Arms Outstretched


Vincent van Gogh, First Steps, after Millet, 1890, Oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 35 7/8in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Whatever anxieties, fears, unknowns you may be staring down today, I pray these words might reach you and remind you that God is a good father who says many patient times, “Do not fear.” Continue reading

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The day after Christmas we drove to Texas to visit family. In the last hour of the drive, our phone sirens went off several times, telling us to take shelter NOW from tornadoes that would soon wreak havoc there.

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When “Just” Is a Four-Letter Word


My college roommate and dear friend, Bethany Jenkins, among many other talents, writes and edits for The Gospel Coalition.  She and I reworked a smaller piece of mine into something a little more, and they published it today! I hope you enjoy it:

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O Come Emmanuel

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I want all stories and conversations and relationships to be wrapped up by a beautiful Lexus Christmas bow. I also like things to close on a perfect note, like Jane Austen’s stories. But there are only Lexus bows at Christmastime in certain places—dealerships and some driveways—and as much as I love Jane Austen, her work is fiction. Real life is gritty.

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Heavy Pink Hope


I am here, having settled children in school.
Where have these women been before here?

Most are a decade or two older than me, a few younger.
Their husbands and mine waiting stoic. “I’ll see you,” one says; he waits, outside the swallowing door, unread book in his limp hand.

Veterans in hats, eyebrows missing, know the drill, the door, stay busy, don’t look around questioningly. They are well versed in the waiting. Continue reading

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IMG_5451 (1)Two summers ago I went to Santiago, Chile, with my husband, who travels to speak about his work. We have chopsticks from China, bowls from Africa, books on Brasilian architecture. We scout out trips for me to join him on, ones with few social events so we can spend time on our own. He was told there were no plans for him in Chile, save his talk. So I went along.

But just after we arrived on a red-eye flight, there was a call from Luis, who was in the lobby and would be taking us to lunch in an hour. Luis and Marcela not only took us to lunch, but also to a vineyard, another lunch, a dinner performance of traditional Chilean dances, complete with authentic dress from the different regions of Chile, . . . they had planned several events and excursions each day for us and the other speakers who had traveled there.

And the whole time I was apologizing—apologizing for Continue reading

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I just realized I feel hollow inside today. I’ve been nursing a mild depression this summer: I’m mourning the loss of a friend’s child, I’m mourning the loss of my dream that things would always be easy for my children. Continue reading

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The Leaves Are Falling


The leaves began to fall this week. I saw them outside my kitchen window and stopped. It’s hot outside, and it’s hard to believe autumn will ever come. But this season will come to an end: The leaves are falling.

When I’m in the thick of a season, I begin to believe it will never end. But God is more constant than I can understand, he doesn’t let a season last forever. Continue reading

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“Just” Is a Four-Letter Word

We were at my son’s baseball game. And while a new pitcher warmed up on the mound, the umpire walked over to get his water from the chain-link fence separating us. He saw one of the dads’ Music City marathon/half marathon shirts and asked him if he’d run the marathon.

“Just the half,” the dad answered.

The ump’s unashamed response was a splash of cool water in my face: Continue reading

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Faith can move mountains.
It doesn’t always.

Do I not see third-world miracles in my first world
Because I don’t believe they happen here?
I pray unbelieving,
knowing he will do what he will do.
Lazy praying.

But this time I prayed expecting the mountains to move. Continue reading

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