the doctor. My first reaction, though, is usually to wait. Surely, it will go away on its own. Surely, my immune system just needs time to work. Sometimes that rationale worked. But sometimes it didn’t. I remember several times I waited too long and paid a hefty price in pain and discomfort. I think we naturally bear quite a bit before …

Slavery From Blessings

Tears spilled down my cheeks as I choked out, “I’m just so tired.” My writer friends encircling the table didn’t exactly know how to respond at my sudden outburst. I’m sure from all appearances I seemed as though I not only held all the proverbial plates at once but spun them with the skill of a circus performer. But the truth became evident as my eyes grew red. I was crumpling underneath the weight of it all. What is “it,” you ask? Well, that’s an interesting story. Before I even bought my first training bra, I had a desire to …

The Lord Paid Attention

We long for resolution, for neat and tidy endings. Maybe that’s why I enjoy crime dramas on television — I know at the end of the hour the case will be solved. But sometimes we don’t know what the resolution will be — if there will even be one. We look forward to that moment of praise if God comes through like we want, but what do we do in the meantime? I remember when my mom was given a terminal cancer diagnosis. We ended up having three years with her when we should have had six months. Even though …

Have We Stopped Searching?

I love Christmas, but not all things Christmas. Now before you go thinking I’m going to talk about materialism and busyness and Santa, I’m probably going to throw you for a loop when I tell you I don’t particularly enjoy Christmas lessons, devotionals, or sermons. I can’t determine if it’s an inward groan or a silent yawn, but it’s almost a reflex every year. My problem is that having spent over 30 Christmases in church, I guess I’ve just grown calloused to a point. Until a few years ago. I was reading in Matthew 2 as part of an online …

So We Serve

Why do we serve God? In looking back at areas where I serve, I can see all sorts of motives: because it’s expected of me, because I’m supposed to, because I’ve been asked, because no one else will do it, because I see a need and I want to meet it, because I want to feel like I’m making a difference, because I love the person whom I’m serving, because I want to please God. Some of those motivations are quite selfish, and some are not. I think we can even serve with multiple motivations at once. But many times …

Ask Me Anything

Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14: 13-14). Maybe it’s my conservative Baptist roots, but I’ve always been uncomfortable with verses like these. I’ve seen people misuse these “name it, claim it” verses as if God is their own personal genie who only wants to make us happy. So most of the time I skip right over these words instead of looking more closely at them.  If Jesus said it, he meant it.  …

Do I Love Him?

Do I love my husband? Of course I do. How do I show it? Normally, when I want to show my husband I love him, I’ll make an extra effort to do something that is important to him. For instance, he enjoys a clean home. So many times when I begin to clean – knowing that with 2 children it will never be perfect all the time – I look around the house and choose what I think would be most important to him. Clutter bothers him but he couldn’t care less about closets. So I work on picking up. …