Posts in Faith
When Feelings and Faith Disagree

Faith is not a warm and fuzzy feeling. Rather it is a willful choice to believe in the reliability of God even when that belief is lacking in physical evidence. It's easy to believe the promise that God works things for my good when good things have come to fruition; it's easy to believe that God is near when He feels near. But when my feelings and experiences tell a different story than the Word of God, faith isn't so fun anymore.

The test of faith comes when my feelings veer off to the left and God's Word goes to the right. Here I must make a willful choice to place my faith in what I deem most reliable—my feelings or God's Word.

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Painful Pruning: An Unavoidable Season

When I consider the last decade of my life, I see a series of deaths: Death of my pride through living in the shadow of my husband's giftedness. Death of my fear of conflict through divorces in my family and among friends. Death of my fear of confrontation through difficult friendships. Death of my desires through multiple miscarriages. Death of my fear of failure through situations where I could not win. Death of my hope in myself through seeing my exposed sin in high-definition focus.

Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, "Does it have to be this way? Can't I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?"

In God's kingdom, pruning is caring. Jesus is the true vine, His Father the vinedresser. Every branch in Jesus that bears fruit, the Father prunes that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1–2).

God's answer to my question is yes. Yes, it does need to die. It must be pruned. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don't want—an overgrown, thorny bush with no fruit to offer.

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The Eternal Impact of Ordinary Obedience

We are too often overly impressed with the "big" ministries of "famous" Christians and give too little weight to the "average, small and unseen" ministry of faithful saints. So in the wake of Toni's death, I beg you to consider the humble faithfulness of one of your sisters in the faith. She did not set out the change the world, but rather to serve God with joy all the days of her life. If you have been impacted at all by what I've written, then you should know she is partly responsible. Toni Peeler saw in me a small spark of passion for God's Word, and she took the time to fan it into a flame.

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Corrie Ten Boom: Extraordinary Faith in the Face of Danger

Living in German-occupied Holland in 1944, Corrie ten Boom was leading an underground network protecting hundreds of Jews all over the country. This work earned her a ticket to Ravensbruck, a despicable Nazi concentration camp, where unspeakable suffering became the backdrop to a new ministry of prayer meetings in flea-infested barracks and ministering the Word of God to anyone in need.

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How to Handle the Grief of Miscarriage

Miscarriage is the membership card to a club you never asked to be in; a union of women sporting badges of infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage, and even abortion. Women who share your emotions, questions, crisis of faith, and isolation, women whose desire to be a parent has been abruptly interrupted by suffering. This post is an effort to encourage those who are grieving and to help friends and family members trying to help.

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The Sabbath: The Antidote for Achievement-Addicts

At the first snow of manna in Exodus 16, God introduces His people to a Sabbath day. Two-and-a-half months after leaving their former slave drivers, God's people hear an odd command from their new Master—rest. Though we might not be slaves, our present culture prizes productivity so highly that taking a day off also sounds absurd. "Maybe God meant take a rest from my normal work and do a different kind of work. I can't just waste time."

To be honest, this is exactly how I think. If making to-do lists was a viable hobby, it would be mine. I treat productivity like a sport, seeing if I can beat my previous record of tasks completed in one day. Sad but true.

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There is only One.

Do you feel distant from God? Do you feel at odds with Him? Do you desire to draw closer to Him? There is one mediator between you and God. It’s not your favorite author. It’s not a book or Bible study. It’s not your pastor, your counselor, your friend, or your parents. For there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. Your pastor or friend or favorite blogger have not given themselves as a ransom for you. Only One person has done that… the man Jesus Christ. Do you have loved ones who are far from God and hope to see them reconciled to Him? Does it seem like it’s all up to you? Like you’re the only one in their life speaking truth and pushing them to God? Remember, there is one mediator between God and men, and it’s not you. You have no power to reconcile others to God. The best you can do is point to the man Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a ransom for all.

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Left Out: The Benefits of Exclusion

Being left out will always be a litmus test for pride. As soon as you realize you didn’t get the invite, you aren’t in the inner circle, or you are on the outside, one of two responses happen. The first is the most common: hurt, disappointment, and/or anger. Under those surface feelings are deep roots of entitlement (a.k.a. pride). A feeling that you deserve to be included or that you have merited inclusion. Or that you are owed the opportunity to be included, assuming that it's the fair thing to do. But our God isn't fair, mercifully so (read more about that here). We live under grace and that changes the game.

To boil it down, being included is about being honored. Like the kids picked first for the kickball team, being chosen for any group is position of honor. No one wants to be last on the team, or worst of all, not picked at all. We want the places of honor.

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What To Do With Self-Pity

Self-pity is simply the grief that I have nothing to brag about in myself. Ever have those days when you feel like a failure at everything? The closer I walk with God, the more my sin, my deep-rooted self-love, comes into high-definition focus. And honestly, I'd really love to be the most put together person in the room, the most spiritual, the most holy, the most fill-in-the-blank woman I know. Why? [Honest confession time] Because I love boasting in myself!

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A Jesus-Heart for Children, Part 3

I have often found that there are 2 specific topics that come up a lot as I meet with young wives and felt were worth tackling: birth control and child care.

These are sensitive topics for sure, controversial even, and there are many factors that play into every individual’s decision. But too often, these decisions are made from attitudes and motives that have been shaped by our culture, instead of the Word of God.

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A Heart for Home: Part 1

The home is the fundamental establishment of any society. Like the rudder of a ship, the condition of the homes will steer the direction of the nation. The home is where future world leaders are molded, where brilliant minds are nurtured, where world views are established. Any investment made in the home has ripple effects that last for generations. So when we talk of a woman overseeing the home, this is not to lessen her importance, but to elevate it. God has given us influence over the most important establishment in all of society.

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Valentine's Day is Not About You

How did Valentine's day become "I-need-someone-to-make-much-of-me day"? The popular idea of love conjures up images of being served and doted on by others. So if you don't have someone buying you flowers, sending you notes, and telling you you're awesome on Valentine's day, it then becomes an excuse to be angry and depressed.

Christian, your view of love should be markedly different than this. 

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Prepare Him Room

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords makes His grand entrance onto the globe without the majesty that is due Him. Rather, not regarding His equality with God a thing to be asserted, He emptied Himself, entering our world with nothing. Wrapped in rags, laid to rest among animals, greeted by lowly shepherds. Most of us, welcomed by announcements, baby showers, and gifts, were born with more pomp and ceremony than Jesus.

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[Friendship Gone Wrong] 15 Questions to Diagnose Idolatry

This sinful idolatry may even appear godly at first. Two co-dependent friends may pray together, talk about Jesus a lot, and be extremely supportive of one another. The spiritual conversation and activity of the friendship may give a false sense that nothing is wrong. But it matters little how much we talk about Jesus or do things for Jesus if our hope and trust isn't in Him alone. Here are 15 questions to help you diagnose if idolatry is present in your friendship. 

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