Your dad and I had had barely left the hospital with you In tow before rushing back to the emergency room. There wasn’t time to meet your extended family or settle into your daily routine. There was no time to heal at home or acclimate to our new life as a family of four. Our days would soon be colored with the neon glow of beeping monitors and the fluorescent lights of the Pediatric ICU. Simply put, it was not the maternity leave I had hoped for or imagined I'd be spending with you...
The pro-abortion movement is busy screeching at the top of it's lungs "My body. My choice." The irony is that the pro-life movement is pro-choice too. We just disagree on who gets a choice and when that choice occurs.
Last spring I took a spiritual formation class during my last semester of undergrad. Honestly, I expected it to be a breeze. I was used to academics. I knew how to study well, maximize my time, and give professors what they wanted. When I saw that we were assigned a different spiritual discipline to practice and journal about every week, I was prepared to go through the motions and check off any box necessary for me to succeed (I had severe senioritis!) But what I didn’t expect was a loving but convicting lesson from the Spirit about my tendency to do all the things (prayer, worship, Bible reading) to feel as though I was succeeding in my relationship with God rather than to simply bask in his presence.
If I am completely honest, prayer is something that has felt daunting to me. I have often become discouraged because my prayer life is not what I want it to be. I get distracted. I don’t always know what to pray for. Sometimes it feels like a chore. Often I feel guilty because I know prayer is a beautiful gift we have, and it is a calling. I want to have intimacy with my God, but my own imperfection discourages me. I often let my discouragement paralyze me, which inhibits me from growing in prayer.
I used to think that fasting was about “sacrificing” or “suffering” for God, showing Him just how much we loved Him by giving something up for Him. But this year, that all changed. I’ve personally only fasted a few times in my life. Yes. You read that. Only a few times. Recently, our church had a month-long fasting and prayer challenge, and for the first time I saw it in a new light. Fasting isn’t about sacrifice. It’s about finding our satisfaction in Jesus Christ.
Every month like clockwork (give or take a day or two) we get the consequential reminder that, thanks to our mother Eve, we carry the curse of pain in child-birth. But are the crippling cramps and embarrassing blood soaked stains all that there is to It? Is that what periods are really all about?
Sure. It’s easy to be cynical about the New Year. When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, sometimes they are nothing more than an ill-attempt at self-improvement, a merely human effort to do better.
If you were at our women’s conference in March, you will know how excited I am that the month of December is finally here. Yes, I am absolutely excited about the snow, Christmastime, and all that this season brings. But I am also really excited not to wear pants for 31 days in a row.
I have been known (at least in my own heart) to have a chip on my shoulder criticizing how churches operate: Why do all the pastors sit together instead of spreading out in the sanctuary? Why aren’t the pastors mingling with strangers? Why don’t those worship leaders go hangout with a loner in the back? And so on. But at one-point years ago in my grumbling to God about church operations, He so kindly reminded me that though I am not paid to do so, I am a part of the body…so if my heart is so strong in reaching out to people, why am I not the one doing exactly what I think they should do?
Two days before I was offered the job I spent a lot of my time crying because I was so afraid of moving. I had spent my entire life in Michigan. My friends and family were all in Michigan, I had the best living situation of my entire life, and I was finally feeling settled. I had been praying for a camp job for almost a year, but I wanted my dream job on my own terms.I remember telling God, “If this is the door you are going to open for me, I will walk through it. But I really really don’t want to.”