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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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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Open Letter to the Mama Who Feels the Too-Muchness

Open Letter to the Mama Who Feels the Too-Muchness

Dear Warrior Friend, Yes – warrior. Because if you weren’t fighting for your kids you wouldn’t be here. Let’s just get it all out there on the table before we go any further. This mom gig is the hardest thing. I’ve seen the social media memes and the you’ve-got-what-it-takes articles and all those things that are meant as an encouragement to all of us who are momming in the trenches. But the too-muchness of motherhood still creeps in like children’s little fingers under a locked bathroom door. And there isn’t a season of motherhood that isn’t without its own too-muchness. From the wild-eyed newborn days to the drama of middle school to the heartache of watching grown kids make destructive choices, being a mom can feel like more than we signed up for. I understand...

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The Gift of No

The Gift of No

We sat in the office of the private high school’s principal. She was compassionate and apologetic, but unequivocal. We had a spot for her and wanted it to work out. We really like her. But it’s not a good fit. …can’t accommodate her needs… …more severe than our other students with ADHD… …so sorry… We knew something was different about our first daughter from the time she was only a few weeks old. She was extremely sensitive to temperature, light, and noise; she would wake up even if the phone rang in another room. By 18 months, her lack of impulse control was evident. In chaotic places like the church nursery, she became aggressive towards other kids, and while we were potty training she once dove head-first into the toilet. She couldn’t explain why. At age three...

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Open Letter to the Man Who Holds My Hand in the Dark

Open Letter to the Man Who Holds My Hand in the Dark

Dear Man of Mine, A couple of months ago when we were at a friend’s wedding, I stood in the fellowship hall before the ceremony wrapping the stem of the bride’s bouquet with a white ribbon, silk over thorns, and I thought. I thought about the day sixteen years ago when we stood, bare toes on rough carpet in a plain little sanctuary, and you held my hands as we made promises for better or worse. Someone had put red glitter in the foot washing water, and the pictures took so long that all the food was gone by the time we made it to the reception, and it didn’t matter one bit because I had you and you had me. And a couple weeks later we sat in the car by a pond and talked about all the things we didn’t know yet. And it’s true. We didn’t know what was coming. But you...

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