Yesterday I was in such a funk. Because of winds up to 70 mph, the power went off around 10:30 in the morning and remained off all day and into the evening. While most others here in our mountain valley have woodstoves for their heat, we rely on electricity. People think we’re nuts, but years ago when we built the house we had an asthmatic baby boy, and his doctor recommended we not use wood heat to keep the air cleaner. Part of my concern was, of course, the food in the frid
Hope: n. desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment I can have hope for a good future because I trust God. I do not put my hope in men or women, all of whom are fallible. All make mistakes. All say dumb things. All inflict hurt one way or another. Instead, I can maintain hope in God, because he is worthy of my trust. Trust: n. assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something I trust God because his character is good. I’
Jesus included everyone in the conversation. He spoke with a Samaritan woman–who wasn’t part of the Jewish faith in-crowd, being half-Jew and half-Gentile. He spoke with a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years–also considered unclean by the religious leaders of the time. He spoke with a Canaanite woman–who would have been part of a group of people who served other gods. Reading the passage about the Canaanite woman today in Matthew 15, I had to pause and reflect: Do I
Scripture says that God will reign over the earth. When I think about figurehead kings and queens around the world, I wonder how others view that scripture. My God is not a figurehead. He does not just hold a title with no more authority than today’s royalty that cuts ribbons and waves to a crowd affectively.
My God is not the sum total of someone’s fashionable cross piece of jewelry.
He created the stones and jewels and wood in that necklace.
My God is not something that is
As a board member of The Sierra Schools Foundation, I recently helped coordinate efforts to bring social-emotional training to our small school district’s teachers. One term struck me: compassion fatigue. As teachers have doubled up duties to teach both in an in-person setting and in a distance learning model, they have also encountered countless cases of students and parents and peers who are in emotional distress, while these same teachers also try to manage their own famil
The last two days I have shared two of the three callings I know that God has laid on me, as well as how they have played out in my life. The first was in 1986 when God called me to a ministry of writing. The second was in 1989 when God called me to the profession of teaching. The third occurred in the fall of 1998. We had just sent our first and second children off to college that September. It felt like a season of new beginnings, except that my health was failing–at my own
Yesterday I shared the first of three calls I know God put on my life. The first was this: “I want you to write for me” in 1986. Three years later God gave me a second calling . . . through the odd circumstance of a dream . . . or rather, a nightmare. Lest you think I’m weird, I just want to throw out there that Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph, was also directed to make dramatic changes in his and Mary’s lives because of dreams . . . THREE times, if I remember correctly. The f
he greatest torture I could inflict on our gregarious daughter was to banish her to her room. She thrived on the company of others, so making her withdraw from others was the hardest discipline we could inflict when she disobeyed. The Lord God had to allow Israel to be taken captive into a foreign land. The people were going through motions with God. They would ask for God’s counsel, but then disregard any word they found objectionable. Just as a good parent will discipline t
Warnings. Words of advice. Gut feelings. Cautionary tales. Do we pay attention? Do I listen to others’ counsel and pay attention to their experiences? As an English teacher I heard students’ arguments against reading fiction: “But it’s not real, Mrs. McHenry. Why should I have to read it?” Here’s my thought: we can either read about others’ experiences and learn from them or we can experience them ourselves. Frankly, I’d rather do the reading. We can learn from Jeremiah’s sto
We drove to church yesterday, with a black wall to our right half of the way to Reno. Wildfires licked up just about every spot of green from our place in the Sierra Valley last week almost all the way to the Nevada border. There were miracles of places and human and animal lives saved. Someone even posted a photo of a baby calf sitting in an unburned patch surrounded by burnt pasture. But so much black. While I know in my heart that grasses and even wildflowers will push the
What kinds of limitations have you put on yourself? “I’m a woman–that’s a man’s job.” “I didn’t get a college education so . . . “ “My family background is a mess. It is so dysfunctional.” “I’m not strong enough or in good enough physical shape.” “That task isn’t something that syncs with my personality type.” “I’m just not smart enough.” “I’m not attractive.” Well, we’re in good company. Listen to Jeremiah’s conversation with God: “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not kn
I often paint an idyllic picture of my little town with photos that I post on my personal Facebook page. Quaint houses and cute churches. A pretty rose garden. Stunning Sierra Valley photos. But there is some ugliness too. Folks who don’t give a hoot about their yards–with weeds a mile high and junk lying all over. Abandoned buildings crumpling. There is verbal ugliness too. Arguments. Cuss words not just for an occasional emphasis but as the substantive portion of the conver
I don’t know another time when I’ve felt I’ve lived just about every line of this famous piece of poetry written by King Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV): For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to
I’ve been near-sighted since the sixth grade. That was not a good year. My school had a fire, so I had to walk even farther to another school that was next to the railroad tracks. My desk faced the window, and I would count railroad cars to keep myself awake. (It is not true that naps in school stop after kindergarten.) In fourth grade I remember being put in a special class to learn “new math,” which was actually algebra. In fifth grade poetry began to make sense. But sixth
Dear graduate, “Good young person, don’t forget everything people have taught you; take their words to heart. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well. Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of others. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in ever
Suffering and pain define seasons of our lives, don’t they? I still find myself thinking of events as “pre-trial” and “post-trial.” Some of you may not know that my husband Craig was wrongfully convicted of six felony counts of animal cruelty in May 2005. Hmmm . . . I hadn’t thought of it until now–but that’s been fifteen years this week. And just because I don’t want to leave you hanging there, we appealed the case with the California Court of Appeals, and the conviction was
Addicted to doing? Addicted to checking things off your list? I’m raising my hand. I own all that. Because I’m goal-oriented and achievement-driven, it’s been tough to cross things off my calendar, such as medical appointments, because I want them DONE. I do not want to think about them anymore. Now they’re floating out there in the great Somewhere/Sometime of life. Ahhhhh! How are you doing in this uncertainty? Cruising? Cursing? I decided that for a season I need a new kind
Years ago when I started prayerwalking, God showed me that wherever I am, there’s a need for prayer . . . so I began opening up my eyes and praying for what I saw. Businesses. Local government offices. Schools. Families.
And more. I also became passionate about understanding more about prayer, and as I read through the Bible, I would mark any reference to pray that I noticed. I particularly focused on Jesus’s prayer life and the teachings on prayer in the New Testament. But t
How might Jesus advocate for you with his Heavenly Father? Here is an idea, inspired by Revelation 1-3, taken from my book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus (Bethany House, 2018): “Father, as the Alpha and Omega, I appeal to you on behalf of our servants. Consider their hard work and perseverance in the faith. They have endured hardships and yet keep pressing on. However, they have lost some of the passion for the faith and the desire to make you their first priorit
How do we push through the mountain of tasks that seem impossible? We can learn a lot from Hebrews 12. 1. Look to Jesus. First, we can let the life of Jesus inspire us. He had a call on his life–to share the good news of salvation for us all and to make that walk to the cross for our sakes. Knowing our call helps us decide what gets a YES in our life and to what we can say NO. His life also gives us perspective: probably nothing we are experiencing compares to his suffering.