The Gravy Promise

The Gravy Promise

We didn’t need words. We had chicken, fresh off the grill and perfectly juicy. We had corn on the cob, roasted garlic zucchini, and deep amber honey dripping off buttery biscuits. We had some gentle quiet at the end of a week of sweet chaos, with their family and ours all under one roof. And we had memories of meals shared on the other side of the Pacific, where a steady thread of holidays and birthdays, weekday dinners and afternoon iced coffees had first woven us together. As the food disappeared, the words came like a slow tide. We stayed long at the table and talked about graduating kids and losing parents and about how grief feels anything but natural. The next day our friends got on a plane and flew back to where God has them for this season, and we stayed...

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Again and Again

Again and Again

We’re in a season of some pretty big change in our house. Our oldest is leaping from childhood into the strange new world of college classes, car insurance, and grown-up decisions and responsibilities. And for the first time in his ministry career, my husband is serving primarily adults instead of teens. He’s upgraded his goatee to a full beard and his office décor from a plunger in a vase (seriously) to coordinating wall art and real, live potted plants. I love my new role with Wycliffe Women of the Word – like really, really LOVE it – but after years of homeschool and coffee dates and leading Bible studies and writing mostly whenever the whim hit, it feels weird to have deadlines and an editor and a swanky new podcast on the horizon. (I told my unendingly...

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Toast and Fish Sticks

Toast and Fish Sticks

The bigness of life has surprised me. When I was young I expected life to become simpler as I grew older. I thought my days would get easier because I would be more equipped to handle the things that would come along. What I didn’t understand then was the sheer size and complexity of the mess left by that choice in Eden. Recently my husband and I have been asked — both personally and professionally — to speak truth into some pretty profound darkness, and it can feel overwhelming at times. I spent a good part of last week preparing for a couple significant projects on the horizon, and I have to be honest that it’s easy to feel unqualified to add my voice to such important conversations. The other day I texted my sister about some of what I’ve been asked to do and...

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Remembering Reality When Evil Smiles

Remembering Reality When Evil Smiles

It’s been a couple months since I’ve written anything here. I’ve been busy writing for my day job, but I’ve also just been choosing to use the time I have to be present with family and friends, some of whom are going through really difficult things. Nothing is harder than watching the sharp edges of a broken world slice deep into tender souls. There’s so much — so much — to grieve over in this place. From smirking politicians signing away our tiniest citizens’ right to life, to nauseating abuse that’s ignored and excused, to shattered families crushed under the debris of devastating sin, evil seems to be gloating in victory far too often. I get it, friend — how the weight of all that isn’t right can squeeze the air from your chest. How it can drain the fight and...

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The Quietest Glory

The Quietest Glory

We have this little porcelain nativity scene. I’m not sure where we got it, but it’s been part of our Christmases forever. A few years ago someone gave us two angels that dwarf the other figurines, but my youngest always puts them right behind Mary and Joseph. Those towering angels make me think of the imagery in Psalm 18 of God Himself soaring in to rescue on the back of a cherub — not exactly the classic Raphael picture of fluffy little winged babies. Scripture consistently depicts angels as powerful warriors, sometimes terrifying and enormous (see Isaiah 6:1-4, Ezekiel 1:11-13, and Revelation 7:1). When the hosts of heaven appeared to the shepherds the night Jesus was born, they probably didn’t look like an ephemeral floating choir. Can you imagine? The sky...

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The Both-ness of the Holidays

The Both-ness of the Holidays

I’ve got these red jar-style drinking glasses in my cupboard. I found them scattered on a dusty shelf in a chain store in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. They’re cheaply made, and the red flakes off if they’re anything but gently hand washed, but we love using them for holiday dinners. The harder clean-up is worth it to my family. I’m coming to realize that the holidays may be sweet as we move forward, but they may never be easy again. I wrote these words to a friend this week, the same friend whose family sat with us around our table in the tropics, pretending that the roast chicken was turkey and laughing as my youngest held her red glass high in ridiculous toasts to everything. The same friend who spent part of her Christmas break two years ago carefully...

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The Same Ache

The Same Ache

I was halfway through sweeping up the crumbled edges of leaves carried in by my kids’ feet when it hit me that gratitude can feel a lot like sadness. These are grateful days, with the light slanting golden and rust through changing trees and our hours full of the things that matter most. The grace of it presses and aches in my chest the way grief did before in the unexpected leaving of home and community and ministry. And I remember again the abundance in letting go. The winding weight of those long months carved a canyon to welcome this rush of beauty now. Somewhere along the way the bitter ache bled slowly into the sweet, and I couldn’t tell you where one ended and the other began. Grief and gratitude aren’t separate. They’re one continuum, one story. They both...

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