I was a creative writing/literature major in college. During my senior year, I had to find a poem that meant something to me, memorize it, and recite it to the others in my advanced poetry class.
I chose “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. The narrator came to a fork in the road and struggled to choose which way to go. He knew he wouldn’t likely get back to that same spot again, and so he felt the weight... Read More
I’ve started going to a new doctor. He’s different than most doctors because he doesn’t just treat the symptoms to my pain or fatigue; he tries to get to the root of the problem. He doesn’t just ask, “What hurts?” But he tries to answer the question, “Why do you hurt?”
I want to be more like him as a pastor. So often pastors only see symptoms and misdiagnose the deeper pain. We see people being promiscuous or indulging in... Read More
As I write this, winter is pummeling the Midwest—again. On Sunday, April 15 (affectionately labeled by a friend of mine as January 105th), some parts of Wisconsin officially had their biggest snowstorm in 130 years. Baseball games, soccer matches, track meets, worship services, and schools are cancelled because of the sleet and snow.
Normally I’m prone to complaining about terrible weather, but for the past few weeks I’ve been remembering the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give... Read More
The woman dropped the f-bomb in my office. And she didn’t even flinch.
I tried to hide how offended I was, to take a deep breath and not overreact, but then she dropped it again. Then a third time! The word came flying out of her mouth like it was any other four-letter combination of consonants and vowels.
Eventually, I had to say something. So, I interrupted, “Do you know you just used the f-word?” She looked at me, confused.... Read More
It was the night of the regional championship game. The coach gave the varsity girls his usual pregame talk and then looked at my daughter and asked, “Ready for the devotion?”
It took her a fraction of a second to freak out internally—because, no, she wasn’t ready.
It took another fraction of a second to decide there was no way she was going to risk the utter embarrassment that would come along with confessing that, for the biggest game of... Read More
For most of my life, the Lord’s Supper seemed strange to me. I didn’t think it fit with the rest of worship. I grew up going to a very traditional church in a very old, beautiful building with a very austere worship style.
As a young person, church felt something like this . . .
Some recitations and readings.
A sermon and some prayers.
Then, wait! Stop everything! Snack time!
All the adults would file to the front.... Read More
New Year’s resolutions are great, but I’m finding I need to readjust my focus more often than once a year. In truth, I need weekly and sometimes daily resets. Stepping on the scale makes it easier to get to the gym and say no to dessert. The quarrel with my husband or one of my children brings me to earnest prayer. And when the major dilemmas upset life as I know it, I am quick to seek God’s will.
The... Read More
I sat next to my son, my only son, in church last week—and the readings from Scripture got me thinking.
As we heard the account of the Passover (Exodus 12), I imagined the thankfulness the Israelites felt because they painted the blood of a lamb over their doorposts. As the tenth plaque ravaged Egypt, the Israelites’ sons were living and breathing, about to escape their life of slavery.
I thought about Mary the mother of Jesus too, who knew from... Read More
Nikolas Cruz is the 19-year-old young man in police custody who is accused of gunning down 17 people and wounding another 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. If the allegations are true, his crimes are unspeakable. He's accused of assembling an arsenal (legally!) and then cold-bloodedly and with premeditation carried out an indiscriminate slaughter of innocent, unarmed school students and staff members. No empathy. No remorse. Not a thought to how many lives he was taking away nor... Read More
“I hate potlucks.”
My head snapped up and I stared at the woman who had just uttered the unthinkable. You hate potlucks?! Did you mean “ate” potlucks? Because the only time hate and potlucks should be used in the same sentence is, “I hate missing potlucks.”
My snarky side was just about to say, “What other glorious things do you hate? Puppies? Sunsets? Justin Timberlake?” But before I could snark, another woman in the room chimed in: “I do too.... Read More