My husband and I recently moved, and as we packed up our bookshelves, he made an off-handed comment about how many “self-help” books I had. Feeling sheepish, I grabbed the one in his hand and said “I’ll handle packing these, thank you very much.” But as I picked up where he left off, I realized my husband was right. I am a self-help book junkie.
I have spent the last three years studying, writing about, and living through a season of lament (crying out to God.) It’s been a season of ill health, grief, emotional and physical pain and more. But I have come out on the other side knowing that God is good, that God does good, and that God wants good for his beloved daughters.
Parking in a grassy field, alongside dozens of other cars, I stepped toward a rustic barn where Nate and Anna’s wedding reception had already begun. Having opted out of fancy dress shoes, I adeptly navigated the terrain in my daisy-painted Doc Marten boots.
Did you ever play hide and seek when you were little? I was the worst at playing the game. I got too antsy in my hiding spots and always gave myself away. Playing as an adult, I became more stealth in my hiding stake-outs. I was much more of an expert at hiding.
I grew up in church, so I learned early that “I’m praying for you” was the appropriate response to just about anything anybody shared about their lives. But in my early 20’s, I was challenged: I’d better not say “I’m praying for you” unless I was actually going to pray for them. Or else I’d be lying. Prayer had to be a spiritual action, not just a socially appropriate platitude. I knew right then that I would need to develop some new habits in my walk with God. Prayer had to become a discipline, and I needed to be a disciple...
So, you want to be a leader? It seems to hold true that everyone genuinely longs to leave their mark, make a difference in this world, and be a leader in some capacity. Whether it’s through an actual job title, or to be viewed as one by your peers; we were all created with purpose to lead in our daily lives; it might just look differently than the person sitting next to you.
My son called on an early morning in June to tell us he and his wife—in labor with their first child—were blocked from entering the hospital zone because of some huge disaster down the street. The huge event was the mass shooting at a nightclub. A security guard had killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at the popular gay club on Latin night...
Some things just seem easier to learn as a kid. Whether it’s how to swim, or ski, or speak a new language - kids seem to absorb new skills so much faster and more naturally. I learned how to hula hoop, dance, and ride a bike as a kid, but one thing I didn’t learn was how to pray.
Paul spent the rest of his life minimizing his “bigs” – his own accolades, career, comfort, safety, and well-being – to “go small.” Which leads me to wonder … where in my life have I chosen to “go big,” where Jesus might prefer that I “go small”? More importantly, what is my motivation for wanting to “go big” in any area of my life?
I’ll admit it: I wasn’t sure if it would work. Few of the women on our retreat had heard of this idea known throughout church history as Lectio Divina. Latin for “divine reading” and a structured way to pray in quiet moments, I felt sure introducing Lectio Divina to my fellow churchwomen could invite them into a deeper place with Jesus. It was intentional, structured and—did I mention?—quiet, a refreshing alternative for busy Christians.