Because Peace is Powerful

As I write today, carpenters cut, pull, hammer, and screw in the next room. They also listen to the radio, sing, and have interesting conversations. (Confession: For writers, eavesdropping is a requisite.) It’s loud and dirty work, this renovation of our living space. I have hope (confident expectation) that, when they and the other tradesmen finish, everything will be better than it was before (after I dust at least ten times!), but this interim is…challenging, to put it nicely. Not surprisingly, I find it difficult to concentrate.

This morning while it was still quiet, I sat at my dusty dining room table, wiped yesterday’s dust off my Bible, and opened it to the end of John 16. Continue reading

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[Hashtag] This Is My Life

Julia sipped from the cup of tea in her left hand while she swiped and double-stamped Instagram posts on the phone in her right hand. She didn’t even look at the images, just “liked” them because her friends posted them. Friends with interesting lives and exotic vacations. Friends with fantastic husbands. An Old Navy advertisement: she paused, scrolled back a little, and tapped the now-red heart to un-like that one. She kept scrolling. Friends who always found the coolest coffee shops. Friends with beautiful tables already set for Easter dinner which was still four—no wait, two—days away.

Julia propped her feet on the basket of laundry in the floor but immediately lifted them off again. At least take off your shoes first, Julia! Those clothes are clean. She slipped her feet out of six-year-old tennis shoes and stretched them atop the laundry basket. Both the basket and her feet blurred until she blinked her eyes like windshield wipers to clear the tears.

What would happen if she posted a photo of the full laundry basket? Continue reading

Sabbath Stealers and Strengtheners

Sometimes my Type-A, list-making tendencies get in the way of my Sabbath observance. My to-do list is a Sabbath-stealer.

Going for a walk on a sunny, Sunday afternoon is, for me, a Sabbath-strengthener.

My guest post for Jeanne Doyon this week reviews some key points from our Sabbathing series and helps us all sort the Sabbath-strengtheners from the Sabbath-stealers. (They may be different for each of us.) Click on over, especially if you love a completed to-do list! Then leave me a comment there or come back here to share.

I love a good to-do list, but when I studied #Sabbath, God didn’t give me a list. Guess it’s #NotAboutMe…or my #ToDoList. (click to tweet)

What Real Sabbath Looks Like

Sabbathing, part 2

In part 1:

  • I confessed my Sunday struggles.
  • I eliminated some Sabbath-like activities that aren’t always purposeful. (Dare we call them Sabbath-stealers?)
  • I gave you my short, working definition for Sabbath.

Although my activities are different, my mindset on Sundays (described last week) isn’t significantly different from the other days of the week. This is where my conviction began. Continue reading

Sabbathing: Is that a word?

The alarm on my phone is far more cheerful than I feel. No swiping for a snooze today. Since the kids are older, the pace is less frenetic, but we still have much to do before we lock the door behind us. We always leave late despite my best efforts. I carry my coffee to the car in my regular ceramic cup rather than taking time to transfer it to something with a lid.

I try to quiet my mind on the drive, and we’re careful not to argue or fuss at the children regardless of how the morning went. We split from the kids as soon as we walk through the church doors. Continue reading

Great! …with child

I opened my calendar and counted the months. Our baby would be born in early January, which meant I would be great with child at Christmas. “Great!” I sighed, wondering if with child was a good thing for Christmas time.

A long time ago, there was another expectant mother, one much younger and more fearful than me. Perhaps she pulled out her calendar when she heard about a census of the entire Roman Empire. Perhaps she counted the months, sighed, and wondered. Continue reading

Lean In, Listen, and Learn

Or Why I Listen to NPR News Even Though I’m Not Liberal and Read Desiring God Even Though I’m Not Reformed

On occasion, I meet a new friend and quickly discover we are much alike. We have the same opinions on major issues, we love God and the Bible, and we parent in similar ways. Such people are easy to love and fun to hang out with. They encourage us to be better versions of ourselves through reinforcement of our values. That’s important.

Other times, I meet people who clearly value different things and have different opinions than me. While they may be entertaining, we don’t “click” like we would if we were more alike. The other person may not respect the Bible or be a Christ-follower. She may have been raised in a different part of the country where people just don’t think like we do here in the south, honey. He may be pursuing an alternative lifestyle.

When I meet such people, I have two choices. Continue reading