When I was a teen, my friends and I used to compare our scars with pride. We called them “battle scars” because they were proof we had been through something.
Scars are not so easily noticed as adults because very often they aren’t physical. They’re the pains of loss, the unmet expectations of unrealized dreams. They’re the awkward and unavoidable relationships that have turned sour and the painful separation of relationships that have deteriorated altogether.
Earlier this year, Christian radio... Read More
I had a headache. I was tired. I had worked that morning, been in the car for three hours, and attended my son’s eighth-grade graduation. And I needed to be up in six hours for work again.
That’s when my daughter informed me that her graduation gown was wrinkled—and rehearsal was in the morning. Now, I am all about making my kids do their own chores, and they have all been doing their laundry since they were 8. Still, I... Read More
I just started serving my third church as a pastor. I began ministry in Orlando, FL. Then, for the last five years, I served a church in Winona, MN. Now I serve a church in Franklin, WI.
With each transition, some aspects are getting easier. I’m finding it easier to assimilate into the ministry. I’m finding it easier to make decisions as a leader. But there’s at least one aspect that seems to be getting harder for me with each... Read More
A few weeks ago at the Morehouse College graduation ceremony, billionaire Robert F. Smith was given an honorary doctorate. During his commencement address, he told the nearly four hundred graduating seniors, “My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans!” The news story went viral—because the student debt from each person adds up to a gift of about $40 million.
Graduate Aaron Mitchom stood on the top of his chair and said, “Thank you, God, I’m... Read More
Over the course of 12 years in ministry, I’ve delivered hundreds of messages, but few stick out like the one on depression.
It was one of those topics that I knew was important but didn’t realize how important until after it was over and dozens of emails filled my inbox. The sheer number of them proved that mental health is a major battle for so many of God’s beloved sons and daughters, even at a church that strives to be... Read More
I stopped to talk to a neighbor and friend from church at the end of my walk. It didn’t take long for us to discuss the ever-present worries and fears we have for our children. We would be the first to admit worrying is pointless, irrational, and ridiculous. We beat ourselves up for doing it, but still, as moms, it is our natural sinful bent.
That’s why moms need to pray for wisdom. My favorite definition for wisdom is from... Read More
Last week was a week of milestones for my family. My youngest graduated from eighth grade, and my oldest graduated from high school. My friends and I were mentally preparing ourselves for how much we would cry. We all spent a few minutes (or hours) looking at baby pictures and school photos, recalling all the good memories.
Because it’s graduation season, I know there’s a whole bunch of parents in the same emotionally melancholy boat right now, wishing we could... Read More
I’m a husband, and I’m a father. Like many men, I feel it’s my duty to fix whatever is broken in our home. Unfortunately, I’m not very handy, but I try my best. In most cases, I end up calling my dad or a mechanic to finish the job. The problem is, I don’t always restrict my “duty of fixing” to washers and dryers and sinks. I feel it’s my duty to fix the people in my home as well. ... Read More
As our family started talking about a summer vacation, we had one thing in mind: the blue-green water and flourlike sand of the Caribbean. That is, until I looked into pricing. It quickly became apparent that a Caribbean vacation for six was not in the Swenson budget.
So with less than a month before takeoff, I googled flights, looked at the U.S. map, and booked the cheapest flights. Turns out Seattle and the Oregon coast are about the furthest thing... Read More
A number of recent studies suggest that Americans are more anxious than ever. Worst-case scenarios churn relentlessly in our thoughts: “There’s going to be an accident.” “Someone could break into my apartment.” “I’m going to freeze during the presentation.” “He’s going to dump me.”
Do you ever think such thoughts?
What’s worse is how utterly incapable our prefrontal cortex is in the face of our worries. Reason and logic should filter out 99.9% of these worst-case scenarios, but they rarely... Read More