The Inestimable Value of Unintentional Mothering

When I was in high school I had a sort of on-again, off-again relationship with God. My mom would often see my navy blue Bible with my name printed on the cover in silver laying on the clothes dryer at the foot of the stairs to my room over the garage. She knew I’d dropped […]

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The Arena of Wonder…and Laughter

My grandfather had a shock of white hair and a physique that testified to his love for food and celebration. He was a Baptist pastor born and bred in the Appalachian mountains not far from Hickory, NC. He had seen moonshine devastate so many families in his community that he was a strict teetotaler, but […]

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A Flame in the Desert

The way we pray shapes who we become. Our prayers reflect our understanding of God’s work in the past and our hopes about the way God will interact with us in the future. This Egyptian Coptic prayer testifies to the expectation that God walks with believers through the storm, that His presence is a sustaining force and source of joy. And it reflects their desire to become a flame of love.

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Lamentations & the Steadfast Love of the Lord

I glance over and see my four-year-old daughter sitting on the couch. Still in her pajamas, she’s coloring happily, a spray of multi-hued markers in reach of her right hand. She’s healthy, she’s safe, she’s here with me. Glancing over to my computer screen I gaze at a photograph of a four-year-old girl in a […]

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Will We Eat and be Satisfied?

Five barley loaves and two fish—not much to feed more than 5,000 hungry people. But in Jesus’s hands not enough is transformed into abundance. Not enough, it turns out, is more than enough. The feeding of a crowd of 5,000 men, along with women and children, is the only one of Jesus’s miracles other than […]

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Fellowship: Can a spiritual reality draw us together even when we feel miles apart?

If I say the word “epiphany,” what immediately comes to mind? I think of a bright, startling moment of understanding or inspiration. I imagine an unexpected insight in which the contours of a truth once hazy snap into place. Once seen, they can’t be unseen. In this sense, epiphany is revelation—something made manifest to us […]

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When a Blessing Breaks your Heart

“Blessed are you among women, ” Elizabeth ecstatically exclaimed to Mary, but I wonder. In the run up to Christmas this year, I’ve been thinking about Mary, about her experience of motherhood, about what it means to say that she was “blessed among women.” How could a mother who would one day witness the suffering […]

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Come to the waters: A design for stained glass

When my hope starts eroding, I turn to a river. I want to wash. I want to drink deep. One of the most evocative images in Scripture for me has long been the picture of a river of life flowing from the throne of God in Revelation 22. The waters are unpolluted and clear as […]

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How to Visit an Art Gallery with Kids without Losing Your Cool

Looking at art with kids is a way of exposing them to the marvelous diversity of artistic expression and to a range of cultures. A visit to an art gallery or museum can be an opportunity not just to cultivate self-control and attention, but also to nurture creativity and curiosity.

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A Blessing for My Daughter on Her Birthday

pencil sketch of my daughter

Blessing is prayer as gift. When my oldest daughter turned twelve, this is the blessing that I wrote to send her into the next decade, the decade of becoming a woman.

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