Advent

Christmas Tree Reflections

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What follows is not a criticism of decorating and finding joy in doing so at Christmas, for there is much to celebrate! It is right to celebrate, pulling out all the stops to do so, for God brings us joy and goodness. He even instituted celebrations in the Old Testament so that we would be drawn into the joy of his giving. So, please, take joy in your festivities, but may they also be something that reconnects you to the giver of your life. “Out a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit…” Isaiah 11:1, […]

Advent

The Doorway to Wisdom

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Garland, on a fantastic sale, roped me in. Soon I was deep in the scrolling, pictures of fake evergreen to festoon my doorway flitting before me. Fantasies of sparkling greenery shimmering in new-fallen snow glimmered in my imagination. Until I realized how much time had passed and that I had purposed to write today about the doorway to wisdom! Wisdom’s doorway is not draped with discount plastic greenery! Proverbs 8 is the personification of Wisdom, and in it she calls out to us. In verse 34 we read: “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Prov. […]

Advent

God Within Our Limitations

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Becoming a mom was, and continues to be, the most challenging thing I have ever faced. Greater than the hours of musical discipline, greater than being plunged into another language and culture, greater than months of severe illness. Rather than in one or two areas, as the aforementioned challenges were, being mom challenges me in every way. It has brought me to the end of my limits over and over. First the physical limits of carrying, birthing and caring for fragile life. But intertwined with these physical challenges are the faith challenges, the emotional challenges, the mental challenges. Every challenge highlights another limit of mine. […]

Encouragement

Learning to Host by Being a Guest

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Who would have thought that from a deeply shaded house, quiet and reserved in the center of the neighborhood, would come a quiet girl to set the table for so many? My childhood was wrapped comfortably around the dinner table, and dearest memories of deep conversation with Mom, Dad and Brother hold me grounded even today. My introverted family loved to be hospitable to each other where all thoughts, wonderings, jokes and ideas were lingered over in the settled peace of acceptance. From this deep, delightful beginning God has taken me to tables far and wide. Before I learned to host, I learned to be […]

Spiritual Formation

Tis the Season of Preparation

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During 2016 Jesus graciously led me to focus on receiving from Him, resting, and pursuing joy. It was a year like no other before it. It was a year of surrendering my striving and discovering He is my friend, not just my teacher. Like a paint-by-number, He walked me dot-to-dot until I saw that the destination of this life I walk is JOY. It is his JOY to be with us! What says “I love you” more than wanting to be with someone? Jesus, Emmanuel, God-With-Us, came to earth for a short time and suffered death for the JOY of having us be with him. […]

Spiritual Formation

Prep Work Season

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Autumn gardens are not pretty. They are all mold and cold, dark and decay, mess and muck. But if autumn death is not plied into the ground, no spring is nourished. Spent and anemic, the soil will respond to the force of spring with random, unintentional growth of opportunistic, oppressive weeds. Spring will draw great jungles from them, jungles we did not want when we plotted the plot. But autumn is hopeful preparation. Why else would any gardener go out in almost freezing temperatures to fork another layer of compost into the dark ground under gray skies? A week or so ago, I spent the majority […]