Courage

Dealing with Internal Intimidation

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I redirected my energies from my contemplative work into hospitality mid-April. It was to be a two-week hijacking, then a return to the regular route of days. But the pressures and demands didn’t relent. The attempts to incorporate new ideas and habits from classes, the convergence of three young lives summering with me, and some major emotional upheavals suctioned me into silence on my blog. Daily I remembered you and prayed, aching to write, yet simultaneously adding another daily granule of doubt or criticism to the weighted blanket of shame encasing me. Shame casts imposing shadows and augments reality into mocking illusions. As a young […]

Humility

Sabbath: A Foothold of Grace

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The magnitude of our responsibilities and breadth of our busy-ness often leave us short of breath. I’ve heard recently that we make 35,000 decisions a day! (Thanks, Emily P. Freeman, for that astonishing tidbit!) I will not regale you with a list of how busy we all are, for you know your particulars. In scaling our mountains, we need footholds, niches in the immovable rock face, somewhere to pause, hot-faced and trembling for some deep oxygen before moving on. Our lives depend on it. How better than to settle our lives on him on whom we depend? God created us, and he created the spaces […]

Beloved

How Do I Know God Loves Me, Personally? My Journey to Knowing I Am Loved

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I bided my time as she squeezed me tightly to her, warmth rising at the closeness, and stared listlessly at the jumble of envelopes, scratched notes, and flyers askew on the counter, a lone pen lolling against the backsplash. Punctuating a smile on my face to meet her shining welcome as she released me back to my own presence, I felt relieved with the return of the little gulf that buoyed me to safety. I keep to myself. It’s less awkward, less dramatic, and less demanding. I don’t feel immobilized like I do tight up in someone else’s power, even when it’s a loving power. […]

Being Present

How to Unpack Your Burdens with Jesus

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“Come to me, you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 It is hard to receive these life-giving words into our hearts, despite our desperate “I want it!” Why? There may be many reasons, but mine is most often an unwillingness to unpack my dirty underwear. Let me explain. I am currently facing too many assignments, far more than I can accomplish in a day than […]

Courage

Step Aside A Moment

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When life is coming at you full-on force, clarity and intention drain away in the torrent like watercolors bloated with water. The picture we were so carefully painting becomes nondescript, even unrecognizable. These weeks tailing our summer feel like this, and I am gasping. At a time when I have emptied my reserves, I find I must rally all strength—not to push through the onslaught necessarily, but to shelter and rest. Automatically, I push back at force to prove you can’t get me down, and it can seem too vulnerable to go with the flow. It requires strength of spirit, mind, and will to step […]

Attitudes

Courage Amid Worries

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Four a.m. is a sly hour. Sometimes I can slide past it in oblivion, other times it wakes in my sub-conscious as a bright new dawn, a photo-bomber of my picture perfect slumber. Last night, it shed its camouflage, and grinned widely at me, enjoying the time to toy with my mind. This is the hour that is raw; the vulnerable, naked time. It is as if all the swaddling comes off my psyche, and I’m left in the crib flailing and wailing (if awake), or completely at peace (if asleep). Honestly, this hour intimidates me. Last night was one of those unpleasant rousings where […]

Attitudes

Courage Gains Strength in Stillness

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Nascent courage feels much like a sprig of hope, slenderly strong in the cold earth rising to the call of the white light above. Fragile, yet powerful, in its miniscule multiplication, cell upon cell of mitochondrial factories. Scoff not at the small beginning. Trample not the greening of an idea under the solstice of God. He rises, like the sun, for just such a reason. He bends his power, as the sun sends its rays, to this greening earth to call forth these courageous beginnings. Sometimes a seed lies long in the dark earth, then someone “happens” to kick a clod away, just enough to […]

Attitudes

Moses: A Lesson in Humility

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When I asked my daughter what “humility” meant to her, she said “It’s when you fart in class!” via GIPHY Like her, I think many people confuse humility with humiliation. But humility is something you practice voluntarily. Humiliation is often something done to you, a deeply embarrassing event, not an attitude. Humility is a result of grace, whereas humiliation is a result of shaming. Take a look at the Old Testament with me. It is peppered with exhortations like these: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear […]