Go to the desert this Lent

brown no leaves tree near hill at daytime

The season of Lent always stirs up images of entering a desert for me. I am brought back to memories of sitting in our gold van perched in my reclined chair with a pillow as I stared out the car window into the vast abyss of compacted rock forming a sea of brown. I think about the times I’ve been mesmerized by the National Geographic aerial photos, capturing the unseen patterns of the cracked earth worn from years under the piercing sun. The desert can seem mysteriously appealing from afar, yet becomes daunting at the thought of stopping the car, letting go of the security of its protective structure, the comfort of my plush pillow, and willingly walking across the cracked earth to the center of the desert.  I imagine willingly following Jesus into a desert. It requires courage to follow Him into the desert, not as a stop along […]

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Grace and Mercy in the New Mom Season

woman holding baby

This past December, my husband and I welcomed a new member into our family, Owen. In the months leading up to his birth, I was all in on reading to prepare for taking care of a baby: the classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the Christian book Made for This on childbirth, and the baby whisperer book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, kindly gifted to me by a friend.  In addition to having a handy dandy best friend who is an OBGYN, I read all the articles on Lucie’s List and did extensive research on baby products. Even in the midst of all this learning I knew none of it was actually going to adequately prepare me for the trial by fire experience of having a little human we’re suddenly responsible for. All this — while I’m recovering from what the comedian Ali Wang calls someone’s house being […]

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Why Can’t I Rest?

girl laying in grass

I’m scrambled. Laundry invades my personal space. My feet fail me in the minefield of toddler chaos dispersed across the floor. My body tells the story of the struggle with the dead weight of tantrums and self-neglect. I’m tired to say the least.  I started physical therapy last week for an impingement in my shoulder. The edges of my shoulders nearly met the tips of my ear lobes as my body seeks to guard itself against recurring pain. How am I to function in this space? And these are just the external things.  Internally, grief crouches at the door of my heart waiting to pounce at the most inconvenient moment as I attempt to move forward after my father’s passing. Internally, I can’t seem to settle my mind on just one thought. The pressure of life, the woes of death, the anxiety for what’s to come is a little too […]

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What Lasts is Love

homeless sign

My mentee Ally and I volunteered at a homeless shelter together last week. We handed out toothpaste, floss, towels, and more from a supply closet to the men at the shelter. We spoke to a man whose dog Bobo had all the guests (and us!) enraptured. Another man told me about his son who died at age 18 – and I shared about my brother, in heaven at the same age. We reasoned they were likely having a party together now. Do you think age matters in heaven, that you tend to make friends with people your age like you do on earth? We didn’t always have what the men requested – eyeglasses so they could read, clean boxers, or the right charger for their phones. The needs felt so great in this building where dozens of men shared one communal room in which to sleep and find shelter from […]

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Soul: Remember your God (A poem)

man in black and white sweater sitting on chair

You have replayed your anxieties, complaints, and sorrows. Again. And again. And again. But have you rehearsed the glory of your God? Yahweh, Jehovah, Messiah. Trust Him!  Lean into His grace. Drink from His well. Feast on His abundance. Look up. Look to Him. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. Remember. He has purpose for this season. None of it is wasted. Fear not. Don’t give in. He has overcome the world. Be present today. After all, it’s all He’s given. And He will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Do not worry about tomorrow (or how you’ll finish this season). It has enough trouble of its own. Fear not, little flock, for your Father knows what you need and is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Hold on to the hope of the gospel.  Stay anchored in your Redeemer.  […]

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Christmas: An Annual Reminder that Jesus Doesn’t Cancel Us

group of people standing on snowy field

Our culture has become quite confident in its ability to determine who should get a second chance and who should not.  How dare they, right? The “cancel culture” nonsense has really gotten out of hand. Maybe. But what if you and I are just as guilty of trying to be an arbiter of who is right and who is wrong? Even as Christ-followers, we find time and time again that we too desire to take on this role of God. We want to be in control. We want to be The Judge. In fact, if we’re honest, we believe we are a GOOD Judge. I cannot deny that deep down, a sinful part of me believes I am the best arbiter not only of what is best for me, but of what is best for other people I love, and even for the whole of society.  Since we love to […]

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Good News For the Poor

ashes burning

My heart burned within me as I read Isaiah 61:1-3. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,because the Lord has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim freedom for the captivesand release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favorand the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beautyinstead of ashes [dignity — valued, respected, worthy],the oil of joyinstead of mourning [honor],and a garment of praiseinstead of a spirit of despair [heaviness].They will be called oaks of righteousness,a planting of the Lordfor the display of his splendor [glory]. It took me a while to realize why my heart was burning. Weeks, actually. At first, I was simply moved by the stunning imagery of Isaiah 61. Then, I began […]

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When Goals Become Idols

goals mock up

“I want to be a teenager, cheerleader, and have braces,” I proudly stated without pause from our kitchen table in Yorktown, Virginia. I was three when my mom first asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  The youngest in my family, I was greatly influenced by my older siblings and was captivated by the idea of getting older, which meant I could hang with the older girls on the block. My plastic high heels would become leather heels, and my given age would move from toddler to teenager… What more could I have wanted?  Looking back, I laugh, because my three-year-old self was successful in accomplishing her goals. Cheerleader was checked when my third-grade self had glitter cascading across her eyelids, and a silver bow equally the size of her head, on top of her high ponytail. The glitter sparkled as she experienced the effects of […]

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As I Carry This Human (a poem)

woman in gown standing near forest

This body is yours.Your spirit breathes life into the human in my body.There is a person in me you desire to use in your mission field.A person with a purpose – to love and be loved –And a vocation of which will unfold.Whatever good comes of their life is from you, your spirit.This body is a mere vessel,Our parenthood a vocation. Every craving, every discomfort – a joy I often overlookIn that present moment of suffering As I seek a quick fixIn the form of pretzels. You’ve revealed this journey is the one I’m called to,And yet …I  feel a twinge of frustration.That this journey comes with no map. I like a map.But You like my sanctification more.Sigh. There’s a little comfort in knowing many faithfully travelled this roadWith no map(!)And became great saints in the process,With your mighty compass to guide them. …Is a map needed? You breathe in life […]

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Real estate, the terrible two’s, and God’s peace amidst it all

toddler playing water

My two year old wants to be in control. Whether he says “No, please”, “stop it”, “go away”, or “mine”, he wants what he wants NOW. Patience is not his virtue. We try to give him choices, but when those options do not give him the outcome he wants, he throws a fit.  He throws his food on the floor, lays on the ground, or tries to hit something. This unfiltered desire for control is comical when we are talking about a two year old because we know it is silly for kids to cry and get angry when they cannot  ___ (eat off the floor, color on the table, fill-in-the-blank). Similarly, I long for and search for control in any way I can find it and get upset when things are out of my control. If you are anything like me, we want things our way and quickly. I […]

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