• Faith Reflections

    Christmas Year Round

    A confession: A few years ago I started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Don’t hurl snowballs at me. I wait as long as I can, but I never last until after the fourth Thursday in November. I adore Christmas. I love decorations and twinkling lights. I delight in music and holiday food. I have a real obsession/addiction with Hallmark movies. December is my jam. But it’s easy for me to camp in the shallow end of the holiday, missing what I really love about the season. More than other times of the year, I believe Christmas finds us closest to…

  • Faith Reflections

    My 2018 Word-for-the-Year

    For the past five years, I’ve done a “word-for-the-year” rather than new year’s resolutions. I wrote about it first in 2014 here. I wrote about my word for 2018 here. Many of you have joined me in this new approach to embracing a new year with a single word and I love it when you share your word with me. I love a single word so much more than resolutions. Resolutions tend to make me focus on behavioral changes which don’t always last and often result in more guilt rather than growth. But a guiding word for the year makes me hopeful and excited, like…

  • Faith Reflections

    Sacrificial Love

    I never dreamed I would one day love attending basketball games, but a boy named Blake changed this for me. My nephew is passionate about basketball and, as a six-foot-two eighth-grader, he gets to play a lot of it. I’ve taken him to the gym to practice drills. I’ve watched him go outside for hours, practicing shots and ball handling. He loves basketball and because I love him, I attend his games and cheer like crazy. It is my duty and, even more so, my joy as his aunt. Loving Christ means we take on Christ’s passion. Out of love…

  • Faith Reflections

    Morning by Morning New Mercies I See

    I don’t drink coffee (yes – I’ve tried everything. No amount of sugar or cream or milk or pumpkin spice helps.) As much as I want to be one of the cool kids addicted to liquid energy, I’m destined for uncoolness in all areas of my life. But despite this, I do savor the richness of this liturgy for the ritual of morning coffee. As you read and, hopefully, pray this prayer below, remember yesterday is not limited to 24 hours. As I prayed this morning, my yesterdays expand far beyond twenty-four hours on the clock. The wounds can feel…

  • Faith Reflections

    Jesus, the perfect mirror of God

    In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. Hebrews…

  • Faith Reflections

    When Shame Shows Up

    Most people these days don’t appreciate an unexpected visitor at your home. In the past, the sound of the doorbell triggered excitement as we welcomed a distraction from the monotony of the day. For most today, it seems to bring anxiety or dread or a well-meaning politician or religious devotee with literature and a promise in hand. On a recent trip, shame showed up unexpectedly at my door. I was leading a team of folks from our church and another church on a mission trip to Ukraine and Poland. It was an amazing trip and, considering all that can occur…

  • Faith Reflections

    Grieving Our Way to Growth

    When my niece was little, she always had the corner of a little blanket. She gave up the security blanket on her timing, without coercion or bribes. I’m confident before she completely stopped, there were times when she left it behind and then, moments later, ran back to grab it when she realized she was flying solo. Control is a security blanket for me. I feel safe when things, feelings, and people are ordered, understood, and in their proper place. It is far easier to order my house and office than it is others. There is something deceivingly alluring and falsely…

  • Faith Reflections

    Snow Lessons

    It snowed today. I wasn’t prepared for it – mentally, physically, or emotionally. Three days ago, I was airing out my house as warm winds danced in one window and out another. I was dreaming of tan skin and flip flops and summer adventures, my mind carried away by those same warm winds. Tonight, I sat in my frozen car waiting for the rear defrost to work its magic. No gloves, no scraper. Just the magic of black stripes across the rear window taking their dear sweet time. It’s funny the things that force you to slow down. You would…

  • Faith Reflections

    Hanging Out with Grace

    About a year-and-a-half ago I met Grace – a spunky, joyful, 7-year-old girl with a love for Jesus, her daddy, and life – in that order. We were both attending camp in a new place with new people. At our first meeting with all the new faces, Grace hid behind her daddy’s legs. I hid behind an extroverted alter ego I’d packed for moments like this. Meeting new people can be hard – no matter how old you are. My good friend, Heather, came to camp with me. Heather makes friends with ease. She walks around with love on her…

  • Faith Reflections

    Watching Somebody Love

    “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz I love this line from Donald Miller’s book. Miller was talking about how some people learn to love something – like jazz music or God – because they witness someone loving jazz music or God and it moves you. You can’t argue with it and sometimes it doesn’t make sense yet the evidence is in front of you in how a person loves. A few summers ago our youth group worked with a guy named…