A Friend Loves at All Times via Servants of Grace

"I used to think that one of the best things I could do for a friend in crisis was give her some space. Maybe I never actually put it into words, but that’s what my actions often communicated. I cared about her, but I didn’t know what to say; I didn’t know if she’d want me to infringe on her privacy; and honestly, if I were in her shoes, I wasn’t sure I’d want me around either. But after facing some hard situations myself and walking with close friends through their trials over the past few years, I’ve changed my mind.

"When my children were diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, the friends who pressed in were the ones who helped me the most. Proverbs 17:17 says, 'A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity,' and it’s the friends who love me at 'all times,' especially the unexpectedly confusing, painful, and lonely times, who the Lord uses to communicate his nearness and compassion the loudest..."
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When Children Ask Hard Questions

Questions, so many questions. That’s how it is with children. One of our toddler’s favorite games is “What’s this?” She points, and her siblings answer “vase” or “rug.” It’s fun and usually easy to play when children are young.
But I’m learning that the game gets harder to play as our little people and their questions mature. It isn't enough to know what something is or when we’ll arrive to our destination. They want to know why. Why can’t I? Why did she? Last week, my young son asked one of the hardest questions yet: Why me?

Why am I the one who got a splinter? The one who broke his elbow? The one with this diagnosis?
"Why me" is an honest question that can lead down so many paths. My heart pumps with fear as I think of some of the paths where this question has led me that I don’t want my son to have to travel. I want to protect him from why me that leads to self-pity and why me that leads to victimization.
It wasn’t a question to brush under the carpet, and my mind rac…

"Praying for Our Children with a Genetic Condition" new today at Servants of Grace

"My husband’s and my shock and sadness over one child’s diagnosis was magnified by another life-altering phone call a few weeks later. Scott rushed home from work to join me on our front porch where I haltingly conveyed the pediatrician’s message that two more of our (then) four children also carried the most serious form of alpha-1. Sounds of children playing in our neighborhood filled the silences as our hearts overflowed with grief and sorrow. "As Christians, Scott and I believe in prayer, but the enormity of our situation felt suffocating. Between gut-wrenching sobs, I whispered to my husband, 'How do we pray for God to heal three of our children?' Embedded in my question was the assumption that maybe we could ask God to heal one, but asking him to heal three children would be expecting too much. It raised another question, too—what does one pray for someone with a genetic condition? "Even praying for someone with long-term cancer seemed more reasonable. A …

Christmas Poem | 2019

we walk in a wasteland where flowers weep & widows wonder why while empty arms cry & each step seems steep to our stumbling feet
we fight back sorrow who long for tomorrow & words feel weak to reach the meek those who seek spring in white winter
when a baby’s wail softens the trail piercing our ears with his presence: Emmanuel, Jesus is with us

As for Me, I am Poor and Needy

For months, Psalm 40:17 sat prominently on my kitchen windowsill where I could see it easily while washing dishes. Now the paper's folded and torn, and the ink's bled and faded, but the words remain. In a relentless season, they were my confession and prayer. Each word still rings so true in my heart:

"As for me, I am poor and needy." Yes, this is who we are. We're poor and needy people, desperate in every way for the help that only Jesus gives. And even though Jesus says in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," sometimes it doesn't feel that way. Sometimes it's hard--really hard--to lift our gaze, look up to Jesus and forward to heaven, when our hearts are weighed down. To believe that being poor in spirit is a good thing simply because Jesus says it is. To trust in a promise we can't see. Yet whether we confess our general depravity or a particular incidence of the sin of self-sufficiency, when…

"To the Single Parents at Christmas" and "Let Me Love Them Well"

Do you know a single parent who could use encouragement? Or someone who feels more overwhelmed by the work of parenting than the joy? Please read these two new articles at Her View From Home and share them if someone comes to mind. I pray my words refresh those who read them.

(1) Link: To the Single Parents at Christmas--God Sees You Sample: "I wish I could leave a surprise check in the mailbox or extra presents on the doorstep for your kids. As much as I’d like to give you that, I can’t. But what I have, I give you, and it’s this: I see you. Others see you. Your family sees you. Most importantly, God sees you.God sees every act of love, each choice to serve others, and every sacrifice you make. He sees it all. Not only does God see you from a distance, but Christmas is about incarnation. It’s about the God who sees you and then enters your world. I see you, and my heart goes out to you. But while I can only give you my words, God sees you and gives you Immanuel, God with us."

We Give Thanks for Muddy Floors

We spent a good chunk of our weekend doing one of my least favorite things…cleaning. It was a group effort with all hands on deck. We weren’t tackling just the large-family home survival chores of emptying the dishwasher, picking up toys, sweeping floors, and wiping the bathrooms. We moved boxes of books, made sure ALL the clothes made it out of the laundry baskets into drawers, and vacuumed bedrooms. My husband replaced light fixtures. We wanted everything ready for Thanksgiving week, from the play room for kids to our bedroom for coats. And it would’ve been a lot easier without children interrupting with runny noses or wanting snacks or getting tired on the job or needing any other kind of attention. In fact, there would’ve been fewer clothes to put away and much fewer toys to step on without any children at all. Who knows? The house might’ve been clean already. “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,” and where there are no children, it’s a lot easier for a home to stay cle…